Understanding Myself

“You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.” ― Harlan Ellison

Over the years whenever I was bored or had to undergo some kind of personality test, the results are pretty much consistent – I am identified as an INTJ sort of person. If you are not sure what this means, you can refer to a simplified version of it here (the graphics are really pleasant too).

Nothing annoys me more than a slight gap of knowledge, be it with myself or with others.

For myself, I would often read up on what I am not sure of, and become vested in the knowledge of this newly acquired knowledge – sometimes, I feel that I may eventually become the Master of Useless Information. To temper this potentially embarrassing achievement, I only pursue things that I am interested in and achieve mastery in those areas… for things that are of lesser importance, I would try to gain some passing knowledge of it.

For others, I find that it is kind of an double-edged sword. If the other party is knowledgeable, that is all well and good. However, if the other party tries to pass off as knowledgeable (and fail), I would find it hard to respect the credibility of this person, and with it, the entirety of the person himself/herself. Always on hindsight, this annoying trait of mine can undermine my relationship with others (especially at work) – as I grow older and perhaps more experienced, I do try to temper it. But it’s hard.

A decent strategy that I have adopted is to refrain from commenting, but silently judge. I guess being silent is far better than making potentially terrible remarks.

Oooh! That’s so J of the INTJ. I just can’t catch a break.

When I often get approached for help, I find myself willing to extend my hand or even provide advice. I believe deeply in the success of group objectives rather than individual objectives. If there is a way that individual objectives can be achieved along with the core group objectives, you know I will be there to provide assistance or to give advice.

My friendly nature contradicts with my private nature – I am often described as the quieter version of the “social butterfly” (not in an ostentatious or loud way) who can make social connections easily, and build trust with people who matter to me. I believe that by being a warm person, I am able to connect deeper with my colleagues (who often become my close friends). Yet at the same time, I am fiercely private where I keep to this small core of close friends whom I trust and rely on. In this context, I find that being sociable allows me to read the general perceptions and feelings of others… and prepare accordingly in advance.

In a leadership class I have just attended, my team was tasked with an activity to think of ideas and to present them. Due to prior classes and getting to know each other, I realised that I often get singled out to lead the teams. In the past, I have often been asked to lead teams by unanimous agreement – I find that puzzling.

Since this was a leadership class, I asked my team mates why they picked me. My team mates felt that they could trust me to lead them because they found me warm and friendly – “good intentions with no motives” as one would describe it.

Good intentions. That got me into trouble when I seemingly over-extended my assistance. While the beneficiaries are grateful, they were horrified that I got sanctioned for my assistance.

When I attended an investiture function last week, the guest of honour mentioned that the incumbent government and its agencies are looking for people who will be good leaders. She emphasised on warmth more than competence in seeking leaders – she demonstrated on the need for warmth over competence by sharing examples of sincerity and connections that made people trust and believe in their leaders. “Competence can be provided by others who work for the leader, but the leader has to be a leader of people, not a leader of competence.”

Wow. I agree wholeheartedly, but I think there is still the need some
form of competence, but just not specific technical competence?

Some reading for your enjoyment…

At the end of it, be it I am INTJ or otherwise, I still believe that life is a journey… and having others following and yet on the same level… will be a wonderful experience.

Premonitions as Part of My Journey

When my journey made abrupt change in direction in 2015, I began staying with my parents after twelve years away from them.

The first week saw me preparing my old room for my own use, intentionally creating an enclosed environment within my room surrounded by my boxes and shelves… a small gap from this enclosure leads to my bed where I can hide in this private space of my own – and perhaps to figure out what I am going to do from there on.

One month in, I told my parents that I want to visit my Malaysian relatives again – an absence of almost twenty-odd years. I had fond memories of my old kampung house there, where I grew up with my cousins in a small area with chickens and almost-farm-like environments.

Childhood memories.

I remembered helping out with my aunts with their cooking and even accompanying my cousins to the nearby Chinese high school. I had stopped going back when I started preparing for my final year in primary school… and I have never been back since.

