Friday, September 30, 2005

MIT Interview

Cool! Just finished my interview at the American Club... The interviewer was a Chinese Hong Kongner who moved to Singapore, and was born in New York.

The interview went smoothly. We largely discussed my extra-curriculars, and my attitude towards studies. I guess I largely kept in tune with my application content... so that should be a good thing. Now, I can only hope for the best...

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Apple: Greedy Labels

Okay, so the music labels want to raise the prices of the songs on the iTunes music store to USD1.49 per song. And then Steve Jobs lashes back at them labelling them as greedy. Well, guess what? I totally agree with him.

I'm definitely against rising prices. Isn't this a blatant and outright collusion by the industry to extort more money out of consumers? By rising prices to $1.49 per song, it'll cost more to buy the entire album of, say $10 songs, than it would to buy the album itself. That's just assuming the album prices stay the same - even if they don't stay the same, raised prices still wouldn't be a deal.

Heck, I still can't buy from the store yet, but nonetheless, if the music record labels still try to extort more money out, it'd be totally unreasonable. That'd just be a profit-maximizing scheme, which totally isn't the way to go. Companies should give good pricing, rather than maximize their profit, for only those that give the best deal to customers can attract them back. That's probably called "sustainable profiteering", rather than blatant extortion.

Even if prices were to be raised, now's definitely not the time. $0.99 per song has become the most best kind of pricing available, for it gives a flat rate that's cheap enough to combat piracy. If there were to be graded pricings, that'd only cause uncertainty in the consumer base, because this would mean that prices are subject to fluctuations at the whims and fancies of industry players. To put it simply, "That's not fair!"

Music record labels accused Jobs of holding up double-standards - that he could gradate the prices of his iPods, but wouldn't allow that for the music store. Obviously, very obviously, the music record labels are trying to shoot themselves in the foot. Why can Jobs afford to vary his iPods' prices? It's all a matter of PIRACY.

It's because he's not fighting a massive war against pirated iPods! He's merely facing competitors who are also trying to profit out of *similar* products. Hence, he needs to show his products' comparative advantage, in not only the pricing, but also the value for money. Jobs' iPods have different inherent value to themselves - being better, smaller, with more features - and, well, you can't possibly ask for the Nano and the Shuffle and the regular iPod to all be one flat price. That's unreasonable.

On the other hand, looking at the poor state of the music industry, they're only lucky they've got loyal consumers like myself who'll buy the un-pirated albums (but that's only because I'm a fan of those music groups whose albums I buy). They face rampant piracy - and they need to combat it fast. If they start to raise prices, they put off customers; if they gradate the prices, making newer albums more expensive than older ones, they risk alienating a good proportion of buyers from the music store.

Think, if they can sell more than 70% of their music through the iTunes music store, wouldn't that mean that they'd be shooting their own feet by raising the prices? Assuming that 15% of their customers get turned off by the raised prices, it would translate to 10.5% loss in sales from the iTunes store – wouldn’t the magnitude be good enough to scare them off?

Even if the labels say that music is an art, and newer albums should be valued higher than the older albums, well, then their own numbers would show whether the public values the items or not. If a particular song is super-duper hot, naturally, more people would value it and buy it, and that would translate into higher sales for themselves. Why, then, would they need to raise the prices?

Think, record labels, think. It just isn’t time, it just isn’t right.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Pro Photos

Now I feel like a pro. I'm actually using plastic gloves, in order to protect the photos from fingerprint damage. Bet I look and act like the real archivist now... except... I'm still in a singlet and shorts. Haha...

4 AM Ice Cream and TV

Right, so I watched TV and ate 1/4 of a tub of ice cream at 4 AM in the morning. And now I'm blogging all about it. What an entry.

Yumm... the ice cream was chocolate and mint, while I watched "Crime Scene" on Discovery.

Actually, I could have well opted for the much healthier, and more convenient, grapes (which were on the coffee table), but I guess I couldn't resist my sweet tooth for the ice cream. After all, after a few dozen grapes, they all start to taste the same - sour-ish, bitter after-taste... no point eating them any more if they don't bring any pleasure, isn't it?

Ah well, that was a naughty move by me. Time for me to get back to sleep...

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Stupid, selfish me.

Perfect. Now I've lost Jin Guan's watch.

How I should have known better, than to simply irresponsibly leave his watch on the class bench, enclosed in a box made out of the school magazine paper. Stupid me. I simply forgot that nobody would be looking after the box, and that there would also be a chance for the box to get thrown out by the cleaners.

Yes, and it was confirmed later yesterday when he buzzed me over MSN, and asked me about his watch. I asked if there was anything on the class bench, but he said nothing. And it was then that my biggest fears were confirmed - I had lost a borrowed item.

Now I'm going to have to wiat till mom comes back, before I can leave for school and start searching for his watch in - nowhere else but - the recycling bins. That's the most likely place that his watch would have been thrown into. Sigh... After that, it'll be to the lost and found, before I finally can sit down at the hui suo and do my Bio paper 3.

Gee, so much for learning about responsibility.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Right, wish me luck.

Wish me luck now. Biology paper's tomorrow. Hope I pass it with at least a C. Sigh. No, wait, C is too high. Fine, let it be a D. No D? Alright, E. Whatever. Get more than fifty, will you?

