journey to RIDE IV: indefinite hiatus

My final decision: extend the lifespan of my car. In Singapore, one will need a Certificate of Entitlement (CoE) in order to own a car and such a certificate spans only 10 years. Car owners are allowed one chance to replace their CoE of their old car and hence I did, burning a hole of close to 50 grand in the process. Owning a ride in Singapore is sure expensive!

Stick Shift of My Car!

On the bright side, I get to keep my manual car. A rare find in Singapore. Some major repair works on the way but I think it will survive. Swifts are simple cars to maintain after all.

With no further reason to ride, my journey has come to an indefinite hiatus, until I meet the CoE problem again years in the future.

It has been a stressful learning experience for me, learning riding and balancing the bike and all my commitments along with it. The ever piling demands of work made it more stressful for me to commit to my journey to ride.

As far back in mid-May, I was so stressed that I fell sick. I wasn’t well for the next four weeks to come.

I was so pressured that I stopped my running regime for 6 weeks.

I was so tired that I met my first accident in years of my driving.That was the last straw! My thoughts then, “Now I’m not even driving safely, how can I expect myself to ride safely?” I was quietly screaming for help inside, waiting to be relieved from the ever increasing expectations placed upon me.

I was so worn out after the accident, I rang up a friend, told him that I’m going to quit biking. He met me that very night to console me, and asked me to pushed on. He even asked a lady who had been unflagging at learning riding for the past 1.5 years to encourage me not to give up. And I took his advice, rest for a week or two.

I went back on the bike, promising myself this would be my last lesson if I’m going to fail again. Heavy rain fell making the roads wet that night, as I donned the bright yellow foul weather gear and throttling through the planks and the slaloms again. I passed. In fact, I did better then ever. So now what am I going to do? I booked for the next lesson in four days time. However, health takes another toll towards the week before my business trip to Finland, and for the first time, I had to forgo a paid lesson, in the interest of health and the trip.

I guess one hard lesson I learnt was that I’m really no superman. I thought I could be. But I guess endurance had to be built over time and I really need to come to terms that I’m not that young anymore?

That’s two really physically and emotionally tough months I went through. I’m just looking forward to July, hoping that it will be a better month than May and June. I think it will be. And I can’t wait for the school term to end towards August and take some leaves for a proper break. The one I have not had in close to 4 years.

Still, I hope to ride one day. It’s probably just not that high a priority now. Now, I need to rest.


To the Politicians of the World

Above all else, we ask that you show up, let yourself be seen, and be courageous. Dare greatly with us.

– From ‘The Leadership Manifesto‘, Brené Brown –

Since the 2011 Singapore General Elections, I’ve taken an interest to study a bit more about politics and governance. I looked at what it means for a nation to be democratic or communistic. The ideals of capitalism and socialism. How a libertarian and an authoritarian governance could be like. There are probably a dozen ways more to classify this. In fact, I can’t even agree that this is the way governance should be classified! However, for the simplicity of discussion, please allow me to generalise things as such.

I am no expert but I’m beginning to realise that there might not be a solution to satisfy everyone’s idealism.

The capitalist will likely feel that their logic is right and when he explains his logic to the socialist, the socialist will likely feel that the capitalist’s logic is way off.

The libertarian will likely hope for more freedom. The authoritarian will likely think that more order is required in order to run things efficiently.

Among the most powerful countries in the world, US and China, represent the world of democracy and the world of communism.

Furthermore, all these scales are not in black and white. Everyone’s ideal will likely be at varying degrees.

I don’t think we can argue based on logic. What is perfectly logical to you may not to me. But I was just thinking, maybe we shouldn’t argue at all. Maybe we should just connect with each other and try to see things from each other’s point of view. We’ll continue to agree to disagree, but we will understand that our actions are going to have some form of impact on the other party.

Whatever actions we take, let’s try our best to go for a Pareto efficient one where possible.

To the politicians of the world, if you want the support of your people, I hope you choose to connect with your people. Have an honest conversation with us. If you feel insecure about getting our support but yet you are absolutely sure that you are the best person to serve the nation, why not share with us. I’m sure the people will be happy to share some of their ideas with you.

At least I will.


The Speech Contest Emotion Roller Coaster Ride

What started off as trying to set a role model for my club members by taking part in the Toastmasters’ International Speech Contest hosted by my club turned out to be a sharing session that I will not regret.

While looking for a possible topic to share at the speech contest, I pounced upon a YouTube (which I’ve attached at the bottom of this post) on Dr Brené Brown’s blog, that I knew instantly that is was something that I could use as a topic for the speech contest. After all, I’ve been a follower of her works and her speeches at TED inspired me to try to live wholeheartedly. Could I inspire the audience with the message I truly believe in too?

I entered the club level speech contest thinking that it will be a one-off speech that I’m giving but ended up winning it and proceeding to the area level contest.

At that point, the fire of competition rose in me. However, the area level contest greeted me with one big surprise: I was the only competitor. Personally, I prefer to move up to the division level contest with a proper competition. A competition with only one competitor is definitely not a proper one to me. I wouldn’t hide the fact that I really felt bad on the day the area contest was held.


The day of the division contest came quickly but that fire was somehow quenched by the area contest. Come to think of it, it wasn’t bad after all that the fire has been tamed. It was probably the best thing that happened. I focused on sharing the message from the bottom of my heart. It was not that I never did that for the club and area contests but this time round, there will be no thoughts of the contests to burden me.

And so I did.

And I wasn’t placed in the top three at all.

In a way, I half expected it as speeches with a sombre tone tend not to win.

But to say that I’m not disappointed would be a lie.

However, I haven’t felt as thankful before either.

I am thankful to the many audience who took the trouble and came to me just to shake my hand, telling me that it was a great speech with a message that they’ll remember.

I am thankful to the gentlemen who came up to me and said that while I’m not the most technically inclined speaker that day, whatever I said touched his heart, and that he was tearing while I spoke.

I am thankful for those who told me that I would be placed even when I didn’t in the end.

And you know what? I am placed! The judges may not agree but you all have.


Today, I hope to share that message with you too. It can be summarised by the video that I was inspired by. I hope you’ll enjoy it too.