3 November 2011


1. There are many ways to cook a certain type of dish. Even though the main ingredient might be the same, the result could be totally different. For example, the sweet potato, porridge, and buns are all cooked differently.

2. Even though Beijing has become a very developed city as the capital of China, there are many things that have to be sacrificed for economic progress. The air quality in Beijing is much worse than Singapore’s and it is hazy all day long. Overcrowding is also a problem. On the same road, there are vehicles going both directions, pedestrians, trishaws and even bicycles.

3. The competition was unique in its own way as two of the three rounds of the competition emphasised on team spirit, the Team Round and Relays Round. The team round was a 1 round, 40 minutes, 20 questions, and 6 people competition, while the relays round was a 3 rounds, 8 minutes each, 1 question each, and 2 people competition. This is definitely something new for all of us as this is the few competitions that emphasise on team spirit.


1. I learnt that different countries have different languages and cuisine. We learnt to embrace the cultural diversity of different cultural and racial groups. In this 2nd year of the annual World Math Team Competition, there were 7 countries participating: Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, South Korea, China, and the United States, with a total of 9 regions, including Macau and Hong Kong.

2. I learnt in order to be good in competition Mathematics, one has to be fast and accurate. In longer competitions like SMO which lasts for over 3 hours, I often spend a lot of time trying to think of how to solve the question and often pick out my mistakes either in calculation or in interpreting the question. In the WMTC, we are given very short amounts of time to solve the questions, which are as mentioned above. I hope to improve my skills after this competition in terms of speed and accuracy.

1: I want to learn more about the different culture of various parts in China. These two days, we have eaten Northern cuisine in the hotel restaurant. There were many differences in the food provided in the buffet.

Later on in the meal, Miss Wang shared with us that she was not from Northern China, but she was already used to eating food from different countries as she has travelled widely. Personally, I did not really like the food.­­­­

4 November 2011


1. Today, we visited three places: the Forbidden City, the Beihai Ocean Park, and the Wangfujing Shopping Street. Each of these interesting things will be about one of these places. First of all, the Wangfujing Shopping Street, which had a sign at the start mention that it was a “model” street that did no­t sold any fake goods, which China has an abundance of. After visiting the place, I noticed something very interesting, that all the goods the small stalls sold were exactly the same. Why is this so? Is it because they all purchase from the same retailer and sell separately, or is it that they all “copy” from the same original product?

2. Beihai Ocean Park had a history of around 800 years, and few places have a history this long. We climbed up to the white pagoda at the top of the mountain, and descended. We saw the temple and the gods inside, like the Laughing Buddha, and the Quan Shou Guan Yin. The place was very scenic and beautiful with the mountains and pagoda next to the lake. Although the water lilies had all wittered, I believe that the whole scene would be picturesque and simply charming.

3. Lastly, the Forbidden City. Though I have long heard of this place, I have never really known much about its history or information. Based on what the guide said, the City had 9999 ½ rooms. Chinese count the number of rooms using the number of pillars. People were forbidden to leave the City, even the Empress. There were many historical and cultural artefacts in the place and we even saw the place where the Emperor held his daily morning court sessions. The place was extremely big, but we had a limited amount of time, and we only visited some of the places. I would definitely like to visit the place again in the future.


1. Another day stuck in traffic. 1 ½ hours to get to the Forbidden City, almost more than an hour in between for lunch and travelling between places, and 2 ½ hours to get back to the hotel. One wonders how long a person can spend in traffic every day. The guide told us that there are over 20 million people and 5 million vehicles in Beijing. There are many factors affecting why such a situation has been observed here. Firstly, nobody observes the traffic rules, pedestrians and vehicles cross at their own will, and as long as a car is obstructed by something else, be it another vehicle or pedestrian, the car will just horn repeatedly.

2. I witnessed for myself how poverty is present in Beijing. On our way out from the Forbidden City to the way to the bus, we saw old and physically disabled people begging for money. It was a horrible sight. No matter how we may want or try to avoid it, we cannot deny the fact that millions of people are still living in poverty all over the world. Definitely, one cannot help everyone in the world to get out of the vicious cycle of poverty but one can help one person and give hope to those who are still in need for help.

1: I wish to learn more about religions, especially mine’s (Buddhism), as I seem to be lacking behind in. The guide, Yang Yang, talked to us a little about Buddhism and I would definitely be interested to also learn about the history of these religions, and how they have affected events of the past and present, as well as how they will affect events in the future.

