Sunday, November 13, 2011

Chapter 15 - thoughts.



In the midst of exams, I officially declare another 5 days to the end of yet another semester! To be frank, we all have our own ways to de-stress, though I don't particularly feel stressful during the exam period itself, rather before it all actually starts. I have come to terms that I'd have given in my best for each paper and I will walk out of the exam hall knowing that nothing else would have changed my results if I had done all I could (counting in the pressurized condition with every other racing hearts). 

Had a chat on skype a couple of days back with my best bud, kian. (yes, in case you're wondering, best friends do still exists! Though this time I didn't have to write it down on a list and remind myself who my best friends, good friends, and normal friends are.) Guys don't actually catch up as often as girls do, guys don't stick around in a group for long, but I can say for sure that although we haven't spoken in quite a while, and really, only met up less than five times a year, no matter how we may have come thus far, we'll never run out of topics to talk. We may have seemed to disappear into our own lives at some point, and gone are the good old schooling days but nothing will take those memories away.

Who needs a hundred friends for support, when all you really need is one helping hand? 

Want to send you my sincere wishes here for your upcoming exchange in Denmark. May you be humble always, and gain wisdom from the wise. As short as a few months may sound, it may actually be quite long when you're looking for directions in a totally foreign environment! 

All I need is a postcard from Denmark, really. 



Monday, November 07, 2011

Chapter 14 - An hour of your time, is it too much to ask for?

video

Let us ask ourselves, is this what we're missing in today's society? If we need constant reminders, let this video serve as another reminder, with long lasting impact on you.

Surprisingly, we realize this slips our minds very soon when we seemed to have too much to handle. When everything at work takes priority..remind yourself with the story of the mayonnaise jar.

Share this around! :)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Chapter 13.2 - Irrationality


One evening while preparing dinner, this ladybird caught my attention amongst the leafy cabbages. Thinking it was dead after being washed and soaked, I brought it to my room, much to my interest in this beautiful insect. I placed it under my table lamp, and supposedly the heat brought life back into the ladybird; I could feel its tiny legs struggling to crawl across my palm as I picked it up after dinner.

Pulled my camera out, and gave it a shot. Owing to my camera for being able to capture macro-shots at such clarity!

***

Many issues over the weeks left me pondering what has exactly become of human nature. While there are a significant proportion of us speaking up for animals whom can't speak for themselves, we are often lacking in power as opposed to the fewer others on the other side of the fence. We certainly have strength in numbers, but it always take us an enormous amount of effort to turn the tables around. It puzzles me immensely. It seems that politicians never understood science, and scientists never agree with politicians. The ongoing war with contrasting ideologies never seem to come to any common consensus.

Firstly, it's about sustainable fishing. The ocean can no longer support us anymore. Take the blue-fin tuna for example, for sure it is an endangered species and the numbers have crashed dramatically over the years.


The graph is with respect to the Western North Alantic population of bluefin tuna. The dotted line shows the level we should be fishing at to sustain the population. Just over 4 decades of overfishing, we are only left with 3% of the origin population as what we started off in the 1960s. However in May 2010,  the Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal petition with the Secretary of Commerce to have North Atlantic Bluefin Tuna declared an "endangered" species and protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. (http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2010/bluefin-tuna-05-24-2010.html)

This is just one of the studies done of many thousands soon-to-be endangered/extinct species, it took almost 50 years and driving the bluefins to almost extinction, before any action is taken. In order to allow the population to grow back to the healthy numbers, we should be fishing at about 10 tonnes of tuna per day. 15  tonnes for sustainable fishing, but right now we're fishing at about 60 tonnes/day. The figures are staggering.
We will run out of fish by 2040 if we continue to fish at this rate. This is certainly not an exaggeration and politicians clearly don't respect the science.

Improvements to the fishing equipment and nets must be done. Thousands of unwanted sharks, sea turtles, sea birds, corals are harvested when nets spanning a few tens of kilometres are reeled in.

