Sunday, March 21, 2010

Math Enrichment Activities (from Thursday to Friday)

Today's post, after about one month of blog inactivity, is about my math activities held at ACS on Thursday and Friday. It was perhaps the most stress relieving and the most fun activity I have entered since the start of this year and I am so sorry for all of those people who did not register for it (even when it was free). Anyway, let me get to the point.

On the day of (it was a Thursday) the thingy, I arrived at the auditorium and found that many of my primary school friends had gone, which was a pleasant surprise, so I went to them and chatted for a while then went to a side and started reading a book pertaining to my project(in other words, emoing). You were supposed to register when you got there but since I was such a loyal friend to Alvin and Ming En and many other people, I decided to wait for their arrival. later, I found that it was a very bad choice as we were supposed to register for our lectures later on in that day and he next day ON A FIRST COME FIRST SERVE BASIS. By luck, Timothy Toh switched so I took his slot and went to a lecture which proved very fun later. Ming En and the others who arrived later (because they gathered at school and were apparently waiting for us who had arrived at ACS by our own) were forced to go Map Colouring (which incidentally was a part of Graph colouring which I went) and Math and origami (sounds familiar because it is a sabbab organised by ms gwee) on the second day. So we registered and entered the hall and was split into many groups of four and five, then did some icebreaker games. it was quite fun, the whacko and double whacko but before recess I had my middle finger bleeding because Bernard accidentally stepped on it (haha). So I took tissue paper and rubber bands and tied my middle finger tightly then when I released the rubber band the finger was like all purple and dark, with blood stains caked under my fingrnails (reminds me of Boo Radley). Thus the most obvious thing to do wa to go around and show everybody this pride and joy by flpping themm off and screaming, "Behold the power of my bloody middle finger!!!" Unfortunately, nobody ( I am glad that the only the Wonder girls did laugh. LOL) was amused. I washed the blood off afterwards.

After the ice breakers were some other games which our group owned at because there was a very simple strategy to win which I found (applause please) because we were given ten random numbers and were supposed to use the four operators to form a sum or product or end result '100'. So easily, we found a sum/product/sub-result '0', then found another sum/product/sub result '100' and just use the remaining numbers to multiply by the '0' and we are done. By this ingenious method, we came in first every time until the organiser found our methood unfair and banned it. Even so, due to our lightning calculations (mostly mine), we found the solution but got fourth and had no points.

The next round was fun too, if you want me to explain I can, so I wil do so now. Firstly, each of us were given a sum of 50 dollars and each group were supposed to bid for an item. So we started by trying of gauge how many dollars the opposing team will bid and we bidded 1 dollar. But due to my math instincts, I persuaded them to change it to 2 dollars (actually I forcfully took the marker and changed the bid myself). We won that round because the opposing team bidded one dollar. HAha. Anyway, it is obvious you can never win when bidding one dollar because minimum bid is 1 dollar. And right I forgot to tell about the catch:even when you lose the bid, you still have to pay the money you bidded. So some analysis: The best you can win is 4 is to one because if you bid higher than the other player for four turns the opponent can use up all his money and get the fifth turn because he spent less money than you. This is assuming he does not bid 1 dollar each turn.

Anyway, the second turn, we beat them 7 dollars to 5 dollars due to my timely intervention which changed our previous bid from five to seven dollars. The third round was much more exciting. At first, we reasoned that we should just put all our resources into this round (39 dollars) and win this 3rd item to win them (3 out of five). At the last minute, my group member said to change it to one dollar. Lo and behold, the other group perhaps heard our strategy and bidded 41 dollars. They got the 3rd item, but they were left with one dollar for the fourth and fifth item. Obviously, we bidded twenty dollars each so we won both rounds.

Happily, we got first prize for the most points ( the organiser grudgingly described us as a group who fared exceptionally well at the 100 game ) so we each got a small cube whihch was virtually unable to be dismantled. I tried during the lecture but failed. As you most likely would no want to know about the lecture of graph colouring, I will skip it until the time I was going home. With nothing to do, I started bouncing the cube on my hand and dropped it accidentally. Thn a dent was noticed in one side of the cube so I pushed and in a few seconds the first step of dismantling the cube had been done so the rest could be done easily. At home, I easily dismantled it.

This is the end of the first day. Watch out for the next post.

