Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Spring?

So it's Monday, and as I was walking to class, like everyday, passing-by Glasgow Botanical Garden, the first thing I noticed were the sprouting flowers, or daffodils on the green. This made my day. Looks like the "darkest days" may be over.

Well, the wind has been extra strong lately.

After months of winter, it's so refreshing and motivating to see life on the ground
Lately, I also made some nice food. Like what Bear Grylls always say - To eat is to motivate. 
All time favourite
Had an invitation from our Chinese neighbour
Had a visit from our sponsor - Cheerful counterpart
After class, I made a hike to Taggart Glasgow, to get some Land Rover parts for my mentor.  
Passed by what looked like a Boys' Brigade building, but there were no signs of people
I entered the showroom of Jaguars and Land Rovers rather confidently. 
I wonder how's the sales
 But to be pointed to a small room in the backyard.

Seems like the parts in Malaysia cost 3 times the price year, after factoring FOREX and DHL delivery!!!
A fortnight ago, my team and I made a field trip to Whitelee Wind Farm, and part of Campsi Fell (almost reached Stirling!). It was a fantastic experience. Being a power plant person, and learning about wind turbines and sustainable energy in Glasgow is enlightening.
There are > 200 wind turbines at Whitelee
Group 3
Local residence - Do not disturb them
Finally getting up close with these fur-ly friends
Major datelines are in a month's time. March will be exciting. I am catching Liverpool vs Burnley on the second weekend, and there's YPCC Meeting, in Glasgow! Hope the team will enjoy the stay. Hopefully the weather will be fantastic.

I am most probably half way through my UK adventure, and I am going to put in more effort.

I feel that success is for the taking, if I could continue working hard

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Less-Exciting and Challenging Times

Now is the most demanding period of my UK adventure.
The last 2 days were draining. Tomorrow will be another long day, while Friday will be a tough 3-hour engineering master-class. Thankfully, the morning class of Power System 4 is cancelled. Some much needed breathing space.
Yesterday evening, I was totally drained-out with the biosensor team. It’s been a long time since I felt lost in a group discussion. There was a moment where I was caught switched-off when my friends needed my input. Joining the biosensor competition was to move out of my comfort zone. How often do you get into a university team and develop a biosensor to sense the probability of heart attack? Working along side a team of doctors, medical engineers, and some students which I don't even know what courses is interesting. But like any voluntary group work, team dynamics and leadership is vital. We're currently still looking for our footing, but thankfully, it's taking shape.
It’ll require all my electronics skills (something I’ll need to re-discover after like 6 years).
Truth is, without Chevening, I could still be in my overall maintaining switchgears, transformers and generators in Singapore.
I think the whole point of coming back to Uni is to challenge myself, and it’s gonna worth every effort giving my best.
After the bio-filled discussion, I went for some quick groceries at Tesco Byres Road. It was almost 8pm by then. And guess what, I left my debit card at the self-check counter. To be this blur and inattentive is rare. (I didn’t know that after some 24 hours later.)
This morning, had Energy Storage class, with lots of Pumped Hydro Energy Storage schemes. Managed to hop by the Career Fair at GUU, and talked to an interesting power engineer from UK Power Networks (who do distribution). All are graduate schemes of 2 years, which I am eligible.
Had Power Systems lab at 2-4pm. Totally lost my bearings without my reliable Casio 570. My younger classmates are so much sharper and quicker. Simple maths are obvious, and I have total confidence in mine. But it just didn’t worked at times. Maybe at 30, it does makes a difference?

My birthday cake last month
Caught up with the Integrated Team for some group meeting for tomorrow’s presentation. Thank goodness for Cal and team, as I am not required to do the presentation. Left Uni at 5.15pm with Mart for the IET Talk on Tidal and Wave Energy at Teacher Building from 6pm-7.15pm. It was a full-house attendance, without the customary sandwich dinner (some technical error). I conclude that tidal and wave will need significant time, cash and effort to be what wind is today.
Before taking the subway back, I dropped by Tesco St. Enoch for some sweet potatoes and onions, and it was then I discovered that my bank card wasn’t with me. Pretty much suspected that I left it at Tesco Byres Street. So I calmly took the Subway back to Hillhead, and retrieve my bank card from the service counter. This only happens in the UK. 
Teacher Building
I am normally sharp and alert, but this 2 days has been really energy sapping, both mentally and physically. But I am relishing the challenge.
Maybe I had slacked a little in Singapore. I used to be really busy
It’s do or die till the end of April. And I am confident I could handle the expectations and pressure.
I just need the weekend to come earlier, and focus on the tasks in hand.
I don’t get how some friends can party and drink so often (they must be really smart and efficient). Most of my Cheveners mates found out that the grades here isn’t what was expected. It’s actually quite hard to score well. I think everyone lowered the targets.  

Lastly, it seems like I am the only PE in Malaysia that wasn't aware that the registration needs to be renewed yearly before 31st January. To be honest, I hadn't receive my certificate, and it's slightly cruel to fine me RM1.2k for the late renewal. Let's see how the appeal goes.

