Archive for the 'Life after death' Category

Goodbye 2013!

It’s the time of the year again that I would conclude the significant stuff I had done! Chinese New Year is also new year, ok? :p

The travel!

It’s almost like visit-Indonesia and -Singapore year for me!

80% of the travel experiences have not been blogged about… Conclusion: I am still a procrastinator this year! Come to think of it, procrastination should be my innate quality!

Cuti-cuti overseas: Laos in January, Yogjakarta in April, Singapore in May and July, Bali in August.

The main agenda of visiting Singapore in July

The main agenda of visiting Singapore in July

Cuti-cuti Malaysia: Penang in January, Batu Pahat in February, Pangkor Island in August.

My OZ and NZ exposure has added variety to the nationalities of my friends! 🙂 As a result, I get visits from foreign friends every now and then.

hippo n friends

After parting with each other in NZ, we had our reunion in Melbourne, now it’s in KL!

Someone from Deutschland was in KL!

Someone from Deutschland was in KL!

Reunion of skydiving buddies in KL!

Reunion of skydiving buddies in KL!

The workout!

At the time of (draft) writing, I have only jogged for 85km. Less mileage compared to 2012 and that would explain why I am carrying 7kg of extra fat from my ideal weight!

I took part in my first obstacle race, the Reebok One Challenge 18.95k 2013, without training! The credit should go to my buddy, Shirely! Without her being my pacer and imposing all the peer pressure, I do not think I could survive all the 9 obstacles. Instead, I would most probably feign sick so that I could be fetched by the ambulance :p

Obstacle # 1: the running

Obstacle # 1: the running

Obstacle # 2: the sand bag

Obstacle # 2: the sand bag

Obstacle # 3: the monkey bar

Obstacle # 3: the monkey bar, which I surrendered and chose 10 x burpee instead

Obstacle # 4: the hurdles

Obstacle # 4: the hurdles

Obstacle # 5: the ant hills

Obstacle # 5: the ant hills

Obstacle # 7: the trail "run" :p

Obstacle # 7: the trail “run” :p

Obstacle # 8: the tyres

Obstacle # 8: the tyres

Obstacle # 9: the wall

Obstacle # 9: the wall

Last obstacle: the ford rangers

Last obstacle: the ford rangers

The weekend after that, it was Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2013 where I ran for my 3rd half marathon. The run was the most torturing among the 3. Fatigue actually kicked in as early as the 10th km. From there, I alternated running and limping every 5 minutes. But ironically, as suffering as it might be, that was my 2nd best run, which was faster than my first ever half marathon that I trained so much harder (128km of jog!)! Maybe no training is indeed the best training! :p

SCKLM 2013!

SCKLM 2013! Limping towards the finish line…

Other major/special events!

Early 2013, Aron got me this 签 all the way from Japan *touched*. Most of the "prophecies" came true!

Early 2013, Aron got me this 签 all the way from Japan *touched*. Most of the “prophecies” came true!

枯木逢春生

枯木逢春生

Watched my first orchestra!

Watched my first orchestra!

Watched "Mousetrap", my first English play!

Watched “Mousetrap“, my first English play!

I almost fainted out of excitement after shaking the hand of Chin Pang! 😀

The graduation of the youngest member of my family!  Strongly recommend you to take graduation portraits or family photos at a bridal studio instead of the conventional studio. Bridal studio offers more background choices as well as one-stop services of make-up and hairdo!

The graduation of the youngest member of my family!
Strongly recommend you to take graduation portraits or family photos at a bridal studio instead of the conventional studio. Bridal studio offers more background choices as well as one-stop services of make-up and hairdo!

May 2014 be a fulfilling year!

 

 

Long distance running and me

To me, the graph of fun vs. distance ran is not the kind of y=mx+C, but the following:-

fun vs distance ran

Running more than 5 km, it’s not fun anymore!

When I was still an undergraduate, I actually wanted to be trained as a sprinter for 100 m and/or 200 m track events. My thought back then: winning a medal from 400 m run=4 x 100 m, hence more arduous! But, my reflexes were so poor that I was always the last one to start running after the gun was fired *shy* For this, coach wanted me to focus on 400 m instead so that my endurance could compensate for my slower reflexes. I did occasionally take part in running events more than 5 km but long distance running wasn’t really my friend yet.

A photo taken in 2004: Sue had the best head start: while the rest were still aloft, she's all ready to take the 2nd step of her run!

A photo taken in 2004: Sue had the best head start: while the rest were still aloft, she’s all ready to take the 2nd step of her run!

Upon graduation in 2006, rarely had I run more than 5 km in a single session (in fact, I didn’t exercise much!). When I was in NZ, LW, CC and Aron always touted the benefit of long distance running, so much so that I put “to complete a half marathon” in my bucket list since then!

