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Thursday, September 25th, 2008

i am singing a song and dancing a jig, because i am in pain.

which is great! been pushing myself hard for training these past 3 days, dragging my sorry ass after work. it’s such a mental chore to move myself after a mind-debillitating day, but i’m getting better at it! totally miss panda not being around. she’s currently paddling away at slim river in perak with the rest of her rj colleagues. gah. rj is coming between me and my regular training buddy! so this week, i’ve missed my regular trail run buddy and joanne’s horror stories about bangalas hiding in the bushes in macrit has deterred me from going alone. sheesh. anyway, speaking of panda, maomao and i had a really bad joke going about panda falling into slim river, thus displacing all water and hence earning it the moniker of “dry river”. not very amusing, i know.

still! it’s been 3 great days of training and i’m looking forward to nothing more strenuous than a swim tomorrow. i think i’ve been subconsciously making up for the crap run i had on sunday with panda (pre-slim river) and maomao on the 4 hills/southern ridges route. the route stretches from mount faber to henderson waves, telok blangah (i think), hort park, kent ridge park and then labrador park. under normal circumstances, i think the route wouldn’t have been so bad, given our comfort at doing hilly trail runs, but the insane temperature of like, 40 deg that morning was seriously punishing. i got a tan line from one morning! if it wasn’t for a particular furry-headed creature who over-catnapped, we would probably have managed to avoid the worst of the sun. bleah.

post run and post post-run stuffing, i caught mama mia! with kyo. i’m completely addicted to movie musicals. since the days of fantastic classic hollywood with soundtracks the industry has never equalled since, the movie musical has been my one guilty indulgence. i’m not about to go into an entire digesis on the genre right now (in less brain dead days i probably would have, but thinking analytically takes too much effort these days), but suffice to say that i’m now an abba fan. which is highly embarrassing.

since we’re on the topic of training and music, i thought i’d share my favourite music playlist that never fails to keep me going hard. when you’re half dead, music matters. now and again, i feel like i’m “cheating”, but oh well, whatever floats my boat.

so this is in no particular order and you should try these if you’re ever in need for a sprint push.

1. gimme! gimme! gimme! (a man after midnight)– abba/mama mia! soundtrack
2. does your mother know– abba/ mama mia! soundtrack
3. paralyzer– finger eleven
4. breakin’ dishes– rihanna
5. disease– matchbox twenty
6. let’s get loud– jennifer lopez
7. ain’t it funny– jennifer lopez
8. minority– green day
9. hitchin’ a ride– green day
10. american idiot– green day
11. feedback– janet jackson
12. scream– michael and janet jackson
13. beat it– fall out boy
14. as if– blaque
15. candyman– christina aguilera
16. somebody told me– the killers
17. get your number — mariah carey ft jermaine dupri
18. sure– take that
19. break the ice– britney spears
20. don’t stop the music– rihanna
21. shut up and drive– rihanna
22. everything– michael buble
23. falling in love (is hard on the knees)– aerosmith
24. twisted transistor– korn
25. the middle– jimmy eat world
26. run the show–kat deluna
27. mei fei se wu– sammi cheng (this is totally lihui’s fault)
28. she bangs– ricky martin (how embarrassing)
29. smooth– santana ft rob thomas
30. victory– bond
31. livin’ on a prayer– bon jovi
32. gasolina– daddy yankee
33. impacto– daddy yankee ft fergie
34. love it when you call– the feeling
35. curbside prophet– jason mraz
36. linkin park– bleed it out
37. it’s like that– run dmc vs jason nevins
38. metallica– enter sandman
39. how far we’ve come– matchbox twenty
40. can’t get you out of my head– kylie minogue

so that’s the pop music running playlist. next up, i shall share my jazz for running playlist. yep you can run to jazz. no kidding.

threadless and senseless

Sunday, September 14th, 2008

thanks to lihui, i’ve just spent 2 hours looking through quirky t shirt graphics on, possibly placing strained retinas on a fast track to myopia hell.

hoohoo wouldn’t i love to wear this to one of those intellectually atas-sikit open reading sessions.

word play art! lemon-aid

dripping lemonade..

hurhur.. somehow no one thinks this is funny save for me.

it’s a communist party baby!! stalin, lenin, mao, marx and guy with cap (can’t recognize that guy in the back) partying like it’s 1917.

this screams david escher! or at least to me it does. BAH. the only t shirt design that i actually wanted to buy and wear, but it only comes in a print! disappointing.

optical illusion ala escher, no?


t shirts graphics aside, i realise it’s literally impossible to accumulate good karma in singapore when we’re beseiged by ******* left, right and centre.

to illustrate.

