Illustration of my research group


I wanted to squeeze as many people into this as possible, but I’ve stalled on it for so long and I’m not quite certain when I’ll be making time to finish it… 😦
But I have to finish it! ^_-

Gots more peeps to add.


Update: 13Feb 2015



Update: 9th Feb, 2016


The view of the fall



I think it may be slightly cheesy to post something about love on Valentine’s Day, so I’m sharing this now. I’m generally a bit lethargic when it comes to love…yes, I’d love to be romanced, fall in love, feel comfortable giving up some of my independence and relying on a special someone: all that mushy stuff; BUT….

…BUT I fall into the category of people who say, think, act, see, notice, react, feel ‘BUT…’. It spares me from a lot of pain, heartache, frustration and trying when I easily see every problem with a potential relationship. It saves me from a lot, keeps me from a lot, spares me from a lot of things…things like bruises, concussions, scrapes, cuts and all the types of injuries that might be associated with falling.

I think that for most of my life, on almost every occasion, I’ve looked at the idea of falling in love, dating, letting my guard down as a risk that’s bound to end in bruises and scars. To some extent, probably to a large extent, I still do hold this view. However, my perspective has changed a bit in the past months. I still think of the buts…

•Do you want to go out on a date Kalifa?
…but it ultimately won’t work out.
•I really like you Kalifa.
…but you don’t know what you’re trying to get yourself into, I’ll only disappoint you.
•I’m willing to take that risk.
…but I’m not. We won’t be able to give each other what we each want.
•How do you know if you never allow yourself to fall in love?
…but if I let myself fall then maybe I’ll…

•Then I’ll catch you.
•I’ll catch you.
…but you might catch me; breaking up, bruising, scarring isn’t inevitable.
It’s always risky when you close your eyes, fall back, and for a moment float in space…light, unstable, waiting to see whether the ground or someone’s arms will break your fall. It’s our perspective of that moment when we’re free-falling, momentarily not knowing up from down, slightly confused–feeling both scared and excited –that decides whether we choose to love or be alone. I was pretty much stuck in the train of thought that falling back would inevitably lead to something being broken, but now I say, think, act, see, notice, react, feel that maybe someone will be there, someone will be able and maybe someone will be willing to catch me: someday.

I’m not sure when though. The reason my perspective has changed over the past few months is because I had leaned back. I allowed myself to fall, I briefly floated…and someone’s arms were open to catch me; and he did catch me, and held me: for a moment. It was a beautiful moment, with one of the most amazing (albeit slightly* weird and annoying) people ever, and a large part of me wishes that it won’t end. But then I fell. I rolled away. I still fell… It hurt. My legs were still wobbly from all the time floating in confusion, and I wasn’t yet ready to walk by the time he was ready to let me go so I could stand again…. it’s no fun watching someone under strain.

I’ve come to believe again though that it’s not that bad to risk a cut, or scar for the chance of being caught, held, loved and being gently lowered onto my feet until I can stand again. Maybe in the future I’ll recover more quickly from the free-fall and be able to stand steadily , or maybe in the future someone who is able/willing to more slowly lower me onto my feet again will catch me. I don’t know when it will happen…but I’m growing stronger and there will also be someone with the strength and patience to catch me when I allow myself to fall.

*Largely understated>_<

More to a person


When I first met Vess I had no idea that under his calm, controlled and suave exterior lay a passionate, spontaneous, gifted and soulful musician (He really does close his eyes when he plays: deep!). However, when he walked out of his office, looking very business-like: pressed shirt (check), a smart coat (check), dress shoes (check), hair perfectly coifed (check); the sunglasses with the bright green and black frame stood out like a flirtatious grin saying “There’s a party waiting to happen…” No matter how often it occurs, it’s always an amazing thing when you realise that there’s more to a person than what meets the eye.


Vess, also known as ‘The Night Saver’, is a Blues, Jazz and Funk guitarist/bassist with an encyclopaedic knowledge of whisky, a penchant for good hip-hop and films, entrepreneurial aspirations and a member/manager of the band Swagger. Coming from a musical family (his dad is also a Blues musician), he’s been strumming chords and plucking notes since childhood, so much so that to him, music isn’t just recreation, it’s necessity: “…like a drug”-Vess.


I had asked him a couple questions before I wrote this piece, but I forgot to ask the one question I had actually written down: Do you have groupies? So, a bit later, I met him at his workplace (he studied Law at Cambridge University, and now works there), knocked on the door and asked, “Do you have groupies?” He laughed, took up a sheet of paper and said jokingly that he could draft up a Groupie Application Form.


It actually would be interesting to see what such a form looks like, and Vess probably would be the perfect person to create it based on his knowledge of law, business and his experience as an entertainer. He might be one of the last people to seriously use it though…except maybe just to poke fun at the idea.


If you’re interested in hearing Swagger(I highly recommend that you do), you can check them out at La Raza on the first Friday of every month, or you can hear Vess and papa Popov at The Emperor Blues Jam every Sunday. Don’t count on hearing any crash or death metal though, “…that’s not really music”- Vess.

For more info on The Emperor Blues Jam, visit


Check out Swagger at and


Hello and Goodbye


It’s been an interesting week. I met new people, and said a temporary goodbye to two of my favourite guys, who went back to their respective countries. I experienced the weird sensation of sadness mixed with peace, mixed with reserved happiness after saying goodbye, in a sense, to someone else too. I’ve learnt a lot, grown a lot, cared a lot and I think that I’ve developed amazing relationships with people through my time here thus far…and I hope that I have what it takes to maintain those friendships despite Distance’s premeditated plans to keep me away.
Life is an amusing, confusing mix of Joy and Sorrow, but you need them both: they’re the sunlight and water that allow people and friendships to grow.

Picture: Mushrooms at Pembroke College