Thursday, 6 March 2008


SMU is seriously teeming with St Nicks' girls. This might not even have qualified as a piece of pointless comment if not for the fact that it's one of those things you suddenly realise and it hits. I even know all about Molly Leong, Gwee Siew Hong, the singing Chinese teacher and yellow bowl. But then again that's just that so yup.

Been capitalising on the rainy weather to wear out some of my sweater-shirts that I otherwise wouldn't even conceive putting on in Singapore's generally hot and humid climate. On top of that, it can get really cold sometimes now.

Scored decently for economics with 76/100, though it could've been a lot better (within the A grade range) if I didn't forget to do 2 questions. Political science was bad at 4/10 (2 questions 2/5 each), but it's nothing I wasn't quite unexpecting.

Rahul Sagar has cut the remaining syllabus quite a bit, and we're starting to move from the basics (ideology, fundamentals of nation and state, government structure, rational choice theory etc) towards application (politics and economy, policy-making, etc), and it really feels as if I've just graduated from being a basic trainee to a policy-making student, somewhat like moving on from BMT to commander training.

I can sense some degree of aptitude within me towards macroeconomics, so perhaps the later part of political science won't be so bad if we focus more on IPE pertaining to the state and market. I found it really fascinating to know about how policies set by the communist regime of the Soviet Union, in attempting to find the perfect formula to run an economy like clockwork, gave rise to many brilliant physicists, mathematicians, economists and statisticians. And the 35hr work-week law that France has is also quite interesting to know as it reflects the idea of our close to heart spoil market sentiments in the form of formal policy.

I used to be quite captivated by the idea behind the MOE's marketing campaign for recruiting teachers. In those advertisements, the central idea of 'making lessons come to life' is represented by scenes of classrooms literally bursting into life - students so enthralled by the knowledge imparted that their calculators start to float, the classroom turns into a space port, a dinosaur looms overhead, amongst other scenes.

I've always wondered if I could do something like that. Perhaps I feel this way because I've always thought that, for the most part, none of the teachers I had ever lived up to this expectation. But I believe it's not easy, and I can't be blameless for being unappreciative when I was a naive young student anyway.

While I have my personal peeves with political science, a subject with still that degree of vagueness that I simply can't grasp well, I have to admit that I can actually safely say that no lesson has ever come to life as much as this political science intro module that I'm taking now has. For all the flak he has received, I really think that Rahul Sagar is a good professor, and his wit is just mesmerising. Never has my mind been more mentally stimulated than in political science class, and I won't ever regret the ideas, information and knowledge that I have been exposed to thus far.

Hence my love-hate relationship with political science. But it's still a clear choice for me with psychology.

Literature is a power to be possessed, not a body of objects to be studied.

Audio Candy:
Alesana - Apology


Agagooga said...

Funny, I thought macroeconomics was maths. Hurr hurr.

Jose said...

Hahar. Hey first of all I hope you don't mind me linking your stuff.

And well, pertaining to your comment, I'd say microeconomics seems to have a truckload more math than macroeonomics. But that's really coming from a total math-noob so don't take my word for it. :]

Agagooga said...

Since you're in SMU hopefully you won't see how horrible macro can be :P

Jose said...

Hmm. It seems like I am expected somewhat to come up with a comeback in defence of my own varsity as, based on the prinicple of charity, I should assume that you're implying that SMU doesn't teach macroeconomics in a horrible way, or that it's coverage of macroeconomics is done in a relatively easier or more shallow manner (or some other implied variant along those lines) from your comment. Hahar. Just so in case I'm not misconstrued in any way, would you want to elaborate?

Agagooga said...

There're 2 components here:

1) NUS is kiasu and teaches us graduate level stuff
2) SMU is very project based and less 'rigorous'

2) is a complaint you hear about SMU in general, not just Economics.

Jose said...

Hrmm well I wouldn't quite wanna broach the topic here, especially when we both know what unpleasantries to expect.

But I suppose for the sake of benefit of the doubt I won't disagree with the idea that it's a complaint you hear about SMU 'in general'. But whether point 1 and 2 are really convergently linked and whether point 2 is a true premise is, in all honesty, highly debatable. :]

Agagooga said...

In economics, 'rigour' is a synonym for mathematical rigour.

Just for the record, I think rigour is not necessarily a good thing, and that there's too much mathematics in economics.

That said, my SMU gripes still stand =D

Jose said...

Coolness, and I'm not even an economics student anyway so that's something to know.

For me it's just 2 sides to the same coin: The math-inclined (not just in aptitude) will see it worth complaining about. Heh but yep you're still entitled to that opinion.