5 March 2015
I was late, really late for this blog post. I blame my laziness and business during the so-called Recess Week.
So my Week 7 started in Medan. I woke up around 5 am and departed to airport. There I met Steven Awi, Fannie & Finnie who are in the same flight. Inside the flight, I also met Sevilla (the one taught me A-level Physics), and Johan (someone who I met at BF). Throughout the flight back to Singapore, I slept a lot. After arriving at Changi Airport, well, the baggage claim was delayed as “there are additional security screening”. After that I went back to NTU alone via MRT; and oh well, holiday has ended. I started the unfinished job: getting permission for attending CZ3001 lab 3 that I missed cause I went back to my hometown; and settling NTUBS Resource meeting slides and coding! It’s been a while since I coded and committed daily to GitHub for my software engineering project. And well the codebase is getting more and more messier. I also went to NYH to book the Meeting Room for the Resource Meeting.
The next day I started the day with CZ2006 group meeting, and then I went to function room above LKC-LT to donate my blood. This was my third time and for a moment, I’m scared :P (I didn’t feel any of this for the previous two). After this, I ate lunch and went back to my room, resting for a while before going for CZ0002 Green Computing group meeting with Prof Dusit, who gives us the big picture on what to present. Next I attended other tutorial group’s CZ2007 tutorial (as I missed mine cause of the GC group meeting). Going back, I printed CZ3001 lab manual 3 and finished the NTUBS Resource meeting slides.
On Wednesday, I started the day with attending CZ3001 make-up lab, which was quite okay (not very confusing yet not easy) with a quiz at the end of the lab and we need to submit a report by the Monday after recess week. After lunch, I went back, rested, and did some catch-up watching the lecture recording (which has been accumulated till 12 hours!). As always, I speed the recording up to 2x to save time. I ended the day with BU8401 seminar, which was interesting as always and after going back I continued the software engineering project.
On Friday, I started the day do a room booking at NYH. After going back, I started searching for internship at job portals (internsg.com and similar sites) and I applied to around 20 companies. At 11, I went to Hardware Project lab to register for my CZ3001 group project. Around afternoon, I was preparing for my NTUBS Resource meeting, and the first reply came! An interview offer by Healint (a start-up company) and they wanted to interview me on the next day! Umm, it was so rush yet I accepted their offer. On other occasion, one other company replied with a rejection as “the position was filled” and “wished me good luck in my job search”. I also did lecture recording and then went for the meeting. The meeting was really long and was filled with lots of ideas (mostly from Ivan :P ). After the meeting, I was really tired, maybe it was due to my introversion and I was exhausted for the day in speaking to a group of people. Going back, I started to search on the company background, also had this dilemma of whether wear long sleeve shirt or just polo T-shirt (as they were just a start-up company).
Saturday started with me having ICPC training contest which I performed poorly again. I think it was due to me being too attached to a problem which was near AC but still can’t achieve AC. (and later my friend had this hypothesis of the grader being wrong, as he tried on another OJ and the WA solution became AC). After lunch, I went back and had really short rest and decided to wear a long-sleeved shirt for the interview. The interview was held at their company located at Blk71 Ayer Rajah (a block which hosted lots of start-up companies) at one-north (around 40 mins of public transport from NTU). The physical company was quite small: no company sign was posted at the doors and I had quite hard time finding it. I was greeted by Mr Nicolas with a French-accented English and the interview started. I remembered to do lots of stuffs recommended to do during an interview, like smile throughout the interview, do not cross the hands, etc. He started with confirming me being fans of xkcd as he saw my website was xkcd style. After that he asked me about the company knowledge of which I was quite okay in explaining what the company did. After that he asked me for an introduction and I introduced myself shortly and ended with an awkward silence. Next he explained in detail about the company and we chit-chatted about what I’ve done: I showcased my ongoing software engineering project (the back-end, via REST API client); Raun (which was down at the main wmflabs site :'( ); and Code! (collaborative coding platform). I also mentioned that I’ve joined the AI MOOC which uses Python that I think made him sure that I can code in Python as required by the company. He also said that I will be required to display data in dashboard style using D3.js (of which I currently did not have the experience). The interview lasted around 40 minutes and then I went back after that, gaining some attention by meeting some friends on the way back. At night, I focused on resting my mind: watching The Maze Runner which was a really nice movie while doing laundry.
On Sunday, I did not go to BF as I was quite tired and will attend NTUBS Meditation Retreat. I started the day with coding, then editing Wikipedia, and then ending it with lecture recordings of which I finished all of accumulated hours, like finally! Around 5, I quickly packed up my stuffs minimally and around 6 I went for Boon Lay meeting the group for NTUBS Meditation Retreat. It was quite a long journey, (and I ate Choco-cone at Bishan Bus Interchange while waiting for the bus :P ) and we arrived at KMSPKS around 9 pm. There we were briefed by Ven Chuan Guan and then had our phones confiscated. Next were told to sleep but some of them had a discussion which delayed our sleeping time.
