Friday, January 21, 2005

Kuala Kedah


Alor Star Trip 070, originally uploaded by changyang1230.

This is a test, so I simply chose one of the best taken pictures.

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Flickr

This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

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My Faith

I really have no time for today's blog. I will be going to Kuala Lumpur tomorrow for my future university's briefing as well as my sponsor's, summing it up it is away from home for 8 days. Blogging has been interesting and I enjoyed the increasing "readership". I will try to keep up with it while I still have some free time.

Just now I have posted a message in ReCom, the Worldwide Malaysian Students Network. As an aside, I would recommend any Malaysian student, whether studying locally or overseas, to join this informative and inspiring student forum. There is where the best of Malaysians are, I would argue. Anyway, my message was about the God-idea, and I do not wish this message to be considered as an act of sacrilege. I think any religion should be open to discussion and withstand all of them. Those who fail to open up to polemics aren't really religions by themselves.

SO here is the full quote of the message. Hope it triggers some thought and reflection on your own religions.

#BEGIN

ivysehoo wrote:


God exist because all life forms are interdependent on each other. This tremendous design within the universe deffinately requires a great designer or one main architect. One who came out with a plan for creation. Nothing lives or dies to itself. Each living thing, when it dies, supplies further live for other living things.

The universe is govern by laws such as gravitation. This requires a lawgiver which is GOD. Evolutionist, scientists, biologists, geneticists, are never able to demonstrate that the non living can make itself into the living. The law of biogenesis states that life comes only from life and hence, GOD is the great life giver.

Human in all his geniousity can never build, make, produce, or create anything that is superior to himself. Do you suppose that any power or force of less intelligence than your mind could produce you?

I am convinced that GOD exist because of fulfilled prophecies and answered prayers. However, it is our personal experience with God that will change our lives. God is personal. He created each of us with purpose and He loves us very much. How would we find Him and know our purpose? We have to give our lives back to the life giver before we can find the true meaning of life. Pride is the downfall of humanity when we lose the fear of God and start living on our own strength. Turn to God, people!


A typical evangelist post! Very Happy

It's interesting that many people actually think that his or her religion is the only RIGHT religion while all other's are wrong. What's always lingering in my mind is that, what happens if we have been believing in a particular religion, but after you demised you are brought to face "another" God or *something* which proves that your religion is WRONG?

Is there a possibility that the REAL thing is the mixture of the religions? I mean.. God exists, but Buddha as the enlightened person can lead people out from suffering through nirvana. And deities do have miraculous power through their unbeknownst magic. And some other religious faiths also ring bold? WHY must we have to choose ONLY a particular religion? WHy can't someone say, I am both a Christian and a Buddhist?

For the reason that God must exist because everything in this world is in such a great order yet complex, I have been exposed to this theory for years but yet it still fails to convince me completely. As someone who believes blindly in logic (is this wrong in terms of faith? many people tell me in faith you don't apply logics completely, because there are many things which are out of grasps of logic) I think this argument is fatally flawed.

Yes, people are arguing for existence of god because everything must have its "more intelligent and powerful" designer. Note the word "EVERYTHING". Yet, when you say that God is the one who created everything, isn't God a THING by itself? Then by saying that God is the ULTIMATE creator, you are actually refuting your own premise, that is EVERYTHING must be designed. The solution of "GOD EXISTS BY HIMSELF" is just a contradiction to the premise. Think about it.

God may exist, but I can't find out yet, till today. Perhaps it's back to faith. When you have faith, everything will happen. But I don't really agree to purely xenophobic devotees. I mean, if you are a believer in God, you are totally right in holding your faith but please don't hold any prejudice against atheist. People have their mindset, and if you think that he is a "traitor" so he must be a bad guy, then it's you who are acting unjustly.

Right now, my own hypothesis is... things are interdependant and feedback is the thing that makes it happen. I speak vaguely, I know. Let me give a not-so-good example.. hmm... If I were to ask, who has the biggest power in the world? George W. Bush? Yes, at first glimpse, he is indeed the answer. Yet, his election as the president was related to so many factors, and it was his american citizens who held the power to choose the person they want to lead the country. But then again, what was the power that influence the american people? Their brain power? The crowd psychology? The propaganda? The media? The foreign countries? But who influenced the media? George W Bush, probably? I know this example is lame, but I just hope to voice over the idea. *things are interdependant, it's either you let the causality cycle run through a circle, or you let it diverge to the infinity (which is the case of God)*

Infinity is still an idea too far from me. The distance: infinity. Probably it will become close one day.

