Saturday, February 28, 2009

Singapore Sprint Series Race 1 - Sprint Aquathlon

One of this year's resolutions is to complete an Olympic Distance Triathlon.
(1.5km Swim, 40km cycle, 10km run)
It would be challenge for me especially for the swimming and cycling.
Fortunately, Singapore Sprint Series is a good buildup to the OD Triathlon.
I was really excited, as it was my first swim-run race.
It was my first time swimming in the Sea for a race.
The race consists of 750m swim and 5km run.

Found this picture on a stranger's blog
I am the guy in the white shirt posing for photos. haha...
I was asking myself,
What was I doing in Sentosa Tanjong Beach on an early Sunday morning?
I should be in my bed.

Getting Hyped up. =)
(Jon, Boon & Winnie)
I completed the race in decent timing.
Total Time: 46mins 23 secs
750m Swim - 19mins 43secs
Transition Time - 1min 19secs
5km run - 25mins 19secs
Category Ranking: 47 out of 108
Gender Ranking: 200 out of 477
Overall Ranking: 231 out of 636
I believed I could do better.
But it was not bad for first timer,
considering that last december, I could hardly swim 100m in Freestyle.
Looking forward to more races...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Contentment - Being in Peace

Recently, there are a few things that set me thinking.
One of them is my little moments of frustration.
Not frustrated about the environment or the people around me.
I was frustrated with myself.
(**It is even more frustrating when you can't point finger at others. haha...)
Frustrated that I lack the discipline and concentration.
Frustrated that I did not do my best.
The other things that set me thinking deeper:
A friend (A)'s father was diagnosed with cancer a year's ago. Currently, the chemotherapy is not working anymore and his cancer is already spreading in his body. Doctor has explicitly mentioned that his days are numbered. A's father is in a state of depression, denial and frustration. He would hide in his room and cry. Apparently, he was the kinda of traditional MCP Chinese father who does not listen to others.
Another story:
A friend (B)’s cousin committed suicide at the age of 27 year old during Chinese New Year. A short story about B’s cousin: He was ditched by his wife, and in revenge, he got a girlfriend. Unfortunate, his new girlfriend cheated his money. He left his civil service job to set up business with someone. He borrowed money from family and friends for his new business ventures, however, his business partner cheated his money also. He became jobless and was under huge debt – housing loan, car loan and loan from family. Needless to say, depression might set in and he committed suicide. When his body was discovered, it was already badly decomposed.
Coincidentally, I attended a talk by Ajahn Brahm
(A truly wise and kind monk with a good sense of humor)
He mentioned that Contentment is about being in peace.
Being at peace with your past and your present.
Learn to be at peace with oneself.
Learn to love oneself.

There are a lot of things in life that is beyond our control.
That includes getting old, getting sick, getting cancer and dying.
It happens to EVERYBODY.
Let’s have the wisdom and insights to make peace.
Make something out of the experience.
Yes, we cannot change life, but we can change our reaction.
Contentment is NEVER about being lazy.
Contentment is do your very best and be at peace with it.
The outcome is not as important as the process.

I have found a jewel.
Wisdom of being in peace.
If those in depression have found this jewel, they would have less suffering.
This will be a reminder for myself.
Hope that everybody will find peace in their lives.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Karen Darke

Taken from her website:


Luckily I've got an adventurous gene, as life in a wheelchair is full of unexpected adventure. I was a keen runner, climber and all round outdoor addict, and then at the age of 21, I fell off a cliff and became paralysed from the chest down.


Someone once said to me, “Disability is a state of mind not a state of body.” That’s a notion that relates to us all, regardless of whether we have a physical disability or not. Our own mind is our biggest obstacle to living and achieving our wildest aspirations. What is life if it isn’t an adventure? I’m constantly amazed by what can be achieved if we set our heart and mind to it. It’s all about finding belief, confidence, motivation and commitment. And of course, friends. Then there are no limits.




I have no reasons to complain anymore...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

How do you know when you have watched a GREAT movie?
When you can't stop thinking and reflecting about it.
This is the best movie I watched in recent years.
I did not read much about it, just knew that it was about a slumboy becoming a millionaire in India. I knew I would like the movie, but I didn't expect myself to love it.

