The rest of June 2015

30 June 2015

Phew, end of June already. It’s time to update this blog before I got busy with another task and blogging just got postponed again.

Overview of June:

  • Week starting on 8 June: Presented at company’s weekly meeting; new internship “project” started, end of Alyssa’s internship, meetings and trials of Awaken Challenge were conducted, Awaken Challenge was done [we got 2nd place]!
  • Week starting on 15 June: Not really productive week; tried out Xamarin but turned out to be really hard to understand; started to work on URECA paper; IPSC on Saturday and BF on Sunday; started to sort out stuffs to be thrown away;
  • Week starting on 22 June: Getting URECA paper first draft done and correspondence with supervisor on its revision; mid-week project review (turned out bad 😦 ) and end-of-week project review (quite okay) resulting in so much pressure every day; ended the week with getaway with my family
  • Week starting on 29 June: getaway with my family has ended; continued with work

Awaken Challenge 2015

This year’s Awaken Challenge was held in Poh Ming Tse temple at 15 June 2015. Preparations were slightly late and initially I was just a regular coach until around end-May Andy met me and had me take over his role due to his unavailability during the day itself. After Vesak Day, I gathered the participants for a meeting and trials in which I think I was not really able to control as I was the guy who “goes with the flow” and hence the meetings got dragged; but since the others were there helping, the meetings were just right in time πŸ™‚ First meeting made me felt that it will be a hard time to finish preparing everything; 2nd one at the weekend made me felt that we will be very lucky if we passed the preliminary round. The next two meetings were staggering: the result of the trials were nice, everyone did very well; even with the last year’s Awaken Challenge finals question set, they can score quite well. Yeah that point I think that we can get into the finals for the debate. The final round this year was a debate on should a Buddhist youth group incorporates vegetarianism into its Dharma practice. We prepared the points for both sides and simulated the debate once while constructively perfecting the points.

Awaken Challenge 2015 started early at 9.30 am and we arrived there around 9 am. We mingled around for a while before going to the event hall. Awaken Challenge started with opening speeches and puja led by venerables. Then it proceed to preliminary round consisting of 9 teams, where NTUBS, represented by Pei Si, Wing Fei, HH, and Jeff, aced the round πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ (we topped the round and in the end the gap between us and the 2nd place was significant). Out of 9, 6 teams proceed to the quarter finals. Next was the early lunch, here the BFY team celebrated Pei Si’s birthday and a conspiracy theory came out: “they celebrated Pei Si’s birthday so she can’t revise” — Jeff (well, nonsense πŸ˜› ) After the lunch, we went to the quarter-finals where NTUBS were represented with Jeff and Pei Si. Here, NUSBS topped the round with NTUBS being tied with the 3rd place, SVY; phew, lucky we still pass this round. After a little break, the semi-final round commenced. The questions presented were really difficult! And we forget to brief them on strategy of using life-lines (and NTUBS had used all 3 lifelines but got all of them wasted cause they answer wrongly; if correct got +2 points). The race to the final were very tense, NUSBS had a lead in the beginning. In the middle, NTUBS caught up and had a tie with NUSBS. But later NUSBS went strong and have a lead till the end of the round. So, the semi-finals ended with NTUBS and NUSBS proceed to the final round which is a Buddhist debate in which NTUBS had the opposition side and NUSBS proposition side. We had a little time to have a final preparation, and we prepared with Freddy (who has experience in debates). The round started and it was really tense. In my opinion, NUSBS had a lot of great points but they kind of attacking subjectively and reversing the truth without supporting arguments. Also NTUBS had a relatively lower performance as all the points brainstormed during the preparation on the previous days were not iterated until the 3rd speaker. And we did not end strong, Jeff just being Jeff at the debate: talking lots of thing but actually had a little points to make. Besides that, NUSBS ended strong. Well, obviously, they won Awaken Challenge 2015 and we had the runner-up title. Congrats NUSBS πŸ™‚

URECA

URECA is a year-long undergraduate research project started in August and ended in June of the next year. So my URECA started back in August (2014) and ended this June by submitting the final requirement, a paper. They provided a template and we are required to write a paper on what we’ve done in URECA. In my second semester, URECA is virtually stuck and no real progress is done, except doing the URECA poster. After that, nothing is done until the paper writing process. Of course I had a quite hard time writing it. Lack of motivation is the greatest challenge and with the proximity of deadline (end of June), the motivation of writing grew bigger and bigger and finally I wrote the 5-page paper. Sent to my supervisors and had some correspondence (via e-mail) before I submit to the URECA system and got approved by the supervisor. Finally my URECA is done. πŸ˜›

