Dear students,

By now you'll have taken your Calculus Ma1102 exam, that is those of you who attended the class in the 1st Semester. Maybe you have already learnt about your results. Some of you have done very well, some not so well, others less still. But you'll have experienced the process of searching the depth of your understanding. There are still lots to learn, to explore, to experiment and to re-experience and relearn. You will always find the surprises waiting for you. Each surprise surpasses the one before. If you like mathematics, there is only one way: Go within, search the depths of your innermost self, search for the very first encounter that captivated you; the first encounter is not always easy, not necessarily sublime, not necessarily the joyful kind. Go deeper into yourself for a true answer. What is it that draws you closer to mathematics? What is it that knocks on your consciousness, like love that quietly assumes its place in your heart? And if it should invoke some kind of resonance, then pursue it wholeheartedly, lovingly and allow it to grow in time naturally and with an unforced sequence of fruition. Your understanding, in even the most shallowest and least significant way must become a sign, a testimony to this urge. Then draw near to the beginning. Pretend you are the very first mathematician and then write what you perceive and experience, what you have succeeded and what you have failed. Every mathematician has failure. But allow failure to work for you. Build your success upon it. In this way, failure will become your best companion. Write about the most intricate of thoughts and the most beautiful logic with precision, fervour and humble appreciation. The burden of the creative mathematician is truth and truth has its depth buried in the most beautiful of reasoning and this must transform into words, words that should communicate and be a reminder of the path you have taken.

This is the Christmas Season. The season of festivity and is also a season when some rejoices and others especially the abandoned ones and the poor hide their loneliness and grief. Open your heart to them not just for this season but for all time. Keep them in your prayer.

God bless you.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas.

Yours truly,

Ng Tze Beng

Decembver 1999