Sunday, December 31, 2006

A year in photos, part 2

A salute to photography enthusiasts and Flickrites with point-and-shoot cameras.

Looking at them made me feel like putting captions, which would be helpful. Then again, you can just review my previews posts...

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

A year in photos, part 1

Recycling now, starting over in 2007. Not so much the representative photos of the year but my favorite ones.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Just a little bit

Just felt like posting this because I miss Maria Mena's music. This MV feels like a student's life in a university town, insecurities included. I must also thank Maria for showing that big hair is ok (or at least in the morning). Hahaha!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

A tough Bond to break

Casino Royale is probably the most realistic James Bond movie ever. It's understated, never too flashy. I'm guessing it's the total opposite of the 1967 spoof movie.

Daniel Craig as 007 could be a little more human, but I wouldn't mind seeing him again. Craig and Eva Green (Vesper Lynd) don't make a perfect couple, but there are moments when you just want them to live happily ever after. I like the train dinner scene in contrast to the shower scene. Totally defensive turned totally vulnerable.

And by the way...
Salon posted their sexiest man living list. No hunks here. I agree with two of the thirteen picks. See if you can guess who they are.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

BBC International Radio Playwriting Competition 2007


The British Council and BBC World Service have launched the International Radio Playwriting Competition for 2007.

About the Competition

Applicants are invited to write a radio play of about 60 minutes on any subject of their choice. The play must be the original, unpublished work of the person or persons submitting it. The contest is open to any writer who is not normally a resident of the United Kingdom. The play must be written in English but can be translated by a third party, although there is no financial assistance available to help with any translation costs. Translated work must be identified as such, and the translator’s name given.


There are two main prizes given: to the best play written in English as a first language, and to the best play written in English as a second language. The two prize winners will each receive £2500 sterling and a trip to London to see their plays being recorded and to attend a prize-giving evening. There are also additional prizes of digital or short wave radios being given for the best radio play to be written from each of the following geographical areas: The Americas; Europe; Africa and the Middle East; South Asia; Russia and the Caucasus; Asia and Pacific. All writers whose plays reach the judges' final shortlist will receive BBC goodie bags as well as getting feedback on their plays from the BBC’s team of professional readers.

How to apply

Application forms are available for download here. Closing date for applications is 30 April 2007.

For further enquiries, please call Susan Arcega at the British Council, telephone numbers 914-1011 to 14 extension 130.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Everything old is new again

These upcoming movie releases should sound familiar to the kids in all of us.

Charlotte's Web
Never read this, but it's a classic. Cute site.

Miss Potter
Not Harry's sister, but author Beatrix Potter. Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor looks charming in the trailer.

TMNT (March)
The turtles have to prove that they are still profitable. Cowabunga!

The Simpsons Movie (July)
My parents hated it. My brother loved it.

Transformers (July)
Autobots and Decepticons fight. Reminds me of my brother's Optimus Prime toy.

Monday, December 25, 2006

What I did before the clock struck midnight

I was out on Bellarmine Field with my brother. We had an on-the-spot photo contest. I lost. On a positive note, I was able to get a new header image.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Dear (insert name here),

This is my version of the generic greeting card. I tried to personalize it somewhat, but I guess some you might not want to see your face on YouTube, so it turned out this way.

Hope you enjoy it!


Saturday, December 23, 2006

curing writer's block

(lowercase letters=too lazy to re-type from wordpad, sorry)
i'm a slow writer when it comes to coursework, so i really devote time to writing and end up passing work early.

i plan to submit drafts for essays weeks before the deadline because i'm going to a new country and i don't think i can do essays while adjusting to a new environment and learning another language.

it's christmas break, but i need to write 15000 words (3 essays x 5000 words) over the next three weeks. it took me three days to write 150 words(!). there must be a sign over my head saying "vacation mode".

