Friday, December 31, 2010

Friends (Special Programme in Science, Part 1)

This will not be the full list of my friends in SPS, so if your name is not here, fret not, look out for the next post! There are too many people that I know in SPS to put this in one post, and it also defeats the purpose of pouring my emotions here. So here goes:


Old pal, roommate, ex-project mates for SP 2171 and SP 2172, a very headstrong person that I often get into quarrels with (I still don’t see those as quarrels), occasionally, a friendly fight too (caught once on camera). He’s my Physics course mate that is honest, down to earth on his expectations in Physics. He is now back in his home country, India after one year of not going back (due to his Mexico summer programme last holiday). Having a first class CAP and extremely active in asking questions in classes, this guy wearing specs is also interested in investing time for religion or as he prefers it, spirituality. As such, we meditated in the room together often, and discusses anything. Oh and he is very good in making friends and keeping them, I quite admire his ability to be wacky, friendly and cheerful almost all the time! And more than that is his dedication towards physics! I’m really grateful to have such a good close friend!

Tzyh Haur

Old buddy, the Physics senior in SPS, he is one of the coolest smart guy in Physics that you can ask anything about and he’ll answer you. Although he claims to be anti-social, he is in good terms with everyone in SPS! I got to be able to relate to him via our passion for free food! Ok, more seriously, it is because I think we have a similar social shyness history. Being a purely quantum guy, he is very happy now to have Ass. Prof. Valerio Scarani (my supervisor too for UROPs) to be his supervisor. Besides having a good family relationship, he also inspires me in his passion for research and excellence.


Old buddy too, our mentor in SPS for one year. My mentor for 1 and a half year. He is crazy in Mathematics and asks a lot of Philosophical questions. He often comes back to SPS to see us after his graduation and even hangs out at our (me and Hariom’s) room to talk until very very late. He keeps on jump hopping on religion, learning some of each here and there, including Buddhism, Hinduism, etc…His aloofness seems to stem from his intense passion in Mathematics and his willingness to help me out in Mathematics shows that he’s a really good guy!


A special kid. Stranger than me, but also very determined to do well in her Physics. She’s one the cutest and sxxx people I can see in SPS. A lot of a Rock guitarist and some sort of a child-like gal, she has one specialty in language: Hunglish. However, she’s true to friends and true to her feelings (that she doesn’t manage very well), and she constantly ask for advices and we all comfort her, like the child of SPS. A good friend that cares for others and I’m glad to have met her!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Friends (NUSBS 32nd MC)

Last time I did this type of post, I can’t write more than 20 friends before burning out. So I’ll do it by groups this time. Starting from the family in Buddhist Society: May I present the 32nd Management Committee of National University of Singapore Buddhist Society!

Ow Yeong Wai Kit

President, USP, English Literature major, Vice President of the NUS Interfaith Interest Group, previous Publications director of NUSBS, involved in NUS Stage and USP performance too! A very good speaker with style, leading the Buddhism in Asia Global Programme to Thailand and India right now as I’m writing this, responsible, multitalented, very knowledgeable in Buddhism, produced this article: And a cool guy!

Kevin Siswandi

Resource Director, both for NUSBS and Physics Society and very very good at his job! Physics major, and although quiet, is a very dependable person!


Treasurer, fun loving, active, likes to help out and be in photos. Mathematics major, she takes her job seriously, takes fun seriously too!

Johan Zhang

Dharma Director, Mathematics major, he is serious in his job, taking up Meditation course and Dharma Circle seriously. He leads a group of people called the Dharma Subcom, and organises Dharma Friend trainings too!

Alvin Tan (Tashi Pandito)

Deputy Dharma Director, Physics major! Having a high expectation towards what he does, he knows how to meditate and relax himself too to avoid over expectation! He is an aspiring Bodhisattva, with a BIG dream! Taking up my previous job, he is recruiting people into his company that will change the world! As such, I’m giving him a bit of a hard time to test his resolve and determination.

Soe Lin Myat

Marketing Director, computer engineering major. The previous Dharma Director, we had a good time planning for Dharma Circle topics together, and now he’s doing a great job with Marketing, giving us name cards, coloured posters design, mini publications, T-shirt, videos, and now he’s doing the website of NUSBS! Doing all that and beyond the call of duty!

Jasper Ang

Auditor, political science major. He was president of choir for his JC and secondary school and worked in KMSPKS before. He’s a great actor, winning the best actor lots of times in finale nights of NUSBS Dharma Camp! The previous deputy secretary, he helped to gather this group of able people and like-minded person to work together for NUSBS! He also continues to contribute in his wisdom and leadership in various ways that help the society!

Chriswini Tanaka

A serious and cool girl, she’s the Project Director and is in Engineering. She works hard for the society, and places family in an important position too! Cute and stylish, she is caring and thoughtful to push us to get the job done fast so that we can enjoy our November of studying! Oh and pretty too!

Lim Wen Xin

Deputy Project Director, economics major, she does almost all of her work along with Chriswini, and they are fast becoming twin sisters which means she’s pretty too! Nice and caring, she has a very good boyfriend to take care of her too!

Hein Aye Aye Aung

Deputy Secretary, she is in Business. A truly newbie in NUS and NUSBS, she has the courage to join in the Management Committee in her year 1. Fun loving and able to take charge when things breaks down, she is a good and meticulous person that directed our skit (for Upekkha group) for the NUSBS Dharma Camp 2010. She has lots of potential to grow! 

Leow Poh Jin

Secretary, or Honorary General Secretary, he is an Engineering guy! Down to earth, honest, hardworking. Likes the 3 Idiots film. He bravely integrates his previous knowledge of Buddhism (in Chinese) with the teachings taught here (in English). Working hard and tirelessly, he is indeed a great secretary!

Lyhor Nalene

Welfare Director, Business. She has been in NUSBS for one year before joining in the Management Committee at year 1. Being a good Dharma subcom she is dependable and nice! She nicely organised a birthday celebration for both Johan and Kevin! And she is very responsible in her part of Dharma Camp welfare visit and Dharma Friend training!

Wong Fang Cheng

Publication Director, Life Science major. A seriously cool and active girl! She’s quiet, yet one of the most active in doing work! Having done 2 (very nice) video editing, rushing for the Lamp of Wisdom magazine right now, she also helped out in Dharma Camp Welfare visit. Having been through a meditation retreat, she has a very good basis in the practice! Her strong inclination towards pushing herself to the best that she can do is an admirable attitude to emulate!

Jason Kong

Public Relations Director, Business. A very very social able person, in other words: friendly towards anyone! He has the party attitude, yet can pay enough attention to get things done! A naturally charismatic person that is good with any girls, he’s also able to handle his emotions well! Buddhism has changed something in him and keeps on changing him as he develops various hidden potentials inside of him.


Now these are the 14 people that I now work with, and learn the Dharma with. And I love this team! Go NUSBS!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Life with NUSBS friends!

After my final exam on the morning of 2nd December, I've gone back to SPS room and was missing part of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy Movies Extended Version. That night was the SPS Xmas celebration! We had potluck& gift exchange. I didn't expect my gift (A4 papers) to be the most popular one. I've gotten a book brought by Weiding, and exchanged it for an inverted hourglass.

