Friday, January 29, 2010

Make War or Make Love with Exams? (18SX) Bewarned

I've just realized, after watching Universal Soldier: Regeneration, how violent I am......... towards my academics that is.

I was imagining me beating up Physics, my modules one by one and other commitments like how the Universal Soldier is. Just unmercifully, ruthlessly, and using brute force. I think it somehow kinda linked with how some people say exam warfare. That we, as students have many wars to go, the biggest ones are the Final exams! And that we'll survive through the war, just as a hero or as a wounded soldier, it all depends on our preparations. And as a hero will receive a good reward: high pay, and a wounded soldier has to live his life dealing with his deformations.

It started since we were in UPSR, PMR, SPM, STPM.... and Uni life and so on....there's only so many wars one can go through in one's life without getting disinterested in it, disliking it, and even hate it! No wonder there are some people want to go work early, and no wonder the majority of the people regard graduate students as insane people. And no wonder PhD=permanent head damage. The problem of calling exams as wars is that that will cause people to take up the attitude of a soldier, we don't have to like what we study, as long as we master the enemy (study) , we know the battle field (exam techniques), and keep a cool head (calm), we'll ace this thing.

And thereafter the society clamors for straight As student, feed-backing to them that exam is everything in a student's life. "You don't have to love the subject, just be good in the subject. You can hate it, you can make your life miserable, just get me As in the exams." That's what students in general got from their parents, teachers, friends.......

All these I denounce!

There's a better way! To make love with the things that you're studying with, whether you choose the subject for yourself or not. Imagine this: you're given a wive and many mistress to sleep with (sorry male domination here, if you're female please imagine the opposite like having many husbands etc... and if you're uncomfortable with this kinda topic, pick something you like, for example: video games) . You naturally wanted to know more about everyone of them, if possible everything about them. How to court them, how to make them happy, what they look like, what's in their wardrobe? What kind of clothes they like to wear? How to think like them?

You want to love them, to care for them, and finally when the Finals comes, you're going to have sleep with them. So that's when you know what to say during the intercourse, what to do and what not to do, what to think of and how to relate to them. Because you know them before hand (Study), and you practiced with them a few times (Exam techniques), and you keep a cool head because you know what to do.

I'm sure it's easy to translate the above to video games, or comic readings, or paintings or just about any other skills. I just choose the making love thingy to attract more readers. Please note that I'm in no way promoting sexual activities or sleeping with more than one person at a time literally. You got to read it beyond the meanings and see the connections towards changing your feelings towards studying.

And now that you get the idea, you can start to change your attitude towards the subject your studying now. Love them, by liking them first. Like them, by not disliking them. Not dislike them by not hating them. Not hating them by using the technique I highlighted above.

And so I finally know why my wive, Physics, been ignoring me for so long, and why I don't get the passion of learning physics that much anymore. I got to start to care for her, love her, look at her in the eye and fall in love once again, and not strike her anymore. So whenever you think of your work, job, studies, and you feel like another sigh coming through, and another burst of energy to go through it, Stop. Stop and spread loving-kindness to the job, work, subject at hand then. Stop and see it in a different light, stop disliking them, start liking them, start loving them. And see the change.

P.S. Opps, just realized that I may have introduced to many a young students the world of 18SX...... but I think it is still healthy to them. In fact it can be said as the most healthy of them all!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Happy Birthday Ruby Lin!

It's been 3 years since I've wish Ruby Lin Happy Birthday, now I'm waiting for the clock to strike 12 to send her this message on her blog.

Happy Birthday! 生日快乐!不快乐就看看自己,看看那心情是无常的,然后笑一笑心情就好多了。

Incidentally, I know of more people who's birthday falls on the 27th January. My cousin, Loh Jia Long of course, then there's Jeanne from NUSBS 30th MC. And last but not least, May Han, my senior in SPS and Physics. Here's the card I made for her!
It's the strongest card yet. Got to go now.

