Thursday, January 29, 2009

Morning run at 5.30 am

Today I started the morning at 5.30 am. My son woke up at 5.00 am and decided to wake me too. I decided to start my early morning run, because I knew today with a meeting and work stacking up, all the signals was pointing to a day where I might just miss my run. The last 4 weeks when I left my home at Punggol for work, I was amazed to find runners on the road, pounding the streets at 7.00 am. Serious runners of all sizes training for a race and keeping fit. When I reach the famed Bidadari cremation site, I will see one of the fittest soldiers the legendary gurkhas doing their run. Nearly hit a car, for losing my focus and looking at the runners, as the cars pile up to a jam. 

Lately in the last few years, the spouses of these Gurkha soldiers have started to run as well. Many years ago, you will able to sight the reluctant housewives in their traditional sarongs doing a run or a brisk walk. What a funny sight, and I would just laugh over it every time I see them doing that. As of now, they have progressed quite a bit, in their runs. They are running really fast, in their Nikes and Adidas and dressed in their sports attire. And they are really fast too. My guess they will be able to outrun some of own boys doing their national service in the military institutions.

Today' s run was invigorating to say the least. I also met my climbing friend who once held my life in a thread, on his new Cervelo bike doing his morning ride. Mike will be having his 3rd kid soon and any temptation to go to KL with me and my son to watch the tour de langkawi, was a no no. This is us now, fathers and corporate rat racers, who can only train in the windows of the  early mornings or at night. Finished a 6 K run and got home just in time to shower and send my son to school. 

What was I doing? I am influencing my son, not through words, but through actions and deeds. What are the gaps that we grapple with every day. Do our words match what we do? Are we telling our kids or are we modelling behaviour for them to follow? I watch my son a lot and he wears his watch on his right hand, though he is not a left hander. Where did he pick that up? He picked it up from me. As fathers. if we only knew the impact we make on our kids, we will think many times over why we have not done enough. Have you done more that you can for your child, think that over and perhaps today, plan a day with your child. 

Monday, January 5, 2009

Life trials

Today I have decided to blog again after a prolonged silence where I was chasing work and trying to make sure Teamworkbound survived the challenges of 2008. We did make it through and It includes momentous firsts since we started this company 2 years ago. I got my driving license after 3 months of lessons at Comfort Delgro. We did not purchase a brand new vehicle instead we found a 4 year old van a very decent lady was about to give up. Yvonne who was 56 was wrapping her business for good to retire and It really felt good to purchase the peouget partner from her. It was beaten up with scratches all over and the rear had hit a tree. She was honest to say the least and we purchased this van for this primary reason. After $2000/- worth of repairs we are finally up and running with this van. This van symbolically was the fruit of one single mindset, never to give up even how tough the circumstances around you can be. I remembered the days when I worked shifts in SIA. On one night shift, I was caught in a rain and I completed the work at night drenched, I was using the hand dryer in the toilet to dry my socks and my underwear, to stay warm. On one shift I skidded on my bike during an emergency brake and I rushed to work with my shirt torn and my hands bruised. The manager for the flight control centre stood behind me and incidently he was also a nominated MP then and all he could whimper was how long it will take for me to photo copy. 

Let me relate to you my first job interview. I attended the National Institute of Education interview panel as a 19 year old to apply for a job as a PE (physical education) teacher. The interview panel were less then generous and in parts of the interview they even laughed and asked what I hoped to achieve in 5 years. I was not able to say much, did not have the financial support to pursue a degree hence I just looked at them blindly, not knowing what to say. It has been 20 years now, the very Institute that did not accept me for their diploma program, accepted my application many years later for a stringent Master's course, in Instructional Design and Technology. I completed this program in 2 years 6 months, sponsoring myself in this pursuit. In my class of 40, most of whom who were teachers had the ministry that sponsored their pursuit of this master's degree. 30 of my fellow classmates, who were mostly teachers, decided to to complete their master's program by undertaking 2 extra modules. They have since become heads of departments and perhaps in time to come they may become VPs and principles and that will be an irony. The short and sure way to the finish line to complete this course. In fact they graduated 3 months before me gleefully stating and 
boasting about the mini thesis they completed
Myself and 9 other classmates took the route of writing a thesis, a research paper in lieu of the 2 extra modules. Master's program graduates who gleefully insist that they did a mini thesis by completing two modules is an absolute farce, because what what they wrote sits at home whilst a research thesis sits in a library referenced by master's students and undergraduates. I left my full time job to complete my master's thesis over a period of 6 months and I did graduate. Of the 10 heros who went the thesis route, only 2 have since graduated, whilst the 8 are still trying find a way to clear this program. I owe my heartfelt gratitue to my supervisors, Michel Dale Williams and Lim Cher Ping also known as Cherp. Cherp was not my supervisor, but I had to approach him to help me when I needed advice. Sanjana, who helped me to vet my thesis, is one person I owe a lot. 

Life trials are at best a moment a defining moment where you can make a choice to give in or just do all you can to get around it. I struggled to swim 2 laps using front crawl once upon a time, I have since broken barriers, by swimming 20 minutes non stop using the front crawl stroke last week. I have since transitioned to become a coach as well, coaching my son in swimming. The lesson I want my son to take with him, is not to give up. However painful it can be whatever the circumstances the environment can throw at you. I ran 10K last Sat, after sending my son to his Madrasa classes, and finished that run in 65 minutes, as a young 15 year old, I did the same distance in 48 minutes. I need to revisit the days when I ran like a gazelle outrunning other boys.