Saturday, May 24, 2008

Equals close-bracket

Things are coming together rather nicely:
  1. My holiday plans in June is crystallising nicely- the biggest issues (leave applications, itinerary, air tickets, hotel reservations) have been sorted out.
  2. I'm getting a proper feel of the balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement. I can even flip between LIFO and FIFO accounting!




... for You.

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Jupiter-9 85mm f/2.0

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Jupiter-9 85mm f/2.0


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Water purification technology - photographs

Pressure Vessels

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Sophie's World
Who are you?
Where does the world come from?

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tianjin style zha jiang mian (dry noodles)

Because I am not very inclined to study financial statement analysis at the moment, and because I have a minor fixation with food, I will write about food.

The office in Tianjin is based in an apartment, therefore there's a kitchen and dining area in the office. The cleaning lady also cooks for us, so there's ample supply of 'home' cooked food with sufficient vegetables etc.

There's a particular style of noodles that she makes that is greatly welcomed by the office staff. If i'm not mistaken, its the Tianjin style of making zha zhiang mian (cantonese, zha zheong mien).

The noodles are thick-ish rice flour noodles, boiled then strained dry. The noodles are a bit soft but not mushy; the texture resembles that of laksa noodles (lai fun).

Condiments to go with the noodles (some cooked, some raw; some dry, some with a bit of sauce) were spread on the table, and we added whatever we liked to the noodles.

There were a LOT of condiments:
  • Thinly cut pork strips cooked with fermented yellow beans, made with enough gravy
  • Eggs and tomatoes, with wood fungus and other things (this is a rather watery mixture; beaten eggs were poured into the hot liquid to from fragmented bits of egg)
  • Finely grated cucumber, raw
  • Chopped coriander, raw (do not skimp on this)
  • Garlic cloves, raw
  • Boiled choy sum (or equivalent), cut into very short lengths ( ~2cm), lightly seasoned with salt/soy sauce
  • Stir fried long beans
  • Finely grated/cut potato and capsicum strips, stir fried and lightly seasoned
  • Boiled peanuts, seasoned with 5 spices

I strongly suspect part of the reason this thing is so good is due the vast spread of textures and flavours. Precisely the same things that make asam laksa worth a drive to Penang for*.

* i'm referring to that dirty stall by the market in Ayer Itam, the one below the Kek Lok Si hill and located next to a foul looking drain. Yeah, that one. To d(r)i(v)e for.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Getting intimate with cooling towers

I've always had a thing for cooling towers. There's a dignified aura about them – huge bulky things squatting dormantly, passively emitting pleasant clouds of water overhead.

The exterior of a cooling tower

Cooling towers provide a source of cool water (colder than ambient temperature) by evaporating a portion of the water. The evaporation process requires an absorption of latent heat from the environment. This absorption thus cools the environment (the remaining water).

The interior of a cooling tower at partial flow

A cooling tower is a large, open ended cylinder installed vertically. Water is sprayed from the top, and the droplets fall into a pool at the bottom. The water is then pumped up again in a recirculating loop. As water is evaporated, more water is added to maintain the water level in the pool.

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The interior of a cooling tower running at full flow

<3 <3

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We were having lunch when the topic of discussion drifted towards who knows to cook and who doesn't. The driver doesn't cook, but he has a girlfriend who does so he is not stuck with eating out all the time. Or something to that effect.

Then the driver turned to the receptionist and said, “Hey, see if you can find a match for Yee Wei.”

I snapped up from my dumplings (the cleaning lady also cooks our lunch; they were very good), “what?”

The receptionist repeated, “He said to find a match for you.”

“No need thanks. I already have one.”

“Yours... would have ran away by now,” the the driver piped up, obnoxiously loud, as if he knew what he was talking about.

Ni ma de, it doesn't work that way.”

“How many months has it been since you last saw her?”

“Less than one.”

“Oh you saw her when you went back last time...”

Really, young man, just shut up and eat your fucking dumplings; they are delicious. Tosser.


Oh and while we are ranting, there is another rant-worthy item I'd like to mention. I have been unable access Yahoo! Mail since Friday afternoon; I strongly suspect it's the Great Firewall of China.


Ohh, one more item. Today is not a public holiday in China; Malaysia and Singapore are celebrating Wesak Day today.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Note: the notes for this article are much longer than the article itself

For the first time in a long time, I took a clean sheet of A4 and drew a straight line down the middle to split it into two columns.*

I started making notes with a pen, and stopped to stare in horror at the tortured traffic accident I had produced. It was ugly. Now I know how dentistry students feel when they make a mess out of their orthodontics practicals.

