Monday, January 21, 2013

What has the world become!?

January 21st... a day that I will remember for the rest of my life... 6 years ago, I lost my best buddy to a long-term illness!  A part of me has gone with him eventhough I know that he has gone to a better place with GOD.  Singapore has moved on (of course)... but it is strange to see that the challenges which plagued an average Singaporean have not changed at all.  In fact, you have more challenges and the old ones are still there... everything from high cost of living, lack of housing for the young couples, the increasing dependence on maids to raise children, the lack of proper care of the old, the ever fatter population!, etc.  It is a scary thought but I am not sure if anything will change 6 years from now.  Perhaps Andrew got it good by leaving a little earlier than me. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

YOUR WILL be done!

There it is... another one on the table with the rest. Of course, it is an epic battle to a medal position... From Day 1 to Day 5, it was 7, 8, 8, 6, and 5. Lots of hard work by both sailor and coach!

Personally, it was significant for me...not just about getting a trophy... it was about letting go! Since Chloe started sailing in Primary 3, I have been pretty involved and sometimes, I thought I was just too involved... :-) Perhaps I was because I never got a chance to sail when I was at the same age. Since she has moved to byte sailing, I had been on my "letting go" program and had been able to do this with most part of the physical side of sailing.

What I often struggle with is the sharing of sailing knowledge and tactics as well as racing strategies with long regattas liked the National Youth (5 days ler!). Anyway, I was able to not say a word and let her sail on her own this time! During these 5 days, I got up in every morning and I said a simple prayer for her and finished each of these prayers with "Let YOUR WILL be done!". It turned our that HIS WILL is to give her the trophy this time! :-)

This January, I did not pen down an entry to remember my best-est friend, Andrew... he was the one who had often told me about letting go and focusing on GOD's WILL be done! Now he knows that I have done it... it is my tribute to him along with the mission work that I am doing this year. Andrew had been my inspiration for serving for many years... perhaps for me, it is just catching up on this part of my life!...

Let go so you too can focus on having HIS WILL be done! It will fire you up for other good things! :-D

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Like that also can?

It is lunch time again and the second day after the latest General Election in Singapore. I am reading a very interesting blog article - one written by a Counting Agent during the latest GE in Singapore.(

According to the blog of this person, the 2 voting tickets (as listed above) are considered valid in his Counting Centre. That looks really wrong!!! Is the interpretation of what is a valid vote left to one single individual in the Counting Centre? If yes, how were these people selected and how can the selection ensure there are no party biasness and most importantly, how to make sure there are constant application of what is and is not acceptable as a valid vote... many questions!

Some entries back, I used Paul Elvstrom's quote. For the purpose of the General Election 2011 Singapore, it should be read as "Any candidate has not won the election, if in winning the election, you have lost the respect of your competiting parties/candidates as well as the Singapore people.

Seriously, I watched on TV during the night of the vote count as well as youtube videos the day after. Even in defeat, there were candidates who drew respectable remarks from their competitors from other parties - Mr Chiam See Tong, Mr George Yeo, etc. Of course, we all know that the winning Workers' Party Team (Mr Low and his GRC team) got congratutory comments from the PAP plus they were stated in many newswires as a respectable alternate party team entering the Parliament in 2011 - blazing the trail for others to follow in the future General Elections of Singapore!! However, I also heard and read about candidates who had won but have not won the respect of the Singapore people and their competitors. Well, at least they have 5 years to repair their beaten-up image... maybe they will really win then.

Stepping back to the comments of this Counting Agent... If a party had actual won because of biasness in evaluating whether a vote is valid or invalid, the winning party may just have lost the respect of the Singaporeans in this General Election... so what if you have SGD15K salary a month and get to sit in Parliament for the next 5 years.

My conclusion is that Paul's quote is applicable in sport or at work and is certainly applicable to General Elections too. :-D

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Riding Through The Rain - Singapore General Election 2011

It is lunch time and a day after the long weekend of the Singapore General Election 2011. This morning it was raining “cats & dogs” and “cows” as well. As usual, I left the house after checking the weather. Even with the heavy dark rain clouds and the strong wind, I decided to ride to work! Mind you, I have been riding to work for more than 4 years now and had never been caught in the rain going to work. Well, never until today!... so what went wrong?

