Back from interview

Some RJC students finally pinned me down after a couple of weeks or pursuit. I had gathered some sense that they had done their reading, and so succumbed to their persistence.

They had previously interviewed Geh Min (ex-NSS president) and Mah Bow Tan (Minister of National Development) by email but have yet to nail down Joseph Lai or Ria Tan. I suggested they indicate the depth of their reading in future emails, ask more specific questions and indicate the extent of their work so far.

You see, the plethora of group projects investigating a variety of issues by students in tertiary institutes, JCs and even secondary schools means we receive lots of requests annually. Initially I over-extended myself in the early years which was not always constructive, so now I quickly adopted a sustainable strategy.

  1. Is the email properly constructed? (Includes a proper introduction, signs off with a full name, essentially gather a sense of effort and attitude).
  2. If so, answer email. Usually also ask for their reading list of articles of websites.
  3. Supplement their reading list if need be.
  4. If they have done their reading and have more than a couple of questions, schedule a meeting in NUS or Holland Village (if after hours) – emails take too long and are restrictive.
  5. At the meeting, I’ll pretty much spill the beans (i.e. include context) to the normally fresh-faced students. Usually this includes writing out graphical visualisations on paper – larger table, more elaborate drawings (students are a source of very interesting pens and paper and will usually proffer their favourite pen).
  6. Depending on their project and if they are able to integrate the role of context, I then provide additional information. I might suggest names to consult.
  7. By now, I’ll know if its a serious group and am probably done in by their eager-beaver faces. So I might help setup very specific and short interviews with relevant and reluctant individuals – once this sort of group gets their foot in, the session will last as long as they need.
  8. I try to remember not to leave with their favourite pen.

However, once my busy semester begins (Aug – Nov), its coupled with NUS research student supervision so this category of activity is shelved until February the next year. I have a few more requests I’d better respond to now.

It’s not all a chore, though, despite this considered approach and the hint you might garner of significant reluctance! Often I leave the interviews with a sense of hope, and I think did so today as well.

Rain hits the west

Joelle just made it up the dept slope on her bike as the first drops hit her. She alerted me and we grabbed the relatively dry gloves and stuffed them in a trash bag. I’ve redirected my mini-fan in the office at them and the breeze bounces off and suffuses me with that familiar smell. I’ll sort them out to left and right gloves and will keep them at the museum until the next cleanup or the big do in September.

Then I checked rain locations and saw rain vlouds heading to Buloh so alerted Theresa who is in the midst of a survey in the mangroves there. She said the first drops hit her even as she received the SMS.

Gadgets for consideration

Kevin recommended the first two and the third I found after a little surfing:

  • SanDisk’s MultiCard ExpressCard Adapter – Kevin’s review – and now only $11.36 on Amazon – a no-brainer and Kevin just vouched for its download speed.
  • Mainnav MG-950D Sport Bluetooth GPS Data Logger / Cycle Computer – link – The cycle computer is tempting but an unlikely purchase – not enough offroad rides to warrant that since Bikely takes care of my road route plots nicely.
  • ?Locosys Genie BGT-31 Waterproof Sport Bluetooth GPS Data Logger with SD Expansion Slot – link – might be just what I need for my field trips – no Mac OS X support indicated but I think as long as it provides NMEA data, I can convert that for use by Google Earth.