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PoipOi's Journal

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

10:29PM - Commencement 2007

thought the whole day went on pretty smoothly =) had a good lunch with my family at crystal jade... daddy finally agreed to go into the hall for the ceremony instead of waiting outside... my mortar board did not (though it almost) drop when i went on stage to collect my degree scroll... kenneth managed to rush down for photo taking after his meeting... had loads of fun taking pictures with family and friends (but argh, i tend to blink a lot!) ... had another good dinner with my family at 北京楼 ... and finally took our family photo at the studio!

some pictures to share:

with family and kenneth

with my daddy

with family and yiting's family

back to lab tom! hopefully i can get my tripeptide out by the end of this week! my holidays will start officially some time next week =)

Current mood: happy

Monday, June 18, 2007

9:57PM - Lipinski's Rule of Five

went for a lecture by dr christopher a. lipinski (!) last wed at biopolis. in case you guys are wondering 'big deal, who's this guy anyway?' well, he is a very established medicinal/ organic synthetic chemist and most importantly, he is the person who formulated the rule of five!

lipinski's rule of five states that, in general, an orally active drug has:

so to me, it was definitely a big deal to hear this scientist speak and give his insights on targets with medicinal value! thought he was rather bold with some of his comments on drug screening and drug libraries. but all in all, he was a witty, charismatic and interesting speaker!

think my pharmacy classmates, who have taken the med chem module by prof go, will appreciate this. prof go asked us to state the rule of five in one of her test questions and i remembered a few of my classmates asked me this after the test, "there are only 4 rules for the rule of five right? is there a fifth rule? so why is it called the rule of five then?" well, dr lipinski said in his lecture that he named it the rule of five so that it is mnemonic as all the numbers appearing in the rule are either 5 or multiple of 5. so there you go. =)

Current mood: nerdy

Thursday, June 14, 2007

12:51PM - Bill Gates' Graduation Speech at Harvard 2007

June 7, 2007

President Bok, former President Rudenstine, incoming President Faust,  members of the Harvard Corporation and the Board of Overseers, members of the faculty, parents, and especially, the graduates:

I've been waiting more than 30 years to say this: "Dad, I always told you I'd come back and get my degree."

I want to thank Harvard for this timely honor. I'll be changing my job next year … and it will be nice to finally have a college degree on my resume.

I applaud the graduates today for taking a much more direct route to your degrees. For my part, I'm just happy that the Crimson has called me "Harvard's most successful dropout." I guess that makes me valedictorian of my own special class … I did the best of everyone who failed.

But I also want to be recognized as the guy who got Steve Ballmer to drop out of business school. I'm a bad influence. That's why I was invited to speak at your graduation. If I had spoken at your orientation, fewer of you might be here today.

Harvard was just a phenomenal experience for me. Academic life was fascinating. I used to sit in on lots of classes I hadn't even signed up for. And dorm life was terrific. I lived up at Radcliffe, in Currier House. There were always lots of people in my dorm room late at night discussing things, because everyone knew I didn't worry about getting up
in the morning. That's how I came to be the leader of the anti-social group. We clung to each other as a way of validating our rejection of all those social people.

Radcliffe was a great place to live. There were more women up there, and most of the guys were science-math types. That combination offered me the best odds, if you know what I mean. This is where I learned the sad
lesson that improving your odds doesn't guarantee success.

One of my biggest memories of Harvard came in January 1975, when I made a call from Currier House to a company in Albuquerque that had begun making the world's first personal computers. I offered to sell them software.

I worried that they would realize I was just a student in a dorm and hang up on me. Instead they said: "We're not quite ready, come see us in a month," which was a good thing, because we hadn't written the software
yet. From that moment, I worked day and night on this little extra credit project that marked the end of my college education and the beginning of a remarkable journey with Microsoft.

What I remember above all about Harvard was being in the midst of so much energy and intelligence. It could be exhilarating, intimidating, sometimes even discouraging, but always challenging. It was an amazing privilege – and though I left early, I was transformed by my years at Harvard, the friendships I made, and the ideas I worked on.

But taking a serious look back … I do have one big regret.

I left Harvard with no real awareness of the awful inequities in the world -- the appalling disparities of health, and wealth, and opportunity that condemn millions of people to lives of despair.

I learned a lot here at Harvard about new ideas in economics and politics. I got great exposure to the advances being made in the sciences.

But humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries – but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity. Whether through democracy, strong public education, quality health care, or broad economic opportunity – reducing inequity is the highest human achievement.

I left campus knowing little about the millions of young people cheated out of educational opportunities here in this country. And I knew nothing about the millions of people living in unspeakable poverty and disease in developing countries.

It took me decades to find out.

You graduates came to Harvard at a different time. You know more about the world's inequities than the classes that came before. In your years here, I hope you've had a chance to think about how – in this age of accelerating technology – we can finally take on these inequities, and we can solve them.

Imagine, just for the sake of discussion, that you had a few hours a week and a few dollars a month to donate to a cause – and you wanted to spend that time and money where it would have the greatest impact in
saving and improving lives. Where would you spend it?

For Melinda and for me, the challenge is the same: how can we do the most good for the greatest number with the resources we have.

During our discussions on this question, Melinda and I read an article about the millions of children who were dying every year in poor countries from diseases that we had long ago made harmless in this
country. Measles, malaria, pneumonia, hepatitis B, yellow fever. One disease I had never even heard of, rotavirus, was killing half a million kids each year – none of them in the United States.