Ng Yi Pin.
Forever mathematical.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Me as a naturalist commenting on Mockingbirds

Here is the research I have done.

This is my naturalist task.

Habitat of Mockingbird

Year-round the Northern Mockingbird is found in areas with open ground and with shrubby vegetation like hedges, fruiting bushes, and thickets. When foraging on the ground, it prefers grassy areas, rather than bare spots. Common places to find Northern Mockingbirds include parkland, cultivated land, suburban areas and in second growth habitat at low elevations. They originate from Galapagos Islands.

Mockingbirds have a strong preference for certain trees such as maple, sweet gum, and sycamore. They generally avoid pine trees after the other trees have grown their leaves. Also, they have a particular preference for high places, such as the topmost branches of trees. Mockingbirds are often found in urban and suburban areas, where they perch on telephone poles, streetlights, or high points on buildings.

Besides, Northern Mockingbirds nest in shrubs and trees, typically 3-10 feet off the ground but sometimes as high as 60 feet. The male probably chooses the nest site and begins building several nests before the female chooses one to finish and lay eggs in. Females may start laying eggs in a second nest while the male is still caring for fledglings from the previous one. Northern Mockingbirds rarely ever reuse their nests.

Flora and Fauna in Maycomb County

From these descriptions of the habitat of mockingbirds, we can assume that the natural environment of the mockingbirds in Maycomb is the same. Based on the information given, there are thorny shrubs and grassy areas in Maycomb County, which can be justified by the presence of Johnson grass and rabbit tobacco in Boo Radley’s place (pg 14, 15). Besides, “a solitary mocker” also perched in the Radley’s yard, showing how the Radley’s untended for garden was a perfect habitat for the quick adapting, urban bird.

As Maycomb County was a county which based their economy on farming, most of the citizens/villagers there planted many trees and crops and formed a natural habitat for a variety of birds including the mockingbird. This country was based at the Countryside and was largely Natural habitat and not very urban as Maycomb was quite backward in both thinking and technology. These farms were also full of crops, seeds and fruits, thus attracting the mockingbirds which liked to feed on crops and sometimes prove a nuisance as they frequently ate seeds for a meal.

The mockingbirds also live in Maycomb County perhaps because of the advice given to all that mockingbirds are not to be shot. This may have caused the mockingbirds to realise that they were the safest in Maycomb County and taking advantage of that, settled in Maycomb.

Therefore some of the trees in Maycomb could be maple, sweet gum, and sycamore trees. Mostly, they would be trees who bear nuts such as pecans. These would attract mockingbirds to land in Maycomb and build their family there.

My next task: Intrapersonal

-Who would you want to be friends with in the novel? Explain.

For me, I would like to make friends with Miss Maudie. This decision was made due to a few reasons, which I will explain in the next few paragraphs. Firstly, I would make friends with Ms Maudie because she as we all know, is the voice of reason, and I would benefit greatly from her being my friend. Besides being a good influence for me and my moral values, she would always be there to guide me onto the right path and the right moral decision for my future. With her experience, she would make a great mentor and teacher.

Next, Ms Maudie has a soft spot for children, so I might be able to make friends with her more quickly and easily than say, Boo Radley who would although make a kind, loyal friend but would take much time to interact as he would always be cooped up in his house and not receiving any visitors. It can be seen that it took Scout almost two to three years to make friends with him while Ms Maudie and Scout acquainted over a meeting. Therefore i believe I stand a good chance of befriending with Ms Maudie.

Another very obvious benefit (and here Chun Jie might be tempted to join me in getting into Ms Maudie's good books) is that she bakes great cakes, and thus I would never be hungry when visiting her. Besides, these treats come very often and i would not be just eating her cakes for a few times, but perhaps more than ten times a month (of course depending on my frequency of visiting ms maudie (again i believe CJ would visit her every hour due to this tasty incentive.)

Finally, I would be happy to be her friend because she is always kind and benevolent, and even unpredictable at times (remember when she suddenly whooped and chuckled for eternity [if you count eternity as about half a day] after Scout said that she would rake the damn Morphodite up in a jiffy). It would be really interesting to befriend her and receive a surprise about the next move she would make.

Thus I believe that Ms Maudie would make a good friend for me and vice versa. A role model from all perspectives, every parent would be glad to have her as their neighbour (and so does every glutton ;).

Yi Pin.

Ps:CJ no offense directed.

