Sunday, August 17, 2008


I think that I will be missing my self soon...

A new beginning awaits..... Vamos!!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Back in SG!

Back in sunny Singapore after a short getaway to Japan with the girlfriend over the past week. Mainly stayed at Tokyo, but I also did a daytrip to Nikko. Wonderful looking shrines and temples, but also a great experience soaking in all things Japanese. Gotta love the food there. (Though I'll steer clear of it for some time, especially after all the raw fish & oyster at Tsukiji!)

Anyway, had Commencement yesterday... Cut short my Japan trip just to make this ceremony so inside I was really hoping that it wouldn't be a letdown since the trip was shortened. Turns out I was pleasantly surprised with the event... simple, fast, caught up with old friends (who weren't hesitating about making full use of networking time), and took loads of photos =) To think of it, this would likely be my last ceremony for some time where I'm getting some award or sort of. And possibly my last step into NUS for some time, bar the tennis sessions heh. In any case, to all my fellow graduate friends, happy Graduation!

Will upload photos as soon as I get my hands on them, for both Japan and Commencement, so stay tuned for it.

Oh, and thank you Rafa, new Wimbledon champion, for justifying my trust in you... [see previous post]... Vamos!!!!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Mid-Wimbledon Prediction

I'm gonna stick my neck out and say here, that the best player in Wimbledon 08 is not Federer, but Nadal. Money's on him to win the championships.

Let's see if this pans out in a week's time.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Journey through history...

2 rather interesting flash animations depicting
- the influence of religion through ancient times (of the 4 major religions today), and
- Rulers of the Middle East region through known history
Note: flash was too large to be embedded, so they open in a new window.

I've always been interested in historical Europe, especially circa 500 BCE to 1500 CE. I've been hoping to find some maps actually, that show snapshots of the european theatre in this period. To that end, these 2 resources, were the closest I can find for what I want. Sadly, the 1st one, while very detailed, starts from 1CE, while the 2nd while, is a larger macro view of the world empires (though mostly hunter-gatherer societies pre-Antiquity). Enjoy if your are a history buff like me!

Monday, June 09, 2008

interesting bet

Bet between Buffett and Protege Partners (S&P Index vs. fund of hedge funds over a 10 year period)

O Lewis, where did you get your driving license from?

In a surprising Canadian Grand Prix, the BMWs came in 1-2, with David Coulthard 3rd. Now wait. Where are the McLarens and the Ferraris?

Basically, to keep a long story short, during a busy pitlane session after the safety period, Raikonnen and Kubica lined up at pit exit due to a red light.

Soon after, Hamilton comes cruising along at pit lane speed limit, and crashes unceremoniously into the back of the Ferrari. End of race for both drivers. Kubica was not bothered by the circus of events going on 2 metres from him, and went on to win the race.

From left to right: Kimi (car underneath), Lewis (car in mid air), Kubica (laughing in the car)

Interestingly, Hamilton was facing 2 cars side by side, and when he realised too late that the lights were red, he 'manouevred' to the left, where the red car was. No further suggestions necessary.

Quote by Kubica: "Last year Fisichella and Massa went by, I stopped as the first car. This time I stopped side by side with Kimi and after a few seconds Lewis came flat out and crashed into him. I have to thank him that he chose Kimi and not me."

Quote by Kimi: "Obviously, anyone can make mistakes, as I did two weeks ago in Monaco, but it's one thing to make a mistake at two hundred per hour but another to hit a car stopped at a red light. I am not angry because that doesn't achieve anything and does not change my result.
I am unhappy, because I had a great chance of winning."

To be fair, Hamilton knew he was in the wrong and he did apologise. Its just one of these things that crack me up -- F1 driver trying to beat a red light with 2 stationary cars in front of him. This already reminds me of the incident in Shanghai where Lewis parked his million dollar McLaren in the world's most expensive carpark (read: gravel)

Having said that, I still cannot understand why the pitlane has to be closed during pitstops, or why the exit is closed when the entrance is opened. I believe the former is due to not letting any driver gain an advantage of the safety car by pitting in, although this would be negated easily if everyone did the same. I presume it would benefit backrunners the most, but hey, safety car sessions always benefits backrunners.

I think we should see some new rules coming out in the next few weeks.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Incredible Rafael Nadal

Nadal uses the same strategy against Federer for the past 4 years; still has Fed's number

French Open 2008 was such a one-sided final. Roger Federer, world number 1, only managed 4 games against Rafa. It was a massacre through and through. Sometimes it can be rather stupefying watching a relentless Rafael Nadal own a player of Federer's calibre like it happened today.