We were shocked. We had just assumed that if millions of children were dying and they could be saved, the world would make it a priority to discover and deliver the medicines to save them. But it did not. For under a dollar, there were interventions that could save lives that just weren't being delivered.

If you believe that every life has equal value, it's revolting to learn that some lives are seen as worth saving and others are not. We said to ourselves: "This can't be true. But if it is true, it deserves to be the
priority of our giving."

So we began our work in the same way anyone here would begin it. We asked: "How could the world let these children die?"

The answer is simple, and harsh. The market did not reward saving the lives of these children, and governments did not subsidize it. So the children died because their mothers and their fathers had no power in the market and no voice in the system.

But you and I have both.

We can make market forces work better for the poor if we can develop a more creative capitalism – if we can stretch the reach of market forces so that more people can make a profit, or at least make a living, serving people who are suffering from the worst inequities. We also can press governments around the world to spend taxpayer money in ways that better reflect the values of the people who pay the taxes.

If we can find approaches that meet the needs of the poor in ways that generate profits for business and votes for politicians, we will have found a sustainable way to reduce inequity in the world.

This task is open-ended. It can never be finished. But a conscious effort to answer this challenge will change the world.

I am optimistic that we can do this, but I talk to skeptics who claim there is no hope. They say: "Inequity has been with us since the beginning, and will be with us till the end – because people just … don't … care."

I completely disagree.

I believe we have more caring than we know what to do with.

All of us here in this Yard, at one time or another, have seen human tragedies that broke our hearts, and yet we did nothing -- not because we didn't care, but because we didn't know what to do. If we had known how to help, we would have acted.

The barrier to change is not too little caring; it is too much complexity.

To turn caring into action, we need to see a problem, see a solution, and see the impact. But complexity blocks all three steps.

Even with the advent of the Internet and 24-hour news, it is still a complex enterprise to get people to truly see the problems. When an airplane crashes, officials immediately call a press conference. They promise to investigate, determine the cause, and prevent similar crashes in the future.

But if the officials were brutally honest, they would say: "Of all the people in the world who died today from preventable causes, one half of one percent of them were on this plane. We're determined to do everything possible to solve the problem that took the lives of the one half of one percent."

The bigger problem is not the plane crash, but the millions of preventable deaths.

We don't read much about these deaths. The media covers what's new – and millions of people dying is nothing new. So it stays in the background, where it's easier to ignore. But even when we do see it or read about it, it's difficult to keep our eyes on the problem. It's hard to look at suffering if the situation is so complex that we don't know how to help. And so we look away.

If we can really see a problem, which is the first step, we come to the second step: cutting through the complexity to find a solution.

Finding solutions is essential if we want to make the most of our caring. If we have clear and proven answers anytime an organization or individual asks "How can I help?," then we can get action – and we can
make sure that none of the caring in the world is wasted. But complexity makes it hard to mark a path of action for everyone who cares — and that makes it hard for their caring to matter.

Cutting through complexity to find a solution runs through four predictable stages: determine a goal, find the highest-leverage approach, discover the ideal technology for that approach, and in the meantime, make the smartest application of the technology that you already have — whether it's something sophisticated, like a drug, or something simpler, like a bednet.

The AIDS epidemic offers an example. The broad goal, of course, is to end the disease. The highest-leverage approach is prevention. The ideal technology would be a vaccine that gives lifetime immunity with a single
dose. So governments, drug companies, and foundations fund vaccine research. But their work is likely to take more than a decade, so in the meantime, we have to work with what we have in hand – and the best prevention approach we have now is getting people to avoid risky behavior.

Pursuing that goal starts the four-step cycle again. This is the pattern. The crucial thing is to never stop thinking and working – and never do what we did with malaria and tuberculosis in the 20th century – which is to surrender to complexity and quit.

The final step – after seeing the problem and finding an approach – is to measure the impact of your work and share your successes and failures so that others learn from your efforts.

You have to have the statistics, of course. You have to be able to show that a program is vaccinating millions more children. You have to be able to show a decline in the number of children dying from these diseases. This is essential not just to improve the program, but also to help draw more investment from business and government.

But if you want to inspire people to participate, you have to show more than numbers; you have to convey the human impact of the work – so people can feel what saving a life means to the families affected.

I remember going to Davos some years back and sitting on a global health panel that was discussing ways to save millions of lives. Millions! Think of the thrill of saving just one person's life – then multiply that by millions. … Yet this was the most boring panel I've ever been on – ever. So boring even I couldn't bear it.

What made that experience especially striking was that I had just come from an event where we were introducing version 13 of some piece of software, and we had people jumping and shouting with excitement. I love getting people excited about software – but why can't we generate even more excitement for saving lives?

You can't get people excited unless you can help them see and feel the impact. And how you do that – is a complex question.

Still, I'm optimistic. Yes, inequity has been with us forever, but the new tools we have to cut through complexity have not been with us forever. They are new – they can help us make the most of our caring – and that's why the future can be different from the past.

The defining and ongoing innovations of this age – biotechnology, the computer, the Internet – give us a chance we've never had before to end extreme poverty and end death from preventable disease.