#END

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Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Thank you Xaph and Woody!

Thank you xaph and woody for dropping by!! I thought that my blog wouldn't hold the feeblest interest for anyone.. I appreciate it. (",)

I will continue on the death issue when I have time later, Woody. Your visit on my blog was such an impetus to my momentum of writing blogs, as I only started itout of pure interest and kiasuism. A 54-year-old reader makes me feel like someone "important". :-P But at the same time, I feel a great sense of responsibility too.

To xaph anyway, it wasn't really to boast off the "moment of glory". In primary school years, I used to be be a haughty little kid. As someone who had won numerous prizes while beating seniors in the process, subliminally I developed a condescending attitude towards others. I thought that people around me were stupid or this sort, you see, I was dealing with the hardest problems in mathematics competition while some of them are grappling with the "easy" school routine practice. With too much of self-esteem at such an impressionable age, it was me who bred the inflated self-image. I became arrogant.

As I entered secondary school, things have changed and challenged me out of my home-grown rose bed. So many things are now out of my grasps, and I find myself more and more shackled by the environment and the people around me. Yes, I still score in the exam (the yardstick of "achievement" in schooling years), but I paled as I enter my secondary school which was one of the "elite" school in the area. I was outperformed by many. Eventually I got dropped out of top ten in the first final exam, and I started to think, "Am I not as smart as I thought?"

Form 2 (second year in secondary school) was not much better. I was appointed the team leader in an intersquad first-aid competition. With the ballooned self-esteem, I thought, yeah, this is the time to rock and roll~~ I trained as if I was the best leader in the world, basking in my own preposterous glory. Nahh.. the truth showed its colour. The truth barked at me in my ears - "You are a bad leader!!" My team members were reluctant to go for training, and the whole team became virtually disintegrated. At the end, I ended up admiring the girl champion leader.. :-P She was both charming and tough, man.. haha..

I should say that Form 2 was a bit of a watershed of my outlook on life. I learnt to accept that I cannot be, and I am never the best in anything. Even the world's fastest runner need to improve his record, let alone a weeny guy?

Getting in the Malaysia team was a reinforcement of my new faith of life. I went to the United States and it was really the best experience I had in my lifetime. Not for the first airplane trip nor the land of liberty, but the newly gained vista I had on intelligence and humility. I got one of the lowest marks in the whole competition, as expected, but that wasn't a bad reward for the whole trip. It was an eye-opener at the very least. You see, even those maniacs who got perfect score have to be on the same standing with 3 other guys, so how can I be arrogant with my little accomplishment?

At the end of the day, my notes of growing up told me that it's not the shouting guy who was heard. Mount Everest doesn't need a loudspeaker to announce its height, but people just know it. That's why I learnt not to be snobbish and brag about.

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Question Of The Day

Dear World, I am leaving you because I am bored. I feel I have lived long enough. I am leaving you with your worries in this sweet cesspool
~~ George Sanders, British actor

And now, in keeping with Channel 40's policy of always bringing you the latest in blood and guts, in living color, you're about to see another first - an attempted suicide.
Shot herself during broadcast.
~~ Chris Chubbuck, newscaster, d. July 15, 1974



Yesterday I read about the late Leslie Cheung in Wikipedia. The famous actor committed suicide in Hong Kong on April 1, 2003 by jumping from the 24th floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. He was 46 years old. Most famously, he left a suicide note as follows:

Depression(沮丧、抑郁)。多谢各位朋友,多谢麦列菲菲教授。呢一年来很辛苦,不能再忍受,多谢唐先生,多谢家人,多谢肥姐。我一生没做坏事,为何这样......

Leslie

[Summary by Wikipedia]
He was depressed followed by conferring his gratitude to his friends Lydia Shum among others as well as thanking his fans before ending on a plaintive mood stating that he has done no wrong in this lifetime, and that he was disappointed that his life should have to end like this.

Many people didn't do anything wrong, yet they died from cancer, accidents and tsunamis. Yet, many people did the most obnoxious crimes yet they remain at large until their death. [to be continued]

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Monday, January 17, 2005

My "Review" of "Reading Reviews"


Chin Fei's Minolta Dimage Z3 with a backdrop of my enthusiastic expression.

I remember that I bought my first and only digital camera in year 2003. By that time, digital camera was just about to boom in Malaysia market, so the promotion and the choices were not as wide as today.

