Saturday 31 December 2016

Thursday 22 December 2016

Chloe Lim

For as long as I can remember, I have always tried to make my sister laugh.



This has had varying degrees of success over the years - meaning I've had many hits and misses LOL

However what I have found is that the laughter is usually caused by some joke on myself; me making a fool of myself; or me coming up with some absolutely ridiculous thought or idea that doesn't make sense :)

The reason this has gone on for so long is simple: I love my sister and I have always enjoyed seeing her smile.

(For that matter, I enjoy seeing all of my friends and family laugh too)

So...I thought I'd do this short write-up for Chloe, in celebration of her birthday tomorrow.

***

Chloe is a bit of an adventurous hipster (in the positive sense of the word). She likes trying out new things, and is usually quite good at sticking out from the crowd - not just fashion-wise but also in terms of her tastes and interests. Perhaps this may or may not explain why she is quite sociable and enjoys talking to people, despite any age gap and setting. Importantly, she is quite frank and VOCAL about her opinions. That means she, more often than not, tells it as it is. I like that trait about her -------

(----- whereas her brother, on the other hand, usually tries to be a bit more diplomatic [and this does not always work!])

Chloe is somewhat independent, jovial and quite compassionate about alleviating poverty. She is a bit of a pioneer in our family when it comes to giving to charitable organisations and/or trying to find some way to make the world a better place - she does not mind taking that leap of faith despite the bad track record of a few of these organisations. On that note, we've actually had some pretty disheartening experiences of late when it comes to this front, but I am sure that will not discourage her from the cause.

Chloe is, notably, also the avid movie-goer and critic. She's up-to-date with most Hollywood releases. She knows her actors and actresses fairly well too. She's usually at the movies watching a latest release, especially when exams are over!

Speaking of exams, it's also worth mentioning that Chloe is quite the intelligent person, having aced her uni exams in Psychology and achieved a comfortable Distinction average. She is certainly more studious than I was when I was at uni.

Chloe and I also share similar music tastes (but they are not exactly the same). We also share similar world views (but, again, they are not exactly the same). I've always enjoyed talking to Chloe about things in life and sharing my viewpoints and experiences as they unfold.

I am thankful to God that I have had Chloe to keep me company over all these years. While I've certainly been very far from being a good older brother, I can only hope that Chloe is still as proud to have me as her brother as she was at the time the above photo was taken.

Andre Lim


Wednesday 21 December 2016

10 days left until 2016 closes!

Amazing!

Which reminds me of what someone said to me a long time ago:

"I don't believe in New Years' Resolutions. If you want to change something, just start now. Don't wait until tomorrow."

I agree; but it is easier said than done, no? :)

Andre Lim

Saturday 17 December 2016

Thailand v Indonesia (2nd leg)

Kick-off is about to start!

I hope Indonesia can build on their first leg victory on Wednesday by pulling off an upset.

Perhaps they could hold Thailand to a draw in Bangkok...? But that's a tough ask!

Andre Lim

Sunday 11 December 2016

Another Quote of the Week

"A ship docked at harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for..."

- Slight variant of a John A. Shedd quote


Andre Lim

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Quote of the Week

"If you fail to prepare... then you are essentially preparing to fail."

- variant of a Benjamin Franklin quote???

Andre Lim

Wednesday 23 November 2016

Quote of the Year

"He who asks is a fool for a moment, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever."

Andre Lim

Sunday 20 November 2016

A John Williams Celebration (2015)



Featuring: Los Angeles Philharmonic and Itzhak Perlman

Location: Walt Disney Concert Hall

Conductor: Gustavo Dudamel

Time: 85 minutes plus 18 minutes worth of bonus content which includes an interview with John Williams.

Price: The Blu-ray is about $35 in total including shipping.

Track listing

Olympic Fanfare and Theme
Soundings
Three Pieces from Schindler's List (Remembrances; Jewish Town: Krakow Ghetto; Theme) feat. Itzhak Perlman
Cadenza and Variations from Fiddler on the Roof feat. Itzhak Perlman
Escapades from Catch Me If You Can (Closing In; Reflections; Joy Ride) feat Dan Higgins, Glenn Paulson and Michael Valerio
Throne Room and Finale from Star Wars
"Dry your tears, Africa" from Amistad
Excerpt from Jaws
Imperial March from the Empire Strikes Back (Conducted by John Williams)

Short Comments: This DVD features some awesome live video footage of the orchestra doing their thing for each of the above listed tracks. It appears that the footage was taken in or around September 2014. Artwork and storyboards (where applicable) relating to each track are interposed on screen occasionally. This can be annoying, but they don't interrupt the visual footage too much.

I must say at the outset that it's a real shame that some of the more legendary scores like Raiders March or the Jurassic Park Theme are not included in this disc; however the other tracks featured here are solid enough. 

Olympic Fanfare is nice (I recall hearing this from Salt Lake City 2002); Soundings could have been left out, really, in favour of a more well-known theme but is interesting nonetheless. The themes from Schindler's List are moving, as are the variations from Fiddler on the Roof in a different senseApparently the latter was included because it was Williams' first Academy Award.

Catch Me If You Can is another questionable choice, but is still pleasant to listen to.



The best part of the disc definitely starts from Throne Room and Finale from Star Wars onwards. It obviously would have been a cardinal sin to leave Star Wars out.

Dry your tears, Africa is very touching and features a junior choir. I really liked this one.

The excerpt from Jaws is rather brief.

Arguably the best part of the Blu-ray is seeing John Williams himself in action. He is invited by Dudamel to conduct and does so with amazing vigour and spirit - it is incredible stuff.

Score: 7 to 8 out of 10. A good watch but could have been much better had there been more popular tracks included. Still worth buying though, especially for the Star Wars bit. It's arguably on the expensive side though given the lack of content.

Andre Lim

Wednesday 16 November 2016

Australia, wake up!

The Socceroos really need to wake up to themselves.

I hate being negative, but facts are facts: That was Mooy's worst performance last night in a Socceroos jersey, while Kruse and Leckie were quite bad as well. Kruse was flagged offside multiple times. Mooy could not pass.

However the whole team just could not get the basics right. Holding the ball was a problem. Passing was a problem. Everything seemed chaotic and disjointed. They were anything but 'steady'. The only team member who did their job was Mat Ryan.

It doesn't matter if they have 3 home games coming up. If they continue playing like that, they will not qualify for the World Cup. They should have lost to Thailand really, as the second Oz penalty was dubious.



If things continue to go awry, there could well be a playoff match against the USA on the cards come this time next year (given the USA's poor form as well in their confederation).

That said, if you wanted to be positive, you would say that the Socceroos' fate is still in their own hands. There's always time for change...............

Andre Lim

Tuesday 15 November 2016

World Cup Qualifiers: November 2016

So this is obvious, but Australia need to win this game against Thailand in Bangkok. It won't be easy though, the recent passing of their late and well-loved King providing for perhaps an unfamiliar and uneasy environment.

In other matches, I hope the underdog Uzbeks pull off an upset against South Korea in Seoul -- these same Koreans, of course, stopped the Uzbeks from qualifying last time based on Goal Difference.

