Hong Kong’s Tiger Tutors

Lots of people have probably heard me joking about the asian stereotype of studying all the time. If you’ve got some free time, then I’d encourage you to watch this documentary.

Admittedly it is somewhat exaggerated and of course this sort of experience isn’t universal (so don’t go around talking to everyone from HK as if they did go through all those), but certainly it’s representative of the experience of lots of people. It also gives you an idea why I dislike the tutorial system in general. It’s not that it doesn’t help people, but rather that it should be a necessary component of the education system.

All that said, having not been through this system myself, my own experiences are only peripheral.

Let the refreshing begin!

Tonight/Today/This morning/This afternoon is the time when hundreds of people will be quietly sat around their computer with their finger over the refresh button as they await the release of IB examination results for May 2012. Results are retrieved online with different schools having different release times. Interestingly, some students have been notified by their school of their results, which seems to suggest that schools have already had access to the results of their candidates.

Global statistics have been released by the IBO (see here). Notably, “On average, Diploma students scored 29.83 with 109 achieving the maximum score of 45 points.”

6 ways to proofread an essay

University applications, an IB Extended Essay, coursework and even blogposts; sometimes I feel like I am really just an essay-generating machine. But thankfully, this has helped me improve my writing skills quite a bit. Even better, almost all of these were done digitally, which gave me more ways to double-check my essays before publication/submission. For those who’ve yet to discover some of these gems, here are 6 ways to proofread an essay:

1. Spell-check
This might sound obvious, but it really is a marvel of modern technology that you can do this. A simple way of making sure that everything is spelt correctly. It looks bad to anyone reading an essay, especially when it is submitted digitally, if there are spelling mistakes. What does it say about you when you can’t spell properly even when given spell check?

But beware, just because a word is spelt correctly doesn’t mean it’s the correct word. “I feel a lump in my throat” and “I felt a lump in my throat” aren’t quite the same sentence, even if they are spelt correctly.

External Economies of Scale

Economic textbooks will tell you about Economies of Scale. Many even mention External Economies of Scale, but it is often hard to visualize any realistic example of where this is actually the case. This is a very good, high profile example of external economies of scales from The Economist when discussing comparative advantage.

What Shenzhen has to offer on top is 30 years’ experience of producing electronics. It has a network of firms with sophisticated supply chains, multiple design and engineering skills, intimate knowledge of their production processes and the willingness to leap into action if asked to scale up production.

What Shenzhen provides, in other words, is a successful industrial cluster. It works for Apple because many of the electronic parts it uses are commodities. The real innovation lies in designing the product and creating smart software, which is the speciality of another successful cluster, in Silicon Valley, where Apple is based.

Sing Tao 2012: Semi-Final Results, Grand Final Match-up

Yesterday saw the semi-finals of the 2011-2012 Sing Tao Inter-School Debating Competition hosted at St. Joseph’s College. Diocesan Girls’ School (Affirmative) defeated Diocesan Boys’ School on the motion that ‘The Hong Kong government should amend the Marriage Ordinance to give transsexuals the right to marry.’ La Salle College successfully opposed St. Paul’s Co-Educational College on the motion that ‘Recruiting mainland athletes to compete for Hong Kong does more good than harm to Hong Kong’s sporting development’. Both DGS and LSC won by 3 votes to 1.

This means that the Grand Final, on the 12th of May, will be contested between LSC and DGS. Both schools have a history in the Sing Tao competition, being the two of just 3 schools that have won the Sing Tao in the last 6 editions. With South Island School winning in 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2011; DGS won in 2007 and LSC in 2009. I am pretty sure that both teams will feature members of the Hong Kong Debate Team, Natalie So from DGS and Ben Allen from LSC. DGS have won the Sing Tao 6 times; in 1987, 1989, back to back in 1996 and 1997 as well as in 2002 and 2007. However, La Salle does have the more recent success in 2009 as well as winning the Senior HKSDC tournament in September last year and again in February earlier this year.

It looks to be a tight competition with two well accomplished teams facing off. I myself sadly won’t be able to attend the Grand Final, but I look forward to the DVD when it does come out.

Evolution of the Workspace

Apologies for the lack of personal updates. It’s been a rather busy few weeks with mock exams handed back to us and a general race to finish the syllabus and get on to revision. I’ve been spending/will inevitably spend most of the remaining weeks at AC holed up in my carrel unit studying away for the IB exams. So I thought I’d be a good time to look back at my various workspaces of the last two years.

I have to say I can’t really remember where I spent most of first term. I think it was largely in the quite-room of Morgannwg. Term 2 was when I moved into the library, later to be joined by Sunley about a year ago. I do recall spending October Break of first year in a carrel unit since most people were off traveling. But since Carrel Units are meant for second years, it wasn’t until Term 3 that I properly moved into S12 where I am currently based. I’ve moved things around and changed my workspace about once or twice a term, but this current set-up will probably stay until exams are over.

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