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August 11, 2004

Virtually Stress-less

For the past two weeks I had been enduring throbbing pain from my forehead which happened sporadically and in a random basis. The reason was still a mystery to me, not until I paid two visits to a nearby polyclinic and heard the doctor's explaination. He said it was stress. Sometimes, he explained, stress can cause an individual to have sleepless nights, improper meals and mercurial emotions. The outcome is simply a gamut from a mild headache to serious physiological disorder. His words aroused me. Am I really in stress? My seniors keep telling me that ATU program is the most relaxing course you can ever have, and to tell the truth, I find it hard not to disagree with them too. The learning hours are reletively short, homework is minimal, no Saturday classes unlike ALM program. I even had the time to finish two great books by Dan Brown (Digital Fortress and Angel & Demons)plus a couple of outings with friends during the past weekends (and not to mention writing entries in this blog every now and then). Where does this stress come from? Teachers? Friends? The demons in me? I just couldn't find the answer. But I'm not back to square one, at least my headache is cured now, thanks to the miraculous blue pills (not viagra, but they look suspiciously similar)the doctor gave me. And yeah, I also learned a simple form of meditation from Grace's pointers. It helps a lot.

Okay, now back to the 2 books I mentioned above. They are Dan Brown's highly-acclaimed, best-selling novels apart from Deception Point and The Da Vince Code. I can't help but notice Dan's witty ideas to infuse fact into fiction in his stories which makes them simply brilliant and exciting. Every chapters end with suspenses and high-octane notes that make readers want more. The last time I had this experience was from reading The Hardy Boys series by Franklin W. Dixon. It was a relishing moment for me.

Some important facts from Digital Fortress: Encryption we use on the net is NOT as safe as we think. The intelligence from US National Security Agency (NSA) has a super code-breaking machine named TRANSLTR to filter our everyday e-mails. At first I thought this is just Dan's fabrication to make his story run wild. Then I run a check on Google and TRANSLTR turns out to be as real as you and I. Secondly, the origins of encryption and code-breaking was astonishingly from the brainchild of the Nazis. During WWII, the Nazis sent coded messages to each other so that their secrets would still be safe even when the messages fell into wrong hands. Eventhough coded messages were already popular even back to Julius Caesar's days, computer-coding didn't start until the Nazis invented the Enigma, a code-forming and breaking machine.

So Digital Fortress is about this Japanese chap who claimed that he had invented an unbreakable code that threatens to put NSA in jeopardy. But there are so many twists and turns in the story that the ending was unpredictable. It's a must read for people who are ardent readers.

Angels & Demons is even better. But I'll give my 1-cent worth of view next time..got class now..gtg

Posted by peixin at 01:13 PM | Comments (3)

August 09, 2004

Bad Hair Day

I think the last time I had a haircut was in June before coming to INTEC. After almost 2 months it's getting long and oily. So the logical action is to pay a visit to the barber right? Wrong! I realised now that it has become worst thing that ever happened to me, except the last time I was late for an important interview. Ok, make that 2nd worst. This haircut had cost me RM8 and an eternal bad hair days to come. I went to a local barber shop near my hostel, which is operated by 3 Indian barbers. It's one of the many barber shops that mushroom in Section 18, Shah Alam. Being the closest one and for the sake of convenience, I chose that particular shop.

My past experience with barbers had been wonderful. Back in my hometown, there's one old and dilapidated barber shop at the corner of a busy street which I frequented whenever I need to cut my hair. In spite of the shop being old-fashioned and totally out of place in the midst of modern shophouses and offices(there's an OCBC BAnk adjacent to it), the half-century old barber is quite adroitful and amiable too. He always does his job swiftly, and most of the time I can get my hair cut in lest than 10 minutes even if there's a long queue. And he charges RM4 only.

