Take a Breather

Prologue: Pre-semester break emptiness

So here is the end of week 8 of my 2nd semester of my first year of university life and I am officially having my semester break tomorrow. So far, I had approximately 74 lectures, completed 3 psychology lab journals writings, 3 biology reports, numerous quizzes and tests, 3 physiology laboratory work sheets, a biology essay, and 2 biotechnology essay. Assuming that I attended all lectures, I will have approximately 3 days time in the lecture hall, just listening to lectures given by the doctors and professors for this semester.

Here comes the semester break, and during the period before the break begins, somewhere deep inside me feels very empty. Maybe I want to have a more relax break, I want to have a longer vacation, I want to spend more time with family and friends, I want to finish my stuffs before I can relax myself, I want to see people I know in Monash everyday, say hi and smile to people...I will miss my friends and the craziness, even the break I am having is a short one.

Tell me I am crazy, but I don't have the 'holiday mood' yet. What are the reasons why ? I don't know.

I want to take a breather, I am tired, physically and mentally.

Last week I went to Dewan Filharmonik Petronas again to witness the sensational performance of Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. They are playing the music from the cartoon and we knew, and we should know - The Looney Tunes from Warner Bros. That was definitely the best concert I ever saw so far. That night, I was completely stress-free. The concert hall itself is my 2rd 'Greenzone' this year, where Greenzone refers to place that gives no pressure or stress upon me.

The performance was a time machine, where it brought me back to my childhood memories where I spend most of my time sitting in front of the TV watching the poor Tom chasing the poor Jerry, or Bugs Bunny and his friends playing around with TNTs... It was just nice. If you think that a 20 years old guy watching a cartoon show is having early stage Alzheimer, then you are wrong. Cartoons are classic stuffs, and personally, I love classic stuffs (movie, music, actors, places, etc etc). Next time, when you questioning someone whether he/she is too old for cartoon, think again.

What cheered me up ? Let me think ...

1.I had TWO Snowflakes in a week, and there's a high chance of getting another one next week.
2.I had a splendid and delicious dish of spaghetti.
3.I had done all of my assignments that matters between week 8 and week 10.
4.I had many Oreos, Ramli burger and many cups of coffee in this 2 weeks time.
5.I am pleased that I made a decision without any regrets.

What doesn't ?

1.I had 3 days or more of severe sleep deprivation, each sleep lasted less than 4 hours.
2.Feel very guilty for failing my effort of boycotting the cafeteria at the last day before semester break
5.I say hi to people but they didn't see me, or acted like they didn't.

1. I don't bite people, just so you know.
2. I can be easily excited or amazed by small little things.
3. I am very random (decision, mood, conversation etc etc)
4. When I am silent, I am not emo or angry or sad or whatever, I am thinking of something.
5. I eat a lot but I never gain weight

This shall be it, enjoy your every minutes while you can during this short break, take a breather, because a steeper route is ahead.






小时候不懂事,被老师问到志愿时就将要当科学家。哇,那时科学家多么酷。想想Powerpuff Girls里面的教授还发明出超级英雄,Kim Possible的家人都是科学家,緑巨人也是科学家的意外产品。小学时很喜欢科学,老妈也是小学科学老师,所以自小被培养了对科学的兴趣。中学有了更有趣及危险的实验及器材(Sodium, Potassium等等加水会有小爆炸,呵呵... ),再加上读着理科班,所以就觉得科学是我的未来途径了。直到拿了Bachelor of Science才知道什么是科学家。基本上科学家都要做很多research和实验,然后反复推翻和证实假设和推论,publish出自己的发现给同行鉴才能officially publish出来。Publish出来后就给以后的人做参考(所以有该死的citation和reference)。然后又再重新开始。


就因为Bachelor of Science的关系,DNA是一个必须知道的东西,非常重要。你的存在,你的行为,你生气,你跳起来,你睡觉,你呼吸等等等等都有DNA的参与。因为有一个道理叫Central Dogma(中心法则),指Protein是从RNA制造的而RNA是从DNA“变”来的。身体的活动很多都有需要Protein...