We had lots of fun later on playing some games involving food! About 30 of us all together in SPS had a really good time before leaving SPS to it's empty (I'm the only one here now) state.

The next day I had a NUSBS MC meeting for discussions on the Dharma Camp final details. Then Jason, Khisan and the Group Leaders came to go for a trial run of the temple tour. I've stayed on and once the meeting has ended, we had lunch together at Science and then I showed them about SPS room.

Well, after that, I've made a special trip to join in the temple hunt group for Mangala Vihara visit before going to Helipad for a free buffet by OSA. The food is not as nice as what we get in SPS, but the environment is quite new there. Later on that night, Wen Xin, Johan, Kevin, Yulinda, Nalene, Poh Jin, me and Shi Peng (new friend) had gone to walk around clarke quay.
In this respect, the trip to China and the trip to Clarke Quay (about 2 years ago with SPS people) are helpful in making me comfortable with walking around with my fellow MC members just as friends that night.

The next day, (this morning to me) I've woke up to come to the Group Leader training for Dharma Camp and meet Chin Xia & fellow group leaders and join in the whole day gaming. Then I've gone back and packed up my stuffs! But there was a detour for dinner with Tzyh Haur and Jia Jia and a long talk with Hariom and Minh later on in my room. Ahhh.... tomorrow (or later today I'm going for the Dharma Camp until 10th December! Ahh...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

How to Balance Studies and Personal Life Positively by Ajahn Brahm

Last Thursday was the NUSBS Ajahn Brahm’s Talk 18th November 2010. It was the first time ever that NUS Buddhist Society had organised such a big event! Over 150 people came, from other Buddhist Societies, Staffs, Patrons, and NUSBS Alumni, but the main bulk of the people are our main targets: NUS Students! Including people from NUS Interfaith, Varsity Christian Fellowship, University Scholars Programme, Special Programme in Science, and Physics people! And most importantly, our usual NUSBS members, subcommittees, and the Management Committee!

It was also the first time that I and Damon, as co-organisers organised such a big scale event! We had about 20 people together to form a subcommittee to run the show during that day. It was a pretty nice thing to handle so many things for the first time. Eg: Goodie bags, food catering, venue booking, permits, posters, online publicities, subcommittee recruitments and management, registration for the talk, video before the talk, the flow plan for the event, the seating arrangements, the video camera, ushers, Ajahn attendant, feedback form etc…… It’s more than enough to make me not want to do this again for some time… Especially making it on reading week. In the middle of the reading week! Wow.

I’ve got to congratulate all of us to be able to make it thus far and still survive! Ha ha. Although I did not get to sit for the talk in one sitting, I get to re-examine it on video and I felt very satisfied after watching it. It makes me feel like all these effort, all these planning and preparations are worth it! And I felt that it is unfair for me to have all these good advices and good Dharma knowledge. All these wisdom is very applicable for the students (like me) who are in exam mode. So I implore you, yes you the reader, to be a listener for 2 hours (or at least 1 hour for the talk), to invest your time and to benefit much more than if you’re taking the time to study and slack (facebook, games, movies, taking with friends, lazing in bed etc…). And so here it is: (after some 10 hours of uploading, editing etc…) Enjoy and benefit. And remember to share it with your fellow students friends from all around the world!

Friday, November 26, 2010


The classic reading week slacking period. 

Every semester, after all the homework and lectures stops, just before the exams, there seems to be a lot of free time up our hands. So after studying for most part of the day, we slack here and there, watching movie or playing games or simply chatting with friends who we study together with.

This post is about the movie I've seen these last few days.

Let's see:

  1. How to Lose a guy in 10 days
    • Romance movie, kinda disappointing in the things that I was looking for when I wanted to watch this one. Good movie to see through anyway.
  2. Samsara
    • Extremely not recommended. 18SX as in seriously SX. It does teach me a lot in terms of life problems through. A disappointing movie overall, but I don’t regret watching it. Just wish that the SX part can be cut off, totally not necessary to go to such extremes. The film style is mostly silent.
  3. Shutter island
    • Scarier than a horror movie. Psychological thriller. Very little about love but very good about how dangerous delusion is. Nice to see if you want a jolt through your brain.
  4. Megamind
    • Totally nice. Wow, unexpected storyline and a bonus of a love story in it. It teaches me something about love and how to get a girl. An animated superhero comedy film.
  5. Mr. Nobody
    • Science fiction drama film that explores multiple possible choices of Mr. Nobody on how to live his life and the implications of choices and which choice is the right choice? Teaches me about how with the right attitude in life, all the choices you make are right.
  6. Shrek forever after
    • Animated fantasy comedy film that tells of a fairy tale. How to fall in love again in just one night. Very nice too.

Wow, that's a lot. It seems that a lot of the movies I see lately has an element of love in there. Sigh…… And I seems to like animated films better than real life actors. Well it’s off to studies/bed again… See ya all!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

True Happiness

Ever since I was a child, I kept on thinking about how to prevent suffering, how to think out of the box to stop the suffering from outside. How to keep on being happy. As a child, it was easy, just take out the toys and games and play with them. It provides instant happiness and there seems to be no drawbacks, it’s not like we had to work or study all the time.

One of the most satisfying experiences of happiness I’ve got as a child is meeting my dear cousins again. We always played together all the time whenever we meet. Even through it was just for a few days of the holidays every year, whenever we hear even the slightest news about each other, we would bath in ecstasy, waiting for them (literary at the doorstep) to come and then rush off to play computer games, Play station 1 or even just hide and seek. And whenever we separated, I would spend a whole afternoon feeling sad, usually falling asleep in the process.

Once, I had even screamed and shouted to go to their place in another state, reasoning out that parents will do whatever to make their kids happy, and this makes me happy, so they should oblige.

This is part of the pursue of happiness.

Getting top in classes, getting to skip one year of school, getting to buy and play new toys, getting to joke with friends, getting to dream about the future and writing them down, these are part of the happiness I’ve encountered.

But how long can these last? How long can any of these happiness last?

Video gaming brings as much happiness as long as you are at it.

Physics and academic pursuits brings a more subtle satisfaction that can last a bit longer.

Friends and Family brings you comfort and love and happiness as long as you’re with them, even then it is not always.

One cannot be the top of the class forever, or be the best in some area of specialisation forever.

Even the straight As which are supposed to be forever doesn’t bring you to the tops of your spirit more than just that once.

Money is obviously not a solution, any kid knows that.

Even love, the kind between boy and girl, that if successful will eventually lead to marriage and wanting to stay with her/him forever, even that love is not forever. This feeling of falling in love can no doubt be satisfied by having the significant other in your arms for the rest of your life. It may even last this whole lifetime! However strong, however intense, however insane the other person drives you when you think about her/him, it will end. It is finite.

It seems like whatever we do, we do it for the fleeting happiness that it brings us. Success, wealth, fame, gain, praise, none of them last a lifetime.

I had seen a shampoo advertisement, “Use this and you’ll get rid of your dandruff”. I wondered, does it means use it once and my head will never produce dandruff? Or do I need to use it for the rest of my life to prevent dandruff, dependent on it like drugs?

I’m sure you can see the similar analogy towards happiness.

