Steph's Friend

Saturday, March 31, 2007

How The Blind Travels

There was once I took the bus 198 back home. Everything seemed normal. The bus was crowded and stuffy. I stood at the standing area and read my book.

Then at this stop, there was this man who walked to where I was with a long stick. He was using this stick to "feel" around the bus. He finally decided to stand in front of me. Since the bus was crowded with a blind man in front of me with a stick, I decided to keep my book. I wasn't really sure that he was blind, so I decided to study him.

I looked at the blind man. He wasn't wearing any sunglasses. Normally blind people wear dark glasses, but maybe he is just blind but doesn't like to wear a pair. Conclusion - Unsure.

I looked a look at his eyes. They seemed to be unfocused. His eyes only look straight ahead which was typical of a blind person since his eyes can't see anything. Conclusion - He's blind.

I looked at his arms. They were very muscular. Now, how would a blind man get muscular arms? I am not trying to be mean but you don't see blind people in the gym or something like that. Let's say he is really blind, then maybe he trained with weights at home? Or maybe he wasn't blind before but some unfortunate incident happened and he became blind. Conclusion - Unsure.

Then suddenly, he turned his head towards me...and talked to me! Now how did he know that I was there? I didn't make any noise or accidentally brush against him or anything like that. I can only guess.

Blind man: Excuse me.
Me: !!
Blind man: Is the bus now at Telecoms?
Me: !!!! (How did he know?) Yes, it's at Telecoms.
Blind man: Thank you.

Actually I wanted to ask him how on earth did he know, but I thought that it won't be a polite thing to do. So I decided to think and come up with reasons on how did he (or any blind people) know where the bus was without his sight. I came up with a few.

By that time, the bus was near my house. I decided to help the blind man by telling him where the bus was.

Me: Excuse me.

The blind man turns his head with eyes looking straight which can actually be quite scary.

Blind man: Yes?
Me: The bus will be approaching the Jurong East polyclinic soon at the next stop.
Blind man: Polyclinic...polyclinic...oh ok. So you are stopping here?
Me: Yes I am.
Blind man: Okay. Thank you.

At that point, I said something stupid.

Me: Bye. See you.

I was not being mean or what but it came out so naturally. I know he was blind but I didn't realize that the "see you" part would be spoken also. The blind man didn't seem offended though. He just smiled.

I thought about how the blind man was able to tell where he was and came up with a few possibilities.

First, maybe he relied on his sense of time. As the bus journeyed, he would guess where the bus was by the time that had passed.

Second, maybe he relied on inertia. Let me explain. When the bus turned, people tend to sway to the opposite side. This swaying or inertia is experienced whether you are standing or sitting. So maybe he would take down the number of turns the bus has passed by and from there guess where the bus was. I used this method when I was in JC. As I woke up early in the morning, I would sleep in the bus and rely on the turns made by the bus to guess where the bus was. Let me tell you that this method is pretty accurate. Most of my guesses were correct.

Third, maybe he used the first and second method plus asking the people around to confirm with his guesses. Asking around would be the most accurate way, unless he meets up with a nasty fellow.

These are just my guesses, who knows, I maybe wrong. However, there are a few things that I can't understand. How did he get those muscular arms? Maybe he wasn't blind initially and from there had strong arms? I don't know.

Who says that bus trips are boring? It isn't if you observe.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Irony Behind This Technical Conversation

He recognised her from far and decided to start a conversation. She was in the university's Study Corner reading up some books.

He: Hi.
She: Hi. Do I know you?
He: Haha...remember we were in the same CCA in JC?
She: Oh yah yah. So how are you?
He: Well I am now studying Science and this semester I have this module called "Introduction to Technical Language and Writing".
She: Really? I am taking that as an elective in this term. I thought that it will be good to know some technical jargons especially when I plan to be a financial consultant in some research institute.
He: That's nice.

It was at this point of time that the conversation started to go technical.

She: So what do you know about technical language?
He: about photosynthesis?
She: That's easy. It's just some plant absorbing CO2 to give O2 and at the same time make food for themselves.
He: True...that's the overall aim of it. How about Quantum Physics?
She: Ah hah! Now that's interesting.

And so it begins.

