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...


Thursday, November 17, 2016

I am going to Anfield!

This morning, I was woken up by my remiser requesting me to top-up another RM 32.00 for my purchase of half a lot of Axiata at RM 4.55.  

After that, I spent almost 3 hours queuing for a Liverpool FC ticket. Even skipped my 10-12 class.
Similar to undergrad days, it's all about PC-literacy, and a bit of luck. While my friend in London had bought Burney and Bournemouth, after queuing for 1.5 hours, I was still in the dock waiting for my turn.
To be honest, I was too perturbed. Though Liverpool FC tickets are considered fair priced, it's still requires prudent savings to achieve. 

Basically queued for 2.5 hours


While queuing, the games I had previously planned to go, i.e. Swansea and Palace were long sold-out.

All within 2 hours, this was what happened

I thought I'd just save up the money. I'd done my part purchasing the full membership already (£35). But I was taught no to give up, and so, I proceed with 'speculative clickings', alternating between Burnley and Bournemouth games. The rest are a gone case. A few times, there were empty seats, but other members had added it to their purchase.
Finally, after around 10 minutes, a couple of empty seats appeared, and I grabbed one without even reading much. Well, as expected, it was a 'severely restricted view' seat at Anfield Road. I just took it without second thought.
Part of rounding up my UK experience...

Quite frequently, things don't go our way. I've got pretty much campus-related applications turned down. But guess what, maybe in 10 attempts, an attempt may go thru. 
I am drafted into a team, that may go to Eindhoven next summer. Let's see how it goes.
  

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Early November

This morning, the temperature was -2. Thank goodness I bought myself the thickest jacket I could find in Buchanan Gallery during the weekend.  Was quite lucky wandering around before the Glasgow firework show, which to be honest wasn’t even close to the ones in JB during CNY. The 25% sale did help, and at 30 pounds, seemed really like a steal. Wore it today, and it was really warm.
Had Indian buffet lunch with a few Cheveners. They are from all over: Brazil, Panama, Indonesia, Ukraine, Mexico, Uzbekistan, Hong Kong… I didn’t feel hungry until past dinner time! The Indian curry at Masala Twist on Byres Road was really good. I couldn’t have eaten more.
The thing about Chevening is, you get opportunities to meet people and joining events.
On the 21st, I will be visiting BAE Systems’ factory in Preston, since I am partially sponsored by them. It’s really cool to have industrial visit.
The following week, I will visit the Parliament House in Edinburgh! And I am contemplating hitting it on the go, maybe by visiting St Andrews and Dundee one shot. I became a little excited and started doing some research, or basically giving me an excuse to not write my essay today.
A break?
Datelines of assignments are coming up. I should be on track for submission though. I am happy with my stint so far. Been actively trying to participate in events and activities, e.g. being class rep., AACSB accreditation volunteer, and a few roles that was rejected. More to come though.

I spent 2 consecutively eventful weekends in London: 15 and 22 October.
I have started my role as Vice Chair of YPCC. To be honest, there’re some pressure to deliver. But we have a fantastic team. I will cherish these years in the future. I’ve known people like C, S, I for more than 3 years, and it’s amazing to be able to work side by side.

Hard at work at Pullman King's Cross
I realized that to volunteer, is actually something really powerful.
The following weekend, I didn't have the luxury of BA. Took Ryan Air, which was fine with me. It was only £10 from Glasgow to London!

AirAsia of Europe
I had quite a challenging day. I was pretty much stressed out and tired when I arrived in London. I had stopped working part time the previous week. It was clear I couldn't manage the travels and assignments. The AirBnb in East London had a faulty heater, and I had my 'nightmarish' fatigue headache, my biggest enemy physically. Normally, I'd give up and go for panadol. But being alone, and in the middle of no where, I slept thru the night, or tried sleeping. I did fine actually, and woke up rather refreshed.

When the going gets tough, I become tougher, by having a good breakfast
Like what Bear Grylls always say, you have to be motivated and positive. It was Chevening Orientation Day, a day where 1800 Cheveners around the world would meet in London! I think I was in adrenaline mode.
It's like, the day that proved I really achieved something notably in life.
Without Chevening, there was no way I could study in the UK. I'd still be a maintenance engineer in Singapore. And I shall return to Malaysia to serve my 2-year term.

Malaysia had 40 Cheveners for 2016/17

After the event, we had a pleasant dinner at Rasa Sayang in Leicester Square with the Malaysian Cheveners. Authentic Malaysian food were on the menu.