I also hope Saudi Arabia stun Japan or at least force a draw at Saitama.

Andre Lim

Friday 11 November 2016

"Cannot Teach"

There is a life skill that I am desperate to learn.

The funny thing is that it cannot be learnt.

My dad calls it - and I like this name because it describes the concept perfectly - "Cannot Teach"

I find this phrase hilarious for two reasons.

First, the name already implies defeat. The name is telling you that the problem is difficult, if not impossible, to overcome. It cannot be taught.

Second, I have spent my whole childhood growing up hearing this phrase from my dad to the extent that I have seen it applied to all kinds of situations. I don't grow tired of hearing it because it is quite a versatile concept.

So, what exactly is "Cannot Teach"?

I don't want to offer a definition of "Cannot Teach" just yet. I want to give two examples.


1: The overthinking striker

Have you ever watched a match of football ('soccer') and seen a striker one-on-one with the goalkeeper, only for the striker to be stunned by the enormity of the moment?

It's a brain freeze.

He hesitates ever so slightly for that split second -----perhaps he's thinking about how good an opportunity this is, how he will never ever ever get this chance again or how his team desperately needs him to score this goal ------ causing him to lose the opportunity to slot it home past the keeper. When he realises his mistake, it is too late: he has hit it directly into the goalkeeper or hit it out.


2: The hesitant answer

As another example, I am sure we have also come across a situation in a social context where we have seen someone (or we are that person!) being asked a question but they don't know how to respond immediately and succinctly to it, causing them to stumble along searching for the 'right' or 'acceptable' answer while furiously trying to cover up their embarrassment.

This arises because the question being asked is, given the answerer's level of life experience or lack of preparation/exposure, so unexpected that they don't know how to respond. It's the first time they've been asked and they haven't quite manufactured their perfect response yet! (Also think: first time job interviews)


We have all experienced "Cannot Teach"

So you probably already have an idea of what "Cannot Teach" is. Actually I have probably insulted your intelligence. I apologise. The concept is very likely something that you would have known about even before you read this post.

You probably would call it something different too.

Some might call it or link it to the concept of "Street Smarts", "Common sense", "Killer instinct", "Intuition" and a host of other perfectly acceptable names.


My understanding of "Cannot Teach"


If I could describe my understanding of "Cannot Teach", I would say that it is a phrase that, at least in part, pretty much describes that moment when a person is put into a completely new life experience or situation and they are responding for the first time.

It's the first time they have been put in this situation so no one knows how they will respond.

If your response is bad, usually you learn from your mistake (this is how we learn in life).

However some of us, myself included, never learn, either because:

1. We are never exposed to the situation enough;

2. We don't try hard enough to change; or

3. That's just the way we are (this last reason is a bit dangerous though when used as an excuse, but sometimes can be true).

So "Cannot Teach" does not necessarily apply to a first-time situation; indeed it can repeat forever if we keep making the same mistakes.


How do we avoid repeat cases of failing a "Cannot Teach" situation?

This is an ambitious question that cannot be answered.

It's arguably pretty impossible really. For starters you need to know you made a mistake. Not all of us realise when we say or do something wrong. You perhaps need a good friend who is willing to be honest with you - willing to tell you when you stuffed up, in an encouraging way.

And even when we realise it's wrong, we sometimes can't programme ourselves to change.

Continuous exposure to a situation does not necessarily elicit change in us. I mean, back to the sports example above, there are countless strikers in football who keep missing big chances and big moments so much so that it becomes a BAD HABIT.

The same thing applies in real life. If we keep doing the SAME THING in response to a situation, it becomes a BAD HABIT.

We want "Cannot Teach" to produce a positive change in us - we want a GOOD HABIT.
We do not want "Cannot Teach" to become a BAD HABIT, because then it becomes nigh-impossible to defeat.

So in that sense, perhaps continuous exposure to a situation may not be ideal if you know your response will be the same. Perhaps controlled exposure to a situation, with the right intent to change, and the right support group, is required.

I don't know.

It's not like I know what I am doing either. I have plenty of bad habits.

Andre Lim


Sunday 6 November 2016

Bud Greenspan's Favorite Stories of Olympic Glory (2000)

It would be an understatement, to say the least, that Bud Greenspan is "quite a good filmmaker" or that he "specialises in Olympic documentaries."

I first discovered Bud doing Salt Lake City.

It is great to see that his standards have not wavered in his 91-minute Favorite Stories of Olympic Glory.



Bud covers 5 fantastic stories:

1) Nadia Comaneci's perfect 10 out of 10s - in a period where superstars Nellie Kim, Tourischiva and others dominated gymnastics, this 14-year old Romanian girl came out of nowhere to own everybody at the 1976 Montreal Games.

2) Aussie Duncan Armstrong's underdog victory in the 200 metre freestyle thanks to the rather insane regime and extreme (to say the least) personality of his coach, Laurie Lawrence. Lawrence's antics, borderline violence and near-clash with the South Korean authorities after his student won gold at the 1988 Seoul Olympics is well-documented here. I think this footage is a much watch for any sports fan - I have not seen a more passionate coach.


3) Abebe Bikila's barefoot marathon gold medal at the 1960 Rome Games -- Adidas sponsored the 1960 Games but they didn't have any shoes that fit him so Abebe decided to run barefoot just as he did in training. Bikila was a member of the Ethiopian emperor's palace guard and the first East African to win a gold medal. Bikila discovered shoes shortly after that and, no surprise here, the result was that no one could touch him in the 1964 Tokyo Games as well. This segment of the doco also covers the unfortunate case of a particular Japanese marathon runner, Tsuburaya, who committed suicide after he could no longer run as well as he would have liked due to lumbago. It is thought that the traditional Japanese WWII mentality of 'must not lose face' (in the context of running for his superiors and the Japanese people) coupled with what he perceived to be an embarassing last-minute concession of 2nd place at the 1960 Games, when a British Runner, Heatley, overtook Tsuburaya to consign Tsuburaya to Bronze, caused him to take his life.

4) The pure and raw power of Alexander Karelin of Russia, virtually undefeated in Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling (with 3 Gold Medals) until his first loss at the 2000 Sydney Games.

5) Dan O'Brien overcoming his abject and public failure of not qualifying for the 1992 Olympic decathlon despite being the favourite to take the Gold at Barcelona. O'Brien was even featured in commercial ads that pretty much stated that he was going to win the Gold for the USA. The hype that surrounded him was just plain ridiculous and, one can only imagine, overbearing. During qualification he failed to clear his first bar, as I understand it, in the pole vault. O'Brien actually said something to the effect that his failing to qualify was actually a huge relief -- a burden that had been lifted from his shoulders. However, incredibly, the happy ending is that O'Brien finally qualified for the 1996 Atlanta Games; he certainly did more than that though at those Games, consistently shrugging off the fierce competition across all events, which included overcoming his demons in the pole vault to secure Gold. Winning Gold in the face of such embarrassment and failure is incredibly admirable.

You can probably guess that my favourite story is Abebe's story, although all the stories were very interesting.

I would recommend this DVD to any sports or Olympic fan, but I understand this DVD is promotional only and can't really be purchased - but I did find it on eBay.

