Brief first impression and discoveries using Tinder

I was pretty intrigued by the dating App Tinder. Because apparently the number of matches you get kind of determine how good looking you are. (Okay, sort of, not all the time). I’ve also heard that guys gets WAY lesser likes than girls do (mainly because guys are swiping right all the time). For those unfamiliar with the concept of Tinder, this post will NOT make sense. Familiarise yourself with the basics of Tinder’s mechanism first.

But I have to say I was intrigued by Tinder’s algorithm. Also because it seems like a computational approach to solving a real world problem. In this post I will talk about my experiences (both technical and non-technical), and the things I’ve done to mess around with Tinder’s API, Web Debugging Proxies and even Android Reverse engineering APK. (LOL!). Not all worked, but I’m just going to write down everything I’ve tried.

Brief experiences

My first day on Tinder I got about 8 matches. (mainly because I created an account previously and then deleted the app in a few hours, just to see how it was). Then subsequently it went down to 4 per day. 3 per day. And eventually about 1-2 day (could be also because Tinder’s drip feed kicks in and prevents me from swiping enough. I was probably only swiping right about 10 times per day, so 1-2 sounds about right). In about 5 days I got about 20 matches and had a few decent conversations (some were inactive, dead accounts of real people. thankfully no bots. I unmatched the some I swiped wrongly).

I’m a pretty selective swiper. I am aware that swiping right all the time seems to be the dominant strategy. But I find it fun to swipe (and it kills time). and seriously it’s nice to know that when you have a match notification it has to be someone you actually really like. I am aware of how easy it is to make a auto swiping bot. Everyone is doing that anyway. But it just feels too uncool to me. I didn’t even want to be a desperate guy in a virtual sense.

I was swiping a lot. Going through a lot profiles. I would refresh whenever Tinder’s drip feed would give me 3 profiles and I would swipe them.

Unfortunately, while naively thinking that deleting accounts preserve my matches, I tested it and nope, my matches were all gone.

Since I also heard that the android app doesn’t have a proper matching system. I took this chance to get a spare iPhone 5s and downloaded Tinder. Restarted my account. And started swiping again. I didn’t go as far as last time (probably only about 1/5 of the whole initial chunk before drip feed kicks in). My matches were  about 2 per day as usual. I came to a conclusion that the android app doesn’t have a buggy no match problem. I wasn’t really actively swiping and decided to now play around with the API and other alternatives to see how I can game this mechanism.

Technical Endeavours

Unofficial API

Being familiar with social media API, the first thing I tried to do was to use Tinder’s API. but Tinder’s API isn’t official or public. The documentation online is based off people who actually used a network debugging tool (like Charles Proxy) to determine the calls to the Tinder API server. Obviously the easiest thing to implement using the API is to make an auto liker bot. (but I said that was uncreative). And the furthest you can go is to do some fancy computer vision (eigenfaces) bot that swipes for you and/or implement an AI that would talk on your behalf. That’s about it.There is really no way to really “game” the system. Yes, the API is limited in this sense.(of course there are many other things you can do using the API, like crawling people’s data, Facebook profiles, location data for all the other malicious intents. But nah, I’m not interested in that.)

Match Genie & Charles Proxy

I wasn’t pretty sure what I wanted to achieve. But then I stumbled across “Match Genie” which was an app for iOS that apparently tells you who likes you. (so that you can like them back and initiate a match). Initially this did sound too good to be true. I downloaded it and tested it so far. It works. On the first 2 hours I got already 2 matches through Match Genie. The next day 3-4 showed up. But you had to pay about 4USD for unlimited genie reveals. Hmmm?

Anyway everything up till this section seems to be guess work. I am pretty sure, but I am not 100% certain. I am just guessing.

Match Genie does provide another neat functionality of allowing you to “browse” instead of “burning bridges” to move forward. But you can do that with the unofficial API either. A recommendation request typically pulls about 10-15 profiles for you to like or pass.