yesterday i tried to rid myself of distractions.i stayed away from the internet for most of the day and closed the door so that i won't hear the hammering, sawing and drilling from the construction sites nearby. i looked for the most positive (cheesy?) songs on my showtunes playlist and came up with these:

the 25th annual putnam county spelling bee - why we like spelling
a new brain - i feel so much spring
avenue q - i wish i could go back to college
the baker's wife - meadowlark
billy elliot - electricity
brooklyn - once upon a time
fame - bring on tomorrow
hairspray - you can't stop the beat
the last five years - the next ten minutes
the light in the piazza - say it somehow
little shop of horrors - suddenly seymour
pippin - morning glow
wicked - defying gravity
you're good man, charlie brown - happiness

output: 800 words in 7.5 hours
verdict: singing is not a cure-all, but it helps.

about the image
i'm doing a paper on ES, TLP and LL. i brought home a week's worth of all of the papers.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Geeky stuff

Some people probably think I'm a geek, but my brother knows better (I ask him about tech). I have no Friendster, Facebook or MySpace account, but I think that there's a lot to be learned from new media. It amazes me how wired the world is when some people still don't have electricity and running water.

Just cant get e-nough
Blog streaking. Egosurfing. Infornography. You Tube narcissism. Google-stalking. MySpace impersonation. Powerpointlessness. Photolurking. Wikipediholism. If you have one of New Scientist's modern maladies, you're turning into a geek (if you aren't one yet).

Google Reader Notifier
Checking blogs that never seem to update (hint, hint) is not fun. On Google Reader, you can subscribe to friends's blogs and feeds of other sites like Lifehacker, Salon and a number of photoblogs. If you want to take it a step further, get a notifier to check your unread items on Google Reader.

Another reason to (1) have a Gmail account and (2) use Firefox as your browser. Gmail Space, a Firefox add-on "allows you to use your Gmail Space (2.5 GB and growing) for file storage". Neat.

Image from stock.xchange via

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The whisky priest and other familiar characters

Three weeks ago, I wanted to read something different. I looked at the books in the Ashwell library and narrowed down my choices to two: Ian McEwan's Atonement and Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory. I chose the latter because the former was a thick book and a movie adaptation of it starring Kiera Knightley and James McAvoy will be out next year.

The Power and the Glory is in TIME's list of 100 Best Novels from 1923 to the present. What can I say? It's Graham Greene. Written from the point of view of a foreigner in Mexico, a converted Catholic at that, the book hits close to home. It was banned by the Church 14 years after its publication, but Pope Paul VI told Greene "to pay no attention to the condemnation by the Holy Office", according to this article.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Public transport in 2016

If TFL had its way, this is what the London Underground will look like in 10 years's time. Wow.

Regardless of how much Londoners complain about delays, closures, and the state of the trains, it's still light years ahead of us. I hope we can find a solution to our transport woes in the near future.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Inflight movies

Flew into Manila via Hong Kong yesterday. In between naps, I caught In The Mood For Love, which was not as heartwrenching as Mari-An warned me it would be (Maggie Cheung, lend me your cheongsams). I also saw a couple of movies I didn't like, Scoop and Miami Vice (I honestly watched it for Gong Li and the part just wasn't an acting vehicle for her). Channel surfing, I watched Top Gear, Jamie's Great Italian Escape, countdowns on E! and Da Ali G Show. Sacha Baron Cohen is one crazy guy.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

So long and farewell, London

I knew this would all be over quickly, so goodbye, London. I will see you again in the summer, when the sun will make everything glow again.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


A fully booked last week in London. I wish I had more time to say goodbye! The last two days...

Friday, December 15, 2006

Christmas dinner

Beautiful. After aperitif in the Hall, we had a wonderful Christmas dinner , with a hotel-life starter, turkey with cranberry and of course, Christmas pudding that was months in the making.

I got pulled to be one of Santa's reindeer. Before getting our secret santa (kris kringle) presents, we each had to do a forfeit, a kind of task. Coffee and chocolates folowed. Then a bit of dancing. A very memorable evening.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


The forecast said no rain. Translation: cold. We meant to go to Hampstead Heath, but I said it would save time to go to Regent's Park. Being winter, there were fewer leaves, fewer flowers and fewer visitors--just the regular pensioner or jogger.