this morning, mao mao and i went for a trail run at mac rit (alas, sans panda, whose iron stomach was having a temporary lapse from its usual self of being impervious to all sorts of flesh-eating bacteria) and despite it being 715am, the entire place was packed.

the running bug has hit singapore in a really big way, that much is obvious. which isn’t  much of an issue unless you happen to have a little pink vehicle to park.

for lack of a more suitable parking lot, mao mao started to park on a set of double yellow lines, just before they turned into double zigzag lines. the whole idea here was to shift vehicle onto double yellow lines fully and not touch the zigzags, to at least give some face and not screw over TP rules too much.

while mao mao was reversing pink vehicle into the space between lines and another parked car behind, this OTHER vehicle blatantly just came out from the side, cut right in and took the space that mao mao was *very* obviously in the process of reversing into.

let’s just say that if YOU are the driver of SGF 4471 _ (drats can’t recall the last letter) at mac rit this morning, then there is either something very wrong with your vision, also known in not-so-nice hokkien terminology as *pa jiao*, or you are simply devoid of the decency gene.

and mao mao, being the usual her, on a one-way express ticket to nirvana, refused my war-mongering stance and thus, we went on our run, with the ******** in his stolen parking space.

i’ve heard this rubbish theory that singaporeans are not gracious by nature because we have no time. actions like holding open a door for people or keeping the lift waiting for stragglers are precious milliseconds wasted on the ever-speeding clock of unstoppable economic achievement, also known as, the furious computer-monkeying behind a 1.5m square office cubicle.

i can accept that most of us may not be extra conscious to the effect of socially gracious behaviour, but it’s the intentional acts of meanness/rudeness/downright kiam pa-ness that get my gander up. we don’t all have to be nice all the time, but there’s no excuse for intentionally behaving badly, save the sad postulation i am forced to make, that alas, monkey, apes and gorillas we may have started out, but some of us have not evolved in tandem with the rest.

i have a brilliant idea.

i’m convinced that singaporeans respond better to negative, rather than positive reinforcement. so instead of the lameass courtesy lion cartoon, i propose that mcys or whichever ministry is responsible, start issuing these following group of people with a special little something.

1. litterbugs
2. mrt carriage road kill (aka the people who nuah and crash on the mrt floors)
3. leg kickers behind your cinema seat, that no amount of evil staring in the dark can alleviate (at instances such as this, i wish with all my heart that my one super power could be cyclops’ laser beam eyes)
4. spitters, urinators, poopers and other excretors of unwanted bodily emissions
5. car park lot stealers
6. parking idiots (the kind who block other ppl’s cars)
7. noise polluters who refuse to communicate below 500db in public
8. smokers who blow their ******** secondhand smoke in the faces of hapless, lung-loving, longetivity-seeking non-smokers
9. NFL player wannabes, the kind that practices the skill of shoulder-shoving that would put any NFL player to shame (makes me wonder why we aren’t a nation of rugby greats. just check out the action at the GSS/ katong laska stall/ bus stop queue)
10. the invisible men/women who *chope* their seats in public places (libraries, cafes) and then disappear (or maybe they’re actually around, but they’ve devolved to amoeba form that they can’t be seen)  

so, instead of the permed-mane smiley lion, the courtesy police should issue abovementioned offenders of public decency with this:

imagine that. gorrilla stickers handed out to said offenders–“hello sir, did you just *kope* someone’s parking lot? well, here’s a sticker for you to add on to your car decals. have a nice day.”

once in a while. a visual cue may work wonders to remind ourselves that although we may be living in a “concrete jungle”, one need not take the metaphor too literally.

brain death.

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

i am officially the walking epitome of brain death.

i confess, i haven’t blogged in a while beacuse i’ve had nothing illuminating to say, no bright sparks of brilliance jumping off the page and no incisive quips and axioms to pepper my lines with.

brain death i tell you.

i recall fondly my time as a lit student where i had a license to daydream in the library behind a pile of dusty, important sounding tomes. i could squint into the distance with a slight frown, as if contemplating the perils of anachronistic writing in a postmodern clime.

and sometimes, i actually had something going on behind the squint and the frown.

but these days, cue dust bunnies in the department up there.

said thought elicited rude enough shock to spur me into making small steps into writing (news next week!) and some serious consideration for a post-everest masters in literature, before the brain death invasion is complete.

and these days, i increasingly miss being a lit student, living in the library, reading 5 novels a week and having a lecturer to discuss research topics with.

i confess my geekdom. i loved and still love, geekdom. not the faux-geek outer trappings of huge coloured glasses and mullet heads, but actually deriving pleasure from finding a great book, writing a good critique and getting a happy grade. i confess to having written for special permission to do two extra research topics and loving every minute, every page of it. 

now, my brain is addled by civil service SOPs. a romantic end.  

i was trawling through my old old old blog (which i will *attempt* to update again) and reading some of my back entries has caused me to squirm and weep for my current state of brain death where my single daily contemplation is the peanuts comic in ST life. how embarrassing.