It reminded me of the colourful and contrasting sights, sounds, smell and energy of India.
To me, it was a beautifully crafted documentary about India
- life in the slums, bollywood, the racial tensions, the harshness of reality, beggers, secret societies, different social strata etc..
The story was weaved beautifully.
It has all the elements of an excellent movie - good storyline, humor, romance, kinship, good acting, good cinematography and more importantly, about values (loyalty, honesty, love).
One of the scenes was riveting in my mind.
The point when Hamal won the 2 crore (20 millions in Indian Rupees) and Salim was killed.
Salim was kinda trading his own life for his brother's happiness.
He asked God's forgiveness for his sins.
Both brothers with different beliefs led a different lives.
Since young, Salim wanted to breakaway from poverty by any means and he ended his journey in a bathtub of money. Not sure if it was a dream fulfilled.
As for Hamal, money was always not everything and other aspects of life like love, honesty and loyalty are more important for him.
While everybody was happy for Hamal, I felt really sad for Salim. Life was not easy for him and that was the only way out for him. At least, he did a last good deed before he died like:
I love it because it strike a chord with me on 2 levels.
Firstly, it is about the India... and this reminded me of the colorful & diversity of India that I have seen. Watching the life in Slum was interesting and saddening, but I did not venture into a slum while I was traveling (just walking pass it). It reminded me of the street kids I saw in India and I felt sad. There are just too many of them.
In the movie, I felt sad when I saw the blinded kid singing in the underground pass, telling Hamal that he was just lucky. There was a sense of resignation to life. In fact, I believe that there are more atrocities and abuses to the street kids than what was depicted in the movie. While to us, it is just a overwhelming emotion of saddness. To the kids, it is their lives and they have to live with it. I hope I could do something within my means to help them.
Secondly, somehow, I could relate the movie to Forrest Gump. Yes, it is my all-time favourite movie and I pay pilgrimage to it by watching it every year. I could draw alot of similarities between the two movies. Forrest Gump captured the cold-war period of USA while SlumDog captured a transitional phase in India. Like Forrest Gump, Hamal came from a disadvantage background, both of them traveled around their own countries, separated from their love and reunited eventually, went through shits and emerged as a victor (in their own rights), and more importantly, they have unwavering loyalty and honesty in them.
There is a feel good factor that the good will triumph eventually.
On another note:
My German friends - Mona & Simon are in India now. I hope they are okay.
Taken in Calcutta - Dec 2007.
I could still remember the innocence that this boy exudes.
I am not sure what the road lies ahead for him.
Will he be like Hamal or Salim?
Would he be scavenging in the rubbish for the rest of his life?
Would he be kidnapped, tortured and become a handicapped begging on the street?

Friday, February 13, 2009

有朋自远方来 不亦乐乎

Confucius once said
"有朋自远方来 不亦乐乎"
"To have friends coming in from afar, how delightful!"
Indeed Indeed

Mona and Simon from Germany.
They are in Singapore for a 9-hour transit.
We met while traveling in Burma.
This is not the first time i host overseas friends
and it will not be the last time. =)

Monday, February 09, 2009

Sunday, February 08, 2009

I want to be where I am now.

(Overlooking Potala Palace during Dawn at Lhasa, Tibet.)
I want to be where I am now.
Don't mistaken.
I am not successful by the current society's standard.
In fact, my life is far from being perfect.

I am really happy and contented with my current life.
My parents, siblings and all my important friends are around, healthy and doing okay.
It is a true joy to know that people around me are generally doing fine.
I hope it will remain that way.
When they are happy, I really share their joys.
When they are facing difficult times, it also affects me.
I have figured long time ago that it is pointless to compare.
Sometimes you are in front, sometimes you are behind
In the end, you are the only person in the race.
I am not rich materially, but I am fine with that.
I do not need need that much material possesion to be happy.
I am healthy and reasonably fit.
I am at a point where I am not too young nor too old.
I know who I am and who I want to be.
I am old enough to be responsible for my actions.
I do not have much burdens or things to tie me down.
I still have dreams and goals in life.
I am making small incremental steps towards my dream.
I still have energy and passion.
In fact, it is a joy to work towards the dream (whether I succeed or not).
I might not reach my destination eventually.
But, at least the journey is enjoyable.
Last few weeks had been great.
I felt really blessed to be surrounded by loved ones and great friends.
I am savouring every moment that I spent with my family and friends.
I do not need to rewind or forward my life.
While I hope that time would freeze,
I know that Life is impermanence.
Nothing last forever.
Cherish it while it last.
Not to take things for granted.
If I die suddenly tomorrow, I am happy that i was once surrounded by great people.
There is nothing morbid about death.
It is futile avoiding it, why not face it and prepare for it.
As the Tibetan Proverb goes -
"The next life or tomorrow - we can never be certain which will come first".
No matter who leaves first.
I sincerely thank everyone who had walked with me during this short journey.
Life is beautiful...

Friday, February 06, 2009

Where there is life, there must be death.

"Where there is life, there must be death. If one cannot face this reality it will become one’s greatest barrier in life, if one can regard death merely as a fraction within the eternal time and space then death is not an end to life but the beginning of the next."
- The Most Venerable Master Sheng Yen (1931-2009)

Kudos to Bill Gates

Microsoft's Bill Gates, who now devotes his time to philanthropic activities, found a way to get the attention of top names in science, technology, business, entertainment and academia on the topic of malaria.
Addressing the elite Technology, Entertainment and Design conference in Long Beach, Calif., he suddenly yelled to the crowd: "Malaria is spread by mosquitoes. I brought some. Here, let them roam around. There is no reason only poor people should be infected."
With that, he proceeded to unscrew the lid on a jar and unleashed a swarm of mosquitoes to a stunned audience.
While he quickly reassured they group they were not carrying the disease, the newspaper says, the organizer of the conference said it was an "amazing moment" that provided the crowd with "food for thought."
We should always learn to empathise with others.