Indi's London guidebook said Portland Place had exceptional architecture, so we went there. Finding nothing particularly amazing, we landed in Adam's Eatery, where the servers' "dress code" was kalbo o nakakalbo(the only exception being the South Asian guy). Now that I think about it, maybe the four other guys were related, hence the commonality.

Then it was back to the usual hideout: the institute library.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

December birthdays

Ashanti, Valeria and Myriam's turn. Lee Meng played the piano, Helene sang on video, I did a Wouldn't It be Loverly parody (care of Ceci and Sara), Laura accompanied herself on the guitar and then played a Venezuelan birthday song with Melanie, Esther and Yiya. I didn't get to read, but I only have a few days left here and I may never get to celebrate with the same people again, so I have to adjust things a bit.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Hello, Web 2.0

What's in a term? If you're familiar with the websites littered on that graphic, then you know Web 2.0. It's certainly a very interesting field. I've been thinking about my dissertation for next autumn and I'm quite drawn to new media. Since it's a very broad topic, I've narrowed down my three possible subjects to one. I'm nervous about it. It's thesis time all over again!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Mulled wine, mince pies and music

We had a full house for the Ashwell carol concert last Sunday afternoon. We sang ancient advent and Christmas carols (including Adam Lay Ybounden in this video slideshow); the audience joined us for a few songs. The appearance of Santa Claus made the kids happy.

Thanks to Eka, Masako and Irene for coming to see me. I hope you had a great experience, like I did.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

"Dippin dots from the sky" and other tales

I usually go to uni by bus, but last week, I wanted to walk. It takes 50 minutes to get to school at a semi-brisk pace along City Road/Pentonville Road/Euston Road (it's like a long road cut up in parts). Last Thursday, I took a different route, via Old Street/Clerkenwell Road/Theobald's Road. Either way, it's roughly a 3km distance.

There was a bit of sun, so I was in no hurry. I passed by an art supplies shop and bought a nylon 0000 brush for detail work. When I reached Southampton Row I saw lightning and heard thunder. Then it started to rain. And then little white pellets fell--my first experience of hail. (The post title is how Indi describes it.) Then the wind blew like mad, making my umbrella turn inside-out twice and sending shop standees crashing as they toppled over. When I reached the institute, the sun came out. The sky was blue. Not a cloud in sight. Incidentally, there was a tornado in northwest London that same day that damaged houses and cars.

I had lunch with Jon at Fire & Stone, Covent Garden. (Maita couldn't make it because she was called in at Harrods.) We talked about the future of the Communication in Ateneo. From the looks of it, there isn't space for us at the department. We walked around the Strand campus of LSE, and from what I saw, Jon is lucky--there are lots of lads at LSE. Hahaha!

Saturday, December 9, 2006

A better option for women

Women are complex creatures. But then you know that already.

There was a talk last week on women's health and infertility. It's not just an issue for women who want to have children but also something general for even young girls to know about. Roughly one in 10 women have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, which usually goes undiagnosed, leading to unexplained infertility, amongst other health problems. Find out more about NaPro Technology at the IIRRM website

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Ian, Judi and cheese

A cheesy movie with Ian McKellen and Judi Dench. Impossible? See Jack and Sarah, a 90s with lots of heart and Simply Red's Stars in the background. Don't say I didn't warn you. The Knight and the Dame have small supporting roles, but they do help prop up the movie.

Isn't it a bit too early for this?

We went carolling around Islington Wednesday night for the Kenya project. There were just four of us: Ceci, Ana B, Caroline and myself. Mighty cold, even with thinsulate gloves. I learned carols on the run. A lot of doors didn't open, either because the residents didn't want to or they simply weren't at home. But those who did open up were very generous with money and with compliments on our singing. I have a tendency to shove the collection jar in front of the person who opens the door. Imagine an Asian girl with a Santa hat ringing your doorbell and expecting your cash. I wonder if I offended British sensibilities. I will try to be more polite next time!

Photo shows the ice rink at Somerset House.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Pasko sa Philippine House

Hanapin ang bandila't mga parol.

