Day 3: Saturday’s Hiking to Busan Tower

Well, it is not really a long hike up to the Yongdusan Mountain where the Busan Tower is located at the peak. I came to this place after my visit to the Jagalchi Market. The road heading up to this place is a little bit confused from the Google map. To cut it short, walk up the street when you see the police station on your left at the junction. Walking up the street brought me to a row of shops, cafes and boutiques on both side of the roads. Interestingly, I saw a temple in the middle, Aegean, along Gwangbokjungang-ro.

The weather was a bit cloudy and wanted to rain soon while I walked up to the Busan Tower. Not many people were walking with me to the same place, therefore the park at the bottom of the mountain looked empty. However, this was a great place to be because windy, shaded and no crowd. It was cooling to hang around at this place, overlooked the busy city and of course, we can see green here. The park has built the footpath and staircases to easily walk up the mountain. So, I took some time to slowly pace myself up the stairs.

Once a while, I can see people walking passed me, either coming down from the mountain or going up. After a while, finally, I reached the iconic landmark, the Busan Tower. Here, I can notice more people walking around because they are mostly tourists where the tour buses drove them up to the tower for viewing.

I did not enter the tower and I walked around to capture some great scenes from here. One of it is the great bell of the citizen. We cannot go near to the bell to see it or ring the bell.

Next is the statue of the great admiral Yi Sun-sin, a Korean naval commander famed for his victories against the Japanese navy during the Imjin war in the Joseon Dynasty. I did not follow their history, so just let it be with information from the Internet. The place was surrounded with some yellowish colored leaves, the sign of autumn in Korea.

As I walked further up to closer to the tower, the weather changed to sunny, made it perfectly good for a picture. This one is something we shall not miss as a tourist, I think. This place you can find some cafes to sit down and have a drink and food. For those who like to put the “love” locks, here is a place to do so.


The secret to happiness is freedom.
The secret to freedom is courage.

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Health: Broccoli

Broccoli is one of the easiest to prepare and cook vegetables. It can be eaten raw or cooked. I love to poach the broccoli and add some salt and pepper to taste, one of the simplest method to cook the broccoli.

It contains many nutrients and health benefits which you can google it online to find out more. I choose to include it in my LCHF (low carb high fiber) diet.

Christmas

Since after my last post on the 18th December, I briefly stopped writing my blog to enjoy my Christmas. Same as the previous years, I spent my Christmas in slow pace and enjoy the day without having much to do at home. I think this is a best way to enjoy a public holiday too. While many people go for holidays, some remain in town and enjoy the festival with family and friends.

As for myself, I spent the Christmas’ eve with a great Chinese lunch at Swee Choon Dim Sum house with a group of great people after work. We shared some laughter and stories together while waiting for food. It was quite crowded that day and some of our orders got mixed up.

After the lunch, everyone of us went of separately and I joined my colleagues back to her house to catch up some talks and movies. We watched the Game of Thrones.

Later the night, I went to Ang Mo Kio for Christmas’ eve dinner with my family. A big roasted turkey as our main dish for that night. We opened a bottle of champagne to share the moment.

A lot of Instagramable pictures were taken during the feast. The roasted turkey bought from the Fair Price was really huge, we just managed to finish both legs and one of the wings. The turkey meat texture was quite dry and hard. Generally, it is a good experience of eating the whole leg by myself.

Next, after 12.00 midnight, we cut the Christmas log cake and opened our presents. We bought the Strawberry Log Cake from FairPrice too. The strawberry paste is not very sweet to eat with the sponge cake. It was slightly creamy on top (as a design) and unavoidable I ate some of them. I am not a big fan of cake, just give an exemption for special occasion.

Very soon, we will usher the grand new year of 2019. It is time to plan for what to be done next year and work harder to make it achievable.

Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2018

2018 marks the 17th anniversary the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon

As early as 2.00AM in the Sunday’s morning, I woke up and got ready for my Standard Chartered Singapore half marathon. About two weeks ago, I bought the bus ticket to the Singapore F1 Pit Building, where the starting point was located, and it departed from my selected location. 

The bus came on time. Unfortunately, many of us who did not print out the bus ticket and wanted to use the mobile app called Share Transport to show our bus tickets, failed to load the application. 

My wild guess was many of us trying to login to their application and the server could not take the load. Yah, being a professional in IT, this is what usually we will think when an application or a website cannot load.

The bus driver did not check on us and allowed us to board the bus. Well, being a honest human living in Singapore, I hope all of us were genuine people who bought the bus ticket. The departure time was delayed and I still able to reach there before 4.00AM, where two of my friends were waiting.

At this wee hours, the city became so crowded with people and the roads were jammed with cars, taxis and buses. The bus did not drop us right next to the Singapore F1 Pit and we needed to do some walking crossing the road. It was a good warm up session with the crowd.