Their website claims that it’s based off genuine serious research. I was VERY intrigued given that it works (and they must have balls to charge for reveals, so it must be pretty accurate). I mean like how? How did you know? It feels just like a magic trick to me. Genie indeed.I was intensely curious!

I fired Charles Proxy. And decided to figure out what they were doing behind the scenes in the Genie. The other option was to reverse engineer the iOS app which was terribly complicated and I didn’t want to waste much time (not to mention, I have never written any code for iOS before).

So apparently each time you do a “Search for people who like you” function call on Genie.  Based off Charles Proxy, it calls the API 4 times. and pulls 4 recommendation requests. (of about 60 people). I believe they have observed that the people that likes you tend to be put in front more often than the people who don’t. Based on this observation, they use simple statistics to calculate and present people who pass a certain threshold as your “likes”. It might sound very simple, but it took me awhile to figure this out.

My other theory was that since their app had the same functionality (to like or pass) as the official tinder, I thought they kept their own record of who was liking who. It was easily proven false when I actually asked one of my matches from Genie whether she was using the official client.

So the question now is, can you actually just relie on the Genie for a passive game? (not swipe at all, wait for people to like you). The answer is probably NOT.

Because it seems like it is common knowledge (and somewhat proven) that if you like someone, Tinder will show them your profile earlier in the feed(as long as they are actively swiping). If you don’t ever swipe right, the only likes you are going to get are from people who are swiping a lot! Which means, not a lot!

Also, Match Genie could be considered a paid app. Because you have to pay about 1+USD per match or 4USD for unlimited. There are ways to bypass it. (Hint, it’s in the title of this section).

Also, Match Genie blurs the faces of your likes and deliberately doesn’t show them on their profile browser. So trying to match the blur picture to the real picture is out of question because it won’t even show up! (good move guys) Alternatively, you could use another 3rd party Tinder app (that has browsing functionality) to easily determine the target. (it’s not hard, the pictures aren’t blurred too badly).

I managed to get the user IDS of my likes (through Charles Proxy) and used the API to manually like (Like request to server takes an argument of user ID and simply swipes right for you). Indeed, they were all legitimate likes.

So based off this “experiment” (or just tinkering around). I came to a conclusion that,

1) Match Genie functionality can be replicated by simply calling recommendation requests several times. Analyse the results. The one with the highest frequency is very likely to be your like.  if it’s that simple, why are they charging 1+ USD each time they do this?

2) Remember using Match Genie doesn’t seem to be game changing. If you don’t actually like anyone in the feed and only wait passively, chances are you might not get much matches either.

3) Well, it’s still just simpler to swipe right all the time. There is no denying that that is certainly the best strategy.

4)  The question is that does Tinder hide some of your potential matches (likes) deep down in the stack of recommendations?

5) Match genie will not work once Tinder changes their algorithm.

Android APK – Reverse Engineering

I was also curious about what I could find reverse engineering the Tinder app (for android). Well you never knew if there were methods inside that gave you special calls to the server or what not. Also, Decompiling Android was relatively easy. (took only 20 minutes max and it was my first time). BUT the conclusion was don’t waste your time, the Tinder App is pro guarded. All the variables, class names, methods are renamed A,b,c etc…you won’t get anything out of decompiling the app. Or at least I didn’t. There seems to be no work around for this anyway.

In conclusion, it wasn’t game breaking but I had a better sense of how tinder does things. It’s also good that you can get around match genie without actually paying them a single cent.

And as of now, it seems like as long as Tinder doesn’t penalise you for swiping right all the time, swiping right is the best strategy.

But anyway since I’m not exactly looking for any real hook ups or whatever. (maybe in the future, but not now definitely). I’ll probably get off the app, for now.

But assuming that there are real (unknown) penalty for swiping right all the time, the best way now would then to be using a statistical approach (mentioned above, getting multiple recommendation lists analysing them) or simply just playing the game how the creators designed it to be.

AGAIN, everything in this post is my GUESS WORK. don’t take it too seriously. Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts with me. Or point out if I’m doing anything wrong! 