Sixty years ago, George Marshall came to this commencement and announced a plan to assist the nations of post-war Europe. He said: "I think one difficulty is that the problem is one of such enormous complexity that
the very mass of facts presented to the public by press and radio make it exceedingly difficult for the man in the street to reach a clear appraisement of the situation. It is virtually impossible at this distance to grasp at all the real significance of the situation."

Thirty years after Marshall made his address, as my class graduated without me, technology was emerging that would make the world smaller, more open, more visible, less distant.

The emergence of low-cost personal computers gave rise to a powerful network that has transformed opportunities for learning and communicating.

The magical thing about this network is not just that it collapses distance and makes everyone your neighbor. It also dramatically increases the number of brilliant minds we can have working together on the same problem – and that scales up the rate of innovation to a staggering degree.

At the same time, for every person in the world who has access to this technology, five people don't. That means many creative minds are left out of this discussion -- smart people with practical intelligence and
relevant experience who don't have the technology to hone their talents or contribute their ideas to the world.

We need as many people as possible to have access to this technology, because these advances are triggering a revolution in what human beings can do for one another. They are making it possible not just for national governments, but for universities, corporations, smaller organizations, and even individuals to see problems, see approaches, and measure the impact of their efforts to address the hunger, poverty, and desperation George Marshall spoke of 60 years ago.

Members of the Harvard Family: Here in the Yard is one of the great collections of intellectual talent in the world.

What for?

There is no question that the faculty, the alumni, the students, and the benefactors of Harvard have used their power to improve the lives of people here and around the world. But can we do more? Can Harvard dedicate its intellect to improving the lives of people who will never even hear its name?

Let me make a request of the deans and the professors – the intellectual leaders here at Harvard: As you hire new faculty, award tenure, review curriculum, and determine degree requirements, please ask yourselves:

Should our best minds be dedicated to solving our biggest problems?

Should Harvard encourage its faculty to take on the world's worst inequities? Should Harvard students learn about the depth of global poverty … the prevalence of world hunger … the scarcity of clean water …the girls kept out of school … the children who die from diseases we can cure?

Should the world's most privileged people learn about the lives of the world's least privileged?

These are not rhetorical questions – you will answer with your policies.

My mother, who was filled with pride the day I was admitted here – never stopped pressing me to do more for others. A few days before my wedding, she hosted a bridal event, at which she read aloud a letter about marriage that she had written to Melinda. My mother was very ill with cancer at the time, but she saw one more opportunity to deliver her message, and at the close of the letter she said: "From those to whom much is given, much is expected."

When you consider what those of us here in this Yard have been given – in talent, privilege, and opportunity – there is almost no limit to what the world has a right to expect from us.

In line with the promise of this age, I want to exhort each of the graduates here to take on an issue – a complex problem, a deep inequity, and become a specialist on it. If you make it the focus of your career, that would be phenomenal. But you don't have to do that to make an impact. For a few hours every week, you can use the growing power of the Internet to get informed, find others with the same interests, see the barriers, and find ways to cut through them.

Don't let complexity stop you. Be activists. Take on the big inequities. It will be one of the great experiences of your lives.

You graduates are coming of age in an amazing time. As you leave Harvard, you have technology that members of my class never had. You have awareness of global inequity, which we did not have. And with that awareness, you likely also have an informed conscience that will torment you if you abandon these people whose lives you could change with very little effort.

You have more than we had; you must start sooner, and carry on longer.

Knowing what you know, how could you not?

And I hope you will come back here to Harvard 30 years from now and reflect on what you have done with your talent and your energy. I hope you will judge yourselves not on your professional accomplishments alone, but also on how well you have addressed the world's deepest inequities … on how well you treated people a world away who have nothing in common with you but their humanity.

Good luck.


thought that was an awesome, mind boggling speech given by bill gates. it brought me back to one spring morning in bob's office at RheoGene. i was doing a business case on a potential social entreprenuership project for malaria and was exasperated with the statistics of malaria in developing countries. i just don't get it then why are the big pharma companies not doing something about it. so i went into bob's office and started discussing with him my concerns and bob said exactly what bill gates mentioned in his speech that "the market did not reward saving the lives of these children". it hit me big and before i could stop myself, the tears started rolling down. (i know, some of you might find it silly of me to cry for strangers half way around the world but the thing is, i did.) it was then and there that i told myself that i want to join in the efforts to eradicate neglected infectious diseases, like malaria and HIV, in the developing countries. this is what keeps me going.

to my friends who are graduating this year, congratulations =) and hope you will live your life to the fullest in your new job or in graduate school! and to all my friends, don't ever think you can't make a difference in this world. you can if you set your heart and mind on doing it. do also remember to find time to share your life with your loved ones so that if you do make it to the top of your own mountain one day, they will be there with you as well. =)

Current mood: cold

Monday, May 21, 2007

1:03PM - something interesting from guns, germs and steel by jared diamond...

in light of what i'm doing in my lab, thought the following is a rather interesting perspective...

Naturally, we are disposed to think about diseases just from our own point of view: what can we do to save ourselves and to kill the microbes? Let's stamp out the scoundrels, and never mind what THEIR motives are! In life in general, though, one has to understand the enemy in order to beat him, and that's especially true in medicine.