Score: 
9.4 out of 10

Andre Lim

Monday 17 October 2016

Kevin Ngo

Happy birthday for tomorrow Kevin.

Here's a small token of appreciation for you below, the truthfulness and accuracy of which I know you will probably deny and/or dispute.


___

Kevin is something of a legend in these parts..

I met Kevin in one of my first ever uni tutorials for a subject by the name of "Foundies" as everyone (except for me) used to call it.

Little did I know it at that time, but I had just made friends with one of the most intelligent^ students in the grade. It is funny sometimes how paths can just randomly cross like that.

And here's the thing: Don't take this the wrong way but, I would never have guessed that he was that smart. There certainly were no flashy icons hovering above his head or other indicia warning me of the same --- but what I DID realise over time, and what became extremely obvious to me and everyone else, was that Kevin was friendly, jovial and full of laughter. And that was what counted.

So what am I trying to say? Well..based on the little life experience I do possess, it seems to me that there is often a tradeoff between intelligence, on the one hand, and social skills, friendliness & humility on the other. Quite remarkably, there is no such thing with Kevin. He is balanced. Often you will get incredibly smart but arrogant people. Or you might get bright but reclusive individuals. Not with Kevin. The tradeoff doesn't apply to him. I think people in our group of friends can attest to this without blinking their eyes.

On this note, there's another thing about Kevin that I want to talk about.

The fact of the matter is, and I can say this without hesitation: I certainly would not have survived uni without Kevin's help.

During 4th and 5th year, when the going got tough, I relied extensively on Kevin's 'counsel' and notes to get through the horrors of uni exams and assignments. We'd share notes together and discuss difficulties with our studies.

I do not know why Kevin chose me to be privy to this note-taking regime, but I'm grateful for it. In a very strict academic sense I can tell you quite honestly, without feeling guilty about any notions of false humility, that I had very little to offer Kevin in return.  On this point, before I get accused of being too humble or that I'm not really telling the truth about how capable I am etcetra etcetra, I just want to say that I'm not being humble at all. I see it as the objective truth.

The objective truth of the matter is that Kevin was at least a few levels higher in class than me. Kevin was an A; and if Kevin was an A, then any fair and objective assessment would determine that I was probably a C+ or a B- at best.

Of course, as I have already foreshadowed in an earlier tribute, Jason Wong was another invaluable ally that I could not have survived uni without but that is an entirely different story.

So, if there was one attribute I learnt about Kevin over those years, it was that he was loyal to the cause. I helped where I could in a limited capacity, but he helped me more than I helped him.

Even today, when I face some kind of issue, Kevin is always quick to jump to the rescue. A quick message about a particular hypothetical scenario (often without much context!!) to Kevin results in a very quick and detailed response. His second opinion is invaluable to me.

Of course, moving aside from all that, no write-up on Kevin would be complete without mentioning the fact that Kevin is also a sports fanatic like most of our friends. Unfortunately he falls into that special (but not uncommon) category of people who support the Sydney Swans* and Manchester United* LOL

My prejudices aside*, don't look at Kevin like that though, he is very knowledgeable with most sports. You can start a conversation with him about many sports and he will usually have a fair amount of background knowledge of it even if he doesn't actively follow it. I think this reflects on him well overall, as his general knowledge is also up there.

Kevin also always seems to me to be quite respectful to elders, and to his friends in general. But that doesn't mean he doesn't know how to have fun. He knows where the boundaries are and how to act in different situations.

I'll close now for fear of this becoming too long and disjointed. I take the opportunity now Kevin, to wish you all the best and many happy returns. Thank you for the comradery you have shown to all of us.

Andre Lim

^ How intelligent? I made a promise not to disclose this so I'm not at liberty to say. What I can tell you though is that I once saw his WAM and nearly fainted.

* They aren't that bad really, I'm just fooling around.

Tuesday 11 October 2016

Australia v Japan

Man, we got out of gaol there.

We totally didn't deserve that.

Andre Lim

Saturday 8 October 2016

AFC World Cup Qualification - 12 point chaos

So two critical '6-point' matches will unfold this Tuesday, 11 October 2016.

This is what the table currently looks like, thanks to Wikipedia.



Japan take on Australia in Melbourne while the UAE travel to Jeddah to give the Saudis 2 consecutive home matches.

A lot of chaos could enfold here. I take a look at all the bad things that could happen if Australia is not careful...


Scenario 1 - Two leaders ahead of the pack

One bad scenario for Australia could look something like this:



Scenario 2 - Closely bunched but Australia in 4th

Arguably one worst case scenario would be if the Saudis drew with the UAE and the Blue Samurai gave Australia a hammering. That would create a situation like this:


Scenario 3 - "Worst case scenario"?

But probably the worst case scenario would be if UAE and Japan won, in a manner that would leave Australia trailing in 4th.



Why is Scenario 3 the worst case scenario? It depends on your view of things.

Having 3 rivals in the mix for the top 3, while you are 4th, is arguably the worst scenario because it increases the possibility that you could miss out totally for any qualification, including missing out on the third place playoff (which of course acts as a "second chance" and leads to a play-off against the 4th placed team in CONCACAF).

On the other hand, if Japan and Saudi Arabia get a big headstart for the race in the top 2 as depicted in the Scenario 1, at least there is a minor lead for the Socceroos over the UAE in the race for third.

Of course, champion teams don't talk about this nonsense and they just go out to try to win every match ---- unless of course a special mathematical situation requires a cool head and a specific set of results.

Either way, it should be interesting.

I'd predict a victory for Australia and Saudi Arabia, but imagine if I was wrong for both matches!!

Andre Lim

Friday 7 October 2016

Most participated sports in Australia - 2014

So I came across this very interesting survey from Roy Morgan on the most participated sports in Australia.

Of course I have only taken these below tables at face value, and have not bothered with looking into the specifics of how they are derived and the assumptions made etc etc but the table is pretty surprising to me!!!

http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/6123-australian-sports-participation-rates-among-children-and-adults-december-2014-201503182151

I always had this distinct impression that Rugby League and AFL would be a lot higher up the list, and I would never have guessed some of these sports in the top 10 (sports that surprised me emphasised below in bold and red):

1. Swimming
2. Cycling
3. Soccer
4. Dancing
5. Basketball
6. Hiking/Bushwalking
7. Tennis
8. Cricket
9. Athletics/Track & Field
10. Netball

Basketball, really?!

Also I am unsure how "sport" has been defined here...


Also there is a table that shows sport participation rates based on Ages 6-13 and Age 14+.

It seems to me that the future of football ("soccer") in Australia is looking up given that 1,194,000 children aged 6-13 play the game, the second highest of any sport for that age group.

There always is this prevailing concept that AFL, NRL and the vast horde of other sports in Australia have "stolen", "drowned out" or "snatched away" all the talent available that will eventually be available to the Socceroos.

Perhaps these statistics suggest otherwise?!

Andre Lim

Saturday 1 October 2016

Bud Greenspan's Salt Lake 2002: Stories of Olympic Gold

Sometimes in life, there is a bit of trial and error involved.

As many of us know, many of these ventures eventuate into disappointing 'misses', and the 'hits' we seek out are so rare. Ever so occasionally though, just when things get boring, you stumble upon something new that makes you excited and inspired. And that's when it is all worth it.