5 November 2011


1. Today, we visited the Badaling section of the Great Wall of China for 2 hours. It was my first time to the place and I was very excited once we got there. However, it was very cold with the strong winds and temperatures. I climbed a little before heading down the wall. Based on my knowledge of this historical place and one of the Ancient Seven Wonders of The World, the wall was built by several warlords in different dynasties of Ancient China, before Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, connected all of the walls to act as a defence against external attacks by groups like the Manchu people. After reading more about the wall on the Internet and from a book I bought from a shop at the place, I saw the photos of the Wall in different seasons as well. As a Chinese, we should learn to be proud of, admire and respect the work of our ancestors and forefathers.

2. Tonight, Miss Wang treated us to dinner at a restaurant in the Jiuhua Resort and Convention Centre. She told us about cultural intelligence and more about the culture in different parts of the world/country. For instance, she asked us why the food here (in the Hangzhou restaurant where we ate our meals at) was not as tasty as the food outside. She said that the people staying in this place were mostly locals and since this place is so secluded and deserted, there is no need for any competition like in the city. As such, there is no improvement without any competition. Of course, this is something we hear very frequently as well from out teachers, in terms of academic or physical studies.

3. What Miss Wang said was closely related to Humanities, and is relevant to all of us. Observe, infer and deduce, can be applied across all disciplines, be it Humanities, the Sciences, Languages or Mathematics. She also talked about how the physical climate also affects the social and economic trends observed in society. In places like China where there are distinct seasons (summer, winter etc.) the air conditioners have two modes, whereas for countries in the tropics like Singapore, air conditioners have only one mode, even though the air-cons might be of the same brand.


1. I learnt about how the Great Wall had served its purpose in Ancient Times. The Fenghuotai were used by the soldiers to inform the people in times of war. Today, they no longer serve such a majestic purpose, but have become a place for tourists to go and visit, admire the scenery and kilometres of wall and forests.

2. I learnt what Miss Yeo said by “the more you travel, the more fortunate and lucky you will feel [in Singapore].” Indeed it is true. After having spent 3 days in Beijing, I have witnessed for myself how chaotic this place is. I have explained more in the previous days above.

1: I want to know more about the history of Ancient China. Since Primary School, I have long been interested in this subject. I have had conducted my own research, did a project on this, and even attended the Chinese History Elective conducted in school. After visiting the Great Wall and the Forbidden City the previous day, I am now even more interested in this subject.

7 November 2011


1. Today's lesson was about congruent triangles. Even though many questions were familiar as I had done them before either in the Math Olypiad Lessons in school last year or the SIMO training during the later part of this year, I realised that I could not solve some of them, especially those of the high level. This shows that I have to not only do the problems as they are given, but will have to remember them and revise often.

2. We went to the supermarket of the shopping centre near the boarding school today. When we were about to enter the supermarket, a security personnel stopped us and told us that we were not allowed to carry our bags in. We were rather surprised as to why this was so. I also notticed that the locals who were in the supermarket also did not have any bulky bags with them. After a while, she told us that we had to put our bags in a red zip-bag provided by the supermarket before being locked by them, which we could carry around in the supermarket. We all speculated that it was a move to deter theft.
After we paid for the things we bought, the staff at the cashier unlocked the bags and we were able to retrieve our bags.

3. Language is a powerful tool to communicate with people. In Beijing and Shanghai, as we were all able to speak Mandarin, it is much more convenient and efficient to speak with people and convey messages. I remember last year in Hong Kong, as I am unable to speak Cantonese, I had a hard time trying to talk to the people them. However, on the plus side, I am able to understand Cantonese, and this is already a very useful skill.


1. One way to know where to add additional lines in a geometry question: See how two lines/angles the question asks for might be related in the diagram and try to add some lines.

2. How congruent triangles can be a useful tool to solve problems. (Question 13 of the worksheet).

1: How to spot the way to solve a problem quickly in geometry questions which require more steps/additional lines to solve.

8 November 2011


1. I never knew that simple properties of a triangle could be so useful in solving a problem. For example, the property of an isosceles triangle which has its height, angle bisector, and line bisector as the same line. This is very useful for proving that a certain triangle is isosceles when having some properties, and from there obtain other more useful properties.

2. The teacher shared with us an interesting story today, which he saw on the Internet. It was about a beggar who was begging on the streets with a sign asking for money. Later on, someone on the streets walked to the beggar and changed the sign and more people started to give more money to the beggar. The sign read that the world is a beautiful one, yet he cannot see it.