After my NZ/OZ adventure, I started working as engineer again in a new company, I got to know that F is a marathoner and he promised to train me up for my first half marathon! Since then, he had become such a great source of peer pressure that I had no choice but to really train hard (my own standard of course, I was a slacker if compared to LW, LY and the gang!) Whenever I skipped training, he would guilt-trip me! Frankly speaking, I didn’t really get the fun of long distance running… I have very low boredom threshold, especially when I’m doing the same thing repetitively. F, knew this flaw of mine, he would make me run a big loop of 3.5 km instead of two rounds of 1.7 km. To fuel my run further, either he had to keep talking to me to distract me or I had to listen to songs while running. Without these practices in place, I would get bored and start concentrate on the complication of running (shortness of breath, sore legs, etc.) and I would stop! Oh, another running complication: I get high whenever I jog more than 7 km and I can’t sleep well on the day!

F, my running sifu and buddy!

F, my running sifu and buddy!

On days leading up to my first half marathon, I joined two 10 km runs during Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon (SCKLM) 2012 and Nike Run 2012. For not having proper warming up, I injured my right foot during SCKLM and I had near-faint experience during Nike Run! Bad omen?

SCKLM 2012: The day that I ran using a bib from a guy! :p

And injuring my right foot! Boo…

I ticked off “to complete a half marathon” from my to-do list during the Putrajaya Night Marathon 2012. I completed the run in 3:02:26 (net time), albeit lack of training! Being someone who is not persistent and not disciplined enough for all the training and hard work leading to the run, I was just aiming to complete the run around the qualifying time of 3.5 hrs, so this came as a bonus!

With my running buddies, who hebat lari!

PNM 2012: With my running buddies, who hebat lari!

The most anticipated moment of my first ever half marathon in my life.... got blocked! Boo...

The most anticipated moment of my first ever half marathon in my life…. got blocked! Boo…

BUT, the day that I completed my first half marathon in my life was also the first time I sat in an ambulance! I ran non-stop for 16 km and started big-walking towards the finish line. I met LY and LW who overtook me since the 1st km at the last water station. Suffering from fatigue, LY was vomiting non-stop and she’s not getting better even like 1 hour after the run. She was admitted to the hospital then. When I sat at the medical tent to keep her in company, I saw the flip side of marathon: all sorts of SCARY running/medical complications. I concluded: MARATHON IS CRAZY STUFF!

My second half marathon took place during the Penang Bride International Marathon (PBIM) 2012. The run started at 3 a.m., so we went to bed around 6 pm! I have rigid circadian clock and my bedtime is 10 pm! Haha! So I didn’t sleep well. To my utmost surprise, I overtook LY at around the 12th km and that boosted my run faster I must say! Sue said this is the competitive streak in me 🙂 My personal best is now tied at 2:44:51 after my second half marathon!

PBIM 2012: Yay! Clear view this time! I remember LW cheering for me by the roadside near the finish line, "Sam! 进步很多!"

PBIM 2012: Yay! Clear view this time! I remember LW cheering for me by the roadside near the finish line, “Sam! 进步很多!”

PBIM 2012: Clocked 2:44:50.60 (net time), ranked 288/1876! :)

PBIM 2012: Clocked 2:44:50.60 (net time), ranked 288/1876! 🙂

I told LY and Sue that PBIM 2012 is my retirement run already because I still do not get the fun of long distance running! :p the post-run complications (the skin chafing, the inability of walking up and down the stairs, etc) are not pleasant to me. Besides, I am too old to go through all the dreary training miles already… I just want easier life! :p At first, “to complete a full marathon” was in my bucket list, but I have taken that out already (now it’s on my maybe-I-will-do list)! To get prepared for a full marathon, my normal training has to be half marathons already! Too lofty a goal! Besides, my MP3 player cannot last for 6 hours and more and that means no distraction for me! Haha!

never

Never! Haha!

But as my waistline, thighs and tummy grow bigger and I grow heavier, I started to miss those times when people praised about my muscles! Vanity is indeed my favorite sin! Being a goal-orientated person, I need a reason to force my fat ass to do exercise regularly. So my hand got itchy and registered for half marathon again in SCKLM 2013. But, hear me out, THAT is going to really be my retirement run for long distance running! In the future, I am just going to jog to keep myself in svelte shape and downgrade my running effort, I would say less than 5 km each jog and maybe occasionally some 10 km events?

SG: Wah! 你的calf muscles 很美叻!

My vanity got flattered when SG said, “Wah! 你的calf muscles 很美叻”

Vanity got flattered yet again! :p :p :p

Vanity got flattered yet again! :p :p :p

Speaking of vanity, I went jogging just now and out-ran a Malay teenager boy. In his red shirt, he turned around, showing his thumb up and said,

“Aunty, baguslah!”

-____________- Minus the misnomer, I think I should take that as compliment? :p

Ruco 陈展鹏,我爱你,我们永远支持你!

Translation: Ruco, I love you, we’ll support you forever!

Ok, the title is to expiate the fact that I was too embarrassed to shout this aloud when it could be heard by Ruco himself at Paradigm Mall on Apr 7th when he’s there to promote his new series!

