Singapore Boleh!

I just came back from the Singapore vs. Malaysia semi-final match of the ASEAN Football Championships. With the score 1-1 at the end of normal time, the match went into Penalties, from which Singapore emerged triumphant (five conversions to Malaysia’s four).

Fantastic Atmosphere

It was a rocking affair at the Kallang Stadium (Singapore’s National Stadium), with almost all the seats filled up (I believe it was announced that 55,000 spectators turned up to watch this match). The atmosphere was fantastic, definitely much better than the last time Singapore played Malaysia here in 2002 (Malaysia won 4-0 then), where the stadium was largely left unfilled.

This is the third time I watched Singapore at the Kallang Statdium, the first time being their exhibition match against Manchester United (where we lost 8-1) in 2001, and the second time the fateful 4-0 drubbing by Malaysia back in 2002.

When Malaysia went into the lead midway through the second half (due to a horrible mistake by Lionel Lewis) I thought I was going to witness yet another defeat. But Singapore managed to scramble a goal to equalise, forcing the game into extra time, and giving us fans some great value for our money.

The goal sent the crowd crazy. All of us in the stadium (save for the Malaysian fans) stood up in unison and cheered. The feeling was indescribable. The minutes after that though, Malaysia started attacking with more vigor, causing us a few scares here and there, but nothing much else.

A Precious Shot

During the first half of extra time, a player by the name of “Precious” (yes! Isn’t that name simply adorable??) made a cracker of a shot from distance, which cannoned toward the top left-hand corner of the goal. The goalkeeper managed to get a hand to that shot, just managing to tip it over the bar.

For me, watching that shot alone was enough to justify the price of admission (a paltry S$6).

I noticed that immediately afterwards the Malaysian goalkeeper seemed a little flustered; he may well have been injured his hand saving it.

Into the Penalty Shootout

All the shots seemed normal and none were out of the ordinary, except for the last one.

As the Malaysian player stepped up to take the kick, the whole stadium booed and stamped their feet. The tension in the atmosphere went up a notch.

When he kicked the ball, it seemed to slowly make its way toward the goal. It was a horrendous shot. My friend remarked that eve if the goalkeeper had dived the other way, he’d have had enough time to get up, dive the other way, and save the shot. But he didn’t have to. Lionel Lewis guessed right and made the save. Easy as Pi.

Singapore Boleh! Ole ole ole! On to the final!

Studying Overseas

I’ll be going over to UWA (University of Western Australia) in a little less than three weeks time.

This all still feels a little strange to me. I never quite expected to be one of those who “study overseas”.

But I plans in education haven’t always gone smoothly.

In primary school, I did rather badly and didn’t manage to get into a secondary school of my choice.

During secondary school, I did better than expected. I scored 18 points for my preliminary examinations, and managed to secure a place in a junior college for the first three months (the cut-off is 20).

These three months held three defining moments in my life. I realised I couldn’t survive another two years of Chinese classes; I found that I really enjoyed Economics; and I fell in love.

The first defining moment led me to believe that junior college was not for me, and so I took the polytechnic route.

The second defining moment moved me away from pursuing a pure “Information Technology” (IT) diploma, and into one that offered business as well. In the end, I obtained my Diploma in Business Information Technology.

The third defining moment, well, has nothing to do in this entry.

After getting my diploma, I applied for two universities: NUS (National University of Singapore) and SMU (Singapore Management University). Though I applied for both, for some reason or another, I only really wanted to go to SMU.

My application to NUS was rejected, while SMU granted me an interview.

I received news of my interview on voicemail. “Your interview will be on this coming Wednesday,” it said. I was in Taiwan at this time, on an overseas training trip for National Service. I wasn’t going to be back for another three weeks.

They promised to hold another interview “if there were still places”. I never heard from them until a year later.

I received news of my interview through SMS this time, from my parents. “Call home Donn,” the SMS said.

“Donn,” said my mom, “SMU called and said that your interview’s this Tuesday!” I laughed at this.

“That’s great, mom,” I replied. I was in Brunei, on an overseas training trip for National Service. I wasn’t going back for another three weeks.

On Passing Time, Driving, and Writing

After I stopped working at the end of last month, I’ve been spending most of my time in front of the television and on the computer playing Warcraft.