What’s the difference between the things we do for temporary happiness versus taking drugs then? Hardly any. Perhaps it is because drugs makes you a bit more unhappy in the overall count (addicted, wasted etc…). (Not promoting drugs here, more like promoting the disgust towards our mundane lifestyle).

Those who see no way out tends to spend their life falling in love, getting married, or enjoying materialistic pleasures, be it gaming, movies, books, academics, money, and they do get their temporary happiness. Temporarily. 

Perhaps it is those who work towards eternal happiness that are truly the wise ones. Those in science works for the betterment of society. For eternal happiness, the goal cannot be just having nuclear fission energy plant realised or even space travel; nothing less than immortality and cracking the secret of happiness in the brain will do.

As we are only an individual and powerless to fast-forward science, some has opted for cryonics. Some turn to religion. Religion, generally referring to the Abrahamic religions with their one true God and eternal heaven, provides a sane and good way (in general) for people to channel their energy for their own personal benefit in their afterlife. For the Indian religions and East Asian religions, it is also quite good in channelling the energy for the elongation of happiness.

In particular, for Buddhism (for I know it best) it is a path towards the ultimate happiness: the end of suffering. It does not make sense for a person who had seen for himself the futileness of mundane life to continue living it. The way out of this cycle of birth and rebirth is to practise the supra mundane life. To develop the Noble 8 fold path and to escape the wiles of suffering, the tangles of attachments, the 3 poisons forever. To work towards true happiness would be the only sane and logical purpose in life.

Not the pursuit of gain, fame, praise, worldly happiness, but the happiness that is beyond mundane and without dissatisfaction. The happiness that cannot be imagined or compared in terms of worldly happiness that still contains a tinge of un-satisfactoriness, however intense and strong worldly happiness maybe.

Viewed in this way, the pursuit of Nibbana is the only logical purpose of life.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Name: Ng Xin Zhao

Fellowships and Awards:

Honourable Mention for the International Physics Olympiad 2007

Silver Medal for the International Physics Olympiad 2008

Anugerah Belia Remaja Pendidikan 2008

Dean’s List 2009, Semester 2

USP Honours Roll 2010


Malacca High School: Upper and Lower 6.

Obtained Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia

Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (Malaysian Higher School Certificate)

Pengajian Am (General Paper)


Mathematics T


Further Mathematics T






National University of Singapore (NUS): Currently year 3 Majoring in Physics, second major in Mathematics.

Part of the Special Programme in Science (SPS), exposed to research early

Part of the University Scholars Programme (USP), a multidisciplinary Programme that accepts 3% of the whole NUS undergraduate students.

Part of Special Programme in Mathematics (SPM).

Areas of Research Interest or Areas of Specialization or Areas of Competence/ Expertise or Principal Research:

Physics, Mathematics, Done review on Closed Timelike Curves (General Relativity), Done Computational Research on finding Consistent Closed Timelike Curve in van-Stockum Universe, Photonics: micro ring resonator, Quantum information: Nonlocality Distillation.

Skills acquired:

Basic C programming, reviewing paper, writing research paper, Matlab, Mathematica, Presentation skills, poster making.


Taught Further Mathematics Personal Tuition for 2 months.

Internship at Data Storage Institute (DSI) as research assistant for 3 months.

Languages: English, Chinese, Malay.

Volunteering Experiences:

Youth Olympic Games 2010 in Singapore.

Co-Curricular involvement:

Assistant Publication of NUS Physics Society for 2008/09

Deputy Dharma Director for NUS Buddhist Society for 2009/10

Vice President of NUS Buddhist Society for 2010/11

Outside of Classroom involvement:

Joined Science Buskers and won the qualifying round.

Global Programme with USP, Buddhism in Asia, focusing on research at Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan.

Short-term noviciation for monkhood programme in Mangala Vihara for 15 days.

Others: Mensan

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Story of Electronics
The Story of Electronics, released on November 9th, 2010 takes on the electronics industry’s “design for the dump” mentality and champions product take back to spur companies to make less toxic, more easily recyclable and longer lasting products.

Touch up

This is to touch up on the transition between the post of This time on my life and the last 2 weeks. That weekend between week 11 and 12. It was crazy. I joined in the Dharma Friend training which includes some of the GLs in Dharma Camp and I’ve had a great time being my old self back again.

Then it was all weekend of thinking about my UROPs, until Sunday night. That night I had a great western dinner. On board the MV explorer, the ship for Semester at Sea! There was a dinner reception and they invited USP students to come and join in the dinner.


Wow, I got caught in one of the pictures! I’ve been delaying this post until I can find one of the pictures of me and voila, now I just found it! Amazing. Nothing short of amazing. Picture from:

The dinner was superb and the speech by Desmond Tutu (another Nobel winner that I met) is equally good! Before that, we had a good tour of the MV Explorer, it was the first time I was in a cruise ship! And the room is quite small, almost PGP size, but just a bit smaller. However the amount of activities there is so cool and the amount of countries they visited… ahhh if it wasn’t for the extremely expensive price…… I would want to join in too!

After the dinner, I hanged out and explore the ship again. I’ve met Jules Duffin, and talked a lot of things with her.

It seems that she mentioned about me too! Yay and she’s a author! And now I’ve got a writer friend that’s about the same age as me! How cool is that?

Now backing up to the present, I’ve just done a [more than] 24 hour take home exam that is pure torture. From 7pm Sunday to 10am Tuesday I was in tortured mode………… doing Human Relations. During the exam time, I had slept (a little) blogged, watched Stutter Island (really nice and scary psycho-thriller movie) and chatted on msn.

After the exam, I allowed myself some break, watching 3 idiots and playing cards. However I didn’t get another good sleep until 11p.m. as I had another one of the many (especially recently) heart to heart talk with my fellow roommate, Hariom.

Then the day rolled by and it comes back to today, where I when and participate in the last of 3 sessions of the decision making research and read all the backlog of the rest of my emails that I left it there for more than 2 years now. And also deleting a lot of my sms and talking in facebook and playing bridge. It took the whole day, and now I’m way behind on my studies…

Well on another note, Ajahn Brahm’s Talk is tomorrow at NUS! As the co-organiser, I’m way happy! Yay!

Ajahn-Brahm-4 (1) (2)

See ya all next time!


I've decided to put this in a blog post so that it does not auto play every time you guys come and see my blog, for those who don't really like the musics. For those who want to listen to the music, I'll leave a link at the old music box. Thanks! Please comment if you don't like this arrangement.

Music Playlist at

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Last two weeks

The last you saw me was when I had Laser Tag. I remember that Monday I went to 3rd Uncle’s home and stayed for one night after MDC. It was nothing short of reminiscing about the days when I was in Internship. The next Tuesday I went on and read comic books before coming back for Human Relations classes!

Week 12 was a killer week! That weekend and after… I concentrated mostly on my UROPs, from the theory to the report, it’s all spamming! It’s a good thing I got to do part of my presentation on week 10’s group meeting. It guided me a bit on what to do and what to write. Well, maybe I’ll post the report up here after I correct the mistakes. Anyway, I skipped most of my classes for that week and am I glad that most of the Buddhist Societies’ activities are over.