plan* and STARS Wars

Last semester, me and my coursemate, Edwin, had this crazy idea during the exam period to create a course planner supplementing NTU’s STARS Planner. That night, I said that it was not hard since the course data can be accessed publicly and since HTML is XML, we just need to clean some parts and we can parse the data as XML data using PHP’s SimpleXML functions. Quickly, I implemented the “getter” and “parser”; and the project was born. Next, he did the “scheduler” which basically was just doing brute-force of the timetable. This project will return all the possible timetable of chosen courses. Meanwhile in STARS Planner, you have to manually select the index of the courses to check whether there is a possible timetable for you or not. There can be some human-intelligence involved if using STARS Planner, but until then, a tool to help brute-forcing is needed since the indices for our chosen course for our semester 4 is really hard to find. [wah, this is looking to be like a “Introduction” at a paper πŸ˜› ] So this semester we planned to publicize the usage of this tool to our friends (to plan for the next semester; Sem 1 AY15-16), and well I don’t really publicize since if I’m not mistaken there has been a similar scenario at an American university where the university sue the student for accessing the university’s data without the rights to do so (since the data is copyrighted by the university). But I can’t find the case anymore as I don’t remember which university that case happened. And for the next semester, we had plenty of choices [I added keyboard shortcut so that I can navigate through the results quickly] and some bugfixes were done.

This semester my course registration schedule was waaay ahead of my friends, even earlier than those year 4 CS students: ABP FTW! I had to travel earlier to my office so I can set up my laptop and then be ready to this “STARS Wars”. Well, it was really smooth, I got all the indices that I want on my first click on 09:30:00 am. πŸ˜›

Family “camp”

My family visited Singapore on 24-30 June. On 25th, we met at Pioneer MRT station and had dinner at the foodcourt downstairs, they came to my room at NTU Hall 4 and took some of my stuffs back. Well, this is essential so that I have minimum stuffs to store during my squatting period as the General Cutoff Weight has been increased to 16 for male applicants (I have 15 points πŸ˜₯ ). And this “camp” happened from Friday night till Monday morning: I slept at my family’s apartment (on loan from my uncle) during this period and we went out on Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday, we started the day quite late and had an early lunch at Food Republic, Vivo City, before going to Sentosa Island. First we went to visit the Trick Eye Museum, where we took lots of photos though there are a lot of visitors and I think that the conditions of the attractions are a bit spoiled already as some of the paint has wore off. Next we visited SEA Aquarium. The entrance was quite strange, we did not know that it was entrance at all. After entering, there were some naval exhibition that we quickly gone through. The aquarium was nice though there were a lot of people, I managed to take almost all of the exhibits. And some fish were scarily large πŸ˜› After long journey inside the aquarium, finally we visited Madame Tussauds located quite far away (Imbiah Lookout); we took the monorail from Waterfront to Imbiah Station and had a drink at 7-Eleven first.

At this Madame Tussauds, we were also given tickets to “Images of Singapore Live” and were told to go here before going to Madame Tussauds. Well, it was mood breaker, firstly, the queue to enter the “show” was really long and we did not know what will happen. Next, no one cares about the show! We bought tickets to MT and not this, which consumes lots of time (~40 minutes, excluding queue time) and worst of all: no pictures are allowed. I don’t get it, photos are meant to publicize the show, right? So we went through the “live show”, of how Singapore transformed from British colony till Japanese attack till independence. After that, we proceed to MT which was nice but there were lots of people around. There were many famous people, including Singaporeans. Some people’s height caught our attention: Soekarno was shorter than me; Tom Cruise was just around my height. πŸ˜› After this, we rushed back to Vivo City and took bus to Caribean Residence nearby, attending my father’s reunion with his secondary schoolmates. One of them told that he hasn’t met my father since the O-level exams which was 37 years ago. Well, it was not our reunion, so I was bored here. We went back after the reunion finished and were sent back by the car of my father’s friend. Arrived around 11, we went to sleep around 12.

Waking up around 9, we washed up and bought tickets to River Safari later that day. We went down to swim for a while before going to NEX for lunch at Old Kim Guan, where some traditional food were served expressly and then went to UOB for some business. After that, it was 2 already and we rushed to River Safari. Arriving around 3, we headed directly to the boat rides as we’re afraid that it will close by the time we finished the suggested viewing directions. Amazon River Quest was nice, though my phone overheated and acted strange and hence no photos can be taken 😦 After that we went to the River Safari Cruise, which is a cruise ride around the Upper Seletar Reservoir seeing some animals from Singapore Zoo. After cruising, we went to view the attractions in River Safari, starting at the middle part, viewing pandas, and then went towards opposite direction to the entrance. After we arrived at the entrance, we went again to the opposite directions, viewing everything. After that, we went out and then to the shop to chill a bit. After that we were picked up by my dad’s friend to an open-restaurant nearby. We had our dinner there and we were driven back. I spent another night with my family.

Monday, I woke up quite early due to my work and I left around 8.30. After work, I met them to have dinner at Din Tai Fung, JP. Then they came to my room to bring back some of my stuffs. They went back on Tuesday morning.

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