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Archive for June, 2006

GOOOOAAALL!

What an amazing win the Socceroos had over Japan. I was so fired up over that first Japanese goal where Schwarzer was clearly fouled, that I demanded some sort of vindication. Made the win just that much sweeter. Unfortunately I couldn't go out and run amok after the win since I have two reports and a presentation tomorrow. Thankfully this should be the final week of reports for me and I might be able to watch the match against Brazil at a sports bar.

Computex was on last week. It's the largest computer expo in the world after Germany's CeBit and attracts the majority of the big players such as Intel, AMD, Microsoft etc. Upon arriving at the trade show area which is located around Taipei 101, I realised they weren't joking when they said it was big. Computex covers all four exhibition halls with 58,730 square metres of space.

The buzz this year was obviously Intel's Core 2 Duo and their P965 chipset which should be released near the end of July. Intel cleverly plastered the entire area with their advertisement, picked all of the good locations and went BIG BIG BIG. Everywhere you went you would see an Intel balloon, some sort of signage or a showgirl. Even in other company's stands!

As per the norm of trade shows in Taiwan, the showgirls are let loose in droves. Though I wasn't very impressed by them. Maybe I have high standards, but they are meant to me models of some sort after all. Anyways, I'll let the pictures do the talking.


Spot the Intel signage


How big is this notebook!?!


The wall of motherboards

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As a Finance professor you would expect my Investment Banking lecturer to have some super share trading strategy. However he claims to be making his money through Chinese fine arts such a porcelain, pottery and jade. Due to his unique knowledge of this subject he offered to take a few of us foreign students to Taiwan's National Palace Museum. The last time I was there I was about 5 so I probably found running around more entertaining than appreciating the pieces.

As the story goes, when the Kuomintang lost the Chinese civil war to Mao, they took the majority of the valuables from the Emperor's palace in Beijing with them on their retreat to Taiwan. So the collection in this museum is the largest and most complete collection of Chinese history. Some of the stuff we saw was really quite amazing with so much detail that you wouldn't believe it was possible with the tools of that time.

For example, there was a wooden model boat about 1cm big. But on the bottom of it was 150 Chinese characters!?

How much is the stuff worth? The professor said a small tea cup we saw was valued at US$30 million, ten years ago.

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CFA Exam Day

Last Sunday started at 6:30am and did not end until 1am. But it was not all unpleasant. I arrived at the city-campus of Soochow University at 8am to be confronted by a sea of people all engrossed in their notes, trying to get that last bit of revision in before the 9am start.

Our little entourage from NTU Finance was gathered already. These people do so much studying that they should have no problem. Wish I had the same mental discipline as them, but unfortunately I need my party-fix every couple of days.

8:30am arrived and it was time to enter the exam venue. This was one of the most tight-ass exams I've ever experienced. In order to gain entry, a pre-printed exam ticket as well as a passport needs to be presented to ushers. No phones, bags, pencil cases or water bottles are allowed.

The exam consisted of two, three hour sessions with one hour for lunch in between. Quite taxing on the body considering that there's no way to actually get a proper meal and drink enough fluids to stay hydrated. I must warn future exam candidates not to drink coffee as the need to visit the bathroom will be inescapable. Visits to the bathroom is supervised, an examinator follows you to the entrance and waits. Once you've done your thing, they will ask you to remove the contents of your pockets and give them a pat (your pockets that is).

Needless to say that once the whole ordeal was over I needed to do something fun. Then as if an act of God I received an SMS from my ex-Kojen co-workers who are party animals, saying that they are going karaoking. I don't think there's a need to mention that I went straight from the exam venue into a karaoke room full of people going wild, the Taiwanese way (I might explain this next time). The day ended quite late… and I slept very well for the first time in months.

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Something that I hope I won't need to see again.

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Thought I'd try and do something artistic with them.

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Dragon Boat Festival

The buffed up men I've seen training down at Bitan near my place got to put their training to use today. Taiwan takes its Dragon Boat racing very seriously, even dedicating a rare public holiday to the event and attracting some international competitors.

Unfortunately I did not have the time to take part in this culturally invigorating occasion since my CFA exams will be held this Sunday. Everyone please pray to God and get him to give me a photographic memory.

I snuck down to Bitan on the way home after studying and captured some of the Dragon Boats waiting for the battle to commence the following day.

Dragon Boats
I expected them to be a bit more decorative.

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Little paddle boats.

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A view across the Bitan bridge.

Oh, and if you haven't noticed. I've got my Flickr up and running now. Past photos will slowly be uploaded.

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