This’s actually my first time becoming one of the 追星一族 (people who chase after celebrities) and I must say it’s not easy at all! The event was scheduled at 3pm. I reached the mall around 1.30pm and it was still quite empty around the barricade.

Still empty!

Still empty!

Marked my territory for the day!

Marked my territory for the day!

My support towards Ruco paled into insignificance if compared to theirs.  Resources needed= time, energy, funding (flowers, backdrops,  special costume, etc.!)

My support towards Ruco paled into insignificance if compared to theirs.
Resources needed= time, energy, funding (flowers, backdrops, special costume, etc.!)

Ruco's not here yet? I'm getting tired already...

Ruco’s not here yet? I’m getting tired already…

Pro and con standing behind the fan club:- Pro: get to share the limelight a bit :p Con: your views get blocked!

Pro and con standing behind people from the fan club:-
Pro: get to share the limelight a bit :p
Con: your views get blocked!

Finally!

Finally!

mall

I was at location (1) all the while. At around 4pm, I got bored seeing the interview session of local artists (Ruco went backstage), thirsty and my legs were sore with all the standing and tiptoeing. I gave in and told my colleague I had enough and felt like leaving the crowd and so we did. After buying some drinks, I squeezed my way through the throng at location (2) because Ruco started singing but I was no where near the barricade! I felt the twinge of remorse when Ruco came down from the stage and went around the barricade and shook hands with the crowd! I seriously rued my decision of leaving location (1)!

Ruco started singing.....

Ruco started singing…..

and the went around to shake hands! I thought this's the closest I could ever get to him!

and he went around to shake hands! I thought this’s the closest I could ever get to him!

At around 4.30pm, I was about to leave the mall, came a providential opportunity. When everyone’s attention was riveted on stage, I saw guards started to barricade the escalator going down near the backstage. The strategic planner in me decided that I should wait downstairs. I waited patiently just next to the edge of escalator when there’s almost no one downstairs.

My colleague and I descended the escalator ELEGANTLY and waited next to it patiently

My colleague and I descended the escalator ELEGANTLY and waited next to it patiently. Note the crowd upstairs.

 

Chronology of events leading to the MOMENT!

0:38                  =shook Vivien’s hand and managed to convey that she’s very pretty 🙂

Around 0:44 =shook Aimee’s hand

1:04                  =Ruco’s descending the escalator. I started to wave my hand madly (the hand with a black watch belongs to me! :D) and to scream his name aloud!

1:11                  = jeng jeng jeng! It’s the MOMENT that Ruco shook my hand! After that, colleague and I started to giggle non-stop. Too bad, I wasn’t captured in the video, else this precious memory will be immortalized!

My hand was all steady holding the camera at the beginning. When the excitement kicked in, ..... :p

My hand was all steady holding the camera at the beginning. When the excitement kicked in, ….. :p

I went home that day, feeling surreal! 

Postscript to my epic adventure:-

I texted Sue before leaving to Paradigm Mall that I hoped I could have her “Hi, Daniel!” experience. Of all my friends, I think she’s the only one who could comprehend my excitement.

Me: i can’t sleep last night, was on cloud nine

Sue: too high ma, i know hahaha

Me: when daniel hi u back, did u have the same experience?

Sue: of course la! I seriously almost fainted hahahaha

After she watched the legendary video, she left me a “heart-warming” note:

I’m such a good friend, spending half the time watching the beautiful and rhythmic movement of the escalator hahahahhaa

人生有多少个19年?!默默地喜欢他这么多年了,我以为我这次会豁出去了,会敢敢示爱!:p 想象和事实总会有些出入的! 到了现场,我发现,在追星物语里“我爱你不是爱给别人看!”的含蓄思维和作风是非常落伍和吃亏的!爱,就要勇于承认和表示!:p

You know you are loved when… – part 1

… Shirely always squeezed time out of her hectic schedule to prepare breakfast for me when she offered me refuge in Melbourne.

breakfast1breakfast2

… Ah ball knew that I was facing insolvency and too broke to afford meat while I was being jobless in NZ, he cooked tom yum chicken and leaving a major portion of the meat for me. “Eat more!!!” He said. Not only that, he had to trudge from University of Auckland to CBD carrying my suitcase, helped me “bake dry” my dampened bible, visited me twice in Rotorua, and the list goes on! 🙂

tom yum chicken

… NF purposely took train to Kepong bringing my birthday cake!

IMG_6069

… L insisted my dress fits him like a glove -__- ok, red herring! Haha! :p

IMG_5912

… L knew I was upset and tried to paint a smile on my face over skype!

L

Kiang doh hor!

Mai geh kiang! Translation: don’t act smart!

On Oct 13th, it was my first time to have near-faint experience (there’s medical term for this actually: syncope or presyncope), what a milestone!