Pokemon Cards

I've just made over 10 pokemon cards of the people in SPS. Hope you like them, if you want one, just tell me. It really is fun making them all, and it takes a lot of cards to know the balance, so that none of them gets too imbalanced (imba). It also trains your creativity to think of what to use as an attack, the names, the effects, and the other status. Most importantly it motivates one to actually get to know your friends better, so that they will not mind you writing these about them and you can write it without having to ask for their opinion too much. I think I'll make a full deck once I've made enough cards to play with.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Today is another Wednesday!

Wow, today what a fruitful and varied day it is. From 12a.m. to 4a.m. in the morning, I've watched the big bang theory, selected a scene for my presentation, compose the meditation participants list, done (partially) my particle Physics homework, and then I fall off to sleep until 9a.m. when I woke up and try to meditate a bit before being called up and rushing to my room and bath.

At 10a.m. this morning, William, my dear cousin, yes, William Goh came to Singapore and NUS! I accompanied him to my room to put down his bags, and then we went to SPS room for a little rest while I compile the list of people in meditation to give them SMS reminder. Then we went for luncheon and visiting the Science Coop and the Central Coop, where I spend my $20 voucher on chocolates and sweet foods. Then I've gone to Center for Quantum Technology to attend a talk by a 4th year student on black box tomography, and I wasn't fully blur about it, I kinda understand what he is saying! a vast improvement compared to last week!

Then at 3:00p.m. I went to buy a book for William and then gone to University Hall to attend a talk by Nathan Ball, an engineer turn entrepreneur who is eager to share the innovative culture of MIT to NUS and also sharing his experience!

After that, I sent William off to our uncle's home in Woodlands and then gone to make preparations for the night's meditation session. There were a lot of helpers and they are all eager to help! I feel so lucky to have them and the night's session went on smoothly and nicely, with 33 people satisfied and leaving with more understanding of Buddhism and meditation.

And after cleaning up at 9p.m. , I have stumbled upon the after party by RVR people and there're still loads of fffffffffffffffffrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee food left! And so I call some SPS people to come and take it back and share. Now it's still outside SPS and waiting for people to fill their stomach with it!

What I really want to share is that no matter how tough organizing a NUSBS activity is, no matter how mundane and seemingly not connected to Buddhism it is, it is the real training. The real training is not just to read the Dharma, to learn it and to teach it. It is also to apply it! The various processes of applying the room, getting helpers, organizing the participants, running the thing in general might be frustrating, and leave lots of room for negative emotions to arise, but in the training of the Dharma, we can identify when it arises, and deal with it as it does. We can also help in creating the conditions for the learning/teaching process to happen. So to everyone who's reading this, I highly recommend a Committee job in a Buddhist Society or temple, in order to train all that you've learned in the field! Like today, it's possible to organize an activity successfully, hang out with an old good lifelong cousin, attend to our personal seminars (physics and MIT), and have fun with SPS all in the same day!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

NUSBS MC meeting

This whole day, Saturday has been given to my Co-Curricular Activity (CCA), the NUS Buddhist Society. As one of the Management Committee, the Deputy Dharma Director, I'm starting to feel the weight of the job mounting onto my shoulders now. Last semester the previous post holder, Kyaw has already settled everything nicely for us, we just had to oversee and "run" the thing. But this semester we're really doing it for the first time and so it's a bit of trial and error learning I'm experiencing here. There's some trouble with the venue booking and I spend the whole 1st week of my sem worrying, fixing it. There's even time when I was so low that I considered not taking up another post next sem. But then the sms, email reply to my call for help came from the MCs, and it does help me keep my spirits up.

Today morning, after overseeing my handover files and preparing myself, I've gone to the 1p.m. meeting of NUSBS Management Committee. Well, at there, I immediately forgot my troubles as I see all these beautiful faces of my friends. One could not be down for more than a few seconds when one is with them. They are there, working, doing, sacrificing their time and themselves in order to spread the goodness of the Dharma to more students of NUS. And as we do the meeting, (now that I reflect on it) we are attentive, helpful, nice, and only gone off topic for some small amount of time. We are really serious on doing our jobs!

