A sign that my luck has begun to change?

Hey guys;

So, I thought that…throughout the holiday, other than a family trip last week, there wouldn’t be anymore fun events, but…hold on.

Fast forwarding from the time I wrote my 2016 summary to yesterday, December 30th, at around 15:15. I was preparing my stuff, and I’m ready to leave. But where exactly am I going? Not the Grand Palace, not Hua Hin, but…somewhere in Bangkok…

“Where are you going?” The ticketing personnel asks. “Ari station,” I replied.

Hmmm. Ari station? There’s pretty much nothing interesting there; not a shopping mall, nor there is any good restaurants in the area, but…something is up…

“Next station, Ari.” The train announcement said. Suddenly I was consumed with excitement…my phone rang, and a soft, friendly, familiar voice at the other side of the call was asking me where I was. The clocks have already struck 16:00 moments ago.

…Finally when I walked out pass the ticket gates, a soft, familiar voice greeted me. That person is nobody but…my best friend! And…where exactly am I heading? To a cinema? A restaurant for dinner? No! I’m heading to my best friend’s house! And…man did I get to feel the genuine hospitality of someone else’s family! I was then greeted by her parents, and we all went to a place that looked like a bakery, which, to my surprise, was part of a shopping mall. Yes, an actual shopping mall! But looks like that there’s no Mcdonalds or KFC anywhere, so…maybe it’s not a full-blown shopping mall, or that the mall is just too small for such restaurants…

Fast forwarding some minutes later…after enjoying a good cup of cold chocolate and a chocolate cake at that mall, my best friend’s parents’ car pulls over, and…in front looms a big structure…way bigger than my house. I was suddenly taken on a tour around my best friend’s house…

OK, this isn’t a house. This is a mansion, or a complex of houses lumped together into a single plot of land at the suburb of Bangkok. Or to be exact, according to what I heard, it’s a school converted into a house. Weird, huh? If you ask me I would say yes, but…to think about it, this is actually possible. With the right amount of money, one can practically convert anything, no matter how big the venue is, into a living space.

Once settled into the living room (I assume), everyone else immediately began playing what I would assume to be a sort of shooting/killling game on a game console. Though I was given a chance to try, I decided not to try as I don’t really know how to play. Then we all switched to playing the monopoly game and…that’s where the fun begins.

The entirety of the game itself was fun, and…my luck did indeed began to change, as from time to time I was able to make the die land on a perfect combination of numbers that would net me a wad of dollars. At the height of the game, I was able to grab up to somewhat more than $2000! Though I did lose more than half of that amount towards the end, I didn’t really care much as by the time I began to lose money, I was getting bored with the game as it seems to be dragging on endlessly.

As for dinner…the food was nothing special, a standard home-prepared meal, which consists of noodles, which is not too bad, and in fact tasted quite good. But dinner itself actually took place in a dining room. Yes, a proper dining room! By the time I leave for home, I was filled with happiness.

Overall, yesterday was a great experience. Given that 2016 has brought me so much bad luck and misfortune, I never expected this kind of event to turn up out of the blue. Given that 2016 was a year where things never go according to plans very often, the fact that something could go terribly wrong at the very last minute always looms in my head. But that fear never materialize and instead what I got was a wonderful evening that will stay in my memories forever.

Anyways, that’s it for now…

2016 wrap up

Hey guys, and merry Christmas! I hope all of you are having a great time with your family!

So, it’s that time of the year again, the last week of the year. Most, if not all, media outlets are probably doing a sort of a wrap up of this year, and so as has been the tradition, it’s time I do a summary of this year…

2016 has been a year of both sadness, terror and shock. It’s a year of sadness because the world lost so many famous and important figures. It’s a year of terror because there were many terrorist attacks throughout the year, like in Brussels, Orlando, Nice and Berlin, to name just a few. And it’s been a year of shock because of 2 events, occurring on the opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean, that no one had think would be possible. They are the UK’s EU referendum in June which resulted in the leave side winning by the slimmest of margins, and Donald Trump’s surprised victory in the November US presidential election. In terms of the tech world, the headlines that dominates thi this year are the news about the Samsung Galaxy Note 7’s battery issue, and, who could forget, the release of Pokemon Go, which made headlines throughout July and August, when it was first released. The fact that this game received a lot of attention is because of the way this game operates, the fact that this game is location-based and thus requires people to go out and about caught the attention of authorities in countries where it’s released, with responses ranging from a complete band of the game to just imposing restricted areas where people are not allowed to play the game, such as historical and religious sites, government agencies and courts.

In terms of my own life, 2016 has been a year of bad luck, where setback followed setback, and where things pretty much didn’t go according to plan at all. Class registration issues, failure to secure places on club trips, insanely tough classes resulting in drastic drop in both my term and cumulative GPA, unexpected family setbacks dominates this year. But there are a handful of very good events, and, at least there is 1 residential trip, albeit a very short one, like last year.