I entered the Indian barber shop with a sense of ominous foreboding. One of the barbers broke into a smile, ushered me to an empty seat and started donning me with a sheet of green cloth. I was afraid there would be communication gap between us, so I tried to use the most fundamental terms to describe the hair I want. "Can I have a durian head?" I asked tentatively, hoping the barber to click on what I mean. "You mean spike?" the barber shot back. "Yeah, that's what I wanted!"

Then, without a warning, he turned to his shear and brought the hedious machine to life. Then, he stepped forward to me swiftly and shaved my head... I can still imagine the menancing eyes glinting at me like the way a farmer shearing a sheep. In a minute, it was done. I looked at myself in the mirror, dumbstruck. I was literally turned into a monk! ToT

Posted by peixin at 01:41 PM | Comments (3)

August 03, 2004

Pa & Ma, look at this!

Hey, to mum and dad back home, just to tell you both that I've found 2 samples for the letter of recommendation I'm supposed to compose myself. Call me lazy or what I don't care, but I'm not writing my own letter of recommendation. It's just too spurious to cap a tall hat on myself. I mean, I can't write anything about myself. I think it's up to the principal, councillor and bio teacher to express their most genuine impression of me. I'll just compile the things that I've done throughout 5 years of my life in High School and then hopefully I can send it plus the 2 samples to you by tomorrow. One thing though, I'm not sure about the format, maybe I'll check with the officers and give you the answer via e-mail also. Sorry for the trouble :)

I just want to dedicate this whole week to prepare the dossier for university applications which is due next month. I'm hard-pressed for time to complete an assignment by "Theology & Philosophy" class too. It's a group project and my group is supposed to come up with a 15-page written work on challenges of men living in this world. The topic is so wide that we are disconcerned which area to cover. Are past challenges like quests and conquer relevant? How about the problems we face today like hunger, poverty, war, terrorism, diseases, ailments, political unjust, discrimination etc.? Are these counted as challenges? These are just some questions that arise in the course of discussion. Then we decided to categorise the challenges into 3 main parts, namely economical, social, and political challenges. I'm in charge of social challenges, the most extensive one. Guess I have to slog through this weekend...

Posted by peixin at 01:43 PM | Comments (2)

August 02, 2004


Let us observe a minute of silent prayer for the 7 noble men who perished in the recent helicopter crash in Sarawak.

Last week had passed by with rushing images of plethora incidents that directy or indirectly cast me in a whirlwind of emotions. Last Wednesday, the front page of The Star and New Straits Times reporting 'No Survivors' in the Bell Long 207 Ranger helicopter crash in an uncharted site of a Boria jungle shocked me deeply. The longest and biggest search had concluded with agony and sadness for the family members of the deceased. My heart goes out to them, especially for Joyce Tagal, daughter of Dr. Judson Sakai Tagal who is studying in the same program as mine. She had been absent for 3 weeks now. Hopefully she'll pull herself through this adversity and stand up once again to join our rank in persuing studies in US.

On Friday, I had another SAT prep test but this time round, it's surprisingly easier and clearer than the past papers. Everyone in my class boosted their scores tremendously. Everyone except me. Haha.. I don't feel dejected at all coz at least I secured a perfect score for Maths section. Verbal wise my mark decreased by 20 pts. Buck up! Buck up!

Saturday morning dawned at me with a rude shock. I purposely left my phone active throughout the night before, waiting for a message with anticipation, a message to inform me of the time for my 800m event. However, it didn't come. The IC called instead at the eleventh hour, expecting me to get up pronto and rush to the bus before it leaves for the main campus. Grumbling, I just quickly changed and caught the bus on time. 9.20 am. I was standing at the starting line tentatively. Bang! I felt myself pushing every inch of my leg muscles to run forward. Luckily, I qualified for the finals. 4.20pm. A sense of de javu crept over me. I ran until my heart couldn't stop pumping so vigorously that I can distinctively heard it. I came in last.

Posted by peixin at 04:03 PM | Comments (2)