On that Saturday, I woke up around 7.30am, headed to the hospital in the hope to do my medical checkup. To my utmost frustration, not only the staff there fucked up my appointment, they served me rather rudely. After lodging a complaint to the PR department, feeling drained due to my fury, I reached home around 10am, swallowed 5 dumplings and I slept until 2.30pm. I skipped lunch because I really did not feel hungry at all. Then I set off to meet A up for Nike Run.

There was actually counter giving out complimentary energy bars but I just felt stuffed. Besides, familiarities bred complacency: I thought my normal training with F after work was already around 8km, so 10km run should be just a piece of cake for me. Holding on to this notion, I also did not stop by any water station to replenish. It just did not occur to me that I would be dehydrated and running out of sugar at the end of the run (Ignorance!)

I was very sure I was just running my normal pace instead of doing over-exertion (the official record could prove this). After dashing through finish line, I had to stop abruptly because the entrance to the race village was a bottle neck and the crowd’s at a stand-still. I was standing in the middle of the crowd initially then very soon I started to feel lightheaded and suffocated, so I moved to the side way to grasp air. I was trying very hard to breathe in deeply, but the oxygen just couldn’t reach the brain! From standing, I became weaker and weaker, cold-sweating non-stop and had to cling to the barrier, at the same time grasped like a fish out of water.

I could imagine my face turned as pale as white paper as this concerned a pair of Chinese couple who passed by and asked, “Are you ok?”

“I think I’m going to faint… how can I temporarily unhook this barrier? I need to stay away from the crowd.”

“Inhale deeply using only your nose, then now exhale slowly while saying ‘hahaha’ aloud.”

I tried my best, but I was so weak I could only “ha” or “haha” instead of “hahaha”.

My hearing started to shut down on me, followed by my vision, the whole world seemed fading away. Before I went blackout, I saw stars in front of me! So cartoon is based on real experience after all! I really had a feeling my life was draining away, and I even thought, “If my brain’s damaged for being out of oxygen for too long, then too bad! Oh, poor A! She won’t be able to contact me when she finishes her run.”

“I think she cannot make it already. Let’s lift her up to cross the barrier!” People around me held my legs, supported my back, lifted me aloft and passed me across the barrier, the people standing across got me and slowly put me down on the empty walkway. I was really grateful but I couldn’t remember if I thanked the people who bailed me out of my misery.

One angmoh, whom I liken to a knight in shining armour, was just people-watching at the walkway initially.  He witnessed what happened to me from the moment I reached the finish line. When I was trying to catch my breath sitting at the empty walkway, the angmoh approached me promptly, handed me a bottle of 1.5L 100 Plus, “Drink this!”

After the first gulp, I could clench my fists again, I knew my life was restored! I gulped down half a bottle of 100 Plus, and my senses all came back to me now and I could stand up again.

I think I damaged my body to a certain degree after the run:-

1) I felt chest pain, the kind of pain that I felt along the ascent to Mount Kinabalu

2) Not only I was high until the evening of Sunday, I was always hungry! The body was like still in shock and trying to recover from the sugar deficit. Scary!

For being reckless, I got bashing from people who cared. LW even sent a “marathon nutrition” lecturing via whatsapp. The near-faint experience is really terrifying and it has taught me well that I shouldn’t take things easily again! A week after the Nike Run, I ran my first half marathon in Putrajaya. I became very kiasi! Before the run, I made sure I was carbo- and potassium loaded, most importantly I ate before the run! (Haha!) How could I forget when I received quite some messages before the run reminding me to eat! (hehe!) !) During the run, I stopped by almost every water station and I consumed my energy bar at the interval of 7km. So, I learnt from my mistake! 😉

My life in NZ – the Epilogue

Is this what we call “jumping to conclusions” (writing about concluding remarks before the body)? :p

I went to NZ with a lot of emotional baggage: felt guilty about my past and dread about my future. The whole working holiday experience has been a medicine to my soul. I met a lot of nice people and I had a lot of quiet time to look inwardly. The following are some significant impacts the experience brought into my life:-

Live in the present.

You might think that the song “Glad You Came” by the Wanted sounds superficial. I like the song just because it sings, “The sun goes down The stars come out And all that counts Is here and now”.

My grasp about this concept was rather limited, until one day A advised, “Forget about the past and the future, focus on NOW! You have a job, working as a manager in a top-rated hostel, you meet all sorts of nice people! There’s really no reason to feel sad now.” I was like struck by lightning and an imaginary light bulb was lighted up forever 🙂

I like you and you like me? Let’s be together for a bit, even if the relationship leads to nowhere. I saw this as one of the many manifestation of living in the present while I was in NZ. I was attracted to this kind of mindset. I think this works, with the prerequisite that what you do does not harm or hurt anybody (including you yourself!). But the romantic story G once told me is unacceptable, that’s cheating to me! :p

G being someone who speaks his mind, told me one day, “I don’t like your Malaysian friends. They are so full of negative energy.  They worry too much. When you first came, you were like them.”

A week before I left the hostel, G said, “Don’t you think you are now more like kiwi? More casual! And more carefree!”