As the saying goes, "when in trouble, always Google". So there went my first voyage into online research of camera reviews site and also the sprouting of my keen interest in photography. After googling for some time, I stumbled upon many websites, among others were Digital Photography Review, Steve's Digicam and so on. At that time I was still rather amateurish, so when I read through the reviews, I couldn't figure out most of the contents. Duh, who cares about aperture priority and manual focus, right? (although I do care a lot about them now)

Then there I went and I perused pages after pages, and almost every camera was GOOD. I mean, all those reviews, they either RECOMMEND it or HIGHLY RECOMMEND it. No real helps, actually. So I turned to user reviews.

You see, the situation became worse. In this ungoverned territory, there are countless gazillions of unknown street pundits from around the world who thronge these forums to voice their opinions, tryint to sound "professional". Hell knows who they are or whether they are speaking the truth. So all these pundits aren't as good as they intend to be perceived. Most of them simply shout out freakishly, "Wow, it is the best camera i have ever had!! I love it so much" or other equivalent sentences. Nahh, every camera is a favourite camera, how was I going to choose?

Thoroughly confused, I decided to take an alternative measure. Instead of counting the accolades, I decided to read ONLY the criticisms. Well, from my brief scan of the review sites, I noticed that Powershot A70 (which was quite new at that time) received relatively fewer criticisms, and what more all of them were minor ones. Therefore I went for it and it turned out to be superb. Or in other words, a steal for its price.

Therefore the lesson is that all cameras (or other stuff in online reviews) are good if you only look at the glorious exclamation by the fans. Count the disapprobations, only then you would get the real and clearer picture. With that I sign off.

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Sunday, January 16, 2005

My Pictures Online

I never thought that I could stumble upon my own pictures on a non-affiliated website, but I just did! In a surge of reminiscent urge, I checked out the IMO 2001 and 2003 websites, and guess what, I was in the picture!! Here are them:



See, I was sitting right in the middle, the guy with red jacket. This one was taken in IMO 2003 Japan, in the exam hall where I was facing gruelling hours of tackling god-know-how-impossible-it-is hard mathematical problems.





This one pula in 2001, in Washington D.C., USA. I was the little boy with the flag! Standing in the line was 6 of us in Malaysia team and our guide (Shien Jin) who was one of the first bronze medal winners in Malaysia. The other line were the Australian contestants, it so happens that it's the country I am flying to in this February!



Being in a part of Malaysian IMO team is but a distant memory, but I really treasure those moments! I would say that it had enriched my experience and broadened my horizon, both mathematically and socially. I miss you, mathematics and my friends in those pictures! Wish you are doing well...

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About Genius

Edgard Varese

"Everyone is born with genius, but most people only keep it a few minutes."


An assiduous net-stumbler I am, I found this quotable quote. As I have said before, not everyone unearths their latent capabilities, and fewer of them use them to the fullest, and even fewer keep them. So most of the people fall to the category of followers and trainees.

p/s: Notice that I have updated the sidebar. In fact I spent the whole night on it. Do find out more about the banners at the bottom of the sidebar, all these are geek's favorite. Last word: Switch to Firefox!

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Friday, January 14, 2005

Creationism

Creationism works like this. God is infinite. Therefore, to represent God, we will use an infinite series:
0 + 0 + 0 + 0 +
.... = 0

1 - 1 = 0, so logically it follows that:
(1 - 1) + (1 - 1) + ... = 0

Removing the parentheses:
1 - 1 + 1 - 1 + .... = 0

Adding new parentheses:
1 + ( -1 + 1) + (-1 + 1) + ... = 0

Simplifying:
1 = 0

Thus, God can create the universe out of nothing.

QED

God could not be reached for comment.

No blasphemy or religious attack implied. Just found the punch-line hilarious.

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Thursday, January 13, 2005

Online Personality Test





Your Dominant Intelligence is Logical-Mathematical Intelligence







You are great at finding patterns and relationships between things.

Always curious about how things work, you love to set up experiments.

You need for the world to make sense - and are good at making sense of it.

You have a head for numbers and math ... and you can solve almost any logic puzzle.



You would make a great scientist, engineer, computer programmer, researcher, accountant, or mathematician.

An online intelligence that I did. I expected this result. :-)

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Jokes With Racism Hints

I do not endorse racism by all means, but just enjoy this joke without thinking of the races.

A situation arose when Malaysia was invited to send one Malaysian to the moon!

As there were 3 finalists and this was most probably going to be a one way trip only, the Prime Minister then...the previous one la...called all three of them to ask one question of each of them. What their price was.

First the Malay chap..he said RM500,000 cukup. will need to take care of his family and second wife as well.

then the Indian astronaut wanabe. He asked for RM1 million. Well, he had family, father and mother and widowed sister to look after you see...