Fortunate enough, they split the lanes to “express” and “drop baggage”. Due to security check, the runners with bags have to be checked before walking into the baggage area, while those without bags like me can just use the “express” lane.

There was nothing much to see at the starting point at the Singapore F1 Pit building. Around 4.15AM, they started to announce the Pen A, B and C were to close soon. After last year bad experience with choosing a pen which I have to walk for 15 minutes to the designated pen at the Orchard Road, I decided not to bother the completion time during the registration. The completion time is used to determine which pen you will be flagged out. 

It took me a while before I finally able to move into the starting point as people were started walking in after the announcement was made. I was at pen C and I flagged off at 4.44AM according to my Fitbit. 

This year the running route for half marathon was different than the usual one, no more running at the ECP (East Coast Park). We ran to the west, passed through the city, where the War Memorial Park, St. Andrew Cathedral, Fullerton Hotel and Lau Pa Sat are located, before we turned into Keppel Road. 

From the Tanjong Pagar Old Railway Station, we ran up to the West Coast Highway. It was a very boring straight highway. Okay la, not very straight but nothing to see when we were facing west. However, when I finally made a U-turn at the 13th KM along the highway, the whole journey changed. My next 4KM along the highway was accompanied by the beautiful late sunrise. It was my best memory for my entire half marathon.

I made a few stops along the way for water stations. At one of its water stations, they provided bananas and gels. I chose to eat the gel than the banana. The gel will take effective faster than the banana to “generate” energy for me.

Also, I stopped by to do stretching and of course to enjoy the majestic sunrise and tagged along some people as my pacers. Of course, along the way, I saw marathon pacers passed by me. 

Unfortunately, this wonderful scene could only be my memories. I did not take picture of it as many other people did. And ya, how many chances you can take a sunrise picture at the middle of the highway without endanger other people?

Come to the most historical moment, after exited the highway, I ran back to the city toward the ending point. This was where the half marathon and the full marathon started to split their way. Right at the 77 Robinson Road, after went through about 19KM of the marathon, suddenly I could not move any further, not even slow walk. 

Yes, I reached my maximum capacity of running, jogging, brisk walking or even slow walking. I took a break and tried to do some stretching to relax my muscle. It did not work out well. It seemed bad but I still insisted to continue. For every steps I took, I prayed. With the God’s blessing, I managed to reach somewhere near Fullerton Hotel again.

It was scorching hot by then. I started to hear people running from the back, shouting, “Don’t walk, just final 1KM”. Then, I realized, the end point was not too far from where I was walking. Since, I felt much better then, I decided to slowly pace my jog up to Esplanade. From behind, I heard, “Excuse me, excuse me”. I was wondering, why needed to shout when the whole road was open for us to run! 

Hah, it was a group of 2hr 45m pacers for half marathon. I thought they have left earlier than me as I did not notice seeing them during my journey. I felt motivated after seeing them, they seemed to be delayed. Anyway, I followed their pace for a while running up all the way to turn right into Raffle Avenue.

Then, I started to lose energy and I knew I needed to slow down and paced again. Finally, I gained back my momentum to jog for the last 150 meters away to the finishing lane. Along the way, plenty of photographers readily to take photographs of us. I posted a few since I was jogging on the left lane. 

I crossed the finishing lane at gun time 3:20:38 at the floating point area. Hooray! Congratulations!

I walked to collect my medal, but cannot collect the finisher T which is meant for full marathoners, then I walked over to the Singapore Flyer’s area to get the cold tower, cold mineral water. I lost all my energy then, that I could not even open the bottle of drink. Lucky, the boys helped me out.

I gulped down half a bottle of it. I started to forget where was the last water station did I stop. Then, I started to feel tired and unable to walk, but I still need to walk pass the whole stretch of water station, then collected my cold isotonic drink, the banana and I skipped the Lays’ potato chips to the resting area. 

So many people around there and I chose to stand behind a board, a Thank You board for the volunteers. Oh, well… It is better you save the money making those boards and go paperless. At least you can get people feedback of your entire event. 

Nevertheless, the board helped me to block the sun while I was drinking my drinks and eating the banana. It was a good spot to take picture with Singapore Flyer. A few people came and asked me to help them to take pictures. With my skill, of course, I gave the best shot the full wheel of fortune and half body with their medal. (Need to squat a little bit ya).

I left the game village shortly after that without waiting for my friends and headed back home. I wanted to take a good shower and rest for half a day. At the MRT station, I went to the washroom to do a quick “shower” before I made my journey back home. I just did not want to smell smelly in the train. Hehe…

At home, I did my laundry, took my shower and I started to feel super hungry. I decided to walk to the market for my breakfast, yes, it was still in the morning. While walking, I noticed my legs began to pain, the after effect of running for long distance. So, I went back home after that, put on some muscle rub and cushioned my legs before I slept. 