Me: Oh! I’m so glad to hear this. But I thought you just mock I still eat like an Asian?

G: That part of you won’t ever change, Sam!

Of course I have not fully mastered the art of living in the present yet (e.g. I always fall asleep whenever I try to meditate, hahaha), but I’ve started to embrace it 🙂

With this concept in mind, I now become an advocate of “Liking someone? Go confess your feeling!” Then friends who came to me for advices would ask:-

“What if he/she rejects? I no face….” or

“But do you think this relationship will work for both us?” or

“He/she did so, so and so, do you think he/she likes me?”

“No, I think I wanna wait for him/her to take the first step…”

Life is short. In the face of death, very little stuff matters. Steve Jobs said “all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.” Get the message? Why not live in the present? Go confess! (Haha, note to self as well!)

Besides, I have now become more expressive about my feelings e.g. apologizing to parents and friends, telling colleagues I enjoy their company, etc. Why wait when you can do it now?

Learn to let go.

Learning to let go is such an important chapter in NZ! While watching the movie “Life of Pi”, I can’t control my tears from streaming down when I heard the adult Pi said, “I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye.” That just coincides so much with how I feel.

Have a little faith.

I was really touched by the movie “Life of Pi”. Again this quote was from the same movie:-

“Even when God seemed to have abandoned me, he was watching. Even when he seemed indifferent to my suffering, he was watching. And when I was beyond all hope of saving, he gave me rest. Then he gave me a sign to continue my journey.”

The above quote in the movie touched my soul because I have experienced it time and time again. I don’t know how to put in words about how I felt whenever (I feel that) my prayers were being answered but this quote is close enough 🙂

“A story with God is the better story.” This echoes what I concluded while I was in NZ. “Have a little faith” by Mitch Albom is a book which I could really relate as well and made me cried like a siao zabo!

Happiness is a conscious choice that you make.

The most powerful advice I received in NZ!

The most powerful advice I received in NZ!

When I did my self-reflection in NZ, I realized I always counted on others (people as well as materials) to make me happy. “I was twenty-eight and still waiting for someone to come and make me okay” – excerpt from the powerful book SG recommended, gives exactly the right picture how I used to behave. That explains why I was so restless. I did not like being alone at all. I would make sure my free time was occupied with all sorts of activities.

Now that I can spend my weekends with just myself (and hippo), I can travel on my own, I like alternating happening and quiet time, become very less a materialist (to my own standard of course!), but I’m generally happier! 🙂 I guess I’ve made my choice.

Part 1 | Part 2a | Part 2b| Part 3 | Part 4 |

2012 is coming to an end!

Wow! Procrastinator first time writing about concluding remarks for the year in advance! Applause! :p

2012 is a year of great travelling, workout and reading for me! Oh yeah! It’s also a year of great jumping! Hahaha!

My first gift received in 2012!

My first gift received in 2012!

First gift came together with this first card! When can I have my hiking and caravaning partner? :p

First gift came together with this first card! When can I have my hiking and caravaning partner? :p

The travelling!

Left footprints in New Zealand (Nelson – Abel Tasman – Wellington – Levin – Napier – Wanganui – Auckland), Australia (revisited Victoria – Tasmania), China (Tianjin, Beijing, Handan, Shanghai, Hangzhou), Singapore. Not forgetting the upcoming Thailand + Laos trip.

NZ and OZ: Oh! I miss the cold weather and the clear blue sky! I also miss my carefree days, when happiness was made up of very basic and simple things like having meat in the diet and being able to have ice cream after meal. Can you imagine, I even found joy in washing toilets? (Haha! But I must clarify the toilets in NZ are a lot less hideous). I also miss being able to hug and kiss (peck on cheek) freely. I remember G mocked that I hugged too loosely, like a grandma, and that I was ashamed of the hugs. Now that I learnt how to hug passionately, I can’t do that here, it is like a kind of taboo. While I was in Beijing, touched by JP’s kindness, I gave him a hug before we parted. He’s in total shock! Now I only received powerful hugs and kisses from foreign friends who visited me in KL… There were several occasions when I felt the urge to give someone a hug, nothing sexual, just to express that I enjoyed someone’s company or touched by someone’s kindness or even just simply because I wanted to show I cared, but I just had to dismissed the thought!

Gloating about being able to have eskimo pies!

Gloating about being able to have eskimo pies!

China: The whole reason why I adopted the name of “Sam” because I thought my given Chinese name is too girly for me. But I miss how Kev’s family pronounced my name as 莹莹儿, sounded so warm!

Singapore: I like being welcomed as a foreign guest and how friends really tried to make time for you! Special thanks to Shirely, Tina, Suecing, ah Ball, Taur, Richard, and CG!

Singapore: It's fun to catch up with friends who enjoy your sampatness!

Singapore: It’s fun to catch up with friends who enjoy your sampatness!

