Uni Grads: Choosing the hawker life over the tried and tested route

Very nice to see their passion in cooking, and daring to choose the road less travelled. Do support them at their stall, Prawn Village, which currently at 20 Ghim Moh Road, #01-62, 199583.

SINGAPORE: They had not yet graduated from university, but like many of their peers, Joanne Heng and Chan Kheng Yee were already out and about looking for a full-time job. A posting on online portal Gumtree caught their attention, and they responded to the call for “interns” the very next day.

Like any job application, the two friends had to go through a job interview filled with questions about their sincerity, motivation and commitment to the position.

But this job required very different skill sets from your typical office job: Anson Loo, the person who made the post on Gumtree, was looking for young interns to help him run his hawker stall.

“I realised that there are young people who want to become hawkers, but face a lot of financial constraints,” said Anson, who sells prawn mee at Ghim Moh food centre. “So I thought, why not target young people with no experience, so I can give them the training from scratch?”


Of the seven who applied, Anson said Joanne and Kheng Yee fit his requirements the best. They were young, passionate and completely new to the hawker trade. And indeed, the two, who met while they were studying in the polytechnic, recalled bonding over a shared interest in F&B even as students.

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/the-hawker-interns-selling-prawn-mee-choosing-the-hawker-life-9420332

PSLE 181 to NUS Medicine (Miracle Story)

Quite an amazing story. The road from PSLE 181 to NUS Medicine is a long and arduous journey. Read how Mr Tan Jun Xiang, 22, managed to overcome the odds to enter the prestigious NUS Medicine faculty.

NUS Medicine is very hard to get in (even perfect scorers can get rejected). His overjoyed father “booked two tables at a restaurant and invited (his) relatives to celebrate.”

Source: http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/he-broke-the-mould-by-going-from-normal-stream-to-nus-medical-school

SINGAPORE – Mr Tan Jun Xiang, 22, is not your typical medical student who aced all his school examinations.

In fact, he scored only 181 points in the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) and had to go into the longer five-year Normal stream in secondary school.

The polytechnic graduate, who made it to the prestigious medicine faculty at the National University of Singapore (NUS), is among the rare few who do not fit the mold.

When he was younger, he never thought he would go to university – much less the highly competitive Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at NUS, where only about one in seven applicants get in.

So what sparked his stunning academic turnaround?

A few things: seeing how disappointed his parents were with his results, getting into the secondary school of his choice after an appeal and discovering that he could indeed do well if he put his mind to it.

Read more at Straits Times

Math Books for Christmas

Wishing all readers a joyous Christmas ahead! Here are some ideas for a mathematical Christmas gift for your loved ones who are math lovers:


This Christmas-themed Math book is the perfect gift for your child. According to Amazon, it is rated 4.5/5, and one reviewer even remarked that his 7 year old daughter loved reading it:

“I don’t write reviews normally but I was sitting in bed reading it when my 7 year old daughter snuggled up next to me to read it too – she would not let me turn the pages till she finished which was cute even though I had to wait.” (Amazon)

The Indisputable Existence of Santa Claus: The Mathematics of Christmas


This book is rated very highly on Amazon; it is one of the best sellers in the Math category. It is ideal for homeschoolers, and for Singaporean primary school students who want to learn in advance, during the school holidays. (American Middle School syllabus should be accessible to upper primary Singaporean students) It is written in a very interesting manner as well.

Everything You Need to Ace Math in One Big Fat Notebook: The Complete Middle School Study Guide (Big Fat Notebooks)


This book is extremely popular in the United States. It is a #1 New York Times bestseller, as well as based on true history. “The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kirsten Dunst, and Kevin Costner.”

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race

Tessellations of Pentagons

Tessellation is a cool topic in primary level to PSLE math. Most students will enjoy it even if they hate other types of Math. It is a natural human instinct to be amazed at how different shapes can fit together perfectly to tile the plane.

Apparently, tessellation is going to be removed from the entire PSLE syllabus soon (see http://schoolplus.com.sg/primary-math-syllabus-2017/). That is certainly quite sad for many reasons.

Triangles and quadrilaterals (even irregularly shaped ones) can be easily tessellated. However for pentagons, it is less clear and some pentagons (including the regular pentagon) cannot be tessellated!

For more information read the article here at: https://www.quantamagazine.org/the-math-problem-with-pentagons-20171211/

50 Life Lessons from an 80 Year Old

Quite interesting list. Wonder who is the 80 year old?

Source: http://www.familyfriendlyhq.ie/family-blog/50-life-lessons-from-80-year-old-everyone-should-know

We absolutely love these pieces of advice from an 80 year old man. 

