10 April 2013

Rearrange the letters in the word PANSIES to spell two opposites. For example, you could anagram PANSIES into SIP and SANE — but these aren’t opposite in meaning.

Give your answer in the comment below.


Source: Will Shortz, The Puzzlemaster Presents, Vol. 2.


1 April 2013

Many things have happened since the last time I gave a personal update:

1. Another nephew! Nuyu’s fourth son will make the house even noisier. His name is Nazmi. Welcome to the family, Nami!!

2. My laptop got stolen last month at Giant Kuala Terengganu (the new one, not the one next to Mydin). Good riddance to rubbish — I always wanted to discard the crappy laptop, and get a new one. Too bad the thief couldn’t make money out of it because the laptop is at its dying throes: it has no battery and is super slow (3 years old running on intel ATOM lol). I just keep it around because of nostalgia.

But I did miss my Wacom Intuos2 graphic tablet that also got stolen. I used this baby in all my math talks since 2007. Nowadays it’s impossible to buy the no-frill Intuos2 model anymore. Wacom only sells the new edgy models (Bamboo, etc) that perform worse than the simple Intuos2. Come on, Wacom, reissue the classics!

3. I am going to Stockholm in April to attend a math conference titled “21st Century Mathematics: What should students learn in the 21st Century?“. The conference is organized by the Center for Curriculum Redesign (CCR). This is the conference website:

I really really wanted to go to this conference and even though I had to pay through my nose, I think it will be worth it. Yes, I don’t get paid to attend conferences and stuff — if I want to go, I have to save money and pay for it myself.

4. In May, I might be going to Tirana, Albania for the Balkan Mathematical Olympiad. This is the first time our country got invited, and budget permitting, we will send a team to this prestigious event. The Balkan has a fertile mathematical culture, with strong tradition in math education and math contests (despite the region’s reputation for unending wars and border disputes).

5. Next month, the Malaysian Informatics and Programming Society (MIPS), which I founded last year, will co-organize the first ever Malaysian Computing Olympiad (MCO). The MCO is a real time C++ programming contest for high school students. Our co-organizer is the Kulliyyah of ICT, International Islamic University Malaysia. The event will be partly sponsored by Jobstreet.

The winners of MCO will be shortlisted to attend further training camps, from which we will select 4 best students to represent Malaysia in the IOI 2013 ( IOI 2013 will take place in Brisbane, Australia.

There will be 27 participants in the MCO, who have earned their places through a series of qualifying tests. We should have an official MCO website up and running shortly.

6. My colleague at Aidan, Khairul Anwar (aka Bird), has been shortlisted to attend the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Young Fellows meeting at Durban, South Africa in May. He has been selected among many young professionals who passed the initial screening. Well done, Bird!

7. I just finished grading the scripts of the Asian Pacific Mathematics Olympiad that the Malaysian participants wrote on 12 March. Our result this year is phenomenal: the total country score has increased from 150 to more than 200, an average of 3 full problems per contestant. The easier set of problems definitely helps, but our students have also improved a lot. Congrats to Si Yu, Justin and Ying Hong for writing a perfect paper (35 out of 35!!). This is unthinkable a few years ago — shows how far the training regime has improved. I think it’s time for us to recruit more young coaches for the IMO team.

8. Iznan and I are planning a Germany-Turkey sojourn in November. He always wanted to go back to his “kampung” in Albstadt (near Stuttgart), and reconnect with the Turkish community among whom he used to live. This will be after our work trip to Edinburgh 30 October to 3 November.

NOTE: It seems like I’m dropping names of countries that I am going to visit — macam geng2 MLM pulak showing off tempat2 yang pergi melancong. This is far from the truth, I do not intend to show off. I am going to travel a lot this year, but none of them are for jalan-jalan or makan angin or lepak-lepak. I prefer to lepak-lepak in Malaysia, the most peaceful place on Earth. I only go overseas for work.

9. The Kangaroo Math Competition has been very popular with more than 10,000 participants registered so far. I will write more about it after the Contest Day (which is this Wednesday).

Will continue later, I’m too exhausted and need to sleep.

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