If there's one thing I learned in the UK, it's that life isn't always fair, and hard work may not necessary pay (immediately). But we should never give up, because when we give up, all is lost. Glad to know C&I essay turned out better.

Looking forward to better days ahead. (Need to complete 5 essays by 24th March!!!)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

30

So my wonderful winter holiday has come to an end. It was a fantastic 3 weeks. I did only things that I like and am passionate about. After submitting the Creativity and Innovation assignment on the 16th of Dec, I really had, for once, a total, sumptuous and fruitful holiday. It was a perfect end to 2016.
First, I headed off to Portugal on the 17th, and came back on the 24th. Lisbon was a fantastic place to visit, with 500 years of culture and history. Faro was a nice town mimicking Melaka. It was low season, winter, but still, I had a full 6 days of sunshine. I also made friends during the travels. It was a fantastic learning experience.

Lisbon would be in my list of top 3 
And the sunset at Faro is one of the best I've seen
History, culture and legacy of the Portuguese 
Cabo da Roca - The most western end of continental Europe

After spending Christmas chilling indoors, I joined the Herriot-Watt gang for a 3-day road trip into the highlands of Scotland. Though it’s not the first time I see snow, or highlands, being to Nepal and Jiu Zai Gou in China, it still had me in awe. The Vauxhall car was a nice ride. Acceleration can be improved though.
Loch Ness
On New Year’s Eve, I went to Anfield, to see Liverpool beat Manchester City. The Main Stand Upper, a new expansion of the stadium, had a magnificent view. After the game, I went to Manchester for a count down, and bump into SJ’s cosy house. 
Finally, a game at Anfield
Nice fireworks in Manchester for New Year
On the second day of the year, I made a trip to Western Necropolis, to search for Sir William’s grave. The founder of the Boys’ Brigade is buried in one of the thousands of graves there. I need to thank my housemate for walking 40 minutes with me, apparently to film it. Unfortunately, the entire Glasgow was still in a shut down since New Year’s Day. Without any officers (I called Glasgow City Council, and they were off), we left. This year is the 60th Anniversary of 1st JB Company, which I joined at the age of 13. Congratulations 1st JB. You are one of the best education I could ask for growing up. One of the reasons I chose Glasgow is because of you.
I most of the week reading, arranging photographs, watching documentaries…
And suddenly, it’s 9th of January again. But this time, it’s year 2017, and I am 30.
It still feels weird, and it is vital to admit, it’s something different. I think it’s a milestone in life. A guy who reaches 30, should be a man, no longer a ‘boy’. I think I was really fortunate to enjoy my life thus far, being extremely lucky in various occasions, to travel, meeting mentors and making fantastic friends. For that, I am grateful.
I am not someone who makes resolutions, or bold targets in life. More of a ‘tried my best and let’s see what happens’ type. Somethings go well, others not so.
Last year this time, I just started my job in Singapore, and went thru some patchy periods of life.
Today, I am most probably living the time of my life. I know dreams do end, and we will eventually wake up, and face more downs than ups. But I am ready, and know where to summon the extra strength when the going gets tougher. 
9th of January is also the ‘declared’ birthdate for dad. It seems no one knows when he was born. He once said old people don’t tell you when you were born, so you won’t need to celebrate your birthday. I admit, it’s a day you feel peculiar and strange, as you were always celebrated on this day. Out of 365 days, you get some attention on this day.
Today was also the first day of Semester 2. Finally, a lecture on power system. Man I miss engineering classes. Hopefully, I could get some good scores this semester. 3 months of hard work ahead for me.  
Time to work hard again.
I am not the most emotional or sentimental of beings. But I still do appreciate and value genuine and sincere people around me, though I may not express explicitly. I know those who care, and I am glad to have you all.
Thanks for the best wishes. Have great year ahead. 


Monday, December 12, 2016

11th December

So it's gonna be 3 months since I left home.
Will be having final exam tomorrow. Only 1 exam - Operations Management. It's 100% exam assessed.
Then there are 2 essays due this Wednesday (Marketing) and Friday (Innovation). Both without much clue.
Then, then, then, I will head out to Lisbon!!! Yes. It's Lisbon, Portugal! For 1 week!!! I have identified a few Portuguese-related books from the library to bring along.
Well I had booked my flights to Malaga on the 12th, but had to strategically 'burn' it, after an extension of the essay datelines. I suppose, sometimes, like in Operations Management, we have to mitigate risk by containment or loss reduction.
It's a reward for camping in the room for the past 4 weekends. I have gave my best shot on the 5 essays. I realised the importance of academic writing.
On the 26th, around 14 of us will do a road trip up north to Niggs. Thanks KY for organising it!.