Hence let's begin by temporarily setting aside our human bias and considering disease from the microbes' point of view. After all, microbes are as much a product of natural selection as we are. What evoluntionary benefits does a microbe derive from making us sick in bizarre ways, like giving us gential sores or diarrhea? And why should microbes evolve so as to kill us? That seems especially puzzling and self defeating, since a microbe that kills its host kills itself.

Basically, microbes evolve like other species. Evolution selects for those individuals most effective at producing babies and at helping them spread to suitable places to live. For a microbe, spread may be defined mathematically as the number of new victims infected per each original patient. That number depends on how long each victim remains capable of infecting new victims, and how efficiently the microbe is transferred from one victim to the next.

Microbes have evolved diverse ways of spreading from one person to another, and from animals to people. The germ that spreads better leaves more babies and ends up favored by natural selection. Many of our "symptoms" of disease actually represent ways in which some damned clever microbes modifies our bodies or our behaviour such that we become enlisted to spread microbes.

The most effortless way a germ could spread is by waiting to be transmitted passively to the next victim. That's the strategy practiced by microbes that wait for one hose to be eaten by the next host: for instance, salmonella bacteria. which we contract by eating already infected eggs or waiting for us to kill the pig and eat it without proper cooking; and the worm causing anisakiasis, with which sushi-loving japanese and americans occasionally infect themselves by consuming raw fish. Those parasites pass to a person from an eaten animal, but the virus causing laughing sickness (kuru) in the New Guinea highlands used to pass to a person from anotehr person who was eaten. It was transmitted by cannibalism, when highland babies made the fatal mistake of licking their fingers after playing with raw brains that their mothers had just cut out of dead kuru victims awaiting cooking.

Some microbes don't wait for the old host to die and get eaten, but instead hitchhike in the saliva of an insect that bites the old hose and flies off to find a new host. The free ride may be provided by mosquitoes, fleas, lice, or tsete flies that spread malaria, plague, typhus, or sleeping sickness, respectively. The dirtiest of all tricks for passive carriage is perpetrated by microbes that pass from a woman to her fetus and therby infect babies already at birth. By playing that trick, the microbes responsible for syphilis, rubella, and now AIDS pose ethical dilemmas with which believers in a fundamentally just universe have had to struggel desperately.

Other germs take matters into their own hands, figuratively speaking. They modify the anatomy or habits of their host in such a way as to accelerate their transmission. From our perspective, the open genital sores caused by venereal diseases like syphilis are a vile idignity. From the microbes' point of view, however, they are just a useful device to enlist a host's help in inoculating microbes into a body cavity of a new host. The skin lesions caused by smallpox similarly spread microbes by direct or indirect body contact (occasionally very indirect, as when U.S whites bent on wiping out "belligerent" native americans sent them gifts of blankets previously used by smallpox patients).

More vigorous yet is the strategy practiced by the influenze, common cold, and pertussis (whooping cough) microbes, which induce victim to cough or sneeze, thereby launching a cloud of microbes toward prosepctive new hosts. Similarly, the cholera bacterium induces in its victim a massive diarrhea that delivers bacteria into the water supplies of potential new victims, while the virus responsible for korean hemorrhagic fever broadcasts itself in the urine of mice. For modification of a host's behavior, nothing matches rabies virus, which not only gets into the saliva of an infected dog but drives the dog into a frenzy of biting and thus infecting many new victims. But for physical effort on the bug's own part, the prize still goes to worms such as hookworms or schistosomes, which actively burrow through a host's skin from the water or soil into which their larvae had been excreted in a previous victim's feces.

Thus, from our point of view, genital sores, diarrhea and coughing are "symptoms of disease." From a gern's point of view, they are clever evolutionary strategies to broadcast the germ. That's why it's in the germ's interests to make us sick. But why should a germ evolve the apparently self-defeating strategy of killing its host?

From the germ's perspective, that's just an unintended by-product (fat consolation to us!) of host symptoms promoting efficient transmission of microbes. Yes, and untreated cholera patient may eventually die from producing diarrheal fluid at a rate of several gallons per day. At least for a while, though, as long as the patient is still alive, the cholera bacterium profits from being massively broadcast into the water supplies of its next victims. Provided that each victim thereby infects on the average more than one new victim, the bacterium will spread, even though the first host happens to die.

if you think about it, the microbes are truly clever in coming up with strategies, that are constanly changing, to infect humans and feed on nutrients within them. just saw on the news yesterday that a type 2 dengue has been identified! well, at least i know that the scientists and research assoicates in my lab are working hard to provide cures for infectious diseases, like dengue, malaria and tuberculosis, so to the microbes out there, "HAVE YOUR LAST LAUGH... WE WILL GET YOU ONE DAY!"

Current mood: sick

Sunday, May 20, 2007


aloha! was thinking since we have everybody back this year, why don't we have the above outing this year instead? =) Will everyone be free on the 7th of July 2007? reply and let us know! don't worry if you have lost the invitation card =), just come!

