MIT Dinner Treat at a Thai restaurant treat!

7 Aug 2017

It is the fifth day of IDC 17, So far, my experience at ZJU has been a pleasant and positive one. In the seven days I was here, I have learnt many things about this province of China, Hangzhou. Firstly, the weather is very hot. This is because it is the summer period in Hangzhou, it can go up to 40 degree Celsius without wind. The student dormitory that we were provide is like a hotel, very comfortable with a queen size bed and air-conditional. I personally feel that this RoboCon competition is very collaborative rather than competitive, because each country draws lot to be in different team. Every team will have all different nationality. Like for my team, consist of Japanese, Korean, China students from university. This RoboCon has given me the opportunity to learn how to interact with people and learn from them, because everyone has their own special skill set and ideas that they can contribute to make your product (robot) even better than one person can think. Communication with your team members will be a little difficult because they do not speak English very well. But however, we learn to draw diagrams, show pictures and sometimes even use translator to get our ideas/ points across. Work is work and play is play. To really bond with your team mates for this short period of time you need to really go out for dinner with your team mates. I feel that my team is the perfect team. All guys, all motivated, all driven with one purpose. To create a very good aesthetical and functional robot. We are 5 days in and have another 4 days left. We are about 75% done. I have to make some very difficult decisions because some of us are taking our exams next week and there is really very little time to study for it. It is the first time in my life that before an examination, I never study as much as I suppose to. Well, in life we all make decisions. Good or bad, one can at the glass half empty or half filled. Every decision made has a positive and negative effect. I am very thankful for this opportunity that I am able to interact and mix around with people from different countries. I like to talk to them because I find that culture and environment do affects ones mentality. So, understand their culture will enable you to think like them to, to have a broader perspective. Singapore is not just all there is, there are many opportunities out there only if you are willing to take that risk and take a leap of faith into the unknown. What do you have to lose? Not anything that will cost you your life.

12 Aug 2017

The sixth day of IDC 17, fabrication day. I have spent my last 6 days from morning till evening in the workshop fabricating and making the robot while my other group mates are doing the coding up in the class room. I feel that it is important to have the CAD design of your final product, so you can laser cut or 3d print the products. However, it is important to be flexible too, because there will be some areas that you can never plan in the CAD so you have to do manual adjustment. As a polytechnic student, I have the advantageous in fabrication, because I am exposed to different tools and machines and can visualise certain mechanisms.

17 Aug 2017

The last day of building of our robot, several problems arise and the final product of the robot is yet to be completed. It feels very nerve wrenching knowing that you only have one day to solve the problem, to make the robot able to complete the task. Concurrently, I have two papers that I am taking for my final first term exam in the morning and afternoon. I felt very guilty because my team mates are busy building the robot, trying to solve the problem while I must leave them to prepare and take my test. I have never not studied for an exam before and this is the first time I experience such situation. After the second exam, I rushed back to the workshop to try to solve the problem and work with my team. So, we stayed till 3 am to build and program our robot, finally our hard work played off and both robots were working well. Overall, your decision is dependent on your priorities and your philosophy. I chose to work on my robot through the night because I felt that it is unfair that my team mates are putting in so much effort and it is only ethical to share the work with my team. ‘Opportunity comes knocking on your window once’ if you do not go for it now than when.

Extra: A famous story of Hangzhou about the West Lake.

Hangzhou has this very famous tale of a female white snake (demon) that can change its form into a human, fell in love and married to a human. One day a local monk saw her and can tell that she was a white snake demon. The monk was successful in trapping the white snake demon in pagoda. It is a dilemma because and questions some part of religion for example, can a demon be a good demon? Can humans and other creatures be together? Is it right or wrong to break up love?

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Bryan Phang Ying Xian
I graduated with a Diploma in Aerospace engineering from Temasek Polytechnic. I served my time in the national service as a Ground base air defence (GBAD) officer in the Air force. I am the youngest of my three siblings which one of them is already married. I like to spend my free time reading on health and fitness and also going to the gym. My hobbies are cooking, watching movies and researching on random things that I find interesting. I like to always think of ways to solve current issues that we face using technology. Therefore, I want to hone my skills and find like-minded people to work together with, pondering on ideas to make the world a better and more conducive place to live in. Favorite quote: '' No pain, No gain.'' Personal philosophy: There is no such thing as an impossible task, there is only an illusion that impossibility exists. If you put your mind, heart and soul to whatever you want to achieve, every idea thought of no matter how ridiculous it may seem will eventually succeed.

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