That life concept can be applied to anything, but in this case I am applying it to something rather unimportant and unworthy in the grand scheme of things....

I purchased Bud Greenspan's Salt Lake 2002: Stories of Olympic Gold from Amazon with some degree of expectation. This was after I had read a comment on Amazon which said words to the following effect:
"Check out Bud Greenspan sports documentaries - they are simply the best in the genre.
I have been collecting DVDs on the Olympics so I thought I would just go for Mr Greenspan's coverage of the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Price: About $45 AUD, including shipping
Length: About 2 hours
Over the years I have learned to take such comments with a grain of salt, but this DVD blew my mind away. The storytelling involved is great and Mr Greenspan goes above and beyond the call of duty - beyond mere Olympic highlights - to tell the stories, blood, sweat and tears of all athletes covered.

This DVD is easily one of my favourite sports DVDs.

In addition to brief glimpses of the opening and closing ceremonies, six stories are covered:

Jim Shea Jr (Skeleton); 
Janic Kostelic (Alphine Skiing); 
Canada v USA (Men's Ice Hockey); 
Stefania Belmondo (Cross-Country Skiing); 
Alisa Camplin (Freestyle Aerials); and 
Brian Shimer (4-man Bobsled)

All of these stories share a common element: the athletes or team faced testing times and some measure of intense adversity.

My favourite story was probably Stefania Belmondo's, who quite epically, overcame a 13 second gap (I think) after her right ski pole broke to take out Gold !!! Prior to the race, no one had given her a chance because she was deemed 'too old'. Belmondo was so angry that her ski pole broke but she admirably channelled her anger in a positive manner to catch up and take out top spot --- not without the help of her coach though who had to quickly drop everything to find her a new pole.

Thanks to Getty Images

Similarly, if I remember correctly Brian Shimer attended his 5th Olympic Games at Salt Lake City as the driver of the USA-2 four-man bobsleigh team. He too was deemed 'too old' to win any medal.

Thanks to Wikipedia
Shimer had always finished outside a medal position at the last 4 Olympic Games, and there was a low point for him when he thought he had finished in 4th place "again" in 2002 after his team failed to beat USA-1.

This occurred in circumstances where Switzerland and Germany were expected to fight it out for Gold while USA-1 and USA-2 were expected to slot it out for the Bronze medal. The pure elation of the team and himself was evident when, amazingly, Switzerland failed to live up to the hype! It wasn't a gold medal but all of them certainly didn't care. USA took out Silver and Bronze.

This made me realise that it's all a matter of perspective - for example, for triple Silver medallist, Lee Chong Wei, a Silver medal could be viewed as a curse; for Brian Shimer Bronze is the top of the world.

The other stories were also quite simply fantastic:

Courtesy Getty
  • Ms Camplin winning the first gold medal for an Australian woman at the Winter Olympics (the honour of Australia's first ever gold medal going to one Steven Bradbury at the same games.....another story worth telling on its own merits); 
  • Jim Shea Jr overcoming the grief of losing his grandfather (who was an Olympian like his father, Jimmy Shea Senior!) just one month out before the Games started to win Gold just as his grandfather did; 
  • Janica Kostelic giving Croatia their first ever Gold medal (and more!) at the Winter Games despite being an underdog in some events and having several knee surgeries. Her unusual but effective training regime is a must watch for any athlete;
  • The Canadian Hockey Team finally defeating their nemesis the USA after a long long gold medal drought.


Rating

I'd highly recommend this DVD to all sports fans, particularly Olympic fans.

My score is: 9 to 9.5 out of 10, perhaps 9.3.

I will be looking out for Bud Greenspan's DVDs from now on.

Now I'm off to watch the last quarter of Western Bulldogs v Swans....

Really hoping for a Bulldogs upset.

Andre Lim

Thursday 22 September 2016

Quote of the week

"What you are is never what you call yourself or what others have to say about you. At the end of the day, a person is always measured by what they do and not what they *say* they do..."

Andre Lim

Friday 16 September 2016

Life Skills to Learn #1

As we all know, diplomacy and social skills are so important in everyday life.

One excellent life skill, I think, would be the ability to pacify an angry person mid-way during their rage attack.

In fact, ANY skill that neutralises or diffuses the tension in a situation would be excellent.

If someone has learnt how to do this, kindly let me know!! =)

Andre Lim

Sunday 11 September 2016

Quote of the Month

"The more things change the more they stay the same."
-- Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

Andre Lim

Saturday 3 September 2016

Road to Russia 2018

The Socceroos have a tough trip to Abu Dhabi on Tuesday 6 September 2016 (early Wednesday morning for us). The United Arab Emirates are relatively strong opponents so this will be the Socceroos' first true test.



However, this is only the beginning. Australia play away in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on 6 October 2016, followed by a home match against Japan on 11 October 2016. We know how difficult it is to play in the Middle East, in the 35 degree+ heat coupled with sandstorms and heatwaves aplenty (although in September it is admittedly cooler at about 31 degrees+). And we know how difficult the Japanese are, who in particular will be wanting to set the record right after their shock and controversial loss to the UAE.

So this tough journey got me thinking.

What is the rough number of points the Socceroos need to qualify for the World Cup?

To answer this question, I travelled back through time to see what points were required in previous campaigns.



2014


The average tally required to make it to the top 2 in each group during the 2014 World Cup Qualifiers was 15 points [16 + 14 + 17 + 13 divided by 4] out of a possible 24 points.

This equates to a percentage of 62.5%.

2010


The average tally required to make it to the top 2 in each group during the 2010 World Cup Qualifiers was 15.75 [20 + 15 + 16 + 12 divided by 4] out of a possible 24 points.

This equates to a percentage of 65.625%.

2006



The average tally required to make it to the top 2 in each group during the 2006 World Cup Qualifiers was 13 [14 + 10 + 15 + 13 divided by 4] out of a possible 18 points.

This equates to a percentage of 72%.

2002 and 1998

The 2002 qualification campaign was a bit strange because South Korea and Japan had already qualified, so only 2.5 teams were allowed through.

The 1998 qualification campaign was also different in that only 3.5 teams were allowed through.

Because of those slight anomalies, I have not looked at those campaigns.

I am also slightly lazy to look through the other pre-1998 campaigns, but I think you would find similar reasons for those campaigns.

It therefore seems like the average percentage rate (points to maximum points ratio) required to qualify is (62.5+65.625+72) divided by 3 = 66.71%.


Conclusion

Therefore, in this 2018 World Cup Qualification Campaign where there are 10 matches played in total, it seems to me that the Socceroos need a minimum of 66.7% of 30 points which is about 20 points.

That's equivalent to 6 wins and 2 draws.

On this analysis, if Australia can win all their home games, win 1 away game, and draw 2 other tough away games, they should be safe.

However it seems to me that this analysis assumes that the weaker teams will capitulate. This is a tough group and it does not seem to me that there are any easy matches.

In this climate, perhaps 6 wins - 18 points - will be barely enough.

Andre Lim

Saturday 27 August 2016

Rayman 1 reflections

I thought I'd do a quick note on Rayman 1 (PS1).

