Tuesday, January 30, 2007


I was fortunate enough to spend last Friday to Monday in Cambodia. It started off by flying to Siem Reap from Singapore at about 6am in the morning, with a portion of the Art Center group here at INSEAD. We spent two amazing days there, then on Sunday morning took a bus ride down to the capital, Phnom Penh. Explored that for the afternoon to evening, and finally left early Monday morning. Once again, it was fantastic, and I took as many photos as I could to document it (the total came in just under a thousand, I'll do better next time though). I managed to narrow it down to about sixty or so photos, which can be seen here.

If I had to pick out one moment from the trip, it would have to be a $5 tuk tuk ride late Saturday afternoon around Siem Reap to see the real city. The equivalent of a Cambodian Home Depot, in the form of a series of shops with minimally processed lumber (large staffs of wood with the branches chopped off, and not much else). Seeing all the people on their motorcycles and scooters. Driving by an outdoor market that had not one tourist inside. The best part was getting out of the city, and driving on an unpaved back road through lushly green fields. Lush and green to not do them adequate justice though. This is one thing that must truly be believed to be seen.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Double Happiness

Had a wonderfully relaxing weekend. Was able to sit back and relax, take a few moments to myself. Go out and explore Singapore a bit. Saw the Chinese and Japanese gardens that are fairly close to the apartment. While walking there I also came across some Chinese people burning a pile of symbolic money for a loved one in the afterlife. I enjoyed watching this ritual very much. The gardens themselves were somewhat lackluster. Luckily, inside the gardens was a turtle museum. There are pros and cons to this museum. It is amazing to see all the turtles that they had there. The con is that the turtles are almost in a prison. It was just tanks with no sort of decoration, stacked upon each other. This place was in desperate cry of design, if nothing else, just to make the turtles feel better. A very unique aspect to this museum was the two headed turtle named "double happiness" that they had. I only took about four photos of double happiness, and looking at them makes me wish I had taken more. I may actually go back to grab more.

The other fun event of the weekend was the Night Safari. I am slightly surprised that I'm saying it was great. There was low light (go figure, its at night right?), the animals weren't that active, and some of them seemed depressed (the turtle museum has got me questioning viewing animals in captivity). It was still amazing though. I got to see hyenas, which I've never seen before in person. They're quite grotesque in fascinating way. There was also a tiger, which looked larger than I remember them being. Sadly, there were elephants, but they seemed so sad, because they're social animals, and there was only about 3 of them. I enjoyed it all, but as I noted before, I'm questioning viewing animals in captivity, between the turtles and the elephants, it was a bit depressing.

Earlier in the weekend, there was also the Aquarium. Which while small, was densely packed with interesting creatures and activities. There was a fish petting area, where you could pet um... well fish. It's actually kind of the reverse, because you leave your hand in the water, then they slowly gain the courage to come up and rub the side of their body against your arm. The entire courting process was entertaining, and I could sit there all day with my arm partially submerged, waiting for them to come touch me. The most interesting creature there was the seadragon. These thing are like seahorse, but bigger, more colorful, and amazingly captivating. I didn't even see two of them at first because they look sort of like seaweed, which is part of their disguise. They're an awesome sight to see.

And finally, some pictures from all of this. turtles

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Clear Skies

Finally, the second week of INSEAD is done. It's been raining on and off for the past week, but luckily the skies are clearing up for the weekend (though this can change at any moment). School on the other hand is finally starting to make sense. The seemingly complete disorganization of class schedules compiled with numerous group projects is slowly sorting itself out.

We have finally started to get into "it" for our design class that we have over here. The actual lectures are somewhat academic, but we've finally got our projects assigned, so we can start the front end of the design process. It will be interesting to see how the MBA's take to this. There has already been some noteworthy reactions by them to our concepts and processes. Of course, I'm sure our take on business has been equally entertaining/frustrating to them.