However, realising that there’s no better time to catch up on reading than now, in the last couple of days I’ve turned my attention to reading a book called The Elegant Universe, by Brian Greene. It is basically about Physics, or more precisely, String Theory.

This is the second book of Greene’s that I’m reading, the first being The Fabric of the Cosmos, which was actually published after The Elegant Universe. Both books have been great reads, and I highly recommend them to anyone even remotely interested in physics.

Other than television, Warcraft and reading, I’ve also been going out quite a bit, taking every opportunity I can find to drive.

Driving Drives Me Up the Wall

I find that I kinda suck at driving, and so I’ve been taking every opportunity to drive so that I might suck less (I’m banking on the saying that practice makes perfect, heh.)

I have two main issues with regards to my driving: parking, and slow traffic.

Parking: Try as I might, I just haven’t been able to park the car straight first time so far. This irks me tremendously, for parking is too basic a driving skill, too common a thing to do, to not master.

Slow traffic: my patience runs short painfully fast in traffic jams (just ask Zixuan, who was unfortunate enough to have been in the same car as me during slow traffic; I was more of a bitch then than Lassie ever was).

On Writing on eDonn.com

The above-mentioned activities don’t lead naturally to anything to write about. As such, edonn.com has been experiencing some rather barren spells in writing. I even resorted to quoting someone else just to update this site, which really is a last resort most of the time.

Well, I did actually have some pretty good material; but these, I decided, were not publishable, not because they were written badly, but simply because to publish them would have been insensitive, for they touched on inter-personal relationships of friends gone sour. In light of how the people involved were still trying to resolve it, I felt it best to leave that for later.

Let’s just say that the poem I wrote, Friends, Don’t be so Quick to Love was in response to that.

Until next time,
Donn

Man Makes Himself

Here’s a quotation I’d like to share with you, attributed to Jean-Paul Sartre:

Certainly we cannot say that this man [a young student of Sartre’s who in 1940 had to choose between going to England to join the Free French Forces or staying in occupied France to care for his mother, who depended on him], in choosing to remain with his mother — that is, in taking sentiment, personal devotion and concrete charity as his moral foundations — would be making an irresponsible choice, nor would we do so if he preferred the sacrifice of going away to England. Man makes himself; he is not found ready-made; he makes himself by the choice of his morality, and he cannot but choose a morality, such is the pressure of circumstances upon him. We define man only in relation to his commitments; it is therefore absurd to reproach us for irresponsibility in our choice.

Friends, Don’t be so Quick to Love

Out the window moving at 60 miles per hour
My eyes observe the mountains half
Hidden by mist.

Just like a Chinese painting, I think;
No colour, but just shades of
Black, like ink.

Strangely enough as my eyes gaze closer
To where I am, things get less clear
And disappear

Into a great blur where colours merge into
Each other, and you can’t tell one
From another.

Like us.

I think we are going too fast;
Are too much in the
Thick of it.

We should slow down, or stand
Back and observe how
Things are

Before we get so caught up
In the whirlwind of love
And drop
confused,
or — worse —
Dead.

Friends, Don't be so Quick to Love

Friends, don't be so quick to love

Out the window moving at 60 miles per hour
My eyes observe the mountains half
Hidden by mist.

Just like a Chinese painting, I think;
No colour, but just shades of
Black, like ink.

Strangely enough as my eyes gaze closer
To where I am, things get less clear
And disappear

Into a great blur where colours merge into
Each other, and you can’t tell one
From another.

Like us.

I think we are going too fast;
Are too much in the
Thick of it.

We should slow down, or stand
Back and observe how
Things are

Before we get so caught up
In the whirlwind of love
And drop
   confused,
     or — worse —
       Dead.

I Feel like a Teenager

I stopped working at UniSIM about two weeks ago. So for the last couple of weeks, I’ve had considerably more time on my hands than I’ve had for the last couple of years (when I was doing my full-time National Service in the army).

I’ve always lamented on the lack of time in the army, and have actually written before that the worst punishment handed out by the army are those that eat into your free-time. So shouldn’t I be feeling great that I now have more time than I can handle?

Well, I’m not. What’s wrong with me?

Time to Think

I’m finding all this time I have on my hands quite depressing. Not least because I’m the only one who seems to have it. I want to spend time with people, but people don’t seem to have the time to spend with me.

This is a strange situation for me to be in.