我所要表达的是 - 你我有生命都是很强的奇迹。因为生命的来源就是最小的原子,但是原子是非生物吖!为什么很强?生物是由非生物组成的,一层又一层的阶层层次才组成细胞,内脏,系统,才有每一种活动。每分每秒,微小的东西都在组织成伟大的生命。上帝设计的体内平衡系统和新陈代谢才伟大,法拉利工厂都没有这么强。你我做的一切,都是由那些微小的DNA表达出来的蛋白质带来的化学反应。DNA会变形,表达出来的蛋白质会受到影响,甚至连表达也表达不出来。再来个例子,有一个科学假设推论有一个叫HACNS1的基因强化子可能是一个贡献人类进化的元素。你的拇指能动到同掌上的其他手指,以及双脚步行的能力都与这个HACNS1有关。可见DNA阶层所带来的改变可能是如此丰富。



其实读大学就像DNA Expression of Protein那样。我们每天的quiz,report,assignment,出席率,专心程度,都是base pairing。忘记做quiz,report随便做,assignment忘记交,听课时睡着,时常逃课等都是“base pairing”出问题。一旦Base Pairing有问题,Amino Acid就不能被encode,protein就不能被制造,系统接着受影响。在这里代表着成绩也无形中受到波及,当然很多时候也出于巧合。

DNA expression:不起眼地改变会造成大小不一的影响。人生充满意外与巧合,mutation也时常在巧合之下发生(有时候遇到辐射都是一种巧合,比如这么巧生活在很多辐射的时代...)。

人生就像一场戏?我说人生比较像DNA expression。


Essential Guideline For Your University Life (Insane Version)

Here is my guideline to live a crazy university life.

The list below shows what you can actually do to make you a crazy man. Beware, when I write this I am in a caffeine rush, normal brain function hasn't restored, having partial cognitive function breakdown and partial brain damages. 95% of it was due to assignments and lab reports and 5% of it is from the abnormal lifestyle that I am currently living with. So, practice at your own risk.

1. Extensive dependency on coffee. Broke my previous record last week, at least a cup of coffee a day, after I read a journal article about the benefits of coffee toward human cardiac system. It makes me feel good too.

2. Having coffee together with your house mates and get caffeine rush together in the middle of the night, end up everyone stay in a room together and talk about things that not making sense at all. Well, some does make sense, it depends on your critical thinking skill at that moment. Variations include the consumption of alcoholic beverages instead of coffee.

3. Sit on your favourite chair, and make sure you stick on your chair, glue your butt on it, and don't leave your chair. In the mean time, stare at your laptop, reading some goddamnitwhysolongandnotmakesense scientific articles, paraphrasing it and find more of the same article. When you are in a phase where you can't understand any words at all already, switch to the Facebook webpage, or maybe a game of DoTA or two. Enjoy yourself until you feel a sense of guiltiness surrounds your sorry mind, and that is a signal telling you that your consciousness is back and you should restart your work again. MAKE SURE YOU NEVER LEAVE THE CHAIR.

4. Do something that you never try before. Sometimes you never know how good (or bad) can that be. For example, a enthusiastic guy joined the dance club and find himself really enjoying himself in there, regardless his performance or; pick up a badminton racket and picking up the game that you abandoned it for years or; made your decision of joining the on-stage performance of rumba dance next month. You never know what will happen tomorrow, and that's the wonderful thing about life.

5. Having some unorthodox meals for a few days, you will be surprise of how much you miss the orthodox meal. For example, only two piece of sandwiches for lunch, plain water and Snicker bar for tea break, or two Ramli burger for dinner, few piece of toast and a cup of Milo for a standard meal, having fresh air and nothing else for breakfast, and just a few piece of cookies 2 hours after you finish your first cup of coffee for the day. Trust me, it's quite fun and unhealthy.

6. Watching movies or drama in the middle of the night right after you finish your tasks is something insane to be done too. The exciting part is that you don't know what's the time until you want to turn off your laptop after you finish a few episodes or a movie. Usually you will have an monologue at this moment:'What the frraaack !? It's 5am already !?'.

7. Playing badminton for two hours, two days consecutively. Satisfaction ? Of course ! Musclea aches and fatigue ? Of course ! Wanna try it again next week ? Of course !



The Day of Screwing Up

This is a post about how a sorry university first year dude anticipated his daily life and a story describing how big is the difference between the life that he anticipated and how screwed up was his day in real life.

'When I wake up, my day would be awesome day.'

If you had noticed, that is a recent Facebook status update of mine. Do not ask me why, yesterday before I went to sleep, I had a very strong feeling that the day after I awake will be an awesome day. I always have that thought, just that it's stronger for that particular day. However in the next day, everything screwed up.