The humidity becomes more and more bearable everyday. In fact, I hardly notice except for when I run. It still makes it difficult to hang dry clothes, I just hope the dryer doesn't do any major shrinkage damage to my clothes.

Hopefully more to say this weekend after I get a moment to digest it all a bit more.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

End of the Week

The first week at INSEAD is done, and I am beat. Between everything that has been done, and has to get done, it feels as though I will never have a free moment. I believe this to be a result of having to get settled in though, and getting used to the swing of things over here.

I did finally manage to find time to upload some photos onto the flickr account I started. I hope this link works:

With that, my break from homework must come to an end. But, hopefully, as I settle in more, I will be able to find the time to post more, with more energy as well.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

You Don't Look Like an MBA Student...

is what I keep hearing from the INSEAD students. I attribute it to my hair, which is fantastic by me. Don't get me wrong, these people are amazingly kind, open and approachable. I would hate for them to have to go to Art Center and deal with the constant sea of eyes to the ground. I'm sure with their positive attitude they could easily turn the situation around though.

Our first real day, with a class (Venture Opportunities in Business Management) was great. The class and teacher are wonderful, and the structure of the presentation of information was concise, understandable and to the point. I have a good idea of what I'm going to learn, and even how it applies to me as a designer. This is going to be an invaluable experience that I can't endorse enough, and its only just begun!!!

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Day Two

First full day in Singapore was great. Started it off with a run around the local park which resulted in me dripping with sweat right as I met my next door neighbors. After which I went for a swim in the pool for about half an hour. The pool was then followed by an hour walk with Audrey which landed us at Anchor Point. Luckily, Anchor Point had places to eat, across the street had a cellphone dealer, and across the street from that was an IKEA.

Lunch at the food court was great. For my first lunch I had a Lo Mien with Tomato and Egg (I think thats what it was called). For my second lunch (I was hungry) I had a Thostas. I'm butchering the pronunciation and spelling of this dish, but however you spell or say it, it was good. It looks like a pancake, but has a completely different texture. I have a picture, which of course, will eventually be posted, just have to get settled more so that finding the time is easier.

The ordeal of buying a cellphone when you really don't want one can be quite tiresome. The dealer seemed to be quite helpful and intent on getting us the best deal. Just, the entire process of setting up such a permanent feature of residence was draining. After which, as a group, the Art Center group headed over to IKEA to supplement our apartments with things that should have been provided for us. I couldn't take it after a while, so instead of waiting around with everyone to go shopping, I ended up walking back home (did I mention it took Audrey and myself about an hour plus to get to Anchor Point?).

I decided to take a different path than the one that had landed us in Anchor Point, which pretty much me getting lost with the hope that I would eventually find something I recognized. I ended up in a National Park, and then on a mountain biking trail, without a mountain bike. Eventually I did find my way back to a street, and not so long after that, back to a familiar intersection. The whole experience of getting lost and finding myself was a decidedly enjoyable break from the humdrum day to day of consumerism.

Later on that night the eight of us from Art Center along with our instructor, Todd Belle, met up at the Crazy Elephant. We then walked around this river side area, "something Quay" and found an Indian restaurant, the Ivory, to dine at. It was great for me because a majority of the food was vegetarian. Not so great was biting into a seed in the potato dish that lit my mouth on fire or nodding off towards the end of dinner because of the long day I had.

My "Singaporian" observation for the day... really cool dining areas, with outdoor setups that look like hospital rooms, and a bar called Gold that has corpse doors in the front.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Taipei Layover

It is about 6am in Taipei, and I am now on a five hour layover until our one-ish flight over to Singapore. The fifteen + hour flight over wasn't so bad, except for the screaming baby behind us. I ended up not reading any of the books that I bought, and slept most of the way.

Chris, Sal and I are now waiting around. Trying to see if we can get out of the airport and cause some trouble in Taipei, just to say we were out on the ground. Also to breathe some of that overcast Taipei air. The airport mall is quite extravagant and amazing, with high end boutiques and loads of electronics.

Pictures and more later...