Monday, December 31, 2012

My Summary of 2012

In the past few years, it has become a ritual of sorts for me to take a deep thought and to reflect on some eventful moments that happened in 2012 and before the clock strikes past midnight into the new year, I will upload my last posting of the year.

In August, I left my job at New Century Tours though I have been planning to leave for quite a while.  Before I slipped into comfort zone  and losing passion, I decided to to take the plunge - quit.  Of course, some disagreement in opinions with someone above me did hasten my decision to move out.  Do I regret?  Some concerned friends did advise me to seriously consider my decision, given my half century age, stable job won't come easy.  I have had experienced many failures before and by now, I should know better to pre-empt what lies ahead if things do not go as planned.  I have learnt that one has to manage one's own life and face up to whatever challenges that may head our way, like it or not.  For as long as we are willing to work, be flexible and the ability to adapt to any form of environment, one can easily get by.  If any, I have no time to regret once I have made my decision to move out but to do my best and hope for the best outcome.  Admittedly, it is not going to be easy going. 

If there is any regret for 2012, it is the passing of some friends.  First, my former secondary teacher, Mr Samuel who passed away in Feb this year and followed later, his sister.  My teacher passed away in K.L. while visiting his ageing sister.  Some of his 'so-called' old friends who knew his passing but simply feigned ignorance.  All they did was to make a call to Singapore High Commission in K.L. informing the officials that a Singaporean has passed away and they expected the Singapore government to take care of his cremation proper.  Some may find it hard to believe but unfortunately, it is true.  I can only think they might be afraid to foot his hospitalisation and cremation bills, thus best to stay away.  My teacher was never married and his only kin was his 90 plus year old sister who herself was suffering from dementia (she too passed away in November this year).  When a classmate, Ragu and I heard about his abrupt passing in K.L. and the body was still left unclaimed though some of his Malaysia old friends could have taken the initiative to do the needful, we did what we could to claim his body and performed the last ritual for him.  One thing I find it hard hard to stomach was that before his body was even sent for cremation, his 'so-called' old friends who suddenly turned up at the funeral parlour and started to talk about his estate in Singapore,  his sister's property in K.L. (she was a widow and never had children) and the need to take care of his ageing sister.  I truly believe my teacher had been an easy target by his old friends who are fully aware of his lacklustre behaviour and poor planning for himself and his sister and they read him like a book.  Without a doubt, he did not leave a will.  With his passing and later his sister too, some of his Malaysian friends managed to forge documents by getting his poor sister to make a thumb print authorising someone to act for her interest.  She was already not her normal self as she was suffering from dementia.  She was at their mercy.  Much to my dismay, her terrace house in K.L. was sold while she was still alive and all the proceeds went to these scheming friends of his.  We did what we could to stop them, even going to the extent of filing a police statement against them but what can we do in a foreign land when the law can be bent to benefit these schemers.  If there is God, I hope they will meet their judgment one day.   

Another person whose abrupt passing did affect me greatly whenever I think of him.  George should be alive if he didn't come along with me for a cycling event in Bintan in August this year.  A very careful person who at the slightest discomfort, would make a trip to see a doctor but a fatal heart attack took his 51 years of life.  If there is any solace, George died doing the one thing he liked and that was cycling.  The day before his passing, he was all smiles in the morning, posing and taking pictures along the way.  I will always remember him for he was always there listening to all my grouses and sometimes had to take my 'swipes' at him.  He was definitely one of my good friends and I still miss him dearly. 

It is not a fantastic 2012 for me, if any I would say just 'so so'.  But  I am glad that I did help organised few charity events and perhaps the most satisfying one is the two back-to-back event, Red Cross Home For The Disabled and Heart-To-Heart Service with some friends from SANL meet-up in November this year.  I may not have plenty money to donate but in my small way, I utilised my spare times to help in whichever way possible.  I will continue to help whenever I can.  I feel good if I can contribute my services for the less fortunate ones. 