I stopped writing on paper when I graduated 3 years ago. I switched from using pen to pencil after finishing secondary school 8 years ago, when I discovered the pencil's greater tolerance to slipshod hand strokes.**

Enough time has been wasted, back to the books.

* with no columns, too much paper will be wasted as most lines will be just a few words long. I find wasting clean paper to be such a sin.

** A ball point pen's line darkness is extremely sensitive to applied pressure. One can even say that there is a singularity. If you hover the pen very lightly across the page you might find that there is no ink applied. But increase the pressure a bit and the darkness jumps up markedly.

On the other hand, a pencil's line darkness is almost linearly proportional to the applied pressure. An increase in applied pressure will result in a proportional increase in line darkness.

This phenomenon can be easily explained by looking at the mechanism by which the pen and pencil applies the ink/graphite.

The ball point pen uses a sphere within the tip. When the sphere rolls, it carries ink from within the housing to be applied onto the paper.

The darkness of the pen's line can be controlled by changing the applied pressure (within a small range). This is because a greater pressure will cause the pen's sphere to press into the paper, and thus come in contact with a greater surface of the paper and therefore apply more ink on the paper. This is why smooth and hard surfaces cannot be marked by a ball-point pen: the smooth surface does not provide enough friction to roll the ball, and the hardness means that the surface does not deform and hence the inked ball comes in contact with a very small area on the surface.

In contrast, a pencil applies graphite by shearing the graphite off the graphite shaft. A greater applied pressure will cause more graphite to be sheared off, resulting in a darker line.

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Sunday, May 11, 2008


I finished one week's reading material in one day. And we're talking about scary stuff here - financial statement analysis.


Thursday, May 08, 2008

What happens when you put 5 emos into one room?

One kills himself because he cannot find a corner to cry in.


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Eat Sleep Shit Week (day 7)

The Eat-Sleep-Shit Week is a movement by Jolene Lai to relive the hey-days of blogging, to recover the ability or inclination to spew endless sentences about anything and everything.

"The rules are that you must type everything that happened to you in the past 24 hours and you can add any tid bits from the previous days."- Jolene Lai

This partial-entry was written early last week and was forgotten when more pressing matters came about.


Saturday, 26th April 2008:

Arriving home at 5am on Saturday after a 20-hour journey, I bummed around and foraged for food (there were freshly baked cake on the counter – mom couldn't sleep so she made something – and ice cream in the freezer).

I slept at 6.30 am (after eating, taking a thorough shower, fiddling with my brother latest toy – a Canon 20D), and was forcibly roused with pitchforks and tasers at 9 am. There were important things to do: we were going to start the house-moving.

Apparently, moving house is not as simple as pack, load, unload and unpack. There's also this little ceremony to yup fo (bring in the fire). Grandmother did some prayers, and a charcoal stove (the kind used to cook back in the old old days) was prepared in a wooden rack. Then the stove (with the flaming charcoal) was carried from the front porch into the kitchen.

And then there was this odd thing of rolling 2 pineapples in via front door, I think symbolising the coming of prosperity.
An aunt remarked to me, “Wei, see even when you are moving house there are so many rituals. When you get married there'd be more.”
Then her sister joined the fray, “Yes, we'll have to roll your wife into the house.”
“Yes. If she's fat then it'd be easier to roll.”

With the aunts hanging around chatting and eating (we had a pot-luck lunch), we hung around until late afternoon.


Monday, May 05, 2008

Less than three


The weekend was spent in Singapore with The Girlfriend.

The economic conditions in Singapore continue to amaze me – purchasing power is remarkably high. A decent meal of mixed rice can be acquired for a mere 1/500 to 1/1000 of one month's pay (a fresh graduate's pay). Yeah you can buy food for a mere 2.50 SGD, while the monthly pay is close to 2000 to 2500 SGD.

In Malaysia, a fresh graduate probably gets 2000 to 2500 MYR a month; food costs about 4.00 MYR.

In Australia, a graduate earns 1750 to 2250 AUD per month; a meal costs about 7 AUD.

In China, a graduate earns close to 2000 CNY; food costs about 5 CNY.


This long distance business can get rather depressing at times.


I'll be flying for Tianjin tonight; after that horrible trip last week (it took 20 hours to get from Tianjin to Petaling Jaya, TMD), I'm not looking forward to it.


Friday, May 02, 2008

colon, close bracket


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