In particular, I noticed that there are some interesting discussions on the internet regarding which is the hardest Rayman 1 level. I thought I would lend my weight to this thread.

It appears to me that many seem to suggest that Picture City is the hardest World in Rayman 1; I can certainly see how that might be the case. For example, Pencil Pentathlon certainly annoyed the heck out of me, especially with the precision in which you had to use Rayman's helicopter power to navigate the needles/drawing pins without bouncing on the bouncy cushions; furthermore, Space Mama's Crater was also pretty unforgiving especially in that section where you had to time Rayman's jumps as he moved along a pencil sharpener to avoid a spikey death and/or falling into the void. Space Mama herself was also a difficult boss to get used to ---- it wasn't because she was that HARD, but it was the psychological effect of knowing that, if you did not beat her, you would have to repeat Space Mama's Crater.

So I'd agree that the hardest World is Picture City on an overall basis.

However the level (or more accurately, section) I hated the most was definitely Band Land's Allegro Presto, Part 3. I simply had so many issues dealing with the slippery musical staves that it was not funny!!!!!!

If I had to compare Rayman: Origins and Rayman: Legends with Rayman 1, I'd say there simply is no comparison in terms of difficulty level. Contrary to the former two, the margin for error in Rayman 1 is so unbelievably small. However, notably, Origins' Land of the Livid Dead and the Fickle Fruit speed-run were fairly hard. Mecha No Mistake's speed-run I have not actually completed because that is just more frustrating than anything else and I simply did not have the patience to deal with that!!!

http://raymanpc.com/wiki/script-en/images/f/fc/MiteVol.png

My most resented enemy is probably the Moth (more a Grasshopper to me), given their tenacity, ability to dodge punches and counterattacking skill! Fighting two at the same time is deadly! The Spider in the Caves of Skops can also be pretty annoying if you let them fire their homing missiles at you.

Bear in mind though that I use unlimited lives for Rayman 1 -- if I didn't have access to this cheat I would certainly not be able to get very far in the game. I am currently on Mr Skops' Stalactites.

Andre Lim

Sunday 21 August 2016

Chen Long too good

I feel sorry for Lee Chong Wei, but Chen Long was just far too good. Chen Long scrambled for every shot with near-perfect court coverage. He is, in my view, the complete badminton player. Ironically LCW overcame his 'personal demon' of beating Lin Dan at the Olympics...but little did he realise that his real test awaited him in the final in the form of a much improved and stronger Chen Long.

As someone once said to me, if you find yourself in a bad position, you just have to be philosophical about it.

Of course Lee Chong Wei will be gutted and the whole of Malaysia will be hurting for him; however, on a positive note, who can boast of having three consecutive Olympic silver medals in the singles event? Not even Lin Dan can say he has three consecutive Olympic medals...

In any event, Lee Chong Wei didn't have the stamina to play any potential third set. Age had cruelly taken its toll. This was not his year to shine. If anything, 2012 was the ideal opportunity wasted as LCW was actually in the lead against Lin Dan in that infamous match.

Arguably, and most critically, Lee's real demon was not Lin Dan but the Olympic final itself and the fear of failing Malaysia (being their gold medal hope). It just so happened that Lin Dan personified the latter two in 2008 and 2012. By being so focussed on Lin Dan, the whole of Malaysia had forgotten the threat of Chen Long and to some extent took that match as already won.

:(

The wait continues for Malaysia. Goh and Tan must feel even more bad about their match now??!

On an unrelated note, at least Viktor Axelsen was happy with his Bronze.

Andre Lim

Saturday 20 August 2016

Heartbreak for Malaysia

My goodness.

SO MANY service errors made by the Malaysians in the Men's Doubles final!!

The Chinese almost choked but, in the end, they adapted better.

Andre Lim

Spain "beats" Malaysia to a badminton gold medal

Crazy.

Spain has a gold in the women's singles. Malaysia have yet to win any gold.

Andre Lim

What a match

Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei gave us a classic to remember.

And now Carolina Marin will have to win it the hard way if she wants to give Spain its first badminton medal. But PV Sindhu would be a worthy winner anyway.

I personally hope to see a European victory in an Asian dominated (albeit usually Southeast and East Asian) sport.

Andre Lim

Friday 19 August 2016

Lee Chong Wei v Lin Dan: Quick Thoughts

So the game is about to start in 15 minutes.

What a mouth-watering prospect.

Ordinarily I would say the match is 55:45 in favour of Lin Dan; however, in the context of the Olympic and World Stage, I would say it is closer to 60:40 or 65:35 because Lin Dan has actually stopped Lee Chong Wei twice in the Olympics and at least twice in the World Championships.

It will be psychological warfare for Lee. Lee must put that bad record behind him if he is to overcome LD. LCW may have the better recent record but in BIG TOURNAMENTS he would definitely know that LD has the boss record over him.

Andre Lim

Wednesday 17 August 2016

Malaysia's Gold Medal Hopes...

....rest on the shoulders of their Men's Doubles pair, WK Tan and VS Goh, their Mixed Doubles pair, PS Chan and LY Goh, and, of course, Lee Chong Wei in Badminton.

Given the form of the men's duo, and given the fact that the Indonesian mixed doubles pair of Natsir and Ahmad have a 100% straight sets record so far (including victory over the Malaysian pair who they already met in the Group Stage), and if we put aside Lee Chong Wei for the time being on the basis that he's not yet made the final, I reckon the Men's Doubles pair has the best chance of winning Malaysia's first ever gold.

That is of course not to discount Lee Chong Wei by any means...who now has to face Lin Dan in the semis.

It will be very interesting times ahead.

Andre Lim

Sunday 14 August 2016

Olympics 2016 - First Ever Gold Medals

I take a snapshot glance at all the first-ever-gold-medals-for-a-country at Rio 2016.

Vietnam win their first ever gold medal with Hoang Xuan Vinh's heroic 10.7 final shot in the Men's 10m Air Pistol under ENORMOUS pressure, trailing from behind and despite the jeers of the Brazilian crowd.


After Brazil's Felipe Wu took his shot, the 41-year-old veteran wisely utilized a 20-second+ pause to take his final shot, and his whole career would, to an extent, be defined by that moment of calmness.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KQMeWXPrAk



His ability to handle pressure was admirable but his sportsmanship was even more exemplary.




While his name was announced, and just before stepping up to the Gold Medal podium, Hoang went out of his way to do a full circle to shake hands with the silver and bronze medallists. 





Perhaps I have little experience with such things but I've actually not seen that particular gesture before. He did not let the moment overtake him - Awesome sportsmanship!!!!


Fiji win their first ever Olympic medal...which just happens to be a gold medal in Rugby Sevens, and they didn't need Jarryd Hayne to thrash Great Britain in the final.


The streets of Suva go berserk.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/12/rugby-is-our-religion-fiji-erupts-in-celebration-of-olympic-sevens-gold#img-1


"It's like there's two religions in Fiji...
On Sunday there's church and no sport, but every other day there's rugby."

Who says football has the exclusive monopoly on generating national pride?

Kosovo also win their first ever Olympic medal...a gold medal in Judo, although I understand that there is some controversy because Kelmendi refused a drug test before Rio 2016.