27 04 2007

that’s how panda pronounces metafiction.

some of my brain cells just died forever.

finished the very gruelling metafiction exam this morning and i don’t think my eyes have opened any wider at the sight of any other exam questions.

for me, the problem with postmodern literature is that it’s totally great to read and all, because it’s a site of alot of contention so there’s plenty to think and discuss about tradition versus innovation, intertextuality, multiple epistemologies and the pitfalls of mise en abyme etc. in other words, it never gets boring. i should know. i could never go back to willingly reading pre-modernist lit again. the trouble is actually writing about pomo lit, of which metafiction is one aspect of. when you’re thinking about the novel in your head or discussing it, there isn’t really a need for a coherent “answer” and more often than not, thought processes are more fruitful precisely when you cannot pin down a particular point of view. imagine the concept of the rhizome ala deleuze and guattari, where you have multiple nodes, each connected to other multiple nodes, so there’s a definite richness in pomo lit and its potential for multiple layers of meaning that are in perpetual animation because the text simply does not tie itself down. 

which also spells exam hell. and i also suppose that the trouble with pomo lit, unlike a more traditional mode like the victorian realist novel, is that it’s such a new ideology of writing and reading that much of what has been written or said about it is really a series of questions in the phraseology of academic critique. everyone knows what it is not, but no one really knows what it is.

or maybe i should say that no one dares claims to know what it is.

anyhow, on a much much much happier note, i got back my metafiction essay from my lecturer before the exam started. i was supposed to get it back from her office last week, but i was terrified at the prospect of seeing her, since i had to get an extension for the essay for the first time in my life, thus very highly probably falling from grace. even then, thanks to writer’s block i.e. brain-deadness, i still managed to hand it in 7 hours late. which was how long it took me to finally sit down and get it out. so when my lecturer handed the essay to me with a frown (for email-ing her the essay instead of submitting a hardcopy), i figured the expected horrible exam was going to start on a bad note but i actually got an A+ for it! and the best essay prize of a new book! yay!!! *super huge great big beam* i have no idea what title it is but i’m hoping its a fantasy one. children of hurin!

speaking of which, fantasy writing is really not all fluff (harry potter is not in the equation here by the way. i refuse to glorify an extended children’s fairy tale. it’s mother goose for the star wars generation). the trope of an alternate universe is a great avenue to start thinking about alternative ways of approaching the concept of a singular experienced reality. presented with an alternative universe with its own series of narratives, myths and codes, one can also begin to examine the authenticity of the idea of universal meta-narratives, around which our own narratives are organized. which brings me to the point that it irks me when ppl say that fantasy writing is crap since it’s all about escapism (which is a stupid statement btw, cuz this pretty much invalidates all literature since even the most mimetic of fictional realities are all still constructs). i suppose fantasy is ostensibly more “escapist” than other literary genres, but the pertinent question it asks is, what does escaping into a different realm allow us to see about our own? fantasy to me is an oblique way of criticizing the centre from the periphery and reinvigorates the interrogation of the centre as we know it by postulating an external perspective.

i am rambling. my brain is in overdrive.

anyway, i love tolkien and his son just edited and published possibly the last book that can be posthumously written, “the children of hurin”. the idea of tolkien from the grave is rather disquieting.

jane is bored. i need to be typing my resume but i hate it.

i took a chance with my metafiction essay and wrote about the concept of meta-art instead, of which meta-painting and metafiction are branches of. it was my sneaky way of getting around the writer’s block by talking about something i’m more familiar with. i love magritte. he is the perfect epitome of how conceptual art doesn’t have to look like something a cat with paint on its paws can scratch out. not a big modern art fan. magritte is completely interesting in that while he propagates the oldest notion of aesthetic theory, that of mimesis, in his representation of images, the way he constructs his paintings ironically undermines the assumed function of mimesis-as-truth in art. magritte turns mimesis and knowledge predicated on seeing as experience, to show that the “truth in appearances” is paradoxically to be found in the form of the “appearance” of the canvas surface and not what is seen in reality and the only epistemology is the epistemology of inifinite representation.    

favourite magritte paintings! since i’m bored. plus on a basic superficial level they appeal to the bimbo in me. they’re pretty. =)

this is hilarious. classical concepts of mimesis, especially during the renaissance with the addition of linear perspective, was analogized as the canvas being a window frame and that the painter should paint exactly from nature as he sees outside the window. maybe i’m the only one who finds it funny when an academic concept is taken literally. moving on.

