Ok, I spent SGD 70, to participate in a half marathon.
A first real marathon I ever took in my life.
Bad decision to only train for twice before the race.
The consequence, 4266 out of 6000+ participants.
And, a pair of limping and swollen feet.
Monday, 8 December 2008
Saturday, 1 November 2008
Saturday, 11 October 2008
It's been 6 months since I started working in Singapore.
Saturday, 27 September 2008
Last night in training, Sensei gave me a great lesson.
Monday, 8 September 2008
I don't normally do this, but good things are to be shared. Thank you Jo-Anne for sharing this with me.
It's a bit lengthy, but its worth your time, I guarantee.
Adrian Tan, a litigator from Drew & Napier and author of "The Teenage Textbook".
"Life and How to Survive It"
I must say thank you to the faculty and staff of the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information for inviting me to give your convocation address. It's a wonderful honour and a privilege for me to speak here for ten minutes without fear of contradiction, defamation or retaliation. I say this as a Singaporean and more so as a husband.
My wife is a wonderful person and perfect in every way except one. She is the editor of a magazine. She corrects people for a living. She has honed her expert skills over a quarter of a century, mostly by practising at home during conversations between her and me.
On the other hand, I am a litigator. Essentially, I spend my day telling people how wrong they are. I make my living being disagreeable.
Nevertheless, there is perfect harmony in our matrimonial home. That is because when an editor and a litigator have an argument, the one who triumphs is always the wife.
And so I want to start by giving one piece of advice to the men: when you've already won her heart, you don't need to win every argument.
Marriage is considered one milestone of life. Some of you may already be married. Some of you may never be married. Some of you will be married. Some of you will enjoy the experience so much, you will be married many, many times. Good for you.
The next big milestone in your life is today: your graduation. The end of education. You're done learning.
You've probably been told the big lie that "Learning is a lifelong process" and that therefore you will continue studying and taking masters' degrees and doctorates and professorships and so on. You know the sort of people who tell you that? Teachers. Don't you think there is some measure of conflict of interest? They are in the business of learning, after all. Where would they be without you? They need you to be repeat customers.
The good news is that they're wrong.
The bad news is that you don't need further education because your entire life is over. It is gone. That may come as a shock to some of you. You're in your teens or early twenties. People may tell you that you will live to be 70, 80, 90 years old. That is your life expectancy.
I love that term: life expectancy. We all understand the term to mean the average life span of a group of people. But I'm here to talk about a bigger idea, which is what you expect from your life.
You may be very happy to know that Singapore is currently ranked as the country with the third highest life expectancy. We are behind Andorra and Japan, and tied with San Marino. It seems quite clear why people in those countries, and ours, live so long. We share one thing in common: our football teams are all hopeless. There's very little danger of any of our citizens having their pulses raised by watching us play in the World Cup. Spectators are more likely to be lulled into a gentle and restful nap.
Singaporeans have a life expectancy of 81.8 years. Singapore men live to an average of 79.21 years, while Singapore women live more than five years longer, probably to take into account the additional time they need to spend in the bathroom.
So here you are, in your twenties, thinking that you'll have another 40 years to go. Four decades in which to live long and prosper.
Bad news. Read the papers. There are people dropping dead when they're 50, 40, 30 years old. Or quite possibly just after finishing their convocation. They would be very disappointed that they didn't meet their life expectancy.
I'm here to tell you this. Forget about your life expectancy.
After all, it's calculated based on an average. And you never, ever want to expect being average.
Revisit those expectations. You might be looking forward to working, falling in love, marrying, raising a family. You are told that, as graduates, you should expect to find a job paying so much, where your hours are so much, where your responsibilities are so much.
That is what is expected of you. And if you live up to it, it will be an awful waste.
If you expect that, you will be limiting yourself. You will be living your life according to boundaries set by average people. I have nothing against average people. But no one should aspire to be them. And you don't need years of education by the best minds in Singapore to prepare you to be average.
What you should prepare for is mess. Life's a mess. You are not entitled to expect anything from it. Life is not fair. Everything does not balance out in the end. Life happens, and you have no control over it. Good and bad things happen to you day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment. Your degree is a poor armour against fate.
Don't expect anything. Erase all life expectancies. Just live. Your life is over as of today. At this point in time, you have grown as tall as you will ever be, you are physically the fittest you will ever be in your entire life and you are probably looking the best that you will ever look. This is as good as it gets. It is all downhill from here. Or up. No one knows.
What does this mean for you? It is good that your life is over.
Since your life is over, you are free. Let me tell you the many wonderful things that you can do when you are free.
The most important is this: do not work.
Work is anything that you are compelled to do. By its very nature, it is undesirable.
Work kills. The Japanese have a term "Karoshi", which means death from overwork. That's the most dramatic form of how work can kill. But it can also kill you in more subtle ways. If you work, then day by day, bit by bit, your soul is chipped away, disintegrating until there's nothing left. A rock has been ground into sand and dust.
