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Despite the strong wind and cold weather, my first marathon was overall a great experience. I was surprised by the number of people cheering throughout the five boroughs. The city is beautiful. If timing’s not a concern, it’d be nice to stop and take photos along the way (like what some participants did).

I didn’t come across any celebrities during the run, but managed to beat economist Justin Wolfers.

Training matters. I suffered much less from this marathon than any of my previous 10K runs.

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Hong Kong

Pro or anti, for the better or for the worse, a historical moment nevertheless…

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Daydream with Sky


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I will be doing my first marathon in New York City later this year. I still remember how much I struggled mentally in my past 10K races, thinking thoughts like “why did I sign up for this”, “when will this ends”, and “is there a way to quit in the middle without embarrassing myself”. I think I felt that way because I didn’t train for them.

As I started training for the marathon and running 10K or more regularly, running the same distance seems to have become a much easier task. I struggle less and don’t think running 10K is a big deal anymore. During my training process, I’m becoming a slightly different person, physically and mentally becoming a person who can finish a marathon. And this is probably similar in many other endeavors, like becoming a professional musician, athlete, or CEO. We hone our skills and mental capacity to achieve things that wouldn’t be possible without those training and experience. Things that seem incredibly difficult at first become ordinary (and something else becomes the new challenge).

Goal seems to be a useful tool to change ourselves. When we strive for goals that stretch us, we need to become different from what we used to be to achieve those goals. Ideally we should also learn to enjoy the process when striving for those goals. For marathon it might mean enjoy eating healthy, staying active, and running regularly. When these activities turn into a lifestyle, it likely means we already become different selves. Dan Gilbert noted that we are always changing but tend to underestimate those changes (he called it “the end of history” illusion). Perhaps we could use goals to change ourselves more consciously.

I think training for a marathon is a great way to experience the power of training and discipline. It is a good challenge because most people can finish a marathon if they train for it, but at the same time it’s not an easy task. It’s also a good way to understand the importance of genes, as there are likely people who can run much faster than you no matter how hard you train.

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Disappearance update

Instead of 4 hours workweek, I’ve been clocking in 90+ hours, 7 days a week over the past two weeks and most likely in the coming weeks. But the work has been quite enjoyable since I’m working on my new baby Malaysia. My lifestyle haven’t changed much. I still maintain daily econ reading, exercise, and chat, but do less leisure reading, drawing, writing and basketball on weekend. Recent movies I got but haven’t watched include Slumdog Millionarie,
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Rachel Getting Married, Let the
Right One in, and several other Japanese movies and dramas. I’ll have to rethink my schedule and figure out more efficient ways to use my time so I’d enjoy my books and movies.

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I’ve been busy trying to cook up research
ideas on Malaysia. Besides lagging clear ideas, digging up industry
level data that could be used to test my hypotheses is a pain. Perhaps
I’d pick up Malay to get access to more local sources. But that’s a long-term goal. For now, I’ll have to dream up a draft over this lovely weekend.

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Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year isn’t a good time to be in Singapore. The streets are mostly empty with most shops closed. And besides fast food chains, which I don’t eat, it’s rather hard to find anything else to eat. The weather is cloudy and windy today. And wandering around the empty streets with my MP3 makes me feel like a tragic MV actor (since when did I start part-time as a 憂鬱MV男主角?). To avoid being mistaken as a tragic subject, next year I will either store up lots of healthy food or fly to another place.


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Doomsday Economist

My boss and I published a report recently and it was being quoted in several news articles (examples are here, here, here, and here). Although it’s good that people pay attention to our research, it can be annoying when the press over-sensationalize things, given it’s a potentially sensitive topic. My boss joking said we should send The Strait Times a photo of me with my usual stupid smile. I suppose that means if anything goes wrong, I’ll be the one to be blamed. I hope the government don’t kick me out of the country, or we would need to add one more person to our job loss forecasts (or did we already take that into consideration?). I don’t think publicity is what I need now. My goal is to continue to learn more about economics and to do better research. I also don’t intend to become another Dr. Doom, so I hope our next research that the press picks up would have a brighter view.

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Vacation time

Wanderer and his Kindle will be in Bangkok and Shanghai for the next two weeks. Happy Holiday to all.

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