Narrow Margin of University Application

In the game called “University Application”, any marginal advantage wins!

It’s the time of the year again when US bound prospective students are trying to obtain a spot in the more competitive colleges. With 1990 being the largest birth population during the baby boom, I wonder how the universities’ admission teams are going to select their entries. I’m sure there are a lot of qualified prospects out there but spaces are limited. As the playing field turns larger and evens out, it’s hard to accommodate everyone and to pick out the gems out from the shards of glass.

So, in the modern game of university application, every minute details matter. That said, each part of the application, even those that are not considered important plays a role. Grades, test scores, community services, essays etc can be controlled, or in the slightest part, influenced by the applicants. However, other comparison method employed by the university such as interviews is more subjective although application process should be made objectively.

Assuming ceteris paribus, let say Interviewer A had a bad day but Interviewer B had a blast before the interview. It will certainly affect the mood of the interview and thus, affect the evaluation report they give to the interviewee. Other questions could include, is candidate A more beautiful, has a better background, thus exposing him/her to more experience. As far as interview is concerned, it’s all boils down to luck and that’s the one which makes all the difference.

But it does matter only if the applicant pool is really competitive. The more coveted places such as placing in business school or pre-med program certainly will have stiffer competition and lower placing to application ratio. Hence, it is here where the slight marginal advantages really show its worth. As a chess player piles up every small advantages they have into a large decisive victory, the same goes for university application  because in the end, there’s no shades of grey, only that you’re accepted or not. And yet, this slight margin can be affected deeply by subjective comparison instead of a uniform objective evaluation. Universities should eliminate this ununiformity in the criterias, but diversity will ensure the human population never been through the same thing. Is there really no way to level the playing field for everyone?

Tribute to the INTIans

To the guys who stayed back. From the one who leaves, a little sooner.

My tribute to INTI, the place where I –

  • See testosterone enriched males with high ego to form a tribe-like society rich in ritualistic actions such as Arumba, twisted nighttime behaviors etc…
  • And the equally communal females who stick up to each other like a pack of hungry lioness.
  • Or to hear howlings in the middle of the night by the Malay guys.
  • Where I also meet my wonderfull roommate who wouldn’t mind my erratic nocturnal habits.
  • Plus other elusive people whom I hardly see outside of their room.
  • As well as the forever mysterious SAM girls I hardly encounter.
  • The happy crowd in my community service program.
  • My nimble and gracefull dancing partners.
  • My chess sparing partners.
  • And most important, to my few neighbours who I talked with until the dawn of the next day. Those who sometimes drag me out in the middle of the night to grab a bite in mamak stall and also the ones who keep on disrupting my sleep with invites to play multiplayer games.

This is my dedication to all of you … Whom I have the honor of calling my friends.

The Lion Turns Legal

Thanks for the wishes, guys (and girls).

I turned 18 today, finally, a starting point from which I will be accountable legally for my actions. Frankly, I did not look forward to this day.

Prior to today, I re-evaluate what I had hope to achieve for the entire year before. Until today, I am still unable to drive since I considered myself too busy to neither take any driving lessons nor sit for the test. There are still so many places I wanted to visit yet I lacked money, time and transportation to do so. I want to learn so many skills, meet new acquaintances, and read countless books I’d been postponing. And yet, I still find excuse to evade from fulfilling all the thing that I wanted to do.

By passing this auspicious date too, it means my summer is coming to an end and all the time in the world will come to a nil. Apparently, time urgency does not constitute enough incentives for me to be more aware of the slipping time and be more productive.

Anyway, I would like to say thanks again to the birthday wishes I received from everyone. Be it messages sent to my cell phone, comments in my Friendster and Facebook account, or even in blogs and Recom forum, I appreciate it very much. Just next time guys, skip the greetings, bring me the presents. It will provide me more of an economical well being instead of a social one. I’ll like material gain anytime. It has been a fruitless year for me like almost every other year as I passed through this day empty handed.

At least, some consolation prize I received this year is a home-made durian cake baked with fillings from three durians (yum) and witty conversations with some of my friends.

Holiday and Productivity

Let the sleeping monk lies.

With the holiday progressing, I found my productivity going down the drain. Initially, I knew I was already slacking off from the beginning but I was hoping that things will pick up as time progressed.

By now, I would probably sleep on average half my day away.

The lack of work and the availability of leisure time has erode whatever incentives I had to get up from my bed and get my body moving. I need to find new focus or I’ll just waste another month worth of time into oblivion. Somehow, my gut feeling is that this will be the last day I’m feeling this free in a long time.Should had appreciate the time in my hand instead of dozing off.

Countdown to Departure

Flying into the unknown, soaring to greater heights.

30. I’d been counting the days before I step into the flight away from home. With the oil price sky rocketing and the flight tickets in the same direction, I’m not sure whether I will make a trip back home in the nearest break.

With the few days remaining, I’m evaluating if I am prepared for any culture shock or trauma I may be experiencing in the States. Although, I had spent the past one year away from my family, I have the confidence to be independent and evade any shocks I might encounter.

In these past few weeks, I should cherished the moments I had left with my parents and yet, I squander them all away sleeping. I should put them into more productive sectors, which I have neither yet to discover nor intending to fulfill.

Time is getting shorter and I am still here, fooling around. The time is ticking. 30 left, and soon to be 29.

