Join Me for Next Training

New Year Resolution for 2008: Swim faster, Run longer, maybe return to cycling.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Frog Race: Change of Venue, Change of Training Plans

Okay I just received an email regarding the Frog Race.

Apparently, since it's the first time in Singapore that such a race format is used (Run, Swim, Run), the organisers decided to change venue to NTU instead of the original East Coast Park. The reason cited is that some participants have expressed concerns over cramping during the swim leg, especially after running. Well, I've got the concerns too and I'm glad the organisers have taken note.

But the infamous NTU hills would probably be cause for more cramps as compared to the very flat East Coast Park course! At least the NTU swimming pool would be a better place to contain the swimmers!

Anyway, this means I've got a few days to train on some hills. I've been running alot on flat ground lately - most recently doing a 7.5km around the office area.

So.... this Thursday, I'll attempt Sheares Bridge and up my distance as well.


The Accidental Engineering Week

We used to have Engineering Week back at Purdue and if I remember correctly, it was always held witin the first few weeks of the new school year - some time in September. I may be wrong though, coz Purdue has got so many events in its calendar - Bug Fest, Grand Prix Weekend, Orientation Week, Homecoming, etc.

Anyway, this week 30 July to 5 August is somewhat an Engineering Week for me. A purely coincidental; rather accidental one.

Check out my activities for this week:

Tuesday 31 July, evening: Purdue Alumni dinner; mentoring and meet up with 4 Purdue engineering students who are on a short course in Singapore. I'm supposed to mentor them on engineering and stuff...

Wednesday 1 August, mid day: Catholic Junior College Careers Day. In my 4th year returning as a speaker about what else? Engineering of course!

Friday 3 August, evening: Institution of Engineers (Singapore) dinner; Distinguished Lecture by Philip Yeo

Weekend 4,5 August: Supposed to bring the 4 mentees out for a 'chat'.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Hello everyone!

Thank you all for the well wishes and congratulatory messages.

I would like to return my sincere and heartfelt thanks to everyone who has inspired me one way or another. It would be crazy for me to list out everybody's names, coz indeed, EVERYONE has a part to play. Being an inspiration has got to start somewhere, and this is usually when we first get inspired by others. It's a vicious cycle, really.

Therefore, this one goes out to you - who truly inspired himself/herself before getting the bug to inspire others. We are all like-minded athletes in our own right, and we've all come so far in doing the impossible when it comes to self-motivation, self-discipline, and inspiring even the most unlikeliest couch potato in our midst.

We have at least once in our lifetime come to grips in answering questions like "What do I want to do in my life", or "Damn I look fat, and I wanna do something!". It is these thoughts that are the impetus to bend down and tie our shoelaces and... go for that short jog.

Sometimes we are inspired by people around us "You mean that fat dude just completed a marathon? Sure or not?" We were once skeptics, but we've certainly crossed that hurdle and we aim for longer distances.

And that's because we know that WE CAN.

And by doing so, we can inspire others around us. So what if I'm fat? Are you doubting my abilities? Have you tried it yourself? Let's take a run together. It's not a challenge nor competition about who's faster, stronger or fitter. It's to show them the satisfaction of crossing that finishing line. I call it EDUCATION: to show them how it feels to compete with yourself.

If I can do it, so can you!

Thanks everyone! and.... don't stop pushing!

SSIA 2007 Speech by Dr Vivian Balakrishnan

And here's the video.

Opening Speech, SSIA 2007 Ceremony



DATE OF ISSUE: 25/07/2007

Distinguished guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

We congratulate the 42 individuals and organisations, who through their passion and tireless efforts, in promoting the Sporting Singapore vision, have reached out and enriched the lives of their family members, friends and colleagues.

The recipients of the 2007 Sporting Singapore Inspiration Awards are role models who have helped make Singapore an even more vibrant, resilient and healthy nation.

This year, our individual winners range from a 20-year-old student to a 61-year-old company director; and our organisational winners include schools, banks and hospitals. I am pleased to note that nominations for the awards have almost doubled, from 289 last year to 565 nominations this year. This shows that increasingly, individuals and organisations are seeing the benefits of inspiring others to be active in sports. I hope that this will also encourage other individuals and organisations to join in and reap the countless benefits.

