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Titanic (1912-2012) in 3D preview March 30, 2012

Posted by @Karen_Fu in faith, human quality, life challenges.
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Life is a game of luck. 

It is also a gift that we should not be wasting it. Making each day counts depends on ourselves how we manage the circumstances around us. Sometimes, we can change them, and sometimes we can’t. We need a lot of faith to carry us on. Peoples’ characters don’t change much over the millenniums. But what we could change is the way we adapt to life challenges.
Thats what I learnt when I reviewed the movie preview two days ago. 

I was excited about seeing the 3D movie of the film ‘Titanic’, which made its first debut way back some 15 years ago. I was in England when I first viewed the movie. It left a memorable impression that is still fresh in my memory. James Cameron’s portrayal of life and people using visual effects was stunning, made even  more so today with 3D technology. I was marveling the effects of how the three dimension technology works. If the screen was wider covering the entire viewing width, it could have been totally realistic. If not, fabulous.

Nonetheless, the movie portrays the unfairness of class disparities that formed stereotypical thinking apart from causing tragedies in people’s lives. All were all so lucidly shown on board the so-called unsinkable ship. The movie  comes in hand with the ArtScience museum exhibition of the doomed maiden voyage of the ship, which I have visited late last year. As I watched on, I kept comparing with what I saw at the  museum. The Titanic’s treasures revealed items found 100 years ago. It was a mark of splendor and yet of great tragedy. Though the number of exhibits were not much, we could somewhat see how the tragedy that made the headlines then. Arrogance and over confidence simply don’t pay. Yet I cannot help but to see repeated forms of over confidence in real life. 

Titanic engines were over pushed beyond limits for the sake of making the headlines by getting to the destination earlier. Indeed the headlines were made soon enough. It was the largest tragedy of that time, killing more than half onboard after hitting the ice bergs as it failed to divert in time. The breakage of the ship and subsequently the gushing of water and people drifting towards me was an eye opener, especially in 3D. It kept the audience quiet and revitted to the screen. The tragedy became alive. Needless to say, the visual impact was greater than what I saw 15 years back.

The deep sea search for ‘The heart of the ocean’ gave a sense of personal presence. I could feel myself underwater, flipping through the wreckage. The sense of involvement was alive and I really could feel for the movie more.

The ship is the microanatomy of the world at large,  representing life set sailing into the unknown. We all do actually. When waves struck, the ship is supposed to act as a form of protection.  The ‘Ship of Dreams’ where the poor could set sail to America to find renewed life of happiness and prosperity, which fell short because of various human errors. It could have been avoided. Both in the physical design of the ship as well as the strategy used to mobilize help to save passengers failed. What was known logic was downplayed by the ego to look powerful and brilliant.

Freedom, liberty and hopes for dreams that can be realised on a new found land vanished coldly into the waters flooded with dead frozen bodies. The distinct classification amongst people via the things they used, and the mannerisms different people adopted were acting on the same ship albeit in specified different areas. But who is to say that we have safely abolished such discrimination entirely in this era?   The hard truth is that the deliberate  tons of mannerisms to classify and segregate themselves as being superior is still alive. Power and wealth are the requisites to fortune and fame. But what this movie shows that it can never buy love, faith and loyalty with money and showily mannerisms.

The movie distinctively portrays  class differences in the two main characters, Rose Bukater and Jack Dawson. The former born into the high class society of refined upbringing; whereas the latter, an orphan who was left to fend for himself in the streets of Europe. Both had their penchant for art, life and things that bring them life. Jack, who had no formal education, learnt from his dealings with the underclass and the underprivileged. His drawings were his expression of how he saw people. To Rose, the use of sophisticated words came into play instead.

Rose Bukater was that person. Initially felt trapped in her life of  misery as she was betrothed to the millionaire Celadon Hockley; only to be  saved by a steerage passenger called Jack Dawson. 

Fighting against the flooding of Ice cold water and piercing cold of the winds in the Atlantic ocean amongst corpses was the true test of determination. It was Jack’s iron will that sunk in the power for Rose to learn how to fight and suffer in life with positiveness. 

However the sadness comes when the sinking of the ship came into action. As the decks were flooded, the sophistication in technology failed to even protect its passengers. Flying bodies flung out of the sinking ship as desperation and despair filled the hearts of many. The shift made people on decks sliding down as the gigantic ship make an almost right angle dive into the waters. 

Different people face calamity with different attitudes. Religious or agnostic, they face the same fate with their own means. Some full of repentance to die for their faults. Some hideously cheat to live, only to die later in shame. The fight from the working class to live was moving. It fell short because of set rules that tied them back. I often ask what would happen if a similar episode were to happen again? Too many people onboard a ship in the open seas, where help is like miles away. When disaster strikes, under the complacency of self worth and intelligence, the result is to face the inevitable death for being over confident.

The ugliness of fighting for their lives and the warmth from some people who had the conscience of giving up their lives to save others. The cruelty of class returned again into effect when it came to saving the wealthy first before the poor. The physical struggling to live and the sinister gun shots left a lasting visual impression.

Unfortunately, despite the resourcefulness and wisdom, Jack perished for the sake of saving his short lived love. It looked utterly unfair. Rose kept her promise to Jack to live a life full of meaning and to marry and have children. Her heart was kept true to her dying days. Every promise that Jack had set, she fulfilled it dutifully. The Heart of the Ocean  was never been sold throughout her 85 years of life after the sinking of Titanic. She threw it back to the ocean before returning to die peacefully in her own bed. Exactly what she promised Jack before his dying moments.

