Gabriel's shared items

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Visiting SA

Went back to SAS with john, weihong, and a few of his friends today.

Quite a fruitful morning, from the number of people we met.
Bumped into Lawrence Koh when i first entered, met up with John and the gang, met two relief teachers, one of which was the school captain for the year before me, walked through the staff room to find it quite void of teachers, proceeded to the HOD office, and met Mr Koh Yong Mong outside, no teachers in the HOD office either. Decided to make our way round the classrooms. Met the first teacher we met was Mrs Singh, sec 1 history teacher. Then Mrs Huang, the dreaded mrs huang, our sec 1 lit teacher. These teachers didn't seem to change one bit... As the joke goes, they were 65 years of age when we were in sec one, and now they are still 65 years old.

Proceeded up a few floors to the maths section, met Mrs Goh, but i wasnt taught by her so... Followed by Mrs Yeo, ever doing maths questions. She was pondering how to set up te seven bridge problem as a display at the school's learning fair this sat... Made our way back down to the hod office, and met Mdm Jaya along the way. She allowed us into the office where we met Mr Au Yong, and Micheal lim who is now acting vice principal no. 2, Goh Boon Pin who is vice principal no. 1, and Mrs Charles, the P. Chatted, but somewhat superficially i had felt.

And to top it all off, we finally found Mrs Yeo (the chem one) in the staff room.

Went down to Orchard Road for lunch with John. Good time of catching up, actually I havent felt like really good friends with him until today. Related the our overseas experiences with each other, exchanging and comparing notes. Reflected on our NS days, as well as our sec sch and jc life. Quite a refreshing conversation it was.

Proceeded to Funan to get laptop and printer. Now gotta transfer all my stuff to the new laptop and assimilate it into my life.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Consolidation of my Sabbatical week.

  • Arranging the Archims Stuff,
  • Preparing the bible study for CCCF, (to do)
  • Meeting up with Shian,
  • Working on my new webpage,(cancelled)
  • Casting in words reflection on the value of experience, and how to reconcile differences in opinion, (ongoing)
  • Reading up on next year's physics material, (ongoing)
  • Buying a laptop,
  • Taking stock of things, begin packing, &
  • Perhaps get started on the Java program.(cancelled)

  • Yep, quite a fulfiling week.

    Hung out with our old cell group, and the guys I grew up with, last monday night at ken's birthday.

    On tuesday suddenly felt like had been working for too long, and needed a break. So asked for leave, and it was approved without any fuss. Knocked off at lunch time, and hung around ps and j8, looking for laptops.

    Had a good lunch with shian on wednessday. Good chat. Crystalised some thoughts.

    Took a rest on thursday, and went to j8 to get the memiors of lky. a most engaging read, especially having experienced cambridge.

    Went down to funan to buy the laptop on friday.

    Attended Confluence on saturday.

    Attended G2 opening on sunday, and watched the rally speach.

    Took a good rest today, monday, and went for a hair cut.

    Going to meet teachers at SA tmr (tuesday) with john fu and friends.

    And returning to work on wednessday! Refreshed.

    The Value of Experience. Entry 3.

    Experience comes in many forms. Every first hand encounter with the world is an experience, coming from daily life, or from extraordinary events like going on tours, or participating in activities, like playing games.

    One may also obtain experience through secondary means, such as from stories - both from books and the TV shows, and from school - the subjects taught at school expose students to many existing models of the world.

    An experience is just an instance of the world.

    Experiences and World Model
    With these experiences, we build our world model. Some may be simplistic, like by retaining a set of common experiences as anecdotes to compare situations that pops up against. But over time, and as the set of experiences you would want to consider burgeons, it might not be so easy to crawl over whenever one tries to make a comprehensive decision.

    So one might notice similiarities from the experiences and draw up a set of principles from which these experiences might be deduced. These principles might produce even more results than the experiences observed so far, and if it proves correct, it would serve to reinforce the credibility of the set of principles.

    This almost sounds like the scientific method, but it applies quite generally as well. Afterall, scientific theories are but a model which people utilise to view the world.

    A Coherent Model
    A model has to be coherent, i.e. it has to be consistent within itself, otherwise it is confused, and will serve no purpose whatsoever. In maths, it would have proven itself false by the notion of contradiction.

    For example, an inconsistent model could be one beginning with the notion that logic does not exist, hence it follows that nothing in the world can be explained.

    There are more subtle and technical examples, but think I shan't bore the audience.

    Domain of a Model
    Beyond being coherent, the value of a model is derived from the domain of it's application. The more situations a certain model can explain, the more comprehensive it is. If one model can explain everything another model explains, and more, the second model will be superceded by the other.

    Accuracy of a Model
    And appart from the size of it's domain, the value of a model also comes from it's ability to predict outcomes accurately.

    Friday, August 18, 2006

    The Value of Experience. Entry Two.

    What I am trying to do is to identify a common methodology which people use to handle the experiences they undergo.

    Ok, I am actually basing this observation on one particular sample, that is myself. But guess everyone would process their experiences with some degree of similarity to me.

