Sunday, January 28, 2018

Chapter 25.01 : The Girl Who Doesn't Listens



"I think I'm a lousy listener."

"Oh? You finally realized?"

"Yeah..."


She leaned forward, resting her elbows on the table.
"It's not hard to guess. It's pretty obvious."


Sitting across the table, Kai dug in to her food.
"Yeah. Whenever I tell you something, is either you're day dreaming or you're doing something else."

Sally raised her right eyebrow.
"I was listening okay. Just that I had nothing else to say, so I didn't response."


There was a short pause while Kai slurped onto her noodles.


"Among all my friends, I realized no one comes to me for advise,"Sally said.

"That's because you're too direct and straightforward," Kai pointed out.

"Yeah. That's why." Sally sighed.
"But I can't help myself! Some people just need to be slapped in the face!"

"But no one ask you for your advise. They just want you to listen!"
"You just have to show your sympathy, and give supportive remarks even though you're not on their side. Showering them with all your positiveness... Something like that!" 

"That's so fake! Doesn't that make you a fake friend?"

"Not really... I guess?" 

"No way, I can't do that! It's either I slap them with my realistic advise or they don't get any of it."
"For example, there was this friend of mine, a girl, who broken up not long ago." Sally shared.
"She was in a state of denial, and she couldn't accept the fact that she just got dumped."

"And then?"

"So, as a friend, I tried as much as possible to listen to her complaints and her sober stories and bla bla bla while offering my sympathy as much as possible."

"Then....?"

"Until, one day, she says she doesn't deserve to be dumped because she says 'she's the perfect person. Everyone wants her. She's the perfect wife material! She knows how to cook, workout, and has a good family background, she doesn't deserve to be dumped' That's what she said and it's totally insane!


"She really said that?! Wow... that's... a lot of ego she has!"

"I know right? She's so full of herself and she's fucking stubborn!"

"Like you."

"Yes, like me. But I'm better okay..." Sally pointed out.
"I give in only when people give me rationalize examples and proven experience that they had experience. Otherwise I won't accept whatever they said."

"Well, that's true."

"Anyway, back to the story..." Sally resumed.
"After hearing those remarks from her, I went berserk! I gave her a piece of my thoughts!"

"What did you say?"

"I told her that the world doesn't revolve around you, and not everything is about you. You, me, or anyone else don't deserve anything that you think should belongs to you, unless that something or someone is legally stated somewhere lah but that's another different story."

"I told her that everyone in this world has the right to leave at anytime, and if they leave, we should just respect their choice even if they don't have a valid reason for leaving!"

"Wow. So deep and true. So what happen next?"

"I don't know, but I hope she gets over with it and move on with her life."
Sally sighed.

"I usually don't give advises, but when I do, I only give them to those who are closest to me."


* * *

"You know..."
"I used to be a good listener during my high school days..."

Then? What happen?

"More people came to me. Their problems became petty complaints that they don't want to do anything about. Just, complaining and not taking any action.
I became tired of it. Tired of everything else.
I got better things to worry about than their daily problems. I have my own set of problems you know? And I had no one to tell them to. So, I give them my own realistic advise to shut them up..."


"And they never come back to me... again."

Friday, December 1, 2017

Chapter 24.08 : 24 Things I Did While I Was 24

"Go on... Make a wish..."

I pondered for a moment.
Is there anything that I really want to wish for?


I looked at the lighted candle in front of me.
All my wishes came true. What more do I want? I ask myself.

As I closed my eyes and was about to blow out the candle, I thought to myself...
I wish....

... I wish that I could...

* * *

Here, I am, reaching the so called "quarter life crisis" age. Why do people even call it a crisis stage? The only crisis I have right now is trying to write a blog article every once a week (which I failed to do so obviously).

Alright, jokes aside. The real quarter life crisis I have right now is hoping not to grow old too fast and die :( The thought of it really scares me. Just imagine being old and not being able to run, or do any workout. I couldn't live my life without being able to run wild and free.

That's why, this year was a really special year for me. 2017 is the year of change and coming out from my comfort zone once again. It's been a long time since I last told myself to step out from my comfort zone. I'm pretty proud of myself that I took this decision.

So, here goes the 24 things I did this year for a real change :

1. Removed My Braces
Two(2) years+ of torment and agonizing internal pain from not being to chew off steaks, and eating anything that gets stuck between these metal wiring, has paid off. Used to closed my mouth when I smile, but now I can smile to the whole world. I also realized that the structure of my face change along the way. It made me face look slightly sharper, fat and plumper. Or maybe it's just the food...