It was deserving of me… Anyway I did went out for some time despite my ultra-rushing for reports! I went out on Thursday night for supper with the new (to me) MSL group. That week I also guided some of the SP2170 groups’ presentation. Cause that Saturday was the actual SP2170 presentation!

After sitting in the most of the presentations, I went and sat for a decision making study test, mostly on how do I make decisions concerning money. That night was the night that two of my close friends in SPS got together at last. We celebrated it via a dinner in RVR!

Guess who got together?

Ma and my roommate, Hariom.

Oh and the previous day was Deepavali.

Anyway, the following week was full to the brim with homework again. Starting from Relativity assignment, to Medical Dharma Circle “Buddhism and Superheroes” presentation (which I actually enjoyed doing), to QM 3 Homework, UROPs presentation, and finally the biggest the hardest: Human Relations Group Project.

Let me start with the MDC one. I added a few more slides compared to last year’s and skipped the dinner to come back to SPS and meet Prof. Brett McInnes, a mathematics Prof that does research in cool areas in Physics! Just check out his website:

Then on to the Human Relations project! We had a group meeting on the last lecture and it is the last class for the 12 year module: Human Relations. There’ll be no more such modules in the future, so we enjoyed a dinner by Prof. Albert Teo. I’ve brought some back to SPS after doing some filming for the 10 minutes video we have to do for the module. Then I was rushing for my UROPs again and we had gone back to PGP for a special supper. Hariom, Ashik and me. Then, I had a cool UROPs presentation the next day with practically no sleep. Well it’s kinda usual already for me already for that week. So that night I slept for somewhat earlier than usual after meeting with Damon, Jun Da and Jia Jia for a video camera tryout and education. Then I woke up at 1+a.m. to start doing my part of the group report for the Human Relations module due that Thursday at 2p.m.

Well, it took some effort on teamwork but we managed to finish it up in time! The report and the video! Yay! UHB2201November2010 003

We had a group photo and an early dinner too. It was an interesting exploration on how to friends are made, and that night, I went for dinner outing with Hariom’s IS group. It was the 5th meal for me that day since 1a.m.

I was really tired that night and went ahead and sleep for a long time before coming to my senses that Friday. Finishing my QM 3 Homework, I was finally free to study for my exams! I surfed the net for a while and then it was time for a last look at the Ajahn Brahm’s talk. Me, Jia Jia, Damon, and Jun Da all went and had a dinner while discussing the last details for the upcoming talk on next Thursday! Then I went back to SPS and it turns out that that night was the pre-SP 2172 presentation night.

I went and helped out for Hung-Wei Ling-Benjamin group and then after that for Chern Hui-Arifin-Raymond group. Helping out meaning looking at their presentation and commenting on things to improve upon. Well, maybe I was just looking for another reason to sleep late again. I slept at 5:40a.m. along with their group and it was superb! Cause the moment I woke up it’s SP2172 congress!

With so little sleep, I managed to meditate for a while before breakfast and then joining in the congress.

It was quite an interesting and amazingly good congress overall. I went back for laundry and bath. (Trying out the video taping in the meantime, and got late for lunch). So I got to do this again: (After soooooooooo long a time (1 year I think)).

A bit full, but then……

I added more!

And then that night I started on Probability before sleeping for another 12 hour straight to go for…… our UROPs and 72 appreciation lunch! Thanks to our common supervisor, A.Prof Valerio Scarani, we go out to Chinatown and had a very full luncheon there, eating Dim Sum! I’ve got an appreciation card from Valerio and Daniel, the postdoc that was with me. That is soooooo cooollll! I’m so touched and lucky to have Valerio as my supervisor………

Then we went and had tea in tea chapter. It was a long and enjoyable tea, where I brought a teacup at the end for enjoyment in SPS. (Anyone wants some tea, just ask from me!) Then Sandoko, Tzyh Haur, Hung and me went to Buddha Tooth Relic Temple! It was amazing there. I caught a few minutes of meditating over there and it feels nice.

Now that we just gotten back… I got to go and do my Human Relations Exam (take home 24 hour) and finish it up ASAP! Now that I look back, this last 2 weeks has been full of eating out with friends and socialising! Let me count…… about 10 of them…… or more…quite a record. Wow. Seriously…… I’ve been learning about Human Relations outside of the module! Haha…

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

How to Repel Girls

If you're a rich guy, single and not interested in the multitude of girls coming around and chasing you for your money, you've come to the right place to learn: How to repel girls!

In here are techniques no one who ever wants to marry should ever set their eyes on. This is to avoid the danger of unconsciously acting the techniques below and scare off your potential girlfriend.

Here goes your potential girlfriend:
  1. Act weird. Try as much as possible to be as weird as possible. For example, you can show some random hand gesture and talk to yourself in pretence (or maybe in reality) whenever you're thinking of something. Be as self-absorbed as possible, ignoring all awareness of your social image. You can also act drunk after some activity you do a lot, like after eating too full, you can't walk properly and you get high, even without a sip of alcohol. Most (sane and normal) girls would avoid you if you're successful in acting weird. Be wary through, the amount of practise you need to do in order to be weird may take months, during which you might adopt it as part of you and be weird for the rest of your life, destroying a lot of social image of yourself in the process. However, don't act weird in front of your potential boss, supervisor, or someone you want to befriend with, it repels them too.
  2. Act kiddish. Girls don't like grown ups who behave like they are still kids, jumping around and playing the fool, making fun of everything and saying "so cool" all the time. Normally girls look out for people who are mature enough to take care of them, so be immature if you want to repel these type of girls. A sure win is to observe the social protocol and say the one taboo thing in any event that anyone should not say. Usually kids get away with it because they are supposed to still be learning the social protocol of the society. Unless you got a cute smile on your face when you say something awkward like that, you may get a beating or similar social set backs. Saying you want to be a superhero helps too.
  3. Flirt around, openly to all. Keep on talking to multiple girls, individually, try to say that they are beautiful on the first time you met her, or maybe on the 4th time you met her. Flirt openly around to multiple girls and make sure the other girls you flirt with knows that. A good technique is to hang out with your guy friends and say which girls is the prettiest within earshot of the girls you're trying to repel. Make sure you say more than one girl who is pretty, and change your mind a lot. Girls usually like guys who are loyal and truthful, so doing that dramatically decreases your chance of having any serious relationship.
  4. Say weird things to girls. For example: your hand is so pretty. They will shy away from you and think that you're a pervert. Remember to say it when it is not appropriate in your relationships to say that. Referring to the sexiness of the body when you're just new friends with a girl will usually keep them away as they will think that you are only interested in her body. In the case of a girl so shameless as to be practically a hooker, say something like how long have you not bathed or brushed your teeth or try to explain some complicated physics equations to her (only if she is repellent towards physics or learning in general). If that doesn't work, keep on being aware of the most socially awkward thing to say and say it at the time when the effect is the greatest.
  5. Openly admit and say that you intend to be a celibate. This may include being a priest or a monk or any deep religious practise that requires celibacy. This will deter any girls who are serious in their relationships and wise enough to see that if they don't want to get a heart break eventually, they better not start any relationship with you. If they don't see that, you can mention it to them to remind them. Remember to be-careful not to say it too openly if you've some family members who seriously wants you to continue your family linage.
  6. Give a valentine's gift or put her into your blog, spreading some gossips about her in the process. This technique works when you're not good friends (or maybe close friends) with the girl enough and suddenly you spread gossips that you like that girl and even put that in your blog. And also to give a valentine's gift for her out of the blue as the first open statement to her that you're having a crush on her. The girl might (out of anger or feeling disrespected (you were entertaining yourself in the spreading of the gossip and not caring about the feelings of the girl anyway, she does deserve to feel that way)) reject your gift (unless she's into you and seriously don't mind being played with like that) and there your potential girlfriend list is reduced by 1.
Ok, that's about it for now, there are many other techniques, including defaming yourself, promoting your negative values and attributes, be uncaring, ungentle, ungracious, rude, impolite, demanding, looking down on others (i.e. the girl), acting perverted, etc... but these are a bit more extreme and may potentially get rid of your guy friends too (if acting weird or kiddish didn't already do that).