i find magritte really unsettling sometimes. he painted the empire of lights at least ten times, right until he died and there’s something mystical about a night scene below a daytime sky that i just can’t pin down. it’s surprising cuz you don’t expect to see the two go together and until now, i’m still not sure what the purpose of the juxtoposition is. or maybe it’s a trap and there’s not supposed to be a purpose. the purpose is to recognize that there is no purpose and art is an arbitrary construction of an alternate reality. let’s just panic and keel over.

it’s a mermaid!!! i love this. so totally hilarious. it’s amazing how even though this SO does not look like a conventional mermaid, the image of a mermaid that one uses as a yardstick to judge this as “odd”, immediately comes to mind. it’s amazing how the mind and cultural knowledge works in such a way that it makes the imaginative leap and closes the gap between the arbitrary signifier and the signified, such that human + fish = mermaid, so what if it’s the wrong part of the human and the wrong part of the fish. even the very recognition that it is wrong stems from flipping into the memory bank of how a mermaid should look like. semiotic signifiers. nice.

back to one of magritte’s pet themes of seeing as non-epistemology that challenges mimetic art as illusory truth. one can see everything about a scene and yet know nothing.

likewise, you can also read an interpretation into something that you cannot totally see because a fragment of the signifier is all that is needed for the mind to make the imaginative leap. like the image of that famous dalmation made up of dapped shadows.

i’m annoyed. i can’t find my ultimate no. 1 favourite magritte picture of his bowler hat man with botticelli’s spring on his back online. at times like this i wish i had my laptop with me. or a portable hard disk drive with everything.

i love magritte and i am boring myself with extreme geekdom. time to write that resume.


current day p.s. if i ever want to study semiotics in art, magritte would float my boat any day.

time to save myself from further brain death..

happy racer

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

so, the duathlon came and went.

post-event smiles!

i was completely psyched about it because it was more or less a “surprise” event since i had forgotten about the event, horror of horrors, and also because it was my first multisport event and i had heard so many many horror stories about the perils of the biking leg when ppl would presumably ride you down and over you, leaving your crushed lifeless form in the wake of burned rubber. ha.

on race day itself, it was disappointing that the bike leg got cut by almost half at the last minute. in the end, it became a run 10km, bike 22km, run 5km duathlon. i would have liked to have done the original 40km bike leg . after all, that’s the point of signing up for the full thing. but still, despite the last minute route change, i did enjoy the race! it was a great day, cloudy but with no rain. my favourite part was definitely the two transitions. i got such a kick out of running into the area, putting on my biking gear and then getting the bike out to the mounting point and then back again in reverse for the second transition. to facilitate my re-fuelling along the bike leg, i managed to stick a pack of power gel and some powerbar jelly beans onto my bike frame with tape. so as i was pedalling along, i was happily munching on powerbar jelly beans. powerbar jelly beans are fantastic!!! they’re nice and chewy, so you get some satisfaction out of munching away. And usually these energy things don’t taste very good, but the jelly beans were just like candy. duh. anyway, i bought mine from athlete’s circle at boon tat street. i think running lab sells them as well. i shall pack them by the truckload for the next climb. =D

surprisingly, i came in 6th for my 20-29 age group. looking at last year’s timings, i was aiming for below 20th, so 6th was pretty cool. but a large part of that satisfaction was taken away for the fact that the bike leg wasn’t complete, so i don’t really feel like i accomplished it fully. i would have felt better if the whole course was complete but i came in at a lousier position. i think it’s a sort of obsessive compulsive tendency with me. kinda like how i’ll feel totally crappy and lousy if i can’t hit a particular timing or distance that i originally planned for a training session.

not surprisingly, this being singapore, there were quite a bit of negative feelings displayed about the event, ranging from people banging tables at the officials, walking off halfway after the bike leg, to open complaints against the organizers and even some moaning about the muddy transition area such that racers had to carry their bikes and run, instead of push them out. but frankly, all i really cared about after the race was finding the nearest burger king to cure my whopper craving.

