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...


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