Saturday, March 31, 2012

Enjoying teaching

 I think teaching for me is the best profession because I don't think its a job to me as I am willing to do many of the things for free. I enjoy it so much because I learn a lot in this profession and I don't know if there is any other profession where you keep learning and growing as an individual. I experienced that as you have been teaching things for a while there are few things you enjoy more than other. To me bringing an obscure topic to the board and having my students get the insight and saying ah..., wow.. is the best feeling. Here is an example of the Moser's circle problem which I also included in my presentation that always draw gaping aha's from the crowd.

Yay, Its raining in Siem Reap

 I have now lived in Cambodia for over 8 months and I do love this beautiful country. Unlike most expats I came here to teach Math and without having known anything about the country other than having a stamp of this country. The country suffered under the Khmer Rouge period and now rapidly growing. Thanks to help from scores of expats who are chipping in with their time. Cambodians itself are very resilient, hard working and intelligent people. I am taking class with Cambodians and also teaching Cambodian children and they are as good as any other.
 There are two main seasons here. Rainy and summer. The summer especially the month of march and April could be a little challenging as its very humid. I got the taste of that when last time we played soccer 1 hr before the noon. We were all sweating like as we were shoved into a sauna blazing with molten lava. So its quite a welcome relief when you see rain at this time of the year. Mind you it does rain like Cats and dogs when its the rainy season and I have experienced the Cambodian monsoon.

Talk at Nerd Nite

   Today I gave my first talk at nerd nite. It was titled M..m... Myths. I enjoyed giving that talk and hopefully when they post it. I will have the link ready when the talk gets posted. My next aim will be to finish few books and do some maths

reflections on the last day of march

 I am updating this from Common Grounds cafe. Today I reviewed few of the things we did last time and I taught the idea of Combinatorics and how do we choose r things from n things. Pascal triangle and how they are related to binomial coefficients and what is the meaning of these coefficients. Its the last day of the month and when I look back the month of march I realize that I been pretty busy the whole month. I haven't finished the books I intended to. I can justify that I was busy with the french class which is done for the time being until it starts again in another 23 days. I have to be a little more creative with my time and need to inculcate some new habits. I was misplacing my keys all the time until I discovered that if I inculcate the habit of placing my keys at the same spot on the table while returning to my room and keeping at the same spot in my backpack while going out then I don't have the problem of misplacing my keys.
   This week I also spoke at the local nerd nite event. I spoke about the myths associated with Maths and I was happy that I could connect with people because I think its such a universal topic and yet so misunderstood. I am looking forward to the upcoming break and would like to visit Vietnam and may be Laos too. Vietnam has become a destination of choice for many expats because of its burgeoning economy and consequently demand for expats. They also have a very solid program teaching mathematics. They have produced some of the excellent math olympiad training books.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

New Math Jokes

Here is the link

School sport day

It was a good day. We had a close soccer game with parents. I was one of the sports committee member there and do a significant responsibility that things would go in order. Everybody cooperated and it was a success.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Days Update

 Its saturday again and I am here at Common Grounds cafe updating this blog. Today I taught some of the number patterns in the class. We went over the common 6174, 1089 and some divisibility of 9 techniques.   I also introduced the number game which is an easier version of Nim and Wythoff number game. The homework is to work out the mathematics behind those two techniques which is a good exercise in understanding how to solve problems.

  In the morning we had sports day and went off well. For lunch we went to the Mekong Tonle Sap buffet restaurant and its one of the numerous palatial hotel cum Apsara dancing place. The food was good and it's always good to break bread with people you working.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thai food and talk

I an updating this from my place. It's nice to be lying and typing. I went to under construction restaurant and bought green curry. It's perhaps the best Thai Curry place in whole Siem Reap. The servings are good portion, it's always piping hot and taste is sublime. I have now quite a few leads about what to present on Monday night and I think it's a good forum. All I need is to put that in a power point presentation.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dosa at The Indian

Yesterday I went there after their new additional room. So its the biggest Indian restaurant here and also the best. I like there several reasons. Its clean, tasty and owner is a nice person.
Next week i an thinking of doing a presentation. I hope Google docs on android phone would let me prepare my presentation.
I found a good app akin to Franklin Planner.

