After much preparation, the young self-proclaimed Emperor of The Han Dynastory is now serving a full-time mission to the UK with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He will return in 2014.

Hello!

Welcome to the Han Dynastory!

As I am now serving a full-time mission with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have left this blog under the stewardship of a family member, who may post updates on how I'm doing as he/she sees fit.

Enjoy your stay!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Maths Crash

I was pretty happy with the way I tackled the application question for my General Paper today. There's nothing like putting the full stop to something you know you've written better than usual.

There's also nothing like staring at blank spaces on your Maths answer sheet as the invigilator announces that time is up. I did it again, I panicked, made calculation errors, went back to correct them, and proceeded cautiously (ie too slowly). All of that in the very first question. Obviously, I messed up the paper as easily as a snail messing up in a Formula One race. I didn't finish the paper! Honestly speaking, I like taking my time to think things through (this applies to everything apart from whether ice cream belongs to my mouth), and that's not exactly advantageous in exam settings.

And so it happened. Out of 50 marks, 26 marks were gone simply because I didn't have enough time. I have effectively lost all hope of passing Maths for my Term exams. That's what I deserve for not practicing enough.

But a failed Maths paper is nothing compared to what's coming this Wednesday --- 3 H2 papers in one day: Economics, Geography, and Music. Thankfully, Economics is not content heavy, but Geography is as good as two subjects put together and Music is like three different papers mashed up together. I bet that on Tuesday night, I'll be having nightmares of a Plinian volcanic eruption, which will lead to a sudden rise in the Crude Death Rate; From the depths of the caldera of the eruption, Bela Bartok will pop out with his Tritone of doom playing on a Sitar in his left hand and an out-of-tune Rebab on his right, preaching Allocative Efficiency, Price Elasticity concepts and Long Term Costs of Production.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Term Exams

Yeah, Term Exams begin tomorrow. I haven't finished studying a single subject, and that's saying much. I haven't even blogged about China. I'll be stumbling through my General Paper and H2 Maths papers tomorrow. If I'm doomed to fail anything for Term Exams I sincerely hope Maths will be the only one I fail, since my track record suggests promising results for everything else, which works against me, really. I don't think I've ever responded well to pressure in my life so far.

My greatest fear for the exams, though is probably my piano performance exam. You just can't mug overnight for an exam that requires consistent hourly practices every day. It's kind of like Maths. Which is probably why I'm doomed for both.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Beijing Day Three

Been in Beijing for 3 days now. It's been great so far, though I ought to kick myself for the lack of photo taking. I need a day to myself to just go out and capture the sights with my camera. The latest thing I want to take a photo of is the "friendship shop" Jiejie's room mate Leru was telling me about as we walked past it today. Apparently, friendship shops were where foreigners could do their shopping (and nowhere else) when China first opened up. Deviously, prices there are pure rip-offs. However, as Christopher's buddy Isaac taught me, in China the culture is that you don't worry about whether the price is worth it or not... it's about who's paying =P

I drove up to KL the day before my flight to Beijing. Dad covered the initial part of the journey, while I took the remaining 300km. It was probably the first time I clocked so many hours at one go. There was a terrible accident on the highway where a truck veered of the road. It caused a massive traffic jam you'd expect to see only in the city. Other than that the trip was mostly uneventful, except that I have set myself a new record for highest speed driven at... I was rushing to meet Hao Ran and some other J3B buddies for dinner. I missed the dinner in the end, but we went out to a 24 hour McDonalds for supper and a nice long chat. I miss their humour... my Singaporean friends seem to be less forgiving of lame jokes XD

My first solo international flight took place the next day (Friday). The haze was terrible... I didn't get to take any photos during take off. During landing, even when I tried to take photos, I realized that my window seat was where the wing was -.- Oh well.

I landed in Tianjin, where the Chinese quarantine officials came in to check our temperatures. I tried very hard to suppress my cough, which was sort of a remnant of my flu. Things worked out and I was not-so-shortly allowed to step onto Chinese soil for the first time in my life, though not after they checked my passport like half a zillion times. Jiejie was there to meet me, and she brought me to take the bullet train to Beijing.

I couldn't get a window seat on the bullet train, and we were going so fast (330km/h) that it was kind of hard to take any photos of the scenery anyway. But I looked out the window anyway to absorb the magnificent scenery around. Endless stretches of farms, fires (presumably farmers clearing their farms), distant coal-powered plants and a huge expanse of infinite space were things that convinced me that I was in China.

We arrived in Beijing and I was treated to a Never-ending Taxi Ride. The jam to Jiejie's house was terrible...

We went over to Grace's place where I would be staying, and joined the weekly Church YSA Family Home Evening. We played lots of Pandemic (an awesome board game of saving the world from infectious diseases) and a feast thanks to some culinary-inclined Taiwanese members.

