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

Monday, July 27, 2009

Farewell Lunch with Close RID Colleagues

We had lunch at Alexandra Village this afternoon. There were 2 tables. From left standing: Simon, James, Vera, Maureen, Yian Kee, 'Mama' Beng Cheow, myself, Lifeng, Qingwei, Weiyang, Lissiana, Juvena, Darren, Terence. Seated from left: Ranga, Catherine, Kia Wang, Swee Tin, Sung Hong, Mok, Ms Loh.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Leadership comes with great responsibilities and......

In a couple of weeks, I'll be taking on the role of a General Manager at the Singapore office of an MNC. Many friends have congratulated me and gave me sound advice. One piece of advice in particular stood out: A great leadership role comes with great responsibilites.

It is true.

I've been thinking seriously about life lately, especially when I'm experiencing a career jump and at the same time, a jump in another stage in life - Marriage.

Career and Marriage. Both jumps are not mere hopscotch play, but leaps of faith, discernment, trust, passion, and love as described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

Love is Patient, not Hasty
Love is Kind, not Inconsiderate
Love is Content, not Envious
Love is Humble, not Prideful
Love is Courteous, not Rude
Love is Generous, not Selfish
Love is Good-tempered, not Irritable
Love is Forgiving, not Vengeful
Love is Indestructible

I'm driving at the Love of Christ and the Love for Christ. Perhaps I'm at this stage in my life's journey that I have to consciously rely more on God's guidance to get by. Leadership in my career and leadership in marriage (and later, fatherhood) should be endorsed by Christ and I've to be willing to accept that fact. I need to allow God to guide me through the big responsibilities coming my way.

Only then will I be on the road to being a great leader.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Turns - Open Turn Sequence Step #4

practice practice practice!

Turns - Open Turn Sequence Step #3

Being aware of hands and arms during the turn reduces unneccessary drag

Turns - Open Turn Sequence Step #2

Part 2 of the Open Turn

Turns - Open Turn Sequence Step #1

ha! Flip turns and water in my nose NO MORE!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Teaching is Rewarding.. for Life!

Let's put it this way: I've had a few stints as a relief teacher and the last stint spanned about 6 months between March and September 2002. Most of my stints were in junior college and many former students have since become good friends through the years.

It's been several years since, and I can affirm that teaching is indeed a rewarding career - but only if you will it to. My former charges are now entering the workforce and many have come forward to ask me to be their referee. I have no hesitation, simply because I've seen them grow from naughty boys to matured and responsible young adults. I'm very happy to hear of my charges getting into the poly or university and then graduating. Some have found jobs while others are matured enough to persevere through the economic downturn. I am proud of every one of them. Well done!

This is not my first time expressing my joy in hearing of my students' success stories. This will not be my second or third time either. That is why teaching is rewarding.

Teaching is about relating to your students and forming a unique bond with them. You are friends with them, yet they see you as the 'guru' in most of life's situations. Teaching is about nurturing and growing with your students through school and beyond. Teaching is about sharing notes of experiences and feelings.

The Ministry of Education just recruited some 3000 new teachers for the education sector. In these uncertain times, there are bound to be some who jump on the bandwagon just to look for job. Teaching requires passion and patience and the keen sense to relate. How many of the 3000 are fit to be teachers?

It's not for me to say; It's not for their students to find out. It's for these new teachers to agree with me that Teaching is indeed a rewarding career. I hope the 3000 would one day share the same feelings as I do.

Thursday, July 09, 2009


Well it's been so many months since I last blogged here. Time really flies, and things have changed quite a bit.
There's heavy involvement in getting the pentathlon squad up and running (literally), Dad's surgery and his acknowledgement of Jesus Christ as Saviour, me taking up competitive swimming (speedwork finally!), and major changes at work.
I guess the 2 most significant episodes for this year thus far is when Dad took it upon himself to follow Christ and when I got headhunted some weeks ago for a huge jump in my career.
Dad: Well he had a routine checkup and doctors found a suspicious tumour in his kidney. Dad got worried and so did we, but by knowledge of Science, we knew that humans could live on one kidney if docs decide to take one side out. Anyway Dad decided one day to follow Christ and to accept Him as Saviour. Now, that was kinda shocking too... coz Dad was somewhat previously resistant to being Christianity. He didn't oppose, he just was kinda stubborn. We decided to leave it in God's Hands and as you would have it, the tumour was taken out and Dad still got two kidneys. In other words, he's recovered pretty well ever since even with a little complications with diabeties... but Dad has been very disciplined in eating well and exercising lots with walking and more walking. In his heart, he still believes in God and has faith in Him, but he needs to go to Church though. Church and Bible studies helps us to grow in faith. Having said that, I also need to go Church.
Work: There's been lots of change at work and this was made more pronounced with the realisation of recession. In April, Surbana's got a great Chief in Mr Chua and I highly respect his leadership and vision. A few of us got involved in the strategic thinking group to lead for change in the organisation. Things are slowly progressing.... and then a headhunter hooked me up for a management position. In gist, I literally went from Senior Engineer in a multi-discipline consultancy to a General Manager in an MNC overnight. I just quit my job in Surbana for that GM post. I owe it partly to Chief who always believed in me... and I foresee a fair bit of collaborations in the future.
We are all blessed people... and we shouldn't take things for granted.
Thanks to Michael Jackson's untimely demise, I quote him from Man in the Mirror "If you wanna make this world a better place, take a look at yourself and make that change."
Well, I'm living it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Will a Black Man ever rule the US? - A tribute to the Goens on Inauguration Day

I am sitting in the living room right here in Singapore. It's 2300hrs now and there's a live telecast of Barack Obama's Inauguration into Presidency. Washington DC is swarmed with millions of proud Americans. I am very sleepy and I've got a headache. Yet the inauguration is a special moment for me.

I'm not American, and I'm not tearing from 'the special historical moment'. Why then, is it special for me?

Some years ago, I had a conversation with Sherman Goens and Teresa Goens at their humble house on Broadway Street. I gave them a surprise visit when I visited Indianapolis in 2005. The conversation was on great black people who have been influential in US history. I knew quite little about significant black people in the US but I knew enough to make conversation to learn more about them. You know, it's one of those situations - the more you talk, the more you listen; and the more you listen, the more you learn. I think the Goens and I had an engaging conversation. That's it: an engaging conversation.

We talked about Mohamad Ali, the boxer. We talked about Martin Luther King Jr. Then we talked about slavery and freedom, and how America has become more 'inclusive' and less racial discriminating. The conversation led to how I embraced what we called 'the color-blind culture'. The Goens and the rest of my friends I made in the US didn't see me as yellow. I didn't see them as black or white either. We sat in the living room reminiscing our past adventures, and we joked about how 'black' I had become while hanging out too much with the Goens.

"Chen, do you think the US will be ruled by a black President?"

I don't remember if I gave a definite answer. I probably would have said something along the lines of globalisation and choosing great leaders and such. After all, the answer was somehow along the lines of what we had talked about anyway. "If the right person comes along, and if he's a charasmatic leader... why not? You (American) guys need someone who's pragmatic and who can ensure change!"

Fast forward to 20 January 2009: Barack Obama will be the first black American to be inaugurated as President of the United States of America.

Sherman and Teresa, you have your answer now. You may now rest in peace. Smile down at us from Heaven, and bless Obama while he leads America.....

And this is why Obama's inauguration is special to me - because even though my black friends are not in this world today to witness a historical moment, I'm at peace that Sherman and Teresa have always been part of this historical moment from the time we had THAT conversation in 2005.