Finally the Chinese chap....and he wanted RM3 million. Of course PM very shocked. He ask how come he want so much more compared to the rest. So this Chinaman said...well Datuk, of the RM3 million, Rm1 million I keep. On more RM1 million is for you.eheheh....and the last RM1 million we give the Indian guy and we send him to the moon la!.


Show how sly some Chinese are, actually.

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Tsunami Compensation

I thought that my maths was pretty good. Until I see this post: [click on the "Tsunami Compensation above]

Yup, it made me realise maths is blind without logic. One plus one is not necessarily two.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Scientists Are Not Necessarily Boring

SO here is one of the sublime humor showed by one of the 20th century's great scientist - Albert Einstein.

In 1943 he answered a little girl who had difficulties in school with mathematics.

"…Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater.

Best regards
Professor Albert Einstein."


Yup, next time your children complaint about difficulties, answer in ala Einstein.

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2 Gigs of Rubbish Thrown

Not rubbish exactly. Just some of the "oh-not-so-precious" stuff in my pictures collection. You know, everything comes in shades of grey, and there's no clear cut definition of what is needed is what is not. So at the end of the day, you always get all those "in-dilemma" pictures piled up in your computer until one day your computer is slogging slowly, only then you realised, oh sh*t! :-)

There is something in chinese common saying called "鸡肋: 食之无味, 弃之可惜". In a gross translation, it is "sternum muscles on chicken: bland to be eaten, wasteful if thrown". Yup, all these files are the sternum flesh, but I digress.

Basically, this is the first time I am not online for the whole night. So I was in a mood to dust out my old files, my grand 1.3 gig collection of grand dinner pics (out of which i was not in 99% of the pictures), my friends' pictures (again not in) and the list goes on. So I deleted some not-so-relevant and not-so-well-taken ones. SO I got 2 gig extra. Voila!

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Monday, January 10, 2005

Failuphobia

So here begins my rambling talk again, though I am very sure that the passion won't last for more than 10 posts in this blog. But who cares, I will still write as long as the lukewarm interest is still flowing in my veins.

I just went off from an enlightening talk with one of my good friends Xuan Ni (a.k.a. Ah Kong), in which we talked about "kiasuism", a term originally coined from "kia su" which means "afraid of losing" in Hokkien dialect. Well, we happened to come to this topic and we admitted to being kiasu fellows. But then, as if to defend this characteristic normally disregarded in our society, we both said "Who is not kiasu anyway" in unison.

Kia su is normally perceived as "cowardy, selfish, not magnanimous nature of someone who is always comparing and competing with others, lest losing out to someone who was originally worse than himself". Hah, as it races across my mind, who is not afraid of losing out?

  1. A child's reaction when his or her neighbour's child get the newest toy while he failed to get one? Wail.
  2. A secondary school student's reaction when he missed out the top spot by 1 mark? Oppressed dissatisfaction. Or claiming for extra marks from the most gullible teacher.
  3. An over-weight girl sees her crush flirting with a pretty girl. She checks out Atkin's diet.
  4. An SPM student got straight 10 A1. Another SPM student get 12 A1 and 1A2. The Ministry of Education thinks the latter is a better student. The next day, fathers of them are found fighting on the street.
  5. A woman past her menopause age found that her peer using SK-2 became fairer than her. She secretly gave up her Shiseido Whitening Cream which turned out to be a disaster. The next day her daughter was found at the nearest Giant's SK-2 counter.
Haha.. my arid creativity can't fabricate more examples now, but I am sure all above happens to every stratum of the society in every single day. So I think it is all too common in our ranks and files. It is not that bad anyway, we are all the same. Wrapping it up with 2 mantras:

  • Be kiasu, but don't let others realise it.
  • Be intelligent, but lead others into thinking that you are only half as intelligent than you really are.

I learnt that from Confucious.


p/s: The fact that I write blogs is sort of the manifestation of kiasuism too. :-)

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Sunday, January 09, 2005

Learner and Trainee

There is a stark difference between learning and training. Many are going to scoff at this, but just take it with a pinch of salt if you wish:

when your teachers tell you, "please ask others immediately whenever you have questions", they are actually hindering your progress of learning.