10 March 2015
So I’ve been so late that I decided to combine both week into 1 post.
On the Monday, we woke up at 0530. I quickly washed up and went down for meeting Venerable. We had a morning puja and Eight Precept Taking ceremony, which are basically the same as the Five Precept (except the 3rd one become “does not engage in any sexual activity” instead of “sexual misconduct”) + 3 more (doesn’t watch/listen in play/movie/music (entertainment); no meal after midday; and doesn’t sleep in high bed & sit in high chair). We had a seating for around 30 minutes and then the daybreak come. We had a breakfast and then after some rest (very short one), we went to the main shrine. We did meditation in the form of sitting, standing, walking, rest, sitting, walking. And hours have passed. Although in the most seating I can’t concentrate at all since it was really noisy (there was a vehicle cleaning the floor), and hot (I easily perspire when I sat in meditation position, but not when I took rest). But walking is really nice, I never thought that we walked for that long! After this kind of things, we had lunch which is the last meal of the day. Honestly, I don’t really like the veggies served, but I should eat a lot since it will be the last meal of that day. After lunch, we headed back to our room for around 30-mins nap. Then we resumed at 1pm, sitting and walking. Around 3pm, we requested for a “sleeping” and it was granted. At first I can concentrate, but time passed and I felt asleep although I think I was still aware of the surroundings. When the session ended, (since I heard the venerable ending the session) I did not really sure whether I was asleep but the feeling is similar to when I woke up. After a washup, we continued to do sitting meditation until around 5pm in which I really can concentrate on my breath. We we told to have shower and rest for a while before going back to the main shrine. At the main shrine, we had an evening puja and a little Q&A with venerable. After that, we did a sitting and ended the day around 2130. The NTUBS committees had a little meeting with venerable before we went back to sleep. I had quite a trouble in sleeping since I was hungry! After quite some time, I finally fell asleep but I dreamed about me with my family having a reunion, eating together before going somewhere else.
On Tuesday, we woke up again at 0530, did some wash up, and then meeting venerable for a morning puja, a sitting, and then ended the meditation retreat. Next, we had a breakfast (at last, a meal!) and our handphones are being given back again. Whew, 36-hour off and I got 35 e-mails! We then packed up our stuffs before going back (Xin Zhao showed us the Recycling Corner of KMSPKS first). We decided to use bus to Clementi (since there was news that Circle Line was really crowded) and continued the journey using MRT. After arriving in JP, I went to Fairprice to restock (milk, apples, and bread). Going back to samsara (as jokingly said by Venerable), I did various ketchup like reading emails, replying emails, did some stuffs required for my projects, editing Wikipedia, . In the afternoon, I had a CZ2006 Software Engineering group project meeting and then went back, coding, and watching some YouTube videos. (I recently get addicted to CGP Grey’s video, since it was really interesting) Well, people said my YouTube watching pattern was weird: I usually watched educational (Minute Physics, Veritasium, CGP Grey) and Coldplay videos; but rarely on comedy videos.
Wednesday, I woke up quite late and went to Hardware Lab 4 for a free access lab, doing my CZ3001 lab report. After that, I hang around LWN Library before going to HPCC tour. High Performance Computing Centre (HPCC) is a small data center (or even supercomputer), in NTU. We were given a short presentation about its layout before going in to the room that host this computer. It was really noisy but not that hot. Even on the exhaust fan, the air was cool since they installed water cooling at the back of the rack. It was quite nice to know this kind of new knowledge. When I first encountered HPCC, I though it was full and have a lot of computer inside but that day I knew that inside was just around half utilized and got numerous empty space and racks. After this tour, I went back and did lots of coding for the CZ2006 back-end like enabling sending email via external SMTP server via a PHP library. I also got nostalgic and browsed my old photo archive and contributed it to Wikimedia Commons.
On Thursday, I went for my second job interview at Pixnplay, at Tai Seng. The location of the company was quite far from the MRT but the company looks bigger than Healint. Being interviewed in Bahasa Indonesia (since the interviewer is Indonesian) is quite weird. Well, I showcased c4 and Raun to him but he did not look impressed. Towards the end of the interview, he said that I can do the job and offered me the job; but I said that I’ve been offered somewhere else also and haven’t had a decision yet. The interview was really short: 15 minutes. After I came back, I did some coding before going for CNS Programmer meeting, which was lengthy but fruitful. Then I went back to my room (as I swapped slot for the CITS duty since I thought that there will be a dinner with Michael Lie, but turned out everyone can’t make it) and did some other stuffs like coding.
Friday started with CITS duty at OSSAC which was quite nice since it was recess week. There mostly I did nothing productive since I didn’t bring my laptop. After lunch, I went to print and submit documents to OSSAC and went to NYH for meeting WJ and Sherly, for CNS matter, and then went back to my room. I found some easy and interesting bug on Mozilla’s bugzilla and tried out to fix it and merge it to their repo. Around 4pm, I went out for celebrating Teheri’s birthday with NTUBS people, which was just very few who turned out. Then going back, I rested for a while and did some coding before going out again for celebrating Teheri’s birthday with Medanese student which turned out to be quite lengthy.
