Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Do Or Do Not

Do or do not, there is no try. Wise words from Jedi Master Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back. A friend and I have been throwing this quote at each other of late, whenever we've been discussing overcoming challenges or tackling difficult issues in our lives. When one says 'I am trying', the other retorts with 'do or do not, there is no try'. It's quite hilarious actually but it also rings true.

For as long as I can remember, I have mostly erred on the side of caution. An aspiration to achieve? Put a plan in place. At a crossroads? Take the more familiar path. Troubled? Only reveal my emotions amongst my most inner circle. This has largely served me well. However, there have been instances where perhaps over-rationalisation has aggravated already difficult circumstances. So I've been trying to not over-think situations. OK wrong choice of words ... to just adopt a more laissez-faire attitude and go with the flow ... there you go. To recognise the opportunities that knock, the doors that open, and to embrace them with enthusiasm and courage, with a positive mindset. To put my best foot forward. To do the best I can, with hope and faith as my allies.

So here I am reminding myself to just do it. As they say, take the bull by the horns, wear one's heart out on one's sleeve, head into unchartered territory. With the hope of a favourable outcome, and moments that become milestones in our lives.

Yoda from Star Wars.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Shanghai Jazz Goes Cabaret

I watched my friend Janet perform Wednesday night at No Black Tie. Great show, wonderful company, an enjoyable evening it was. My knowledge of the language is practically zero but it was not difficult to appreciate the repertoire of mainly Mandarin songs. Some were familiar to me melody wise, others not so. Still one could pick up on the nuances of the lyrics by the emotive delivery. One particular song I loved much, I forget its name, but was translated to me as it was sung. It certainly made me appreciate the song more. It made it more appealing, more meaningful.

Although it has always drawn rave reviews, I had never been to No Black Tie. I like the place. The intimate setting, the atmosphere. Laid back yet sophisticated in its own way. I'll be finding my way back there in future I am sure.

In the meantime, I look forward to catching up with Janet over lunch or tea soon.

Photo by Brandon Lim, courtesy of Janet Lee, shot at No Black Tie.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Step At A Time

A step at a time. Good, sound advice. Trouble is, I like fast results, rapid decisions, quick reso-lutions. So taking things one step at a time is something that I have had to come to terms with, something which I have had to learn to do. It certainly is not easy let me tell you, but I am getting there.

Sometimes taking things slow yields wonderful results, at other times quite the opposite. I suppose the lesson to be learnt is to experience the journey. What I do know is that good things seldom come easy. We need to work for it, put in the effort, demonstrate how much we desire it, have the tenacity to stay the course. And dare I say it considering it is not one of my better virtues, one ought to be patient too for the desired outcome to eventuate. My good friends would say, 'yeah right, he knows this in principle, let's see him put it into practice'. Trying, I am.

So, I am learning to enjoy the journey and not focus too much on the outcome. Of course, we all want the best possible outcome. I visualise it, and I hope to actualise it, but in the meantime, all I want to do is to enjoy the process. Wish me luck!

Photo shot in Antalya, Turkey. Having a drink after a tan and swim in the sea.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I was in Singapore this past Wesak Day. Having known so ahead of time, I had given notice to my cousin Siew Yoong that she would have to take me to a temple for prayers. So to a temple we went on that Saturday afternoon.

It is possible that it was the first time I've visited a temple in Singapore, and what a good day to do so. I have much to pray for and I don't hold back. Ask and you shall receive is my motto. I am embarking on a new journey of sorts, so a little prayer will certainly help.

Now that I've requested for divine help, I shall keep the faith that my prayers will be answered. To have faith indeed.

Photo of a temple near Temple Street in Hong Kong.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Singapore Sprint Triathlon Relay

The MetaSprint Series Singapore Triathlon was the main reason I was in Singapore last week. My cousins, friends and I fielded 4 teams and we did reasonably well - out of 25 teams, we finished as follows, Team We Try Harder 12th 1:27:47 San 14:55 Nabil 38:30 Soorya 30:28; Team weddingsmalaysia 16th 1:34:57 Kris 16:46 Bunny 40:22 Lee Kuen 33:43; Team New Friends 19th 1:38:45 Siew Yoong 26:24 Nigel 42:14 Katherine 26:22; Team Hiplist 21st 1:45:14 Chin Lai 20:28 Kok Ang 42:21 Ai Ling 38:40 - a pretty satisfying result considering we are amateurs and just competed with the aim of finishing the race.

