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Pre-A2,B2

April 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Alright, the final two papers of this course. You’re going into it with a great chance of getting a distinction. What will be going through your mind as you sit through the next four hours of exam?
We’ll try our very best. We’ve done the first two last term, so this will be a lot less surprising. We know what’s coming, and we’ll try to right the wrongs we did last time out. I think the key is to remain calm, not to panic, and give it our all, and hopefully it’ll be a great four hours.

Two of the people who have set these papers are those who have never set papers here before. What do you think will be on those papers?
It’s hard, definitely, to try to predict what’s in there, but it doesn’t really matter to us really. Maybe they would have tried to follow what’s been going on in the past years, maybe they’ll try to kill us with super hard questions. Either way, like I said it’s not going to make much of a difference. If it’s easy, it’ll be easy for all of us, if it’s difficult, it’ll be difficult for all of us.

And do you think that if it’s difficult that you can perform better relative to others?
I don’t know really. I don’t really like to speculate, let’s just wait and see.

Finally, coming toward the end of this term, rumors are going around regarding future plans. Can you comment on any of the DPhil and job offer rumors that have been going on recently with you?
As far as I’m concerned, nothing has been confirmed for us yet. We’re currently focused more on the exams and trying to score as high as we can. If we do that, offers will naturally come and we don’t have to worry about them.

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The “Painter”

Recently, I’ve been browsing through some of the pictures I’ve taken or have been taken that happen to end up on my computer for some reason. Few minutes later I was wondering – why DO we actually take photos? Who was the first person to do it, and what was his/her intention back then?

If we ask the common man down the street why he takes pictures, you could probably guess the answers that you will get – apart from the weird look you will get, since after all you ARE coming up to a stranger and asking such a random question, the usual responses will be “for remembrance”, or “it looks beautiful”, and of course, the ever growing in popularity response, “why not!”

I did a quick search on google on why people actually take pictures. Two main answers sprang up – “to document life”, and “art”. The first reason – to document life – is another way of saying that these pictures people take, someday in the future, they are going to look at them and think about the times they spent at this or that place, how it felt back then, basically as they say, “to capture the moment”, because sometimes a mental picture is not good enough!

The latter, i.e. taking pictures for art, well… this is very profound. The mere mention of that three-letter-word can make hairs stand on end. Art. What is art? For years I’ve been trying to understand the meaning of this word. In the context of photography, one would look at a picture of something, say, a setting sun at dusk, or the photo of an eagle soaring through the clouds, or a group of penguins walking together on ice; or it could be something not so “nature” – like a room full of boxes, or a carton of milk toppled with its contents spilled on a table; one could look at these and say, “Oh that’s beautiful!” Well the saying goes, “Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder”, and people have said many times that art (and in essence, beauty) is subjective. ¬†Superficially, one would believe such a statement, but as the years go by, I’ve been inclined to believe that art (and therefore beauty) is not as subjective as many people may think it is. One thing that influenced such a thought is the art of cooking. Yes, as some of you may already know, I enjoy cooking, although limited by time, I like to spend as much time trying to whip up something as I do enjoying the taste of culinary delights prepared by others. Ok, maybe more of the latter than the former, but yes, regarding food, or its preparation thereof, being an art, I’m pretty sure you will agree with me that if something is prepared well, it WILL be appreciated, by almost everyone. I say almost, because there will always be a small minority who would find some reasons to dislike a dish. Still, if a food is good, it is good. There is no such thing as, to you it tastes awesome, but to me I think it’s awful. No way! That’s ridiculous!! Sure, certain tastes are exquisite and acquired. I always enjoy mentally torturing white people when they come over to Malaysia and get their first taste of the heavenly fruit that is the durian. They would squirm and cringe and say things like, “God never intended for men to eat this!” Of course, to some, the smell is completely disgusting, but to me, it’s one of the sweetest thing one could ever experience in life.

So yes, some tastes are truly acquired, but majority of what we would consider good food is certainly good food as we know it. It takes a perfect blend of herbs, ingredients and sometimes proper technique to mix in and bring out the best of flavors and aroma of a good dish.

That is with food. The other example is in music. No sane man would look at me going up to a piano and playing random notes at an irregular tempo and at varying volumes and say that THAT piece of music that I played is beautiful. If you do not believe me, I dare you to sit beside me while I even attempt to play a “proper piece” of music. Trust me, you’ll be bored by the time I get to the next line. I was actually a lot better years ago though! Really, I was!! Anyway, my point is that in music, it takes effort to sit down and properly compose a piece of music that hopefully ends up as a timeless classic or is the first piece a music student would play when they enter the realms of the musical world. Why do some songs sell and some don’t? Because some are good and some are bad. Some are exciting and some are boring. Again, you can’t say that this is subjective. I’m beginning to think that such a statement is merely a lie we tell ourselves when we fail to produce something decent in a futile effort to console ourselves.

Hey wait. I’m supposed to be talking about photography. How did I digress to this thing about the subjectivity of art (or lack of it thereof)?! Right. Back to the topic. See, this is why I never actually got a good grade in my essays. Too bad, no one’s going to be grading this, so yeah, suck it!! Erm, back to photography. Yes. So. Now. It is one thing to take pictures. The next question is, what do you do with them?? I think it’s at this time that I bring to our attention something that we all do – we take a picture of people we love, whether it’s our entire family, or our husband/wife, our boyfriend/girlfriend, fiancee, our children, or even our dog, and we set it on our office desk, or in our bedroom, or we’ll just set it as our desktop and ipad wallpaper, or simply just stick it in our wallet. Again, the question is, why do we do these things? The obvious answer would be, to remind ourselves of that person. Maybe at work when our boss yells at us, or when the amount of papers just seem to keep piling up and we think our lives are miserable, we take a few moments to look at that particular picture, and we draw strength from them, or just to be reminded of that person from time to time and the sweet memories we had with them and will probably have in the near future.

