Saturday, September 2, 2017

1st Sep

One year ago, I was nesting at home, after quitting my job in Singapore.

Today, I had completed my Dissertation Poster Presentation, which means that my 1-year sabbatical as a postgraduate student is finally over.

Most probably the last nail for MSc.
It's been a fantastic year, where I met people from all walks of life. I had the pleasure of learning from professors, especially in management and energy subjects. I also joined different activities, and work as a Living Support Assistant at the University Accommodation. I think I squeezed many things in a year.

Actually, I woke up yesterday morning realizing the fact that I am heading back to reality very soon. I was most probably too occupied with events, trips and dissertation for the past whole month.

I was at Anfield 3 times in a week (which is crazy), catching the Crystal Palace, Hoffenheim and Arsenal games. For the Arsenal game, I stayed at SJ's place in Manchester for 3 nights, taking the opportunity to really visit Manchester.

View from the Main Stand Upper (Could actually see Goodison Park)
The weather was really really good for the past whole week
First ever Champions League experience - And it was electrifying
Liverpool 4 - 0 Arsenal, probably the best match out of the 7 I've been
Totally impressed with the power engineering lab at UMIST
As I pack my belongings, and prepare to leave the UK, there's a sense of reluctance, especially having felt so at home and comfortable in my room at 24D Winton Drive. Nostalgic, I am quite sure that this may be the best year of my life!

But life goes on, and I am ready for the next challenge, and opportunity that arise.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

28 July

July 2017 will be remembered as a busy and hectic month. 
1.5 weeks after seeing off the family, Chevening organised a Farewell in London. The evening before we traveled, the Edinburgh/Aberdeen gang Chevening came to Glasgow for a night, taking advantage of the promo Virgin train tix from Glasgow - London at 14 GBP per way.
We had Hari Raya dinner at my place. I have an extra room due to the repairs on the old apartment.

Needless to say how it was
And I hadn't laughed so hard since coming to the UK. 
I always feel that the transition age of 29-31 range is quite special. There is still the 20s in us, but as we reach the great end of 20s, especially when we are professionals in our field or career, we tend to be more subdue and matured. It is special when you meet like-minded and frequency people. We made so much noise in the room until Jim, the security could hear us. Luckily, he's a friend of mine, as I work as a Living Support Assistant at QMR.
Pretty sure I will miss these uncontrolled laughter and jokes.

The Farewell (5th July) wasn't as glamorous and exciting as the Orientation. Nevertheless, Chevening has been really generous in sponsoring the 1800 of us.

Forever grateful - Will definitely serve my obligations
Credits to the hardworking peeps that brought the traditional clothes
I had half a day's rest back in Glasgow, before departing for Dubai on the 7th of July. We had IET YPCC meeting and EMEA CVC. It is fantastic to see and work alongside bright and young professionals. Volunteerism isn't easy, and it's even harder to find committed and capable volunteers. It's normally either-or.   

The most international and diverse team in the Institution
Important to establish our role - Advisory or operational
At the end, everyone had fun
And a stay at a 5-Star Hotel - Marquis Marriott (Slightly too posh though)
View from 72nd Floor - Vault Bar
Burj Khalifa on the left
Extended my stay for 2 nights after the meeting. It's my first time in the Middle East. I grew up reading about Arabian nights, or basically Aladdin, and it was pretty magical, and hot (40 degrees during the day).
Join the crew last minute on their safari trip. 

Not bad for a first dessert experience, though I was also undone during the Dune Bashing 
Camel riding was more subtle
Belly dancing with dinner
Everyone left after the dinner, back to town, except the few of us, who had signed up to sleep in the dessert overnight. The temperature was about right, with cold wind and warm sand.

Needless to say, I didn't sleep well
Still a great experience sleeping under the dessert sky near camels...
Went back to town, and stayed at probably the best/most affordable hostel (At the Top, near Marina). I had booked 3 nights via, and thought I had burned the 2 previous nights, worth around 28 pounds. But it turned out otherwise, as they only collect cash when we check-in. Since I didn't show up on Sunday, my booking was automatically canceled. 
So I just had to 'walk-in' and hire a bed, with Sam.

At 66th floor, the hostel had a view of Dubai Marina
And it was really nice
Upon the 2pm check-in, spent most of Tuesday afternoon recuperating sleep till 4.30pm, before catching up with K, a friend I made during my flight from Singapore to Dubai last September. This Malaysian lass has been working here for 10 years, owns a Toyota sports car, and was cool to act as a local guide.
Had a private/local tour guide who knew where the best views are
Couldn't help wondering the strength of oil-money, and the recent drop in price
Had Taiwanese dinner, which was really good
If it wasn't for the car, I would have spent the day indoors

So I was back in Glasgow, attending a host of workshops at the Business School throughout 3 weeks - Selling Yourself, Managing Change, Emergency and Disaster Management... And struggled with my dissertation of designing solar PV and battery systems. 
Thank goodness my supervisor Dr. Z assigned me one of his PhDs - QH, who assisted me with the most important part of Matlab codes.
At least, I have some primary results now. 
22 August is the hard bound submission, and with 3 weeks to go, I do need to focus and kick-start the regime. 

