Me and Actuarial Science

Yes or no. In or out. Up or down. Live or die. Hero or coward. Fight or give in. The human life is made up of choices. Live or die. That's the important choice. And it's not always in our hands.

I know it for sure when I started diving into actuarial science world and going back and forth between statistics and theatre classes which has taught me about looking into a matter with different lenses. Small lens has taught me the importance of personal skills, i.e. the technicality of actuarial world. I have learned different Actuarial Models in evaluating options, statistical software, i.e. SAS, STATA and R, in data mining. Besides, I have been taking actuarial exams to test my skills, which I have failed all of them (P and FM twice, and MLC). The failure has brought me into a bigger lens. I was an overachiever. I had to win everything using all possible means, but when I failed should I choose to keep digging into the same rut? Then, I moved on. Learning from the failure, I pursued my degree in Actuarial Science when some of my colleagues decided to drop out of the game. I know I am passionate about this field. The bigger picture always brings me to a larger purpose of this field. The psyche of human beings I learned comprehensively in my theatre classes, I think would be useful in this position. I'm always looking forward of an exciting challenge.Today's financial world when looking from optimistic eyes is an exciting condition in testing existed models and coming out with new models.

Ask most people what they want out of life and the answer is simple - to be happy. Maybe it's this expectation though of wanting to be happy that just keeps us from ever getting there. I am a fresh graduate. I have no experience in Actuarial world. I failed my actuarial exams. But, one thing for sure is that I want to be happy and I am choosing this field because I am pretty sure this is the right job to make me happy.


These are two books I recently bought to condone my over-worked brain after doing tons of readings on Data Mining for my latest Proof of Concept for Telekom Malaysia Churn Model (I will write another post on the experience of working and presenting the case - a hell of experience).

First is Brideshead Revisited. I saw the film version 1st before buying the book. Evelyn Waugh's piece, which is listed by Time as one of the one hundred best English-language novels from 1923 to present, Brideshead Revisited was quite cleverly translated onto the silver screen by Jeremy Brock and Andrew Davies (yeah, after reading the book, I kinda understand why it needs to be done by two people). Knowing that it was translated from a book, I began to "see" the screenplay and imagined it being expressed on the book. And I did the same thing for The Last Station a German/Russian/British biopic about Count Leo Tolstoy by Jay Parini, of which a film stars Christopher Plummer as Tolstoy and Helen Mirren as Sophia Tolstaya.

From an amateur storyteller perspective, I concluded that it is quite hard to transform a written novel into a motion picture. I've read Atonement and Pride and Prejudice both the screenplays and the novels. They, the screenplays and the novels, are quite different in a many ways. I found that the hardest work is to keep the actors' and the scenes' emotions and feelings same as you read the novels, or perhaps taking them into another level, while keeping the plots moving smoothly.

Yes, at the end of the day, nobody gives a sh*t about the technicality behind the transformation. What counts the most in watching an artistic film is the feeling and the emotions being conveyed. But, for those people like me, perhaps, who takes literature to the heart, the process of transformation could be an interesting and crucial part.

These are lines conveyed by the talented English actor, Matthew Goode as Charles Ryder, in Brideshead Revisited (Din, you might want to watch the whole scene on him eloquently pointing out the difference between a picture and a painting, or rather a good picture and a good painting.)

"Because, a camera is a mechanical device which records a moment in time, but not what that moment means or the emotions that it evokes. Whereas, a painting, however imperfect it may be is an expression of....feeling. An expression of love. Not just a copy of something"

and The Last Station opens with Leo Tolstoy quote
"Everything I know, I know only because of you"

I've yet to read the screenplay of both films and see how it's was being translated from the original piece as I've been trying to find them! Can anybody help me with this?

On Milan Kundera's words

young milan kundera

(Late posting)

It has been almost 4 years I've been here, picking out stars which I used to dream of. And it has come to an end of another chapter in my life, another one to embark on. There is NO regret at all in the decision I have made so far in my life. Jordan Kubat, my acting and dancing soulmate, once quoted Milan Kundera on life for me,

'...he realized that not knowing what he wanted was actually quite natural. We can never know what to want, because, living only one life, we can neither compare it with our previous lives nor perfect it in our lives to come. There is no means of testing which decision is better, because there is no basis of comparison. We live everything as it comes, without warning, like an actor going on cold.'

I may not have gone as far as a 23 year-old man should have gone, but the journey has given me a little insight of who I am which I consider much crucial than being called a matured 23 year-old.

I am a man who carries plenty of loves in his bag where ever he goes, a man who takes everything close to his heart and a man who cherishes every moment he has with beautiful humans around him. I am a man with full of emotions. Devoutly to be wished.


There are so much things about him remind me of Yasmin Ahmad, in fact, most great artists I've ever seen/heard their works, Mozart, Bach, Andrew Wyeth, Picasso, Van Gough, Seraphine, etc. Music pieces composed by him have been accompanied me in my daily routine. I would play Metamorphosis II over and over again while doing chest work out. I would walk on campus lilting on complicated, refreshing, and really post modern, Einstein on The Beach.