My wish for 2013...well, to stay fit & healthy and only then, I can continue to be useful as a person.  Perhaps with some trepidations, I am looking forward to new challenges as we usher into 2013. 

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Fully Charged & A Satisfying Weekend

I have never felt so charged up on any given weekend for the longest time, not even when I have to cycle more than 100km on a typical Saturday morning with some friends or completed a full marathon run.  There were few back-to-back events on this Saturday and Sunday and I finally can heave a sigh of relief when everything ended up smoothly.  I decided I should post out this article once I am home, well this is exactly what I am doing now.

First thing first, I have to make sure my work comes first.  I have to get up very early on Saturday, met up my coach captain who is handling his first transfer for our Legoland bound passengers.  It is peak season, we can't afford any screw-up and I don't like to receive any negative feedback from our passengers either.  The first morning task was completed, no sweat and with one down, I can then proceed to handle my personal stuff. 

Because of the co-ordination job on Saturday morning, I have to excuse myself from the farewell hike for Junko on Saturday morning which was initiated by me but I can rely on CK and Dora to lead the group in my absence.  The hike at MacRitchie reservoir went off hitch less.  I can still spare time for the lunch after their hike and I am happy I can still manage to bid Junko farewell after all. 

After the lunch, I left for Red Cross Home For The Disabled to help with the sorting and packing of the purchases we made for the two beneficiaries, Red Cross and the seven families under the care of Heart-To-Heart Service.  Some of us from SANL's organising committee managed to finish the sorting and packing task and we were ready for the main event on Sunday.

Shinta, our committee treasurer reported that we were still short of some S$250 from our collections so far.  Our budget for the two beneficiaries is S$913.  However, I remained confident we can achieve our budget once everyone who has confirmed for the charity event on Sunday has pledged a minimum sum of S$10 each and already, we have some who are giving more.

The SANL led charity event at Red Cross Home For The Disabled was scheduled at 1.00 pm but as one of the organisers, I was already there before 12 noon.  Since I was early, I managed to take a quick lunch and Noelle who also arrived early, joined me.  We were expecting more than 70 volunteers from SANL (based on their RSVP) and the multi-purpose hall could be filled to the brink.  Red Cross' staff, Siti was already there to help with the co-ordination. 

Well before 1.00pm, the children were wheeled to the multi-purpose hall by their helpers and TS, Kevin and some who arrived early, also helped out.  At the same time, Noelle and I were transferring the packed rations for Heart-To-Heart into our cars.  By 1.00 pm, most volunteers arrived and some brought along candies, drinks and tidbits too.  

Estelle and her performers arrived around 1.30pm and when she was ready, we started the program before the 2.00 pm scheduled time.  TS did the introduction and it was so timely his mother stepped in.  His sister is housed at Red Cross and he was thankful that he can host the event where his sister is presently housed - so heartwarming to hear that. 

Some were expecting 'professional performance' as I listed in the program after deliberately to up the expectation, "Showtime by Estelle Production" as if we have budget to engage professional entertainers.  Estelle is just one of our volunteers, not any professional entertainer and she had been tasked to handle the entertainment part.  But she took all the trouble to plan this well.  She called in her contact, the students from SIM to do salsa dance & a short skit and Leng Kee CC's volunteers to do a mambo dance for the children and the volunteers.  In between, Kevin did try to steal the show with some clumsy act and Rene was also pulled in, by brutal force helped by me.  Everyone including the children really enjoyed the whole act.  It was an impeccable performance hosted by Estelle, am impressed.

As it was a back-to-back event, I left at about 3.30pm to fetch brother Sharana to Heart-To-Heart families in York Hill.  TS and some will join me later at Heart-To-Heart while the Red Cross program was still ongoing. 

