Mobile Patriotism

My Negaraku proposal:

Make Negaraku the default ringtone of every mobile phone sold in Malaysia.

A policy which solves many issues:

  1. Every phone call (and every cinema visit) will instill patriotism.
  2. Easier than fixing difficult problems (corruption, crime, education, etc)
  3. Obesity rates will decrease tremendously. Entire offices will stand up every 10 minutes; in public areas you’ll never sit.
  4. Easy to spot terrorists: they aren’t singing Negaraku
  5. Fun for all ages.

Could possibly extend to SMS tones and alarm clocks. Must investigate in future. Maybe I’ll join MPPC 2014.

Cries of the Silent

I’m in a self-existential crisis. Do I even exist?

According to Twitter, the answer is yes… and no.

Try performing a search on Twitter. As long as you select “All tweets“, you’ll see mostly everyone in the world who has typed your search phrase in a recent tweet. The only missing tweets are those who’ve set their profile to “protected”, and any tweets from (public) account @jiannmeng.

Which is of course, my account.

Here’s an example: as part of the Otak-Otak Internship Program, we have been bribed coerced asked to tweet about the program as much as possible. Preferably with the hashtag #2013OtakOtak. You won’t find any of my tweets there.

Even worse, searching a username finds you all tweets by that person, and everyone who mentioned that user. Compare the searches for, say, @victordonttweet and @jiannmeng. Evidently Twitter thinks Victor is more important than me, which is proof that there is an error in their search algorithm.

What does this mean for me?

1. I’ll never be a Twitter celebrity. My well-crafted, intelligent, funny tweets (all most of them) will never be seen by the general public. Only those who follow me will ever taste the drops of wisdom I produce.

2. I will never win anything from a hashtag competition. No free smartphones or vouchers for me.

3. My very existence continues to be questioned. I exist on Twitter yet my voice is never heard publicly. But existence on Twitter is, by design, characterised by the tendency to shout very loudly about everything without regard to its actual relevance. I have done, still do, and will continue to do that, but I will never reach the upper echelons of the Twitterazzi.

Note: I wanted to complain about this on Twitter, but…

You. You Are Annoying (No, Not You)

General Election 2013. We all know what happened; if you don’t, there are plenty of articles, reports and status updates on the Internet which are written by people far cleverer than me. I’m not touching this topic even if you have me a twenty-foot titanium rod and heavy-duty gloves.

One of the many threads running through my head now is a small thing: the youth. We all think, let the grown ups get old, when this generation replaces them, things can only improve. But if there’s anything the last week has shown me, this isn’t really true.

I speak to you. Actually, it’s more like rambling.

You run on emotions. You’re quick to cry out, quick to accuse, quick to do whatever it takes to ensure victory. You don’t think your actions through. You think the most pointless of gestures is a contribution to the country. You preach to the choir. You seek problems, presume guilty before innocence. You are fuelled by emotions.

Please. Learn to be a little colder. Things happen, and you’re not always in control. Don’t waste your precious time and effort, and your fellow friends’ time and effort, with stupid, futile actions. Be logical. Investigate. Be skeptical of everything. Understand your enemy. Understand thoroughly who you support.

And stop complaining. Please.

Obviously I’m not talking about you specifically, dear reader. After all, you are never guilty of these things, right? It’s the other people who need to improve.

Summer Crushes

You know, I don’t crush easily.

Sure, there’s always been someone I’ve had my eye on for a while. I’ve heard about them, sometimes met them, sometimes just hearing about them from other people. But there’s no intimate close relationship, is there? It’s sort of unreciprocated, always just out of reach, and anyways you’re not really my type.

But you, Jane, oh, you seem different.

Let’s back up. We had dinner today. Ok,not dinner, just a date. It’s not my fault! You said we’d just have refreshments, something light, so I had dinner just before. I never expected you to make dinner! I really felt bad not being able to eat much of the food you prepared. I guess it wasn’t the best start between us. I was slightly late, out of breath after cycling, not looking my best. Ahh look at me, I’m rambling.

Anyways! Dinner! I loved the little mini-pies, and the chocolate brownies. You really know what I like, that’s for sure. And the wine. That was pretty good.

Ok, this is getting awkward. Shall we just be honest? Suck up all the awkwardness, let’s just talk. Get it all out there.

You’re quite unlike everyone else. There’s the hot ones, like Meryl and Morgan, who are just so popular. They’re rich, they’re famous, they lead the glamorous Hollywood life. And of course they attract guys like fleas. But I have a feeling that that’s not the kind of life I’d want to live. Keeping up with you 24/7, never resting, always trying to please you with more money, more money, more money. I’m not that kind of guy, probably.

Then there’s ones like you. Perhaps I’m just naive, and you’re one of them. But you seem so much more laid-back. There’s less pressure, you’re not chasing obscene amounts of wealth and fame like the others (though you do agree with me that having lots of money is always a good thing). We click pretty well too, if you don’t mind me saying. Maths, economics, computer stuff, we like it for its own sake and for its applications, and that’s pretty appealing to me.

I’m not really saying anything, am I? The crux is this: you don’t pretend. Or at least, I don’t think you do. The others, they say they love intelligence over style, smarts over looks, etc., but is this really true? Perhaps, perhaps not, but I think when you say it, you mean it.

That’s why this blog post is up. My own insecurities. I know you like your London guys. And wow, are those Londoners smooth. They have so much experience in wooing people like you. Like the people at LSE; they’re groomed from day one to make you like them. They have the smarts, the skills, the knowledge on how you behave. And how do I compete with them way back here in Cambridge? I’m hardly the best guy in Cambridge either. How do I make you notice me…

Then there’s the fact you’re local to London. You told me you were born in New York, but you’re in London now. And that means that no matter what happens, after being in cities like that, you’d never come to Malaysia, would you? I love London, it appeals to me like no other city does. But I’m from Malaysia, and I’m really, really comfortable back home. Do I really want to have a long-distance relationship like this? Some people can do it, I’m not sure I can. Although it is really, really tempting. I don’t mean any offense (hmm, that statement is almost always false), but you Westerners are just more appealing than Malaysians. I won’t elaborate. This is a public post, and I don’t want to offend anyone, but if you are offended, I think you’ll realise that what I’m saying is true.

This whole thing is a new game to me. Getting out there, meeting people, having dates like this. Really, this is the first time I’ve been so bold as go approach you, instead of waiting for someone to take interest in me. And I really liked it. So despite everything I’ve said up there, no matter how much I complain, I really do like you, and I want to meet again soon.

So Jane Street, please read my CV and cover letter and let me know if I can intern there over summer. Thanks.

-Jiann Meng

A Mathmo’s Thought

What’s been on my mind?

I’ve been wondering: Is there a constant C such that when your purchase costs any amount more than £C, and you go to the self-check out and deposit any amount of British coins, the weight of coins you receive as change is always less than the weight of the coins you paid with?

(Assume that the machine always spits out the as many large value coins as possible, e.g. it prefers to give one £2 coin rather than two £1 coins, etc.)

I have no idea what the answer is. :/