Sigh, what went wrong was me being stubborn! My success in not getting rained on over the last 4+ years gave me a false sense of comfort. I did not even rain-proofed my haversack today. As I pedaled towards Tampines (at a really fast pace), I was able to outrun the rain 3 times. You may ask how can someone out run the rain – you can if you pedal really fast! The rain and wind caught me 3 times but I rode fast enough to get out of its path coming in from the sea. I must say that the cycling track with lots of flying leaves was quite a beautiful sight – one that I had never seen before with all these years staying at the East Coast. I got all the way to Xilin Avenue and was caught in the heavy downpour right across the Singapore Expo. With some meetings and phone calls due first thing in the morning, I decided to cycle through the rain and covered the last few kilometers in the rain. Of course, most things got wet but I had enough plastic bags in my haversack to keep my notebook and other critical items dry. Surely, there were life lessons to learn today – listen to the weather station because they are the closest to the latest weather changes, review what had just happen and learn from it so that I will not make similar mistakes in the future, stay humble and not be distracted by past success as the past is no indication of the future…

All of a sudden, I see many similarities between what I had experienced this morning and the latest elections.

GE 2011 is over and we have Members of Parliament that everyone loves and Members of Parliament that everyone loves to hate. The results were surprising to many but were clearly predicted by others. I did my own guessing and had predicted PAP returning to power but my guess on the % was somewhat off as my guess was closer to 55%. In reality, PAP returned with a great score of over 60% and capturing 93% of the available seats in the Parliament. Congratulations!!! However, the results showed that 40% of the voting people chose the alternate parties to PAP based on less than one month of campaigning. That is significant in a call for alternative voice in the Parliament!

For the rest of the alternative parties, Workers’ Party also scored big time! – increasing from 1 Member of Parliament for the last 5 years to 6 in 2011. Other parties did not win a single seat but they have managed to keep their election deposits (except for SDA’s Desmond Lim who went into a 3-way fight). Clearly, Singapore saw a more credible bunch of alternative party candidates in 2011 and I suspect this improvement in candidate quality will be expected in the next election in 2016.

My last 4+ years of riding without getting drenched in the mornings is liked the PAP’s last 5 years in power – many great successes in keeping Singapore as a first world country which many other countries envy. My poor decision in ignoring the weather forecast is liked the PAP’s lack of attention to the many responses of discomfort by Singaporeans on sensitive policies and key issues such as rising cost of living and other bread-&-butter problems. My 3X out-running of the rain is similar to previous elections where the polling results were not up to the PAP’s expectation but the party survived to rule for another 5-year period. My decision to ride through the rain to get to the office is liked the PAP’s determination to stay in power and willingness to look at internally to enhance its engagement model as a commitment to its people.

Personally, I am a little to sad to lose my Foreign Minister but it is how the election mechanism works. The same system that brought in new Members of Parliament whom many disliked, had took out my Foreign Minister. Some would argue this system is spoilt but I would say that it is working really well and it is “working as design”.

Anyhow, I hope that alternate political parties in Singapore will work with the ruling party to make Singapore a better place for all its citizens – whether it is through giving an alternate voice in the Parliament or through other channels on an on-going manner and not just a couple of days or weeks before the next General Elections in Singapore. 2016?

So, back to cycling… I will certainly be more engaged and look at the weather forecast before I cycle out of the house and in fact, I will rain-proof my haversack whether I think it will rain or not. Getting drenched coming to work is no fun! :-)

Monday, April 25, 2011

"You haven't won the race, if in winning the race you have lost the respect of your competitors..."

First of all, congratulations to all the sailors who had taken part in the National Interschool Sailing Championship 2011. I was there for most part of the Division C races - it was not easy to win out there for those 2 days. Winning is a combination of skills, nature elements and making some good choices on the water!!!... win or lose - the credit goes solely to you, the sailor!!!

Last week was really exciting for me... our girls went into the National Interschool Sailing Championship 2011 as the pioneer sailing team from Nanyang Girls High School. Our objective was to get a medal for the school... of course, secretly we (as parents... maybe some teachers too) wished for more!

"Just 4 sailors (2 Opti and 2 Byte)... I don't think they can do any better than bronze"... a comment that I heard while I was minding my business in the Male Toilet. I could guess whose voice I heard but I would not go to speculate in this note. So, I did not think many were looking at a small sailing team having much impact in the Division C. I could not blame many people for overlooking NYGH's team because the reigning champion for both 2009 & 2010, TKGS had 4 sailors in Opti and 6 sailors in Byte... a large team! 2009/2010's Silver Medal winning team, RGS had 3 in Opti and 2 in Byte... a smaller team but had sailors whose national rankings were highest in both Opti & Byte for the Division C girls.