We took the train from Woodlands and got off at Kluang, Malaysia – my mother’s hometown. Stepping off the train, and onto the same old platform, brought back a tremendous flood of memories of my childhood.

I returned to Malaysia for a reason – it was not because I wanted a trip to distract myself, but to answer this dreadful premonition that was in my heart and mind. There was one person whom I was close to, and I had to meet and talk to this person even for a few minutes or seconds; and it was my third maternal aunt.

She operated a simple hawker stall just opposite the previously mentioned Chinese high school. She became extremely animated when she realised the stranger who accompanied my parents was actually me. “I have returned,” I greeted her shyly. Her warm smile almost broke my heart, and started offering to cook for me.

My mother saw my exchange with my aunt, and asked me quietly later, “Is there a reason why you wanted to come back?” I deflected that with lies: I wanted to see my old home town, I wanted to eat the good food, I wanted to heal my broken heart… and so on.

Just last month, my third maternal aunt passed on due to third-stage cancer. My mother cornered me again and demanded whether I knew. I did have a premonition: I felt it and that’s why I wanted to go back.

And now, I am having another one.

Beyond the fact that I am staying with my parents again, there was something nagging at me – my parents themselves. In a way, I am glad I am able to be nearer my parents should the time come. On the other hand, it is a worrying burden that I am quietly enduring before the inevitable happens.

Lately, I noticed a change and I do hope that I am wrong.

This morning my mother spoke to me about arrangements for the family and made me promise to look after my sister. I already know the details that are to go into such arrangements – my mother and I think alike, and we just have a knack for certain things. When she talked, I shared with her what my intentions are regarding such arrangements, and she said she felt a burden lifting from her shoulders – she knows that I know what to do, and that I will be able to look after the various things for the family.

Sure, I know how to be fair and where to draw the lines. Still, it is a terrible burden for one person to carry and undertake through the years – but this is my lonely journey, I guess.

What about my sister? She is someone who needs to be looked after. I do hope that she can find a good companion to trust and rely on – that’s my own wish as her brother. Till then I can only do what it is expected as her only older brother. And she knows that I will always unconditionally turn up when she needs help – no need for words, I will be there.

But you know, I am tired. Really tired.

The End of 2015

2015 has been quite the roller coaster of a ride for myself.

A majority of my 2015 has been filled with pain and anguish, of which I will continue to endure and work on myself. There are things that I will continue to do and uphold, but there are things which I will let go.

A small but significant part of 2015, however, has been full of joy and amazement. I found myself in a position which I can give back to the community and be in contentment with what I prefer to do (in a “behind the scenes” way).

I have also realised that there are many disillusions and distrust within the community – even with the best intentions, I find myself often in conflict with others. I can see the parallels to feeling insecure of their own abilities, and rightfully so when they can and will be called out on for. Problem is, if everyone can be humble and learn to consult with each other, I don’t see why not everyone can work together towards a common good.

Ego is a major factor. Probably need less drama and self centred-ness as well.

Part of my joy is being able to find colleagues whom I can relate to, depend on, and perhaps, think in a similar general direction – being part of the community and being able to overcome the legacies of our past.

With these colleagues of mine, I chose to cheap out on holiday gifts and made personalised cards for those who matter to me. Each card tells a story for each colleague (or group) with whom I have countless interactions with.

Cake from FK
Cake from FK… Her tiramisu cake was to die for.

You can find more of these illustrations in Card Illustrations.

Of course, some of the more jokey ones would comment on their preference of being gifted chocolates from my table’s stash of snacks, sweets and occasional drinks.

Speaking of cupcakes… I am really fond of salted-caramel anything, but I don’t like it too sweet. In Fluff Bakery, I found a salted-caramel cupcake recipe that I am really content with (that is probably an understatement, I can’t stop myself from waxing lyrical about it to anyone who would listen).

I should write a food column.

My first trip to Fluff Bakery was pretty pleasant (with a group of colleagues) – the varieties of cupcakes and cakes were really drool-inducing. We even got a free cake – it was an Olive Oil Orange Rosemary cake.

When we got back to the office’s pantry to sample our goodies, we invited two other colleagues (CS and BJ) to join us and try the cupcakes. When we got to the olive oil cake, all of us were cautious and yet curious.