Current mood: sore

Sunday, March 25, 2007

10:45AM - updates...

whew… finally have a chance to sit down and blog proper... thesis defense over! only left with final exams at the end of april and graduating after that! can't wait.... anyway, shall share with you guys the recent happenings in my life! =)

thesis defense

to make things easier... shall post my abstract here so that you all know what i have been up to in the lab all this while...

abstractCollapse )

so the defense went alright. no big drama though i was hoping the examiners would give me tougher questions and try to tear my thesis apart. ha. had one question on kinetics that was kinda unexpected and the rest of the questions touched on familiar topics. was challenged a few times on my proposed reasons to explain the experimental trends which i observed and i hope i did a good job in trying to make them see that my reasons are plausible *fingers crossed*.

graduate school

took up the master’s program jointly offered by Novartis, NUS and University of Basel, Switzerland! Will be heading to basel this coming september for about four months for my coursework and be back in biopolis after that to do my thesis. this program is all about infectious diseases, vaccinology and drug discovery so I will be doing courses such as advanced immunology, molecular virology, general mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis, microbial cell structures and drug targets, lead finding and optimization and new methods for clinical drug development. looking forward to grad school =) think the courses will be tough but at least they will be mind stimulating and that should be fun! not too sure what my master's thesis will be but have gotten an internship under novartis this summer already (from may to july) and the PI (he reminds me of bob!) told me i can start doing some preliminary studies for my thesis this summer so that things will be easier for me when i get back from swiss next year. so by may, i should have a better idea of what my thesis will be on. anyone coming over to visit or tour europe? =)  

NUS open house

was asked by my head of department to 'sell pharmacy' at the open house this year. first time doing such a thing and thought the energy was great on the day of the open house! now that i'm about to graduate and i look back at my choice of degree, i'm glad i got into pharmacy because it really presented me with numerous opportunities. there are just so many people in this family that i'm grateful to for their guidance and support all these years. and as i talked to the jc kiddos and shared with them the merits of chosing a pharmacy degree and my own experiences, i realised that i don't have to come up with any "politically correct" answers the day before, the words came out naturally on the day itself just because pharmacy has become part of me. it hit me then and there what it means to be part of the pharmily. felt like i belong to this place and one day i hope the pharmacy department can be proud of me too!

AWARE 8K run

AWARE is a local organization and stands for Association of Women for Action and Research. their activities are primarily looking towards taking positive steps to redressing an imbalance between the sexes, and thus creating a healthier society as a whole. did not know something like this exists in singapore till early this year. when i joined the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association in philly, i managed to find time to attend several talks by some of their women leaders in the pharmaceutical industry. at these talks, the speakers are always very inspiring and interesting, the audience is fantastic too and ever ready to share their working experiences as a woman in the male dominated business world. it was very heartening to know that i'm not alone in terms of grappling with issues such as juggling between career and family. i guess sometimes its not just old conventions and society's expectations but also the fact that we expect a lot more from ourselves as 'modern women'. we want to have a career AND still be able to be there for our family like how our mums did. thought nobody really talks openly about such things back at home and so i was pleasantly surprised to find out about AWARE, almost wanted to get an internship under them if i couldn't get any from Novartis. yupz, the run was organized to encourage more women to take up a healthy and active lifestyle. managed to get a few of my pharmacy classmates to start training for the 8k run and finally go for it last sat! we had fun =) hope this event will encourage them to take up running for life!

Creative Waves project

a cool project initiated by the University of Auckland to visualise health issues in kenya. this project will bring together about 50 pharmacy students and 50 graphic design students from all over the world (via the internet platform) to work on increasing public awareness of health issues, such as malaria, tuberculosis, STDs, immunization, adherance to medications and chronic diseases, in kenya. so the pharmacy students (happy to say i'm one of them!) will perform research for about a month and around mid may we will submit the materials to the graphic students, who will design and put them up on the creative waves web page! looking forward to starting work early april!

Fund of Class 2007

my classmate, whey ling, came up with this awesome idea of contributing something back to the department after we graduate. so what we will do is to try to get most, if not all, of our classmates to each donate SGD 10 every month. since we have 86 of us in class, if everyone donates SGD 120 each year, we can have enough money to sponsor the tuition fees for one or two needy and deserving pharmacy students! of course, there are still a lot of logistics and admin issues to settle, thus a few of us have formed this little committee to iron out these issues with our department and the office of finance. will have a formal meeting with them early next month and think we will have a clearer picture on how to go about setting up the fund after the meeting.

yeah, that's about all from me. hope you guys are well and healthy! weather has been really weird these days so to those who are in spore, rem to drink more water and eat more fruits and vegetables! take care peeps!

Current mood: relaxed

Thursday, February 15, 2007

11:36PM - it's the time of the year again... =)

haha... older by another year again! hmm.. actually i still don't get the "i'm really getting old" feeling yet so hooray for that! =) celebrated the big B with my ncbv friends (iris, jaron, jeff, eric, phebe, raj, kaihong, kelly, adrian and deliang), kenneth and yiting.... was planning to meet up with my nanyang gang (meiting, jiayun and shuyi) but fell sick so couldn't meet them! anyway, shall let the photos do the talking...

sakae sushi is one cool place.... they have vegetarian menu at certain branches! so my ncbv friends treated me to a very yummy vegetarian sushi dinner (first time for me) on mon! love this pic... makes me wanna go back and have the sushi platter again! =)

all of us at sakae... having loads of fun catching up and trying to make raj (the indian) drunk with sake and vodka!

raj's birthday is sometime next week so we kinda had a double celebration.... of course the nicer peep got the bigger cake...haha... i got a peanut butter chocolate cheesecake and raj got a (puny) coffee cake.... kudos to iris and phebe for baking the cakes! =)

special appearance!! haha.. you must be wondering why mr yaohui is in this entry?? heh, cos he was sweet enough to remember my birthday and ask me out for lunch in sch! was telling him that i got to take a pic of him cos you guys haven't seen him for eons! =)

received very interesting presents this year.... bag and phone from kenneth, buddha board from yiting, friendship badge from jaron and message holder from mel...  really appreciate them! =)

yupz... must say thank you to ah ma, one and only, estee, my dear boon and chermaine for calling and msging me on the 13th too! (oh yah.. kai kai.. if you are reading this.... i got your parcel already!! thanks girl! hehe.. but it's in jb now so can only look at it when i'm back home this weekend... am sure i will love it!)

alrighty.... that's about all from me for tonight! 新年快乐!!! =) stay healthy and chirpy in the year of the golden pig!