He: Did you know that electrons exhibit both wave and particle like features?
She: I see...I read somewhere that as m approaches x where x is some constant, d approaches another theoretical constant also known as r.
He: Not really, it should be k.
She: Oh ok.
He: Also, the wave function is notable when the frequency of harmonic oscillations approaches the natural resonance frequency of the electron carrier. So more if the environment displays an anisotropic behaviour.
She: Anisotropic in terms of?
He: Anisotropic as when lambda theta is reduced to near-zero.
She: Now that's interesting.
He: Yes.
She: I maybe new in this but I feel that if lambda theta is incorporated into the sin-cos formulae of Beuller, then maybe the anti-matter of the electron maybe realised.
He: Now that's something new!

Then her stomach rumbled. After all, it was lunch time.

She: Oh shucks, I am hungry. Want to go and eat?
He: Oh okay.
She: By the way, I have to be honest with you. I know nuts of what I said just now. Haha. So please don't share them with anyone.
He: Really? Same here. I was just blabbering stuff.
She: Wow! You sounded so natural.
He: The same goes for you.
She: I guess this course on technical language maybe interesting after all.
He: Haha...
She: And I thought you know what you were talking about.
He: Not really. I just agree with you and blabber some other irrelevant stuff. I am surprised that you agreed with me.

Just then, a senior professor from the university approached them.

Prof: I couldn't help but overhear your "interesting" conversation.
He and She: Really?
Prof: It was totally off the charts.
He: Haha...I know.
Prof: It totally exceeded my expectations! I didn't realised that you could actually incorporate lambda theta in the sin-cos formalae. Nice job She.
She: Huh?
He: You must be joking. It cannot be that the nonsense she sprouted was some new discovery.
Prof: Yes I am joking. You two better go to your classes now instead of behaving like a scientific fool.
He: That's an oxymoron isn't it? Scientific fool.
She: I think we better stop all these. Let's go.

And so, the two went to the canteen.

He: Jia lat paiseh. Hopefully he won't be the one teaching in the course on technical language.
She: Yes. If not maybe he will even ask us to demonstrate our "knowledge" and "skill" in front of everyone.
He: Hopefully not.

Sadly, they were wrong. The senior professor was the one lecturing in that class and also, He and She were asked to provide a negative demonstration.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

A Special Someone's Birthday Celebration

It was my first experience in a jewelery store. I know nothing about buying those gems and precious stones that are dubbed as "a woman's best friend". I was looking for one for someone special.

Sales Attendant: Yes sir, how can I help you?
Me: I am looking for a pair of earrings. The dangling kind.
Sales Attendant: Hm...okay. Please come over that side. I will show you some earrings that may suit what you have in mind.

I walked with her over to a glass counter. As she looked for a pair that suits my requirements, I was secretly hoping that the price tag would be friendly. After all, my salary isn't quite high, so something beyond $1000 would be too pricey. Maybe $300 to $400 would be bearable. If it's for that someone special, I guess it would be bearable.

Sales Attendant: How's this? Does it look nice?

I asked a realistic question.

Me: How much is it?
Sales Attendant: Let me see. After discount it will be...about $500.
Me: Erm...okay. How about that one? That looks nice.
Sales Attendant: This? This would be around...$1200.

At that point of time, I was shocked. Never ever in my life have I seen something so small and expensive. Let me emphasize that it's SMALL and EXPENSIVE.

Me: Wah...that's very expensive.
Sales Attendant: Of course, after all, this has 3 diamonds in it. If it's too expensive, how about this one?
Me: How much is that?
Sales Attendant: It's about $300.
Me: But it doesn't look nice and elegant.
Sales Attendant: You want me to try it on so you can see?

Either the sales attendant was being nice or she was just trying to get a chance to wear some expensive stuff.

Me: Nah, it's okay. It doesn't look nice anyway.

I need to find something nice and affordable, something that would fit that someone special. Sheesh, it's so hard to do that with a tight budget. After thinking for a long time, I could see that the sales attendant was getting sian. She may be thinking that a small boy like me wouldn't have the cash for something nice. Haha...I guess she maybe right.

I gave the reason of not having enough money before leaving the shop. As I walked out of the shop, I thought that at least I must buy something before I see her. After all, it was her birthday on that day. So what should I buy?

I went to BreadTalk. I saw a "Tiramisu Classic" birthday cake. The price was pricey for a birthday cake. But I guess when you love someone, giving things to him/her would be a natural thing to do. After all, love isn't really about receiving, but giving also. Of course you can't give all the time, a balance between both would be good.

