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Ok, I might be late on this, but while going on a following frenzy on Twitter (while Plurk was down; sorry Twitter, I will respect you more from now onwards), I saw, guess what? “StarhubCares” on Twitter! They had been replying to questions from fellow Twits like myself on their issues and to a certain extend, doing some real-time troubleshooting of a smaller scale!

I am not sure if this is a Starhub initiative, but I say, “Well done, Starhub!” at least for one thing – making yourself available through one more channel. Well, at least the social media channel. We all hear about big companies jumping onto the bandwagon where their marketing is concern and where their bottom lines are the measure of the efficacy of the social media, but this, I tell you, is really what plugging themselves into the social media scene is all about – making yourself (or rather, the company) available through social media (networks) and engaging with the people in it not just for the sales and marketing, but for the support as well.

Heading this account is a particular Ian McKee (according to the bio) who is “(t)here to join the conversation and help with your StarHub questions”. An Internet search returns results that seemed to relate a certain Ian McKee, CEO and Chief Strategist for Volcanic, “a company that specialises in Identifying Influencers and crafting strategies to engage and activate them to launch word of mouth campaigns for clients such as Heineken, StarHub, Citibank, Discovery and Adobe”.

Of course, I’d think a CEO has more things to do than to sit in front of the Twitter page. In fact, the replies seem to be rather spontaneous to be him anway. Then again, it may just be a case of mis-identity.

If Starhub is going to sustain this in the long run, I think they will gather more supporters like myself who has been with Starhub for the longest time (since the days of Cyberway?). I will definitely be keeping an eye on this. 🙂

All of us heard about the shocking news this morning about a second person involved in an apparent suicide. This had been report in various sites including here and here; and hence I will not spend time repeating what’s been said there.

Having said that, some bloggers found out that both the student and the project officer were from the same lab and this resulted in another wave of speculation that Zhou Zheng was doing the FYP that David was doing and there were a lot of skeletons in the project… and so on and so forth. I’m sure you probably get the picture now.

Now, I’m just going to show a screen capture that may probably just suppress this speculation:

image

The image is rather long, so you would have to click on it to open it in a new window…

Read the rest of this entry »

Yes, I am referring to DK – Darryl Kang of Blog2u.sg, i.e. @dk99 on plurk and blog.dk.sg (heh, free plug eh?)

Below is a conversation between DK and another friend. DK is apparently using our (his and mine) friendship to emotionally blackmail me. Well done, DK. Well done.

2/26/2009  1:34:46 AM  Friend: but then, she really feels like disappearing and cannot stand the cold shoulder… been bothering her a lot.
2/26/2009  1:36:28 AM  DK: good lah
2/26/2009  1:36:33 AM  DK: finally taking effect

“good la, finally taking effect”?

Thanks. I now know how you “treasure” our friendship. And to think that I used to like you. I must have been blind.

Asshole.

The moral of the story? When you decide to “teach your friends a lesson” (if you even consider them your friends anymore), you better pray that nothing leaks. DK, your integrity sucks and I look down on you!

Scum.

I gave you a chance to explain yourself, but you threw it away. Hope you are enjoying your dinner.

On the side, I guess this gives me a good closure. For those who knows me and/or knows what had been happening (and for those who really bothered to care), I guess this means that I will stop feeling bad about losing DK as a friend. Despite my various attempts to apologise, talk to him, create conversations and all, DK just treated me as a piece of glass – probably transparent and tempered. Replies to his plurk, asking him for supper also turned onto deaf ears.

And when I asked if we were still friends, he had the cheek to tell me that he doesn’t know how to reply that sms. Not to mention that I’d never forget what he told me when I apologised.

“It’s too late”

Turned out that he was trying to “teach me a lesson” (in pretty much his own words), “it’s time I learn” and whatever crap he can come up with (no offence to chillycraps). For a good 6 weeks or so I felt really bad. People on plurk could have probably seen that. Well, whatever his plan was, it nearly put me into total submission; until of course, I found out what he was doing. Thanks for the emotional roller coaster ride.

Like I said, some friends are worth keeping. Some friends… well, are probably just fiends worthy of exorcism.