The nominees here today are all worthy of special mention. Unfortunately, because of time constraints, I can only highlight a sample of their achievements with you.

Truly inspiring individual (Adult) - Mr Chen Munn

First, I would like to mention 32 year-old traffic engineer Chen Munn. Besides travelling widely around Asia to take part in triathlons, duathlons and marathons, Chen Munn has personally led his colleagues in weekly runs at Marina Park to prepare them for the 2006 Sheares Bridge Run.

He enthusiastically reaches out to first-time participants in the sport, dispensing advice to novices on proper swimming stroke techniques, as well as cheering and motivating them to complete their races. He regularly leads groups of enthusiasts to attend marathon training sessions held in Malaysia and Indonesia and compete in events like the Triathlon Family Sprint Race.

Always ready to inspire others to take up sports, he has created blogs and contributed significantly to online forums on triathlon-related issues. Chen Munn serves as an inspiration to all, on how each of us can play our part in leading others to take up a sport.

Sport advocate that promoted a strong sporting culture to their employees - SGH

Next I would like to highlight an organisation. Singapore General Hospital has committed itself to build a culture of exercise, fitness and healthy living. SGH has set up a system where appointed health ambassadors from various departments provide steady encouragement to their fellow colleagues to participate in a variety of sporting activities. Last year, SGH even rebuilt its staff gymnasium and dance studio to make it more conducive for staff to exercise.

Many organisations have realised that sport participation programs can reap tangible benefits in terms of happier, healthier and more productive employees. I am encouraged to see more and more corporations promoting sports and fitness in their workplaces.

Sports partners who have helped to promote sports and active lifestyles to the community - NParks

I would also like to congratulate the National Parks Board (NParks) for doing a tremendous job in reaching out to promote sports on a large scale to the community. Last year alone, NParks played a pivotal role in organising 38 sporting events that reached out to an estimated 130,000 people. In conclusion, while we continue to enhance our sporting infrastructure, with the Sports Hub being one major investment in our hardware, it is even more important to nurture our heartware - namely the men and women with the passion and dedication to make Singapore a vibrant sporting nation. I would like to encourage all of you here today to continue your good work in inspiring and enabling others, to help make sports a part of their lives.

Thank you.

Monday, July 23, 2007

One Year On......

It's been exactly a year since my accident at Port Dickson. Around this time last year (2:30pm), the medical orderlies in Seremban General Hospital were injecting me with loads of numbing morphine (or whatever that 'happy' thing was), and preparing my plaster cast to immobilise my left hand.

The great guys from Trifam (Edkor, Blossom, Snail, Mythos, BK, SK, Smallcircle, etc) found me in Seremban through a chain of adhoc communications. Everyone thought I was in Port Dickson Hospital.

One year on and what has happened so far?

For one, I haven't been on the bike yet. I guess it's still a mental and physical barrier for me. The implants are situated right where I'm supposed to rest my arm on the aerobars, and there is still one more rod where my wrist is. Therefore holding handlebars (whether straight or curved) is not gonna be comfortable. The psychological barrier is also inevitable - I have developed a phobia. Much as I would like to dispel my fears, it is still very real. Sometimes I think about how a simple fall like that could result in such damage to my hand, and I still cannot fathom its complexities. The very nature of its simplicity and 'freakishness' just scares me no end.

What am I to do? Start on the trainer? Well, I've managed to get the Tacx Satori but I've yet to install it. And I've taken my bike back from John and had it cleaned up at Choonwei's Bike Boutique. My bike is certainly waiting for me to get back on the saddle.

Then I haven't taken part in any major races as well. No triathlons or duathlons for me. But I've done the Navy Biathlon and Masters Swim, and registered for some runs and also the Frog Race. In terms of weight, I've probably gained back some 5kg just because my trainings aren't as intense and frequent as a year ago.

Besides physical training, what is my mental mantra now?

I've pretty much turned to being inspired by my peers around me, and in turn inspiring them by keeping up the faith in myself. If I cannot bike, I could still swim and run. If I'm not going to race, I could still attend the events and cheer my peers on. If I can be inspired by the determination and smiles on everybody's faces (even if they are physically challenged), I'm sure I can inspire those around me too.