I know she has never tried tiramisu before. So despite the price, I bought it. I hoped that she would like it. With the cake, I went to the bus interchange and took 198 to her place.

In the bus, a lot of thoughts went through my mind. Should I draw more money and just buy a pair of earrings that looks good on her? What if it doesn't suits her taste? What if she wanted something else? Would a cake without any presents do? Lots of questions and few answers. I held the cake tightly as the bus was crowded and tried my best to protect it from being squashed. After all, a squashed cake wouldn't look as exquisite as one that isn't squashed.

The bus reached the stop and I walked to her house. I went in but she wasn't around. So I kept the cake in the fridge and took a nap.

I woke up to a familiar voice. It was my dad. A few seconds later, I heard her voice. I guess she's there. So I quickly woke up and went to the fridge while my dad and brother called her to come and see. I placed the cake on the kitchen table. She entered the kitchen table and was pleasantly surprised.

She's none other than my mother.

I told her about my initial plan to buy a pair of earrings for her but she said that it was not necessary. Furthermore, when I described to her the design that I wanted to buy, she said that what she wanted was another design. Thankfully I didn't buy that earring, else it would be a waste as it wasn't what she wanted. It was then that I noticed something.

My mother started to tear.

I did not feel good as it was her birthday and she's tearing. I guessed she was touched, but somehow, I just felt uncomfortable. I mean you won't feel happy when your mother cries right? Same. It was a happy and yet uncomfortable situation for me. She was touched. Normally, birthday celebrations would come with a simple cake or a family meal outside, but her's on that day was special because the cake was the most expensive so far.

She was touched. Amidst the tears she said "thank you". was simply too mushy for me. I just smiled and nodded my head. My father was smiling and so was my brother. After the tears and all, we started to eat the cake. It was my family's first take on tiramisu. It was then that one of us said this.

Someone: Hm...this tiramisu tastes great! Why do I say so? Because it's expensive, so must say nice.

We all laughed.

It was a simple, cozy and memorable birthday celebration for my mother.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

I Love You

I guess I must say it. I thought of it the day before but decided not to post it since I had a post already, but now I feel that I must post about this.

It was a romantic night. He brought her out to the beach to celebrate her birthday. The food was simple but the mood fantastic. The cake was a simple slice of strawberry cheesecake. The waves were calm and smooth and surprisingly, the beach was quite empty. The stars were in the sky witnessing the chemistry between him and her. It seemed as if that spot was calm and serene, a contrast from busy Singapore. He hoped that she would enjoy her birthday celebration. She hoped that this will last forever.

He looked at her as she gaze into the stars. He never knew she was so beautiful. Suddenly, she turned her head and caught him looking at her. He turned his head away. Both of them smiled. It was then that she held his hands tightly and inched her face closer to his.

She: Thanks for this wonderful night.

He: You are welcome.

She: You know something?

He: Yes?

She: Haha...I told you before and I will tell you again.

He: :)

She: I love you.

He: Who's "I"? Is he or she your friend?

She: -_-

Mwahaha! This was a joke I thought of. Imagine how sian the girl will be. I am so sorry if you were expecting something mushy and romantic. Well, the story was mushy (the part where the girl told the boy that she loved him) and romantic (a birthday celebration at the beach), but I guess the ending was not. Haha. This reminds me of the Singapore Love Story I posted quite some time ago. If you really want to read something serious and Korean-drama-ish, you can read the story on "The Value Of Honesty In A Relationship".

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Rainy Day

It was late. The transport to Jurong East MRT had left. To wait for the next one would mean that I had to wait for about 30 minutes more. So I thought maybe I should just take public transport.

I walked out of the building towards the bus stop. The rain was heavy. By the time I reached the bus stop, I was almost wet. It was a bad day. However, as time passed, I noticed a few interesting things.

1. The Clown

I was waiting at the bus stop for one bus (what else could I wait for?). Then there was this university student who ran under the rain to the bus stop. He saw his friend and his friend saw him. They talked for a while before the man who ran under the rain (let's call him A and his friend B) started to squeeze his shirt to dry it. Nothing weird. Everything looks normal. However, what he did next stunned me. He took off his shoes and his socks! It was not just socks but wet socks! He started to squeeze his pair of socks. I stared at those pair to see if any water would come out of it. Nope. Nothing. Ew....I am so not going to shake his hands. He didn't just stop there. He started to fling his socks in the air to dry it. Can you imagine droplets of "sock water" that gets flung all over? And near him were two girls. I pity them. B looked confused and puzzled. I guess this conversation followed.