3. The teacher today, Zhong Lao Shi, had a surname of Zhong, as in "Nao Zhong (Clock)" which when written in Traditional Chinese, has a "Jin" on the left hand skide, and a "Zhong" on the right hand side. He said that he once visited a fortune teller, who predicted three things. Firstly, that he worked in a profession that was realted with numbers, of which he was sceptical of, since he thought that his students might have told the fortune teller. Well, he was a Maths teacher at that time as well as now. The second was that he will meet someone in his life that will make a huge impact on him, be it positive or negative, with the surname of "Tian", as in "Tian Ji (Frog)"; his wife's surname is Tian. The third prediction was that he would have a daughter (which has yet to come true).

Later on, he showed how the fortune teller managed to deduce all this from his surname. "Tian" as in Zhong", the signs "+" and "-" (Mathematical Operations) in the "Tu" below "Tian", and "Qian" and "Jin", as in "Qian Jin Xiao Jie (Daughter)" on the left hand side, and upper right hand side of "Zhong".


1. Heronian Triangle: A triangle that has rational sides and rational area. This term is realted to the Heron's formula, which is sqrt(s(s-a)(s-b)(s-c)), where s is the semi-perimeter of the triangle.

2. I learnt how the Pythagoras' Theorem can be used to proved theorems which I had known previously. For instance, the Heron's Formula, the "Mu Zi Ding Li", and some other interesting formulas like the sum of the squares of all 4 sides of a paralleologram is equals to the sum of the two diagonals.

1: How one manages to see how to start attempting solving Question 10 of the first worksheet this morning (Special Triangles and Thier Properties).

9 November 2011


1. The practice questions of the second topic today, Similarity, had fairly simple questions in the front, while the back questions were a little more challenging. For example, Question 7 required just the additional of one parallel line and three simple steps. However, we were all stumped by the question till the teacher showed us how to solve it. These Maths questions are indeed not very difficult to get at once one is on the right path, yet finding the right path is the hard part. Like what one of the Shanghai teachers said, "we should try to use a simple method to solve a complicated problem, and not a complicated method to solve a simple question."

2. I have small red rashes on my hand, not protruding nor itchy or pain, but they are definitely not normal; Nathan had them first. We thought it might be bed bugs, but I recognised that those weren't the bites of bed bugs. Nathan said the doctor at the hospital said that he could be allergic to Panadol. However, I took an allergy test back in Singapore, and I was only mildly allergic to dust, and no other common substances. Mrs Ooi said it could be Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease, while Miss Wang said it could be just a common viral infection. Whatever the rashes are, I have fortunately no other symptoms, and I do wish those dots would disappear soon.

3. I was watchng a television programme on the TV in the room this morning. The specific part was talking about how the Chinese authorities reported that China's air quality has been fairly good, while according to the US Government statistics, the air here was dangerous. Nathan also previously told us that the PSI in Beijing was around 400+ (I do not remember the exact number, but as compared to Singapore's less than 50 each day, this is definitely more than 8-10 times). Coming back to the programme, it speculated the possible reasons why there was the difference in the two reports. It revealed that the former's reading was based on that of PM2.5, while the latter's reading was based on PM10, which has stricter regulations, but is most commonly used in the world to measure air pollution index. Well, exactly how good/bad is th eair quality here in China, all I can say that it is much worse than Singapore's.


1. Ceva's Theorem: (AF/FB) X (BD/DC) X (CE/EA) = 1

2. Theorem of Menalaus: (AZ/ZB) X (CX/XA) X (BY/YC) = 1

1: How to remember and apply the above two theorems.

10 November 2011


1. The rashes could have been an allergy. On the day I found out that I had the rashes, I was in the classroom using the chalk and even using the duster. As I have previously mentioned, I am mildly allergic to dust. As for Nathan, I am not sure. However, I am not certain that this is the cause. It could still be bed bugs, as its bites look fairly similar to that of bed bugs.

2. There are many problems which require a mix of knowledge of theorems and methods from different areas of geometry. For example, some of the questions require similar triangles together with circle properties. To be really fast in solving a problem of this sort, we have to be first be familar with the theorems, have insights from practising the questions, and be able to see how these theorems can be applied to another field of geometry. I feel that our Maths tests could have more questions of a similar type, to really test the understanding of the students.

3. There are much more properties of circle geometry which I have not yet learned, and I am really interested to know more about them.


1. How to calculate an insribed angle in a circle.

2. Proves that 3 (or more) dots are colinear.

1:Why does the angle formed by the intersections of two chords is equals to half the sum of the two corresponding opposite arcs.