And so as with every year, here are the list of the best events of the year…

The best event of 2016: MUIC Nature Lovers Club residential trip to Pattaya in March

Once again, for the 6th time in a row, a residential trip was given the rank as the best event of the year. Like last year, the trip was extremely short, but still there is a lot of fun in it. But however, the fact that I even manages to go on this trip is pretty much pure luck, since my place was confirmed only when I was notified that someone have decided to drop out. Yeah, I really do miss the days of guaranteed residential trips back at STA…

Though the trip was exactly the same as the one in October of last year, I do still enjoy it nonetheless. Playing in the ocean on the second day was pretty much the highlight, and I do have lots of fun in the water.

The second best event of 2016: Post midterm exams events in June

Once exams are over, there is always a period of great fun, and June of this year is no exception. 5 fun events in a row, and in very short intervals, beginning with the MUIC Mango Bar fair, and ending with the STA XPO XVI. The Mango Bar fair was nothing too exciting, and was practically a food fair. This was followed immediately by a trip organized by the staff at the Mahidol University’s disability support service (DSS), where, during the trip I learned about a number of things, and most importantly, it was the trip to the Asia Pacific Development Center on Disability (APCD) that made me change my mind and rethink about my future, and, to the great extent, this trip has influenced my decision to change major. I decided that I need to do something to improve the lives of the millions of disabled people around the world, and that the only way is to set up a NGO to push for universal design both in the physical and the digital world and, eventually, push for research and development into technologies that will enabled these disabled people to properly study science and art.

After this trip came the MUIC Festival, wich, like the Mango Bar fair, is pretty much a food fair, but with some more performances and more variety of food to choose from, and the fact that this fair spans 2 days. This fair was followed shortly by the STA senior prom, which is a great fun, I really do enjoy dancing, and the food was not too bad. Finally came the STA XPO XVI, which is a great event, I even got to meet one of my best friend! Though I was able to attend this event only because I decided to go to STA from MUIC by myself, and also the fact that I’ve withdrawn from Introduction to Computer Programming class (though in theory I could still go to STA as the class ends at 12:00, so it doesn’t really matter whether I’ve withdrawn or not). Like last year and 2014, the expo showcases the work of students from the ICT, drama, music and the art lessons. There were a number of cool and interesting works on display, such as clocks and drawings/paintings, I even got to participate in one of the painting activities which resulted in me getting a picture of a fish that I painted myself which eventually became my Facebook’s cover photo!

The third best event of 2016: The post midterm exams events in November and early December

Once again, after the midterm exams there are a series of fun events. In fact this post midterm exams events series could have been the second best event of the year, but I can’t give this series of events that ranking because of the fact that this time around, the level of fun I have was not that high compared to the June’s series. Like in June, there were the Mango Bar fair and the MUIC Festival, but now it’s called a food fair instead, and the entertainment was significantly toned down. The food were still great though. This is followed by a Ted Talk event at STA, of which I get to be one of the speakers, and I decided to use the very same speech I used for my EC3 final, which is the speech with the highest mark when I first presented it to the whole class earlier. For this talk I didn’t do extensive preparation because…much of the preparation is already done during my EC3 class, I only make a few changes to the Powerpoint slides. And, since this is 2016, things don’t exactly go to plans. Instead of me using a clicker to advance the slide, there is a person who is controlling the advancement of the slide, and, annoyingly enough, that person doesn’t seem to know when my slide should change. This Ted Talk event was followed by a trip to Khorat a week later, but it was not that eventful, the trip pretty much consisted of me introducing myself to students at a blind school and observing the students playing games organized by DSS volunteers, though watching the games is still fun. This was then followed by a very similar event at the Bangkok School for the Blind roughly a week later. The activities were pretty much the same, but this time there is actually time for students to actually ask me questions.

The fourth best event of 2016: MUIC Volunteers Club activities in October

If the second half of 2015 was eventful, the second half of 2016 is no different. In October alone, there were 3 fun events in a row. The first was the fundraising activity organized by the MUIC Volunteers Club at Siam. It was fun helping the club members to raise money for the trip, even though I eventually ended up not going. There were occasional music performances and dances. This was followed by the bag painting activity, which spanned 2 days. It’s a great way to kill time, especially the fact that on the days that this activity took place I only have 1 class (on the second day I usually have 3 classes but 2 of them got canceled). Since I can’t really draw, I decided to just use the paint, and just painted random patterns using different colors. Though I was given the option to keep the bags, I decided to donate them as I don’t see any use for the bags.