Singapore's first gold medal is attained courtesy of Phelps being given a Schooling in the 100m men's butterfly :)


Amazingly, Phelps, le Clos and Cseh all finished with a dead-heat silver medal.


Fehaid Al-Deehani became the first Independent Olympic Athlete to win a gold medal in the men's double trap!





All images largely courtesy of Channel Seven.

That's all the firsts I'm aware of, perhaps I missed some?*

Andre Lim



*Update: Indeed I did miss one, Monica Puig made Olympic History for Puerto Rico by winning her country's first ever Gold in the Women's Singles...becoming the first female tennis player to win Gold despite being unseeded!!!!

http://www.trbimg.com/img-57afa900/turbine/ct-monica-puig-puerto-rico-olympics-gold-medal-20160813

Updates:

** And Bahrain win their first ever gold medal thanks to the help of Kenyan-born Ruth Jebet in the 3000m steeplechase.

*** And Tajikistan win their first gold medal in the Men's Hammer Throw.

Tuesday 9 August 2016

Vietnam's first EVER Olympic Gold Medal

So I am very late to the party but how AMAZING was Vietnam's first EVER Olympic Gold medal?



The way in which Hoang Xuan Vinh conducted himself was quite admirable.

After his competitor had finished his shot, Hoang calmly took about 20+ seconds to shoot his final shot.

And this was despite the jeers and distractions of the unsporting Brazilian crowd (who quite obviously wanted their silver medalist, Felipe Wu, to win). Not to mention the added pressure of needing a good final shot to round things up as Hoang was trailing Wu by an initial margin of 0.2 (not that he knew that he would eventually require a 10.4+ to secure top spot!). Despite these adversities, Hoang managed to fire home a whopping 10.7 to end things and make his nation proud.

Incredible. Congratulations to Vietnam - an historic achievement, their very first.

Andre Lim

Sunday 7 August 2016

Channel 7 disappointment

Here is a series of email exchanges between myself and Channel 7.

"Hi Channel 7,
I want to watch the badminton at the Olympics, however your website is quite poorly constructed and it is difficult to find what is and isn't included in your premium content subscription. Is the badminton offered in your premium subscription - or otherwise how do we watch the badminton?
Thanks - Andre"
[Not the actual words of the email - paraphrased as I don't have a record of it]

"Hi Andre,

Due to the nature of live sport we cannot confirm an exact broadcast schedule for the Badminton. Consider our Premium Access, which means you can watch every sport, every event, everywhere you go on the “Olympics on 7” app and website. It gives you access to up to 36 live event channels and includes over 3,000 hours of live HD coverage also available in catch up, plus reminders and alerts and a 24 hour Olympic News Channel. Premium content is indicated with a padlock...."


"Thanks, so in other words the only guaranteed way to watch badminton is to buy the premium package and stream it on the channel 7 website
Thanks"

"Hi Andre,
That is correct, Premium Access means you can watch every sport, every event, everywhere you go on the “Olympics on 7” app and website."

So I am a bit annoyed with Channel 7's coverage of the Olympic Games. As we all know, the Australian media tends to be biased towards Australians when it comes to sport. While not ideal, that is tolerable so long as television coverage extends to other events that Australians are not necessarily expected to win medals in.

I was disappointed watching the highlights show today on Channel 7 - I spent the whole time waiting for some highlights of Vietnam winning the gold in the men's 10m air pistol; or Thailand winning the women's 48kg weightlifting -- or seeing how South Korea or Hungary won their respective golds on Day One. However I was, instead, 'treated' to a somewhat overdrawn highlights show of various Australian performances at the Games. I do not know if Channel 7 actually showed what I wanted or not, because I just became so exhausted/impatient waiting for those things to come up that I just gave up.

Of course, it is good to see Australians performing at the highest level at the Games on TV. However, it is a little disappointing that the remainder of world talent has to be 'filtered' for this to occur.

I understand that Channel 7 only has a limited number of free-to-air channels. So I suppose it forces people like me to purchase a premium subscription. However, what is "free" and what is "premium" is by no means clear on 7's website. I don't use mobile phone apps -- but the Channel 7 website is a nightmare to navigate. I just wanted to know which sports are covered on free-to-air, and which aren't. The website isn't as user friendly as it should be.

It is Channel 7's onus to ensure the Olympic Games, including event schedules, are properly advertised given that they purchased exclusive rights to them. I suppose I am happy to pay the $20-odd subscription fee but the least they can do is let me know what selection of sports I am getting.

Andre Lim

Wednesday 3 August 2016

Chaotic guide to Malaysia/Singapore for Kevin

My friend Kevin asked me to let him know what is good to do in Malaysia and Singapore. So I've assembled this chaotic sketch of things just for him and his friends.

Of course, everything is all relative and it depends on what you like to do.

Tori Q chicken balls
However, I think it is fair to say that EATING is one of the most important aspects of any visitor's trip to Malaysia/Singapore, and in my view, perhaps the trip should be planned around EATING rather than sightseeing LOL

Here is a list of ideas/tips as recommended by my relatives, family and myself. Particular thanks go to my dad, Chloe, my yiyi Kit Yee, my cousin Ker Leet and my Ah Ghor Bee Ha.

Of course this list is not exhaustive and is probably a starting point for your research.

General tips
  • Not meaning to be alarmist, but please just be mindful that there is a death penalty for drug trafficking in Singapore and Malaysia. You can never be too careful with your luggage, and if there is something you can do to make yourself assured that no one can put things into your bag, then do it even if it is a bit of a hassle. (Eg. Locks on your bag, plastic wrap the whole bag..)
  • If your trip is short I don't think you will have time to go to East Malaysia (which is renowned for its natural beauty - but is notorious for piracy/kidnapping in the coastal areas)
  • Smart Traveller has issued a warning re: safety/terrorism in Malaysia
  • Beware of thieves/mugs/snatch-purses
  • Beware of food poisoning, don't be too adventurous

Food in Singapore
  • If you like coffee, my dad says to try one at a Kopi Tiam in Singapore.
  • Duck noodles on Phillip Street with chilli sauce. Can't remember the exact details but I remember when I was working there in 2011 it was famous.
  • Hainan Chicken rice at Tian Tian (Maxwell food centre, near Chinatown - but the queue is long because it is the current craze as it got some kind of Michelin rating); Boon Tong Kee (there are many outlets including @ River Valley) --- if you can't go to those places never mind as there are plenty of hawker's stalls, see which ones have long lines!!;
  • The chicken balls and unagi at Tori Q (fast food chain - many outlets) are one of my personal favourites.
  • Check out the massive hawker stalls - most famous and biggest one is perhaps Lau Pa Sat (doesn't mean it is the best)
  • Teh Tarik
  • Milo/coffee/horlicks with condensed milk
  • Ice Kachang
  • Jumbo Seafood's Chilli Crab at Clarke Quay --> book here as it is packed http://www.jumboseafood.com.sg/en/home 

Places in Singapore



  • Clarke Quay at night time is a nice place that I would like to revisit
  • Pic#1: Gardens by the Bay (see the controlled greenhouses/cooled conservatories)
  • Pic#2: Marina Bay Sands (go to the top and look at the view - some book a room) which is also next to the ArtScience Museum. By the way, apparently the Singapore Flyer is NOT worth it - you are better off paying for admission to the top of Marina Bay Sands.
  • Nearby MBS is the Helix bridge from memory, that was pretty cool.
  • Night Safari
  • Universal Studios Singapore which is on or near Sentosa Island [not really a priority I guess]
  • Sentosa Island (but expensive now I heard)
  • Little India
  • Chinatown
  • River Safari
  • Singapore Botanic Gardens - I really liked this place but it was REALLY hot.