Current mood: tired

Saturday, January 13, 2007

9:34PM - for aiai and christine... oopz.. and chunyang too =)

forgot to post this up... but it was nice catching up with almost everybody that night... issac and qingyuan were late... so no photo of them...

we talked about everything... jj's fyp on nesting habits of oriental hornbills... immuno (tons of that.. haha)... who's gonna get married first... i said christine... xianne said ah ma... new year resolutions... isaac's new job.... xianne's busy term last fall... my fyp on syntheis and stability studies of anti-malarials.... and we ended up leaving coffee club at about one plus in the morning! yeah.... that's abt all from your tabloid reporter in spore... haha.. take care all!

Current mood: busy

Monday, January 8, 2007

9:01AM - the rainbow connection

while trekking in yosemite, i thought of this song as i saw the many amazing rainbows in the park... downloaded the song right after i got back to philly... yesterday, i looked through my yosemite pictures again and oh my, how i miss that place...

kermit the frog is such a prince...

" Why are there so many songs about rainbows
And what's on the other side?
Rainbows are visions, but only illusions,
And rainbows have nothing to hide.
So we've been told and some choose to believe it
I know they're wrong, wait and see.
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection,
The lovers, the dreamers and me."


first day of sch! natural products first up! have been looking forward to this module so hope it will be good! all the best for the year ahead guys! hope sch and work will go on smoothly for all of us! take loads of care!

Friday, December 15, 2006

1:24PM - PMS

while i'm waiting for chong yew to return with my NMR results (gulp.. pray that i can get my compounds!!) i went to wikipedia and typed in PMS... here's what i found...

"Pre-menstrual Syndrome (PMS, also called Pre-menstrual Stress, Pre-menstrual Tension Syndrome, PMT, Premenstrual Syndrome, Periodic Mood Swing) is stress which is a physical symptom prior to the onset of menstruation. PMS should not be confused with dysmenorrhea, which refers to pain or cramps during menstruation.

Some estimates say that PMS occurs in 75% of women of reproductive age during their lifetime. A more severe form of PMS is premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). This occurs in about 5% of women. Both are characterized by symptoms of mood swings, depression, anxiety and irritability that occur prior to menses, usually in the two week period between ovulation and menses. It is often accompanied by physical symptoms such as bloating and cramping."

sounds scary... i have always dismissed the idea of PMS... especially when guys say stuff like... "you are just PMS-ing"  or "are you having your period sometime soon?" i get irritated.. to me it seems more like they can't be bothered to find out more about why we are down or be patient with our moods... but last weekend i got really depressed all of a sudden... and when it hit me... i was so overwhelmed by it... managed to calm down and moved on (thanks to mr kuo's patience) and a day later i was just thinking about what happened... felt so silly cos there was nothing specifically very wrong... just that at that point of time when i was down.. everything became so exaggerated and magnified! and yeah... had my period a few days later...  i hate to admit this but think i was PMS-ing?

anyway yah... wondering whether the jie meis have similar experiences too.. and whether the xiong dis have anything to say about this.... by the way.... by admitting that i do suffer from PMS is not equivalent to saying that i'm fine with guys addressing all our down moods with "she is having PMS now so leave her alone" ... i guess we need even more care, love and patience from the people around us when we are having PMS....well.... another why woman-are-from-venus-and-man-are-from-mars difference between the two genders!

Current mood: hungry

Saturday, December 9, 2006

11:49PM - super cute!!!

saw this video on my buddy's website..... thought i absolutely got to share it with you guys.... this little baby girl is just SO cute.... gosh.... feel like hugging her!!!

watching her makes me smile and forget my worries.... =) kids are just so sweet...!

Current mood: tired

Thursday, December 7, 2006

10:10PM - Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2006

finally have the time to give you guys some updates on my life =) yeah! had a good run last sunday! completed 21km without stopping and took 2hrs 27mins 54secs to do so! =) the weather was good... the sun did not come out at all and the top runners took 2hrs 14mins 59secs (male) and 2hrs 31mins 53secs (female) to complete a full marathon (42km!).... mind you.. that's twice my distance and they still finished it faster than me! amazing!! how can they go at close to 19km/hr and maintain it for more than 2hrs!!!?? this year a total of 30,000 runners turned up for the event and wow....it was pretty amusing to run together with so many people... but i'm happy that more and more people are picking up running! so yeah.. one day maybe all the niners should go run together! =) anyway.. here are some pics to share....

that's jaron (who was down to support), me and meiting after our 21km...

me and meiting wrote stuff to encourage the runners behind us so that they have something else to focus on other than our butts.. =)

meiting and i waited for kenneth for a while before the three of us headed down to pastamania for lunch! here's me and kenneth at the padang...

