god speed

do you remember those idealised replications of the 1950's in films? where there were hoover washing machines and a drawn ditzy blonde sitting atop them.

well, there's a hoover washing machine at my place. apparently now hoover is a division of whirlpool. but i like the way there is a space age bubble for you to peer into to check on your laundry from time to time.

clearly this doesn't have the industrial efficiency of bankside's ones, it takes an hour 48 minutes for the same load. still, even back home i could never peer into my laundry. the water fills up slowly, ominously, before it runs off like a hamster wheel. 1400 rpm, it says, it doesn't look that quick.

oh, you don't really need a tesco's and sainsbury's near your place. a good off-license with a shopkeeper who knows where everything is is sufficient.

it was also commencement today. we were unceremoniously dumped into the old theatre. selena remarked "i can't believe they can choose to wear anything". well, they can, and they looked pretty cool in whatever they were wearing underneath plus their mortar hats. i was also trying to see if i could distinguish classes of people based on how they knotted their tie. it's a happy occasion, on par with watching the seniors graduate from ocs only this time the torture begins after commencement and not before=) i'm glad i won't be graduating soon. wai lam and mingwei were busy snapping away. good luck to the graduating couple. caught a few other people too.

so i finished this letter yesterday. you see i used to love writing. so it came as somewhat as a surprise that it took me so long to get off my butt. and when i finished it i couldn't stand the fact that i had to hand it over to some impersonal bloke at royal mail, get collected at 2 in the afternoon and sent to a sorting room at mt pleasant before being dispatched to the relevant corner of the globe. i've been to a parcel sorting place before, at dhl, because the student fare meant i had to lug the whole jumbo box there myself. i remember myself being impressed by the sorting line and told myself that this was what men are made for. (i'm speaking figuratively, forgive me ladies).

god speed the courier. at least airmail wasn't the adventure it was many years before. well... you've sent so many letters, how many of them have not reached the recipient? oh err wait, i recall those letter-napping incidents all those years ago...=)

no, i don't think it's easy to be as emotionally naked again. but i think the other extreme won't work. i, can, after all, just talk about zidane and materazzi and flowers and other objects to avoid drawing attention to myself. or, do enough calculus or something, where there are right and wrong answers. it isn't so important to be understood, or that what you've written is the appropriate length, because it's not an academic essay, it is writing to pass the time.

in the end, sensitivity can't be switched on and off like a tap. you do need time to get in the mood of things. there are more and more moments where i am simply brusque, and you need to stop that. compassion is in short supply.

always need to remember what it was like to lose, what it's like to be unwanted, what it's like to be weak and not be ashamed of it.


on a more positive note. some of you may be wondering what i've been up to. i've just finished the valuation part of the finance course, and i'm now onto corporate finance. finance is interesting from an economists point of view. but other than that it's really boring. why?

ok, i must confess i find things like calculating earnings before interest and taxes, balancing assets and liabilities, etc boring. not to say there is no value in doing them, i think it's only interesting if you're already a practitioner in the field. so if i were an accountant, i'm sure i'd find accounting interesting, because you're more well placed to understand the problems and challenges. which is just that there's probably no way i'll become an accountant, and i don't know how to study for something that i'm only going to do in the future. i prefer learning on the job.

but from an academic point of view, finance is where markets are most efficient. transactions costs are minimal, there is almost perfect competition, and it makes it generally mathematically tractable and easy to prove results. well, if you look at the number of nobel prizes in economics awarded in this field, there's markowitz, sharpe, modigliani, miller, scholes, merton to name a few. it's a popular field. and if you went through the markowitz-miller paper for example, it's amazing how simple it is, and how restrictive the assumptions are. but that's the way the field works, start from perfection and go into reality because reality is always harder. almost the opposite of what we try to achieve everyday!

even then it's not very interesting, capital structure and everything. except when it comes to valuation. especially options and derivatives. because then you're on shaky ground, the math is different, there's brownian motion which has a lot of interesting properties and it almost makes you want to be a physicist. (i want to be a physicist!) it is one of the simplest random processes.


actually, this is not very good, maybe i will soon scan in some processes and what they look like when simulated using Brownian motion, they look very similar to say stock market graphs. But of course the eye deceives, because they simply look similar, but there are actually minute differences due to the frequency of large standard-deviation processes. By the way, Brownian motion is my official suggested name for Brown University's dance club (if there is one). hmm. let's see. whether you scale it up or down infinitely, a brownian pattern still looks like a brownian pattern. it's a fractal. it's actually continuous (with probability one, which doesn't mean it's ALWAYS continuous, but just that as it goes to infinity (Event A occurring)/(Total Events) approaches 1). It will eventually hit every single real number. Once it hits a real number, it will then hit it again infinitely often. And it's graph with time has dimension (3/2).

but of course, we start small, and we are still using the binomial method to model. but makes you realize how much there is to know! and 3 more weeks just focused solely on different valuation models, (although how much you really need to know is clearly not that important). they have nice names for them like martingales. and it is nice to know finally some asian mathematicians


well i apologise if i bored you. but clearly i must find it interesting to subject myself to this.

oh hah i think my dad was surprised with my results. i'm not the kind of guy who thinks he could have done better anyway. i always take and grab whatever i have. but yeah, time to slack off and be complacent in year 2. these things only ever work for me once every 2 years. i'm cyclical like that.

i will now scutter off and try to finish a novel. "suite francaise" by irene nemirovsky. french emigre jew type... european novels are always so nicely written and can keep you awake until 4! but it's rare to find a good novel nowadays. there are 3 more parts to this novel, for the unprepared, but they are as yet unpublished.

yes! back to my normal length again.