analytical Q May-Aug 2000 Sept-Dec 2000 Jan-Apr 2001 Discussion

The Diary
Anne Ku

5 January 2001 Friday



EVER since I studied Operations Research, I looked at the world differently - through the eyes of optimisation. That is, every problem was formulated as an optimisation - minimise or maximise some unknown variable subject to a set of constraints.

What this meant, little did I realise at the time, was that I would continue to search until I found the best one. Over time, my expectations would be revised by what I found. Eventually, I became difficult to please - because I knew what was available.

This is certainly the case with hotels. I want the best room for the cheapest price. How does one define best? I would have to survey all types of rooms in a hotel.

Today I moved into a temporary service apartment. It faced north, only a few metres from an identical apartment. This meant I would never see the sun, but only where it shined. It reminds me of a company flat in London. It was furnished and serviced to the highest standard, conveniently located near the Houses of Parliament. But alas! It faced north. In New York, Hotel Avalon gave me a room that faced north. I do not want to face north anymore.

If I have no choice, then I wouldn't attempt to optimise. I should instead be thankful for having an apartment in a complex that boasts 95% occupancy. Not facing north was never a criteria. So why should I suddenly complain?