    A World Model
    Guess what happens is that everyone has his view of the world, a model which he uses to explain the phenomena occuring around him. And every experience he goes through, he would compare what he observes with the model he has. Most times, his experience should not vary very much from this model. But when the model is incapable of explaining what he is experiencing, such a situation would be considered shocking.

    I myself have experienced periods of times when my model of the world couldn't explain my observation of it. It occured each time I entered a drastically different phase of life. Like when I entered army, going overseas to study, and each time I switched school. The more drastic a change it was, the less the model of my world then could explain the new observations.

    Why would we need our model of the world to fit observations? It's because we inevitably have to make decisions, and we base our decisions on the model we have constructed based on our past experiences. We then run simulations of the various options we have available, in order to attempt to predict what is the best course of action to take. And when this model appears to fail us, we then have nothing more concrete to base our actions on, and thus feel vulnerable.

    Tuesday, August 15, 2006

    The Value of Experience. Entry One.

    n. The apprehension of an object, thought, or emotion through the senses or mind
    Just trying to make sense of the impression of past experience, i.e. memories, that this conciousness is attempting to graple with.

    Dont really know how to introduce this entry, but these are a few questions I've been pondering that begged this contemplation about experience.

    1) What is the point of travelling? What is the point of pursuing intense experiences when memories of the experience would fade anyway?

    2) What is the point of education? And the point of learning something abstract that you may never use later on in life?

    3) How does one reconcile differing opinion, when every person possesses a unique set of believes? What makes one sure of his believes, and is there an absolute scale upon which we can compare who is right when there are differing opinions?

    Taking a Break

    Just felt like it would be good to take a breather, 5 weeks into my attachment here.

    Would give me time to do some things which have been accumilating, these are:
    • Arranging the Archims Stuff,
    • Preparing the bible study for CCCF,
    • Meeting up with Shian,
    • Working on my new webpage,
    • Casting in words reflection on the value of experience, and how to reconcile differences in opinion,
    • Reading up on next year's physics material,
    • Buying a laptop,
    • Taking stock of things, begin packing, &
    • Perhaps get started on the Java program.

    But would still like to pay a visit to the quantum information group at NUS, and continue working with the simulation of quantum dot formation a little bit more.

    Monday, August 14, 2006

    Home Improvement

    Thinking of addling a little control panel to this blog, with links to websites i frequent, and the exchange rates monitor.

    I'll put that in place of the meteorological report, which is getting kinda unsightly.

    Friday, August 11, 2006

    Online CV

    Thinking of creating a webpage to keep track of the notable things I've been up to, sorta like an online cv.

    An idea.

    Wednesday, August 09, 2006

    National Day Update.

    Ok, have been neglecting this blog lately as I channel my online efforts to the CCCF Website.

    Work's ok... Been learning up on some simulation programs.

    Had wanted to work on the networking portion of the game today with the National Day holiday, but it's quit difficult to get started on Java.

    Need to organise the Archims Societies fair booth soon. Email some guy for display items, and begin to consolidate the people who have volunteered to help, and find out exactly how long the time the fair will last - at first glance guess it'll be 8 hours a day. Means at least 16 volunteers.

    Have been pondering a lot about experiences lately. Like what meaning is there to having done so much in life that you begin to lose track of the lessons you learn, as the memories fade. And about the purpose of pursuing intense experiences like going on tours and stuff. Especially now that I am trying hard to acquire practical experiences to hopefully build up a 'library' of exposures that I'd be able to draw upon in future.

    Also some food for thought -
    While watching NDP today, during the tribute to S Rajaratnam, Serene made a remark "I wonder what the first national day without Lee Kwan Yew would feel like." Quite a compelling thought indeed. Guess it would be a solemn affair, to the likes of someone being missing from the dinner table.

    Thursday, August 03, 2006

    An Update & Consolidation of my Current Pursuits

    Had been resolved, upon returning home, not to waste any bit of my time here in Singapore, and have since involved myself in many activities. Just a list of what I've gotten myself into, along with some of ambitions.

    • Learn Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics, and how they are derived from newton’s laws.
    • Learn thermodynamics, and the derivations.
    • Eventually learn quantum mechanics.
    • Casually messing with php, javascript on the cccf website and my own blog.
    • Just picked up fortran – not too difficult. Seen how a scientific program is created, quite interesting and simple actually.
    • Downloaded Visual Basic and Visual C++ from the msdn website, but think I’ll ditch that for the moment in favour of Java.
    • Going to pick up Java and help Shawn with the development of the game. Working on the networking bit, think it’s gonna be really enriching!
    • Thinking of installing a cms on the srcf account to serve as my personal webpage. The old ones are quite out of date, and I’m having problems logging on to edit them.
    • Playing around with commercial simulation programs on the supercomputer, and trying to learn up on finite element technique.
    • Taking a few students for tuition. Think I’m not that effective a teacher if I do not have time to prepare what I’m going to teach, which is the case now.
    • Also trying to pick up the guitar, and have been involved in the youth choir lately.
    • I'm thinking of getting a good laptop, now that I'm going to use it for some solid programing. Think I'll begin looking around for it, and get a new laptop by next summer.

    Tuesday, August 01, 2006


    I hung a supercomputer today...