No pain, No gain. How true. Dad once painted an oil painting for me some 10 years ago. I brought it to the US with me when I studied and worked there. Ironically, it depicted 2 cyclists racing against each other. The inscription was "No Pain, No Gain". I never thought of cycling or racing for that matter. Triathlon was just wowed upon with awe. But on hindsight, this mantra stuck with me. It is so appropriate, even now.

Without the pain from falling, would I have gained a different mindset to take stock of my physical abilities?

What's next on the road ahead?

Singapore Bay Run. I hope to complete a half marathon for this series since I promised to do so with Maunsell last year but had to pull out because I was still fresh out of surgery. Meanwhile I'll try to gather colleagues to start challenging themselves because they've been working too hard and too late in the pursuit of deadlines and whimsical fancies of some bosses and architects. They need to rediscover themselves.

Get on the bike trainer.

Move one step at a time; continue to rediscover myself as well!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Anya Hindmarch I am not a plastic bag

WHAT THE HECK! Women are going crazy over this 'environment-friendly (statement)' bag. Maybe someone shuold check if this is fair trade. Hopefully it's not made in sweatshops. See where the money goes to.
Gives me a thought for a spinoff bag: "I'm not a plastic bag, but my owner has a plastic brain!"

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Published Again!

Okie dokie... here's some Wednesday fodder for you:

My tribute to Ang Sar Nah... published in the online version of Straits Times.

A Parting Letter from Ang Sar Nar

Monday, July 16, 2007

I knew it!

I know someone up there would be interested.

We should go all out to bid for the Youth Olympics! It's time we bring our sporting nation to a new high! Come on!!!!!!!

Triathlon Song

Someone did a song about triathlon.

It's not about the elites or the top ten finishers. It's about the ordinary mortals in us who make it extraordinary. It's about us who dare to start at the starting line, and for those who've experienced the joy of chesting the finishing tape at the end of the race.


Finally Proven: Life is easier for JC Students

I've encountered so many JC students who've lamented that their 'A' levels are much tougher than last time. They cite that the 'syllabus has changed', and I always counter-argued that syllabus would not change or deviate much. I mean, the Laws of Motion have stood the test of time, remaining where it has always been without external forces of political influence causing drastic reactions. Minute traces of hydrogen gas still gives a 'pop' sound when exposed to a lighted flame from a splinter, and Pythagora's has never gone more crooked than a right-angled triangle. Perhaps the only change the world has witness in 'traditional' science is the dismissal of Pluto as 'one of the planets of the Solar System'.

Besides the demotion of Pluto, what else has changed?


In fact, the advent of the internet age and IT facilities have made life easier for everyone, including students. Gone is the dire need to rush to the library to reserve reference material and to do manual searches on the most trivial of subjects. Yes, we HAD to conduct a full-scale search and rescue operation if we needed to find out alittle bit more about Pluto, whereas now you just have to Google the word in and you'll get a plethora of articles and websites about the planet and the Mickey Mouse's pet dog.

Life is much simpler, isn't it?

And now FINALLY, someone up there from UK has made the revelation that the A Levels are simply much easier!

So go study, boys and girls... and stop whining that Life is tough.

Letter from Ang Sar Nah

I was asked by my friend, Ang Sar Nah to produce her posthumous letter to everyone in Singapore on her sad demise, which happened rather uneventfully yesterday. She died a slow and torturous death amidst an accidental crowd - not by gathering to see her execution, but by unwittingly getting caught in a traffic jam that was worthy of the usual Singapore-brand of complaints. I felt that I should do my part to share her story because she once provided shelter for the graves of my paternal grandparents.

My dear beloved humans,

By the time you read this, I would not only be dead, but I would be mutilated to unrecognisable chunks of wood and heaps of sawdust. It's okay, because life still goes on. There was no way of turning back.

I've lived a fulfilling life. I've stood tall for over a hundred years. I've seen the development of Pek Shan Teng from a humble cantonese cemetery to what Bishan is all about now.

