Saturday, October 18, 2008

Wei Kwan's biodata

Wei Kwan is currently a NUS final year undergraduate majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a specialization in Offshore Oil and Gas Technology. Due to his keen interest in the Marine industry, he has taken on projects and internships related to the industry to gain more exposure. Beside the academic realm, Wei Kwan is also an active participant in various cultural activities such as performing as an electric guitarist with his band, writing songs and singing in a choir. He has written songs for a hall theatrical production and showcased his songs on the ExxonMobil Campus Concerts. He enjoys listening to music, investing and reading in his free time.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

How an engineer thinks and why I am beginning to dread it

I am writing this post perhaps to get something off the back of my mind that has been bothering me for quite a while and to explain clearly on what I meant on my previous post. Not long ago, my other half and I were musing about how much our way of thinking had changed ever since we entered varsity. She is currently working as an engineer in the IT industry and majored in electrical engineering. So in what ways have our way of thinking change ? It seems that our way of thinking has become more analytical and systematic and sometimes we often joked about how we can draw comparisons between us and the way a robot thinks :D

Let me try my best to explain how an engineer would probably think. For example, one is tasked to design a bicycle and bring it into mass production. So these are the thoughts that will probably go through his mind.

- Which is the cheapest and strongest material I can use ?
- What is the fastest time I can bring it to mass production ?
- Which design is the most efficient ?
- Which production process will bring about the least amount of wastage ?

As for the flow of thoughts, probably it will go something like that; design of the bicycle done ? Checked and move on to next task. Analysis of the design done ? Checked and move on to next task. Material chosen ? Checked and move on to next task and the list just goes on.

Now let me share on what goes through my mind when I was thinking about the research report.

- How to write the report concisely and in details without it being too taxing on the group ?
- How much time should be allocated to this portion of the report so that we can have enough time to move on to other essential tasks ?
- What is the most efficient way of doing our allocated task ?
- How can we analyze our report properly so that we can avoid doing more drafts which can help us to save time for other essential tasks ?

I hope you guys can see the similarities now. My education has influenced the way I think in ways so subtle that I have never realized throughout these years in school until recently and part of me is beginning to dread the way I think now. Maybe these differences can be due to the character of each unique individual but I do not think that I am too far off the line by suggesting that our education do influence the way we think.

To be able to think like this and being analytical is not such a bad thing after all perhaps. I am just slightly chagrined at how this way of thinking has permeate certain spheres of my life and change the way I perceive things now.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Reflections on Research Project

I must say that this research project has been a tough one so far. So far we had burned our previous weekend doing this project and even as I am typing my blog post now, we are still preparing the final draft of this research project. Overall, I have benefited greatly from doing this research project in ways which I did not anticipate.

My group members are from the Science faculty while I am from the Engineering faculty. Before we embarked on this project, I did not think that there would be any significant differences in the way we think since after all, we are around the same age and attend the same university. I found out that this is not that true after all. Perhaps due to my engineering education, I noticed that when we were writing the drafts of the report, I tend to focus on keeping things simple and doing things straight to the point. Moreover, I tend to emphasize on trying to do things efficiently in a systematic way. Thus I guess there were some minor differences when my group members have a different emphasis from mine in the sense that they were more meticulous about the details of this research project.

Overall, I begin to appreciate the the diverse viewpoints that each of us had and this helps to make our research report a more complete one. In a team, it is important to tap on the individual strengths of every group member.