Panda came down to support me! =D

it’s not that i didn’t care about the sudden change. if anything, i think i’m obsessed about completing distances i plan to do, within the timings that i set for myself. but i guess it’s largely also because of all the mountaineering experience that i’ve more or less gotten used to dealing with last minute changes in plans or tricky environments that are beyond my control. after all, when the weather screws up on a climb, you’re pretty much stuck and you can’t exactly fall to your knees and cry. or when you wake up one morning in your tent with a side-splitting headache, neither can you raise a fist and curse the gods or something. you just take it all in your stride and look out for a another chance. see? jane’s mantra for a focused, yet accomodating way of life: be hard on yourself but easy to the rest of the world.

and of course, there’s always the osim triathlon to look forward to. i’m hoping that i’ll be able to do the race route in good time, given my lack of time to clock enough swim, bike and bricking time. i also hope i don’t get poisoned by the east coast waters during the swim leg. i’m totally excited. since i already biked and swam some to cross train as part of SWET training, it seemed like a no-brainer to just enter the triathlon, just to see how i’ll do.

last week after training on sat morning, peh gee accompanied me to east coast to swim and we met another friend, michelle, there as well. i basically had to get past my mental block of swimming in water so murky that you can’t see squat. not to mention having to palm floating wooden planks and plastic bags away. 

pre-swim slipper spree: peh gee’s skull and cross bones and my deformed feet.

happy training. =)

coming up! my first duathlon…

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

two days ago, i discovered to my horror that the saab city duathlon (run 10km, bike 40km, run 5km) is next sunday.

i had signed up for the event as a spur of the moment thing aeons ago and then completely forgot about it. two days ago, as kyo and i were on our way to dinner after work, i saw one of those lamp post banners that event organizers are so fond of, advertising the event for next sunday.


and i haven’t even had enough time on my bike to speak of.

i’ve now decided on a kamikaze course of action, to attempt to work wonders within a span of 10 days. it seems a bit *toot* to just “go for fun”, so i’ve contrived to at least put up some semblance of having trained for it.

this morning, i got up at an ungodly 4am to meet my equally hare-brained training buddy at east coast park. we ran 10km in pretty good time, finishing in 51mins. i like to think that if it weren’t for the strong winds blowing up from the sea, we would’ve been faster. hah.

after the run, we hopped on our bikes and biked 40km up and down from fort road towards nsrcc twice and made the distance in 1:31, which was pretty surprising since we had:

1. a bike chain derail emergency
2. two toilet breaks
3. said strong headwind

to contend with.

i’m still missing the last 5km run, but alas, work beckoned and we had to leave the place.

this weekend, i shall endeavour to try out the actual race route and see how *chui* i eventually end up.  

not to mention doing a test run of how power gel diluted in water in a hydration pack will taste like.

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008



for the longest time ever, i think i’ve been too comfortable doing endurance trainings in an aerobic pace. read: 75% HR for hours. so much so that while i’ve mastered the zen art of tuning my brain out while the clock ticks on, i’ve pretty much forgotten the heart-pumping, lung-busting, vein-popping feel of a sub-anaerobic pace.

so these last 3 weeks, i’ve been adding interval runs and tempo runs to my usual mind-numbing routine, to bump up the training a notch.

and i’m pretty pleased with how this new sub-anaerobic training is turning out so far, cuz this evening (after a long day at work, mind!), i ran a 5km road distance with 2 colleagues and clocked a time of 23 mins 5 s.

it’s not supersonic speed, but i’m happy i managed to sustain the sub-anaerobic pace for the distance. i shall (temporarily) rest on my laurels by imagining that i’ll eventually be able to do 45min 10k runs. haha. =)

forging alone.

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

the following post is dedicated to a pomelo-headed friend, wm. =)

i think it is actually very difficult to follow through on a dream. most of the time, i think most people put off pursuing an ideal, because of the sheer vulnerability of gettting one’s most intimate wish crushed. as a consolation, the eternal future of the phrase “one day i will…” stands in place of a potential profound joy to be found from fulfilment.

it’s never easy to put yourself out there. to me, taking concrete steps to realize a dream, is paradoxically taking a parallel step to kill it, because it no longer resides within the safe zone of one’s benign mental universe. yet, having said that, it’s negotiating the pendulous dialectic between ideal and reality, fruition and failure, gratification and loss that makes the pursuit of an ideal the most intense of all human experiences.

so here’s a pat on the back for anyone whose aiming for the sky and forging alone, but undeterred.


Yeong Wai Mun rows towards Olympic dreams

March 31, 2008

Story and pictures by Leslie Tan


Yeong Wai Mun carries his Olympic dreams on his shoulders. (Photo © Leslie Tan/Red Sports)

From the road, it’s easy to miss Pandan Reservoir, an elevated reservoir situated in the midst of an industrial hub in the west. Off Jalan Buroh, hidden from human view, sits the clubhouse of the Singapore Amateur Rowing Association. It was here that I met 26-year-old Yeong Wai Mun, a recent mechanical engineering graduate of the Nanyang Technological University.

Wai Mun had dropped me an email one day to say hello to clarify that there was a difference between paddlers (dragon boaters) and rowers like himself. He did it so thoughtfully and politely that I was intrigued and so was keen to meet up with him to find out more about why he is training full-time in this little-known sport in Singapore.