The fifth best event of 2016: Songkran celebration at STA

Once again, Songkran celebration at STA won the spot for one of the best events of the year. I didn’t expect to be attending this event this year, but it’s only (1) I failed to secure a place on a long residential trip organized by the MUIC Nature Lovers Club that would have overlapped the Songkran celebration, and (2) by the time this event took place all of my final exams are over. Like previous years, the highlight is in the afternoon. Oh, there should be water splashing activity, right? Well this is 2016 so things don’t go so well. Yeah, due to drought there is no water splashing activity, but instead there were game stalls and pretty much nothing else. The celebration is still enjoyable though.

And, of course, it’s time to move on to the worst events of the year…

Oh wait, which events are the worst. Well…I’m afraid to tell you that there isn’t actually any! Though I could name a few, but they’re not that significant, or they’re complicated that I can’t properly name or describe them. Yeah, thanks to the fact that all the trolls have gone, I no longer have to combine all the annoyances I suffer into a single event and call that the worst of the year. This means that 2016 was the first trolls-free year for me since like 2007, 2008 or 2009! What a relieve! No more silly rumors, mean/annoying comments, no more ask.fm spam!

And that pretty much wraps up the summary. I hope 2017 will be a better year.

Wrap up of first term

Hey guys;

So, the first term of the 2016-17 academic year has ended, with only the final exams left. So I thought it’s good to do a wrap-up of this term. And BTW, this will perhaps be the first post that will also be shared on my Facebook, so those of you who already have me should be able to see this post, if and only if this feature works properly. I decided not to enable this feature until now due to fears of trolls taking issues about it, but given that I’ve received no reaction from the trolls, I decided that it’s good time to enable this feature.

So, the first term of my second year was a rough term, almost as hard as last term thanks to 2 particularly hard subjects that I apparently took without thinking about the ramifications. Activity wise, there are a number of them, but there’s no Loy Krathong and Halloween Carnival, which is disappointing but I can understand why those have to be canceled, so I’m not going to complain…

The first event is the day of service at Mahidol. Well, I’m not directly involved on the day, but I did gave a speech the day before, about universal design.

The second event, is the MUIC Volunteers Club fundraising event on 8 October, which is quite fun, and I think the club did raised a good amount of money.

Following shortly after that is the bag painting activity at MUIC itself, which is quite fun, and I think I painted like 3-4 bags, which is amazing. I stuck to the idea of simplicity; all of my bags are composed of nothing but some random shapes and colors. Once again the activity was great fun.

And here’s the highlight! Following about a month of no events, a chain of events after my midterm finally kicked off, beginning with the Mango Bar fair on 15 November and followed by 2 days of food fair, which is great (although they’re nothing but just food on sale with some live performances). But the foods themselves are very good, and on the 16th and the 17th I even avoided eating in the canteen altogether. This is immediately followed by a Ted Talk event at STA, which is great, and I did get to use my EC3 speech that got me the highest score. Once again the speech is about universal design, and I even use the exact same Powerpoint slides, with some modifications. However I didn’t get to control the advancing of the slides, so things got a little bit weird. And then, just last week, I finally get to go on a day trip to Khorat, to do some activities with a group of pupils at the blind school there. The activities themselves are fun, especially the games. I was amazed that in one of the games large numbers of players were eliminated so quickly in a single round, eventually there were just 2 left and ultimately the winner have to be decided in a sort of a rock, paper and scissor match. As that game is purely composed of elimination rounds, only the best ones make it to the end. The second game is less of an elimination game where players would be eliminated as each round progresses, but rather it’s based on the accumulation of points, which is gained by correctly answering (or should I just say, guessing) the questions from sample national exam papers. When I heard some of the questions, one thing that came to my head is that…these questions are based on subjects I’ve not taken before, and I thought to myself how lucky I am not having to actually sit one of these exams when applying to MUIC, otherwise if I actually did have to I would be already tearing my hair out. The trip back was fine, except that the van got stuck in a traffic and that meant that I arrived back at my dorm at like 10PM, which is not too cool. Today saw yet a similar event, but this time it took place at the Bangkok School for the Blind. I must say, pupils from this school are more interested in studying at Mahidol and I even get some questions from them about MUIC and, even, about the Computer Science program and the languages program. With this, the one thing that crossed my mind is that, one day one of them will make it to being a MUIC student and that I can already see myself being at MUIC, giving advice to them during orientation day before the start of a term. Whether that day will come I can’t tell, only time can tell. After that there’s the games again just like last week, but this time there are multiple big rounds and smaller rounds, and once again at one point or another large numbers of players would be eliminated, but this time however the winners are more clear, so no rock, paper and scissor match. Also unique to today is that I did get to show off NVDA’s ability to read math equations and symbols.

So that pretty much wraps up the major events of this term, and I hope next term will be the same or even better.