Piano Bucket List for 2015

Recently got down to listening to a lot interesting pieces and thought I do a bucket list for piano repertoire for 2015. Currently I’m polishing Liszt’s La Campanella and learning Mozart/Volodos Turkish March. I spent the last few weeks playing around (re-learning) chopin’s op 10 no 4. I still can’t play it properly. or at least I don’t think it sounds right. Liszt fits me more and I feel like I can pull off much “harder” repertoire when it comes to Liszt as opposed to Chopin. (man, in short, Liszt etudes are easier than Chopin, generally. IMHO)

I’m assuming I’ll be finally taking lessons around may/june for my licentiate. which means I will spend most of my time for “actual repertoire. ” I can’t say I’ll 100% commit to learning these pieces below. But I’ll try.

1) Volodos Paraphrase on Mozart’s Turkish March 
I’m about 4/10 through this piece. It’s not exactly very hard YET. But this is one virtuosic show piece I wanna get under my belt.
Priority – High (currently playing)
Estimated time to learn – 6 weeks

2) Scriabin Etude op 8 no 12
Every time I listen to this piece I think it suits my style and sound at the piano. This piece sounds so spammable and it’s cute/charming. (in a fierce, authoritative way!). It’s only 2+ min so it’s a small investment.
Priority – Medium High
Estimated time to learn – 6 weeks

3) Rachmaninoff – Flight of the Bumblebee
This is like the ultimate show piece for non piano knowing audiences. Because it’s supposed to be impressive, I don’t think it’s hard. (at all, compared to the real hard stuff in piano literature). I may have a go at this during Chinese new year and see if I can have it up and running in a few days.  May be able to sneak this into LTCL rep too.
Priority – Medium High
Estimated Time to learn – Maybe 2-3 weeks tops?

4) Liszt/Mendelssohn/Horowitz’s Wedding March
I just heard this again and I am in awe. This arrangement is legitimately awesome! I’m not sure if I will be able to fully commit since 5 mins isn’t a small investment. Plus, it looks really hard.
Priority – Maybe? / Low
Estimated time to learn – At least 3 months – 4 months

5) Rachmaninoff Prelude in G minor
Ahhhhh. Listened to this the other day and felt like playing it. I’m really curious to how hard it actually is.
Priority – Maybe? / Medium
Estimated time to learn – At least 2 months

Okay. This list is not definite. Just thought I do a post for me to brainstorm.

But when the time comes exam repertoire will take precedence.

Ah yes, and collaborative works. Ahh duet takes more time somehow because I’ll need to practice with a metronome and know where all the beats are. 😦

6) Anderson and Roe – Vocalise
I am supposed to be working on this to play with a friend. She’s busy. So I’m kinda procrastinating this as well. It’s a beautiful piece though.
Priority – Definite but medium
Estimated time to learn – At least 2 months

7) Beethoven Sonata for Violin and Piano – Spring 1st movement
Supposed to be playing this with my brother. I’ve learned about half of it previously. Need to work on it again.
Priority – Definite but medium
Estimated time to learn – At least 1-2 months

4 weeks into the semester

And I’m not even sure if it’s week 4, or week 5. Help.

This semester seems rough for me. 15AU + 3 AU from coursera + 8AU of FYP. Bleh. I spent the first 3 weeks researching and implementing a rough prototype (which is like probably only 5% of the actual final product) and now I’m brain dead. I am just so drained that I refuse to do any thing school related for the entire week 4. Great.

And why is it hard to explain my FYP topic to people in a way that people can easily understand what I’m trying to do. And it’s some obscure research area, and I think I’ve probably encountered most of the papers there are to it already. I’m struggling to believe it’s really a good idea. But hey, don’t tell me my FYP isn’t realistic or practical & whatever, I didn’t come up with the topic yo. (but if a professor says it’s a good publishable idea then it must be good right?) 

But it’ okay, the modules I’m taking this semester probably don’t exactly count as difficult. Thankfully I’ve cleared most of my year 4 modules and I’m left with year 3 modules (+soft electives) which is a great thing. But work is work, and sometimes I rather have something hard and interesting over something that is outright tedious and useless.