The Philippine Ambassador to the United Kingdom hosted an early Christmas party for Filipino students in the UK at his residence on Kensington Palace Green (lovely, lovely area). We had Filipino food: pancit malabon, sapin-sapin, empanada, tokwa't baboy. A group called UMPUK performed a balagtasan that debated whether Filipinos should stay in London. There was also a raffle where practically everybody won something.

It was interesting to meet fellow students and find connections with them. There's the LSE student who was from my high school, the IoE grad student who used to work at our telco client, the two Communication graduates who were ahead of me in Ateneo: one worked in fashion and dealt with our magazines; the other is going to meet David Buckingham of IoE and plans to teach at the Comm dept.

More proof that the world is small? Irene, a Filipina involved in The Work, who used to live in Ashwell and is the daughter of the consultant in the company my dad works for (whew) was free that evening. She had been planning to meet me eversince I arrived here. She lived very near the Embassy (and actually used to work there), so we had dinner--pasta at an Italian place at Queensway. We had a lot to talk about in the span of two hours. Forgot to take photos, but she's coming to the carol concert.

We do need the practice, but it was a blessing that we didn't have choir that afternoon. We practiced onstage last night. It's a big hall, so we will need some mics.

Dessert day

Another cookery session with Maria. Tiramisu with real mascarpone cheese and amaretto, no graham crackers. (Had it for lunch on Sunday. Quite good.)We also made Baked Vanilla Cheesecake, which we had tonight. It came out more lemon-y than vanilla. I was hoping it'd be smoother, but it was alright, not too sweet.

Monday, December 4, 2006

A short walk

I meant to come to the Pinoy postgrad meet-up at UCL, but checked my email late and didn't see anyone at the meeting place (benches at UCL main). I just walked down Gower Street to Bloomsbury Square before hopping on a bus to Oxford Street.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

DUI (Down Under images)

My family just came back from a trip to Sydney and Gold Coast in Australia, a much-deserved breaking for three hard workers. I think my mom showed papa and Cent the same places that the two of us went to five years ago, plus some other sights. Stole a few photos from my brother's Multiply site for this slideshow.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Sakhee's 18th

Last night, we had another colorful celebration. Saw part of Munna Bhai, an Indian movie about a gangster pretending to be a doctor. Then everyone trooped in to watch Cecilia and Sara's silent comedy sketch and Valeria's modern dance performance before the cake was brought in. A bit of dancing before splitting up at 11 o'clock. Yep, still early for a Friday night. Sakhee is leaving tomorrow. We will miss the only vegetarian in the house.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Comeback kids

So Take That and All Saints are back to revive their careers. Who could be next?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Auf Wiedersehen, Mona!

One of my fellow Erasmus Mundus students, Mona, is leaving tonight to prepare for her big fat Greek wedding next month. After the break, she is going to Kassel, her home university. I hope I see her again someday.

At the student union, from left to right: Nasia, Mona, Karina, Indi, Riz, Ryan, Adele

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Learning differently

The Master's programme I am taking is quite a change from my degree because the system here is different.

1) I call my teachers by their first names.
2) There's much more independent study and even more to read.
3) My classes are in mixed mode, meaning a lot of components are done online, allowing part-timers from other parts of England to take the course.
4) The thing I like most about school is that they emphasize that they will do their best to help. If you have any problem at all, academic or personal, they will help you or refer you to someone who can help you. This kind of support system is great, especially for international students who may have difficulty adapting with the system or coping with the change in environment.

There are 4,400 of us postgraduates in the institute, mostly studying education. I suppose many have already been teaching for years, so you can gauge the atmosphere in our school, which looks like an office building occupying nearly a whole block in Bloomsbury.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The summer of '69

The Friday night movie the other week (backlog, true) was The Bourne Supremacy, which I had already seen, so I borrowed a DVD from the house collection. Caroline lent me Awakenings, the 1990 movie starring Robert de Niro and Robin Williams and based on a true story about patients at a hospital.

