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)