7 Nov
Today, we went to a mall in the morning to kill some time while waiting for afternoon math lessons. Me, Ivan, Kee Xuan and Jian Shern were grouped together. We visited a local supermarket, and I bought seven apples - one every day for the rest of my trip! I also bought some chewing gum: hoping to bring that back to Singapore, heh heh. One interesting thing that I noticed was that we were required to store our haversacks in red duffel bags the supermarket provided, as an anti-shoplifting practice so people would not be able to hide items inside. Although we could still carry them around, we could not open the bags themselves. I thought it was rather ingenious, as the bags had to be unlocked with a special key. Once we left, the cashier reopened the bags and we collected our stuff back. Perhaps supermarkets back home can implement this system!

Lunch was sumptuous, as usual. I ate tomatoes, eggs, rice, long beans and a little bit of pork! The tomatoes and eggs were so delicious, I took a second helping! The saltiness provided by the tomatoes blended perfectly with the gooey delight of egg yolk, creating a heavenly dish from just two simple ingredients! I'm definitely going to ask my mother to make it when I go home! Haha XD Apparently, my friends got a stomachache from eating the food. Four of them said they had mild diarrhea from eating the hostel food. Strange. Perhaps it's their own allergies. O.o

The math lesson today on congruent triangles was actually quite mundane. The problems were of good quality, but we'd already done most of them before in MOP training, in other competitions or in SIMO training. I suppose it was good practice and reinforcement of the basic concepts back into our heads. I was actually quite relieved when it ended at 3:45, 2 hours and 45 minutes after it began. I finished the two remaining problems and left with everyone else.

Today, I learnt that safety is important, and precautionary measures that can be taken should be taken. Even if some unorthodox ideas are employed, they are still worth the cost, to reduce risk. I will be more vigilant in the future and guard my personal belongings more vigilantly. Especially in China, as my parents told me there are many crooks in China.

Regarding the math lesson, I learnt that sometimes practice that seems mundane can actually pay off. I thought the 15 problems assigned to us were easy and simple at first, but then I noticed some difficult problems interspersed with the basic ones. If there had not been recurring motifs in the questions, I am sure I would not have spotted the path to the solution. It may take intuition to do geometry, but I think intuition can be developed by practice.

I still do not understand how one spots the clues that point the way to the solution, especially if they are subtle and concealed. I will have to be more alert next time!

8 Nov


Today's math lessons were somewhat intriguing. In the morning, we learnt about properties of isoceles triangles. I finished the first nine out of ten questions way before everyone else, and was consequently stuck at the tenth, bored to death. It was extremely difficult, and I did not manage to find the solution before the teacher went through the answer. In the afternoon, I was really bored. The teacher kept explaining basic concepts like the Pythagorean triplets and the Pythagoras theorem to us repeatedly. I honestly couldn't see the point of listing out pythagorean triplets and all that kind of stuff. I was very relieved when it ended at 4pm.

During dinner, I was taking a cup of Coke when Kee Xuan said: "Drink it and I'll make you laugh, while you're facing Ivan." I don't know why, but I began laughing dementedly. I spilled some of my coke and I finally managed to put it down before collapsing in laughter again. I was laughing so hard, I couldn't even stand up straight. Even better, Ivan, completely irritated by my laughter, said,"O bet there's something on my face." Well, I really lost control at that point. I was laughing so hard, it spread to Kee Xuan as well. Every time I gasped for air and momentarily regained control, I'd catch a glimpse of Ivan determinedly rubbing his face with a piece of tissue paper and break down again. I laughed for seven minutes straight! It finally ended when he walked off to examine himself in the mirror.

Today was also Joshua's birthday. We all had delicious cake for dessert after dinner. Now I'm really stuffed. Happy Birthday, JOSHUA BRANDON CHANG WENG KIT!!

Today, I learnt that laughter is the best medicine. It cured me of my mild stomachache, which I now suspect was psychological in origin.

I also learnt that basic geometric properties can prove surprisingly useful. Who knew that the sum of the lengths of the two perpendiculars dropped from a point on the base of an isoceles triangle equal the perpendicular dropped from one of the base vertices?

I would like to learn more about how to choose which method to use when solving a question.

9 Nov

I woke up 10 minutes late for breakfast today. I had to rush to the canteen without brushing my teeth or washing my face. When I got there, the drinks I wanted were already taken, a.k.a the orange juice. I was also one of the last to finish breakfast, leaving myself just 15 minutes to go upstairs, prepare for the lesson and walk to the classroom.

Today's morning lesson was on parallelograms and other quadrilaterals. I found it quite interesting as I did not have much exposure to this particular branch of geometry. The problems were very challenging and I had to work hard to solve them. The afternoon lesson was on similar triangles. I disliked the teacher, because his voice was high-pitched and earsplitting. Other than that, the lesson on similar triangles was actually interesting as well.