The treatment proposed by the doctor was risky, but luckily, it worked. Unfortunately, not for long, and the patients went back to their catatonic state. A bit of a moral issue there, but if the patient has no quality of life to speak of, it was worth the risk. Excellent, excellent performances. I was a bit distracted by Julie Kavner's voice, though (she's the voice of Marge Simpson in The Simpsons).

Monday, November 27, 2006

Seeing is Believing

Some students from London and Manchester were with us for this conference on film and television. Martin Kettering of Scottish TV gave a broad but brilliant outline of the issues around film and TV; students gave short presentations. The conference is a taster for UNIV 2007 in Rome on 31st March to 8th April, coinciding with Holy Week. I hope I can go.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Shepherdess Cafe

I had lunch at the cafe around the corner from us because Jamie Oliver recommended in the Visit London site. Hahaha! It has that local eatery feel and is usually packed at lunchtime. Big servings, reasonable price.

Oliver's restaurant Fifteen is just a few blocks away. Can't afford it, though.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

A celebration

We had a little birthday celebration for Ana Sophia. There was a funny skit, a dance, a song and a birthday cake. Simple but fun.

Friday, November 24, 2006

World's best and Studying overseas

[Late, but better than never. These two articles are from Michael Tan's Pinoy Kasi column in PDI. Please, please read them. I thought of taking photos of the six London unis in the top 100 to go with the post, but looking at the rankings makes me want to stay inside my room and study harder. My two pence worth on this (and yes, I am screaming): MORE SCHOLARLY RESEARCH! APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIPS!]

World's best
By Michael Tan
Last updated 00:10am (Mla time) 10/25/2006

Published on Page A15 of the October 25, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

SOME time back, i rote about the ratings of Asian universities given by Asiaweek magazine. Sadly, Asiaweek has closed down, so I thought we would no longer be able to compare universities in the region.

But it turns out that there are global surveys as well, one of which was just released last Oct. 5. This is the Times Higher Education Supplement-Quacquarelli Symonds (THES-QS) World University Rankings. With thousands of universities in the world, it is an honor to make it to this list, which is based on several criteria, including faculty-to-student ratios and ratings given by more than 3,000 academicians and 700 leading international employment recruiters.

How did the Philippines fare? I'm going to keep you in suspense and just say, for now, that four of our universities did make it to the top 500 universities.

Global ranks

Let's look first at the THES-QS list of 20 leading universities. Note that there are ties so there might be occasional skipping of numbers: Harvard (1st), Cambridge (2nd), Oxford (3rd), Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale (tying for 4th), Stanford (6th), California Institute of Technology (7th), University of California in Berkeley (8th), Imperial College London (9th), Princeton (10th), University of Chicago (11th), Columbia (12th), Duke (13th), Beijing University (14th), Cornell (15th), Australian National University (16th), London School of Economics (17th), Ecole Normale Superieure (18th), National University of Singapore and Tokyo University (tying for 19th).

Most of the universities are American and British, but there is also representation from Australia, France, China, Singapore and Japan. Most of the leading American universities are private; in fact, on that top 20 list, the University of California Berkeley is the only American public institution. When I went on to the top 500 universities, I found that in
all countries of the world, with the glaring exception of the United States and one other country (which I'll name later but which you may have guessed), state universities lead in the rankings.

Asia's best

I decided to pull out the Asian (to include Australian) universities from the THES-QS list and found that among the world's 500 leading universities, 90 are from Asia. Japan leads with 28, followed by China (including Hong Kong) with 16, Taiwan with 8, South Korea and Thailand with 7 each, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines with 4 each, Australia with 3, Singapore with 2 and Bangladesh with one.

Do be careful with those figures since it's not just a numbers game. Australia and Singapore have few universities on the list, but they are all high up in the ranking.

Enough with the suspense. Let's look at how the Philippines did. The University of the Philippines (UP) came in 299th globally and 47th among Asian universities. I have to say that's not too bad, considering how UP has had to plod along with shrinking budgets and with the flight of so many good professors. Trailing behind UP were three private universities: De La Salle (392nd), Ateneo de Manila (484th) and, talk about a photo finish, the University of Santo Tomas at 500th.