I’ve somehow come out of my “one shall touch school work only after recess week” pact with myself. because well, I have a GPA to protect. SHIT. And I would like to get 1 or 2 As maybe so that I can have a proper, worry free, slacky final semester in Uni.

Alright, modules this semester. I’m taking two computer network modules from my school. I heard there are overlaps, that’s great. These are probably my last minute mods. There’s nothing I can really do for the coursework except try to get the marks that everyone will get anyway. And then it’s up to mugging for exams. Nothing I can really do. Maybe an A/A- would be hard. IDK. It depends whether I have affinity with networks. I don’t know. maybe I do, maybe I don’t. No idea.

Human resource management & Entrepreneurship is another elective that I’m taking that is somewhat pseudo core. (In other words, it’s an elective that is compulsory. how oxymoronic can modules get man). Honestly, my friend said it was a useless module. I actually beg to differ. It’s one of the more fun modules I swear. I’m interested in Entrepreneurship anyway and it’s probably the only tutorial class that I have to physically attend. But things would be really better if I had like better teammates. My friends are mostly graduated and it’s back to the year 1 fear of forming new teams with new people all over again. And yeah, the good news is that I have a China scholar girl on my team who has good ideas (and is one of the key contributors so far). and the sad thing is that there’s this another guy who insists on a meeting time and then never bothered showing up. The best part is there was zero fucks given and not even a proper valid reason was given. How great. not to be racist but we all can’t understand whatever he is trying to say anyway. (I swear it’s not the accent but the content). And yeah, we have a NUS exchange student who practically hasn’t turned up for one meeting. Her only whatsapp messages are “sorry I cannot make it” and “I will work on it”(but we all know it’s a lie, right?)

The good thing is that the coursework component seems relatively low. It’s just writing and no real implementation is required. I’m going to take another entrepreneurship module from that entrepreneurship school and somehow it starts only after recess week. I’m hoping it goes okay.

And for the last real module it’s the famous Hollywood to Bollywood which involves going to class and watching (shitty boring) movies. We were introduced to apparently ‘the greatest film of all time” only to turn out to be a shitty hell of a bore. It’s called Citizen Kane btw. But I still refer it to that one shitty show I was forced to sit through. Man. I hope the movies do get better. or else my SU is ready to be cast anytime. I think I’m great at writing essays (screw you and stereotypes, engineers CAN write essays, yes we can do EVERYTHING and anything. JK)

Lastly. I’m trying to bear with that annoying coursera mod. Symmetry isn’t interesting at all. I really thought NTU could really introduce a more interesting course for it’s only full AU-granting module on Coursera. Eh cmon. I don’t give a shit about crystals and symmetry. But yeah, I’m just in it for the AUs and I still feel like shit when I have to take obligatory selfies and submit them for grading from my peers.

But ayyy, this semester would be really slack if not for FYP. But in a couple of weeks i managed to create somewhat of a prototype of a prototype in Android. I really hope I do not have to write any more code for that one e-commerece entrepreneurship mod that is starting soon. There is only so much code that one can handle at once.

And yeah, reading papers is actually fun. If only someone could guide me through the mathematics (or give me resources on how to start reading the complicated notations).

Will I survive this semester? I really don’t know. It depends. But anw what a shitty self absorbed narcissistic way of posting a blog post. But nah, I’m not even sorry. LOL.

On piano teaching and misconceptions

I have not taught a single person in my entire life. So take whatever I say with a pinch of salt.’s my take on piano teaching and many misconceptions (I think) many people have.

So okay. A typical piano lesson, broken down into empirical form is something like this.

1) Student plays for teacher.
2) Teacher corrects mistakes.
3) Student goes back to practice.
4) Repeat and rinse.

So what makes a good teacher?

