Friday, May 21, 2010


My first ever reservist!

I'm deployed to a unit to do base defence, meaning it's largely a 'lobo' job which entails participation in mock defence exercises against intruders into a military base. As this is the first year, we are in the training phrase, doing revision of all our combat skills acquired during our military training when we were NSFs, but after this year, no more of those 'leap and bound' chiong swa.

The commanders were in a week earlier than the men, and most of the time we were just listening to lectures in the training room. For the entire week, we booked in at 9am and booked out at 2pm or slightly later. This week, the men came in, listened to the exact same lessons, and so the book in-out schedule is still the same! Next week will be as 'siong' as it can get though, doing IMT, ATP shoot, battle course and a summary base defence exercise (that is the only night we had to stay over).

Roughly half the people there used to be from that unit, and I got to know most of the other specialists eventually through the long one and a half hour lunch breaks. Quite interesting and refreshing to talk to a big group of people who ain't teachers, and somehow, me being a teacher makes for an interesting conversation topic for them, or maybe they're just being polite by actively asking about life in school.

Anyway, it has been a very good 2 weeks already, so slack that I feel guilty to waste time doing nothing in the training room. Wow, I can't ever remember such a time since I started working that I feel such an urge to do something productive out of pure boredom! And it makes me realise that I have been stagnating in terms of personal development for so long, just ignoring the need in the face of ever-present deadlines at work. Such a time is good for some self-reflection, and sadly I only feel frustration for not being able to feel that I have any goals to work towards even with free time on my hand to dream...

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Once in a while

A long post once in a while is the norm now...somehow I kind of lost interest in writing here, lazy for the most part. I am quite a workaholic nowadays, or perhaps a worry-wart. Always trying to do something in advance, always wanted to plan ahead.

Work has been ok so far I guess, things are pretty relaxed at the office, but the bad thing is that I find it really hard to be productive when I'm sitting at my table. I surf the net aimlessly, do small bite-sized manageable stuff and can't focus on doing the more tedious things like marking for example. Really wasting time actually. What I'll have to do more is to go home early and do the necessary in the comfort of my own place.

Still haven't paddled as much as I would like to, but I should be going on some day trips soon enough as my 3 star kids need to log sea journeys. Would want to take the chance to get the PC people to go paddle together again, really nice to see all of them whenever we get the chance.

And because of my new bike, I now feel the urge to go out for a ride whenever I look at it. But then it still strange for me to go for a round trip without some purpose or objective, no matter how small that is. I do know that I just want to go at a nice easy pace, be able to spin easily, and enjoy the sensations of being in the flow of traffic and the constant wind on my face. Maybe I should tell myself to go Tiong Bahru to get a bowl of Cheng Tng...

Finally, I have to say that it is good to let your office knows about what you think once in a while. Had the chance to do say what I wanted to say and do things the way I wanted at work recently, and it's quite refreshing. To hell with politics and hiding your thoughts because you think the bosses will want things done their way always - I think telling people what's the best way to do some things really helps, and they'll appreciate honesty and constructive feedback.

Monday, March 01, 2010

New hobby...

I've got a new hobby called bikegazing! Wanna see how it goes?

Hope that was fun for you too! haha...

Ok anyway besides being lame I thought maybe I'll write a little more was good this year, as usual. Though I don't get as much angbaos anymore and have to give them out instead, reunion dinner was interesting with my uncle as the cook, I get to Lo Hei like ten different times, and I have my fair share of gambling (and winning!). Ahh...if only I can play more mahjong still...

Somehow, this term my timetable is quite slack but I'm still busy with work whenever I sit down to think about it. Lots of paperwork to do with my CCA, and I just can't muster up enough effort to clear it all up once and for all. I'm taking things easy but at the same time stressing myself by thinking of all the work still around all the time, weird.

So what am I looking forward to this year then?
  • Building up my form class to be the best class in the level! It sure is hard work trying to gel noisy sec 1s together, with their daily bickering, but I think I'm on the right track...
  • Training a select group of kids to go for and complete 3 star kayaking! Are they the only secondary school ever to try for that? Half of them already knows how to roll before they even went to the course under my tutelage! I'm so proud of them...
  • Holidays? Going Korea in June, but actually, what will really make me happy is a short paddling trip somewhere...anyway...
  • Cycling more on my new lean mean biking machine!
Things have been idyllic and peaceful so far this year...hope it lasts...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A new ride!

My new bike!

It is a carbon-tubed bike with aluminium lugs and weighs 7.92kg without accessories . I bought the frame on the cheap and built it up with parts new, second-hand or transferred from my previous bike.

Just took it out for a spin...the difference in the feel of the ride was huge. Pedals were so smooth due to the ceramic bearings, and the dampening of the road vibrations were superb. Finally, I experienced the fabled carbon ride, and it was real good.