Instead of bombarding you with more numbers, I'm going to analyze those rankings and spell out three important implications for our own educational system.

First, you don't need to be a rich country to have good universities, India being the best example. Even before independence, Indian nationalists had formed a commission to plan out their future and early on, they sought to form a network of science and technology institutions. After independence, funds were put in to establish a whole network, with several Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) campuses. IIT ranked 57th in the THES-QS global list.

Indonesia, a country less developed than the Philippines, is another example. It had three universities, all state-run, beating us in rankings: University of Indonesia (250th), Bandung Institute of Technology (258th) and University of Gadja Mada (270th).

Second, the other countries seem to recognize that excellence in education must be spread out throughout the country. Note that our four best universities are all in Metro Manila. In contrast, the Indian Institute of Technology has campuses in several states, all of which fared quite well when Asiaweek rated each unit back in 2000. The three Indonesian universities I just named are all on the island of Java, but at least they're found not just in the capital, Jakarta, but also in Bandung and Yogyakarta.

Thailand's best universities -- Chulalongkorn, Thammasat, Mahidol, Kasatsart, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen and Prince of Songkla -- are all state universities and they are located in different parts of the country.

Third (and I've made this point time and time again), the state needs to invest in universities. The THES list is clear in showing that, with the exception of the United States and the Philippines, the leading universities in every country are state-owned. Sure, UP is the leader in the Philippines, but in other countries, several state universities – not just one -- made it to the THES list.

Most governments in the world have the wisdom to look at education as something too important to leave to "free market forces" (read: "profit"). Unless we learn from them, we will continue to see more diploma mills, more scandals in licensure exams and more Filipinos having to work overseas as cheap labor to develop other countries. Note that the THES-QS rankings also relate to international competitiveness, meaning if you graduate from those that lead in the rankings, you also stand a better chance of getting a well-paying international job.

UP is still among the world's best, but if we worked harder on the entire educational system, we should have more reason to be proud. Ultimately, we should be able to look at these university rankings as indicators of our current development strategies, as well as predictors of the country's future.

Studying overseas
By Michael Tan
Last updated 01:22am (Mla time) 11/10/2006

Published on Page A13 of the November 10, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