Saturday followed, where I found myself awake at 11am. Jiejie came over to have breakfast with my host and her boyfriend. Grace and Jiejie decided to get manicures, which I wasn't keen on (she invited me to join her) so I stayed behind to (sigh) practice on the piano and do some maths. Jiejie and I later went out for a haircut and massage, then dinner. She showed me the sights and how to get around. When we went back to her place we got onto her bicycle and I brought her to the airport express where she could take a train to the airport to pick up her fiance Christopher. I was then left with some time to myself to explore the night scene, which wasn't much. I must admit, though, that cycling and watching out for crazy Beijing drivers was a true, must-try Beijing experience.

I went to Church today and got to meet some of the Beijing 1st Branch members, all of whom are foreigners, of course. The trip to Church involved a taxi ride with a chatty taxi driver sharing with us some awesome information. He said that most taxi drivers in Beijing took part in the Vietnam War, including himself. He later added that he hates war and is thus far approving of Obama. He proceeded to tell us about all the crazy things couples have to buy and pay insane amounts of money for when they get married. And I thought that the one child policy was enough to keep the population in check haha. It was cool to meet the YSA whom I first met at the Family Home Evening on Friday. I got to meet Jeff Whitaker too! The last time I saw him was when he left KL in 2005. It's been a loooooong time. He hasn't changed much =) I'll be going over to his place for some fun tomorrow.

We went out for a Japanese lunch to celebrate Jiejie's birthday today with Christopher, Isaac and Leru. Isaac shared with us the rules of a buffet "oyster challenge" which was thoroughly amusing. Christopher and Isaac later shared their hilarious trip to San Fransisco, involving a trip to the tanning saloon and getting a COUPLE'S DISCOUNT. We headed back to Jiejie's place after that for more Pandemic. Jiejie and Christopher decided to take a taxi while I followed Leru back on foot (where she showed me the sights, talked a bit about Russia and shared what she loved about Beijing). I'm not sure what else I want to do yet besides eat and play games with Jiejie's gamer geek friends, but I'm sure when Sujie comes on Tuesday we'll go sightseeing (I'm yet to set foot on the Great Wall!).

If only term exams aren't after the holidays...

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Feeling Better

My temperature has reached normal levels, though I still feel a little weak. Mom reckons I should still stay home tomorrow though. At least I had the strength to tackle the piano and part of an economics essay today.

My computer's fixed! Apparently the floppy drive had to be disabled and the graphics card adjusted (it was loose). I think it's high time to get a new graphics card though (and a processor too). I just need to budget it out carefully.

Wearing a mask almost all day is quite disorientating. I never knew air without a mask smelt soooooo good XD

Friday, June 05, 2009

Horror of Horrors

It's not been a confirmed case of swine flu yet, but influenza nonetheless. The doctor advised me to take the rest of the week off (starting yesterday). The last time I checked, my temperature has gone down to 37.0 degree Celcius. My normal levels are at 36.6 though.

Wednesday night was one of my worst nights this year. The fever started to develop and I was shivering like crazy. I had goosebumps under my blanket. I even had to wear socks to sleep. Through it all I could barely breathe with my nose all runny. Most of that has gone away today (I think the doctor gave me anti histamines) but I developed a terrible sore throat this morning, probably due to constant breathing through my mouth, coupled with filthy smokers sucking their sticks of death outside my house. I'll be missing Waltz lessons and a YSA board gaming activity, which seems bewitched because I missed the last board gaming activity too. What's more irritating is that I'm a fan of board gaming. Gaah. Mom says I may not be able to go to Church this Sunday (for fear of spreading the flu to everyone), which means I have to sort out some stuff for the Ward Choir.

It's been pretty gloomy lying on my new bed (the couch) at home. If I'm not asleep, I'm lying awake on the couch feeling groggy, often having to witness Ray and Ern fighting over the computer. I hate that cursed game DOTA for life now. Ern has clearly developed withdrawal symptoms. I still can't supress the suspicion that he downloaded crap onto my computer and is therefore responsible for it dying out. He obviously will not volunteer to bring it down to the shop and get it fixed, since he only needs it to feed his gaming addiction, and the family computer is there to appease him. I, on the other hand, have unfinished schoolwork and photos stored in there. It sucks that I can't go out of the house.

I can hardly do anything productive either, since I'm so tired most of the time. I haven't been able to practice on the piano, neither have I been able to study in preparation for the exams after the holidays. Seems like I'll have to study during my trip to Beijing. Why does falling sick have to be the only way I can take a break -.-

On a lighter note, I've been able to read the first four books of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson, a tale of Greek gods and their half-god, half-human children in a modern setting. I read the first book ages ago in KL and haven't been able to find the sequels because I forgot the name of the book. I'm now re-reading the sixth Harry Potter book. I'm craving for more of Artemis Fowl though. All these children books go easy on my groggy brain.

My back aches after lying down for so long. I'm craving for a massage again, though it's probably best if nobody touches me. Oh well.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

NOT FEELING WELL

One of the suckiest ways to start off the school holidays.

My dear KL friends: I will be back in KL some time in the middle of next week, but only for 1 or 2 days before I fly off elsewhere. Hao Ran: Perhaps we can have dinner again? Poh Yi: Wanna meet up? =)

I miss the wheel... though I probably don't miss KL streets =P