PPs: Just kidding.

PPPs: Just kidding meant that there was offense directed and not a repetition of my first Ps.

PPPPs: Ps is the symbol for photoshop.

PPPPPs: I am really sidetracking here. Bye!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Multiple learning thingy

Firstly, here is my learning profile.

As you (and I) can see, I am abnormally strong in the logic (number smart) area and not as good in the music, picture, word and body smart, as deduced from what I think of myself. Anyway, I am also a naturalist, which means i love nature and would not bear to hurt an ant, which i will gladly do, on the contrary.

Right. I am supposed to write the implications of what i feel the test. Well, I think that the test is too dependent on the truthfulness and honesty of the person taking the test so it might reflect some inaccuracy. Besides, humble (*ahem*) people like (*ahem*) me will put myself down when doing such tests, so these results may not be accurate in painting a true picture of me. From this chart, I can see that I am clumsy (not body smart), cumbersome about words (not word smart), bad at visualising (not picture smart, which is somehow wrong because i remember stuff by seeing it in my head.) and not very musical ( which i gladly accept because i never liked music anyway. So is it true? I am not one to gauge although this test says I am intra-personal (Myself smart), which means that i know myself very well. Still, let others ponder on the accuracy of this test and its portrayal of me.
Ng yi pin.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Revamped blog

Just a very short post on the changes made to this blog...

Lunar new year has finally arrived and now orange tigers and tigers inscribed on oranges are popping out of nowhere and given as presents to the elder generations. It is also a new year of change and thus I have chosen this time to announce the change of my blog.

Actually, it is a very simple revamp as all i did was to change the template, some messages, and resume all the functions hidden previously in my last blog skin. Now, everyone who can visit my blog will be able to play pinball, delve through my archives, chat and most importantly, follow my blog.

HINT: Please follow this blog.

Besides, tell everybody you know to follow this blog. With such a short url of ", I just cannot understand why nobody has the initiative to follow my blog.

Final remainder:follow my blog and post your comments.

Thanks and bye.

Ng Yi pin.

PS. this post was (i mean is being edited now) edited by yi pin.

Firstly, thank you Ernest for providing me feedback. I have decided to remove the joke and put it in the subtitle section. unfortunately, it has been replaced by a message even longer than my joke. it is my new slogan. This slogan is just a small snippet into my personality and I have inserted a little humour in it just to lighten things up.

Oh and I changed the layout a little by shifting the widgets around, placing them in order of importance. I have aligned the chat box with all the other widgets after being enlightened on the way to do that. Thats about all.

Yi Pin going off again..

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Hi again for a third posting of this blog in this year. today, I will be posting about my interests and passions in particular.

As almost everybody in the class knows, I am quite good in math and thus have a passion in the subject. However, not everybody knows why math is so fascinating, and these are the people who normally do not appreciate math and hate it for its complexities. To say simply, math is a study of patterns and all formulas, conjectures and proofs are all different parities of patterns (proof as a negative pattern as it seeks to justify a pattern).

Perhaps many think that math Olympiad is vastly different from normal math as a subject, and it deals with higher level problems that we cannot approach. that is a wrong mindset as Mr Rong has put forth to us, under the masquerade of normal math questions. Yes, many of those questions qre extracted from competitions or olympiad books so now you can feel more gratified that you cannot solve the problem, and more often than not, I cannot too.

Take Tuesday's AMC10 as an example. It was so-called very hard but in a math competition, it is best to keep your mind sharp and your options wide. This way, you will be able to spot patterns faster and more effectively, giving you more time to work out the interior sub-problems within the problem.

Thus what I am trying to bring across is, math olympiad is the art of grasping your list of methods, formulas, and tricks in your palm and to work their magic when the time comes (this may sound familiar because it is quoted by Dr... Tan? Wong? Ng? sorry I forgot). Frequently, one should combine your methods and working backwards is another good skill.

In all, I am just simplifying math olympaid as a subject and I am just seeking to break the stereotype that math olympiad is unapproachable.

ng Yi pin.

PS. sorry for the fluctuating writing style. I have been trying out many writing styles and so far this is the most formal one. I think this is what you call "climax" in the list of rhetorics, although I am not writing a speech it is clearly ironical my "climax" seems to be the most bland.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Continuation of Socratic Seminar

Hello again.