As a young sapling, I admit to competing with the other trees to get sunlight and nourishment. I must say that I have been lucky on a few occasions already. Some of my fellow friends like Rain Tree and Frangipani were uprooted in their early teenage years to make way for graves. I was lucky. I was out of the beaten path and was spared the changkols and saws because where I stood, the fengshui was not exactly ideal for the departed to rest. Graveyard diggers, coolies and undertakers would seek refuge under my shade after a hard day's work on the hilly cemetery grounds. Every Qingming in March / April, hordes of families would dutifully come over to Pek Shan to pay their respects to their dearly departed. Some families would even leave food and plant joss sticks around me. I suppose they were paying respects to me, or honouring me. Come to think of it, it was funny how I was revered by the masses of religiously-struck humans. I appreciated that.

I continued to flourish and grow. I've received many guests on my leaves and branches. Did I mention a tiger once used me as a scratching post? A travelling hornbill from Sarawak roosted on my branches for a few months to recuperate from the long journey. I've even had the honour of being the home to a colugo (flying lemur) that gave birth to twins!

Then the government decided in the seventies to develop Pek Shan Teng. First, it renamed the area to Bishan, in line with the hanyu pinyin efforts then. The heavy machinery came and exhumed the graves of many cantonese ancestors. The cemetery in some areas were levelled. Again, I was lucky to have missed the excavation and clearing of the land.

Then I also witnessed a geopolitical shift in where I was supposed to be located. Not that I was transplanted, but the government on one hand said I belonged to Bishan, then one day mentioned I belonged to another GRC. Last I heard, I think I belonged to Aljunied or Marine Parade. In any case, I witnessed boomtime in the eighties when Bishan experienced a huge surge of residents coming to live in the New Town. I also saw Raffles Institution and later Raffles Junior College moving just a stone's throw from where I stood.

Urban sprawl was also the reason to expand the transport network. Braddell Road became more congested as it was the main trunk that brought the Bishan residents to other parts of Singapore. Planners decided to widen Braddell Road as part of the Outer Ring Road System. Cutting across underneath was the Circle Line MRT system. The drawing plans had me demarcated as an 'obstruction to road widening plans'. Someone wanted me to be felled. I was already more than a hundred years old then, and I've seen everything - well, almost.

But there was someone else who championed for my existence and fought his way to get me saved. They came up with an ingenious temporary traffic scheme so that traffic would be diverted safely around me while they kept to the posted speed limit of 40 kmph. I mentioned that I've seen it all, including the few reckless and irresponsible drivers who would violate the 40 kmph limit. They would zoom past me, thinking that the diversion made a good Formula One-type of chicane or dogleg.

I prayed for them, and for the many other responsible drivers who were endangered by these selfish and reckless punks.

For 2 short years I literally stood in the middle of the road, relishing once again my stay from the chainsaws. I've got the policymakers to thank.

But they decided to overturn their decision, amidst the international call to 'Go Green' and to 'Save the Trees'. How ironic. Now they blame me for being a potential hazard to drivers who speed and don't adhere to simple safety rules to slow down. Who's going to watch over them now? Who's going to pray for these irresponsible drivers? I don't want to point my branches to who's at fault for 'near misses and accidents'. I'm but a 'lucky' tree to almost everyone who sees me standing on that small island in the middle of Braddel Road.

Like I said earlier: there's no way of turning back. The decision was made to execute me and to allow for 'free flow' of traffic. I was once told that I was a good reason for traffic calming measures in the area. I guess it's not the case now.

I am only an Angsana Tree - a tree gone by the time you read this - but I have a few things to say. And this is the only time I'm mentioning anything to anyone in my more than hundred years of living on this planet.

Please educate your drivers and enforce your rules with the right frame of mind, and with professionalism. There are always the easy way out in coming up with solutions, but there are many other more innovative ways. I have submitted to the fact that I need to make way for national development. At my expense, I will do my part if that's the only choice for the sake of safety. Alas I'm disappointed that the very issue of responsible driving is not addressed. It's too late for me to fathom how my demise will result in safer driving when the very root of the problem is not addressed on a national level. Oh well, life must go on.

I appreciate the nature lovers who have tried their best to keep me alive, but my time has come to bid adieu to all my friends. Please continue to pray - on my behalf - for the selfish and inconsiderate drivers who endanger the lives of others.

