Journal

Last Run?

Carrying an injury into the half marathon and completing it in a bit over 2hr 25mins. Not my best run but at least it qualifies as an average.

The aftermath was unbearable though. Pain sets in.

The Chinese physician whom I consulted said I sustained injury to multiple joints. These include my right hip and my 3rd lumbar vertebra of the spine. The knees are not going well too.

“Swim. It’s good for you. Don’t run or jump or it’s going to aggravate the situation,” the physician warned.

“Am I going to recover?” I asked.

“Of course, you will. How old do you think you are?” he quipped.

I find little relieved in his words though. These days, every injury I sustained seemed to take me longer to heal. This is the first time I had an injury to my spine. Physically, I am really feeling my age.

Deep down, I really fear that I couldn’t run anymore.

But there’s still so many runs I have not done! Like the 4:30 pace for my 2.4km, the sub-2 Half Marathon, and I really wanted to do a marathon in Japan some day.

I need to treat self-care very very seriously.

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Journal

simplify… phase two

Bit my lips.
Thank it.
Placed it aside to be given away.

Feel like keeping it.
Thank it.
Placed it in the rubbish bin.

Give up an active pursuit to learn it.
Learn to let go of it.
Told myself doesn’t mean I stop it totally.
Just means more time and more focus for more things that matters more.

Throwing away stuff everyday,
Stopping an active pursuit for something that isn’t active in the first place,
The never ending mission to lighten my load.

Need to be free.
free…

~Flex Tio~

I still think I own too much stuff and have too many passion. The irony is that these passions became passive, and if that’s the case, are they still passion?

I decided to stop learning Cantonese as a 5th language formally. I’m giving away my dictionary of Cantonese Slang to my friend and throwing away the Cantonese Drama which I never watched. But this doesn’t stop me from learning a bit of Cantonese here and there right?

And there’s so much more passion and hobbies I have that I better have some clarity how I want to pursue them soon.

Journal

motivation

“Go go! Just go for it!” he shouted at the top of his voice and he came running from behind, passed me and sprint off forward.

He wasn’t anyone who I know, just someone who is taking the Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) with me. He chose to cheered on even though I’m sure he is freaking tired. It was infectious.

I reciprocated. I widen my steps and took my best attempt to sprint towards to finish line too, completing my 2.4km run station just behind him, getting my first ever Gold standard!

It was a goal I had for previous years but as I never did achieve it, I drop it out of my New Year Resolution for the past two years. Getting a knack that I could do this this time, I committed for a goal to gold just six weeks before!

As I proudly showed my comrades, who are relaxing at the stadium stand with their fruit juice, the number “5” chip which I got from the run (which meant that I came in 5th out of the cohort of 35 odd), fellow comrade AC chirped in:

At this age, you still can accomplish a Gold, you know that when you believe, you can do anything. Really.

Well, I guess I can. Thank you both of you for your motivation during the run and the after thoughts inspiration. I’ll remember this dearly.

Journal

getting attention

I like goggles for my eye wear, I really do. I couldn’t resist getting this pair of spectacles: the Butterfly Effect series from Owndays when I came across it. I chose the most outstanding colour of the three for myself. Wearing it for about two weeks now, even though this pair of spectacles is causing some pain at various pressure points, I felt very me with this pair of spectacles. The little rebel in me.

It is like those times where I would dress a bit differently to look outstanding: trench coats, suspenders, bow-ties, although not all of it at one go of course. Or sometimes a little bit more subtle with my pair of Walking Tall.

Days that I just felt like getting some attention. And sure I got lots and lots of it! And I learnt quite a fair bit from the attention I’m getting too.

Glasses

I learnt that my students were more ready to give me compliments compared to my colleagues even though they probably don’t know me as well. Perhaps my students were surprised by my antics where to my colleagues, they have sort of expected it.

I learnt that there will still be haters and I still get affected by that single “bad” comment out of all those good. But I also learnt to laugh it off as best as I could. Not sure if I feel good deep inside, but it’s just part and parcel of living.

Finally, I also learnt that this pair of spectacles could get me an extra serving of noodles at the cookhouse yesterday morning! When I was helping myself to the breakfast, the cookhouse lady had initially prevented me from getting the noodles (apparently, you can only choose to have either the “Western” breakfast or the noodles). As I was about to clear my tray, she asked me to come get another serving of noodles and we struck a conversation about my pair of spectacles.

Just hope that the pain points can go away as I get used to wear this pair of spectacle. Then all would be well.

Journal

DIFFERENCES in culture

“Are Europeans friendly?”

This is a usual question I had for friends who went to Europe for their vacation. While my personal experience with Finnish had been a pleasant one, I couldn’t help but ask that question as I hear too many stories about Europeans being unfriendly.

I guess I got my answer today, with an opportunity to chat with a German, T, who has been living in Singapore for the past 9 years.

