Tag Archives: Singaporean

Amor de Matemática

Se você ama a matemática, você é um geek — com opções de ações em seu futuro, mas não líderes de torcida. Então, ficando uma criança a amar a matemática é um presente questionável — estamos realmente fazendo um favor? Recentemente, um amigo altamente colocado meu me pediu para olhar para ele — não apenas como sendo um casal de crianças interessadas em matemática, mas como um esforço educacional geral no país. Uma vez que torna-se um fenômeno geral, whizkids matemática pode desfrutar do mesmo nível de aceitação social e popularidade como, dizer, atletas e estrelas do rock. Wishful thinking? Pode ser…

Eu sempre estava entre as pessoas que gostavam de matemática. Lembro-me de meus tempos de colégio, onde um dos meus amigos fariam o longo multiplicação e divisão durante experimentos de física, enquanto eu iria juntar-se com um outro amigo para procurar logaritmos e tentar vencer a primeira cara, que quase sempre ganhava. Isso realmente não importa quem ganhou; o simples facto de que seria jogos de dispositivos como esse como adolescentes talvez pressagiava um futuro-cheerleader menos. Como se viu, o cara longo multiplicação cresceu para ser um banqueiro altamente colocado no Oriente Médio, sem dúvida graças a seu talento não da cheerleader com fobia, math-phelic tipo.

Quando me mudei para IIT, essa cafonice matemática chegou a um nível totalmente novo. Mesmo entre a cafonice geral que permeou o ar IIT, Lembro-me de um casal de rapazes que se destacaram. Houve “Devious” que também teve a duvidosa honra de me apresentar a minha virgem Kingfisher, e “Dor” seria drawl muito dolorida “Obviamente Yaar!” quando, os geeks menores, não seguiu prontamente a sua linha especial de acrobacias matemáticas.

Todos nós tivemos um amor para a matemática. Mas, onde ele veio? E como no mundo que eu iria torná-lo uma ferramenta educacional geral? Transmitir a matemática do amor de uma criança não é muito difícil; você apenas torná-lo divertido. No outro dia, quando eu estava dirigindo por aí com a minha filha, ela descreveu algumas forma (na verdade, o galo na testa de sua avó) como meia-bola. Eu disse a ela que era realmente um hemisfério. Então eu destaquei a ela que estávamos indo para o hemisfério sul (Nova Zelândia) para as nossas férias no dia seguinte, do outro lado do globo em comparação com a Europa, que era por isso que era verão lá. E finalmente, Eu disse a ela Cingapura foi na linha do equador. Minha filha gosta de corrigir as pessoas, então ela disse, não, não foi. Eu disse a ela que estávamos prestes 0.8 graus ao norte do equador (Espero que eu estava certo), e vi minha abertura. Perguntei-lhe qual era a circunferência de um círculo, e disse-lhe que o raio da Terra era de cerca de 6.000 km, trabalhados e que foram cerca de 80 quilômetros ao norte do equador, que não era nada comparado a 36 mil quilômetros grande círculo ao redor da Terra. Em seguida, trabalhou-se que nós fizemos um 5% aproximação sobre o valor de pi, de modo que o número correto era de cerca de 84 km. Eu poderia ter dito a ela que fez outra 6% aproximação no raio, o número seria mais parecido com 90 km. Foi divertido para ela trabalhar fora essas coisas. Eu gosto de seu amor para a matemática foi aumentado um pouco.

Foto por Dylan231

Graceless Singaporean

We Singaporeans have a problem. We are graceless, eles dizem. So we train ourselves to say the right magic words at the right times and to smile at random intervals. We still come across as a bit graceless at times.

We have to bite the bullet and face the music; we may be a bit on the rude side — when judged by the western norms of pasticky grace popularized by the media. But we don’t do too badly when judged by our own mixed bag of Asian cultures, some of which consider the phrase “Thank you” so formal that it is almost an insult to utter it.

One of the Asian ways of doing things is to eat noodles like a mini vacuum cleaner. This Singaporean friend of mine was doing just that while lunching with me and our French colleague. I hardly noticed the small noises; afinal, I’m from a culture where loud burps at the end of a meal are considered a compliment to the host. But our French friend found the suction action very rude and irksome, and made French comments to that effect (ignoring, claro, the fact that it is rude to exclude people by talking in a private language). I tried to explain to him that it was not rude, just the way it was done here, but to no avail.

The real question is this — do we paint a thin veneer of politeness over our natural way of doing things so that we can exude grace a la Hollywood? The thinness of this kind of grace echoes loud and clear in the standard greeting of a checkout clerk in a typical American supermarket: “Como’ ya doing today?” The expected response is: “Good, how are you?” to which the clerk is to say, “Good, good!” O primeiro “Good” presumably to your graceful enquiry after his well-being, the second expressing satisfaction at your perfect state of bliss. I once decided to play the fool and responded to the ubiquitous “Como’ ya doin’?” por: “Lousy man, my dog just died.” The inevitable and unhesitating response was, “Good, good!” Do we need this kind of shallow grace?