This was my second attempt at a sprint triathlon relay, the first being in Bali last June, and was therefore less daunting. Although I swim regularly, doing so in the sea is vastly different from the more secure surrounds of a pool. It challenges me to perform out of my comfort zone. Committing to such a race also gives me something to look forward to and acts as a catalyst for me to train and keep in shape. It requires discipline to a certain extent as I don't want to let my team-mates down, seeing that swimming is the first leg of the race. It is always a thrill if I am able to give them a good start. In Bali, I was 12th out of the water, this time I was 9th. Although I was competing against different swimmers, I am still pleased. The Singapore swim leg was also longer, 750m against 500m in Bali, and my average swim time also improved. Always good to know that the hard work put in has paid off.

The best part of the experience though is the camaraderie amongst the twelve of us. We hung out at dinner on the eve of the race, we encouraged each other, we shared in the enthusiasm, we cheered each other on, we patted each other on the back for a job well done. Moments like these are what such races are about for me. I certainly look forward to more races in the future. Who knows, a move up to the Olympic distance perhaps?

Photo of all of us after the race in Changi, Singapore.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Effort To Stay In Touch

Someone asked after reading my previous post if it would be too late to make an effort to rekindle relationships and stay in touch with extended family. Well, I would say that it is never too late.  

All it takes is a phone call, a text or an email perhaps. If there is a response, then take it from there. If not, move on to the next person. Simple as that. Thing is, we sometimes get so caught up in our own little world of work, nights out, holidays, that we don't make time to do so. We may procrastinate at times too. Some would say 'excuses'.

I don't profess to be great at keeping in touch, but I try my best. Lunch before heading to the airport to catch my flight home from Singapore on Monday provided the opportunity to catch up with my uncle and cousins from my Dad's side of the family. A little effort goes a long way.

Poi Lai, Moses, Nathaniel and Deborah at Yishun in Singapore.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Time With Siew Yoong And Family

I was in Singapore over the weekend for the Singapore Sprint Triathlon, well a long weekend actually, consider-ing I arrived on Friday morning and left only Monday evening. Racing the triathlon aside, I had a wonderful time with my cousins Siew Yoong and San, as well as my little nephews Tian and Jin.

Siew Yoong and I grew up together in Petaling Jaya and we share a special bond. That has now extended to her other half and sons as well. Now that they have been living in Singapore for the past few years instead of Auckland and Sydney, we've had a chance to get together more often, although we could do better. Sms-es, phone calls, emails and Facebook can never, ever come close to meeting in person and spending time together. So we made full use of my short trip. We trained for the race together, we did the swim leg for our teams, we had breakfasts, lunches and dinners, we went for a foot massage, we prayed at a temple on Wesak Day, we hung out at their home. We exchanged tales of recent happenings in our lives, we updated each other on the extended family. We enjoyed each other's company.

Staying in touch is a worthwhile effort. Seeing each other in person maintains the bonds that we nurtured from a young age. Thanks for a fab time!

Here we are having cakes and tea at K Ki in An Siang Hill, Singapore.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Birthday Wishes

I thank all - family, friends, colleagues - for your birthday greetings. I hope I managed to respond to each one of you personally, whether in person, on the phone, via text or Facebook. Your kind thoughts are very much appreciated.

I am thankful for the encounters of the past year. There were highs and lows, success and failure, the multitude of experiences that life has to offer. Through the good times and not so good times, I am grateful for those who have shared those moments with me.

I look forward to the year ahead and the fulfillment of all your well wishes. Although the past year has been relatively good to me, there are always better things to experience, greater aspirations to attain. I shall be putting my best foot forward. The best is certainly yet to come.

Two rainbows, a sign of good luck, sighted during dusk at Chisapani, Nepal.