I muse about my latest holiday project - explaining why some primary schools are not popular schools.
For readers in the US, today is 4 July, so there's something about Independence day. Back in Singapore, it's Youth Day, so if you find lots of kids hanging out in malls, you tell yourself they earned it this time.
Holidays are essential for your well-being. While I was a litigation associate, I planned my holidays six months ahead and protected them with my life. It wasn't enough. Going overseas helps you relax, but it doesn't give you the space to check in with yourself. Or explore something new.
And this post is about exploring something new.
Get some reading done.
I have bought several books over the year. The Employment Law book I acquired with my Academy of Law credits is still in its shrink wrap. A holiday seems like a good time to get it done.
There is one book I would like to spend time on Hands-on Machine Learning with Scikit-Learn, Keras, and TensorFlow: Concepts, Tools, and Techniques to Build Intelligent Systems.
Having some experience with Natural Language Processing, I would like to broaden my knowledge. Rather than working with text, this book would hopefully increase my ability to work with numbers. If you don't already know, in Natural Language Processing, the text is transformed into numbers or vectors and then processed by machines.
It's time to get back to the source.
Let's hope I am still awake after all these equations.
A very long holiday project
Along the same lines as reading something different from your daily work or life, I firmly believe you should work on an off-kilter and exciting project. It helps you explore what you learned differently and very often pays dividends for your day job.
I've been wondering what I should do next, and I think I have a great idea.
2021 was the first time I went through the process of entering my eldest daughter into Primary 1. We decided early that we would not go for the rat race. We're not enamoured by "top" or "popular" schools. There might have been a morally justifiable reason for our choice, but I reckon we didn't think the stress was worth it.
Despite consciously avoiding the "rat race", it turned out to be futile. We went into the lottery for a place in an "unpopular" school and had to wait a week to learn of our daughter's fate. Luckily, this story ended OK.
Based on my experience, at least, while emphasising "popular" school is understandable, I realised I knew very little about the registration situation. Most existing studies focused on "popularity", which isn't so helpful.
So, I think there's some scope for machine learning. For example, does the age of an estate affect the competition for places? Are schools with keen competition for places located in particular areas of Singapore? Does school affiliation or religious affiliation affect competition?
My son registers for Primary 1 in 3 years. That's more than enough time to build a machine model to predict how much stress I have to go through.
I'm no neophyte. This can be a challenging project which will summon every fibre of my being -- from finding datasets, transforming them and visualising them. Hopefully, I'll get to document them in this blog for your reading pleasure.
And yet, it's a holiday project, so if I get bored or fail, I will move on. (I don't expect my son to hate me for it either.)