Stuff in KL if only staying for 1-2 days (no time to go to outskirts)
  • Shopping @ Pavillion - 
  • Lots of shopping:
My aunty also suggests: Lot10, KLCC, MidValley, Sungei Wang, Bukit Bintang, StarHill; in PJ -1U, Paradigm, the Curve, Ikano Power Centre, Atria, K Avenue
  • Twin Towers/Petronas Towers
  • Batu Caves
  • There are tours like one day trips to Sekinchan to visit rice paddy fields, rice processing factories and seafood meals or "Durian, tofu and peanut lolly (Fah Sung Tong)" trips but you may not have time for that as it goes to the outskirts of town
  • Petaling Street (beware of mugs/thieves)

Stuff in Penang if only staying for 1-2 days
  • Gurney Drive - lots and lots of food
  • Kek Lo Shi temple
  • Khoo Kongsi
  • Snake Temple
  • Sleeping Buddha Temple
  • Gold Museum
  • Nyonya Baba Museum
  • Penang Hill
  • Dad says take a car trip along Penang bridge - one of the longest in the world "good experience".


Lonely Planet Kids The Travel Book notes on Malaysia:
- See Rafflesia flowers - quite remote
- Sarawak Chamber in Borneo (East Malaysia's) Gunung Mulu National Park.
- Petronas twin towers
- Orangutans in Borneo

Lonely Planet Kids The Travel Book notes on Singapore:
- Rainbow Temple (Sri Mariamman Temple)
- Gardens by the Bay
- Marina Bay

Lonely Planet The Travel Book notes on Malaysia:
- See KL from the walkway at Petronas towers.
- See tea plantations sprawling across Cameron highlands.
- See dawn view from the summit of Mt Kinabalu, Southeast Asia's highest mountain.
- Penang's dragon-tiled temples in Georgetown.
- Munch on Nasi Lemak in a traditional Melaka coffeeshop.

Lonely Planet The Travel Book notes on Singapore:
- Light a joss stick at Thian Hock Keng temple.
- Soak up the sounds and smells of the subcontinent in Little India.
- Chinatown.
-  Hawker stalls.
- Sip a Singapore sling at Raffles, the famous hotel where the cocktail was invented.
- Asian Civilisations Museum
- Singapore Zoological Gardens and Night Safari
- Sentosa Island
- Sri Mariamman Temple
- Market mayhem, temples and crowds on Waterloo street


Hope this helps you and your friends Kevin!!!

But kindly bear in mind that I know nothing, so make your own experiences perhaps!!

Andre Lim

Thursday 28 July 2016

Jason Wong

A short story before I talk about Jason Wong...

Earlier this week, the PlayStation Network blocked my credit card and, at the time of writing, is still performing background checks/clearances to determine whether I am using my credit card legitimately. I find this strange because this is the same credit card which I have continued to use throughout this week and the week before to purchase other items. In fact, prior to this PSN incident, I've never had any issues with online credit card purchases. I won't go into the full story because it was quite a frustrating ordeal. I'm over it now though.**

So, on Monday 25 July 2016, I told a person by the name of Jason Wong about my problem and asked him if he happened to have a solution to it.

Well of course he did. Jason immediately recommended that I go into JB-Hi Fi or Coles to buy a PSN Wallet top-up card so that I could skirt the issue of the credit card blockage.

That same day I duly obliged and went to JB-Hi Fi during my lunch break.

I came home that day and purchased the items I wanted on the PSN. It worked like a charm!

As I was browsing the PSN store, it occurred to me that this situation had a familiar feel to it. What was it? There was this nagging sense of déjà vu. And then this thought suddenly popped into my head:
This ISN'T the first time that Jason Wong has rescued you from a dilemma 
Yes, this was a minor problem here but he's helped you with bigger things in the past before - or have you forgotten?! 
So I had a massive guilt-trip and thought I should do a write-up for him sometime this week in appreciation of his friendship to me over the years.


Tribute to Jason Wong

During my university days, there were only two people I consistently consulted whenever I ran into brick walls.

These brick walls usually came in the form of struggling through assignments, exams and the daily chore of academic life.

One was a Kevin Ngo, whose write-up is sure to come soon.

The other was Wai Yin Jason Wong.

Now, this is not to say that everyone else was less worthy than these two. But they were people who confided in me and I confided in them.

Given their legendary status in terms of intelligence and university marks (both being honours students), I do not know why Kevin and Jason decided to help a mere mortal like me when I could offer very little, or indeed, anything in return. I obviously still tried my best, but in my view, there is no way that my contribution matched theirs.

Nonetheless I am grateful for their unwaivering help over the years. I can say with absolute conviction (and I'll look anyone in the eye) when I say that I would not have survived university without their help.


Attributes

Jason Wong is a master of analysis. I'm not joking. And I know sometimes I tend to exaggerate, but this time I'm not exaggerating.

Jason will thoroughly break down every argument, every fact and detail. It was almost a pleasure to talk to him about studying for exams, practice exam questions and assignments as he would always be open to what I had to say; yet, obviously, his analysis always seemed to me to be more convincing than anything I could ever offer.

Jason's attention to detail and facts is prevalent in real life too.

Early on in our friendship, I remember back when I had Facebook I posted a picture of the interior of our family car at a petrol station, with seemingly very little information or detail to go off. I still do not know how he did this but Jason Wong commented words to the following effect:
"Andre, were you in the Blue Mountains when you took this photo? And is that a Holden Commodore?"
Sherlock Holmes had spoken. I must have replied something like:
"LOL YES HOW DID YOU KNOW?!"
Jason went on to explain how he had compared the design of the seat patterns with Google Images and how he had spotted a small street sign in the background of my photo.

I was pretty much stunned. This was only a sign of things to come...


Worthy mention: Benjamin Lay

During our uni days, Jason was generous and provided me with typed lecture notes to most of the classes we shared. On many an occasion, I had to skip half or all of the class to attend part-time work.

It is at this point that another name must be mentioned here.

Jason's partner-in-crime was Ben Lay, who possessed an incredible typing rate and memory.

I recall sitting in class next to Ben and observing how he typed his notes.

Ben was typing/summarising what the lecturer said one to two lines ago WHILST listening to what the lecturer was currently saying. It was amazing. It was like he was recording the lecture in his head and displaying it on his laptop screen with a 5-10 second time delay. Ben was consistently doing this with little sign of forgetting or stopping mid-way.

Ben and Jason always helped each other out. I respected and admired that. This was clearly a bond that had been built over many years.

Talk about "Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are." (Not applicable to me)


Interests

Jason is an interesting character with a different outlook of life.