Of course, that is one of the many things we do with our photos. With some, we keep them in a photo album, stored safely for about half a decade and when the time comes, we sweep the dust off them and open just to have a look at them to bring to our remembrance of the memories we had back then. Others, we choose to frame up and hang up around the house, and of course, with the photos we don’t like, we delete them.

I guess whatever the reason is, photography seems to remain more of an integral part of our lives than we think. So. Why do YOU take pictures?

Falcon, OUT!

The Reason

April 7, 2012 4 comments

Well, ain’t this something? Two weeks before the exams and I’m posting something here!

I decided to take a break from all the studying and cramming through practice questions and checked out Youtube for a while. For reasons I can’t recall, I stumbled across the Kanye West-Taylor Swift incident. If you are a Kanye West or a Taylor Swift fan, or perhaps any other fan who happen to know either of them, or watch awards shows, or… well, you get the point. Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yes. So this incident. For those of you music-event-uninformeds (me being one of them – never bothered with awards anyway. I like what I like. Sometimes what I like is not something most others would. Take for instance, Lady Gaga. But that’s another story for another day), you can check out this vid.

 

 

This is three years late, but yeah there have basically been two schools of thought. Or three, actually. No. Two. Yup. Two. Yes, so… one is that Kanye is an absolute, *in the spirit of Taylor*, beep. The other is saying, yes what he did wasn’t the most pleasant thing in the world, but he has decided to apologize, let’s move on. The third school of thought (sorry I’m a math student, I can’t count!), is that this doesn’t concern me, so I don’t care. Fair enough. The debate between these three groups could go on forever, but me, it reminded me actually of something fortuna_major posted, well… not really sure when, but she did post something about this incident.

She closed down her blog something like a year ago, but I typed in the URL anyway, hoping she’d reopened it again for some reason but didn’t tell me, not that she would have been obligated to, anyway. Unsurprisingly, it’s gone. So it got me thinking, the reason she closed down her blog was because she saw no real reason to type long stuff out anymore. Twitter won, she said. Then my mind shifted to this guy jrobichess, a Youtube user, who blogged and vlogged about Chess and his supposed “journey” in it. Eventually he stopped posting like, a year ago. There hasn’t been anything new since. It wasn’t that he was not active on Youtube, I’m subscribed to him and know that he’s still there, liking stuff, not chess related and all. I guess for him, it got to a point where he either was just too busy with work that he stopped posting stuff, or that he just couldn’t be bothered anymore, or that he just gave up chess altogether, which is a pity, well, at least to me! Heh.

The point is, at some point in their lives everyone has something to say. We find ways to channel our thoughts, feelings, expressions. That’s why things like blogs, Youtube and status updates on Facebook are doing so well. Of course, one could do it in songs and poems and plays, but not everyone is poetic and creative enough. But then there comes a time where people stop talking, or writing, for various reasons. Some people think it doesn’t really matter anymore, while some still have something to say, but they’re too lazy to put it down in writing, or video, or whatever form they were using. I’m subscribed also to kingscrusher, who is another Youtube user who posts things related to chess. Btw, if you’re an avid chess player, you should check out his videos – there’s a lot of amazing stuff you can learn from him. Anyway, he’s someone who posts almost everyday, and still going strong. You may wonder, what does this guy do? Doesn’t he need to work? He’s not even like, a world class chess player or something. Don’t get me wrong, he is a decent chess player, but he’s not a pro, i.e. he doesn’t get paid for playing, but research on him a little bit more, and you find that he is actually a computer guy, and part of his job is to maintain the chessworld.net website. Hence you could say that it WAS part of his job to maintain his youtube channel. So yes, here is someone who continues to maintains his channel of expression because it was actually his job.

It’s not always the case, however. Chippers is not a journalist. She’s well, a musician? Alright, she’s currently a university student, but she still maintains a blog which she updates on a regular basis. Question is, why does she keep posting then? You’d think after a few years of writing, one would eventually get tired, or at least take a break, but no, she just keeps posting! Clearly there’s more to this than just it being a job! What is it??? Argh, I just can’t figure it out!!

So then, for me, what is my reason for keeping this blog? Why do I keep writing stuff I write? I find that the posts I wrote when I first started this blog is a lot more meaningful and natural than what I write now. It seems very rushed, too superficial, and for some reason my brain juices just can’t flow anymore. Every time I get the urge to write something, I can’t, because I’m too busy doing something else. There’s always a project I need to rush, or an assignment due soon, or in this context, exams coming up! I guess then you could say that if you’re waiting for the “right time” to post, there will never be one.¬†So yes, I won’t shut this blog down. Ever. So that anytime I have something to say, I will. Whether it’s math, or football, or F1, or chess, or about religion, or about how cute the squirrel look when it was gnawing on a nut.

Ok, now come to think of it, this post has been rather pointless so far. So I posted about posting, and not shutting down this blog. Whaaaaaaaaaaaat?

So to make sure this post is point-ful, here’s a cool teaser trailer of one of MY most anticipated movies of 2013!!

 

 

…and this awesome ‘knock knock’ joke I learned recently!

 

 

Till then, FALCON, OUT~