Having played basketball in River Valley Primary, he spent the subsequent four years in Gan Eng Seng Secondary in the National Cadet Corp. “I wasn’t sports oriented that time,” said Wai Mun. “NCC was prominent at Gan Eng Seng in my time.”

In Jurong Junior College, Wai Mun ran cross-country, then ended up in the artillery vocation during National Service. Then came four years in NTU, graduating in July 2007. “I’ll never forget that day,” said Wai Mun, referring to his graduation. “Kind of a relief that I finished studying.” We can all identify with that.


Wai Mun trains six days a week. (Photo © Leslie Tan/Red Sports)

With most of his schoolmates heading into the job market, and a booming one at that, Wai Mun’s decision to pursue his Olympic dream full-time stands out. A full-time athlete in Singapore is rare enough. A full-time athlete pursuing a little known sport, even rarer.

“My father supports the idea of rowing full time. I reassured him that I have my future at heart. I’ll try to build something for myself.” Wai Mun says it matter-of-factly, without uncertainty. “I want to stay in the sports field but I haven’t decided what paths to take.”

Wai Mun took up dragon boating at NTU after an army friend who used to paddle for a polytechnic team suggested he try it out. “My (older) brother also studied in NTU and his friends were in the dragon boat team.”

The NTU dragon boaters left a deep impression on him. “The NTU Dragon boaters make their presence felt on campus. They take their training seriously: three times a week, land training, runs, weights, static paddling in a pool. Saturday, Sunday at Kallang, two hour sessions each.” Wai Mun ended up spending three-and-a-half years in the NTU dragon boating team from ‘03 to ‘06.


Wai Mun stayed at the Singapore Rowing Association clubhouse at Pandan Reservoir to concentrate on training. (Photo © Leslie Tan/Red Sports)

“Rowing was introduced to us in my second year because one of the national rowers was in NTU,” Wai Mun recalled. “I wanted to stop dragon boating and switch to rowing but ended up staying in dragon boating on the advice of my coach.”

“My team manager and coach inspired me to take sports to a higher level. My mindset is that if I were to do a sport competitively, I would aim for an Olympic sport.”

“Since I didn’t have a foundation in canoeing and kayaking (both Olympic disciplines), I focused on rowing,” said Wai Mun who eventually picked it up in January ‘07. “Dragon boat training in NTU helped me with the physical aspects of rowing.”

Wai Mun is now training in Sydney to prepare for the Asian Olympic Qualifiers in Shanghai. The Singapore Rowing Association will decided whether to send him to Shanghai based on his performances in his races in Sydney.


Wai Mun does six water sessions weekly, alternating with weight and core stability training. He trains six days a week. (Photo © Leslie Tan/Red Sports)

“With a large number of rowing clubs in Sydney, there are regattas almost every weekend. Some at the elite level, some are intermediate/novice level. The first race I participated during my first week there was the New South Wales (NSW) State Championships, which is an elite level regatta, with most clubs from the state of NSW. Another regatta which I participated in was the Leichhardt regatta. This was a less formal regatta, where the competition was not as tough. I came in first for my races.”

“I then participated in the Kings/PLC/NSWRA regatta which would be considered an intermediate level regatta. Even though I was entered as a Lightweight, the race was a combine race where Open and Lightweight rowers raced together. I came in second behind an Open weight rower.”

Beyond winning or losing, Wai Mun is finding the exposure of training with elite athletes overseas priceless.

“The rowers here are exceptionally committed athletes. Being only university students, they are all aged under 23, and the elite rowers have already rowed for at least 5-6 years, some even more. So just training with such a group is already a good motivating factor to constantly push and improve myself. I can tell the vast amount of experience they have just by listening to their race plan and how they work on their technique. We train 6 days a week, with Sunday being a rest day. There is an equal amount of rowing on the water, with strength and endurance training on land.”


Wai Mun was a dragon boater during his NTU days before picking up rowing in January ‘07. (Photo © Leslie Tan/Red Sports)

“I am paying my own way to Syndey,” said Wai Mun, showing how serious he is about his dreams. To pay his own way, he took on a variety of part-time work. Apart from working as a rowing instructor, he also models for the students at the School of Art, Design and Media at NTU. Given his Olympian physique, it is not a surprise.

“My big target is the London Olympics in 2012. Rowers need nine to ten years to compete at the highest levels. By 2012, I would only have six years experience. It’s still a long shot. But if I don’t at least try, I won’t know how high a level I could’ve reached. I cannot stop after one or two years.”

“This sport requires quite a lot of years so that you don’t leave it with regrets. You have to try whatever you can to reach your peak. I think most athletes would regret retiring before they reach their peak.”


