May and Spring

“It’s the time of the year again”-I told myself after finishing my Complex Analysis final exam. I wanted a “mellow as the month of May” feeling as presented by Carole King (and Olivia One), but it never happened. And time proved that having a somewhat busy life is a blessing, not even in disguise.

Succeeding that was the interim period whereby I travelled to-and-fro Toronto twice: first for a Chopin concert and second purely for vacation. Adding to the holiday joy was the Google Games especially when we won the second place too (that was the only coding competition that I won thus far, and that’s because of the algorithmic nature of many of the puzzles. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

The Research Life

It’s May 1. I refreshed my Quest Mobile of “Winter 2018 Unofficial Grades” for the final time to see all my marks in, and felt somewhat relieved that everything turned out well despite the perceived disaster during the exams themselves. Then I walked into the research office, officially starting my second chapter as a research assistant.

It didn’t take me long to notice the stark difficulty of this project compared to the last one: even with more research experience in hand. I knew I would enjoy this research about cryptography and number theory: the latter being a topic I have deep feelings for since I was still an IMO kid. This, however, explains my expectation towards myself: despite the commendation from my supervisors that I am having a good start, I still couldn’t help but to benchmark myself against my last research, where in the third week itself I could already improve the quick-union algorithm from something practically infeasible within few hours to something doable within seconds. That’s when I came to accept that the lack of my prior knowledge in cryptography made this project difficult — especially when the post-quantum cryptography requires understanding on esoteric mathematical topics (like class groups, elliptic curves isogeny, etc). Nevertheless, my interest never diminishes to the slightest extent even with the difficulty posed: the immense knowledge and results in cryptography simply prompted me to gain more from it.

Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 11.30.54 PM
Sneak peek on my project ๐Ÿ˜›

Data After Data

Two of my weekends were dedicated for data analysis contests: the Datafest and Citadel’s Data Open. Despite my enjoyment on similar contests, I had to admit being challenged by it upon every participation–more so when I am still new to data analysis and haven’t taken many sophisticated Statistics course. As I thought things would become better as I gain experience each time, different challenges struck me every contest: one of them involving encoding modifying that exposes the lack of flexibility of Python in handling this manner. Nevertheless, there’s one and the only one thing that made my attempt worthwhile: learning new things every time. Now I finally understood how to manipulate data using Python’s Panda’s groupby function.

Theย Fun Time

May was hectic: not just because of the research, but also because of the social life I had with friends. We started off this fun time real quick with the Paintball activity that served as the perfect opportunity for post-separation meeting up (or rather, a legal vengeance of shooting our peers hard before needing to be nice to them again?). Then, was the (yet another) getaway during the Victoria Day weekend. It was also the sessions we had dinner together as a big group at different kitchens: a culinary skill exchange! Rounding up were the miscellaneous like attending the performance of Beethoven’s 9th Ode To Joy symphony, which enhanced my experience of this first month of summer ‘break’.

Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 11.55.11 PM.png
Malaysian cuisine (thanks to housemates) + dinner squad
Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 8.28.41 PM
The Toronto getaway!
Beethoven’s Ode To Joy Symphony that awestruck me with the choral force and the enthusiastic instrumental performance!

Story of the Piano

It was 10pm on May 3rd, and I met up my two friends in a piano room. For one good hour I struggled between avoiding the glitches on Chopin’s Fantaise Impromptu and showcasing my amateurish sight-playing skills to respond to song requests of pieces that I have hardly played before. Thankfully there was also room for me to play pieces like Hebe’s A Little Happiness, which I have posted on YouTube back then.

One friend on the scene could play some pieces well too, so I gave way to her at one point. I started relishing in her “Canon in D” and “River Flows in You”, simply wishing that I could actually play them too. Out of nowhere, the latter turned into “Happy Birthday” with few other close friends storming into the room with a cake — just like what happened three years ago but on a more private scale (surprise!).

There’s one more hour to go, and I was too elated to even think of my own playlist. It then became an alternating sequence between me continue fulfilling the Wishlist of my ‘audience’, having them to play a bit (remember Taeyang’s Wedding Dress?), and me continuing with a piece from everyone’s favourite artist. The clock eventually struck 12, and another chorus of “Happy Birthday” arose (with me accompany through the piano)–this time with me being entertain to the maximum extent with 6 languages (English, Mandarin, Malay, Cantonese, French, Korean).

Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 11.02.37 PM
My Birthday Summed Up

Of course, the fun didn’t end here. Wishes from everywhere around the world, with a few gifts this time. It’s a celebration not just my birthday, but also the friendship that I have been deeming precious all the time (not forgetting the love from my family from the other side of the globe!)

“It’s the time of the year again”

It’s May, and it’s another year of me orbiting around the sun again. However much I wanted to avoid it, it’s yet another wake up call for me to think, act, behave, and interact like an adult beyond simply giving people the impression of my maturity. It’s May, and we are finally off the days of snow and get to enjoy the sunny scenery with longer daylight. Why not keep pictures of the beautiful sunset that tinges the sky with various colours then?

Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 11.40.00 PM
Sunset view, collaged ๐Ÿ˜›


Screen Shot 2018-06-01 at 12.02.33 AM
Views from Spring / Summer

And finally, May has come to an end. Heads up to a more meaningful research and social live ahead!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s