IMHO, there are only really 3 things a teacher needs,

a) Competency in his/her own playing
b) Sound music theory knowledge
c) Somewhat good ears to hear mistakes.
Everything else is less important.
So why is it that people think that teaching experience matters so much, and why do people think that teaching dips are more valuable than performance dips when it comes to teaching.

Why is it that I hear these so often

-A person with a teaching dip (say DipAbrsm in teaching) is definitely going to be a better teacher than someone with LTCL/LRSM in performance.

Oh really? If you dived right into a DipAbrsm in teaching without actually taking a diploma in performance you’d actually think you’ll be technically competent to teach? Probably not.

You will never know if your technique is sound if you have never tested them against the harder works in piano repertoire.

-Some people can play BUT cannot teach. 

I don’t know why people seem to like to separate performance and teaching. Being good in performance does actually translate into being a better teacher. But people seem to assign an inverse relationship to it. If you play so well, you surely be stuttering in lessons and can’t bring your point across right? Yeah yeah. The person who plays well has probably spent hundreds of hours listening to themselves play and taking hours of valuable advice and lessons from important/highly regarded teachers. It is safe to say that performance skill correlates with teaching skill. Never ever try to put an inverse relationship on this! It’s weird.

-Teaching experience. HOW MANY YEARS DO YOU HAS?

This is the most ridiculous thing that I’ve heard in awhile. Parents, and people in general over value experience. Like, you’ve been teaching for decades, you MUST be good. Oh, how I wish that were true. Teaching is something that doesn’t necessarily get better as time go by. (unlike performance, or knowledge). The only way to get better in teaching is to upgrade one’s own performance skill or theory knowledge.

And what if I told you, teaching badly for years makes you still a shitty teacher. You need to upgrade your own playing skill AND/OR theory knowledge. Not brag about your years of experience! This is something every parent should be aware of. A fresh graduate with zero teaching experience is a much better choice than a teacher with a grade 8 making a living for 20 years. Be smart, be wise.

but yeah, i think people do get better teaching for awhile. But it plateaus after awhile. Surely having some experience in knowing whether your student will pass his/her exams is surely somewhat required I guess.

Okay, and on a personal note. I have not taught anyone, and do not really intend to do so. I might, for the fun of it and just to try it out. But I surely do acknowledge that I am far from actually even satisfying my 3 basic criteria of being a competent teacher.  Sadly, I think I’m gonna feel sad for my own student. This is why I haven’t taught yet, (even though I am somewhat qualified). And have been asked so many times why I don’t.

I honestly wish people would stop hyping and giving attention to teaching diplomas or what not. I mean, the best way to become a better teacher is to challenge your own technique and learn more about music (theory and in general).

I can’t understand the math and it’s all your fault

Just kidding. No okay. I’m serious.

I can’t help it but keep thinking the education system in Singapore has not prepared me adequately for life. Stop complaining about how “stressful” is it. it isn’t! We’re not even learning enough. Hard truths.

Singapore prides itself with it’s stellar world class education. But why….why after close to 16 years of education I find myself opening a PDF file of a research paper and failing to even comprehend what it is trying to say. The english it’s fine, it’s not even Egyptian anyway. but when it comes to mathematical formulas and notation I start scratching my head and go “Did I learn this before?”

Probably not. But I’m expected to know them now. Magically. Somehow. Oh god why.

Whose fault is it anyway. It can’t be primary school. Maybe the math syllabus at A’levels wasn’t rigorous enough? Maybe they decided to teach watered down math in Uni to cater to poly students? Maybe….maybe..Ugh. I’m not a math major anyway, but at least prepare me to read a freaking academic paper if you actually expect/want me to by now.

Or I could just learn myself. actually. Fret not, i’m not merely complaining. just that things could have been much smoother, and easier. just saying yeah.

More to say. But for now I’ll go back to grind my eyes against these incomprehensible harsh realities of life.

Thoughts on Sing50 concert and spending of 50 Steinways

I first heard of the Sing50 concert when my friend linked me this “Call for amateur musicians” audition page for the concert. This was indeed exciting news actually. I’ve always known of Lang Lang pulling full fledged grand piano ensemble stunts but I never expected it to be done here, in Singapore. And 50 Steinways? Putting the cost aside that would be a pretty cool sight right? No?