*updates*

Ok, I don’t feel right not to mention about my cuti-cuti Malaysia trips covered during the weekends mostly (Haha! 崇洋媚外!). I have visited old palace, Colmar Tropicale, UK farm + revisit Batu Pahat, Kuala Selangor, Taiping, and Penang!

Me, acting out my "creativity" in BP :p

Me, acting out my “creativity” in BP :p

The workout!

In 2012, I walked, hiked, jogged, biked, ran more than all the mileage combined from 2006 (after graduation from KUiTTHO) to 2011. Significant mileage came from the following events:-

a) NZ: Abel Tasman hike and kayak

b) NZ: working as zucchini picker = sheer hell! Walked around and bent my back for a total of 204 hours!

c) NZ: Biked to wineries in Napier = 20km

d) NZ: Coast-to-coast walk in Auckland = 16km

e) Standard Chartered KL Marathon = 10km

f) Nike Run = 10km

g) Putrajaya Night Marathon = 21km

h) Training leading to my second half marathon in life (mid July to mid Nov) = 128km

Hey! Statistics don’t lie! But I can’t believe it is so little! So averagely I only jogged 32km/month or 8km/week!

SG ran 30km/week! 😦 Suecing trying to console: i jog 2km/year! 😀

i) Penang Bridge International Marathon = 21km

IMG_1258

With sweat and pain!

j) Biked around at Wanganui (NZ), Pulau Ubin (SG) and Penang

Catch-up with SG after not meeting each other for 6 years!!! It was a fun hang out!

Catch-up with SG after not meeting each other for 6 years!!! It was a fun hang out!

Oh! I got to train a bit of softball with KL and the gang

Oh! I got to train a bit of softball with KL and the gang

The reading!

I have been really productive this year! Good books caused sleepless nights (burning midnight oil to finish reading) as well as puffy eyes (cried too much!).

The jumping!

I reckon I took the most jumping shots this year! Just when I almost attained nirvana in both taking jumping shots and doing the jump, I got my 4th ligament injury! No more jumping shots for me! I’m still in denial about the injury: I refuse to share the photo capturing the moment of shame :p

Macam-macam ada jump!

Macam-macam ada jump!

IMG_0387

IMG_0449

Other major/special events!

a) Visited Perhentian island for the first time!

b) Changed career path! I know, I know, it’s a bold move! 

L: Macam mana kerja lu kat KL ni?

Me: I jadi consultant dah

L: Alamak! consultant? Lu boleh duduk diam kat office meh? Buat design?

c) I sort of became part time tour guide! I seriously think, besides full time tour guides or those who actually work there, no one can beat my records: visited Batu Caves x 5 times and KL City Gallery x 6 times!

d) First time hugging sheep!

e) Fireflies watching!

*updates*

Oh! My blog is going through renaissance this year after being dead for almost a year while I was in Melbourne. I think my extra reading acted as a catalyst for writing more: the more vocab I learn, the more I wanna use them (kiasu)! Besides, i’m having memory like sieve as I grow older busier. So, writing is good, lest I forget. *updating updates* I realize I am behindhand with clearing backlog of blog while writing this post, gotta gear up! Too many to do, too little time (and energy!)

I discovered something very spirit-lifting in 2012 too! Suecing always says I’m the most technical person, until she met CC, haha! I like CC’s “technicality”, but she’s a no-nonsense type of person so I can’t really kacau her that much…. CN also once remarked that, “You’re educated, but more than that you’re naturally curious and pretty sharp…those are very powerful things.” But at times, I offended people’s feelings for being too technical. To some people, it’s 赢了又何喜,输了更可悲… BUT, I’m so glad I discovered someone who’s equally (if not, more) curious and geeky! *eyes blinking* I’m a happy soul now! 🙂 I pray that someone would not be pestered by my frequent kacau-ing!

Fate?

I had a special encounter while I was travelling in Beijing.

Kev, my travelling partner-cum-tour guide took his undergraduate studies in Beijing and did not feel like re-visiting all the landmarks again so I was on my own adventure to the Summer Palace. After roaming the Palace, I dragged myself wearily to take subway to the next destination on my list: the Temple of Heaven. I was determined to find a seat in the train which I could lean my head against to take nap. Of all the empty seats, I chose the first one that I passed by which was close to the door and I dozed off.

When I woke up, the guy sitting next to me initiated friendly conversation. At the beginning, I was reluctant to engage in the conversation actively as I was warned by so many people about the existence of con men in China. But out of courtesy, I just listened patiently to him and responded with smiles accordingly. I prevaricated when he asked which part of China I was from. I tried not to reveal much about myself, especially not the fact that I was not a local but a foreign tourist.

“So what do you plan to do after this?” He asked.

I am on my way to Temple of Heaven.

“Maybe we could visit together!”

Yeah! Why not?

I waited behind JP for my turn to buy my entry ticket but he was flashing extra tickets with him. I wanted to pay him back, but he said, “Just take it as I’m buying a friendship!” During our visit around the temple together, JP’s sincerity made me dropped my guard and I started to tell more about myself.