There's a common misconception that work is necessary. You will meet people working at miserable jobs. They tell you they are "making a living". No, they're not. They're dying, frittering away their fast-extinguishing lives doing things which are, at best, meaningless and, at worst, harmful.
People will tell you that work ennobles you, that work lends you a certain dignity. Work makes you free. The slogan "Arbeit macht frei" was placed at the entrances to a number of Nazi concentration camps. Utter nonsense.
Do not waste the vast majority of your life doing something you hate so that you can spend the small remainder sliver of your life in modest comfort. You may never reach that end anyway.
Resist the temptation to get a job. Instead, play. Find something you enjoy doing. Do it. Over and over again. You will become good at it for two reasons: you like it, and you do it often. Soon, that will have value in itself.
I like arguing, and I love language. So, I became a litigator. I enjoy it and I would do it for free. If I didn't do that, I would've been in some other type of work that still involved writing fiction – probably a sports journalist.
So what should you do? You will find your own niche. I don't imagine you will need to look very hard. By this time in your life, you will have a very good idea of what you will want to do. In fact, I'll go further and say the ideal situation would be that you will not be able to stop yourself pursuing your passions. By this time you should know what your obsessions are. If you enjoy showing off your knowledge and feeling superior, you might become a teacher.
Find that pursuit that will energise you, consume you, become an obsession. Each day, you must rise with a restless enthusiasm. If you don't, you are working.
Most of you will end up in activities which involve communication. To those of you I have a second message: be wary of the truth. I'm not asking you to speak it, or write it, for there are times when it is dangerous or impossible to do those things. The truth has a great capacity to offend and injure, and you will find that the closer you are to someone, the more care you must take to disguise or even conceal the truth. Often, there is great virtue in being evasive, or equivocating. There is also great skill. Any child can blurt out the truth, without thought to the consequences. It takes great maturity to appreciate the value of silence.
In order to be wary of the truth, you must first know it. That requires great frankness to yourself. Never fool the person in the mirror.
I have told you that your life is over, that you should not work, and that you should avoid telling the truth. I now say this to you: be hated.
It's not as easy as it sounds. Do you know anyone who hates you? Yet every great figure who has contributed to the human race has been hated, not just by one person, but often by a great many. That hatred is so strong it has caused those great figures to be shunned, abused, murdered and in one famous instance, nailed to a cross.
One does not have to be evil to be hated. In fact, it's often the case that one is hated precisely because one is trying to do right by one's own convictions. It is far too easy to be liked, one merely has to be accommodating and hold no strong convictions. Then one will gravitate towards the centre and settle into the average. That cannot be your role. There are a great many bad people in the world, and if you are not offending them, you must be bad yourself. Popularity is a sure sign that you are doing something wrong.
The other side of the coin is this: fall in love.
I didn't say "be loved". That requires too much compromise. If one changes one's looks, personality and values, one can be loved by anyone.
Rather, I exhort you to love another human being. It may seem odd for me to tell you this. You may expect it to happen naturally, without deliberation. That is false. Modern society is anti-love. We've taken a microscope to everyone to bring out their flaws and shortcomings. It far easier to find a reason not to love someone, than otherwise. Rejection requires only one reason. Love requires complete acceptance. It is hard work – the only kind of work that I find palatable.
Loving someone has great benefits. There is admiration, learning, attraction and something which, for the want of a better word, we call happiness. In loving someone, we become inspired to better ourselves in every way. We learn the truth worthlessness of material things. We celebrate being human. Loving is good for the soul.
Loving someone is therefore very important, and it is also important to choose the right person. Despite popular culture, love doesn't happen by chance, at first sight, across a crowded dance floor. It grows slowly, sinking roots first before branching and blossoming. It is not a silly weed, but a mighty tree that weathers every storm.
You will find, that when you have someone to love, that the face is less important than the brain, and the body is less important than the heart.
You will also find that it is no great tragedy if your love is not reciprocated. You are not doing it to be loved back. Its value is to inspire you.
Finally, you will find that there is no half-measure when it comes to loving someone. You either don't, or you do with every cell in your body, completely and utterly, without reservation or apology. It consumes you, and you are reborn, all the better for it.
Don't work. Avoid telling the truth. Be hated. Love someone.
You're going to have a busy life. Thank goodness there's no life expectancy.
Brilliant, isn't it ?
A quick search shows its from a book published in 1988. Would like to get my hands on one of the copies, anyone help?
Friday, 5 September 2008
But, I respect him for his other side in life most, as quoted from Wiki:
Saturday, 30 August 2008
Regardless of being in mamak stalls, fastfood outlets, fine dining restaurants or pubs,wherever you see Malaysians gather, the current political scenario is one of the topics of discussion.