The Introvert

I’ve been introverted most my life, living very well by myself, enjoying solitude and quiet, and hating social events. Being alone felt good.

It was only after being posted to 1 SIR (Singapore Infantry Regiment) that I developed in myself an extroverted streak, no thanks to my insanely extroverted CSM (Company Sergeant Major), as well as the nature of my job there, where “connections” were everything to getting the job done.

Now being alone feels, well, lonely.

I’ve tried reading, but there’s a limit to how much you can read when what you really crave is some sort of human interaction. The feeling is very similar to that of eating. When you crave some food, you can satisfy that craving temporarily by eating something else, but soon the craving comes back, and until you satisfy that craving with that exact food, it isn’t ever going to go away.

I think I need girlfriend.

Oh God, I’m feeling more like a teenager now than I ever.

MaYbE i sHoUlD jUsT eNd ThIs wItH sTiCkY cApS.

Limiting Profile Depth Search on Friendster

One of the greatest joys in life is going through the profiles of friends and their friends on Friendster.

It used to be incredibly easy to search for like-minded people who were closely connected to you.

Type in a keyword, select the “profile depth”, and viola, you’ve got a list of like-minded people (or otherwise) who are closely connected to you on one convenient page.

But not any more.

Searching Within Friends

It appears they have since taken out this function, no longer allowing you to limit your search to friends of friends. Now if you want to search, you have to search through every single profile in Friendster. Bummer.

However, I present to you here a quick and easy way of emulating that function. You simply need to do add the following to the end of the URI in the address bar of your browser, after you have typed in a search:

&profiledepth=2

For example, let’s say I am wondering if any of my friends know of a “Dawn”. I first carry out a search for “Dawn”, getting:

usersearch.php?search=1&usearch=dawn

In the previous search string, all “Dawn”s on Friendster will appear. If I want to limit my search to friends of friends, I add the “profiledepth” string, as so:

usersearch.php?search=1&usearch=dawn&profiledepth=2

You can change the profile depth to any number you like, “1” being friends you’re connected to, “2” being friends of friends, “3” being friends of friends of friends and so on.

Reasons for Profile Depth

Why you would want to carry out a search like this is really up to you. You might be looking for all closely-connected friends who are interested in running, or those who are in a book club, or anything really.

Being able to limit the search to friends of friends is useful since if you’re going to meet up for real, it’s easier if this person was a friend of a friend, as opposed to a total stranger.

Exactitudes

I found this very interesting website called Exactitudes by chance while browsing through a book called Web Design: Portfolios (Icons S.).

From the book:

Visualises the complex relationship between the individuality and the collectivity: the apparent contradiction of wanting to stand out from the others and be unique by assuming a group identity.

Images from Exactitudes

Exactitudes

A love for individuality

This site attacked me personally.

I’m a lover of individuality. I hate to be the same as others, and often do things that allow me to stand out from the crowd (to a certain extent).

One of the worst things that you could do to me (this is a Samson moment for me) would be to show how different I was, allowing me to bask in the glory of individuality, before placing me into a “group”, as the above pictures show, and showing how similar the people in the group are.

On Making Resolutions

I’ve never been much of a “new year resolutions” kind of guy.

As much as I’ve always believed in goal-setting, which is what new year resolutions really are, it has never occurred to me that they actually work.

I was looking back on the new year resolutions I had written about last year — both explicitly and implicitly stated, through my old written journals — and I realised that I had actually accomplished many of them without the need for any conscious thinking about them throughout the rest of the year.

Subconscious Push

It was as if I had set the tone for the rest of the year simply by stating what I had wanted early on, creating a kind of “subconscious” push toward it.

The Business Plan

This concept reminds me of the creation of a business plan.

It has been said in various business publications that a business plan is important to the success of a business not because it is followed strictly throughout the year.

It has been even said that many successful businesses do a business plan in the beginning of a new year only to forget about it for the rest of the year!

There are simply too many unknown variables (both external and internal) that are impossible to take into account during the formulation of the business plan.

So why, and how, do business plans work?

Thinking of the Future

The formulation of a business plan is important because of the thinking through the year ahead.

The thinking alone allows the business to orientate itself toward its goals. It sets the general direction in which the business will take.

It is not at all necessary to follow everything found inside a business plan.

Resolutions

So, much like the business plan, setting resolutions and making broad plans toward the resolution of these resolutions, is important toward the relative “success” of your year.