this year's run was definitely much better than my first half marathon..... and for that, i have a few peeps to thank....

kenneth: thanks for watching over my runs... for giving me advice on training and nutrition... for reminding me not to be lazy when i needed to run and not to push myself too hard when i needed a rest =) will try to have the habit of stretching more before and after a run! but got to really learn how to run at a constant pace and not have short bursts of energy... heh... swimming up next? =)
iris: a pity you could not join us! well... there's always real run next year august! =) thanks for running the 5ks with me around NUS.... it's nice to have someone to run with and after that have the excuse to h2h =)
meiting: thanks for running with me on the actual day!! for encouraging me to keep on running when we reached the 19km mark....seriously, i would have stopped if not for you... really glad that you like running too!! marathon next year okie? =)
jaron: thanks for coming down to be my runinspirator! thanks for the photos...won't have photos to share without your camera.... anyway... hope you are inspired to do some running... even if you only want to join the kids' dash (700m) next year! =)
yiting: thanks for cooking pasta and your signature soups for me on fri nights! they gave me the energy to do my long runs on sat mornings! =) have a great time in thai! take care and have lots of fun and sun!
weijie: thanks for the pre-race tips.. haha.. they are very entertaining! and for telling me about the asics warehouse sale.. happy that i got my cumulus for 80 bucks! next year you can show your power at stand chart! =)
ee yang, ram, zhirong, gean and meliana: thanks for the good luck msgs before the race!! =)

yeah... will attempt to run a marathon next year!! but for the time being... let me just chill and watch bleach... =)

Current mood: sleepy

Friday, December 1, 2006

8:04PM - 在恋爱中的男人和女人

刚才在巴士上听到了一段谈话. 不是我八卦,只是那男人讲电话太大声了,不听也不行!=)虽然不能听到女人在另一端说些什么,但想一想,猜一猜,也能略懂一些.




"现在不行, 我要去打球..."



"哦... 等一下去找你就是了!"

我下车之前偷看了男人一眼, 哇! 气呼呼的, 好可怕...


'男人可恶, 女人可悲'

好啦!八卦新闻报告完毕! =)

Current mood: geeky

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

2:19PM - dreams, dreams, go away...

have been having extremely vivid dreams these days. they are so real that some of them scare the hell out of me and make me wake up thankful they are only dreams. some of them are just plain weird but not impossible. some of them are just daily happenings of life. which got me thinking about something i asked a friend (forgot who... maybe i asked kai lee) quite some time ago... "how do you know that the life you are leading now is not a dream? and that your 'dream' is not the actual life you are leading?"  i look around me... people are rushing most of the time and not being mindful of their own inner feelings and needs. for what? better job? more money? bigger house? a more expensive car? are these really what we want in life at the end of the day? will they give us the love, concern and attention that we all instinctively crave for as humans? or do we wrongly assume that they will? enough said. point being if one is to lose touch with your inner self while being awake, is that not equivalent to living an empty dream?

back to dreams.... still rem when i was very young, i always dream about taking this escalator up to a shopping center's top floor and from there, i will fall but i always wake up in the middle of the fall with an increased heart rate and clammy hands... another recurring dream is that of me crossing the malaysian customs in my marsiling uniform and this malay officer will come and laugh cynically and loudly right at my face...heh... i stopped having such vivid dreams ever since i finished primary school.... only had a very bad dream once after that in j1.... think we had a very mentally wrecking training that day... had to climb nth floors for like don't know how many times cos we always cannot meet the timing set for us by our instructors.... can never forget yihang telling us at the top floor "wah, this is crazy, i feel like jumping down instead of taking the steps".... haha... so him... anyway.. that night, i dreamt of edmund (he is a nice instructor so i really don't know why him) taking the elevator and stopping at every floor to laugh at us for taking so long..... so mean that i got really sad and angry.... yeah... so my dreams recently are really weird and i don't like having them... shoo! go away!


pharmacotherapy paper was bad... not sure whether i got my community-accquired pneumonia diagnosis correct... the cancer MCQs were so tricky! my parenteral nutrition question was not well done too.... yeeks.... hopefully my research methodology paper (which is basically bio stats) next tues will be better.... it got to be better! oh.. in the midst of studying for my exams, i realised i miss two people (both have graduated from NUS) a lot during this period of time... kai lee for being my study buddy... yes, the yaps should study together!! =) and xinye.... miss going to her room, whenever i feel saturated from all the studying, to just crap with her =) and play with her interesting little toys!

looking forward to running my half marathon this coming sun! =) hopefully it will be a good run for me!

Current mood: blah

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

8:02AM - a tension of opposites

"Have I told you about the tension of opposites?" he says.

The tension of opposites?

"Life is a series of pulls back and forth. You want to do one thing, but you are bound to do something else. Something hurts you, yet you know it shouldn't. You take certain things for granted, even when you know you should not take anything for granted."

"A tension of opposites, like a pull on a rubber band. And most of us live somewhere in the middle."

Sounds like a wrestling match, I say.

"A wrestling match." He laughs. "Yes, you could describe life that way."

So which side wins, I ask?

"Which side wins?"

He smiles at me, the crinkled eyes, the crooked teeth.

"Love wins. Love always wins."

pharmacotherapy paper tom... hope i can survive it! all the best yap poipoi...