The Photographer and the Subject

Always the photographer, never the subject.

I just reviewed the student yearbook by the July intake student. As I flipped through the the pages of events over the past year, I noticed that I lacked pictures of myself in the events even though I attended a large portion of them.

Then, I realised, I’m always the photographer, never the subject. I see that I’m always the one with the camera at hand, never actually participating in the conversations. Perhaps this identify more with my rather quiet and distant personality. I realised myself not to be the one with more connections or acquaintances, rather just someone popping in and out of a situation.

Being quite above the commotion of the crowd, I can be objective when times required it. But after all things stated, I wonder if the trade off is justifiable. As in Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken”:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I chose to be the the photographer and it’s all that matters.

Putrajaya – The UnMalaysian Capital

My Future Job?

I had a trip to Putrajaya whereby I look around the place. And it certainly fit the public description – modern, clean, planned out structures, with all the high and mighty splendor a country’s wealth can pour into. It’s the epitome of a well planned futuristic piece of work.

And yet, Jason point out something. As the administrative center of Malaysia, there are very few Malaysian made cars in there. All that I saw where BMWs, Toyotas etc. Where’s the nationalistic pride that government been trying to implement in the people? My guess is that even the higher officials know how lackluster a Proton car performance is. Or they are just typically bound to the unhealthy third world mentality that cars show the status of a person. Thus, they all opt for fuel guzzling high end cars even though they have far cheaper and fuel efficient cars at their disposal.

The architecture in it also does not distinctively shows much of the Malaysian culture, just some plain looking buildings like that of Wall Street. Aside from a large mosque, I also did not see any other religious temple around that area. Or maybe they’re just hidden away from my view.

On a short note, the trip to Putrajaya is quite saddening for me because I know it will be the last of which I will see some of my companions in a long time.

INTI Idol 2008

Arena of glory – Where stars shine.

INTI Idol just finalized into the final round. The stage is set. The participants are ready. So, let the show rolling. In this singing competition, the darling of Block A manage to land herself in the finals. So, as an act of support, a large group of us bought prime ticket seats right beside the stage to launch our supporting slogans and banners.

People tend to help others whom they know or is somehow related. Through social connections called ‘guan xi’, a single person can accumulate the support of the masses. The things we do to protect this social connection – screaming till the voice is hoarse, snapping up shots like a zealot fan and gathering together in blue themed color shirts to prove our undying support.

Though our star didn’t make it to the final two as the competition progress, we are still trying to obtain her a prize through the popularity votes (which involves money 🙁 ). Unfortunately, for all our gargantuan effort went down the drain when other participants with ‘guan xi’ of their own rise up to the occasion and snatch the popularity contest from right below our fingertips.

As far as the INTI Idol is concern, it seems the social connection is still not enough to overcame public opinion. The final winner is an international female student who, apparently seems to lacking in supporters as to the other more popular male finalist, even though the champion is determined by the majority votes. Congratulations to her.

To our bright star, although she may not take away the the championship, she is still a winner in our hearts. And for all the crazy stuffs the people at the other end of the ‘guan xi’ pulls off, what did we get in return? Apparently nothing, but… We still love you, Valerie!

4th of July 2008

American Flag – Independence Day on 4th of July

It’s been a year. I’d never thought that time passed so fast. It’s been only been a little more than a year when I first step into INTI for the American University Program. That night, the AUP office told the students to immerse themselves in American culture to prepare ourselves for their future in America. And the first agenda of the week is America’s Independence Day where INTI celebrated it with Elvis Presley look alike and a bonfire.

Today, another year has passed and I’m now a senior. The AUP club would have another celebration tonight considering the incumbent AUP club, I won’t put much expectation in it. 😛

And also on this day last year, I knew the birth date of two friends last year since they are revealed during orientation. They’re kinda memorable since the association with the America’s Independence Day.

So, I wish here a Happy Birthday to

Jia Min – the girl with a one of a kind laughter

and

Samantha – the girl who likes to party

Nicked their photos from the profiles 😛

٩(●̮̮̃•̃)۶ May your birthday be celebrated with in every glorious touch and tons of fireworks (definite occasion in US).

p.s. July babies rocks! For the obvious reason.

Children Camp 4 – Part 2

Most of Group I and J

Since this is a long time ago, I felt reluctant to continue it but every beginning deserves a good ending.

Day 2 of the Children Camp is the last day. Sadly, that is all I could take as I was very exhausted from it. Who knew how hyperactive children can be.

The last day was continued on with helping the children to clean themselves up, ie brushing their teeth etc, morning exercise, breakfast and then more activities. The final act is to prepare a drama for showtime. By the draw of the luck, my group got Little Red Riding Hood. I don’t know if I am fortunate or not because hardly anyone in my group can remember the story well, yes, not even the kids! So, we improvise and remake the story in our own flavor.

To round things up, each group is given a large piece of paper with an alphabet in it together with some crayons so each group can color it according to their own taste. The end result is quite nice, considering the myriad of colors which is expected from the creative juice flow of children.

Next, in the closing ceremony, the committees went on to have their own nostalgic memories and some cried out at the thought that the children are leaving and Children Camp is coming to an end. Some went on to hug but not me, lest I develop some attachment to the children.

And so, the children from Rumah Hope, Tri-Ratana, and Kami left for their respective place of belonging.

Bah! She still refuse to take a good picture. 😛