  1. Have a firm handshake.
  2. Look people in the eye.
  3. Sing in the shower.
  4. Own a great stereo system.
  5. If in a fight, hit first and hit hard.
  6. Keep secrets.
  7. Never give up on anybody. Miracles happen everyday.
  8. Always accept an outstretched hand.
  9. Be brave. Even if you’re not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference.
  10. Whistle.
  11. Avoid sarcastic remarks.
  12. Choose your life’s mate carefully. From this one decision will come 90 per cent of all your happiness or misery.
  13. Make it a habit to do nice things for people who will never find out.
  14. Lend only those books you never care to see again.
  15. Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all that they have.
  16. When playing games with children, let them win.
  17. Give people a second chance, but not a third.
  18. Be romantic.
  19. Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
  20. Loosen up. Relax. Except for rare life-and-death matters, nothing is as important as it first seems.
  21. Don’t allow the phone to interrupt important moments. It’s there for our convenience, not the caller’s.
  22. Be a good loser..
  23. Be a good winner.
  24. Think twice before burdening a friend with a secret.
  25. When someone hugs you, let them be the first to let go.
  26. Be modest. A lot was accomplished before you were born.
  27. Keep it simple.
  28. Beware of the person who has nothing to lose.
  29. Don’t burn bridges. You’ll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river.
  30. Live your life so that your epitaph could read, No Regrets
  31. Be bold and courageous. When you look back on life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.
  32. Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them.
  33. Remember no one makes it alone. Have a grateful heart and be quick to acknowledge those who helped you.
  34. Take charge of your attitude. Don’t let someone else choose it for you.
  35. Visit friends and relatives when they are in hospital; you need only stay a few minutes.
  36. Begin each day with some of your favourite music.
  37. Once in a while, take the scenic route.
  38. Send a lot of Valentine cards. Sign them, ‘Someone who thinks you’re terrific.’
  39. Answer the phone with enthusiasm and energy in your voice.
  40. Keep a note pad and pencil on your bed-side table. Million-dollar ideas sometimes strike at 3 .
  41. Show respect for everyone who works for a living, regardless of how trivial their job.
  42. Send your loved ones flowers. Think of a reason later.
  43. Make someone’s day by paying the toll for the person in the car behind you.
  44. Become someone’s hero.
  45. Marry only for love.
  46. Count your blessings.
  47. Compliment the meal when you’re a guest in someone’s home.
  48. Wave at the children on a school bus.
  49. Remember that 80 per cent of the success in any job is based on your ability to deal with people.
  50. Don’t expect life to be fair.

Biological evidence that Jesus actually was born in December

The type of sheep in Israel is the “Awassi” sheep, a type of desert sheep. In Israel, the principal lambing season is December through January. It makes sense, since the winter in Israel is around 8 degrees Celsius, which is not too freezing cold. Something interesting to know!

Source: Aleteia

Long ago, I accepted the idea that December 25 was probably not the actual date of Christ’s birth, that the real date was unknown but probably in the spring. Knowing the exact date doesn’t really impact the liturgical celebration, after all. It was just one more sad thing about being an adult, one more little bit of wonder gone from life.

Since then, I’ve become well acquainted with the historical evidence in favor of a date of December 25. The date can be derived historically from the dating of Zechariah’s entry into the temple to burn incense. It can also be derived theologically from the ancient tradition that a great prophet entered and left the world on the same calendar day. Thus, the Annunciation was determined to have occurred on the same day as the crucifixion, March 25. December 25 naturally follows nine months later. They are good arguments, held to strict standards of historical research and logic, within their own fields.

But neither ever quite satisfied my desire for something really concrete. One continual objection was that the shepherds in the fields at night were presumed to be attending to the dropping of lambs. And lambs didn’t drop in December. Lambs dropped in the spring, not the winter.

So, when yet another person asked “Why do we celebrate Christmas in December if lambs are born in the spring?” instead of explaining the significance of March 25, I suddenly wondered: ARE lambs actually born in the spring in Israel? Can I find out?

The Awassi sheep is a desert sheep, a fat-tailed breed that has existed in the Middle East for an estimated 5,000 years. It is the only indigenous breed of sheep in Israel. They are raised for wool, meat, and milk. Awassi sheep breed in the summer and drop lambs in the winter, when there is sufficient pasture for the ewes in milk. In Israel, the principal lambing season is December through January.

This is practical, I thought. This is fact. This is biology.

$1 (Bid) R2-D2 Droid for kids interested in Robotics

For $1, you can bid on this R2-D2 Droid inventor kit at Hachi.Tech (https://www.hachi.tech/auction/RHOTFI). This is a very reliable online site that is owned by Challenger.

