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.


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, November 30, 2009


One of those stupid moments where I was sure I had something I wanted to post here earlier but I forgot what it was now. This is yet another lame attempt to update this Blog XD

I'm still crazy over Dad's pancake lens.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Grandpa, Departed

Grandpa passed away of a heart attack on Friday. I was pulled out of a school camp and rushed to KL within 24 hours.

I wasn't very close to him, for many reasons. Mostly, it was because Grandpa was a very quiet man. He didn't talk much, but he did have ways to express his love. When I was a child, he would buy me toy guns (which my parents never did for me for obvious reasons) and an assortment of other kinds of toys. We would often spend nights at his place when my parents were away. He maintained a small swimming pool which I have fond memories of, and always had a dog for us to play with.

Sadly, I can only recall two experiences when he opened up to me. The first was when I was thirteen. I was working at Dad's office and had to go over to Grandpa's office to fetch something. He invited me to his office to lend me a tie, even sharing some stories of his past. I remember sitting in front of him at his desk as he recounted his motorcycle accident long in the past. The second time I can remember him opening up was last year when I interviewed him to begin chronicling his life as part of my personal family genealogy project. He shared many things, even some dark moments in his life which he injected some humour into. He was an avid artist in his youth, although he used that talent more to obtain a scholarship to Europe more than to build a career. Trained as a land surveyor, he earned enough to ensure all of his five sons attended universities. He was a firm believer in education, and was an epitome of creatures of habit. There is much that I admire in him, although there are important lessons to learn from his many mistakes as well.

When I arrived at the wake and walked over to his coffin. I was suddenly overwhelmed and broke into tears. I could not understand it at that time. I guess it was just knowing that I would no longer be able to see him in this life. It's easy to remember my belief in life after death, but grieving for a temporary loss is inevitable. It was weird seeing his glasses placed on top of the coffin. Seeing the glasses that defined him made it worse for me. But eventually once I began to talk to a close nephew, the rest of the wake and funeral turned into a family reunion, which was nice. One of my cousins will be getting married in a few months. That would be a much nicer reason for another family reunion.

On the day of the cremation Dad needed a photographer for his camera, so I happily volunteered. His pancake lens was the BOMB. All I needed was a decent sense of composition and the camera (lens) worked wonders for portrait shots. Wielding that much power in my hands and ogling at it was just so... wrong... for a funeral. At any rate I was quite pleased with some of the shots. Not sure when Dad will upload them at the family blog. My first experience with erm, funeral photography. Believe me, it's no fun sticking a camera at crying faces, especially when your own tears are clouding your vision. But in the name of chronicling events photographically, I believe it was an honourable endeavor.

Thanks for everything, Grandpa.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Get a Life - Get a Holiday!

So the exams are over except for maybe PW Oral Presentation, but other than that school is beginning to slow down. I've got big plans for the holidays apart from Choir, number one being my plan to sign up for some preferably long-term community service project. I'm currently interested in a program where I can help students in their studies. I guess I kind of miss being in Barker that way. I don't remember a day when nobody asked me for help with something.

There's something that's been bugging me recently. It will probably irritate most people who read this, but it's something I need to get off my chest.

First off, I shall explain how our subject combination works for GCE A Levels. There are 3 levels (so to speak) of each subject - Higher 1, Higher 2, and Higher 3. H1 and H2 subjects are the common levels everyone takes in varying combinations. H3 papers are only for those who are supposedly academically sound and would like to deepen their learning and understanding of a particular subject. In a way, H3s are the equivalent to the S Papers in the past.

Typically, a Junior College student would take, as his four "core" subjects, 3H2s and 1H1. Latest MOE regulations also requires one of these subjects to be of a contrasting discipline. For example, a typical Science student's combination would be H2 Physics, H2 Chemistry, H2 Mathematics, and H1 Economics (Econs being his contrasting subject). On top of this, most students would also take their General Paper, which counts as a H1 paper. There is also the requirement to take H1 Mother Tongue (unless a student has acheived a sufficient grade in O Level Higher Mother Tongue examinations). Thanks to a rather bright MOE employee, we also now enjoy the benefits of compulsory Project Work, yet another H1 subject. As a result, a typical JC student would be taking 4H1s and 3H2s.

However, students who did well for GCE O Levels can choose to take 4H2s instead of 3H2s+1H1 for their core subjects. Students often choose to do so to improve their chances of obtaining future scholarship (especially the prestigious PSC scholarship). I'm a bit more insane. I chose to take 4 H2s just so that I could learn as much as possible.

As a result, I now take, for my H1s, GP, PW and Chinese, and for my H2s, Geography, Economics, Maths, and Music (Maths being my contrasting subject). In addition, I am required to take Music H3 (which is a research paper) as a result of my MOE Music Elective Scholarship.

This is the credits system has become a pain. Each subject is worth a number of credits. H1s are worth 1 credit, while H2s are worth 2 credits. Each student is normally allowed to take up to a maximum of 12 credits. Going back to the previous example of the typical JC student, he would be taking 4H1s (worth 4 credits in total) and 3H2s (worth 6 credits in total), adding to a total of 10 credits, well within the limit. Let's say he does well and he decides to take H3 Maths. 1 credit is then added to his H2 Maths credits, increasing it from 2 to 3. Hence, he would now have 11 credits, still within his means.

For my case, I take 3H1s and 4H2s. Therefore, I am already at 11 credits. By taking H3 Music, I will max out my credits at 12. Why is this a pain? Because I am interested in taking up one of the external H3s. I applied for NUS Geopolitics (considered a Geography/History H3), NUS Economy & Space (considered a Geography H3) and SMU Game Theory (considered an Economics H3 though in a very mathematical approach), with the intention/hope of taking one of the three. Unfortunately, since I'm already taking Music H3, I have maxed out my credits. I can't drop my H3 Music because my scholarship requires me to take it, and I will definitely not forfeit my scholarship (my school fees, which MOE now covers, are insane), so basically, I won't be able to take any of the external H3s. I heard that there have been special cases where people have applied to take 13 credits, but these people are all exceptionally gifted academically and I don't think I belong to that calibre. Furthermore, I have the school Choir responsibilities to attend to, and it will be very unfair to them next year if I neglect my duties for the sake of my own academic pursuits.

The irony of the situation is that by doing well in school previously and obtaining the scholarship, I am now prevented from pursuing my own interests (those external H3s I listed above all have something to do with my possible future careers). It kinda hurts, but if I complain, I think a lot of people will want to strangle me.