Few days ago, this news started to spread and it kinda drew flak from the online community. As I was perplexed, I went and investigate a little more. People are angry over a myriad of different reasons. But the general consensus that it is indeed going to be a waste of money and they don’t seem how it serves as a means to the ends (of promoting local music scene in Singapore).

But before people start being severely offended, they should consider the following.

1) Are we really splurging on Steinways? 

Does it not raise eyebrows when we’re told that a Steinway costs $26K SGD? Putting aside the fact that the $300K fund doesn’t seem enough to purchase 50 of those, that 26K SGD price is indeed fishy enough. Why are people frantically jumping and accusing the government of being too extravagant (and wasting taxpayers money) when we don’t even know if we really bought authentic Steinways.

Lets put our feet on the ground. A decent grand piano should probably cost around 15-20K. I’m talking about a very average 5’5 Yamaha or Kawai grand piano. (which are often found in public schools in Singapore) You want anything better than that? Sorry, it’s going to be minimum 40-50K. And Steinways are priced at around 200K I believe.

So considering our context here, what they have done is either a) bought actual Steinways at a ridiculous bargain b) Bought average pianos that seem to be branded as Steinways but are NOT actual steinways.

Considering Point a, if I were to be the government and someone wanted to sell me authentic Steinways at 26K. Screw 50 of them, I’ll probably buy 100 or more of them. Because it’s a steal. You walk along the street and someone offer you a Macbook pro at quarter price. Most people would buy even if they don’t need it.

But okay lah, chances are that these are probably not Steinways right? (they said Steinway-designed for a reason duh)

Like I said, 26K is a pretty okay price for a decent grand piano. No one is splurging. No one is wasting taxpayers money on “the best of the best” instruments. Because 26K gets you a decent average grand piano. Consider it the governments initiative to sponsor public schools with very average pianos. That’s all. And then now it doesn’t seem all too bad right? No one is splurging okay!

So I assume everyone is intelligent enough to agree with the above point? Let’s move on to the next. And in my further points we’re just going to say that these pianos are NOT steinways but average grand pianos (since they don’t cost as much anyway).

2) Let’s have grant schemes! Support the people who need it more! 

Uh no? Not really. Many people suggest some grant scheme where you could sponsor and aid home grown artists who are struggling to make it in the industry. And then here comes the question “who to sponsor and who to not”. You put a large sum of the money into the grant and then soon everybody will start to apply. And then you need to hire people to manage this fund and all. Very easy? That 1.3 million (that was supposed to be spent buying real tangible instruments) would be gone in a flash. Smart idea indeed. (and it doesn’t take much brains to figure out that whenever the government has grants, people will try to exploit and get the best out of it for individual benefits).

These days any random band can call themselves budding homegrown artists. I mean, there has to be an objective criteria of what makes a person a legitimate homegrown artist (to deserve funding). And then things will get all subjective and cranky later on, I guarantee it.

How is this better than putting an instrument in a school of 500 students so that probably more than a handful could have access to a quality instrument. (by quality I mean, better than the average out of tune, key jamming upright piano). If we’re looking to optimise social welfare, then this seems to be the best way to go about it.

3) Eh Local Music leh, not classical music okay!

Nobody ever said this has anything to do with classical music (or could it be lang lang’s fault?). But it seems like people are asking questions like “what are other genres? jazz? electronic music? rock?”. yeah yeah. okay then let’s sponsor 50 electric guitars and drum sets instead okay? retard much. 

I know everybody has their own favourite instrument but let’s face it. Piano is the king of instruments at least when it comes to being versatile. Learning how to sing? You kinda need a piano. Composing a song? Yeah, there you go again – Piano. Because piano is the most versatile instrument of them all (and practically anything and everything can be arranged decently for the piano), it make the most sense to be sponsoring pianos instead of anything else (since we’ve already ruled out grants and all). And therefore, the piano is the best choice for music education. It’s a no brainer isn’t it.

