Archive for June, 2006

Recurring theme, similar decisions

Missed this bit in a previous entry. So I met a compatriot and in our dinner conversation, we somehow drifted to the topic of our (lack of) SOs.

He: “Will you give up a place (at HYP) for a girl who wants to stay put in Singapore?”

One question, and I knew his answer story immediately. I just smiled, and we continued to sip wine from our glasses.


Same question, posed to two (Singaporean) girls separately to ask for their views:

A: No? Like you didn’t give up grad school for your (ex)-gf. The same reasoning sticks..I wouldn’t give up grad school for a guy.


B: no i wont give up the place at (HYP). I will give up the girl, and if i were the girl, i wldnt move to (HYP) either. I’d want my own career.

Me: Rational decision, as I would have expected of you. 🙂

B: yah. i mean, unless im a girl who wants to stay at home and spit out kids. i wldnt mind moving, but if i want my own career, i wldnt do it. Not unless i can find a good job, and if im a boy not intending to get married immed, i wldnt give up the sch. if our relationship is strong enough, it’ll last the distance. If it doesn’t, then it’s not strong enough!


Two Singaporean guys kaopehing about lack of gfs, when they both gave them up for grad school.

Edit (28 June) – My earlier comments at Kevin’s blog:

takchek Says:
June 15th, 2006 at 10:15 am

Two girlfriends and many failed ones thereafter, I have come to the conclusion one shouldn’t date and go steady when he’s still unsettled.


1. Decide on what you want to do and where you want to stay.
2. Once your life settles down to a routine, then go pak-torring.
3. Marriage comes naturally and with no LDR woes.


There is always a price to pay for the school.


June 27, 2006 at 8:45 pm 6 comments

Pictures of DPRK…and of my trip to the Mountain State

Taken from Xue:

Pictures of the DPRK.


Photos of my trip to the Mountain State are up. I have added them retroactively to my earlier entries.

June 23, 2006 at 12:46 pm Leave a comment

Coming to a close…

I love going for academic conferences – you get to meet potential SOs people and exchange interesting (and workable) ideas on possible research directions. On top of that, you usually have the chance to go tour the place and enjoy the receptions and banquets that come along with it.

Got to know a Malaysian girl in her 2nd year of PhD study in my major! at Cambridge. Too bad she is leaving early tomorrow morning. I would have asked if she is keen to go visit a national park nearby. The Jeep would come in handy. Heh, I actually took the initiative to go strike up a conversation and later ask to take a photo together. Nice girl next to me and beautiful mountains in the background; I doubt I will have such a chance again anytime soon. Best of all, she is still single. 🙂 Too bad she will be across the Atlantic. Darn! At least I have her contact details.

I like the Singaporean/Malaysian(?) accent and it feels at home instantly (in a foreign land). Not many girls here at the PhD level speak like this. She also has a good idea of my work and I too, of hers. So many common topics to talk about, yet so little time.

I had a good talk with an alum from my present institution who is now in one of the national labs that I want to go to. Contrary to what some might think, things are quite happening there – not just work, but social life. Except the New Mexico labs.

Will be visiting two more places before returning to the daily grind in my own lab. Now I really feel like transferring school.

June 20, 2006 at 10:50 pm 4 comments

Transfer between institutions and gender imbalance (aka missing females)

Just as many Singaporean poly students gripe about the admissions discrimination against them by the local universities (notably NUS), in the US both elite public and private universities are making it harder for community college students to transfer in for their junior and senior years.

Loiseaurebelle wondered about a gender imbalance among Singaporean students here. While I can’t comment much about the undergrads, at the grad level I would think that family dissuasion and concerns over being over-aged/over-educated and thus chances of finding a spouse are major factors. I see the same phenomena among peers from the other East Asian countries – notably China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia and Indonesia.

It is slightly more even for the Europeans.

June 20, 2006 at 6:50 am Leave a comment

Day 2 Quick Update

I spent the morning at The Academy, and was pleasantly surprised that the driving time (one way) was only 75 minutes. Since it is both an undergraduate college and a US military facility, many areas of the campus are off limits to visitors. It also offers a spectacular view of the Rockies, and has two landmarks – a hulking B-52 monument at its entrance (this aircraft participated in the Vietnam War) and the toblerone-like Cadet Chapel.

Gateway to the United States Air Force Academy


USAFA’s distinctive Protestant chapel

Cross as Sword

Parade Ground, USAFA

I might actually gave the state capital a miss, and the air here is very dry. I am now drinking twice as much water than I did prior to my arrival.

What a coincidence (It’s like the past and present colliding):

June 19, 2006 at 3:35 pm Leave a comment

Blog entry on the road (II)

So ended the first day. I arrived in the morning not knowing a single soul here and now, I just came back from chauffering 4 other folks from a drinks session downtown. (In case you are wondering, I did not take any alcoholic drinks. It is no joke to get a DUI out-of-state.) This place is so…happening?

I guess when you are away from your usual comfort zone, you make friends more easily. People were just hooking up! A smile and a short introduction about yourself would be enough to get you ‘friends’. Strangers we are in an unknown town, yet we share a common desire to go around exploring the place together.

I met another Singaporean graduate student (at an ivy institution), and a new friend.

Folks here look at the school(s) you are currently attending! A community of scholars. Indeed.

June 19, 2006 at 1:55 am Leave a comment

Blog entry on the road…

The views of the Rocky mountains are awesome! The architecture of this campus can beat that of Stanford. *Sighs* Compared to my present institution, this place feels like heaven. It is also a cyclist’s haven.

Might make a trip down to the Academy later, if time permits. I am a military buff, if you have not noticed already.

Other news: Thanks to the car rental company which gave me a free car upgrade (they ran out of subcompacts), now I drive a brand new Jeep Liberty instead of the super small and weak-powered Kia Rio. And I like the fact that much of the speed limit here is 75 mph. Big powerful car + higher speed limit + excellent scenery = happy takchek.

Unfortunately, there is no one to take the passenger seat. Else can go jiak hong together. 🙂 More updates to come later. I love this place!

Edit Jun 23:

The Mountain State’s Public Ivy

Nestled in the valley of the Rockies

UCB’s 3 Physics Nobel Laureates

June 18, 2006 at 2:05 pm 3 comments

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