We even have a birthday celebration for Eddy! And we kinda waited for Lin Myat and Kyaw to come back and join in the rest of the meeting. Then there came the issue of selecting the next post, I wanna rejoined before in the last sem and made it clear, so they just kinda assume that I will (my raised hand did help too). And I now ask myself: What am I thinking?

Next academic year I plan to be a Junior mentor in SPS, take 6 modules including graduate modules and still going to take up the responsibility of a NUSBS MC. It's inertia from the past aspiration that made me want to do it again. And this initial setback is common and should be expected, besides, for my lack of experience and not being too serious in my job, I kinda deserve this. As to why am I wanting to take up the post again? Partly it's to contribute more, partly it's to stay in the BS community more, But more so partly it's to allow myself more opportunity to stay in touch with the dharma and to train myself more, to be better and better, until enlightenment. It seems that I am still kinda ego driven....So maybe I should give up the post, should a better and more suitable person and take it up. Well anyway, I think I'll have no qualms about taking up the post next semester. I can certainly do the responsibilities that comes with it!

And here's to all my fellow MC friends: Thank you for being there! May all of you attain to enlightenment and always keep in touch with the dharma until then.

It seems like a good place to end, so I won't say that we had a 6 hour (wow) long meeting and had a good dinner together after that.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Today is Wednesday!

Year 2 Semester 2 is not easy. It's wayyyyyyy harder than just 1 year before. Mainly because I'm taking 4 level 3 modules, 1 level 2 and 1 level 4 module. And I expect it to be easier than last semester!

Half a week has gone by and it feels like a week of one of the busiest period in my year 1. Tomorrow I'm going to repeat it again. I'm seriously wondering what type of person I am if I still can sleep at 11p.m. and wake up so late at 7a.m. everyday. I should sleep now and wake up at 3a.m. or else there'll be no time to do anything at all! I got to admit that I did quite a good job putting a lot of the preliminaries modules upfront so that I can finish them off fast. And from next semester onwards, I'm capable of relaxing a bit more. 5 per semester should be enough, if I'm not overly greedy again.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Back in the game

Now I'm kinda adjusted back to the semester mode, next up is a new class, Nuclear Astrophysics. And a new lab, and crashing in cosmology!

I got quite a good room-mate too!

Friday, January 08, 2010

New Semester again!

Wow, I overdid myself in the last semester, as shown by my declined CAP results. Not going to show it here, just sufficient to tell you guys that I'll be borderline first class by the end of this upcoming sem.

I'll be taking 6 modules now:
Quantum Mechanics 2
Nuclear Astrophysics
Particle Physics
Experimental Physics 2
Undergraduate Research Opportunity Programme in Quantum Correlations
Understanding Irony

And I hope to be able to crash in for these 2 modules:
Science at the Nanoscale

That alone is quite busy already, but I'm also the Deputy Dharma Director of NUS Buddhist Society. And I intend to join in 4 out of 5 weekly activities of NUSBS. Monday: Medical Dharma Circle, Wednesday: Meditation Course, Thursday: Discovering Buddhism, Sutta Studies, Friday: Dharma Circle.

And continuing my Saturdays Martial Arts: Nam Wah Pai.

Now I wanna add in meditation and Tai Chi as my daily activities!

And writing books too. I got to think of my future career somewhat. I hope to use the time I used to play games to write books, or to meditate. And writing in this blog makes me feel like I'm reorganizing myself and reorientating myself for the semester from my holidays.

Indeed my holidays are quite Holy days. Out of the 5 weeks holidays, 3 and a half are used in Buddhist activities. or maybe 4....

Last semester after I've finished my exams, I've straight away moved to my uncle's home and then came back to Malaysia to Ipoh to attend my cousin's wedding. Thanks to my laptop, I've managed to read some physics for my next semester along the way.

