Ada Lovelace Day: sponsors needed

Some of you at CUHK and HKU have known that I have written an article on Emmy Noether for the Ada Lovelace Day (ALD) anthology originally to be published last year. Just this morning I got great news from ALD’s founder, Ms Suw Charman-Anderson: the book will be published this year on 13 October, which is Ada Lovelace Day 2015!

As I battle the finals now, do check out this link and let Suw know what you think!

What the carrot cake taught me

Not a math post today but alludes to the truth that “familiarity breeds contempt”. The people we assume to be our worst enemies are often those we spend the most time with.

Years ago I attended a party and I tasted the host’s carrot cake for the first time.

“Insipid” was a complete understatement. It was like pancakes cooked in the grease of French fries. Horrible. Disgusting. Absolutely nauseous. Carrot colour, yes, but it only worsened the taste, giving the sour cause a “noble” vegetarian edge. Eww.

The other day Mum told me she was going to make carrot cake. I thought, WHAT? I HATE IT! But anyway, she prepared the ingredients yesterday, and I complied reluctantly when she told me to help her out. The result?

While we were on our jog, Dad, a connoisseur, cut out the first slice and left nothing on his plate. Then Mum cut it and gave me. I asked for a second helping! It smelt like a field, and tasted like a caky biscuit, the sweetness that lifts the spirits of one who’s down and depressed, like me right now.

Some people have left in my heart a sour, greasy aftertaste like the cake. I forgive them and let them go. This year I had left such a taste in some people – in my quest for friends, I made enemies. To them, I tasted like the party carrot cake: too friendly, too familiar, downrightly yakking around and defying the boundaries of your cliques.

But I know why I hated the first carrot cake. The flour was cheap. The oil was low-grade. The carrots were cheap, and that definitely makes me wonder why the host would want to present to us such a cake.

Mum, however, bought the best cream cheese and butter in the neighbourhood. She also used very fine baking flour and added cinnamon, nutmeg and raisins. The icing included much sugar, and she put lots of tiny, colourful edible beads when she neatly stacked up the three cakes like a strawberry Napoleon.

I know that by defying your boundaries, I turned potential friends into enemies. I baked the cake with lousy beginnings. I didn’t seem to try to understand you, and I regret failing to do so even though I was sure I had known it before entering university.

I need to reconcile with those who have aught against me, because my relationship with God is not right when my relationships with others have yet to be fixed. (See Matthew 5:24.) Those who call me your enemy, please give me another chance.

Yes, I will still be carrot cake. But give the reformed me a try. I’ll taste much better this second time, for instead of the despicable Me as you had bitterly held on to, it is the Lord making me after His own image.