Rowing is not a popular sport in Singapore and so at times Wai Mun ends up training alone. (Photo © Leslie Tan/Red Sports)

His weekly training regime while in Singapore:

Mon – weight training session in the afternoon
Tues, Thurs – double water sessions of one-and-a-half hours each
Wed, Fri – rowing session in the morning, weight training session in the afternoon
Sat – double water sessions
Sun – rowing session in the morning, off in the afternoon
Core stability training 3 times a week

2009, here we come!

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008


A fellow climber once joked that climbing is “long periods of boredom, punctuated by moments of sheer terror”.

Usually, each climbing expedition factors in anything from a few days, to a few weeks of waiting time at base camp, as a precaution against bad weather, when no movement up the mountain in possible.

Although waiting out bad weather at base camp is less strenuous than a treacherous slog up ice cliffs at higher altitudes, it is by no means easy, physically or mentally. With every passing day spent at altitude, even at rest, the body deteriorates in reaction to the lack of oxygen in the air. This in turn leads to slower brain activity, general sluggishness, loss of appetite and eventually, muscular atrophy. Most of all, waiting takes the biggest toll on one’s mental state. The heightened state of anticipation, when met with the headwall of frustration at being unable to move any higher, can be agonozing to bear, especially when physical deterioration begins to set in after long exposure at altitude.

After climbing around the world for the last 4 years, all of us could probably fill tomes on the downside of waiting, twiddling your thumbs, feeling your muscles shrink by the day and still not having a clear day to move up the mountain. However, we’ve also waited through enough bad weather cycles to know that unforseen halts in our climbing schedule are part and parcel of the entire expedition experience and these also have to be overcome before we can reach the summit.

This year, we’re doing a rather different sort of waiting.

The Singapore Women’s Everest Team will aim to be the first all-women’s team from Singapore to summit Mount Everest in 2009.

We have postponed our Everest expedition by a year due to insufficient funding to send the minimum number of climbers up Everest. We will aim to summit Everest in Spring 2009, sometime in the middle of May, when a suitable weather window opens up and the perennial jet stream on the summit ceases to blast everything standing into Tibet.

Coming after 4 years of climbs, six-day a week training regimes, publicity blitzes and fundraising drives, all of us were heartbroken when the decision was made, but we have accepted it as another obstacle to be overcome in our long journey to the summit of Mount Everest.

Since our decision to postpone the climb, we have been devoting ourselves more than ever to our fundraising campaign. It meant the world to us when our current sponsors received the news with great understanding and support. Some of our sponsors even interpreted our postponement as good news, as we now have an extra year to extend our partnership and generate more public awareness together!

It was especially heartening when our family, friends and supporters rallied around us to cushion our disappointment with their support, at a time when we all needed it the most.

So not to worry, all of us have bounced back with renewed energy and a positive perspective! With an additional year to go, we’ll have more time to execute some ingenious fundraising ideas and extra time to prepare ourselves physically.

Following the stellar success of our Cho Oyu (8201m) expedition in Tibet last year, all of us are confident of our bid for the summit of Everest. The final leap for all of us to make, is to raise enough money within this additional year of time that we now have.

“The mountain is always there”, as one of our wise mentors used to say and what’s more important than recognizing that, is knowing that our team can overcome this unforseen challenge to wait another year. If Rome wasn’t built in a day, then an expedition with the magnitude of Everest is definitely worth the anticipation.

Obstacles are put in the way of success not to deter us, but to allow us an opportunity to reach even higher. When we step onto the summit of Everest next year, figuratively, we would already have climbed it more than once.

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

haven’t exactly been in the best of moods these days and it’s more than a cathartic run and swim will cure.

had a quick chat with sweetie pie today (better known as michael lim), although it was more of sweetie pie talking and grunts from me. currently attempting to suscribe to the “everything happens for a reason” school of thought as some form of consolation, ah but well. time will tell and i’ll keep my faith.

some cheerer-uppers:


I’m through with standin’ in line
To clubs I’ll never get in
It’s like the bottom of the ninth
And I’m never gonna win
This life hasn’t turned out
Quite the way I want it to be
(Tell me what you want)

I want a brand new house
On an episode of Cribs
And a bathroom I can play baseball in
And a king size tub big enough
For ten plus me
(Yeah, so tell what you need)

I’ll need a.. a credit card that’s got no limit
And a big black jet with a bedroom in it
Gonna join the mile high club
At thirty-seven thousand feet
(Been there done that)

I want a new tuned bus full of old guitars
My own star on Hollywood Boulevard
Somewhere between Cher and
James Dean is fine for me
(So how you gonna do it?)