Throughout the years, I find myself learning stuff differently from some others; and though not intending to boast myself, more often than not I do master certain skills or discipline faster and more dexterously. Many take that as a sign of intelligence, but I can't single that as the only cause. Take an example, let's say the usage of a piece of a new instrument (computer, hi-fi, software or any other you can think of). When many people are confronted with a new computer, the spontaneous reaction is, "So what should I click on" or "What's next" or "Can I click on that button?". To say the least, this is the subliminal effect of our teacher's adage, ask before you do. Now, wrong, wrong, wrong! While this proved to be the safest way to work around the society and the greatest common denominator of public education, the principle is certainly not a good way of learning. SO what do many people do? They ask for steps, instructions at once, they get it, they practice and regurgitate the steps, and they think that they have LEARNT. Twist the situation a bit, they are shackled.

So this is the situation of our education system - mostly rote memorisation. Here in my beloved country Malaysia, the method is used exclusively in almost all subjects. Even in mathematics I happened to learn that some students tried to memorise all the possible question "types" and their respective "solutions" so that they would hit it in the exam. Sadly they are the ones who scored the worst in the exam. They are not to be mocked at, but I digress.

Going back to "learner vs trainee", to me the difference is a learner learns from his mistakes, while a trainee learns not to make mistakes. If I were to make an analogy, I would liken a learner as a mountaineer who scales the mountain by jungle paths, while a trainee as a traveller who ascends the mountain by climbing stairs. Yes, both of them do reach the acme; and yes, the mountaineer gets bruises and wounds. But at the end of the day, the disparity of skills between them is nothing less than obvious. And I am sure that the mountaineer will move on to conquer another peak.

Hence try to be a learner. I believe that I have always been one, in all my involvements.

2 comments:

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Flickr is Cool

Get this, the only limit is 10Mb per month which is, errh~~ not so sufficient for shutter bug for me. Anyway, always resize it to 640 x 480 and you will end up with space sufficient for 140 pics per months. Not bad huh.


My Birthday wish? You know it if you know me well enough.

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Monday, January 03, 2005

A Maths Nerd I am

Maths is built on a set of underlying foundations called axioms. Examples are like "the shortest distance between 2 points is the distance of the straight line connecting them". Euclid's Element elucidated a lot of geometry axioms. These axioms build the whole picture of Mathematics we know and learn today.

However, it is incomplete. There is no logical system which is self-containing, that is, there must be something which can't be explained by the system although the fact may be self-evident. Here is it, the famous Godel's Incompleteness Theorem:

The proof of Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem is so simple, and so sneaky, that it is almost embarassing to relate. His basic procedure is as follows:

  1. Someone introduces Gödel to a UTM, a machine that is supposed to be a Universal Truth Machine, capable of correctly answering any question at all.
  2. Gödel asks for the program and the circuit design of the UTM. The program may be complicated, but it can only be finitely long. Call the program P(UTM) for Program of the Universal Truth Machine.
  3. Smiling a little, Gödel writes out the following sentence: "The machine constructed on the basis of the program P(UTM) will never say that this sentence is true." Call this sentence G for Gödel. Note that G is equivalent to: "UTM will never say G is true."
  4. Now Gödel laughs his high laugh and asks UTM whether G is true or not.
  5. If UTM says G is true, then "UTM will never say G is true" is false. If "UTM will never say G is true" is false, then G is false (since G = "UTM will never say G is true"). So if UTM says G is true, then G is in fact false, and UTM has made a false statement. So UTM will never say that G is true, since UTM makes only true statements.
  6. We have established that UTM will never say G is true. So "UTM will never say G is true" is in fact a true statement. So G is true (since G = "UTM will never say G is true").
  7. "I know a truth that UTM can never utter," Gödel says. "I know that G is true. UTM is not truly universal."

Think about it - it grows on you ...

With his great mathematical and logical genius, Gödel was able to find a way (for any given P(UTM)) actually to write down a complicated polynomial equation that has a solution if and only if G is true. So G is not at all some vague or non-mathematical sentence. G is a specific mathematical problem that we know the answer to, even though UTM does not! So UTM does not, and cannot, embody a best and final theory of mathematics ...

Although this theorem can be stated and proved in a rigorously mathematical way, what it seems to say is that rational thought can never penetrate to the final ultimate truth ... But, paradoxically, to understand Gödel's proof is to find a sort of liberation. For many logic students, the final breakthrough to full understanding of the Incompleteness Theorem is practically a conversion experience. This is partly a by-product of the potent mystique Gödel's name carries. But, more profoundly, to understand the essentially labyrinthine nature of the castle is, somehow, to be free of it.



An insight in Mathematics? Nothing is perfect, I would say.

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2004 Interesting Headlines

2004 is over, but the cries of tsunami victims still resound throughout the world. May God bless them all.

This is a compilation of interesting headlines around the world. SO funny I laughed my hats off.

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