Current mood: nerdy

Friday, October 27, 2006

5:59AM - to every little good thing in life... CHEERS! =)

this video is hilarious! haha.... have a good laugh! =) three cheers for the niners! hahahaaaa.....

Current mood: amused

Friday, October 20, 2006

11:00AM - 妙语 =)


Current mood: busy

Monday, October 16, 2006


a loved one said something that hurt me quite a bit over the weekend.. haven't gotten so upset for eons... like since i left for the states last year? needed a good sweat and something to clear my mind so even though it was extremely hazy today, i still went down to iris's gym to run. did a good 12km on the treadmill, managed to assuage my heart pain and came up with a few thoughts (see how running helps me sort out my thoughts subconciously).

1) my parents love me and want the best for me so it's natural for them to be protective over me. think tahan, yap and me being a vegetarian. they might be right and they might be wrong but ultimately they are not me and at the end of the day, i am the one painting my own life story. so appreciate their concern, take their words objectively and ignore the tone and feelings associated with them. fit them (if possible) into my own principles and goals in life and not vice versa.

2) it's going to be hard bringing up my kid next time. when i'm 30 plus, can i bring myself back 10 years younger to rem how it feels to be a teen, to have dreams and to allow my child to fall and learn? will they say "my mum sucks" when i view their choices in life with disapprobation? will i hurt them and leave indelible scars in their young hearts with my harsh words and insensitiviy? will they not know that i love them and want the best for them?

3) change is the only constant in life. accept the way things are and flow with them. no point being agitated over events that are beyond my control. take control of what i can and do that prudently. stay optimistic and rem to count my blessings from time to time!


have two 2nd-homes in singapore now =) kenneth's and iris's... their families have been kind to me.. inviting me over for dinners where they will make sure there's vegetarian food for me, letting me hang around at their place and use their kitchen to cook and bake... thank you to you two =)

inundated with tons of work these days... classes and lab everyday from 8.30am to 4-5pm... trainings or meditation class will follow in the evening... trying to get two of my grad sch applications ready by 1st of november as well... and finally taking my TOEFL and GRE end of this month... come november, i will be able to take a breather before i start preparing for my finals.

here's something that brought a big smile to my face and i hope it brightens up your day too =)

a field of sunflowers... that will be nice =)

Current mood: okay

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

2:13AM - this is one of the nights and this is one of the songs...

you know sometimes while walking back home alone in the night... a song will just suddenly pop in your mind and without thinking, you will start singing it to youself...



sometimes i think i'm better off living in the mountains. like when i was in yomsemite valley, i wished i could stay there longer. but then i will start thinking whether i will miss my loved ones and that the brilliant stars are not enough to keep me companied.

sometimes i wish no one has any expectations of me. yes, give me that skeptical look. cos i fare better when i fight back.

sometimes i try to live a day like a new born. with no fears. no judgement. no past. but the past is what shaped me into who i am today so i think i will take my words back on that.

sometimes i feel totally displaced. so i try to make things easier for myself by conforming to the conventional. by going with the flow. but honestly, i don't like myself for doing that.

sometimes i just have to stop thinking. but is it not true that only the examined life is worth living?

Friday, September 15, 2006

7:53PM - remember i said before i like to post on a fri afternoon?

well...haven't had time to come online to lj for this week, so didn't read all your entries till now! and i thought how lucky we are to have started lj and that it has been a neat way for us to keep in touch and each other updated on our lives since we are all miles apart. to those still in spore... i welcome a meet up if you three can make it =)

been really busy with lab... ran like four reactions continuously throughout the whole week! yield was alright for compound 1, quote prof go "your yield must be horrendously good!" =) coumpound 4 looked fine too and i'm going to let it stand in the dessicator till i have time to go back to it....but compound 3 was just crazy! it totally comsumed me... had to extract it, convert it to a salt, crystallize it.. yada yada and STILL it didn't look presentable at the end of today... thuy was amused to see me so tired cos i guess i'm usually quite cheery in the lab... lucky i have her around... it's definitely nice to have someone to discuss synthetic methods and drug design principles with! ended up drawing structures on the panel of our fume hoods or on her table =) at times! drug synthesis is really an art to be learnt and perfected with loads of experience..... and the other day it just hit me that these days whenever i see a chemical structure of a natural product, i will start thinking of how to actually synthesize it... but well at the very least i can say that i'm starting to take charge of synthesis reactions more and more =) submitted my research proposal (first draft) to prof go on wed.. and we had a discussion on the electronic and steric factors of the 14 compounds that i'm going to synthesize for my project the following day..... felt really motivated and happy after the discussion......wanted to (still feel like it!) let the whole world know that " I LOVE DRUG DESIGN AND I THINK IT'S FREAKING AWESOME TO BE ABLE TO DO SO!" =)

my running has improved! but there's definitely still room for more improvement.. running longer and slightly faster... really hope to clock a good time for my half in dec! think i'm addicted to running and lab.... if i don't do them for some time.. i will get depressed... 

and jj.. thought you might find this interesting.. as much as you have been seeing anti-girlfriend signs.... people around me have been talking about getting HDB flats, proposing, marriage after graduation.....

well... it's a fri night... i better go check my NMR spectrum for compound 2 now and it's going to be another long day in the lab tom!

take care peeps! =)

Current mood: drained

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