The Heart-To-Heart event was to deliver our rations to the seven poor families.  It did not take us long to finish this task.  By 5.00 pm, we have completed all our task.  We have delivered our blessings to the children at Red Home For The Disabled and the seven families under Heart-To-Heart.  Best of all, we have managed to meet our budget and there is a surplus of some S$150 which we will use to purchase rations for another home.  We were ready to leave, some heading for late lunch or early dinner whichever is more appropriate while I prefer to head home for a well deserved rest.  Thanks all, SANL volunteers for the good times, I truly enjoyed the outing.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS) 2012

I clocked my slowest  21km run in this year's edition but I am not disappointed at all.  On the contrary, I am pleased.  Pleased because Winnie who has never thought she will finish her half marathon race and putting paid to her confidence, she skipped two half marathon events last year despite already registered for these.  Her mental stage of mind had already defeated her, not once but twice before.

Very frankly, I was not that hopeful that she will attempt to run in this year event.  She did not prepare for this half marathon event.  Her last run was the 10km Shape Run in July but she managed to pull through.  Since that last run, she did one practise run on treadmill but ended up injuring herself - what bad luck.  Judging from her two previous experiences, I kind of know she will give up this run at the last moment.  How wrong I was when she said she will run and if she has to walk, she will.  Yes, that is the spirit and I applaud her for taking the first step forward.  Positive spirit aside, I am concerned too.  Is she ready for 21km?  She has not been training prior to that.  Even for me, it will prove an uphill task if I do not have regular training.

Catherine, another running kaki was supposed to join me for this run but bad luck seemed to have followed her.  She had a bad fall from a warm up run just one day prior to the event.  It is best for her to rest now, no point injuring herself further.  I hope she will have a speedy recovery so that we can have more runs in the future.

This morning, I got up at 4.00 am though my alarm was set at 4.30 am.  By 5.00 am, I left my house and heading to Aljunied station for HarbourFront.  I smsed Winnie to inform I am on the way as we were supposed to meet at Vivo City.  I managed to meet Winnie and after a last minute dash for the toilet, the flagged-off was already underway.  I believe we were in the second wave and it should be slightly after 6.30am. 

I advised Winnie to take very slow pace and stop if she feels she has to.  For the first 5 km, she was holding well.  Soon, we reached Universal Studio and she was still holding steady.  Surprise, surprise.  Ya, we stopped to take some pictures - she can't resist.  It was nice running through Universal Studio and running past some cartoon characters.  When we were out of Sentosa, we had already covered 10km mark.  We will now have slightly more than half to go.  Winnie was certainly encouraged that she could finish 10km and anything beyond, it will be a longest run for her. 

To conserve energy, we walked when going up slope.  This strategy seemed to work well.  Earlier, it was threatening to rain but the weather was getting a little hotter.  I cannot complain more, the weather was perfect for me so far though Winnie said it was hot.  At the 11km mark, we saw the clock at St James showing 7.45am or something.  We should have covered an hour 20 mins or about by then.  Winnie asked me how much time will it take us to finish the last 10km and I said, 2 hours if we walk all the way or 1 and a half way if we walk and run.  We were actually walking and running after the 10 km mark.  Cramps were threatening to build up on her legs and I advised her to take extra precaution.  She complained her toes were tight, sign of cramps building up.  She stopped to stretch.  Fortunately, she managed to overcome the pain.  Her determination to finish certainly impressed me.  I left it to her to decide her pace, not wanting to add any pressure on her.  It was walk, run, walk and run in the last 10 km.  She wanted to take picture of each marker as a remainder, starting with 11 km.  I managed to take one at the 12 km mark but I rather prefer she concentrate on her pace and manage her pain to the finish.  We didn't take any more pictures until we crossed the finishing line. 

The last km seemed to last forever for her.  She kept asking where is the finishing despite assurance from me that the finishing is just around the corner.  I knew she was grimacing in pain but she pressed on gallantly.  When we dashed across the finishing with raised hands, the gun time above showed 3 hours 33 mins plus.  The time is secondary but finishing is everything.  She has done it and she can now proudly show her 21km finishing medal to her children.  Now for the new target, 42.195km...are you game, Winnie?