11 November 2011


1. I searched online about bed bugs and learned the following points: (1) They can survive for many months without food. (2) The bites usually appear in rows of three bites (called "breakfast", "lunch" and "dinner"). (3) The bites of the bed bug are commonly dismissed as common allergies, or bites of other insects.

2. I never knew cyclic quadrilaterals could be so useful in solving a problem. As these special quadrilaterals have many different angles and sides properties, many things can be deduced one one has found such a quadrilateral. Next Monday, we will be able to put together what we have learned so far and answer a few questions which require the knowledge and skills of the past week. I will definitely be looking forward to that lesson.

3. The red spots are starting to fade in colour.


1. Simson's line

2. More ways to spot and prove cyclic quadrilaterals in a diagram.

1: More about the Euler line.

12 November 2011


1. Last night, I was woken up by a very sudden and sharp pain in my leg, and I felt that my neck was very itchy, as if there were things crawling on it. I slightly scratched it and dismissed it as nothing serious. It was only till the morning when someone told me that there were rashes on my neck as well that I realised what those crawling things were. Well, I dismissed the notion of the allergy, and confirmed that it was bed bugs.

2. When I came out from the bookstore, a middle aged woman approached me. She was talking something about "kan xiang", and talked in a strange dialect/accent which I coudn't understand. She talked about some other things and I eventually left and refused to listen any longer. Later on, I saw the same woman outside the bookshop approaching people and telling them that she would help them "kan xiang". After while, I noticed that there was one whole group of middle aged women doing the exact same thing. After a while, the police came and they all suddenly "disappeared", and I saw that same woman in the bookstore, before exiting from another exit. Once the police left, all the women went back to their original place. In addition, we overheard one of the women asking one of the passer-by to purchase something. In my opinion, this behaviour is very suspicious.

3. The Nanjing Pedestrian Mall had a lot of shopping malls. However, many of the shopping malls sold clothes, which I did not buy any of. However, I did buy some games from one of the Games section.


1. The bookshop we went today was the biggest one in Shanghai. There were 7 stories of books and audio materials. However, there were a few things I noticed. Firstly, there was only one small section of books that were in English, while the rest were in Chinese. Nevertheless, since this place is in China, one can expect majority of the books to be in English. Secondly, there was only one lift which was extremely slow and it takes around five minutes to get from the first floor to the seventh floor, including waiting time. Thirdly, one had to pay 0.2 RMB (or 0.04 SGD) for a single plastic bag, which was a way to reduce waste.

2. The government of a country holds a big responsibility to ensure the welfare of its citizens, as well as the prosperity of its economy at the same time. Instead of only criticising the government for what it has done wrong, instead suggest positive improvements through mediums like letters and forums.

1: How China has been implementing policies in aiming to conserve the environment.

13 November 2011


1. Second last day of our stay in Shanghai, the weather here is much colder than Singapore's; I wonder how we will be able to cope with the climate back in Singapore.

2. The Shanghai Museum was huge, and we weren't able to finish viewing all the exhibitions. The exhibit I liked the most was the one on Animals, which had many replicas of animals and plants. Inside the miniature rainforests and caves, we could experience what it was like being in the wild.

3. I tried the Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao for the first time. I think it was worth the money, but I didn't think it was extremely delicious. I have eaten more sumptuous ones before. It was worth only 50 cents a piece, which was surprisingly cheaper than the ones we ate at a nearby restaurant.


1. It was my second time eating the Bing Tang Hu Lu. The first time was when my mother brought some back from Shanghai at the exact same place, which were no longer fresh. The Bing Tang Hu Lu was coated in malt candy and tasted sweet on the outside. However, the fruit itself tasted sour and had several seeds inside. Was it nice? I would rate it 6.5/10.

2. A scenic and beautiful Imperial Garden should have a lot of trees and plants and ponds, in addition to the intricate designs of the architecture.

1: More about the history of the Yu Yuan.

14 November 2011

Last year, we visited Hong Kong for a similar Maths Olympiad Training. Even though we visited much more places last year, what we had learnt was pretty much what we already knew. Instead, this year, I really learned a lot from the lessons taught by the Shanghai teachers here at Yan' An High School. Even though we visited less places, we have to remember that this is only the secondary purpose of this trip. It was indeed an enriching experience and I had seen many other interesting things, like how the classrooms still use blackboards and the vacuum duster, as well as the Mathematical terms in Chinese.