On Work

I just finished reading through the book "Making Work Work for the Highly Sensitive Person" borrowed from the Biz library, and it concluded with a very apt, very meaningful poem.

Then a ploughman said, "Speak to us of Work."
And he answered, saying:
You work that you may keep pace with the earth and the soul of the earth.
For to be idle is to become a stranger unto the seasons, and to step out of life's procession, that marches in majesty and proud submission towards the infinite.
When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music.
Which of you would be a reed, dumb and silent, when all else sings together in unison?
Always you have been told that work is a curse and labour a misfortune.
But I say to you that when you work you fulfil a part of earth's furthest dream, assigned to you when that dream was born,
And in keeping yourself with labour you are in truth loving life,
And to love life through labour is to be intimate with life's inmost secret.
But if you in your pain call birth an affliction and the support of the flesh a curse written upon your brow, then I answer that naught but the sweat of your brow shall wash away that which is written.
You have been told also life is darkness, and in your weariness you echo what was said by the weary.
And I say that life is indeed darkness save when there is urge,
And all urge is blind save when there is knowledge,
And all knowledge is vain save when there is work,
And all work is empty save when there is love;
And when you work with love you bind yourself to yourself, and to one another, and to God.
And what is it to work with love?
It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart, even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.
It is to build a house with affection, even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.
It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy, even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit.
It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit,
And to know that all the blessed dead are standing about you and watching.
Often have I heard you say, as if speaking in sleep, "he who works in marble, and finds the shape of his own soul in the stone, is a nobler than he who ploughs the soil.
And he who seizes the rainbow to lay it on a cloth in the likeness of man, is more than he who makes the sandals for our feet."
But I say, not in sleep but in the over-wakefulness of noontide, that the wind speaks not more sweetly to the giant oaks than to the least of all the blades of grass;
And he alone is great who turns the voice of the wind into a song made sweeter by his own loving.
Work is love made visible.
And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.
For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man's hunger.
And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distils a poison in the wine.
And if you sing though as angels, and love not the singing, you muffle man's ears to the voices of the day and the voices of the night.

From The PROPHET, by Kahlil Gibran

Maths tutorial

So I was thinking through this Maths problem this past few days -- sometimes when I was idle my mind would go through it, thinking of a way to solve the problem. I am pleased to announce that it has worked out. Solved by the most fundamental and powerful tool -- induction. How could I not see it?!

Ultimately, the sense of satisfaction is very much worth the hard thinking. But even the hard thinking is not punishing at all, as I enjoy thinking. Maths is a way of life!


Women love makeup because it makes them look better.
Men hate makeup because they are scared of traps.
(There are exceptions, of course.)
Me: I hate mascara/eyeliners but I like eye shadows.

The reason why it's important to go for lectures and tutorials

There are at least three types of memory: auditory, visual, kinesthetic.

Lectures: audio and visual memory
Tutorials: kinesthetic

Self-study: usually only visual and maybe kinesthetic (if you do your own problems)

Unless your audio memory is so weak, lectures do help your auditory memory. And that is why there should be webcasts for every lecture. The main(only?) reason why webcasts are not popular among the school management is because of attendance. And that really sucks.

Gender Colors?

I still find it puzzling that the female toilet (usually) has a red symbol, and the male toilet has a blue symbol. Red is such an aggressive colour, and blue a passive one. Logically speaking, if we consider the gender stereotypes, red should be a male colour and blue a female one.


The reason why I will always get an Android over iPhone

What's this? A third consecutive post in a short span of a few days! I guess I'm just feeling inspired.

I'll probably never get an iPhone, because Android ftw:

1. I like control.

  • iTunes is gonna piss the hell out of me. I prefer to drag and drop my files, thank you.
  • I can change the themes, I can change the keyboard, I can change my dialer, I can change my SMS app...
  • Every app can talk to other apps, and they can access the same file system, unlike iOS
  • REAL multitasking (a double-edged sword, undoubtedly. also, who needs multitasking on a phone?)

2. I'm cheapo.
I can get the top-end Android smartphone for $300 less than iPhone. Duh???

3. I hate proprietary things
Like the iPhone charging plug and the non-removable battery

4. I like big screens
Does that need explanation?

Some things I miss on iPhone:

1. The accessories! There's so much accessories... And nice casings...

2. Using the same apps as my friends

Misc comments: 

1. The restricted ecosystem can actually be good sometimes. After taking the Human-Computer Interaction class, this became very apparent to me. Less control and options can be a good thing for the UI, especially a mobile UI. As the famous(infamous?) quote goes, "With great power comes great responsibility". More control means more work for the user. e.g. When installing apps from the Market, it is important to check the permissions granted to the app. Prevention is cure, and no antivirus will beat prevention (i.e. good security).

2. Google is an advertising company. I hate ads.

3. Optimized software is important. Top-end Android phones have specs that blow the iPhone and WP7 out of the water, but the software is a bit flaky sometimes...

Mango Fried Rice

I was left with a mango and a big box of butterhead lettuce, as well as some frozen shrimps, unused after making shrimp salad for Piggy's birthday. I overestimated the amount of mango needed and underestimated the amount of lettuce needed. And my mum was bugging me to just finish it up before we set off to Malaysia tomorrow. What to do? Easiest dish of all -- fried rice.

Spontaneous recipe
1 mango
2 butterhead lettuce heads
1 egg (whipped)
Some shrimps
Cooked rice

1. Fry egg with cooking oil.
2. Add garlic and fry for a while, then add lettuce.
3. Add everything and stir-fry.

It turned out a bit soggy, because of the mango. Maybe dried mangoes would be better. I also didn't add salt/soya sauce, so it tasted a bit plain. But it's edible. 5/10!