Also apparently acting gay might induce the girl to be attracted to you (as seen in Kick-Ass), as she thinks you don't have any perverted interest in girls and allow you to go close to her.

That said, if you do intend to get a girlfriend and you read all the above anyway, don't worry, it's hard to do the above if you don't have any intention to scare off the girl you like. If you already have all these girls repelling technique used and you're in a boy-girl relationship, married, or still there are some girls not repelled by you, you better appreciate that girl as she is unique and truly loves you.

If you're a failure in relationships and repel girls naturally, try to see if you have any of the above techniques in activated in passive mode and deactivate them as necessary to even remotely have a chance of getting a girl to like you.

Girls, please point out any mistake here if there is and if any of you are willing to go out with someone who has all the 6 points above, email me! (By the way, if no girls do that, I think this qualifies as another girl repelling technique)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

This time on my life

Everyone’s favourite topic is him/herself. Mine’s too. Explains why I keep on updating my life. What’s the use of having a blog anyway? I don’t want to remember my University days via the Facebook pictures and the links online here and there and piece them all together some day in my future. Might as well get it done with now.

USP Honour Rolls.

Since the USP honour rolls, I’ve been to the Medical Dharma Circle. Yi Qing was there and I was quite happy for that! Walking back to SPS, I started a series of late night works. Week 8 has Meditation Course, Discovering Buddhism, and no Dharma Circle (we had Dharma Camp subcommittee meeting instead). Then we had a late dinner at Munchies Monkeys after the meeting. It is nice to see the Dharma Camp subcommittee so dedicated and attending to the meetings.

Dinner at Munchies Monkeys-didn’t eat.

The next day, I went with Wen Xin and Chriswini for temple hunting after meeting our spiritual advisor. We didn’t succeed much, but it’s a nice trip on a Saturday nonetheless. That weekend, the Thursday IS group was rehearsing for the Dean’s Tea and I joined them in for some time. It’s a very nice experience to mix with the young people.

Week 9 features the SPS Dean’s Tea! Where we had super-serious fun enjoying the presentation of the newbies and good free food!

The time travellers group was there!

Then there is a NTU Buddhist Society talk on Wednesday, on which I am tempted to go, and went. Alvin fetched us all to go to NTU and we had a good time listening to Venerable Chuan Guan. We had gotten a marble and a paper that prompted me to start meditating daily.

Then I went to the University Town question and answer session and thus missing Discovering Buddhism on Thursday night.

That Friday, I recorded down my experiences for analysing later on, part of my Human Relations module. Friday night I went to Dharma Circle on the topic of Relationships with Family and Friends by Venerable Chuan Guan too.

Come Saturday, we went to Ven. Thubten Chodron’s talk at Poh Ming Tse, I and Eddy stayed back for the Building Self-Esteem talk later on. In the meantime, we interacted with the SIMBB people.

Then come Week 10. I went to the weekly Medical Dharma Circle, Meditation Course, Discovering Buddhism, and then there’s the Ajahn Brahm’s Talk Subcommittee meeting and Dharma Camp Subcommittee meeting. That’s Monday to Friday. Another normal week, weekend: Gone to Singapore City Square Mall, the first eco-mall in Singapore. And helped out in the Social Enterprise Showcase, the M.D.A.S.

That’s another weekend gone. Then came the last weekly activities on Week 11. I passed a comments book to the participants and it’s mostly nice remarks. That Wednesday, inspired by Barney, I went for Laser Tag! (Btw, I’ve finished the How I Met Your Mother, 110+ episodes in under 17 days.)

101027 Centre for Quantum Technologies (NUS) Laser Shootout! (21).JPG

It’s really fun! Then after that I came back to SPS and talked to Chin Xia for about an hour before going on to Meditation.

Then on Friday (yesterday), I went to SPS to do homework the whole day before going to the Last Dharma Circle of the Semester. After that, we had a 2+ hour of MC meeting. The next morning is the Dharma Friend training course. It was fun acting (during the trial Dharma Circle) again for a while.

Then I came back to SPS and heard the SPS journal club. Now I’m going for a long over due dinner. See ya!

Oh ya, looking at my active weekends, I estimate I go out of campus about 3 times per week on average, mostly for Buddhist Society stuffs. And noticing this post is mostly about Buddhist Society, I think I let it take over my life far too much……… must pull back……

Friday, October 29, 2010

Assurances of the Buddha

Sometimes one may get discouraged by the fact that since everything is impermanent, even if we attained to high states of existence, but still unenlighted, we are still liable to fall back to the cycle of samsara.

“What if I practise so hard in this life, just to get my karma used up by the next person who inherits it?”

“Is this the right path? Should I sacrifice attachment to all those pleasurable things (Facebook, blogger, gaming, manga, drama series, girls (boys) etc…… for this life of living in the forest and just sitting there?”

When doubts like that bites, it is perhaps time to remember that the Buddha did set some assurances of results from certain actions.

First one that comes to mind is from the Kalama Sutta:

On what basis one should perform good actions he presents four following assurances as found in the Kalama sutta. He says if anyone performs good actions:

1. If there is next life after death and if there is retributions of actions rightly and wrongly done, he/she does not have to worry about it because he/she will have good destination then. This is the first assurance.

2. If there is no next life and if there is no retributions of actions rightly and wrongly done, also he/she does not have worry about it because he/she lived a good life here and now. This is the second assurance.

3. If he does evil unconsciously without intending to harm anyone still he/she does not have to worry because suffering will not touch him. This is the third assurance.

4. And finally if he/she does not do evil even unknowingly, he/she is then pure in both respects (action and intention), therefore he/she will not be touched by suffering. This is the fourth assurance.

These are the four assurances given by the Buddha to those who cultivate good thoughts and lead a good and holy life.


Second one is on marriage:

[The Blessed One said:] "If both husband & wife want to see one another not only in the present life but also in the life to come, they should be in tune [with each other] in conviction, in tune in virtue, in tune in generosity, and in tune in discernment. Then they will see one another not only in the present life but also in the life to come."

Husband & wife, both of them having conviction, being responsive, being restrained, living by the Dhamma, addressing each other with loving words: they benefit in manifold ways. To them comes bliss. Their enemies are dejected when both are in tune in virtue. Having followed the Dhamma here in this world, both in tune in precepts & practices, they delight in the world of the devas, enjoying the pleasures they desire.