And it was one of the best
Returning from London, I made sure I strategised my essays.

And find time to join events.

Still managed to join my first Halloween Ball at the Business School
And tried some Malaysia food on Byres Road for lunch
The more friends you have, the more food you try

Occasionally, we'll cook some Malaysian cuisine- Curry chicken, Bakut teh...

Tasted really good
I think food is something really subjective. One man's meat is another man's poison. I am happy that when it comes to food, I am really simple, and I could eat anything under the sky. Makes life really easier.

Anyway, winter is here. Walking back from St. Andrew's Building back to Winton Drive after Fench lessons every Thursdays at 9.15pm isn't something cool, so is walking home after gym. But besides the distance, I feel really comfortable here.

Is it even possible if I travel to the north during winter
Apparently, things happen for a reason
Bonefire night Glasgow

Thursday, October 13, 2016

12 October

Today was routine. Had Operations Management from 9-11am. Dr. Smart is really an outstanding lecturer with industry experience. HRM tutorial was at 12 to 2. After that, went to meet Change Management tutor for some advice for the Essay, weighing 100% course assessment! A first in my life.

I then camped at the library desktop from about 3-ish till 5.30pm, when I headed to BJBS for my customary 2 hour part-time job. 
I've met some nice people along the way, and a fortunate to learn skills from them. I enhanced cutlery and dish collecting skills.  

Today also marks 1 month of me arriving here. It actually feels more than a month here. I think I made good progress. I think I'd spent my time really well.
Glasgow is a beautiful city. It's very green.

From Kelvingrove Park
View of the Main Building from Adam Smith Building
And the weather had been quite good since I arrived
Oh, I finally registered a French class. It's 207 pounds for 5 months, 2 hours per week. That's a reason for me to work part time. Time to learn something new.
Up next, 2 consecutive weekends in London.

Cheers

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Back to work

Back to work
Yesterday was a fun-filled day. Attended a musical-talk on James Maxwell, a famous scientist from Edinburgh about 120 years ago.
Before that, we had Chinese dinner at BJBS, and seeing the waiters speaking Cantonese, I asked whether there’s vacancy at the shop. Last night itself, I received a call to go work at 1pm the next day.
Pretty instant?
I later found out that I was chosen by lady-boss over other aspiring students. I suppose, if you are a good worker, people could feel it? I am glad that I am sincere and polite as a human.

It wasn’t the glamorous work as a Chinese-English interpreter for the China-British Business Council, which directly went into my LinkedIn profile.
The pay was as low as it could, and I worked for a mere 2 hours. The last time I worked as a waiter was after SPM. It was RM 3/hour, and it was like 11 years ago.
I recalled a few skills, and had a few glitches here and there. Since the shop mostly serves Chinese students, who are basically not-too-picky, everything was fine. The real challenge were 2 French speaking folks. You had to know when to call the mains up.
At the shop, I met Allen, who was really kind and helpful. He basically taught me quite a few skills, within the 2 hours of work. He stuffed me with food after work, which included a bowl of seaweed soup. He also got me another pack of takeaway. I hadn’t had this much of Chinese food since arriving in Glasgow. Meat, chicken, fish, potatoes, veges, 木耳, 玻璃生菜

I micro-waved the takeaway for dinner. It was the first time I ate something really Chinese, without hassle, with folk and spoon. It felt like home. I couldn’t finish the rice. It’ll be fried tomorrow. Need to thank Allen for being really kind to me.

I suddenly thought of the migrants of yesteryears, where hot food and rice were a luxury. Maybe my grandma’s generation? In fact, meat wasn’t a norm on the table during my parent’s time. They all had to fight and work really hard. Every penny was to be saved for better used. It’s how migrants survived, and succeed.

The spirit to move out of poverty drove people beyond their shores, away from home (in this sense mainland China?) and promising themselves a better future for their families.
While I am not a migrant, and I am financially sound (luckily I didn't chose London), a taste of eating hot rice in a foreign land sets a timely reminder of the hardships of life faced by others. In fact, I don’t even need to work. I work for the skills and insights of running businesses. Maybe for my Operations Management module?
I am a fortunate guy.

I should make sure I pass my studies convincingly.

Interesting times ahead
PS: My application to be a tele-fundraiser with the Uni didn't go thru. 300 applicants, and I was the 90 that was shortlisted for the group interview. I missed the cut of 40 for the job. I actually thought I did ok during the interview. The standards are really high here. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don't.