WITH the economy the way it is now, you might be wondering why I'm bothering to write about the possibilities of studying overseas.
First, I'm still getting inquiries about the Times Higher Education Supplement's World University Rankings, which I featured last week, from friends who want to know where to send their children. OK, so those are the rich ones and therefore does all this have relevance to the average Filipino family? It does.
The other reason I'm doing this column is that I've learned, over the past few months, that there are few takers for several scholarships being offered by Japanese, Australian, Singaporean and European universities.
Filipinos tend to get intimidated by these scholarship offers, thinking they have to be at the top of their class, excelling in all fields. You'd be surprised at who gets scholarships: quite often, all it takes are average grades accompanied by a strong dose of self-confidence as you write your resumé and your reasons for applying. But don't overdo your self-confidence; many of these agencies also practice affirmative action, meaning they will give preference to those from poorer families, those living outside Metro Manila and those belonging to minority groups, particularly Muslims and indigenous communities.
Now, please, please do not write me for more information about whom to contact. You need to exert some initiative here and prove you know how to look for the scholarships. Your best bets are to write the embassies, but you can also check the Internet for other scholarships, for example, by looking for the Erasmus scholarships offered by European countries.
For upper-income families, you might be surprised to find out that the cost of studying in some of these countries isn't actually quite as high as you think. The way private schooling costs have soared in the Philippines, it may actually be cheaper to study overseas, even with the cost of living factored in.
Why overseas
We do have good universities here, but there may be cases where an overseas education might still be useful. First, and this applies more for graduate studies, foreign universities might have courses that we still don't have here. That was what happened with me: I took medical anthropology at the University of Amsterdam since we didn't have that in the Philippines.
Second, living overseas allows an exposure to other cultures, and that itself can be a learning experience. That might even include the university teaching styles. I still remember the excitement I had as a college undergraduate in the United States, thrilled by the much freer discussions that teachers allowed, and the range of subjects one couldtake.
Third, overseas universities (even those in neighboring countries) often have better facilities and learning environments. My parents always told me, when I was in college, that it didn't really matter which university you studied in as long as you had the right environment and the right teachers. Most of our universities have that, to some extent, but it's becoming more and more difficult to survive with underpaid, overworked professors who vent their frustrations on students. Paradoxically, it's the brighter kids who end up most alienated without the proper environment. An overseas stint, even for a year, might be an option.
Which universities?
OK, so which universities? I will go back to the Times Higher Education Supplement's World University Rankings that I mentioned in previous columns to give you the 10 best universities for each of several countries you could consider. Note that these rankings are based more on peer review among educators, and among employers.
Also remember that there will be language proficiency requirements for Japanese and Chinese universities. It also tends to be very competitive getting into the undergraduate programs of some of these countries, where education is subsidized by the state.
Finally, don't limit yourself to the universities listed here. Do more research to figure out where you can go. For American universities, check the US News and World Report's annual ranking. I paid only P189 for a 2006 edition in Books for Less! That yearbook has very detailed information. For example, with business programs, they break down the best universities for a range of specializations, from accounting and entrepreneurship, tointernational business and real estate.
Here now are the best universities for certain countries, with their ranking among world universities:
United States: Harvard (1), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (4), Stanford University (6), California Institute of Technology (7), University of California Berkeley (8), Princeton (10), University of Chicago (11), Columbia (12), Duke (13), Cornell (15).
Canada: McGill (21), University of Toronto (27), University of British Colombia (50), University of Alberta (133), McMaster (155), Queen's (176), University of Waterloo (204), University of Western Ontario (215), University of Calgary (266), Dalhousie (270).
United Kingdom: Cambridge (2), Oxford (3), Imperial College London (9), London School of Economics (17), University College London (25), University of Edinburgh (33), University of Manchester (40), King's College London (46), University of Bristol (64), School of Oriental and African Studies (70).
Australia: Australian National University (16), University of Melbourne (22), University of Sydney (35), Monash (38), University of New South Wales (41), University of Queensland (45), Macquarie (82), University of Adelaide (105), University of Western Australia (111), RMIT (146).
Japan: University of Tokyo (19), Kyoto University (29), Osaka University (70), Tokyo Institute of Technology (118), Kyushu University (128), Nagoya University (128), Hokkaido University (13), Waseda University (158), Tohuku University (168), Osaka City University (232).
For the bold ones willing to study a European language before applying, here are the best besides the British ones: Ecole Normale Superieure (18), ETH Zurich (24), Ecole Polytechnique (37), Sciences Po Paris (52), University of Copenhagen (54), Ruprecht-Karls-Universitat Heidelberg (58), Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (64), University of Amsterdam (ahem, ahem, 69), University of Basel (75), Catholic University of Louvain (76).
To cap off this listing, here are the other higher-ranked Asian universities. Note how they rub shoulders with the best of American and European institutions: Beijing University (14), National University of Singapore (19), Tsinghua (28), University of Hongkong (33), University of Auckland (46), Chinese University of Hongkong (50), Indian Institute of Technology (57), Hongkong University of Science and Technology (58), Nanyang Technological University (61), Seoul National University (63).

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Where East Enders shop

Spent Sunday morning at another market. I went with Chisom to Brick Lane Market, which extends all the way down Sclater Street and up Cheshire Street. My first impression was that it was a man's market: stolen bikes, pirated porn, men's garments. But there's more. Toiletries, fruits, bagels, leather goods. It gets better. Vintage shops, art galleries, antiques. My favorite store is a little shop called Comfort Station. It has lovely stuff that have been featured in Elle and Marie Claire. Designer prices, though. It feels out of place, but the ambience is priceless. Hardly took any photos, sorry.

By the way, some PhotoShows have music. Just click on the sound button to turn on or off.