Secondly, marine parks... which don't make any sense to me at all. I don't wish to comment any further.

Thirdly, again politicians making unnecessary knee-jerk reactions to hunt and kill any wildlife that poses threat to humans. Do we not understand the risks involved when we are in their territory? Billion and trillion years of evolution have supposedly made human more intelligent as we put ourselves in the uppermost class. I see we have become too smart for ourselves, making irrational and illogical decisions. If politicians want their people to be safe, then ban sea sports, ban entrance into national parks; and stay in the safe and comfortable cities where crime rates are thousand times higher than human fatalities that occurs in the wild.
Shouldn't more resources and manpower be focused on what's happening in the communities, than to try hunt down which wild animal exactly kill a man, in a wildlife reserve or ocean for that matter? Is killing the animals responsible, justifiable? Why call it a wildlife national park, when we want to make sure all animals pose no threat to humans? What happened to the whole purpose to conserving wildlife, in national parks?
I refer this case to the grizzly bear hunted in Yellowstone national park, 2010.

I'm truly disappointed, and deeply saddened by what's happening around the world, every second as I write this.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Chapter 13.1 - The mayonnaise jar and two cups of coffee




I've a short story to share, many of you may have already heard about it, but how often are you reminded of this? The story is about the mayonnaise jar and two cups of coffee. It goes like this:

When things in your lives seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things--your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions--and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

The sand is everything else--the small stuff. "If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

"Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first--the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked.

It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."


At some point if our lives we often find we've too much on our hands to juggle. I just want to share this story again, to remind ourselves not to sweat the small stuff, and always take care of the golf balls; things that are and will always be important to us no matter what happens. When the pace of life seems too fast, why not have a coffee and take a while to get organized? Having a break doesn't necessary mean slowing down, it just means recharging and enjoying the journey. Remember, it's the journey that makes you wiser, not the destination.


***

23 Oct - 50km Ocean Rd ride for MS (Multiple Sclerosis), WA.

There's always a place and time for everything, make your time worthwhile while you can!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Chapter 13 - Forgive & let live. Everyday is a gift.




This hangs in my room. It serves as a very good reminder for me everyday, which makes my quality of life better, and a much happier person. Occasionally, certain events that happen pisses us off, it turns our day upside down and at that very moment, we feel really fired up.

But hey, once I'm back in my room, and something like that in front of me, just makes me wonder how valuable/worthless this moment of hatred, anger or disappointment is. Living on this very surface of the world and faced with the passing of many great ones, or perhaps even those around you, serves as a constant reminder that everyday, is indeed a gift.

As true as it may sound, there's no hatred nor anger when facing death. There's only love.

***

As I approach the end of yet another semester, I just want to quickly sum up some of the significant events during the past months!


June '11

- Spent 2 weeks at a dairy farm, 900 cow herd, calving season in June/July. Unforgettable experience for me, lots of hands on can't possibly learn any more than that. Did my first calving on the 12 June by myself. Incredible, to see life delivered through my hands.

Calf which I had to bottle feed everyday. Not to mention calves' poor suckling ability compared to lambs, which are easily 10X faster.


July '11

- Had a wonderful month of little holiday in WA with Jeri. We tried and tested many recipes, to our delight. Food makes the world go round! Finally visited Albany which is absolutely amazing. (especially salt and pepper squid from the Squid Shack.) Unforgettable.


Us at Albany wind farm!

August '11

Start of the semester, and at the end of August.. it's my birthday!

Surprise birthday party in my own house! (notice the shades of green...)

September '11

Dad, mom and bro came over for a short trip. It was certainly a good break from Singapore for my dad I hope, the slower pace of life here, not having to check and reply emails everyday. We played golf at Swan Valley, which was fantastic. The man needs a break, really.

Yahava Koffee works, Swan Valley, WA.