It's the last leg of MSc.

Last weekend, J, a Malaysian Chevener from London, was in town, and had the spare-room for 3 nights. We were mostly busy with our stuffs, but I manage to tag along to Dumbarton Castle, a tourist site (unknown to me) some 30 minute train ride from the West End.

Used to be the fort on the Clyde 
Basically a rock from no where.
Dumbarton stadium, and the town at the far end
Worth a visit, if you have visitors
Today, after meeting QH, and while it was not raining, I climbed up the Tower at Kak R's room. I was an engineer again, climbing a 'rusty' monkey-ladder, most probably around 3 stories high.

It was weird standing on the roof, looking at the Main Gate
Was rather worried that I will get caught by security.

So, everything is going fine, and I have booked my return ticket - 3rd week of September. Reality will soon hit, and I will need to get a job back home.

Negotiating for a job will be interesting
Hoping for a smooth final 2 months in the UK.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

30th June

June came and passed without a wink. It'll be July 2017 tomorrow.
Man... Where did time went?

The family came to town for a 12-day holiday. Everything went smoothly as planned. The important thing is that everyone is happy, though tired. We did a road trip to Isle of Skye (4 days). I was actually quite tired after only the second day of driving. But the Nissan Qashqai was a pleasant machine to have (and it’s manual!).
Taking the ferry from Dunoon to Greenock - cutting the time of driving
Isle of Skye - The wind was too strong
To be honest, I didn't really plan for the trip, and almost missed this famous landmark at Isle of Skye - Eilean Donan Castle

We took a flight from Glasgow to Belfast. An interesting place, Belfast is full of history and conflicts. Not sure why people mix religion and politics. We spent a day walking around town on the walking tour, and than check out Titanic Museum. 
Was quite nice
Wasn't on my wishlist anyway - Dublin is more interesting
Edinburgh, as always one of my favourite.
Carlton Hill
Scots Monument
Some good work-out for the folks - Arthur's Seat at the rear view
Some good shopping were done at Buchanan Street – MK purse of GBP135 was selling at GBP65.
Shopping day was wet, but the next day was great!
And my family took the effort to make sure I spend the next 3 months fulfilled...
After coming back, I gave myself a few days of rest, and travelled down to London for a technical visit to BAE Systems Intelligence at Blue Fin Building. The first night, we stayed at Cumberland Lodge Hotel, just outside Marble Arch. Slightly too small a room, but it's still a hotel. I extended my stay and bumped at Jon’s place at Mile End, near Queen Mary University, while coincidentally, he was staying at my residence in Glasgow, for a conference!
Took a stroll around Westminster on Day 1
After the stroll, our friend J actually lost her purse. Thankfully her passport was still there. Need to be really careful of pickpockets.

Extra security at Downing Street

I stayed at Mile End on Day 2 after the visit. On Day 3, I took a leisure (Saturday morning) stroll along the Regent Canal towards Canary Wharf. Totally changed my perception of East London. Canary Wharf was originally where the Port of London was. Extremely wealthy and important.
Spent 2 hours at the London Docks Museum. It was really interesting.

East India Company - Yup it is

Regent Canal
Still had time to creep into the Undergraduate Open Day at Queen Mary's
Left London Euston on a 4pm train for Glasgow.

Coming back to Glasgow, I felt the chill in the air. I conclude that the weather in London is way better than in Glasgow. (My friend says that's due to being closer to the north pole)
Had my first steamboat with a colleague. Not bad.

Xiangbala at Union Street
 On Hari Raya Day, visited R and Jay for a authentic Raya lunch. Couldn't be better!

Vegetarian Raya meal!!
Dinner was home cook food at E's place with LX and S
I was back to my dissertation project swiftly. Using Homer to provide data on Solar Irradiance and household load, I am now cracking my head to learn and use Matlab programming to design a suitable battery. I still have around 5 weeks to finalize my findings. Presentation is on 1st of September, 2 months away.
And, I am heading to London next Tuesday (again) for Chevening Farewell reception. In a week's time, I will be in Dubai for IET YPCC meeting and EMEA CVC. I have extended 3 nights, thinking of exploring Dubai. But with temperatures hitting 40 C and a low of 29 C, I am interested to see what happens to my Scottish acclimatization.

The biosensor project is a major letdown. I did my best, spent my time in the lab (consistently since January), but maybe it's my inability to produce meaningful output and work. There's no teamwork, team spirit and direction. Most probably not going to Eindhoven with a finished article. I detest last-minute work, and we are basically at the very-last-minute now. You could see that pressure is kicking-in. We had 6 months before this, and most probably did 10% of the work, with 90% left for the next 2 months, with all of us having various commitments. Now you could see free-riders popping up and making the loudest noise. I had been working (quietly), playing my role as an unnoticeable team member, which can be easily looked down on. I don't regret the hours I spent, most probably because I didn't produce the output I intended. But I believe we should know when to cut-loss, or abandon a ship (if it's sinking without hope). This could happen in a student-project, but never in working life, especially in engineering environment. Really, I am amused. Being quiet and humble doesn't mean my brain is empty. People tend to make judgement based on the surface.

I will most probably settle for a return flight around end of September. It's time to go home, get a job and settle down.