Uber s******

Gosh, Bio's later... the essays are going to own me. I'm so deaded. Save me, Mrs. Foo...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Rocks my Socks, Pwns my butt...

Chem pwns my butt.. Imagine sitting there, in an air-conditioned room, for 2 hours and 45 minutes straight, rushing out ten 10-mark questions. Gee... wonder who can withstand that torture. I know, for one, that my butt was twitching by the time I reached Section D of that paper. The last two questions, on food chem, made me wanna eat.

And in comes physics the next day, my favorite subject... which, during the first paper, rocked my socks off. Gosh, who could have imagined that I wouldn't be able to finish off my MCQ!! (My last four answers were DCBA. There's only one obvious reason why.) So I slapped myself awake, and then started to psyche myself - "wake up bugger, wake up, stop wasting your bloody time!" Good, then I took Paper 2 in my hand, penned my name down, and following that, went straight into finishing the paper.

Gosh, the questions were horrendously out-of-the-magnitude-of-this-world! Things in the order of magnitude of 7 to 11, and then -5 to -9... it had my wits going round and round and round for every question. Heck, but at least I turned in the paper without much worry, for the answers all seemed to match in the end. Sheesh, wonder how many careless mistakes I made...

Monday, September 12, 2005

Qing Jing and Bowu Posted by Picasa

The junior girls: Jingzhi, Janet, Jiatian, Xiaoyuan, Kimberle, Jiaying. Posted by Picasa

He Fang and Jin Hui. Only He Fang was fast enough to turn away. =) Posted by Picasa

Junqi expounds a difficult theory to Keming. Posted by Picasa

Joseph, Quan Lun and Eunice Posted by Picasa

Finally got the photophobic Guan Lin on camera. Yeah! Posted by Picasa

Wei Liang and Glendon Posted by Picasa

Julian hugged by Yichao... dotz... Posted by Picasa

Math Down, 10 more papers to go

Hmmm... Math 1 is down, 10 more papers to go. It'll be interesting to see how things progress from here...


Saturday, September 10, 2005

Xuan You is angry, for his dao is broken... and Kian Boon fans on the flames of disapproval... Posted by Picasa

Xuan You can do nothing about his dao... Posted by Picasa

...except for mourn the loss... Posted by Picasa

... and pay final respects to his dao... Posted by Picasa

The firepiece is lit up Posted by Picasa

Eng Meng, the lead character, poses for a photograph Posted by Picasa

Notice the clarity of Xiaoye in the picture.. Posted by Picasa

Two sha guas looking each other in the eye, heads titled... =P Posted by Picasa

Yin Chu and Jiatian get sabotaged as a forfeit Posted by Picasa

The juniors looking on fervently as an uncle tries to throw a ball up the four levels Posted by Picasa

KC just got fed a biscuit by Xiaoyuan Posted by Picasa

Brent playing with the jiu jie bian Posted by Picasa

Guang Hao's funny look Posted by Picasa

Zhan Pei teaching Ming Han and Zhen Cong dao stuff Posted by Picasa

The girls playing games Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 09, 2005


Oh my, MAF is coming soon! So exciting, to see my juniors perform... they've put in so much hard work in the past week, I'm sure they're going to rock the entire central plaza. Way to go guys! Keep up the good work!

Next up... coming up will be photos! Photos of MAF... so keep your eyes peeled for them...

Saturday, September 03, 2005

New Cut

New cut. Army cut. Square cut. Whatever the name. New cut.

Friday, September 02, 2005


my thoughts go out to the Katrina victims... it's close to heart, for in Singapore, there were many efforts to coordinate the relief operation in Sumatra. I went to chip in a few times with my classmates, at a neighboring Sri Lankan Buddhist temple in my house, which was going to send supplies over to Sri Lanka to help the victims there.

I remembered the low-cost, tsunami-safe housing strategies that was developed by MIT that was used to help rebuild the communities of Sri Lanka. Perhaps they could come in handy by employing the low-cost strategies to rebuild the stricken communities down there.

Though drinking water is a very pressing problem, another water-related problem is the West Nile virus. Sewage systems would likely be clogged, and efforts should be directed towards clearing out the sewage area. This would help lessen the threat of water-borne diseases, and would also help set the momentum for the rebuilding of the infrastructure there. Even better, to solve the immediate problems of unemployment, and to encourage ownership of their living area, employ the people around there to kickstart the clearing up, especially in the less dangerous areas, before bringing in machinery to clear up the tougher-to-clear debris.

When it comes to prevention, I doubt that in the near future we can overcome nature, but other efforts can be made to prevent the loss of human life. The infrastructure to evacuate people should be expanded perhaps by having more public transport systems mobilized to help evacuate the underprivileged, and increasing emergency escape routes that could double up as regular transport routes during normal use.

It's been good to know that Texas and other states have been opening up their doors to the Katrina victims. However, I think that perhaps more could be done for humanitarian aid to that area. Especially things like clean bottled water - now that's an essential item. Blankets too - to protect against the cold.

It's true that engineering ideas are needed, but perhaps for the short-term, it's better to give a piece of our heart and deliver several quanta of warmth to them. That would bring a ray of hope into their lives.

Best wishes to every survivor. Keep strong, make it out alive, and things will get better - for nothing can get worse than this, can it?