2. Distributing to the Homeless
Has been delaying this for so many months. This time I had the impulse to do it for sure because, No.1, I really wanted get rid of my samples. No.2, I only want the homeless to have them. Best part is that my mom spontaneously tagged along. During the distribution, I felt a wall between my feelings and the homeless people. Not really sure why, but in the end, it's the thought, intention, and actions that counts.



3. Attended D2Y CNY Caroling
Okay, thought I would be signing up just to sing. Manatau kena con, and in the end I was singing, and also doing something else. Somehow, I just cannot let things become a disaster, but this year we had some pretty cool beat boxers and instrument players. Not bad.



4. Quick Catch Up with University Mates
Met up with long-time-no-see Sheng Lieng, Jia Meng, Jun Poey, YiXuan, Sheng Ying, Kai Lin, & Zann. Pretty happy to know everyone is doing well.



5. Celebrated our 1st Anniversary Together
A year went by in a blink of an eye. I used to be an independent person. I still am, but when I'm around him, I become his little kid (in his definitions lol). He really takes care of me more than I do myself. Many times I don't deserve to be pampered, but he still pampers me instead. Because of that, during the course of the relationship, I realize 2 changes of myself. No.1, I became a more confident person. No.2, I became slightly more caring towards others around me besides my partner. A relationship not only reflects a couples chemistry, but it also reflects the persons personality and attitude. And the thing is, I became a better version of myself when I'm with him, and there is nothing in the world I would trade him for. 



6. Tried Boxing
Boxing was pretty cool, and it was a great way to relieve stress. Had my first experience in sparring too, but can sometimes end up in a cat fight with Lydia Chang. Boxing training led by Zhi Xian, David Lim, and Fred.



7. Farewell Celebration for Sara Nui & Lydia Chang
These 2 decided to pursue their dreams to travel to their dream country. Another friend of mine, Sheng Ying, also decided to pursue her dreams to study and work in Japan. Happy to know that these 3 decided to live their life instead of conforming to society standards.



8. Completed My First Half-Marathon Series and My First 30km
It was my dream to try a half-marathon at least once in my lifetime, and I finally did it not once, but 4 times!! Even went to the maximum to challenge myself to a 30km run. After this experience, I realized one thing...

Running became my addiction. The thrill, excitement, and adrenaline rush to conquer each challenge, and having to complete it in the end is very, VERY self-fulfilling. Which had taught me one thing, anything impossible is possible to achieve if you set your mind and body to it. Except for Newton Challenge Run. This kanasai run was my personal worse experience, you can read it here.

Below are the runs I have conquered :
(a) Alor Setar Half Marathon
(b) Kuching Half Marathon
(c) NPE Duo Allianz Highway Challenge 21km
(d) Newton Challenge 30km



9. Suffered from a Few Sports Injuries
Of course, anything relating to sports has it's down effects when you pushed your body to the limits, but one thing for sure, it made me appreciate my body more each time I had an injury. My past injury experience was having Plantar Fasciitis, and IT Band Syndrome. Now, I love my body even if it has a bulging tummy lol Which gave me a good excuse to pamper myself to a good leg massage after a long strenuous workout. Currently, I treat most of my injuries through Chinese acupuncture, and it's really proven to help recover faster.





10. Traveled SOLO
Running has also given me an opportunity to travel SOLO. Why SOLO? Because no one could be as crazy as me to travel somewhere just to go for a run, especially for a female traveler. I stayed in shady motels, and low cost dormitories, never once seeing any female in sight. It was a scary experience, but it was the fear that forces my mind to feel at ease, and also to feel comfortable being uncomfortable.



11. Resume MapleSEA
Influenced by my other half, I resumed playing MapleSEA, but in another server. Felt culture shocked with the new gaming system. Now, my Lvl200 Arch Mage has no place to be in Maple lol Totally cannot pakai.



12. Traveled to Hong Kong with University friends
Also one of my dreams to visit Hong Kong, and finally get to do it with friends! Really love the food and weather there, but the most memorable one was having to squeeze our-self to a really really tiny shower room and to mistakenly drink some "tea" water.