How screwed was my day ? Here is how.

7.40am, Anson walked into my room and woke me up.

That was one hell of sexy whisper that I heard in the morning, with the perfect pitch ad tone: 'Chiew Gor'. Subsequently there were a series of conversation between Anson and I, which is not important.

I did not sleep well, so I woke up easily by him. I checked my cell phone, and it was only 7.40am. Oh hell, it is 10 minutes away from the time that my alarm will go off. I can't blame Anson since he knows nothing about my alarm and he is just being kind by waking me up so that I will not be late for the 9am class. Okay, woke up unwillingly and earlier than expected was not a big deal at all. My screwed up day started after I woke up. I took my bath, and keep reminding myself that 'today will be an awesome day'. My mood was actually quite good since I did not feel any fatigues even I had lack of sleep, yet my mind behaved otherwise. I was opening the front door, which is a freaking easy task to do. All I need to do is just unlock the knob and open the door. Something must be wrong when I took my key out of the pocket and stare at Anson like a freaking retard drug addict and said I have a key to open the door. Anson was stunned by this sudden act of thoughtlessness of mine and laughed at me. I recollected my thoughts, and I was still believing that the day will st be an awesome day. Apparently I screwed up when I was trying to open the door.

Everything seems fine in campus, nothing bad really happened. I was doing my assignments and everything was in order. It seems like I was going back to the right track of the 'Awesome day of Chiew'.

2pm, physiology lab, building 3, 7th floor. I was early for my class. The previous physiology experiment and lab worksheet stole my mojo for at least 1 week, and I kept in mind that I must not let it happen again for the cardiac muscle experiment this week.

As usual, we were all briefed and everything went well.

The screwed up part was that we waited for like 1 hour or more after the briefing session before the experiment start. Erik, the funny and cool demonstrator found out that something went wrong with experimental set ups of our group and the contraction seems very strange. To me, the graph did not even show contractions, the waves shown in the graph were induced by the oxygen gas bubble from the oxygen supply tube in the test tube. We waited for about 10-15 minutes, and finally the technician came and fix the whole thing for us. After fixing that, the set up did not turn better, and then they realized that it was the problem with the toads cardiac tissue.We did nothing beside some repeated readings and calculation.

Here is the 'sub screw up' thing I experienced today. I was so annoyed and pissed off by the attitudes of my bench member except for Jeffrey. They never read the experiment guide before they come into the lab. I even saw one of them took some cosmetic stuffs and she was pretending to put on eye lashes and laughed to her friend. How the hell can you not screw up the experiment if you don't understand what is going on with the experiment. I was quite annoyed when there's a guy keep asking me what to do and what to calculate. What the hell ? Why don't he just read the guide that they just gave him ? Everything was written in the guide. I can't believe that I have to spend my whole semester sitting in the same bench with them. It will definitely screw up my experiment. I might try to seek permission to switch to the other bench.

Tick tick tick tick tick ...

(3.45pm, 1 hour and 45 minutes had elapsed.)

Finally (yes, farking finally) I was permitted to switch to the other groups since the whole set up and the cardiac tissue of our group was completely not functioning. Since I started late, I missed the first experiment, so I don't really have any idea of what was the issue arose by using cm and mm to measure the muscle length. There where few things that screwed up when we proceed. We screwed up many parts of the experiment. Luckily it can be redo, just that it was time wasting. For example, we accidentally added the wrong buffer solution into the tube, or nearly get the fragile muscle tissue teared due to over stretch during the removal of oxygen supply tube, or the part when we are told that the measurement for experiment 1 was wrong and we have to redo, or the part of the calculation for Calcium ion concentration. Yes that was really awesome, I mean awesomely screwed up. So we proceed and try to finish it off as fast as we can, ended up we finished our experiment at 6pm.

That was one of the most disastrous experiment that I ever conducted. 31 March 2011, Thursday, 2pm to 6pm, Monash University Sunway Campus, building 3 level 7.

In fact, there were more screwed up event for that particular day and what I wrote here was just some summary of how screwed up my day was, it was actually way worse than what I wrote here. I screwed up a few chances to do something good and meaningful today, to me and to someone else.

No matter how screwed up is my day, I will still remind myself about how awesome will be tomorrow and that is the way I keep my spirit alive, and this is how I motivate myself.

Call me whatever you like, say whatever you want to say about me, Chiew will be awesome tomorrow.