JP, the kind soul that I met in Beijing

Not only I had a good company to visit around the temple, I also had a personal photographer now

I rented an audio guide to know the history of the temple better. I should return the audio guide the latest by 5.30pm to get my deposit back. It was running late already when I realized I had to return the guide and I was very far away from the booth. JP asked me to wait for him at the entrance of the main temple, the last place to visit while he dashed to the booth on my behalf. Truth to be told, I was deeply touched by this scene that I had tears welling up in my eyes. In this hurting world, when everyone becomes more and more apathetic, cynical and indifferent, JP showed this much of kindness to a stranger like me!

Upon visiting the temple, I had to meet Kev at Mei Lanfang Grand Theatre for our opera. JP sent me to the exit of the subway station in front of the theatre then only he headed back to his friend’s place at the totally opposite direction.

I told Kev about my encounter. He mocked, “You are so afraid that Chinese people will con you, but now you are conning a Chinese to foot the cost of your entry tickets!” I felt one kind and that the whole experience is very surreal, it’s like I flew a thousand miles to fulfil something like destiny: to let JP help me up and then he’s out of my life. I can’t help but to relate this incident to FATE. Also, JP has taught me a valuable lesson that each one of us, can bring a positive change into this hurting world by doing little good deeds here and there. Beijing will remain as a place with warmth in my memory now!

Gonna conclude this post with a pretty piece of writing which is somewhat related to what I have written above.

Reason, Season, or Lifetime

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you figure out which one it is,
you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

– Source Unknown.

A better cook by days

When was the last time I cooked a decent meal (obviously cooking instant noodles and frying eggs do not count) before going to Melbourne? I would say it was back in 1998 during a camping trip when I was appointed as the quartermaster for the team.

I was quite hopeless in cooking when I first reached Melbourne. I consider it an achievement when I could take care of my meals for more than 1 year living abroad and feel comfortable preparing welcoming and farewell meals for friends.

Farewell dinner for Akua, my American buddy

When I worked as a manager at the top-rated backpacker hostel in Rotorua, New Zealand, I did not have defined break time, so whenever I was on duty I needed to cook something really quick, filling, providing wholesome nutrients and at the same time cheap (I was a broke backpacker after all). My staple diet was [toast + ham + ketchup /BBQ sauce+ cheese] + hard boiled eggs + fruits/salad since then.

Staple diet in NZ #1: (ham + ketchup/BBQ sauce + cheese) on toast. Suecing called this pizza!

 

Staple diet in NZ #2: Salad. Now my life cant part with balsamic vinegar anymore

I ate the same thing all the time until my colleagues got tired of seeing the scene of me with my toast. Trying to improvise each time and to add creativity to my recipe/menu – as the whim took me, I tried toast with ice-cream, of which my fellow colleagues found it HORRIBLE and STRANGE and one even said that, “Sam, I do not feel like eating ice-cream for a while!” But I seriously think it is not a bad idea at all: the toast is hot; the icre-cream is cold, the blend of hot and cold sensation makes it tastes good actually!

Ice cream on toast!

A good way to kill time when I was on duty was to sit in the kitchen and watch people cooked; my boss would then think that I was keeping an eye on the cleanliness of the kitchen. I picked up quite some new recipes with my new found past time.

New recipe learnt #1: Modification of shepherd pie - ingredients=potato, ham, tomato juices, cheese

 

New recipe learnt #2: Avocado with mayonnaise!

 

New recipe learnt #3: Grill mushroom with cheese & mixed herbs

I think I demonstrated poor cooking skills and many kind people showed/taught me the right/common ways. I used to cook spaghetti using a PAN until one day 2 Germans were having the following conversation:-
Jan: So this girl cooks spaghetti using a pan?!
Lutz: Yea, she always does that!

New lessons learnt about cooking spaghetti:-
1) It’s more “normal” to cook spaghetti using POT than PAN
2) Q: How can you tell if the spaghetti’s well cooked and ready to be served?
A: throw a thread of spaghetti on to the wall. If it sticks, the spaghetti’s ready to be served

Ok, the spaghetti is ready to be served! :p

Not only were the guests staying at the backpackers generous with their teaching, they were also very philanthropic in terms of food! I have had many heartwarming meals prepared for me!



As my cooking skill improves, it boosts my confidence to cook for others.

My cooking! Kumara (sweet potato) with ginger

 

My cooking! 4 dishes for my host of couchsurfing

Suecing travelled with me for a month in South Island and we were cooking buddies. I seriously did not see this as a blessing because she’s a worse cook than me! It was like the blind leading the blind.

Making pancakes!

 

Cooking pancake!

 

Suecing and I attempted to cook pancake without resorting to the ready-made pancake mix.... Failed!