Grace is like the grammar of an unspoken social language. Unlike its spoken counterparts, the language of social mores seems to preclude multilingualism, leading to an almost xenophobic rejection of other norms of life. We all believe that our way of doing things and our world views are the only right ones. Naturally too, otherwise we wouldn’t hold on to our beliefs, would we? Mas, in an increasingly flattening and globalizing world, we do feel a bit alien because our values and graces are often graded by alien standards.

Em breve, a day will come when we all conform to the standards prescribed to us by the global media and entertainment networks. Our amorphous “Como’ ya doin’?”s and “Good, good”s will then be indistinguishable from the prescriptions.

When I think of that inevitable day, I suffer a pang of nostalgia. I hope I can hold on to the memory of social graces judged by lesser standards — of gratitude expressed in timid smiles, affections portrayed in fleeting glances, and life’s defining bonds conveyed in unspoken gestures.

Ultimately, the collective grace of a society is to be judged, not by polished niceties, but by how it treats its very old and very young. And I’m afraid we are beginning to find ourselves wanting in those fronts. We put our young children through tremendous amount of stress, preparing them for an even more stressful life, and unwittingly robbing them of their childhood.

E, when I see those aunties and uncles cleaning after us in eating houses, I see more than our lack of grace. I see myself in my twilight years, alienated in a world gone strange on me. So let’s spare a smile, and nod a thank you when we see them — we may be showing grace to ourselves a few decades down the line.

The Worldly Malayalees

If an average Singaporean hears of the World Malayalee Conference, the first thing they would say is, “World what now??” Malayalees are people from the tiny Indian state of Kerala. They are not to be confused with Malays, although some of the things we associate with Malay (such as pratas and biriyani) can be traced back to Kerala.

Such cross cultural exchanges point to an important trait of Malayalees. They tend to fan out and, in their own small ways, conquer the world. They also welcome external influences whole-heartedly. They are perhaps the only people (other than the Chinese, claro) who regularly use a Chinese wok for cooking or a Chinese net for catching their fish. They even practise their own version of Kung-fu, and at times insist that the Chinese actually learned it from them.

International and cosmopolitan in their unique ways for thousands of years, Malayalees are a mixture of opposites, and Kerala a minor economic and sociological enigma. Malayalees enthusiastically embraced Christianity and Muslim religions when their initial missionaries and emissaries ventured outside their places of origin. Mas, they also welcomed Marxism and atheism with equal fervour.

On an average, Kerala has a per-capita income among the world’s poorest, but all other economic indicators are on a par with the world’s richest. In health indicators such as life expectancy, per-capita number of doctors, and infant mortality, Kerala manages to mirror the US at about a tenth of its per capita wealth. Kerala is the first (and perhaps the only) third world province to boast of better than 90% literacy, and is just about the only place in India and China with more women than men.

Singapore has a special place in the Malayalee heart. Among their initial ventures outside Kerala during the colonial era, Malayalees targeted Singapore as a popular destination. Perhaps due to this historical fondness, Malayalees found it natural to host their World Malayalee Conference here.

Singapore also has soft spot for Malayalees and their contributions. The conference itself will be graced by the presence of the President of Singapore, Senhor. S. R. Nathan and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Senhor. George Yeo. President Nathan will launch the Malayalee Heritage and Culture Exhibition, and Minister Yeo will give a key note speech at the Business Forum.

The heritage and culture, dating back to well over two thousand years, is something every Malayalee is rightfully proud of. The Exhibition will showcase everything from cave engravings to ancient ship building technology.

Going beyond the historical and cultural affinities, Kerala also has been a business ally to Singapore, especially in raw seafood. Cingapura, in their own right, has provided a steady stream of investments and tourists to Kerala.

Eco-tourism is indeed one of the top attractions Malayalees will showcase during the conference. Nature has been overly kind to Kerala, with the undulating hills of the Western Ghat generously usurping the Monsoons and jealously guarding the Malayalees against any possible plunder of their green riches. Blessed with a temperate climate uncommon to the tropical enclave that it is, and with the hypnotic beauty of the misty green hillsides and tea plantations, Kerala is indeed a paradise waiting, perhaps unwillingly, to be discovered.

This World Malayalalee Conference, with its cultural shows and heritage exhibitions, will display what Kerala has to offer to the world, from tourism and culture to business opportunities and talent pool. It will also showcase Singapore to the Malayalee diaspora and teach them a thing or two about administrative efficiency, cleanliness and business connectivity.