I’m gonna trade this life for fortune and fame
I’d even cut my hair and change my name

‘Cause we all just wanna be big rockstars
And live in hilltop houses, driving fifteen cars
The girls come easy and the drugs come cheap
We’ll all stay skinny ’cause we just won’t eat
And we’ll hang out in the coolest bars
In the VIP with the movie stars
Every good gold digger’s
Gonna wind up there
Every Playboy bunny
With her bleach blonde hair
And well…

Hey, hey, I wanna be a rockstar
Hey, hey, I wanna be a rockstar

I wanna be great like Elvis without the tassels
Hire eight body guards that love to beat up assholes
Sign a couple autographs
So I can eat my meals for free
(I’ll have the quesadilla, ha ha)

I’m gonna dress my ass
With the latest fashion
Get a front door key to the Playboy mansion
Gonna date a centerfold that loves to
Blow my money for me
(So how you gonna do it?)

I’m gonna trade this life
For fortune and fame
I’d even cut my hair
And change my name

‘Cause we all just wanna be big rockstars and
Live in hilltop houses driving fifteen cars
The girls come easy and the drugs come cheap
We’ll all stay skinny ’cause we just won’t eat
And we’ll hang out in the coolest bars
In the VIP with the movie stars
Every good gold digger’s
Gonna wind up there
Every Playboy bunny
With her bleach blonde hair
And we’ll hide out in the private rooms
With the latest dictionary of
Today’s who’s who
They’ll get you anything
with that evil smile
Everybody’s got a
Drug dealer on speed dial, well
Hey, hey, I wanna be a rockstar

I’m gonna sing those songs
That offend the censors
Gonna pop my pills
From a Pez dispenser

Get washed-up singers writing all my songs
Lip synch ’em every night so I don’t get ’em wrong

Well we all just wanna be big rockstars
And live in hilltop houses driving fifteen cars
The girls come easy and the drugs come cheap
We’ll all stay skinny ’cause we just won’t eat
And we’ll hang out in the coolest bars
In the VIP with the movie stars
Every good gold digger’s
Gonna wind up there
Every Playboy bunny
With her bleach blond hair
And we’ll hide out in the private rooms
With the latest dictionary of
Today’s who’s who
They’ll get you anything
with that evil smile
Everybody’s got a
Drug dealer on speed dial,well

Hey, hey, I wanna be a rockstar
Hey, hey, I wanna be a rockstar 

this song cracks me up. it’s one of those songs that you can sing, ala headbanger style, in your most sandpaper-esque voice at maximum volume and get away with.  


although flowers are not anywhere near the top of my most wanted list and i’ll agonize over whether or not to throw them away when they eventually wilt, die and make a mess on my floor from dead petals, they still manage to coax a smile. =)

made my day to come home to a pretty bouquet waiting on my desk. in my ex-favourite colour, purple. if kyo had stuck to my current favourite colour, he’d have had to send me a cactus. or a cabbage.


Monday, February 11th, 2008

i am aching in places i never knew existed.

at the ripe old age of 24, father time is catching up with me.

abandoned the run + gym today for a “recovery” swim this afternoon during lunch, but the sheer monotony of a long mindless swim sometimes tends to stand in the way of “recovery”. usually, i do my best to get it over with. managed to do 50 continuous laps within an hour. yay. itch from minor sunburn, nay.

in a shitty mood, so in a valiant attempt at uplift, i shall remind myself of 10 things i love, starting with a random letter that i shall hit on my keyboard (it’s kinda hard to generate “randomness” when you more or less know what letter is spaced where on the board).


great. i hit a full stop.


1. Gear–i totally love getting new climbing gear! i love doing research and reading gear reviews, ordering the items, waiting in anticipation for them to arrive and then tearing off the wrapping and testing everything out!

2. Gym–according to lihui, i live in the gym. enough said.

3. Green–my new favourite colour. after a long spell of pink (which will never end), yellow and purple.

4. Greenday–“hitchin’ a ride” is still my all time favourite running track.

5. Gal pals–we all need a bitchfest once in a while and more importantly, the right people who’ll listen and make requisite sympathetic noises at suitable intervals. it usually doesn’t really matter if they’re actually listening.

6.  Gregory Maguire’s “Wicked”–a postmodern twist to oz

7. “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”!!!–marilyn monroe single-handedly started my love affair with classic hollywood (i realise i’m beginning to cheat here, but i can’t think of very many more “G” things that i love).

8. GOYA!–the father of modern art

9. Gobstoppers–mummmmwwmmummmumww…

10. Gummi Bears–i count myself lucky to have found a gummi bear soulmate in kyo. he’s useful for eating all the yellow ones i don’t like but can’t simply throw away.