B: What are you doing?
A: Drying my socks?
B: Must you fling them about?
A: It dries faster this way.
B: I don't know you.
A and B: Haha.

I thought it was the end. I thought I had to watch one guy playing with his socks until the bus arrived. It was then that I heard some giggling behind and I turned my head.

2. The Lovers

Lo and behold it was a loving couple sharing an umbrella under the rain. Normally people would complain how bad the day was, how drenched they are and how they didn't take down the time the rain started for 4D. However, this couple was smiling! It's almost as if they were enjoying themselves! It was romantic. I guess when you are in love, even the rain won't be able to douse the flames of love.

The bus came and I board it. It reached another stop and I changed buses. I sat down and waited for the bus to reach home.

3. The Foot Man

It was at a particular top where this particular man took the bus. Something seemed weird about him. Something was amiss. Then I realized what it was. He was not wearing any shoes. He doesn't look like a local. Maybe in his country it's normal for people to take out their shoes when it rains. However, for this man, I couldn't see his shoes held in his hands or was there any shoe bag. Where were his shoes? Could it be in his bag? It was the only thing that he was carrying. Or maybe he lost his slippers/shoes in the heavy rain. I don't know. At least he's not like The Clown who played with his socks. Thankfully he didn't play with his feet.

4. The Mother

After a few stops had passed, there was this mother and kid (around 3 or 4 years old) who boarded the bus. She was carrying her bag, her child's bag and a big umbrella. She looks tired and yet still need to ensure that her kid stays quiet and still. I realized how difficult it is for a working mum. No wonder many Singaporean mothers are hesitant to have children. First of all, it is tiring to have a child. Next, their career most probably will be at stake if they have children. No wonder the government is trying so hard to encourage babies and all. This mother and son also reminded me of my younger days. My mother used to wait for me when it rained outside my primary school. It was very nice of her. It was tough and I guess it still is tough to be a mother.

My stop arrived and I went back home.

Who says that a rainy day is all gloom? It can be interesting if you observe.

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

NTU Open House 2007

Today, I went to NTU's open house. I went there with my dad and brother. It was quite interesting. When we walked towards this open space which I have no idea what you call it, there were a lot of booths that displayed the school's CCAs. Then there was this building where the projects done by the students were showcased. For me, my first stop was to go into the place where they had booths for the different courses. Naturally, I went to the Materials Science and Engineering booth.

In that booth, I met some familiar faces. Very interesting. We talked and I got to know more about the school. After that, we explored the other booths. At this point of time, I tried to get to know some of my readers who were in NTU. So, I went to this particular booth and asked whether so-and-so was around. Apparently, the kind lady whom I asked was a year one student and she didn't really know that so-and-so. Oh well, it's okay then. After exploring the booths, we walked out for a Materials Science and Engineering tour. Quite interesting.

Before the tour started, there was this student who distributed Milo for visitors to drink. I took a cup. Now that Milo was very unique. How should I describe's not like your normal packet or canned Milo. The taste is different in a good way. It tasted better. I think it was the best Milo I ever had. Must be some new materials they used (that's why must join MSE). Anyway, after refreshing ourselves with the Milo, we went for the tour.

The one who brought us around was a nice lady. She helped us throughout the tour, explaining what equipments they used and how life is like in MSE. When we reached this place (I forgot the name of it), we alighted and looked at the different equipments they had. After the tour, we had refreshments! I think it's quite nice of MSE to have refreshments for visitors. Kinda professional don't you think? The refreshments tasted very nice! Sadly, we didn't have much time, so we left. I am not sure whether other school tours have refreshments or not as I didn't go for them. Why? Because my brother need to go somewhere else later in the afternoon. So after the tour, we took the bus back.

Now while we were still in the bus, we could see the Milo van still parked there. It's free and I am thirsty. Then this conversation followed.

Me: Later want to go and drink Milo?
Bro: No lah, we should just fill the water bottle in the goodie bag with Milo.
Me: Really? Like that very paiseh one you know.
Bro: Why not?
Me: No...we shouldn't do that. You know what we should do?
Bro: What?
Me: We should drive the van back to our house. Then we can drink all we want.
Bro: ...