Your friend,
Ang Sar Nah

Something has to be done on Coastal Road

You know, I hate to talk about punishment by death for people who are just plain assholes. A guy drives at 160kmph along Coastal Road, swerves to avoid an oncoming vehicle, and then crashes. Reckless driver dies, and leaves the driver of the delivery truck injured. It's a lucky thing that the truck driver broke a few bones. What if he also died, or if he was very seriously injured?

In any case, the speed demon is dead. He paid the ultimate price for the following offences:

  1. Reckless speeding;

  2. Inconsiderate and selfish road user;

  3. Injuring / Hurting a fellow road user;

  4. Causing fear to other road users (including cyclists and pedestrians);

  5. Wrongful impersonation of a Boeing 747 taking off from the parallel runway.

Okay, bad joke on the last item.

But seriously, you think he deserves to die? Like I said, I hate to judge others and mete out punishment. Then again, I'm really sick of speed demons like him. They 'zhng' their cars and think they are F1 drivers. They think they are so damn cool to drive way beyond the speed limit. They think they can beat the law, and beat the next 'racing' car. They think they can cheat death.

Well, he's dead.

The authorities ought to do something. Yeah, let's start with the Changi Coastal Road. Speed traps? Sure.... install speed detection cameras and ENFORCE the speed limits there. Changi Coastal Road has always been the hotbed for speeding-related accidents. Not only do these hyped-up cars race against each other, but even delivery trucks from the surrounding logistics park there.

Incidentally, the Coastal Road is also a favourite cycling route for bike training.

I urge the authorities to seriously look into this and DO SOMETHING! If spending public money is an issue for a national effort to reduce speed, then start with something small - like what some highways in India are doing:

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Independence Day Run

I dedicate today’s run to all the Americans out there. So I’ll name today's run: Independence Day Run.

And because it falls on Fourth of July, I did a 4 km run.

It’s an easy-peasy run along the part of the 70.3 route. It’s at the Marina Park portion looping between the Nicoll Highway, to the Ferris Wheel (Singapore Flyer), and to the floating platform, and then returning within the park to Merdeka Bridge and then back to the Concourse. If you don’t know the route, that’s fine. It’s by and large 4km long and I took a leisurely 30min.

I’m coming back to running and I’m doing my base. I didn’t wear my HRM strap today so I didn’t take my HR. But based on perceived ’shagness’ of the run, I’m easy on the breathing and I could basically talk to myself comfortably - but of course I didn't, otherwise other joggers will think I'm crazy.

Pride Defined

I'll touch on the National Stadium and its closing moments again. Yeah, I've been pondering over the serious lack of organisation and creativity on the part of the Singapore Sports Council and/or MCYS.

Overall it was a great disappointment to all the die-hard fans who came (and paid) to bid farewell to the Grand Old Dame.

I only witnessed (IMHO) a sense of pride and belonging in a few situations:
  • Each time The Lions attacked the Socceroos - it was as if our strikers wanted so bad to be 'The One Who Scored The Final Goal at The National Stadium'. The crowds were wowed by the heroic attempts, except for the handful of blind and shameless idol-worshippers of EPL soccer stars. (yes, I'll say it one more time "GO HOME AND GLUE YOUR EYES ON ESPN STAR SPORTS! STARHUB WANTS YOUR MONEY!")
  • The lady who sang the Aussie national anthem. She was all decked in Gold and Green - Aussie colors. She really belted out her anthem!
  • Top honours go to our very own Tan Howe Liang, so far the only Singaporean Olympic medallist. I take my hat off to him. He was the flag bearer that night. At 74 years young, he held our Singapore flag up high with his one hand outstretched and walking the full 400m of the track! He held it up tirelessly with one hand and led the Team Singapore troop around the stadium. Dig that, everyone!

But the organisation and the emcees just spoilt the night for everyone else! Yes, I'm still harping on it! Gosh, I'm even embarrased that we are a nation of creative people? What bollocks!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

On the Closing Ceremony of The National Stadium

Stadium closing ceremony: Lap of honour turned out to be just a sea of shadows

What a dismal send-off for a Grand Old Dame

We were there too, on 30 June 2007. It was not about Australia beating the current Singapore Lions 3-0 in the last international friendly ever to be staged at the Grand Old Dame.