Well, today, like the rest of the past 2 weeks, Rafa played perfect tennis. Without a doubt, he has improved further on clay, and today's final was a complete annihlation. Bagel in the final set. ouch. ouchhh.

What was sad to see was how easily dispirited Federer gets. Sure, its easy to sit on your couch and commentate, but watch Nadal, after he makes a (rare) unforced error. He curses under his breath, and then does his routine again, walk to the back, strings, sweeps the line, spits, hair, bounces, picks his shorts, get on with it. Roger? shoulders drop, curses, plays tentative on the next point. Of all people, he should know that at that level of tennis it is all physical and mental. And clearly, everytime he faces Rafa (on clay), he already starts off on a losing foot with his mental outlook. Somehow, and I actually think it is a matter of ego, he can't quite come to terms that he being the world number 1 for the longest time ever, being considered possibly the best player ever, is being ridiculed in such a manner.

Well Roger, face it. We might as well accord Nadal the title of best player on clay, ever. Let's talk tactics. When an average player faces a clearly better player, the average player is extremely unlikely to outplay the better player. He has to play to his own advantages and bring the better player out of his comfort zone. Then, he has a chance. He might still lose, and lose even more, but there is a better chance of winning. Otherwise it is still 80-20 in the better player's corner.
And that's exactly how it panned out. I think Roger still cannot believe he is inferior to Rafa on clay by this much; his approach should then be to try different shots and plays that he himself seldom uses to surprise Nadal. Granted, some effort was done today. More volleys, drop shots. So what went wrong?

1. Fed's volleying was poor today. It was poor during the entire French Open. 30% of the time it is good, and it looks elegant and beautiful. But he still loses on 70% on other times.

2. The top spin backhand. Nadal has been going to Fed's backhand for 4 years (in Paris), and Fed almost always insists on hitting back his top spin back hand. and 80% of the time it is a mid court ball, which is Rafa's money shot area. I felt he could have sliced more today. Yes again, he might have lost in any case ... simply because ...

3. Rafa was just amazing today. Some of the volleys to the back of the court were returned exceptionally well. Passing shots, lobs, you name it. Rafa played perfect tennis today.

Somehow, the idea of winning got lost for Roger. In tennis, foremost to any player, is to win. And to win is to score points. Yet somehow one gets the feeling that Roger is going for the beauty shots, as if he will be crucified whenever he wins ugly. As for Rafa? Today's game was seemingly a cake walk. He broke Roger so many times early in the set, and if I was him I would think, if it ain't broken, why change my gameplan? Roger's throwing me the trophy! Heavy balls back to his court, and let him attempt his line cleaning shots.

Watching Federer is like watching a dance; elegant, artistic, enjoyable. Watching Nadal is inspiring. I like Federer -- don't get me wrong -- but there is much to learn from watching a grinder like Nadal play as well. At the very least, at the amateur level, we can grind better than we can play drop shots 1m from the net.

Aside from the match, I thought it to be pretty funny that Bjorn Borg and Mats Wilander came out and said Roger had a good chance to win (prior to the match, obviously). Surely, if they have been following the events of the past 2 weeks, it was clear that Rafa was playing at the top of the clay court game the world has ever seen. I honestly put the match at 80-20 to Rafa. I think deep down, Borg probably wanted his record of 4 French Opens in a row not to be bested by anyone, so rooting Fed was probably right. And if Borg went on record to say Nadal was surefire to win, I think Fed would have even less belief in himself facing Rafa!

Another aside: Didn't anyone think that the commentators were severely biased towards Roger? I mean, I like Fed, but I'm sure the Nadal fans would be seriously annoyed by his constant prejudice. Everything he talked on was from the viewpoint of Roger, seriously, everything! Rafa's fantastic play today deserved so much more praise than was given by the commentator. Perhaps this is something the TV station needs to take note of.

Aside #3. I was quite looking forward to this game, even though I predicted a whitewash. Nevertheless, I offered 4/1 odds to a friend for Fed to win. This friend (who shall not be named -- suffice to say he is a Fed fan)
refused to take up the odds! haha. So much for support! (just kidding dude) As the game went on, it was quite interesting to see that Fed odds were given 7/1 , then 10/1, and on the final set at 5-0, an amazing 201/1 !!!

All in all, great play for Rafael Nadal, extremely deserving of his 4th consecutive French title, and very possibly many more to come. For the sake of tennis too, I do hope Roger gets his act together and puts on a good run in Wimbledon.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Sean Carving

here's a really cool video of a image processing software. just think of its many possible applications ....