Today I will be discussing (with myself) about whether the Singapore government had been successful in establishing a national identity. Firstly, we know that Singapore has not been very successful in pushing Singaporeans to be more responsible for the cleanliness of Singapore. Compare us to Japan for example. For them, cleanliness has become a habit and this has also turned into part of their identity as Japanese which is globally recognised (or at least I recognise it). For us, however, we continue letting the cleaners to do their job and has thrown this responsible quality for the cleaners to uphold. Therefore we cannot say that a clean garden city is our identity.

Another issue is the Speak Good English and Huayu Cool campaigns, which seek to increase the standard of our speaking. This seems to be an act suppressing the Singlish of Singaporeans, which many take pride in and perceive as our national identity. However, these are some of the government's efforts to raise us to a world-class standard. This is what I recognise as the underlying problem. By trying too hard to gain the acceptance of the world as a well-developed model nation, Singapore has put too much importance on being a world-class nation. This has led to our country lacking a unique quality which we can see as our national identity. We have emulated many other great countries worthy of our appreciation and shaped ourselves like them. We have exchanged our individuality for a globalised nation. We have left ourselves orchids, merlions and language to base our national identity upon. This, as I believe, is a reason for the difficulty we have encountered in trying to seek a national identity for ourselves.

Lastly, I would like to comment on whether
Singaporeans can ever have a national identity. The answer is quite obvious and it is a yes. Any country who puts effort in creating an individualised image for herself and with her citizens working hand-in-hand will always achieve what they aim for. Given some period of time, i believe we will be able to create a national identity which will further outshine any Singlish or Merlion.

Regards, Yi Pin.

a New Year for new posts or the other way round.

a New Year for new posts or the other way round.

This is my very first post in this year and it will signal a new revolutionary change for the style of my blog-writing. I will turn from the so-called childish typer into the seasoned matured thinker who will analyse so critically that even I will be astounded by my acridness. I will...

Enough of all the New Year aspirations. Today I will blog about our successful (or should we say impromptu) Socratic Seminar which only blossomed into delightful food for thought after 40 minutes into the Socratic circle. This will be revolving around questions concerning
national identity, which will form the basis of my discussion.

Firstly, I will need to define national identity. As it is named, national identity is what us as a nation can identify upon and thus unite upon this common belief or rallying point. For Singapore, as a "young" republic of 40 years, we are still hovering around the question of whether we actually have a national identity. Some argue that Singapore is too young to have one, while others retaliate that our language
(Singlish) is a valid. Thus my question is whether Singapore has already established one?

Many of us will say yes, stating our multiracialism as part of our national identity. This is true to some extent but if you look at it critically, this may just be a side effect of our government's campaigning for a multiracial Singapore. It has caused us to take our multi-racialism for granted and treat it as one of our unique qualities. The fact is, Singapore's Chinese take up about 75%, Malays 13%, and Indians 8%, with other ethnic groups 4% (statistics provided by We can see that there is no way a racial riot could break out because it would be a completely unfair battle. Contrary to America(before USA) or Malaysia, the ethnic groups often have a smaller difference and this leads to more than small scuffles. In TKAM, the racial discrimination is also evident with the growing number of blacks. During the merger, Malaysia had also been apprehensive about Singapore merging with her because that would result in having more Chinese than Malays and this was a bone of contention which finally led to our split and hard-fought independence. Anyway, we can conclude that our racial tolerance may not be so significant after all because the Chinese was the main majority after all.

The next question is whether Singlish could be counted as our national identity. Yes, it is a unique language which only Singaporeans that have been living in Singapore for a period of five or more years could make sense of the extra colloquial tags. However, languages which are mish-mashed have been around for a long time in countries with
more than one language spoken. Singlish is our language made of English, Chinese, Hokkien, Malay and peppered with other dialects. It may be something that Singaporeans can find themselves using to identify whether one was a Singaporean or not, but it is merely a distinct characteristic found outwardly in Singaporeans. We have to go deeper than that.

Another question which popped out was the issue of whether the government had played a part in establishing our national identity. The government had been rolling out many programmes/campaigns such as the clean and green campaign or the speak good English campaign. These are some of the efforts the government had put in to improve our quality of life and it has also in the process shaped our thoughts about national identity. The fines imposed are one good example but this leads to the question whether Singapore has been successful in creating this unique identity for Singaporeans.

I will cover that in the next post.

Ng Yi Pin