The NYGH girls knew what they had to do - start well, sail fast, fight for every position and watch the competitors. With that, they finished with 47 points and a SILVER Cup to bring back to school after 2 days of hard sailing... just 6 points behind the 2011 Team Champion RGS but 7 points in front of the Champion for 2009/2010 TKGS. To top it all, Li Ting beated everyone in the Byte Class in Division C Girls to collect an individual GOLD - Champion for the Division C Girls!

Looking at the scores more carefully... Gillian, Mildred, Li Ting and Chloe beated sailors with significant higher national ranking - no easy task!!!

Speaking to one of the NSC coaches, this one pointed out that our Sec 1 girls had enough points (42) to take home SILVER... interesting observation but I was quite quick to let this one know that this team of 4 sailors had won it together... Personally, I watched most of the Byte races and a few Opti ones over the 2 days and realised that there seemed to be some team play on the water. It was really too far for me to deadly sure but I saw a few familiar sail numbers tagging around the NYGH sailors (it seemed more apparent on the 2nd day). If we had only 3 sailors instead of 4, the dynamics of the team play would be different and I believed it would have been so much easier for the other teams to tackle our sailors on the water and possibly spoiling their chances in coming up with good finishes. So while that observation was true from just looking at the points, all 4 NYGH sailors played a critical part to secure the SILVER for the school.

Anyhow, I learnt a lot during these few days. When Chloe was in KCP and winning came quite easy for KCP because KCP had the best sailors, I did not know about these new things that I have learnt in the past week. Check out my new knowledge list:

  1. I had always thought team play on the water was not allowed... maybe it is still not allowed but I thought I saw some on the water in the past week.

  2. I had always thought that if you had gotten FIRST in your class, that meant you have won. However, I was taught that FIRST in Opti Class was FIRST but FIRST in Byte Class was really SIX... knock yourself out trying to figure out this one!!! :-D

  3. High Point Scoring System favours schools with large sailing teams. Like some schools, you just dumped as many sailors in a particular Class when you deemed that your school's sailors have the best chances to top that Class... I think this one is worked out by the coaches. Since NYGH does not have one, I think our strategy is just pure competition for now... this one is a clue for Point 2.

  4. SSF Level 1 Proficiency Certificate is a requirement in the NOR (I suspect for safety) but it is not needed in reality last week. Interestingly, I was TOLD that there were sailors competiting in the regatta without it. That is really strange in a Singapore environment where you cannot U-Turn without the U-Turn signage at that part of the road or parking in a place without a marked parking lot is considered illegal. So I assume some illegal thing must have happened last week at NSC. The organizers should have audited the forms submitted by the school teachers, the teachers-in-charge should have asked to sight the required certificates and the sailors with this certification should have volunteered such information... So, I concluded that it must have been a "Honest Mistake"!!!... and perhaps only the sailors will get hit eventually if a remedy is enforced.

So back to the title, I would ask any sailor to think carefully about what Paul Elvstrom said - "You haven't won the race, if in winning the race you have lost the respect of your competitors..." This year, I think the NYGH girls can hold their heads up high and tell everyone that they did not lose anyone's respect in winning the Team Silver or the Individual Gold medals. Congratulations on a real win!!!... :-)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Man in the mirror!

That is me!... People who know me know that I have this thing about taking picture of myself and this is a picture that I loved - taken in Budapest, Hungary. Very often, it is the same pose... why that is me and my camera!... how else would I be able to take a picture of myself along the streets! :-D
Today is Andrew Wong Day... and I tend to be somewhat reflective on this day!... So I was thinking about who is the guy in the mirror? Strangely, the answer is not as simple... so I said a prayer for me and my family... to ask the LORD to take my burden so that I can see only a pair of footprints in the sand... :-)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Olympic Spirit Strong!... in me! :-)

On my FB status, I wrote this "Strange... but I feel a bit empty this morning... no more tracking of Team Singapore's latest YOG performance and YOG new highlights to watch..."

With the intial joy of Singapore winning the hosting opportunity for the first YOG, I drifted into the "ok... another global event" mode. So, when it was time and the first event started, I found myself searching for updates on the internet. Luckily for me, there were quite a few good ones to get the latest updates from. I was really checking it everyday for each of the sport that Singapore had a participant in (I did not really care if we had a chance to win any medal). I did not really understand why until this week when everything was done and even the advertisements on the beach were being taken down.

For me, it is the idea of watching children of Singapore having the opportunity to participate in an Olympic event with a chance to get their hands on an Olympic medal. I salute everyone of them for their courage, dedication and that pure love for their sport!... keep that flame burning! It is now a part of each of them which no one can take away...