The weather isn't getting better. It was -5 something last week. But it has been around 5-10 this few days. It only gets bright at around 8.30am. And it gets dark before 4.30pm.
I did get my own winter-blues last week. I actually rushed out to the Botanical Garden for some sun-bathing. Winter blues was quite scary. There's a lack of Vitamin D, and you don't feel like eating,  or waking up. I was aware that not eating proper food would make matters worst. I also know there are many friends (even Scots) are down with flu. Luckily, I pretty much regained my usual-self after 1-2 days. I made sure I went to the gym weekly, this time with my windbreaker on during jogging. The feeling of completing 4km on the treadmill under 30 min is always nice. Some muscle workout rounds up the experience. Had a dose of Vitamin C and lots of fruits. 
No wonder, the only advice my mentor gave was to 'prepare for the winter'. 

Overall, I am coping well with the challenges. 
There are alot of things to accomplish this month.

A Scottish Christmas maybe
Thank you Hits.fm and YES93.3 for all the nice songs while I study and essay. I always enjoy the night-time radio. Since there is a 8-hour difference, I get to listen to less commercials  My PMR and SPM exams were prepared with the radio beside me. So I am pretty much a radio person. 


Friday, December 2, 2016

December

The dwindling day-light might actually had some effects on me. It gets dark before 4.30pm. Lately, I wasn’t my sharpest. My concentration isn’t best at times. I woke up and spilled a cup of water (luckily not directly) on my notebook. It will be apocalypse if my notebook crashes. I protected it so well, that it hasn’t leave the room!
I don’t really have the appetite for meals. Maybe this is what the winter-blues brings. Or maybe it's just exams and essay datelines?
I also suspect that, without exercise for almost 2 weeks, the toxic-level in my body must be quite significant. Only the locals could jog around the neighbourhood at 5 degrees, or at 10pm at night. Tomorrow is the day for the gym.
For a few weekends, I primarily kept myself in my room churning out essays. Social science isn’t for me. Writing on theoretical ideologies on management without practicality should be left for the professors and academicians who at times live in the last century. How do you even teach innovation and creativity based on the text book.
Classes have ended. And I am left with 2 essays and a final exam paper on the 12th. Some lee-way was mercifully given for the essays till the 16th, which had me making up my mind to sacrifice my flight tickets to Malaga. Most probably paying 40 pounds for my risk taking. Another lesson is to book only Flexible or Moderate rooms on AirBnb.
At least, there will be no regret for pushing my essays too hard. It’s like the stock market, you need to know when to cut-loss and get out. It’s like managing strategic change!
But guess what, I bought tickets to Faro today! Lisbon awaits. And I have already found a few terrific books on Lisbon/Vasco da Gama in the library.
I suppose all my stipend would go for travels and exploration. I would trade it for fancy meals or drinks, and night-outs. Need to thank the British government for that. Ok, I ensure that I utilize all my brain all my studies beforehand.
I had a bad Monday. Woke up feeling really 'heaty'. I am not sure if it’s because of the sweet potato supper the night before, or the consecutive onion-fried-eggs. I needed more frequent salads and apples. I slept really early.
Luckily, I woke up ok on Tuesday for the Edinburgh trip, which was fantastic. Chevening organised a visit to the Parliament and Royal Society of Edinburgh. It was mostly attended by the guys from around Scotland. It was great meeting up with the folks at Edinburgh. It was a full day. When I reached Buchanan station at 11.15pm, I managed to missed the last Subway. But there's always Bus 6A to the rescue!

Holyrood - Don't tell others that the building was over-budget and delayed
Was quite cultured and well designed
Noodle Malaysia, at Rice n Noodles, Edinburgh - Wasn't the best Malaysian meal
Edinburgh is just beautiful. It’s still my favourite city in Europe. Maybe Stockholm and Copenhagen stand side by side.

I realized that there is a certain trait of Malaysians. I think we are a hard working lot. I could feel the stress of the guys from Heriot-Watt, having engineering papers next week. 100% final exam!
Today, before noon, the sun was high and bright. For the first time, I went out to the Botanical Garden, with my book, for some vitamin D. Camping in my room, with heaters, seems detrimental to health. But I am always too gung-ho to think that winter-sickness are for the faint-hearted.  If things are fairer from where I grew up, I may actually join the army or navy.

Having French classes every Thursday nights. It’s really interesting. I once dreaded the sight of walking from St. Andrews Building to Winton Drive, with yellow warning storms. Thank goodness, the weather recently turned much better.

I will be back in Edinburgh for Arthur's seat
Nowadays, any temperature above 5 degrees would feel like summer and happiness. When it was -6, it’s not fun at all.
2 weeks to go. Almost there. Hang in there. 
Merry Christmas 
By the way, it's confirmed. You could call me Ir. Tan Wee Ser! (Trying to stay low). Thought it is just Tier 1. Need to thank Ir. Chris and Ir. Chow for mentoring me. Thank you Ir. Ch'ng for the moral-beating interview.
Career-wise, it's quite unbelievable to have achieved these competencies! Steam and ICE Grade 2, and now PE. CEng seems to be the next one. 
Shall I just stick to power stations...