I came to watch the Singapore ex-internationals comprising the likes of Quah Kim Song, Dollah Kassim, V. Sundramoorthy, Malek Awab, Terry Pathmanathan, David Lee. I came to relive my memories of spending my childhood days with Papa and Ah Pak.

But there was hardly a whisper of the Kallang Roar or the spontaneity of the Kallang Wave.

It only came when the paltry emcees (Daniel Ong and Jean Danker) came on at the end of the game to 'rile the crowd'. Honestly, it was obviously more like a bloody mic test for the sound system.

The ex-nationals tried their best at their current fitness levels - terrible and very lacking; can't blame them - but I'm sure they wanted to play on sacred ground one last time too. I'm very sure Kallang turf meant more to them than to me.

Alas the emcees disappointed the die-hard fans big time. We were roused like obedient dogs to Roar at nothing and to perform the Wave at nothing. By the way, the only sound that came from the emcees were them mentioning the names of 'our kind sponsors' over and over again. I did not come to be mesmerised by the generosity of Nike and Polar Mineral Water. I'd rather reminisce the Malaysia Cup days of yore when the Milo commercial came on during every halftime and every spectator imitated the two-arms-raised-in-jubilation action. Remember that?

Then it was the lighting of the cauldron by past National Sprinter C Kunalan. I could feel the air of nostalgia, but again the stupid emceess and programme management just spolit the entire experience.

Then it was the Lions versus the Socceroos. The Lions played darn well against a team that went to the World Cup Finals. We did not win the game, but I'm sure they won my heart for their gutsy showing.

Some idiot(s) marred my entire evening with their irritating and incessant idolatry for the Aussie team. Hello...... they are only your EPL 'heroes', you commercially brainwashed myopic POS! Get a life away from your gogglebox will ya?!

The National Stadium stood tall and proud with her fair number of wins and losses. The National Stadium was about Singapore Pride and United Camarederie of 'friendly' insults and the occasional lump-in-the-throat feeling of patriotism and belonging.

Indeed I spent some National Days as participant (1989), as Signaller and Logistician (1994), and numerous times as spectator. This is not even counting the uncountable times as a self-declared die-hard fan. I may be the occasional skeptic of national policies but I'll always be floored at the National Stadium. Yes, grown men did cry at the stands.

The writers of the 2 articles share the same sentiments. And they've mentioned - very accurately - the total lack of athlete recognition (past and present national athletes parading in the dark?), the lack of preparedness and organisation (no old video clips, or were they also lost with the time capsule?), the lack of money and effort put into this, etc. It's very poor organisation and it is an insult to me and others who have put so much support to the sports scene in Singapore.

Where is the nostalgia I came for? Where is that lump-in-the-throat feeling?

I want that. And I'm sure the others want that feeling too.

Come on Singapore (or whoever the organisers are), there's still some time to organise a very good send-off for an icon that has always reminded me of my roots here in Singapore. Just once more. Please?

Tiger Cup Finals when Singapore beat Thailand for the championship title a few months ago.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Great first time outing at the Singapore Masters 2007

The Yellowwfish Swim Team!

Our 4 x 50m IM Relay team emerged Champs in our age group while the 4 x 50m Freestyle Relay team fell short of just 1.0 seconds from 3rd placing. Our relay team comprise of Jonathon, Devin, myself, Fergus, and Edward.

I managed to shave 10 seconds off my pre-timed 1500m Freestyle to get 31min 50seconds. I reckon I could have done better considering that the 4 x 50m freestyle relay was just before the 1500m event. I also know what I'm lacking - plunge entry, flip turns. With a little more effort, I should better my results this late August when the International Masters comes to town!

SAF celebrates 40 years of National Service, and...

... ... and I get a 'pardon' on 30 June 2007 - a day before SAF Day. My unit intervened and 'corrected my records', and now I don't have to appear in Military Court for 'defaulting IPPT and RT'.

No worries, I still support the causes of National Service in Singapore and I'm still a patriotic Singaporean. I will still serve with Pride and Honour despite the usual bureaucracies.

It could be worse in other countries. So be thankful.