18 Sept '11 - Amy Gran Fondo (Lorne, Victoria)

On this very day, we completed the most gruelling race of our lives. 120km of extremely challenging terrains and possibly strong winds along Great Ocean Road was there for us to take. 7 hours 35 minutes was how long we took. Drained physically and mentally, we never felt better over the fact we made it.

Me, Ivan & Cheryl at the start. (we wouldn't be smiling at the end point)

October '11

- Perhaps the Perth Royal Show is the highlight here. George, our steer which (whom) we have been taking care of and breaking him in, time spent on grooming him, walking him (and getting episodes of random kicks and assault by him). He is due to be shown and auction off on 1 & 2 Oct at the royal show.

Ruth, Ailin, me, Mel & Nic. [Murdoch Cattle Show Team!]

20 Oct '11

Today I witnessed dolphins swimming and playing so close to the shore while cycling past Canning River towards the city. The dorsal fin caught my attention, before I stopped and stood there for the longest time, taking in the exhilarating and thrilling moment of watching dolphins play with waves. Nope, no pictures were taken. Those moments would have been wrecked by spending time trying to capture a still picture.

It brought me a smile instantly, knowing such beautiful creatures exist before my eyes.

23 Oct '11
Will be cycling for MS (multiple sclerosis) association this sunday! 50km should be a good distance to cover. To be updated soon!


Sunday, June 05, 2011

Chapter 12 - Learn to appreciate things while they last.





Was blog hopping when I chanced upon this meaningful picture - doesn't need me to explain any further. :)


Sunday, May 01, 2011

Chapter 11.6 - Cows and the study break



It was my study break week and I've spent it at Cowaramup's cattle feedlot. 3 hours drive South of Perth and 7 days have allowed me to witness and experience tonnes of lessons and reflections which would have been unattainable otherwise. Time and experience is all we need, to make us better professionals.



Semini's Wagyu Cattle Feedlot

Spent the weekend (including a beautiful Sunday today) doing everything else but school work. It was refreshing, to be able to watch TV and not worry about any other things, take some time to make good decent meals and of course cleaning up my car after a week at the farm is always most rational. I didn't have to rush through any of my daily routines and I spent free times reading or sitting down in front of the laptop playing my favourite soccer game.

To be exact, I didn't have to know time, there wasn't anything lined up on the day's agenda.

As the sun sets and the night turns chilly, it was always nice to have good music and videos playing in my room.


The aurora time-lapse movie by Terje Sorgjerd was the highlight of my short but quality weekend.


take it easy, boy.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Chapter 11.5 - Coffee and a Sunflower




On the night of a Good Friday, decided to spend some time by myself at home. Had a cup of self-made coffee after dinner and it couldn't be any more refreshing. Coffee is a beverage many would need to keep them going early in the morning. But coffee, helps me relax. In fact, I recently did a little trial on myself; drinking coffee one to two hours before my sleep time. What I realized was bewildering. I find my sleep much more nourishing and I wouldn't wake up feeling as if I needed another 5 minutes of snooze time. Energetic and alive are two words that would come off my mind if I can illustrate in this manner.

Has anyone thought of how coffee and sunflower can actually go together? I actually thought putting them together makes an incredibly beautiful picture. The sunflower brings out the vitality in coffee beans; that is seemingly dark and bitter.

Dozens of way we can make beverages out of coffee beans, another dozens of occasion we can appreciate having a cuppa to ourselves. Just like how we would be able to bring the light out of a seemingly dark situation. A sunflower perhaps? :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Chapter 11.4 - FOOD. for thought.


On a rainy autumn evening, which is approximately 7pm right now. Haven't exactly thought of what to prepare for dinner but yet I thought of fried carrot cake (black pls.), ba chor mee..everything else appeals to me except what's in my kitchen. Besides craving for home food, what came across my mind is actually the idea that eating what you crave at the moment, can actually make you a whole lot happier.






How do we explain food craving? Why do we only crave for certain food, at only certain times, and not everyday? So what causes the sudden onset of intense desire?

and lastly, food craving decreases the appeal of other food..which then affects how we perceive the taste it. So although 90% of taste comes from smell, I believe a big chunk comes from what goes on in the brain, or rather I would think - the limbic system. Perhaps?