And for posterity sake:

“It’s good that it’s taking effect”

“but it’s not time to see her yet”

“whenever she’s in depression, she needs to be taught a lesson”

“I don’t think it’s enough”

“she needs to be taught a lesson”

“good, it’s taking effect”

“I want her to be taught a lesson until she’s ready” (editor: huh?!)

DK, thanks for your words (or rather, sentences) of wisdom. But I think you just pwned yourself, asshole. And stop playing victim. You know what you have done.

Well, yes. To a certain extent. It helps in making you panic, especially so when you are a holder of a scholarship.

I am not a particularly bright student and my grades came through sheer hours of hard work. Sometimes, the hard work would only get me a pass – and there’s probably no way for a, ahem, self-proclaimed biologist to do well in subjects like… distributed computing. The best I have scored was 89 out of 100 for that latter subject – and mind you, that was below the mean, mode and median (I affectionately call it “3M”; on the side – if you score below the 3M, you are pretty much out of the league; an academic warning is imminent) of the class.

Yes, it was that bad. Nothing could have (or rather, is going to) prevent an academic warning from coming my way.

But you see, academic warnings are retrospective. That is, if I have done poorly for a subject, there’s nothing I can do to remedy that. The grade is in, and hence the repercussions of that is a lower CGPA. It’s easy to go down, but hard like hell to climb up. I should know that better. If the focus is really on letting the student learn, then perhaps some form of help should have been rendered to struggling students *way* before the exams; and this leads us to the dreaded common tests. For me, it’s more like a common common test – and no, it’s not a typo because there are really professors who take the term “common test” quite literally – something that you do “of frequent occurrence” (to quote http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/common).

Yes, I have common tests every week, and I have common tests every other week; overlapping with the ones that happen every week; and to top it all, I now have a lecturer who is going to give what she calls a “mini exam”. With the exception of 1 or 2, most lecturers will mark our scripts, give us the marks (if they even do) and tell us how we should “work harder” – without any hint of what we can do. Worse, we don’t even know where we went wrong! I borrowed books, shipped books from amazon.com, run though notes that were made available by Google on the Internet – and I still ended up scoring way below the class 3M.

Why?

It’s probably because I have no inkling of what’s going on during class – and mind you again, I’m not someone who sleeps in class or surf the Internet or do anything else except listening to the lecturer. However, the topic(s) could have encompassed so many sub-topics that in itself is a course by itself, then the learning curve is going to be very, very sharp. I am not sure how many can empathize with me.

So, there’s continual assessment that’s meant to mark out (yes, I hate to use this word) the weaker students which helps to – and quoting The Mainstream Media, “advise someone to improve on his academic performance and urging him or her to do his or her best in the coming examinations” is not really going to help much. What the student will get is added pressure because he or she knows that he or she is, in a pretty crude sense, “screwed”.

And I heard that the institution that’s giving out the academic warnings also send copies of it to the parents of the scholarship holder; well, maybe not for all scholarships, I hope.

I have had friends who have received academic warnings after the exams and while I am not sure about what the content is (I have no wish to know it on first account), they didn’t seem to be able to do anything. Well, that again, is because the warnings are retrospective. Since the subjects/difficulty of the subjects vary each semester, there’s a chance that a person may do well in the next exams… or “screw up” just as badly. Still, I don’t see how “warning” a student can help in a pragmatic manner.

So, ideally, when a student does badly in a particular exam, academic warnings are send out to him/her asking them to seek help if necessary. Personally, I can’t figure out how that’s going to help me (or anyone) except that I would “wake up my senses”. However, if my senses are already woken up in the prior semester, and have already put in my best, then I can either pray (or work 100x harder, of course, this may have psychological repercussions) that the next set of subjects are going to be “easier” or “something I am familiar” with, or… perhaps I should just sign the Withdrawal Form.

While I admit that administering to over tens of thousands of students is no mean feat, but issuing out retrospective academic warnings to students (who are going to take a different set of subjects the follow semester) is not going to help much except to give them “two tight slaps on the face”. If the school (meaning, from the administrative office to the lecturers) is not going to be supportive of the student in terms of helping him learn, then no amount of academic warnings is going to help and we should all just retreat to e-learning. In this case, the school can save on hiring lecturers and probably use the money saved to send out more academic warnings.