Falling in love with cycling all over again!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Bike project

My new bike frame! Bought this last season's model on the cheap to build up, and it has been lying on the carpet for 2 weeks already waiting for its parts. I've always liked BMC for its interesting design, and it's really a steal now. Besides, now that BMC has divorced from Easton for its tubes and such, its quality is probably not going to be as good, despite whatever technical jargon they cooked up to convince others that they are doing that for better quality.

So, what's going up on it? Another pair of cheap Soul 3 wheels (the same one on my Fondriest now), a FSA K-wing bars, Enric's Ultegra set on the cheap, and carbon cranks (got to have that la). Want to get the very reliable KMC gold chain again too. Will be transferring my saddle and pedals over because they were good buys and it'll be expensive to replace them, and selling the rest of the Fondriest.

Everything will fall into place next week!

Kite flying

About 3 weeks ago the guys arranged for a kite flying outing, and it was quite nice to try this again after so long. They went out of their way to buy the kites, and there's quite a bit of variety in the ones that they got.

It seems like everyone's hard at work, but I'm a little lazy. My new kite (I forgot to take a picture of it!) was up in no time and was at the end of its tether after a minute. And then it was a problem of 'so how now'...

I hooked it up to my bike brake levers...and it dropped quite soon after....went to retrieved it, got it up a second time, and again the same thing happened when I anchored it down. It seems that my patience for the activity is pretty low...after it is soaring comfortably I can't really stand standing there not doing anything. So I kept it after a while.

It was quite interesting to watch other people's kite actually, these spectacular ones look damn huge with its long trailing tentacles, really nice!

And on a separate occasion - I got my kids down for the Singapore International Kite Festival for CIP, and the variety of kites there is pretty impressive too. There's a massive teddy bear and turtle which are 'inflated' with the wind, but don't really go very high, and a parachute kite with a long line of small kites on its line below it.

Will I try it again? Hm...not a bad day out la, just to be in the outdoors. But it's really freaking hot! Sun protection is mandatory.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Review: Buried Treasures

Went for this concert on Friday, just to hear Shostakovich's violin concerto. We should have looked carefully and noticed that the concerto only starts after the interval, and should have went for dinner instead of going in on time. My goodness, Schumann is really insipid in some ways. Nice motifs here and there, but the whole piece hardly qualifies as a symphony. Seems to me like he treated the orchestra as a string ensemble, and uses the other parts of the orchestra sparingly in unimaginative ways.

And then, Shostakovich was next. From the first few bars, I decided that I like Ivanov's playing, strong notes with secure intonation that was well projected. His phrasing and cadence was good as he went through the piece, and at the end of it, I have to say that I couldn't expect anything more in terms of interpretative intelligence. His virtuosity showed in the fast movements, very strong technique that carried off the cadenze very well, and the last movement too.

I was transfixed as I watched the concert, stiff and straight as he captured my attention entirely for the 40 minutes. I thought it will be hard for me to accept anything other than Oistrakh's archetypical recording, but I am mightily pleased with this too! He topped it off with Ysaye's Les Furies, showing off his technical skills again.

I look forward to more concert like this! The next one by Leonidas Kavakos promises to be equally spectacular too!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cycling on roads

Thoughts on the recent road cyclign debate
  • Motorists are supposed to overtake or give way to slow moving traffic, so what's the argument about? It is legal for a bicycle to take up a whole lane. And if they don't, it is because they act out of courtesy, allowing cars to overtake them without having to change lane. That should not be seen as a fault that makes cars want to swerve out!
  • Motorists often misjudge our speed - we can go much faster than we seem. So don't try to do that right turn when you see us coming from a distance. We can't stop as easily as them too; trying to stop probably results in as much accidents as collisions themselves, though with less serious consequences.
  • There's so many insane drivers on the road, catch them all first before talking about rule-breaking cyclists. Just as there are reckless cyclists, there are also (much more) reckless drivers.
  • Cyclists on pedestrain walk ways should push or quietly pedal behind pedestrians. They have no right to get them to give way just because they have a bell. Pedestrains should exercise their right not to give way!
  • The road tax excuse for getting bikes off roads is damn stupid, if drivers have some sense they should stop invoking this lame reason.
  • Cycling groups are a little dangerous in my opinion, but it's just an impression. If they want to cut across 3 lanes, they should be a tight group, not a train.
  • The government should stop giving lame excuses and start building those bike lanes. Developed countries with a huge load of cars have bike lanes too.
  • I beat red lights only when I'm going straight along T-Junctions, and that's because I don't hog a lane.
Actually, despite commuting to work everyday, I have very little unpleasant experiences with motorists. I like to think that's because I've experience in knowing what I should do and what other motorists are thinking, and react accordingly to give everyone their space.