Binomial coefficients for young kids

I was asked this question un one of the interview about how will you teach binomial theorem to very young students. So i decided to teach my 7th and 8th graders. I started with pascal triangle and then introduced the expansion of (a+b)^n and then showed them the meaning of coefficients in context of finding probability of binomial distribution and they all picked up in 1 class period.
The picture shows the solution to a problem when 13 coins are thrown and they had to find the probability of exactly 6 heads.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Zubi Zubi, Dance Dance and Jimmy Jimmy

It was in 1988s. Me and my friend Vikram used to play video games on Samurai game console and listen to these songs on his double cassette player. After the advent of youtube I tried unsuccessfully to find this song till it surfaced here recently. I never saw the movie but it was a cult classic in 1980s. I still vividly recall I had a ring with Disco embossed on it and my maternal grandfather joked about it. Mithun da ws Iconic disco dancer. One day my buddy Vinod, Vikas and I went to his movie Mujarim. As a kid my dad wasn't a fan of new bollywood. I remember an amusing incident. After acquiring my first walkman I borrowed a cassette from my friend Ruchir and the name of the movie was Love 86 and its bawdy lyric "Oh miss de de kiss aaya ha love 86 ..." totally infuriated my Dad and he was convinced that I am on the way to mediocrity. As I mentioned before that I never saw Zubi Zubi song before so recently probably 2 months ago when I watched it for the first time. I was surprised about its salacious picturization. To me I always thought it was like Jimmy Jimmy. Mind you I only watched Jimmy Jimmy for the first time in 2008 but these songs were on radio during 1980s and I grew up humming those during the mornings of 1983s to 1990s before the advent of television as the constant morning companion. So here its for your enjoyment the video I was grooving in my teens.

While Raj kapoor is quoted as the earliest bollywood ambassador, I think Mithun da might be the first bollywood hero to have quite a following in pockets of former soviet republic as evident from dubbed dance dance movie songs.

an interesting idea

Saturday, March 17, 2012


I am lying on my bed and just finished watching diljale. I clearly remember that day when in my first year engineering college some of my buddies came back after seeing the movie. My taste in Bollywood movies has been continuing its downward spiral because of its crass humor and sometimes shocking insensitivity to people of other culture plus most of the time innane jokes and boring plots. Diljale's story is not different from the usual stash churned out by Bollywood. The locales are breathtaking and I would definitely would like to visit. It was made during the time tension between India and Pakistan was high however Indian movie makers would not openly labeled Pakistan as the culprit which changed after that. The movie is a happy ending one inspire of the double love triangle.

Friday, March 16, 2012

3 Simple Rules

I found this posted on a social networking site. Loved it.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Craving food

I am sitting here at Common Grounds cafe and seriously craving some Mexican food. Veg Quessidias could be fun. I am sitting here on a comfy couch though i feel that my back is not totally erect. I am here on the 2nd floor besides the glassy interior which gives a nice enough view of the cafe and there are flat panel televisions on both the sides and on one there is bbc and on another there is cnn. I like the interior its not too bright the walls are shade of green, yellow and brown. Before I finish this blog. I got a text message and I am leaving for Viva the local and suppose to be internationally renowned place in siem reap :) 

Beacoup coconut

My school has a coconut tree and i was really surprised by the number of fruits that one tree can produce.

J'aime la galette

At french center but it did't live up to expectation

Problem solving

Today i discussed in detail about the josephus problem

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Conversing in French

I just talked to a little Cambodian girl who didn't speak English but only French and I am glad I could talk to her in my incipient French and that was a real good feeling. I now have all lessons of French so I can look forward to some rapid expansion in my speaking ability. At the time of this writing I am done one quarter of the book and I may end up finishing sooner than I intended at the beginning.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Reading shadow the wind

I am glad i am back to reading this month and over next few days i will try to immerse myself in to reading this one. Will let you know when i am done and my take on this. Right now the only thing in my mind is to shave off few more pages.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Erin Brook's farewell

There are not a whole lot of people you meet in life that you think will remain friends forever. This week Erin went back to California. Micha and I sat for one final dinner with her and we had a lovely time reminicing about our friendship. I wish her all the best.

Next move

Over past two days I have been busy searching for a new teaching position. It's not that my present assignment is not fun. I think i have made a very positive contribution to my present school. Most of the students now view math as a fun subject and not something of a chore. They enjoy the challenge problems and have complemented numerous time test how time flies by in math class. I guess to a math teacher this is one of the biggest complement. If you can hold their attention you know you have got them hooked. Its the lure of working in a bigger and more competitive school that is the reason. To work with the best teachers and best students so i can also become a better teacher and a student.

I had this double scoop at common grounds cafe.

30 km bike ride

Today i went on a 30km bike ride and it was a lot of fun. These pictures were taken at the pond where the fishermen where catching the fish with bare hands and nets. The pond was about the size of a soccer field and there were about 50 or more fishermen in that murky water.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

work is fun

 I came here at 14 hrs. Today I talked about Prime numbers, Sieve of Eratosthenese, Went over Gauss's method of addition and  how this idea can be used to count the pizza slices then how to count the number of squares in a grid and how this leads to the idea of counting the sum of square numbers. I also introduced the idea of Josephus Problem and the assignment is to work out the solution for that problem when there are 21 students, 100 student and 1009 students

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Sugarcane juice in Siem Reap

One great thing here is the readily availability of fresh sugarcane juice and it's really cheap for 500 riel to 1000 riel. I have incorporated a lot of coconut water and increasingly sugarcane juice.
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