The Droid is perfect for those kids who want to learn more about robotics during their holidays. You may also purchase it from Amazon:

Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit

He who loves learning is better than he who knows how to learn (Confucius)

From Baidu Baike:

知之者不如好之者,好之者不如乐之者: 对于学习,了解怎么学习的人,不如喜爱学习的人;喜爱学习的人,又不如以学习为乐的人。比喻学习知识或本领,知道它的人不如爱好它的人接受得快,爱好它的人不如以此为乐的人接受得更快。

Translation: He who knows how to learn, is not as good as he who likes learning. He who likes learning, is not as good as he who loves learning. (Confucius)

I guess this applies to mathematics as well. The first step to do well in mathematics is to keep an open mindset and try to get rid of any negative thoughts regarding math. Then, slowly proceed to like and enjoy, and even love math. Only then can one reach his full potential in mathematics.

Like most things, there is a nature and nurture component to this. Some people just naturally love logical things including math. Environment like parents and teachers are very important too, a negative encounter in early childhood can easily give a child a bad impression of learning math.

Learning to Love Math: Teaching Strategies That Change Student Attitudes and Get Results

Why do people get so anxious about math? – Orly Rubinsten

View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/why-do-peop… Have you ever sat down to take a math test and immediately felt your heart beat faster and your palms start to sweat? This is called math anxiety, and if it happens to you, you’re not alone: Researchers think about 20 percent of the population suffers from it. So what’s going on? And can it be fixed? Orly Rubinsten explores the current research and suggests ways to increase math performance. Lesson by Orly Rubinsten, animation by Adriatic Animation.

Also view my previous post on Coping with maths anxiety.

Education and the Blockchain – Should We be Teaching Blockchain in Schools?

Source: https://preply.com/

It goes without saying that tech progress is moving at a rapid pace. Futurists point to Moore’s law – the idea that tech capabilities double every two years – as evidence for tech’s expansion into nearly every facet of our lives.

Teaching Technology

Education has seen its own dramatic tech advances. Kids can learn math from gamified apps while riding in the backseat of the family minivan. Students can hire an online algebra tutor and learn from anywhere via Skype. Aspiring students can virtually attend free Ivy-league classes (Massive Open Online Course, or MOOC) with millions of other learners of all ages and backgrounds. And NASA now collaborates with high school students in inventive hardware and robotics projects.

The most significant advance in computer-based education isn’t AI or virtual-based learning or even big data – it’s the blockchain. Blockchain has its origins in cryptocurrency, i.e. Bitcoin. The blockchain is essentially a way of managing data transactions – and it’s considered a radical disruption of traditional banking.

Plus, its applications in education – both virtual and classroom-based – have the potential to change everything about schools, from instruction to student achievement.

Exposure Versus Creativity

In the US, three-quarters of children have access to a smartphone. But on its own, that’s not necessarily a good thing. Kids who simply learn to operate a phone, just downloading and playing games, become consumers. The future lies with creators.

US Department of Labor statistics tell us that 2020 will bring with it 1.4 million computer specialist job openings. But American universities produce woefully inadequate numbers of graduates in the right fields – enough to fill a mere 29% of the jobs.

So what’s wrong with the picture? Why the big gap? There are many societal reasons we could point to, but one thing seems to stand out. We’re teaching tech literacy the wrong way.

Textbook-style curriculum may have its place, but not in tech ed. When kids are taught to memorize coding sequences and churn out the same answers to the same textbook questions, there’s no creative spark. No outside-the-box thinking.

In the best way, blockchain is wildly unconventional. To advance the world-changing potential of anti-dogmatic thinking, we need to encourage kids’ inventiveness. If the educational focus is on robot-like achievements rather than innovation, where will we find our climate change-tackling problem solvers?

We’ve labeled a generation of kids “tech-savvy” without giving them the tools to move from consumption to creation. It’s a waste of their brain power to hook kids on the addictive side of tech without pulling back the curtains and showing them the remarkable inner workings. Children and teens want to know how things work.

One solution? Teach tech like art. Coding has more in common with drawing than accounting. Yes, there is a necessary foundation in understanding digital languages and principles – but without encouraging creativity, we’re creating a generation of the same brain. Even gamified learning, if done improperly, can be perilously bland.

Tackling the Education Gap

There are few key components of a sound approach to teaching creative thinking around technology.

  1. Let it be accessible. Kids will shy away from a big learning curve – learning and doing need an intimate relationship.
  2. Remove the achievement roof. Learning platforms and educational approaches which employ standardized tests as the litmus for success – and for what the content can achieve –inhibit creativity. Rather than saying “do this to produce this result,” what if we said, “here are your tools – now, what can you create?” Consider The Lego Movie’s message of the importance of imagination – for future tech innovation, we need makers, not managers.
  3. Embrace a shifting curriculum. In other subjects, things might stand as eternal truths; the Magna Carta will always have been signed in 1215. But in technology education, things move at a blistering pace. A particular tool or lesson may become quickly outdated, so the educational format needs flexibility, just like the subject it teaches.

Blockchain is set to change the world. But as we continue to encounter environmental and societal problems, we need amazing minds to solve them. Revolutionizing how we teach technology education might be the answer we didn’t know we needed.

Read more at: https://preply.com/