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Chapter 11.3 - Just a dream.



Finally took some time off today, on the Sunday of my study break. Decided to give myself some slack and not take myself too seriously. Unnecessary worrying and stress can sometimes be really awful. An essay due tomorrow and exam on Wednesday. But guess what, my life doesn't revolve around those nitty gritty stuff! (right, they are important)

I spent my afternoon reading Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell. My collection of such books has certainly made me even more fascinated to know more, and in fact Malcolm makes me want to read more of his books.




I gave myself the rest of the time finding good songs on youtube. Maddi Jane's truly amazing voice caught my attention :)



After dinner I did a final edit of my essay and then went browsing for good singers again. This is what I found next, wonderful voices, great song for the night.



Good songs are meant to be shared, their talents ought to be known!

back to pathology...the study of mechanisms behind diseases. :)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Chapter 11.2 - Sculptures at Cottesloe




A Saturday evening down to Cottesloe Beach promises amazing sights and sounds. The sculpture arts festival is held annually, usually in autumn despite being at 35 deg in the afternoon I went!


The sky and the ocean seemed to compliment each other.



My favourite shot of the day -
groom carrying the bride down to the beach. Heels can be tricky to walk in on sand! :)



Blissful.



3 wise men



Lend a helping hand to those who needs it



2 fishing nets make it nothing more than a piece of beautiful art.




Colours of the wind.



A smiling chinese man.




The egg shell may seem delicate but certainly not weak.



Solidarity.



Wings of an angel.



"I stand tall and strong."



United we stand.



relic on sand.



The colours of sun set across the blue ocean and horizon.



Sunset. This was meant for more than only my pair of eyes.


"Always do what you're afraid to do."

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Chapter 11.1 - Homesick



Disorientated - This is how I would describe my current state of mind. It's the end of the third week of the semester already and I haven't been able to untangle myself.

A friend of mine asked how do I deal with stress and I said I find time for myself and get things organized around me. I added sometimes I deal with it in a rather drastic manner, to the extent of pulling away from my social life so I can process thoughts clearer.

I write. In writing I find tranquility, which then allows me to see many things from another perspective all together.


Recently a word came into my life. Homesick.


How would you define homesick? To me, it is knowing you don't have that familiar someone whom you can return home to, nap on the couch and will wake you up when dinner is ready. Homesick is when you have to think of what's in the refrigerator so you can prepare dinner, as well as the next day's lunch. - Buying groceries can be quite a pain especially when you're not longsighted (means buying enough and correct ingredients to plan for the week's meals).

I admit, I hate this.

Is this what growing up comprises of? If not, then what would it be?

To me, this isn't a choice.

There's no end to stress, but let me know that the day will end eventually. & therefore no matter how stressful the day might be, let me wake up the next morning knowing I've pulled through a tough yesterday.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Chapter 11 - A new semester, a new place



2011.

So finally it's my 3rd year of study, 3rd 4th 5th 6th. Four years to go. Yes this is it. No matter how hard you tell yourself certain things, the stubbornness still gets into you. No, I won't deny I never had self-doubts. Surely, those little self doubts can have a significant impact on how one progress down the road or see himself as what he portrays...

This slow, long journey is both challenging and demanding, yet fulfilling. So what do I get out of it? Sounds contradictory, isn't it.

My 5th semester, and I've 5 different residential addresses.


I feel so tired, of finding a suitable home, & moving around. I don't enjoy this at all.


***

This semester we touch on pathology, animal nutrition and toxicology, plus a fair bit on animal ethics and welfare. I enjoy the lectures especially when we start covering more aquatic and avian stuff.. though the bulk still lies on production animals. The range of the lectures have really allowed me to appreciate the diversity of the animal kingdom and how unique each and every species is.

Knowledge is power, indeed.

come on, let's do this.