With Malaysiakini, Malaysia Today, Chedet.com, and blogs of various politician, suddenly, every internet-abled Malaysian is a political expert.
We spend time discussing issues, debating bills that was tabled, talking about policies that should be abolished/ created, and at the end of the day, we the so called "Mamak Political Experts" have ZERO conclusion and not to mention, ZERO actions.
For those who all talk no action, like myself, here are something we could do, and should start doing to ensure Malaysia is a better place. Take your pick.
1. Help out in political events / campaign for your local candidates
2. Donate to political parties
3. Be a political leader among your family and friends.
4. Do what a Malaysian should do.
After seriously evaluating all the options, I found that:
Option 1 is not my cup of tea. Also, this option is only applicable during campaigning period, which only happens once every 4 years? or sooner if there any by-election. Plus, its just too labour intensive, and shall leave this option for those who are highly motivated, not me.
Option 2 is a noble thought, and a costly one. What will my RM100 do towards a better Malaysia? Maybe can pay for a few of option 1's volunteer's meals and transportation? Nah, Unless I can donate something like RM 1mil, I won't bother. People always think they contributed by giving money, but patriotism is more than that.
Option 3 is great and you have to have some creditable knowledge in the current political scene to do it.I know I can do it. But, I would rather be a source of information that a political leader/ adviser among my family and friends. Debating with people who supports different parties is tiring! And I don't hope to be charged for defamation or sodomy.
Option 4 poses a great question, what should a Malaysian do towards a better Malaysia? Firstly, you need to imagine what your 'dream country' should look like. Seriously, I do not know how living in a dream country feels like.I definately do not know your defination of a dream country. After traveling quite a bit around the world, I still think Malaysia is the best place on earth for me. The food, the people, the natural scenarios, the way people speaks, the political jokes and the so called 'discrimination' claimed by everyone, its just too unique.
I like Malaysia, and over the years, things change, and the country needs some tweaking. Every Malaysian is expecting a major change, but as a normal Malaysian who cannot bother to act upon option 1, option 2 and option 3, I would do what a Malaysian should do, which is -- Be a Malaysian.
However, being a Malaysian is no easy feat.
You need to:
Thoroughly understand the history of our country.
Know the reason why Independance is sort after?
What happened before and after independance.
Understand why various political parties exists?
Understand what happened during May 13 incident.
Understand what NEP is really about.
Understand the plight of other fellow Malaysians.
Understand how the parliment works.
Understand and practise your rights as a Malaysian.
Think for yourself if petrol prices in Malaysia can really be as cheap as Saudi Arabia?
Learn the basics of inflation and growth.
Think for yourself, when things get bad, is it because of a race, a religion or its because of a few people who has misused their authorities?
Make friends with everyone, learn more about each other. Share your opinions between your friends of all races.
Find out if there's any country in the world that have no prejudice, racism and is fair to everyone?
Question yourself, how can you be part of a better Malaysia.
In fact, the list could just go on.
Even though born and lived in Malaysia for 25 years, I am still trying be a Malaysian.
Better start late than never,or worse yet, complain and do nothing, right?
Monday, 18 August 2008
Friday, 8 August 2008
When I was young, I was hoping to do things my way, and have everything done in favour of myself.
Some years later, I discovered it is simply impossible to have everyone following your instructions, and things don't change because you want it to.
So, I started to learn the art of influencing.
I learnt different skills, the skills of persuasion, skills of motivation, skills of speaking, skills of deceiving, skills of lying and even the skills to threaten.
Alas, after years of trying, the world is still round, I still can't have free food in MacDonald's, can't get the stray dogs to listen to my stories and can't have a free Hull City FC jersey delivered to my doorstep.
Finally, after years of trying, I gave up. Instead of having people follow suit, I try to blend and follow suit. To follow whatever others are doing, is never difficult, but to follow and to maintain your own principles along the way, while not losing your own identity is.
I hope I can do it better.
Tuesday, 22 July 2008
Sunday, 29 June 2008
When mentioned about how much more fun it is to live in Malaysia, my Singaporean friend immediately responded :
"It's more dangerous in Malaysia-leh and politically it is so unstable now-leh, can easily get killed on the road or on the streets-leh! "
"But I have no problem staying there throughout my life!"
"You might just have been lucky! Look at all those media reports in the newspapers and TV, you must be joking to say its safe there! and to drive on PLUS highway is never safe......and ....."
As a seasoned traveler, (although most of the time for business) I am well aware that every country has crime and their social problems. Yes, each and every one of them, the Brits have too many drunk people on the streets; the Americans can virtually buy a gun from their supermarket and start shooting people at will; the Japanese commit suicide as often as we eat ice cream; and murder/rape/traffic accidents DO happen in Singapore!