I slept for another 4 hours and woke up, replied some messages and felt hungry again. I went out again to buy some grocery to cook my dinner that night. Well, I felt my both of my legs got better after some rest and I continued to do more stretching after dinner.

Two days after the marathon, I felt everything back to normal and I was able to walk normally. Still remember two of my friends ran for the full marathon? I asked them to bring their medal for me to take a picture. The medal is huge and heavy as compared with my half marathon medal.

Highly Scalable Systems

I was being asked to look into this topic called highly scalable systems. Instantly, I diverted my attention to my IT team for more insights. As far as I know, this topic covers many areas, it could be storage, processor cores , memory and etc, from hardware to software. Looking at the data volume nowadays, how to design a highly scalable system is important. So, from where I should start first?

Let me try to understand the term “highly scalable”.  It means flexibility to scale. What is scale? It means can change. In short, it is flexibility to change. In most of the cloud services are now scalable. 

We need to build a solution, uniquely and dedicated to the project.

Next, I moved to focus on database scaling. The first thing it prompts up is the horizontal and vertical scaling. If you have read the MongoDB document, you will find this topic too. I picked up one of the plain text explanations from the stackoverflow website.

Horizontal scaling means that you scale by adding more machines into your pool of resources whereas vertical scaling means that you scale by adding more power (CPU, RAM) to an existing machine.

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/11707879/difference-between-scaling-horizontally-and-vertically-for-databases

Usually, when we do vertical scaling, it requires some downtime to increase the resources and restart server to complete this process. Meanwhile, horizontal scaling just adding another machine in the system, it is highly used in the tech industry. This will decrease the request per second rate in each server.

To segregate the requests, equally to each of the machine (example, application server), you need to add load balancer which would act as reverse proxy to the web servers.

Day 5: Boolean & Comparison Operators in Python

Boolean is either true or false. This data type can take one of this two values only. In Python, its keyword is True or False. It is case-sensitive. The compiler will throw an error if the value is not follow the lettercase. A value of True corresponds to an integer value of 1, and will behave the same. A value of False corresponds to an integer value of 0.

A little extension from the Boolean is the logical and comparison operators. It works closely with Boolean because it returns True or False when we use any of the logical and comparison operators.

Comparison Operators
It is common we want to compare two or more values. The comparison can be done on the same object type. Some of the operators such as ‘==’, ‘!=‘, ‘<‘ and ‘>‘ are commonly used in any programming languages including databases’ queries statements.

# Create arrays
import numpy as np
my_house = np.array([18.0, 20.0, 10.75, 9.50])
your_house = np.array([14.0, 24.0, 14.25, 9.0])

# my_house greater than or equal to 18
print(my_house >= 18)

# my_house less than your_house
print(my_house < your_house)

# Output:
[ True  True False False]
[False  True  True False]

Logical Operators
It can be combined using comparison operators with keywords, ‘and’, ‘or’ and ‘not’.
and‘ = both are true condition then it becomes True.
or‘ = either one is true condition then it becomes True.
not‘= is used to reverse the logical state of the operands. True becomes False, False becomes True. Example, not(2 > 10), it returns True.

Day 3: Saturday’s Brunch at Jagalchi Market

I spent my next 1.5 hours enjoying my brunch at this quiet restaurant runs by a family. The main reason I stepped into this restaurant because they can speak a little English which could help me in food ordering. I still need some English to converse.

I did not take the picture of the main entrance of the restaurant. So, I missed out the restaurant’s name. I will google it and update the name and address again. And of course, the menu has its name too. 

I saw a couple inside this restaurant. Both of them could be from either Malaysia or Singapore. I did not sit around them and I chose to sit further away on the tatami floor dining area. 

It was pretty comfortable to sit here, breezing cold with wind coming from the main entrance. I took a while to see through the menu and decided to order their set meal, the grilled fish set meal for one person. Again, there is no issues for me to order 1 person portion.

It took quite a while for them to cook the dishes and as usual they served me with the side dishes first and free flow of plain water. The weather was cold and still they served me cold water. I wondered if I could have warm water.

Tada, my grilled fish was served. I did not know what kind of fish it was and it tasted just alright, not salty at all and did not smell stinky. Initially, I did feel that the whole portion of the set meal was quite little. However, half way eating the grilled fish, I started to feel full. 

Then, I started to dive into my kimchi soup and took a few spoons. It was sweet and tasty, not spicy at all. I believed the soup based was made of fish bones, again with plenty of kimchi and pickled radish cooked with cucumber and some fish meat, I did find it delicious and go well with my plain rice.

The weather was quite cold and my grilled fish very soon started getting cold and I sped up my eating to make sure I finished my fish and the soup before getting cold. The ahjumah was quite friendly to help me to replenish the kimchi while I was slightly being entertained by the two young kids, the grandsons of the ahjumah. The kids cannot speak English but they are not shy at all.