Then there is also the attainment of Streamwinner:

Won the stream to Nibbana. Free from the first three fetters (personality belief, skeptical doubt and attachment to rules and rites) which bind beings to existence in the sensuous sphere. Not subject to rebirth in lower worlds, seven rebirths at the most in heavenly and human realms. Is firmly established, destined for full enlightenment.


Next is the practise of Mindfulness:

"Bhikkhus, were anyone to maintain in being these four foundations of mindfulness for seven years ... let alone for seven years ... for seven days, then one of two fruits could be expected of him: either final knowledge here and now, or else non-return."


Also the practise of Loving-Kindness:

"Monks, for one whose awareness-release through good will is cultivated, developed, pursued, handed the reins and taken as a basis, given a grounding, steadied, consolidated, and well-undertaken, eleven benefits can be expected. Which eleven?

"One sleeps easily, wakes easily, dreams no evil dreams. One is dear to human beings, dear to non-human beings. The devas protect one. Neither fire, poison, nor weapons can touch one. One's mind gains concentration quickly. One's complexion is bright. One dies unconfused and — if penetrating no higher — is headed for the Brahma worlds.

"These are the eleven benefits that can be expected for one whose awareness-release through good will is cultivated, developed, pursued, handed the reins and taken as a basis, given a grounding, steadied, consolidated, and well-undertaken."


Then there is the assurance of the prediction of the Bodhisattva:

Form the first Prediction to be a Bodhisattva from a Buddha onwards, the Bodhisattva is destined to become a Buddha.

-summarised from The Great Chronicles of the Buddhas vol 1.

So practise on with faith and understanding. Let these words clear your doubts!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Kick Ass

I just saw Kick Ass yesterday,


The beginning was nice, exploring the idea of why nobody amongst the millions of fans of superheroes dares to be one themselves? I could identify very much with Dave (the main character) in the beginning. And the first time he fought crime was suitably portrayed. The second time was courageous, but still possible. The third time was plain stupid and he had to be saved by Hit Girl, who murdered the gangsters like they are zombies.

After that, the adventures all get unbelievable. There's enough real live gore and violence there. And even an almost real lesson to be taught of what really happens to superheroes. But Hit Girl is the extreme part. Anyway the movie would be sad without her. So it's idealistic, but more real than other Marvel or DC superheroes stories.

Compared to Watchmen, it's more like the watchmen's superhero age started early, Kick-Ass superhero age starts now. So Kick-Ass's world is still pretty nice overall, but it is more realistic in the sense that we have one amateur superhero: Kick-Ass.

Monday, October 04, 2010


Oh man, it's been one month since I take up the Vice President of NUSBS role. It's a bit more taxing than the last one I had, but I've gotten used to it.

And pardon my talking like this, I've been watching "How I met your Mother" until the 4th season by now in less than 2 weeks.

Oh let's see what happened since last month.

  • I've gotten the Vice President role of NUSBS in the AGM. Done some handover stuffs and planning for the 1st Management Committee Retreat which was held 2 weeks after the AGM. In the meantime, there's a lot of stuffs to do for Dharma Camp, the weekly activities, and Ajahn Brahm coming to NUS for a Dharma Talk (18th November). That's 1 for CCA.
  • For studies, hmm... it seems to be taking a back stage audience as I seem to prefer to busy myself with NUSBS stuffs than doing my homework. Or studying.
  • Then for Mid-Autumn Festival, I've gone briefly to the Physoc celebration and then Prof. Lee invited us to go for a Mid-Autumn gathering! It's the NUSBS MC and we have the chance to chat!
  • Then there's also the Tzu Ching 1 day camp at Tzu Chi Singapore. That was last Saturday and it's really fun to join in and lots of things to learn from.
  • There's also Johan's Birthday yesterday and we went to celebrate it with him.
  • Oh ya there's also the SPS board game day! I organised it.
  • I went for the NUS President Appreciation Lunch with Student Leaders. It was a nice thing of NUS to do for us!
  • I went to Muscular Dystrophy Association Singapore to volunteer and to get to know the organisation better for my group project in the Human Relations module.
  • And mainly busy with the Dharma Camp preparations.
  • And also went to NTUBS AGM as an observer. It was nice meeting them all again.
  • And having lots of Mid terms now.
  • Oh and I'm going for the USP honour's roll tonight! I've got to update my CV /Resume soon.
Okie, that's all I see for now. Whatup?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Crackpot Index and Social Cognition

The Crackpot Index
John Baez
A simple method for rating potentially revolutionary contributions to physics:
1. A -5 point starting credit.
2. 1 point for every statement that is widely agreed on to be false.
3. 2 points for every statement that is clearly vacuous.
4. 3 points for every statement that is logically inconsistent.
5. 5 points for each such statement that is adhered to despite careful correction.
6. 5 points for using a thought experiment that contradicts the results of a widely accepted real experiment.
7. 5 points for each word in all capital letters (except for those with defective keyboards).
8. 5 points for each mention of "Einstien", "Hawkins" or "Feynmann".
9. 10 points for each claim that quantum mechanics is fundamentally misguided (without good evidence).
10. 10 points for pointing out that you have gone to school, as if this were evidence of sanity.
11. 10 points for beginning the description of your theory by saying how long you have been working on it. (10 more for emphasizing that you worked on your own.)
12. 10 points for mailing your theory to someone you don't know personally and asking them not to tell anyone else about it, for fear that your ideas will be stolen.
13. 10 points for offering prize money to anyone who proves and/or finds any flaws in your theory.
14. 10 points for each new term you invent and use without properly defining it.
15. 10 points for each statement along the lines of "I'm not good at math, but my theory is conceptually right, so all I need is for someone to express it in terms of equations".
16. 10 points for arguing that a current well-established theory is "only a theory", as if this were somehow a point against it.
17. 10 points for arguing that while a current well-established theory predicts phenomena correctly, it doesn't explain "why" they occur, or fails to provide a "mechanism".
18. 10 points for each favorable comparison of yourself to Einstein, or claim that special or general relativity are fundamentally misguided (without good evidence).
19. 10 points for claiming that your work is on the cutting edge of a "paradigm shift".
20. 20 points for emailing me and complaining about the crackpot index. (E.g., saying that it "suppresses original thinkers" or saying that I misspelled "Einstein" in item 8.)
21. 20 points for suggesting that you deserve a Nobel prize.
22. 20 points for each favorable comparison of yourself to Newton or claim that classical mechanics is fundamentally misguided (without good evidence).
23. 20 points for every use of science fiction works or myths as if they were fact.
24. 20 points for defending yourself by bringing up (real or imagined) ridicule accorded to your past theories.
25. 20 points for naming something after yourself. (E.g., talking about the "The Evans Field Equation" when your name happens to be Evans.)
26. 20 points for talking about how great your theory is, but never actually explaining it.
27. 20 points for each use of the phrase "hidebound reactionary".
28. 20 points for each use of the phrase "self-appointed defender of the orthodoxy".
29. 30 points for suggesting that a famous figure secretly disbelieved in a theory which he or she publicly supported. (E.g., that Feynman was a closet opponent of special relativity, as deduced by reading between the lines in his freshman physics textbooks.)
30. 30 points for suggesting that Einstein, in his later years, was groping his way towards the ideas you now advocate.
31. 30 points for claiming that your theories were developed by an extraterrestrial civilization (without good evidence).
32. 30 points for allusions to a delay in your work while you spent time in an asylum, or references to the psychiatrist who tried to talk you out of your theory.
33. 40 points for comparing those who argue against your ideas to Nazis, stormtroopers, or brownshirts.
34. 40 points for claiming that the "scientific establishment" is engaged in a "conspiracy" to prevent your work from gaining its well-deserved fame, or suchlike.
35. 40 points for comparing yourself to Galileo, suggesting that a modern-day Inquisition is hard at work on your case, and so on.
36. 40 points for claiming that when your theory is finally appreciated, present-day science will be seen for the sham it truly is. (30 more points for fantasizing about show trials in which scientists who mocked your theories will be forced to recant.)
37. 50 points for claiming you have a revolutionary theory but giving no concrete testable predictions.
Baez, J. (n.d.). The Crackpot Index. Retrieved September 16, 2010, from