And what’s the definition of local music scene anyway? If someday a local Singaporean goes out to win the International Chopin competition (which is a big deal btw, bigger than any other musician in Singapore can ever hope to be), and starts touring and selling CDs. mind you, his CD of chopin or liszt is also “homegrown” music. Homegrown music is not confined to covers or NDP songs.

So yeah technically, raising classical music awareness and nurturing more classical pianists in Singapore (to be able to stand on world stage) is also a form of promoting home grown music. And I don’t see how having an accessible high quality Instrument in most schools would not help.

Lastly, they’re donating these pianos to schools for the purpose of “music education”. What is music education anyway to you? People think it’s randomly making some youtube covers or jamming together with friends? Gosh no. Music education refers to properly studying music theory, learning proper notation, music history and only then one can call themselves a musician.

So yeah, you kinda need a piano for proper music education!

The start of Year 4 Semester 1 & Elective rant

So year 4 semester 1 started for me. (I know it’s Semester 2, but I was on medical leave..). And yes, it’s strange being in the odd semester. Everyone’s like in Sem 2. My batch mates are in their last semester, and my juniors (who seem so far away previously) are now only 1 semester away and are taking the same modules as me. And to make matters worst, I somehow completed most of my Year 4 modules but I’ll be taking my year 3 modules in year 4.

I actually had to fight star wars recently. It’s quite strange that I never really had to fight for electives given that I’m already in my fourth year. Many electives don’t interest me. Sometimes to the point I’d rather take extra technical electives from my own school. They really need more variety, and cooler/more interesting modules in the system. The selection now is meh. It’s not horrendous but it leaves a lot room for improvement.

The subscription disparity in electives is also at a disturbing point. I don’t know how come they have not realised this yet. Star wars is so stressful because no one wants to end up with a shit boring elective that is also hard to score in. While how interesting a module is is subjective, there are objective signs to show when things are not acceptable. Like when one module has a 200 student wait list and another has 80% vacancy slots. Something is wrong. No?

For starters they should really look at what electives are actually attracting people because people are interested in learning about whatever it offers. And have more similar electives to that. And then to those that are not, probably apply some incentives (like pass/fail). I also swear that that Impact of Chemistry module would not be so popular if not for pass fail. A little balance in the system would really help in making the star wars experience less shitty.

Diversity is also good. But a quick look at the Liberal studies requirement almost made me internal vomit. The first thing I thought is that “oh shit i have to take something from this category? NOOOO”. Okay, I exaggerate. It’s not that bad. It just could be a lot better. I mean Woman’s Lit and Understanding China? Who would take those? (not to be sexist or racist, but you get my point).

And what’s with course descriptions that are totally misleading. I registered for a module named “Creative Visual Design and experience” not knowing that I would be expected to do Art because the course description didn’t even imply I had to do art. I never bothered googling the professors name until a few days later (when I was happily set with my timetable for the semester) when I realised “Gosh it’s an art module and I’m gonna be competing against ADM majors? No way”. Some modules have really misleading description and/or lack of information. I swear that NTU really needs include crucial info such as grading criteria, course outline all BEFORE you register your course so that so many people won’t have to add it so that they can check it out on NTU Learn / Edventure. Of course, you can always try to find reviews on the net, but still, c’mon more info right off the bat won’t hurt right. I dropped that module eventually though.

At this point I don’t think any amount of mechanism tweaks would really solve the oversubscription problem. I still prefer the system where it was fastest finger first and you could give your friend your electives. (but that’s just me, and that system seems objectively worst). For now, the new stars makes it less stress but it’s equally agonising. (if not more!). You know how you can solve this problem? Balance your damn freaking electives! (and also, add more cool/interesting electives. The selection now is almost shit).

And it’s also disturbing how NTU has hardly any music electives? You have so many weird shit mods like ceramics or chinese calligraphy. How about something like “Fundamentals of Music Theory?”. NTU doesn’t give a shit about music. yeah, thought so.