Though the physical Titanic of the ship will not last under the sea as it gets eaten up by tiny bacteria; the strength of the human spirit filled with love and faith never flounders. Such is the titanic force of true love. — Karen Fu

PhD drudgery …. March 24, 2012

Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, design, education, human quality, real power.
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In response to ‘if phd was drudgery’ i could not help it but to reply a seemingly poetic response with the following not so poetic poem….. Enjoy nonethess :

Begone drudgery!

Pray true to all great education 
Doctorate or not,
To bestow sheer modesty and creativity
Wisdom and intellect ;
To serve and to give
And not take and forget
That every decent being, how big or small, can be a genius
With or without PhD

That wisdom comes ,
To know the universal truth of justice 
Earnestly rectify human flaws
That breach rights of deserving beings
Denial of respect;
No one shall call themselves scholars

Only till human designs are true to the soul
And research be right on the heart
To both man and nature alike
Can we be truly call ourselves educated.

Best regards,
Karen Fu
before the IPAD
from the equator 

Singapore University Of Technology & Design Open House aftermath thoughts – Part 1 March 3, 2012

Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, creativity, design, education, Singapore, USA.
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If MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) system is not transferred to Singapore, how can Singapore’s SUTD (Singapore University Of Technology and Design) be like MIT when MIT reinvents itself <??>

I simply don’t understand. See highlighted lines in green below, in the quoted news from Channel News Asia. Or maybe I have mis understood it. When 2 colleges share the same transformation, wouldn’t the systems be the same?

On the happy tone, my structure that I did when I was an undergrad was right. I have made some briefs for myself asking social economic contexts as I thought my own course was short of real life scenarios though it did have some for Green Design. Unfortunately, I had no tools like SUTD has to realise them.  I get the feeling my style has been right. On a quick note, I see they have a grossly unfair advantage over many other schools in terms of network. People do buy into MIT’s  reputation and for that alone, SUTD will benefit a huge lot over the other universities in Singapore and beyond. The only down point, however, I feel is that their students do not appear to be as competent from the way I see at the Open House today, which I had specifically planned to attend. I have plenty of curiousity about the school though I do not think I would apply. It’s just a gut feeling about it. What I really didn’t like hearing a reply off one academic staff *** that ‘you can do an undergraduate, but you would be a lot older than the rest.’ It sounded as though they see overaged students as inferior ones from the way he said it. I have never seen age being a problem. I was shocked to hear that after SUTD has emphasized life long learning. That specific lecturer should not have said such a thing to anyone who wants to perfect their knowledge. Apart from that, I enjoyed the Pillar’s talk and intro. It was highly informative and I think the course will grow very well provided a few conditions set. More later.- Karen Fu

Quoted from http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/1154056/1/.html:

SUTD appoints US professors as “heads of pillars”
By Qiuyi Tan | Posted: 19 September 2011 1308 hrs

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s fourth university, the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) has appointed two US professors to head two of its pillars — or focus areas — of study.

They are Professors Kristin Wood and Saif Benjaafar.

After 20 years at the University of Texas, Professor Kristin Wood will head SUTD’s Engineering Product Development pillar.

Prof Wood will focus on the design of high tech products with a hands-on approach to learning.

“We’re going to have classrooms where we have cohorts of students not learning in traditional lecture style, but working together with faculty at tables, presentation rooms, reconfigurable classrooms, learning on the fly with their peers solving real design problems that are really about changing the world,” Prof Wood said.

Meanwhile, Professor Saif Benjaafar, who was with the University of Minnesota, will head Engineering Systems and Design.

Prof Benjaafar’s area looks at the management of large and complex systems like transport infrastructure and supply chains.

But Prof Benjaafar said SUTD students will learn more than just the technology of it.

“Our focus on the broader social-economic context is what differentiates us,” he said.

“Our students, in addition to getting the fundamentals in engineering, math, physics and the sciences, will also get a deep exposure to management, economics and public policy. That profile would be very unique.”

SUTD is a partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Zhejiang University.

Both professors said they are excited about the opportunity to work in an institution that transforms the way engineering is taught, and the way engineering research is carried out.

Prof Wood explained the idea is not simply transferring the MIT system to Singapore.

“The idea is a feedback system. As we create things here and make them work, they’ll get fed back to MIT and they’ll improve as well,” he said.

Prof Benjaafar added: “If the Massachusetts Institute of Technology re-invents itself, SUTD is what it will look like.”

The university offers four pillars of study that are inter-disciplinary, sharing teaching and research resources.

The head of pillar provides vision and leadership, administers the pillar’s academic programme and is responsible for the quality of its graduates.

The university said the two heads were identified after a rigorous year-long search.

The search goes on for the heads of the university’s two other pillars, Architecture and Sustainable Design and Information Systems Technology and Design.

Applicants have been shortlisted, and the university expects the positions to be filled by the end of the year.


*** the lecturer, is not just a lecturer. He was the one who was speaking along with the President Prof Magnanti at the lectern. I had thought he was only a lecturer until I read his name on facebook. I prefer Prof Magnanti’s tone zillion times over.  Education is a life long endeavour. Am still awaiting for their rely over at facebook after I rephrase my questions.  — 13 March 2012