The Crackpot Index lists down 37 pointers that identifies someone as a “crackpot”, (Baez) it falls neatly into the role schemas as it is “organised knowledge about the expected behaviours of occupants of particular social positions” (Howard, 1995) where in this case it is academic positions. The term crackpot is used as a stereotype as it is clear from the ironic description of “potentially revolutionary contributions to physics” (Baez). It is meant to ridicule and to create laugher from the ironic treatment of the crackpots. “Role schemas are basis for stereotyping” (Howard, 1995).
Other than that, there is on point 8, “each mention of 'Einstien', 'Hawkins' or 'Feynmann'” (Baez) suggested that anyone who encourages the readers to use availability and representative heuristics can be considered crackpots. Availability heuristics happens when the public gets recent news about Hawking’s genius, and representative heuristics is obvious from the collections of geniuses in the list. It is quite appropriate as the heuristics are “mental shortcuts” (Howard, 1995) and in Physics, one is supposed to be able to derive from scratch the whole theory without relying on heuristics. Therefore one who overuses heuristics is suspicious in the eyes of Physicists. Someone who relies too much on others while presenting their own theory is most likely one who is out to find fame instead of finding the truth.
Point 21 and 34 can be explained by attribution theory where self serving bias is doing its work. When praising one's work, one says that one deserves a Noble Prize and when work fame does not go well, one blames a conspiracy blocking the work (instead of the work is wrong). This is also the fundalmental attribution error and whoever displays such error openly can be easily dismissed as “crackpots”.
Point 9, 18, 22, shows a base rate fallacy happening to the “crackpot”. Ignoring the many experimental evidences for Quantum Mechanics, General Relativity, and Classical Mechanics (Baez), the “crackpot” thinks the theories are wrong because physicists are struggling to unite them and yet still unsuccessful therefore the “crackpots” think that the base theories are wrong. The failure to take the numerous times when the base theories are correct and to refute them all just because of one difficulty is a base rate fallacy.
All in all, the crackpot index displays a lot of theories and skills from social cognition and is able to be studied by the concepts in social cognition. What we found out is that the crackpots are not only bad in physics but also bad in social cognitions skills. So bad are their theories that they resort to the various baises and heuristics to convince the readers of their theories instead of scientific rigour.
Baez, J. (n.d.). The Crackpot Index. Retrieved September 16, 2010, from
Baumeister, R. F. (1993). Conceptions of Self and Identity. In Fifty Years of Personality Psychology (pp. 177-186). New York: Plenum Press.
Howard, J. A. (1995). Social Cognition. In Sociological Perspectives on Social Psychology (pp. 90-117). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
O'Brien, B. (n.d.). Skandha. Retrieved September 16, 2010, from Buddhism:

Comparison of the 5 Aggregates with Conceptions of Self and Identity by Baumeister Buddhism Skandha
The Sanskrit word skandha means "heap" or "aggregate." The Buddha taught that an individual is a combination of five aggregates of existence, called the Five Skandhas. These are:

1. Form
2. Sensation
3. Perception
4. Mental formations
5. Consciousness
Various schools of Buddhism do not interpret the skandhas in exactly the same way. Generally, the first skandha is our physical form. The second is made up of our feelings, emotional and physical, and our senses -- seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling.

The third skandha, perception, takes in most of what we call thinking -- conceptualization, cognition, reasoning. This also includes the recognition that occurs when an organ comes into contact with an object. Perception can be thought of as "that which identifies." The object perceived may be a physical object or a mental one, such as an idea.

The fourth skandha, mental formations, includes habits, prejudices and predispositions. Our volition, or willfulness, also is part of the fourth skandha, as are attention, faith, conscientiousness, pride, desire, vindictiveness, and many other mental states both virtuous and not virtuous. The causes and effects of karma are especially important to the fourth skandha.

The fifth skandha, consciousness, is awareness of or sensitivity to an object, but without conceptualization. Once there is awareness, the third skandha might recognize the object and assign a concept-value to it, and the fourth skandha might react with desire or revulsion or some other mental formation. The fifth skandha is explained in some schools as base that ties the experience of life together.

The Buddha taught that our egos, personalities and the sense that the "self" is something distinctive and permanent enclosed within our bodies, are just illusory effects of the skandhas.


O'Brien, B. (n.d.). Skandha. Retrieved September 16, 2010, from Buddhism:

TThe article Skandha strongly parallels the Baumeister’s Taxonomy of the Self.
The Form, Sensation and Consciousness can be classified as the Natural Self. The definition of the Natural self in Conceptions of Self and Identity by Baumeister includes “the body”, “the little window of consciousness called the 'knower' ” and “sensations” (Baumeister, 1993). This definition includes and embodies what Buddhism defines as the form as the physical body, the Sensations or feelings and the consciousness as the awareness factor, which is the called the 'knower' (O'Brien).
This is re-enforced by the description of consciousness in Buddhism as the basis for perceptions and mental formations to arise. Parallel to this is the use of the term universal (Baumeister, 1993) to describe the Natural self by Baumeister. One point to note here is that Baumeister integrates sensations into consciousness and consciousness with body inside the Natural Self, whereas Buddhism reclassifies them into three. Despite the differences in numbering, they both agree on the Universal self, which is natural, and supports the notion that the Natural Self is indeed universal.
For Perception, the definition from Buddhism is “that which identifies”. It is the one doing the “conceptualization, cognition” (O'Brien). This is clearly the Conceptual Self from Baumeister which is the self as a construct. The difference here is that Buddhism attributes Perception as one of the 5 aggregates of the thing we call self whereas Baumeister seems to take it for granted and is more interested in the construct itself, namely the “self concept” and “identity” (Baumeister, 1993). In Buddhism, we see that the concept of Perception is a superset of Baumeister's Conceptual self, one is the creator, and the other is the creation.
Mental formations in Buddhism refer to the identity in the conceptual self and also the action self. “Habits, prejudice and predispositions” (O'Brien) of mental formations are most likely seen by Baumeister as “structure of values and priorities” (Baumeister, 1993) in the identity of the conceptual self. Whereas the “volition and willfulness” (O'Brien) of mental formations is the “actor and the wanter” (Baumeister, 1993) in the action self. Thus it is seen that Buddhism regards mental formations as the rest of the mind other than the sensations, perception and consciousness. Thus it is not so surprising that we find the identity in mental formations along with the action self. The separations of self concept and identity in the classification by Buddhism seems to imply that the self concept is just a construct that can change with time and with person and also possibly not necessary, so it is not explicitly stated, just the function that constructs, namely perception is named, whereas Buddhism would regard identity, or the habits and prejudice more solid and empirical than self concept.
As the two articles contains very similar parts of the self that both using different classification managed to compartmentalise them, it is worth noting that the Buddha can be considered as a superb Psychologist whose findings 2500 years ago are being rediscovered by modern psychology in the last 100 years.