Then after coming back from Ipoh, I've got accompanied by a friend to Singapore to attend NUSBS Dharma Camp. We were late on the first day but we enjoyed to rest of the camp all the same. It's really tiring to be one of the organisers for the camp, but it does serve to increase my spirituality level afterwards, even my SPS friends feel that I'm a whole new different person after the camp!

After the 7-11 December of Dharma Camp, I've come back to NUS to settle my UROP project application. And the very next day I've gone to Mangala Vihara temple to be a 15 day novice monk. Spend my Christmas night chanting Buddhanusati 108 times. A feeling of indescribable calmness and beauty shines through the atmosphere. On the very next night, I was walking through Orchard road in Singapore as a layperson with my uncle and his family. The very next night, I'm walking through Jonker street and visiting the good old nostalgic Malacca. And the very next night, I'm in Petaling Jaya, just to find out that my lapie has crashed! Oh well, I've backed up the important NUS folder in my pen drive and I've not deleted much of my gmail emails, so I'm ok with using SPS computers as I'm doing now.

After a few days of rest and doing a power point sharing of my monkhood programme, on 31st December 2009, I and my parents went to Kuala Lumpur International Airport to welcome a youth from Taiwan by the name of 陈幸君. We are to host her in our home for 3 days before she goes on to the International Buddhist Youth Conference held in Malaysia!

We got quite a fun time letting her observe and see the various places in Malaysia, including KLCC, Pavillion , Ma Zu temple in KL, Jonker Street, Dataran Pahlawan in Malacca, Tzu Chi Malacca. We also shared many knowledges and cultures. It turns out that Taiwan and Malaysian Chinese shares so much in common! Perhaps the best exchange is for my sister, Ching Siang, her friend, Kei Shing, and Hsing-Chun to bond together and become really good friends. There's even a plan for my sis and Kei Shing to go to Taiwan near Chinese New Year to visit Hsing-Chun using their own money!

As for me in Malacca, I've visited my 2 most memorable school, St. Francis Institution and Malacca High School. It's really a nostalgic feeling of all those years there. The friends, the nerd periods, the feeling oppressed periods, the times where I feel like the top of the nation, the crush period, the 6 years out of the last 8 years. Hard to believe that time flies out so fast and yet it feels just like not too long ago. And by the way, I've seen amazingly cool pictures of me receiving a silver medal in Vietnam (not taken by me, so not in my Facebook) in the Notice boards of Malacca High School. And my colour photocopy of the Silver medal cert is in there too! It seems that I've become quite a legend in High School and inspiring many upcoming youngsters in pursuing physics, at least I hope so. Anyway, I've gone to NUS straight after coming back from Singapore so this is one of the first chances for me to appreciate my Silver medals impact on my old school.

And I've came back to Singapore on the 3rd January 2010. On the very next day again, I've joined the NTU Buddhist Society Dharma Camp and had lots of sharing of Dharma there. It's a new experience for me to not show off my rubics in camp as usual, and in general to keep my ego and flirtatious me in check. My spirituality really increased a lot after the camp and made quite a few good Dharma Friends there! I never had such good and nice sharing of the Dharma there ever before! And I've came back from the camp just yesterday.

Which brings me back to yesterday, after coming back I'm kinda bombarded by the stressfulness of a NUS Student life again..... by the Experimental Physics 2 briefing at first.... then by everything that I've not done during the holidays and yet so little time to do them.

It takes some time to get used to adjusting back to student life again after the peaceful, calmness, beautiful life as a novice and participant of NTUBS Dharma Camp. And Now it takes me back to the present. I'm signing off as I'm going back to Woodlands now!

As mentioned, 1 week of my holidays is in NUSBS Dharma Camp, 2 weeks as a novice, half week in NTUBS Dharma Camp, and (another half?) hosting Hsing-Chun. So my holidays are quite Holy days.