When we did our 4-day hike along Milford Track, since the huts only offered stoves without cooking utensils, Lie Wei and Chin Chin used the wilderness-way of making toast i.e. manually putting the bread on the heated mess tin. When we were back to civilization, I requested Suecing to make me toast while I went to take shower. When I was done taking shower, Lie Wei and the gang approached me quietly, “Sam, you better help Suecing up, we afraid she might blow up the whole kitchen. We think she does not know how to operate a toaster! Instead of using the toaster, she used our wilderness-way of making toast!”

Mintaro Hut of Milford Track: Only stoves were provided at the hut, we had to bring our own cooking utensils

Oh well, let’s hope I will continue to be a better cook by days!

Goodbye 2011! Hello 2012!

It is high time for this post to be published… I have not been productive in blogging as I always get bogged down in this routine:-
Hatch the idea for a post but I procrastinate the writing part -> do my damnedest to write a post (by sticking to my resolution of using at least 1 newly learned vocab in every post) but lazy to post online /internet’s not available.

If I were to give a theme for the year of 2011, it would be “my happiness project”! I had been working real hard for the pursuit of my happiness (to recover from falling-into-shit hole-symptoms and to feel generally happier). Major events that took place were:-
1) Pastille triggered allergy on 4th day of Chinese New Year, was admitted to hospital
2) First time trying sea kayaking at Port Melbourne
3) Took up swimming lessons at Unimelb, learnt free style (half cooked), back stroke and water threading!
4) First time watching musical show: Xanadu (budget), Love Never Dies (flashy)!
5) First time watching live comedy show
6) Joined Unimelb softball club
7) First time taking hot air balloon flight
8) Backpacking around east coast and outback of Australia
9) Family visited Melbourne
10) Graduated with master’s degree!
11) First time skiing!
12) Flew to New Zealand for working holiday!

My report card for 2011:-
1) Drink at least 2 L of water every day. achieved 50% of the time
2) Finish reading at least the New Testament. failed!
3) Try my best to score 3As for my second semester. accomplished!
4) Maintain my current weight at all costs. succeeded throughout 2011! not after that…. 😦
5) Read at least 5 good books. completed 3 books, and then 40% of book A, 10% of book B & C :p
6) Apply masks 3 times a week. achieved 50% of the time….
7) Cook more in Melbourne, eat out less. accomplished!
8 ) Work-holiday at land-of-Lord-of-the-Ring, even if Sue ditches me and I have to travel alone. accomplished!
9) Eat, sleep and be merry! Practise positive-thinking as hard as I could. accomplished!
10) Tour around koala-land. accomplished!
11) Be more involved in uni activities. accomplished!

2012’s resolution! I am bent on achieving the following by the end of 2012:-
1) Continue doing 2011’s resolution
2) Learn at least another 5 new recipes
3) Practise free style and back stroke more
4) Do volunteering works once going back to normal life, aim to put more focus in the field of environmental conservation
5) Activate my blog again!
6) Maintain current fitness level and take part in my first half marathon


I spot you, creativity!

Series #9 Light bulb reuse!

Reflection of the day

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 43 other followers

Inside the glass bottle…

“I want to walk tall, believe in myself, have the courage to ask for what I want and need, and live a life that mattered. I want to wake up in the morning with a smile on my face and know that I am loved and that I belonged. I am desperate to feel worthy and I am hungry for the opportunity to live my fullest potential.” - modified from "The Dark Side of the Light Chasers" - Debbie Ford

Under the apple tree…

"If you are not spending all of your waking life in discontent, worry, anxiety, depression, despair, or consumed by other negative states; if you are able to enjoy simple things like listening to the sound of the rain or the wind; if you can see the beauty of clouds moving across the sky or be alone at times without feeling lonely or needing the mental stimulus of entertainment; if you find yourself treating a complete stranger with heartfelt kindness without wanting anything from him or her... it means that a space has opened up, no matter how briefly, in the otherwise incessant stream of thinking that is the human mind." - A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle

Blog Stats since Dec 2010

  • 52,068 hits

Ich lese….

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The time keeper by Mitch Albom

The art of thinking clearly by Rolf Dobelli

The first phone call from heaven by Mitch Albom

Inferno by Dan Brown

For one more day by Mitch Albom

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

A study in scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

The five people you meet in heaven by Mitch Albom

Have a little faith by Mitch Albom

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

To kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge

Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

A Fresh Start by John Chapman

Inspiring quotes!

If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other? (God in "Evan Almighthy")
“To love another person is to see the face of God.” ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain
Aggie: "But what about the people who hurt you? Don't you ever want to make them suffer?" Norman Babcock: "Well, yeah, but what good would that do? You think just because there's bad people that there's no good ones either? I thought the same thing for a while. But there's always someone out there for you. Somewhere." - Paranorman
"机遇总是偏爱有准备的人"
“You're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry, don't worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” by Walter Hagen
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, body totally worn out and screaming "WOOOHOOOO what a ride!" - by anonymous
When you travel, it’s not like you take a part of each place away with you; rather, it’s as if you leave a part of yourself there, like a part of you forever belongs to that place – the time, the people, and the things you saw; and over time, it gets burned deeper into your soul - by anonymous