Saturday started late (with me watching TBBT) but productive as I did lots of coding on this day. This day too I finished the CZ3001 lab report by doing a virtual access (remote desktop connection) to lab for using the software needed, luckily it still worked. :P In the afternoon (around 5pm), I decided to go swimming which I never did for some times already. After my dinner, I spent lots of time watching YouTube’s CGP Grey video since it was quite interesting to get new knowledge.
On Sunday, I went to Buddhist Fellowship’s Special Sunday Service whom the speaker was Ajahn Sumedho, the first Western disciple of Ajahn Chah, and it was REALY CROWDED. Arriving around 1050, I was sent upstairs to BF’s (3rd floor) room which screened live stream from the 2nd floor’s Dharma hall and yet it was still very packed with lots of people. The talk itself was quite general: how we should give up in trying to know everything since it was quite meaningless in spiritual advancement; it was just like meditation which goal was not to gain something but to be aware of the moment; also on everything is impermanent, non-self, and suffering. [quoted some from the summary posted by BF people] After the lunch provided there, I and Rizky went to SUTD (Singapore University of Technology and Design) to attend their Open House, pretending to be incoming uni student :P by bus + MRT to Tanah Merah and then shuttle bus to SUTD.
Well, SUTD building was nicely designed although not as big as NTU (maybe the whole SUTD is just around NS-SS area, with their main buildings was just around NS big [with the spines, N1-N4], without the NS extensions [like N2.1, N4.1, etc]). Nevertheless, we attended the president’s talk who did a nice impression by going into the stage by a small electric vehicle, giving the presentation on 8 reasons why you should join SUTD. On the side note, he also surprised a faculty member for his birthday. Well, quite unconventional but yeah, he made a good impression.
What makes SUTD so different from NTU is the curriculum: SUTD is more multidisciplinary (their first three terms [around 1 year in total] were studying the same foundation) and more on gaining experience: they require most students to take on 2 summer internships. After that, the students we split into “pillars” (like “majors”) and can take various “tracks” (like “specialization”) and finally a “capstone” (like “FYP”) for graduation. And their standard study load was 4 courses per term. What!?!?! 4 courses per term [no tricks, not “Core course”, “4” is including miscellaneous courses like Entrepreneurship, Management, Social Sciences, Economics, Humanities, and Arts (like elective in NTU) ! And yet they graduate in 3.5 years; and also they just study their own major in like their 2nd year. How could this be? When I compare their Computer Science-like “pillar” called ISTD (Informations System Technology and Design), they just study quite basic courses like “Intro to Info System and Programming” (CZ1003 Intro to Computational Thinking + CZ1002 Intro to Computer Systems combined?), “Computation Structures” (CZ1007 Data Structures?), “Intro to Algorithms” (CZ2001 Algorithms?), “Prob & Stats” (CZ1008 Engineering Mathematics?), “Elements of Software Construction” (CZ2006 Software Engineering?), “Computer System Engineering” (CZ1006 Intro to Computer Organization and Architecture + CZ3001 Advanced Computer Architecture?). Besides that, the modules available are for the “tracks” (specialization). Even Artificial Intelligence is on their “tracks” courses while in NTU it was everyone’s core subject. Well, maybe in NTU we just learned too much general stuffs :P Besides the academic stuffs, SUTD had a quite confusing building layout (and we got lost numerous times) and their hall of residence is just like Hall 17 & 18, got small lake (which color is grey-green, compared to Hall 17 & 18’s yellow-brown; albeit their building not standing on the lake but besides it) :P
After the nice and tiring experience in SUTD, we were given free shuttle bus to Tanah Merah (arrived there around 1740) and since I should meet NTUBS MC people at 1800 at Bedok, which was just a station distance, we walked from Tanah Merah MRT station to Bedok MRT station! Turned out to be not a wise decision, firstly, it was far (4 bus stops distance) and rainy (luckily I wore my new shoes which is somewhat waterproof, well my old shoes may get wet if I walked in a wet road, even if it is not raining; and also we brought umbrellas). After we arrived at Bedok, Rizky left me and I met the rest of NTUBS MC people, who took bus with wrong direction and we alighted at Tanah Merah MRT station -__________- Oh no, I walked to Bedok from Tanah Merah to save this 77 cents and then 77 cents were just accidentally spent. After that, we took the bus with correct direction and alighted quite after quite far and walked to the vegan restaurant “Loving Hut” to have a dinner with NTUBS Alumni people. The dinner was nice although quite expensive. Also we exchanged some information from and to the alumni members which one of them explained why NTUBS pay income taxes while other society does not. After the dinner, we went back and arriving at my hall, I did some unproductive stuffs before going to sleep.