Baumeister, R. F. (1993). Conceptions of Self and Identity. In Fifty Years of Personality Psychology (pp. 177-186). New York: Plenum Press.

O'Brien, B. (n.d.). Skandha. Retrieved September 16, 2010, from Buddhism:

Monday, September 06, 2010

Hawking, God, Physics and Religion

In reference to the above link and news, (please click and read first before reading this post) I wish to response to it for the interchanging use of the term "God" and "Religion".

I better define what I mean by "God" and "Religion" then.

"God" is the supreme being, the creator of the Universe, the all good/all knowing/ all powerful entity.

"Religion" is a collection of teachings that teaches humans to do good, avoid evil.

The intersection of "Religion" and "God" is very big, as in most of the religions, the teachings comes from God. But it is not complete, nor is it not separable. (For one example of a religion without God, see Buddhism.)

In Physics, whatever opinion anyone had said of anything. It is still subject to revision and verification. Even if Physics doesn't need a "God" to start the Big Bang, it doesn't mean that humans don't need religion.

"In this most recent saga, religious figures are taking it personally, saying physicists can't disprove the existence of God, so this is a non-debate. He's even being accused of having an Atheist agenda. But primarily, Hawking is being interpreted as vocalizing the point that religion has no place in a scientific field."

In the quote above (from the link), it seems to imply that the religious figure had integrated their teachings with the concept of God and the refutation of the God concept refutes the teachings of religions for humans to do good. However, what Physicists are saying is just that Physics can be fully pure, without any space left (in terms of creation) for God.

It doesn't mean that there's no space for God to spread good and love in the world through religion.

In fact the world today faces many mental problems, including but not limited to the elusive self, that is too many options for the individual to become (having no direction in life), materialistic, being afraid of dying (by simply ignoring the fact that we all die one day). All these problems are handled very well via religion. And psychology is still trying to catch up.

So all in all, whatever Physics decides to do with God, it doesn't reduce the importance, the esteem and the role of religion in our current society. Let that be known to all.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Growing Up in the University

"Once you're in the University, you'll be fine, you'll graduate." My mom said that to me countless times when I was studying hard to get full As during my secondary school time.

Back then, I didn't know what University entails, why is it so cool to be in one. I just got the conception that if I will certainly graduate, it should be easier than right now. It wasn't until High School that I realised that studying and learning is just going to be more and more packed and tough the more you advance.

The first semester in NUS is a heaven of playing for me. I stayed up late to the wee hours of the morning just to catch up with gaming and batman episodes that I missed before. The advantage that I had of having a silver medal in the International Physics Olympiad

And indeed, every semester of trying to avoid the hectic stress of deadlines during week 11, 12 and 13 fails every single time. I suppose it's also the attitude during the normal weeks that counts too. Also my involvement with so many academic programmes certainly should make me realise that I more so than most should be burdened with more than normal amounts of stress.

Lucky for me, one of the programmes I joined in is SPS, Special Programme in Science. I had to explain this to many people when I mentioned SPS room. It's a room, bigger than most homes of Singaporeans, and it's air-conditioned, with permanent seats for the students if they wish to have one.

It's a study haven, with many seats on the tables complete with power sockets for laptops; friends around complete with seniors of various majors in science that you can ask questions anytime; computer clusters complete with Windows Vista or Ubuntu and free printing; seminar room complete with projector and seats for 50, a lounge room and even a library complete with books from all disciplines of science.

It was also SPS that takes up a lot of my time too. Being a research intensive course, it exposes us to the skills of writing a review paper during our year 1 semester 2 itself. And we had to work in groups of 3. It was a taxing experience, what with the weekly lectures, interactive sessions, group project meeting and reading up papers on our own, and for me taking seven and a half module for that semester. Days and nights of sleeping in the SPS room and for 4 hours per night helped me gone through this period. I bent so much on studying that I spend over 100 hours per week just studying. In the end, I managed to score a Dean's Tea SAP and pulling my CAP up to the first class level.

So there you go, the story of my first year in University. Thanks!

Me? Right Now? Again.....

Ok, continuing on to the next update.

SPS Junior Mentor training was surprisingly harder than I thought. In the end, I didn't make it.... (I was given a second chance through next sem....and that's better than straight rejection, Yay!)

After a few days of moody-playing-board-game alone and joining the SPS Newbie Orientation Camp Briefing and recap on what to do as a game master, I went back to Malacca with my uncle (Since it was a long weekend, due to National Day) and I really need to take charge and see my perspective a little more.

Coming back, I had to mention that Hariom becomes my room-mate, he's my year 3 physics course-mate in SPS and we wanted to stay in the same double room, but as usual, we were too late in informing the housing people about it. It came as a pleasant surprise that he is assigned as my room-mate.

And came on the start of year 3. I'm taking the modules of
  2. MA2216/ST2131 PROBABILITY
2 Physics, 2 Maths, 1 USP 1 UROPS (USP & SPS & Physics)

And I do try to do the tutorials this time..... It's not easy to be a good student, quite little or no time to play.....

All these time, I've been out of touch with NUSBS's Matric Fair and Camp Ehi Passiko..... but the Welcome Tea on the first Friday of Week 1 we all did a fantastic job. After that, I went to the SPS NOC and had a fantastic time playing with the SPS newbies and the year 2 people. Next it was YOG, youth Olympic Games volunteering.

I went there after coming back from Changi Village on Sunday to do my first duty. They gave free T-Shirts, Pants, transportation, meals, and a Celebration Party at Universal Studios! How cool is volunteering!

Over week 2 I've adjusted to the hectic lifestyle of going for volunteer and doing homework.
With NUSBS activities coming up again, I can readjust to the lifestyle of sleeping early and waking early!

Now's the end of week 3, with significantly lower amount of events that I can relax on updating my life. With the upcoming NUSBS AGM I can finally step down as the Deputy Dharma Director and take up another new post!

See ya all next time!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Timetable for Sem 5



8:00- 9:00

9:00- 10:00

10:00- 11:00

11:00- 12:00

12:00- 1:00

1:00- 2:00

2:00- 3:00

3:00- 4:00

4:00- 5:00

5:00- 6:00

6:00- 7:00

7:00- 8:00


PC4248 S12-04-03

LA2 S16-0304



Lecture: Humans Relations SR1


Prob LT27


Prob Tutorial

PC4130 S16-0436




PC4248 S12-04-03

PC4130 S16-0436

Tutorials: Humans Relations SR1




Prob LT27