“Germans are straight forward. In fact, I had a little culture shock when I went back to Germany recently. The waitress was telling us that we should leave the seats as we only spent $5 in the cafe and seats are reserved for those who spent at least $10,” T shared his little nugget of story with me.

“I guess I’m getting too used to Asian culture. It’s not that the waitress was unfriendly, I knew she was…” he added.

It was a moment of epiphany for me.

Strangely, it should be something I ought to know, especially as a learner of the Japanese language and someone who likes the Japanese culture.

A big aspect of Asian culture is face-saving and if we observe the Japanese culture, which in my opinion has exercised this “face-saving” culture to the greatest extent, the culture is even built into their language.

For instance, even though the word “No” exists in the Japanese language, it is seldom used as it is considered rude to reject a person. The proper way to reply would be “A little…”, coupled with a smallish body language of backing away with a gentle smile and an eye frown on their faces.

As for the person receiving the reply, he/she is expected to understand that it means a rejection and not push further if he/she could help it.

For the Germans, it was about being direct and getting the point across. Yes, even though they may throw in a bit of sarcasm in the midst maybe. As T puts it, two guys could be having a heated argument in work but once work is done, they can go into the same bar together and drink like brothers in the evening.

It’s just a difference in culture.

Probably it’s just that I’ve never met enough people who are more blunt and direct. After all, I’m guessing that Singaporeans are probably pretty German compared to our Asian counterparts.

Journal

cold calls

She called me three times the past few months, on the pretext that she knew a board gaming friend of mine (who I’m still unsure who he is at the moment). Tried asking her for the purpose of her call to no avail. Sensing something funny going on, I postponed her calls till one month later and three months later respectively.

And finally on the third call, she was like “I play board games too.”

Oh? In my mind I was like so are you trying to invite me to a board gaming event? Or have you also heard that I was trying to design a board game and you would like to invite me to a special event for board game designers?

“Actually I’m a financial advisor…”

Never mind the rest of her conversation, it was 1 hour after the call and my reaction was still like:

Rant

Can’t take it that I decided to take it out on Facebook

***

After taking it out on Facebook, I decided to do something which I don’t normally do. I called her back.

Frankly speaking, I do not know why I bothered.

I just felt that I should.

***

“Sorry, you cold called me just now?”

“Oh, I must have pressed the wrong button while I was flipping through my phone book just now.”

“No, I called you back. There’s no mistake. I’m calling you back because I would like to give you my feedback on why I rejected you. Except, I’m not sure if you would like to listen to it.”

“Oh, ok…”

Didn’t expect this to turn into a 20-minute chat.

It seems that this lady was not that new to financial advising. She was expecting to do a referral call but this particular one with me ended up as a cold call. I told her that she actually had a chance, if only she was upfront about the purpose of the call, there’s a chance I might listen more, instead of a tough rejection.

I really believe she could do cold calls. I’ve seen it working for many people whom I knew.

She was insistent that she’s making a referral call.

As it progressed, we chatted about other stuff, her profession and mine, she shared a bit of stuff about her husband also, trying to find a bit of common ground to chat about. And we parted amicably (I hope). Left her a link to LusiGroup. Offered to arrange a free pass to their preview if she wanted to find out more.

Strange to say, now it seems as though I am doing the cold call eh?

Anyway, still not sure why I did this though it did made my day interesting.

Afternote: As to whether it made my day, well… a friend of mine did commented: “(she) probably will brush it off and think it’s just one irritating person.”… Right…. Ouch!

Journal

Never Flagging in Adversity

I was not the easiest person to work with – full of skepticism and negativity. Most of my high school classmates would avoid me. I was in huge internal struggles. Depressed. Despair about life. It was so dark that I there was actually a blank in my memory of a few of those moments, which I knew there was extreme pain but I couldn’t remember the details of it…

IMG_20170505_062713

The Navy has been a very important part of my life journey. I am extremely fortunate to be working under a dedicated group of passionate officers who accepted me for who I was, who saw my flair and nurture my creativity, who mended the broken me together.

To begin with, I was part of the army who didn’t want to let me go. Yet, I’m always treated as part of the Navy family. My commanding officer did not have to do this out of his busy schedule because I’m really a nobody but he made two calls to the personnel department to ask to keep me with the Navy family.

I am no sailor, but the officers who were under him took very good care of me too. They offered me their friendship and taught me the traditions of the seas anyway, a lot going far back into the Age of Discovery. I fondly remembered the many nights working through projects with them. The many bowling sessions we gone for. The really generous affirmation they have given me about my work and my artistry.

I also saw through a dark moment – RSS Courageous. I remembered the skies poured its wrath at us, soaking every hair and every skin on that sombre day which the military funeral took place. All soaked and cold, our hearts strung in a common heavy beat as the procession drove passed us.

Through fair winds and against rough seas, this journey had built my courage and my confidence to live on and gave me a chance to redeem myself. It is for this reason, I always feel very much indebted to the Navy and will forever be grateful to be given a chance to be a part of this great family.