For those who have Netflix. Do watch Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts. It's a life story of one of the greatest living composers. The documentary is hypnotic as the music Glass writes. It's told in twelve parts that represent different notes on Glass's own grand staff of music with two extra notes indicating highs and lows of his genius resting on ledger lines above and below. We are delving into his professional, personal, and spiritual life. Scott Hick (the director) cleverly picked up his lenses and focused them on Glass's grandeur works. Appearances of well-known or unknown figures ranging from Martin Scorsese to a Qi Gong teacher, simply give life to this documentary, which is exactly displaying Glass's life that could be really close to other human beings.

Here what he's got to say about his creative process:

Where does music come from? My experience is that music is like underground river. It's always there. And like the underground river you don't know where it comes from and you don't know where it's going to. The only difference is only you're listening to it or not. For me writing a music is listening to music. I don't think of it. I listen to it. In other words it's already there. It's not something that has to be imagined. It has to be written down. Drawing is about saying, dancing is about moving and music is about listening. I never was inclined to be involved in theoretical idea of music. That would have been about thinking. I didn't care about there is a music. I care about listen to music. I began by hearing very little, very little. I hear something and I train myself to follow the sound, follow the feelings of the sound.

sound familiar? read The Pick of Art Quotes

So, go out there and start your creative process!

"Legit" - Nico Caldwell (A good friend of mine)

Have you ever wondered why we need to learn classical music if we're interested in learning music? And we need to dive into this world of "nonsense" in our urban or modern definition on how music should sound like? Of course, "Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart", will be in at least one of the power point slides from your instructor. You're not just required to listen to his compositions, like, Eine Kleine Natchtmusik, First Movemens of Symphonies 25 & 40, or Piano Sonata movement "Alla Turca", but you need to dig in his biography. Where he was born, who his father was, when did he start touching piano, what kind of early education he had, etc.

Early in a morning before heading out to have breakfast with Endo for his birthday, I watched "Amadeus", a Milos Forman directed movie , screenplay by Peter Shaffer, and fantastic cast led by F. Murray Abraham playing Antonio Salieri and Tom Hulce playing Wolfgang Mozart. It blew me away! Now, I could get a glimpse, may be, the reasoning behind those "nonsense" biography work. Or why people still use his works nowadays to speak elaborately about arts or even..........commercials??

You need to be personal in your art work. Mozart didn't grab all the music notes and put them down in music sheets. It's coming from deep within himself. Who was "himself"? That's why we study his history to understand who Mozart was in order to understand his music.

One of the best scenes in the movie for me -

The music swells. We see Salieri standing alone in the back of a box, unseen, in
semi-darkness. We also see that the theatre is only half full. Music fades down.

And I knew - only I understood - that the horrifying apparition
was Leopold (Wolfgang's father), raised from the dead. Wolfgang had actually
summoned up his own father to accuse his son before all the
world. It was terrifying and wonderful to watch.

Music swells up again. We watch the scene on stage as the Commendatore ad-
dresses Giovanni. Then back to Salieri in the box. Music down again.

It was a fantastic and thrilling piece! It brought me to the edge of my seat that I was really into the scene. The music he composed for this opera was dark and convoluted in a beautiful way expressing his feelings about the death of his father. There are more scenes in the movie explaining on how he was inspired to composed greatest classical music numbers.

Kudos to Shaffer and Forman for such a brilliant story. They tell the story from a perspective that no one could have thought and it is the best point of view to convey a story about one of the greatest artists in humankind history, which is rich with various aspects of humanity, like Sarieli says "I heard the music of true forgiveness filling the theater, conferring on all who sat there, perfect absolution. God was singing through this little man to all the world, unstoppable, making my defeat more bitter with every passing bar."

Think about why we still take Mozart's music into our lives, especially for those studying arts (what kind of authority I have to pose such question when I'm an actuarial science student? ;-) )

oh yeah.."What a scandal.....What a COMEDY!...."

...beloved and sweet land (country) of mine

Have you ever felt certain songs will bring you to certain memories or moments?
Well, this song reminds me of plenty of memories. Now that I just found the meaning of the words, it magically makes more sense related to the memories. Especially, now, when it's getting closer to going back home.

*I did post this song before with a different subject matter*

Andrea Bocelli & Chris Botti

E passione forte che mi fa soffrire per amore
Ogni volta che io mi allontano so
che noi ci apparteniamo ancora un po di piu.
La strada dove io bambino restero
Dentro a questi sogni di musica
Libero di vivere la vita che vorrei.
La mia musica e per te immenso amore mio
questa melodia nasce dentro me sempre piu
la nostalgia che ho di te amore e dolce terra mia.

And now for those who don't speak the Italian language:

It's strong passion that makes me suffer for love
Each time I go away I know
that we belong to each other a little more.
The way I'll always stay (be) a child
Inside these dreams about music
Free to live the life that I want.
My music is for you great love of mine
this song makes me feel more and more
the nostalgia I have for you beloved and sweet land (country) of mine.

It's a story of two love affairs.

Hah! Soooooooooo good!

...and I kind like this song..