A colleague tried it and said it tasted like roast chicken… that raised the caution and curiosity levels even more. Roast chicken, what in the world?

Egged on by CS and BJ, I tried a nibble of it…

Eh?! Mmmmmmmmmmmm..

CS and BJ were puzzled as to my reaction – I had to clarify that the “Eh?!” was in surprise, and the rest of it was just wallowing in taste of the cake. The cake was a little heavy, but the taste was really excellent. I want to eat a whole slice the next time!

The Fence of Incredulity

Sometimes, out of boredom, I trawl the depths of Reddit for entertainment. There are a few gaming-related subs that I visit on these trips, such as /r/WorldofTanks, /r/Eve, and /r/citiesskylines. Beyond these Reddit subs, I don’t venture too far as I have no idea what dark corners of humanity bring me in the void of Reddit.

In this game, World of Tanks, you play as an arcade version of a tank crew in various tanks – so it is basically pixel tanks shooting other pixel tanks.

However, now and then, a nugget of brilliant comedy gold shines through and blinds readers (aka Redditors) into submission. This post at /r/WorldofTanks, was called [OT] 4chan determines the velocity necessary for a walrus to penetrate a T-72M’s upper glacis.

Click to enlarge!

4Chan is another user board/forum on the Internet, but I would like to provide the warning that you should not go there. I find Reddit safer (at least these specific gaming-related ones) and interesting to read.

In all earnestness, a reply made on Reddit itself paved the way for this 4Chan post into the Halls of Legends.

 [–]Cidious[NARWL](Scrubwhisperer)Sabot_Noir 220 points 4 days ago*

So obviously OP didn’t account for Walrus normalization and basically set up the Walrus to impact at 0 degrees from normal which is fine I guess…

However, I am more disappointed with the failure of OP to calculate the yield deflection of the steel (you use the elastic modulus which is about 200GPA or the elongation at break which is 22%) and further OP failed to appreciate the consequence of this failure on their calculations. I’m using SAE 4340 which has very similar properties to MIL-DTL-46177 RHA the current US army standard. At 22% elongation the metal would be deflected into the tank by a distance of 1.05m if we apply that elongation along the armor plate’s short axis.

Additionally OP Failed to account that the metal under elastic deformation (read as prior to reaching the yield stress) acts like a spring with the internal stresses and thus also the force opposing the Walrus increasing in an approximately linear fashion. This means that OP has overestimated the required energy by a factor of 2 no matter whether we accept the other assumptions. Not to mention that since we only expect to see the yield stress at the plastic deformation threshold we have no bearing on weather the yield stress would even be reached by a deformation of .5m. From above we may conclude that 0.5 meters would only bring the plate half way to deformation and thus OP has further overestimated the energy required by another factor of 2.

I’m giving OP a C on this assignment because I want them to understand that they can do better. I will however allow OP to come to my office DURING OFFICE HOURS, to discuss some extra work which would demonstrate that OP has a more complete understanding of the principles at work here (do another problem right and I’ll make the grade a solid B).

That said I want to commend OP on attempting a Graduate level problem as an undergrad; the attempt to apply statics principles to a highly dynamic situation is as heroic as it is whimsical. For a more realistic evaluation we would have to consider the heat generated by dynamic strain and how that could lead to thermal softening which would concentrate the deformation into shear bands leading to cracking and failure.

We could also get a more accurate picture by representing the Walrus as a hyperbolic distributed load instead of a point force since the Walrus is large and mostly liquid upon impact.

Finally we don’t actually have to assume the Walrus is combat reinforced if we instead are willing to consider the effect of extreme sheer on the liquefied Walrus and how it would restrict the dissipation of kinetic energy and create a thermal energy hazard to the crew were any of the walrus were to enter the crew compartment through even a small hole in the armor.

Edit: TL-DR A sonic Walrus impacting normal to the UFP of a T-72M would likely result in a crew kill by penetration and infiltration of the tank with superheated walrus gasses.

Never, I tell you, never have I laughed so much I snorted coffee out of my nostrils.