The only major difference is, what kind of perception does the people have on their own country and on other countries. Top that up with the microscopic coverage of the media, be it CNN, BBC or Channel News Asia, a small incident that does not affect anyone could sound like a disaster for that country. However, when the country is peaceful and doing well, it will not be reported, as the news will not sell, true?
Luckily, Malaysia is not the only victim, and it's not the worse victim.
One of the worse victim, due to the irresponsible bias media coverage is Pakistan.
Being assigned there for a week for business, I managed to "interviewed" several working-class Pakistanis.
Local #1:"Why is it not safe? Do you see any sort of violence throughout your stay?"
Local #2:"Nothing, people are still busy with getting money to feed their family, and the political system does not directly affect the bureaucratic system over here. For example: the Prime Minister can change, but the Ministry of Education still runs, the Ministry of Finance still does it work, the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority still ensure the development mobile phone networks."
"What do you think about your President?"
Local #3:" There's a President and the Prime Minister. The president is not holding any actual power, he's the one who is always in the media spotlight, but he does not do anything. In contrast, the Prime Minister holds actual governmental power, and he keeps the country running."
Saturday, 7 June 2008
Was sent to some weird place in another part of the world.
This is the land where you can find good Arabic and Indian food.
Gold is said to be cheap here, I wonder why?
And he 'accidentally' drove pass a couple of buildings by the name of Emirates Towers.
And no, Dubai is not a country! Dumb ass!
Sunday, 25 May 2008
New things attract attention, and new buildings attract crazy Singaporeans and its foreign workers, like us, who have nothing better to do during weekends.
Its advertised in the local papers that a new pedestrian bridge was built somewhere in one of the nature parks, and was named Henderson Waves. Its the highest pedestrian bridge in the world, wow, that's some selling point and thus became a 'must-see' item in Singapore !
The old saying of "There's two sides of a coin" sounds very true when you can think that :
- There's nature within the hustle and bustle of the city of Singapore.
- There's no escape of the view of the city even though you are in any nature park of Singapore.
The bridge is crooked, no wavey, no, it straight.....urgh...it confusing !
Good day out, some light workout and some good photo shooting.
It's considered an excellent outdoor trip in Singaporean term, or at least to foreign workers like us.
Anyway, too lazy to write a lot,(maybe nothing to blog about)so read the description in the photo here yourself!
Wednesday, 21 May 2008
It was a normal Thursday evening. Was off from work early, took a swim and had dinner at Tiong Bharu Plaza with friends JC and JA.
First timer to the restaurant, I was quite amused by the name in chinese 别府面馆 (Benpu Menkan) and its decoration which resemble Hell.
Only then I know they are well-known to serve spicy Japanese ramen. Being adventurous, and to accept the challenge of a dare from JC and JA, I ordered the Oniyama Jigoku (Ramen with Fried Chicken from Hell) and with a spicy rating equivalent to 8 chilli padis. For your information, there are choices from 1 chilli, 2 chillies, 4 chillies, 6 chillies and a maximum of 8 chillies.
The waiter even suggested :" Are you sure? I suggest you to just take 4 chillies la...."
Me:" Why? 4 chillies and 8 chillies same price woh......8 chillies la!"
Waiter: "ok ......"
JC, in fear I could not finish the spicy noodles, ordered Tatsumaki Jigoku with 1 chilli so that if the worse case happen, we can mix both noodles together and create a 4-chilli noodle.
JA ordered a seafood paperpot and promised to finish a bottle of sake if I could finish the 8-chilli ramen.
The noodles arrived shortly, looking and smelling spicy.
Looking at the shock across the table, the waiter kindly asked :" Do you want a glass of ice cold water?"
Me:"Wah, look down on me? I want hot green tea instead!" (actually its better to drink hot drink when you take spicy food la...)
Picking up the unusually large spoon, I tasted the soup for a start, and man, it's spicy, but still tolerable after my hell-like spicy food eating training in Indonesia.
Then I started eating the ramen....and I started to feel the burn in my mouth.
Couple of minutes later, my stomach started catching fire.
And after 10 minutes, I was virtually crying while eating ramen.........
Amazingly, after like 15 minutes, I don't feel anything anymore.....and I managed to finish the whole bowl of ramen, not including the soup of course.
Disappointingly, JA did not keep her promise to drink down a bottle of sake.......and I sacrificed without any returns.
JA, you owe me a bottle of sake!
Wednesday, 14 May 2008
I got to admit, I've not been to Batu Caves, until last week.
If its not because my colleague Dr.Stefano from Italy insisted, I won't be there.
The smart Italiano challenged me to run up the stairs.......not knowing there's a couple of hundred of it............
Ok, its just 272 steps in exact. But it did made us sweat a whole lot!
There's not a great deal inside the cave, just a couple of shrines and some monkeys wandering around. Not too interesting.
I did manage to capture this funny picture of my colleague though......haha