Friday, November 18, 2016

The death of a popular female Chinese fighter pilot known as the “Golden Peacock” has sparked calls for improved training after she died in a horrific crash during a routine exercise with the country’s national aerobatics team over the weekend.

Capt. Yu Xu, 30, died Saturday when her double-seater J-10 jet collided midair with another plane from the aerobatics team over Hebei province. Her 35-year-old male co-pilot ejected in time and survived with minor injuries, the South China Morning Post reported.

Yu was one of China’s first female fighter pilots and the first woman to fly a J-10 stealth fighter.
She ejected during the collision, but was hit by a wing, the China Daily reported. She had been sitting in the back seat of the cockpit.
Witnesses said the impact left a 10-metre diameter and three-metre deep pit on farmland at the Dayangpu village of Chenjiapu.

The jet’s flight data recorder, or black box, was recovered Saturday evening and handed over to authorities, along with the jet’s engine.

Yu’s death occurred less than two weeks after she took part in an aerobatics team performance at Airshow China in Zhuhai, according to the South China Morning Post.
“I hope to give the audience a good performance,” China National Radio quoted her as saying before the show. “In terms of safety, in our training we’re always reminded to put safety first.”

The Cheng-du J-10 is a lightweight multi-role fighter jet officially unveiled by China in 2007, although its existence was known long before the announcement. Yu was reportedly one of four female pilots licensed to fly it.

The pilot earned her nickname by performing a peacock dance at the People’s Liberation Army’s aviation school in 2005.

According to mainland media reports,Yu said she never felt any regrets about becoming a pilot.

“Sometimes I’m envious of people the same age, but that is only a momentary feeling. I have chosen a different way of life, a different occupation, and I have different pursuits (in life) … I don’t feel regret choosing to fly,” CNR quoted her as saying.
Yu also dreamed of being an astronaut, the report said.Shanghai-based military analyst Ni Lexiong told the South China Morning Post there have been several accidents involving J-10s but the causes have not made public. Ni said there need to be fewer accidents but they are also “a price that has to be paid” for modernization of the Chinese military.

The paper said there has been a string of J-10 accidents over the past few years, the most recent on Sept. 28, when an aircraft crashed near Yangcun air base in Tianjin reportedly after hitting a bird. In May, another J-10 crashed in Taizhou, Zhejiang.

Three J-10 crashes were reported last year — one each in Shenyang, Huzhou and Taizhou.
Macau-based military observer Antony Wong Dong told the South China Morning Post that the threshold for entering the aerobatics team should be higher.
China only requires about 1,000 flying hours to become a ­pilot, compared with 1,500 hours in developed nations, he said.

In an interview with China’s CCTV, Yu herself said: “I think the acrobatics are quite difficult, with high requirements and standards made in all aspects. Our condition is quite satisfactory, but we need more training if we want to be better.”

Wan Ying, a friend of Yu’s, told CNN that Yu was “a very positive, humble and nice person who loved taking care of friends.”

On China’s Weibo social media site, the pilot was saluted as a hero.

“Yu Xu is our most proud female pilot. Her death is a great loss for our country,” CNN quoted one poster as saying.
“Yu is the Hua Mulan (legendary woman warrior) of our era, a rare heroine,” wrote another.
The website for the All-China Women’s Federation indicated Monday that 60 million users of the Weibo site had clicked on Yu’s story by Sunday night, CNN reported.

PETALING JAYA: Much-loved The Star senior editor Soo Ewe Jin (pic) passed away after his fourth battle with cancer.

Star Media Group managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai described 57-year-old Soo's passing as "a personal loss."

"I have lost a personal friend, a colleague and one who was always there to hold me and guide me.

"He was the man who edited my weekly column, helping to remove the blemishes and making it look sharp with his linguistic skills. Ewe Jin was also a good partner in supporting the moderation campaign," he said, adding that Soo edited the recently launched Moderation book despite his health.

"Ewe Jin is gone but he will remain with us, in The Star family, forever," he said.

Wong said he met up with Soo last Sunday and that he remained jovial and chatty, saying "it is a stark reminder to us that we must treasure our precious little time with our loved ones and close friends".

Soo, an executive editor, was a Penang Free School old boy. He started his career in The Star in 2000 and served in various positions including Star Online editor, Sunday Star editor and Special Projects editor.

His weekly column, Sunday Starters and its predecessor, Monday Starters had a good following of loyal readers.

During his journalism career, Soo also worked with The National Echo, The Malay Mail, the Institute Of Strategic & International Studies (Isis) Malaysia, The World Wide Fund for Nature Malaysia (WWF Malaysia) and The Edge.

Soo, however, considered his years at home as a full-time househusband as the most wonderful milestone of his life.

He was first diagnosed with nasopharyngeal (nose) cancer in 1999. He encountered cancer again in 2006 with a lump in his lymph nodes and suffered from a relapse of nose cancer in March 2011. Soo had his final confrontation with cancer last year.

He leaves behind his wife and fellow journalist Angeline Lim, and two sons, Kevin and Timothy

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

  How many times can we press the 'reset' button in our lives?
How many times can we 'start all over'?

Tomorrow is my first day of work.
Oh please Lord, let this last.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Found an interesting psychiatric input while reading Princess Masako - Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne.

Searched more about Martin Seligman's Learned Helplessness online.

In 1965, Martin Seligman and his colleagues were doing research on classical conditioning, or the process by which an animal or human associates one thing with another. In the case of Seligman's experiment, he would ring a bell and then give a light shock to a dog. After a number of times, the dog reacted to the shock even before it happened: as soon as the dog heard the bell, he reacted as though he'd already been shocked.
But, then something unexpected happened. Seligman put each dog into a large crate that was divided down the middle with a low fence. The dog could see and jump over the fence if necessary. The floor on one side of the fence was electrified, but not on the other side of the fence. Seligman put the dog on the electrified side and administered a light shock. He expected the dog to jump to the non-shocking side of the fence.
Instead, the dogs lay down. It was as though they'd learned from the first part of the experiment that there was nothing they could do to avoid the shocks, so they gave up in the second part of the experiment.
Dogs who had previously been shocked did not try to escape the shocks in a subsequent experiment. 
Seligman described their condition as learned helplessness, or not trying to get out of a negative situation because the past has taught you that you are helpless.
After the dogs didn't jump the fence to escape the shock, Seligman tried the second part of his experiment on dogs that had not been through the classical conditioning part of the experiment. The dogs that had not been previously exposed to shocks quickly jumped over the fence to escape the shocks. This told Seligman that the dogs who lay down and acted helpless had actually learned that helplessness from the first part of his experiment.
Taken from