Now, for everyone's sake, please do not drive that van away. It was said for fun and shouldn't be followed.

So after we got down from the bus, we drank some Milo. Of course I didn't ask the driver of the van whether I could drive the van away. He may just stare at me. After drinking, I went to the Eureka exhibits for awhile before we all left.

Overall, I would say that it was a fun experience. I got to know more about the school and the course that I am applying for. I can't wait to enter NTU MSE!

(Note: This is my 500th post.)

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Kenangan Terindah With English Translation

Aku yang lemah tanpamu
(I am weak without you)
Aku yang rentan karena
(I am vulnerable because of)
Cinta yang tlah hilang darimu
(The love which was lost from you)
Yang mampu menyanjungku
(That was able to flatter me)

Selama mata terbuka
(As long as my eyes are open)
Sampai jantung tak berdetak
(Even until my heart stops beating)
Selama itu pun
(It's as far as that will)
Aku mampu untuk mengenangmu
(I try to make you happy)

(From you)
Kutemukan hidupku
(Have I seen my life)
(For me)
Kau lah cinta sejati
(You are my one true love)



Bila yang tertulis untukku
(If what was written for me)
Adalah yang terbaik untukmu
(Is the best for you)
Kan kujadikan kau kenangan
(Then will I remember you as)
Yang terindah dalam hidupku
(My most beautiful memory in my life)

Namun takkan mudah bagiku
(It won't be easy for me)
Meninggalkan jejak hidupku
(To leave these footsteps in my life)
Yang tlah terukir abadi
(They were engraved permanently)
Sebagai kenangan yang terindah
(As the most beautiful memories in my life)


The above are lyrics to the song titled "Kenangan Terindah" by Samsons with the unofficial English translation done by me. I like this song because of its melody. I am not sure if you noticed it but the chord structure in the chorus is similar to Pachelbel's Canon In D. I like Canon in D so maybe that's why I like this song. I guess it's because of that similarity there.

It happened sometime ago. I was playing the chorus of this song on the piano when I heard someone humming behind me. It was a lady's voice. This song is popular in Indonesia, so it's no surprise that most people would know it. However, I wondered who could that lady be?

However, to stop and turn my head (the piano was facing the wall) to take a look would mean that I would need to stop and turn my head. That would be insensitive to the lady who was humming along with me. I ignored the humming and continued to play the chorus.

The humming got nearer and nearer. Whoever that lady was, I could sense that she was walking towards me. I ignored the humming again and continued to play on the piano.

Then suddenly, I could feel her hand on my shoulder.

Lady: That's a nice song. You played well.

This time I stopped playing and turned my head. After all, she stopped her humming and started a conversation. I recognized her face.

Me: Thanks. Do you know the title of this song?

Lady: Not too sure. But I know that it's quite famous here in Medan.

Me: I see.

After that short conversation, she went off. As for me, I continued to play the chorus of the song.

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Semua Baik

Dari semula
Tlah Kau tetapkan
Hidupku dalam tangan-Mu
Dalam rencana-Mu Tuhan

Rencana indah
Tlah Kau siapkan
Bagi masa depanku
Yang penuh harapan

Smua baik, smua baik
Apa yang tlah Kau perbuat di dalam hidupku
Smua baik sungguh teramat baik
Kau jadikan hidupku bererti

Walaupun kadang kala aku gak ngerti kenapa hal2 harus terjadi, tapi aku yakin bahwa di dalam semua kejadian, ada tangan Tuhan yang membimbing.

Smua baik. Memang benar...smua baik.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

DSTA advertisement in Scholars' Choice 3

As I read through the papers this morning, something interesting caught my eye. That article is located in the bottom half of the first page in Scholars' Choice III (Friday, 2 March 2007).

Familiar? I did it before. This time, I tried again and see if I could break the code like the other time.

The result was yes.

This whole exercise was an interesting brain workout in the early morning. It feels good when you are able to do these kind of things as it helps you to think and gives you a sense of accomplishment.

(Note: I won't post the answers or any clues here. Try to break it without help, you will be even more satisfied if you do so.)

(For more information on the DSTA Scholarship, you can refer here)

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Thursday, March 01, 2007


Not well.
Need to rest.

(The above is a haiku. A haiku is something like a poem consisting of three lines. These three lines should convey a certain message. For more information on what a haiku is, you can click here.)

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