In terms of video games, we usually can only agree to disagree on what are good games. I like Advance Wars 2, he doesn't. He likes Need For Speed, I don't.

However we do have a few things we can agree on: our love of Final FantasyUncharted and The Last Of Us. Although I am not as big a fan of  Final Fantasy as I used to be, we can both certainly vouch for the series' music and general appeal to its fans.

Overall Jason has high standards for almost everything and is pretty hard to please because he brings his analytical skills to the table wherever he goes, so he ends up dissecting topics like he would an assignment.

For example, I know that, apart from F1, tennis is one of the few sports he thoroughly enjoys because of its 'sensible and logical structure' - both sides get a chance to serve; both sides get a chance to break serve. Fair is fair. I had never looked at sport that way before. I just say whether I like it or not.


Thank you

Jason I'd like to thank you for helping me out over these years and for our varied and amusing conversations. May it live long and prosper.

I wish you all the best for everything, and I know you will do well in your chosen calling in life.

Cheers!

Andre Lim


** On one view, given the 2011 hacking incident, I can understand why the PSN has gone berserk with policing security. On the other hand, judging from a quick internet search of the same problem, you can see that a lot of users have been affected by this problem (where accounts were blocked from paying for items for a good 24-48 hours) and people were obviously not happy. I think it has tipped too far down the negative end. If they wanted to check my credit card they should 1) have reasonable grounds for checking it and 2) given me notice that they would be checking my card. Instead, I had to contact them about it and it took them a fair while to get to the core issue.

Monday 25 July 2016

Quote of the Day - Excuses to Justify decisions

"Everyone has a story they tell themselves to justify bad decisions..and it never matters. In the end you are always alone in your actions."
- Hawke, Dragon Age Inquisition

Andre Lim

Friday 15 July 2016

Colonoscopy - Reflections

Today I did a colonoscopy and an endoscopy procedure.

Nothing serious occurred but I just wanted to post a quick note partly for the benefit of any of my friends who have never done a colonoscopy before, and partly for my own reflection.

The battleplan....
I am NOT a doctor, please get your own medical advice and do NOT rely on this, but:
  • A colonoscopy is a procedure that checks your large bowel by inserting a tube down there
  • A general rule seems to be that if you get regular bleeding down there when you go to the toilet, for say 6 months, then you should do a colonoscopy.
  • Another general rule is to get a colonoscopy once you hit 50.
  • Yet another general rule appears to be that you should not do a colonoscopy more than once in a less-than-five-year period.
I also did an endoscopy to check my oesophagus - to see if there were any problems associated with heartburn or reflux.

As far as I can tell the procedures went well thanks to the nurses and doctors, subject to the biopsy results. 

However the worst part really is the PREPARATION for the colonoscopy -- in particular, drinking the PREP liquid (which in my case was Moviprep)


Preparation

My particular procedure required me to, amongst other things, abstain from:
  • Seeds; 
  • Skinned vegetables; 
  • Skinned fruits;
  • Nuts; and
  • Whole grains
for two days prior to the colonoscopy procedure

Some of the recommended foods were hot chips, mash potato, white bread, ice cream and fish. Which was certainly doable!


One day before the colonoscopy:

Starting from 9am on the day before the procedure, I had to drink "clear fluids" ONLY which was defined to include, for example:
  • Water
  • Black tea
  • Black coffee
  • Clear soup
  • Sports drinks (only certain colours permitted)
  • Jelly (only certain colours permitted)
In my case interchanging between the clear soup, jelly and sports drinks was a lifesaver - it provided me with savoury and sweet options!

My sister and my mum's friend were real life savers in particular because they helped me to find, and even prepared, the right food for me :)


Moviprep - $22.99 from Chemist Warehouse to a max (?) of $29 elsewhere

Moviprep deserves a heading of its own because this is what creates the chaos. The best way I can put this (as someone said to me) is that it is a liquid that causes you to 'cleanse your bowels'. 

In other words, there is no nice way to say this --- Moviprep causes you to diarrhoea very badly LOL. Stomach cramping seems to be common too.

Not all procedures are the same but:

At 4pm the day before the procedure, I had to drink 1L of Moviprep, interspersed with 500ml of clear fluid over the next hour or so.

At 8pm I had to drink ANOTHER 1L of Moviprep over the next hour or so.

Starting from midnight of the day of the procedure, I was not allowed any solid food or liquids.


Reflections

Prior to doing this procedure, I had read a forum on the topic. The procedure is not as bad as some people exaggerate ("IT WAS THE WORST DAY OF MY LIFE"), but it is not easy either.

For starters, although Moviprep is 'lemon-flavoured', no amount of lemon scent can actually mask the liquid's true intent. The taste gradually becomes foul after the first few gulps, particularly during the second 8pm dosage (when you are already quite full of liquid).

I had two real battle points during this procedure.


First testing point

The 4pm dose was fine. However the first real testing point was the 8pm dose.

At that point I was already full of liquid (from the 4pm dose plus my clear liquids for 'dinner'), and had to put in more liquid at 8pm. 

I almost felt like vomiting due to the horrible taste, but eventually spread out the 1L over the next 1 hour. 

Yellow Gatorade was my saviour.

You have to finish each dosage as prescribed. As Harry Potter said to Dumbledore: "You've got to keep drinking, remember? You told me you had to keep drinking."


Second testing point

The second testing point is the period from midnight of the day of the procedure to the time of the procedure itself (about 11am for me).

This is difficult because:
a) You are dehydrated but cannot drink water; and 
b) You may get hungry during this time, which is rather dangerous.

I woke up at 4am and at this point I was praying that I would not get hungry because that would be an awkward time to get hungry (my stomach was rumbling). 

However, thankfully I was able to have disturbed sleep for the next few hours and I shook it off.


In hindsight...

...I should have probably:
  • Drank 2 cups of water at about 11.50pm before going to sleep. However quite honestly, I was too tired to do that and had slept by 11.30pm. I was still rather full of liquid.
  • Spread out my consumption of clear liquids in between 4pm to 8pm so that I would not be too full for the 8pm Moviprep dosage.
Being put to sleep

It was also the first time I was put to sleep for a medical procedure.

Thankfully my friend was the anaesthetist which made things comforting :)

I can only remember him saying that there would be a cold shiver down my arm, and the next thing I remember was the nurse waking me up. I did not know what was going on when I woke up and I felt rather dazed!! It was such a strange sensation. I almost forgot who I was or what I was doing there. I had to lie down for it to wear off.

And that makes me wonder...this might be a distasteful subject but...that moment when one blacks out before surgery --- is that what it is like when someone passes away peacefully? 

They just suddenly fade out without realising it? 

Topic for another day.

Happy to be eating now

All I can say is that I'm glad that I can eat again and I would rather NOT do that again LOL.

I now have a tiny understanding of what it is like to undergo a medical procedure - doing a serious operation must be a 1,000,000,000,000 times worse because there is the added element of pain during rehabilitation and recovery etc. What I experienced these last two days is absolutely nothing compared to what others have faced.

I hope this short note proves to be useful for someone :)

I'd like to thank my mum's friend for dropping me off and my granduncle for picking me up - you are not allowed to drive after the procedure

Andre Lim