Ivan also came down with a rash today. The teachers don't know whether or not it's an allergic reaction, but they've isolated him anyway. Get well soon, Ivan!

Today, I learnt about the importance of getting enough rest. If I had not been so tired that I overslept, I would have had plenty of time to prepare for breakfast and perhaps I would have been able to take a packet of orange juice before it was finished. I would also have been more alert during the lessons.

Additionally, I learnt that even simple concepts can be applied to seemingly impossible problems to simplify them and illuminate the path to the solution. The concept of ratio of areas and sides may be simple, but they can be used to prove complicated theorems like Menelaus' Theorem.

I would like to know more about the different theorems that can be proved using angle bisectors and medians.

10 Nov

I was late for breakfast again this morning, despite sleeping at 11pm last night. Maybe it was due to someone snoring in the bed adjacent to me last night... I was rudely awoken at 3am by Jinhui's loud snoring. I decided not to wake him up as well, but it was another half an hour before I fell asleep again. I need to wear earplugs...

I've been having a runny nose ever since I arrived in Shanghai. Must be all that pollution in the air. Sigh... Too bad I didn't bring my nasal spray. Or my inhaler. I'm looking forward to my arrival back in Singapore...

The math lesson today was quite challenging, especially the afternoon lesson on circle properties. I couldn't understand half the terms used and I had difficulty translating the properties from Chinese to English when I was trying to understand them.

Today, I learnt that rubbing redundant lines away from a diagram can simplify it, and allow one to see more clearly the solution to the question.

I also learnt the importance of staying healthy. I got a sore throat yesterday and I couldn't get rid of it. Today, I topped up my water bottles more frequently and increased my fluid intake, and the sore throat disappeared.

I would like to know more about the situations in which I can rub lines away after drawing them to clarify the diagram.

11 Nov

Today, I was early for breakfast. Setting an alarm clock works wonders for waking up early. Me and Jinhui went down 10 minutes early for breakfast, and finished by 7:35. It was quite amusing when Joshua knocked on my door in his pyjamas and shorts at 7:40 a.m. and asked whether we were going down for breakfast.

Today, we had an extremely challenging math lesson, continuing the topic of circle properties. Additionally, most of us had not had much experience in dealing with olympiad-level circle questions before, so today's lesson proved to be much more useful than some of the other ones I can name.

I only realised today that Jinhui hasn't uploaded his work, the translations of our group's share of questions for Wednesday. I need to go find out whether he's done it yet.

I learnt that problems can have much simpler solutions that the ones the teachers teach us. Today, I proved a question using similar triangles in 5 steps while the teacher spent 15 minutes proving it with a combination of Menelaus' Theorem and Ceva's Theorem.

I also learnt that circles are very useful in solving geometry questions because of their numerous angle and side properties.

I would like to know how to solve question 12 of this morning's lesson. (I got a headache trying to understand it.)

12 Nov

I got 4 books today for just S$51: A real bargain at just $12.75 per book! In Singapore, I think it's more like $20 per book. Of that four, I finished one already and I think I'll finish the rest before we go back to Singapore.

I had McDonalds for lunch, same as all the other groups. I guess great minds think alike XD

I ran out of water halfway through our tour today.

I learnt the importance of bringing enough water. Next time, I'll bring 2 bottles plus the empty plastic one I kept today.

I learnt the importance of being alert and vigilant, especially when crossing the street. IN SHANGHAI. Enough said.

I would like to learn Pylos strategy, so I can beat Bing Qian at it. :D

13 Nov

Today's our last night in Shanghai. Even though I got lots of mosquito bites from sleeping in the dorm room, I've become kind of attached to it. I'll look forward to sleeping in my own bed again, but I won't forget this one.

We visited the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum today. It seemed to have more science than technology. Bummer, I was hoping to see something cool other than the stuff I always see in the Science Center anyway. Oh well.

We ate Xiao Long Bao for lunch. I was really hungry since I didn't eat breakfast, and I devoured 17 of the delicious dumplings in 5 minutes. Jian Shern won second prize, 12 altogether. Ivan ate 2, Nathan ate 1 and Kee Xuan completely skipped it. I paid 20 yuan for my 16 dumplings + 1 sympathy dumpling from Jian Shern. Bargain, am I right? XD

I learnt that traffic accidents are the fault of both parties. Today I was crossing the road, and I had the right of way, but someone riding a motorbike nearly crashed into me, and still had the gall to complain. It's quite sad when an innocent party is injured just because another party refuses to wait 15 seconds for the innocent party to cross the road.

I learnt the basic gist of Pylos strategy XD You're supposed to make sure the opponent can't form squares, and then try to form your own or save pieces in your reserve by moving pieces on the board.

I still want to know how they made the dumplings taste so nice. I want to make it so I can eat that every day. Oh well, c'est la vie. XD