13. Partially Sponsored My Family to Cambodia
Also one of of my dreams to visit a non-developed country and also to sponsor my family to a family trip. Saved really, REALLY hard, only limiting myself to eat economy rice every single day. In the end, everything was worth it. Everything in Cambodia was cheap, if you're planning to visit Cambodia, here's my written travelling tips that may help you plan a budget trip to Cambodia.  



14. Our First Dinner Experience in Dining in the Dark
The food was not a bad deal, and everything was in bite size so it was easier to eat. Totally worth the experience.



15. Winning 2nd Place in Mixed Doubles in Inter-Company Badminton Competition
This partner went MIA and came out of nowhere, with less than 1 month practice and still won 2nd place. lol... speechless. Still happy we progressed quite well with the badminton chemistry we had. Well done partner!



16. Left Delfi Marketing Sdn Bhd
Felt very heavy hearted when I walked out the door on my last day of work. Also the day which reminded me how I almost missed the interview because I got locked in at home (a lot of drama and action to get my house keys lol). And also how I rejected the job offer in the first place but came back to "reconsider" it. Joining the FMCG line was part of my initial career decision, and I never regretted a single minute as it make me a better decision maker, and a better analyzer in my current professionalism. Everything was a blessing in disguised, and I'm glad that there were no regrets as I learned and grew a lot being part of the Delfi family.



17. Attended 40th Incovar Dhamma Camp
Attended IDC40 as a holiday getaway camp, and being the last youth camp before being lazy to join other youth camps. I was aware that I was carrying a very heavy emotional baggage with me throughout the camp, but didn't know that the baggage would burst on the last day. After the camp, I felt emotionally lighter, and sensitively aware of my thoughts and feelings. You can read more on my experience here.



18. Failed an Interview but Joined an E-Commerce Company
Hadn't been to an interview for a long time, so skills were pretty rusty. Unfortunately, the agency didn't even gave me a chance to finish explaining and out-rightly rejected me on the spot. Well, good. I'm blessed that I wasn't accepted to the agency anyway, because in the end, I "accidentally" joined an e-commerce company that provides more window opportunities for me to explore. My company now hires agencies to do the jobs for them. Well, good luck to that agency that rejected me. If you were ever hired, I made sure that your life won't be easy.



19. Became Part of BYFG 2017 Committee Team
Kena con again by BYFG 2017 Vice President, Chen Yee Leong to join the team. Thought it was going to be a walk in the park, manatau I end up doing more than just shaking legs. Dramas aside, I'm glad everything fell into places. Everything went smoothly as expected, and had achieved the overall program objective as initially planned. Just have to try not to be conned the next time lol...



20. Failed a Swimming Competency Test but Soon to Become a Swimming Teacher
I was never afraid to drown until I completed my first swimming competency test. I don't know how many times I almost passed out when I forced myself to complete a task. Signed up to be a swimming coach, because I wanted to teach orphanage children swimming one day. At the same time, I could achieve a more healthier lifestyle while training to become a triathlete. Despite the failure, I still didn't wanna give up on my dreams, so after much consideration, I have finally sold my soul to commit to weekly swimming trainings and swimming classes to a swimming school. To read on my competency test experience, click here.



21. Traveled to Jogjakarta with Him and His Family
My first time in Indonesia, and also my first time spending time with him and his family overseas. My favourite activity was crossing the bridge at Timang Beach, and cave tubing in Kalisuci. The only souvenirs I brought back was sanitary pads, because they were dirt cheap compared to Malaysia (serious leh).



22. Saw Many of My Friends Getting Proposed
I have came to a conclusion, that each time I ran, any one of my friends will either get proposed or get married. And, the myth is true. Congratulations for those who had finally found their other half to settled with. Just don't ask me get married so fast okay? 



23. Say Goodbye to the iPhone Family
Due to the constant increasing price of Apple, it's about time to make the switch. Fell in love with Huawei P10+, and thanks to my sponsor, I'm enjoying all its Androids features unlike any other iOS features. It was really worth the switch. 



24. My Dreams Changed and Plans Didn't Go According to Plan 
At the beginning, I laid out my plans to quit my job, travel to New Zealand for a few months, come back and settled for a new career, but looking back, all these things didn't happen as according to my plan. I found the love of my life, and because I didn't want to leave him, I decided to proceed  to switch my career instead. I ended up with a job that I was happy with, and even taking a ridiculous swimming test which I failed. Committed to be a swimming teacher, traveled solo to cities for a run, and even join BYFG committee team which I least expect to.

I still wish to travel to New Zealand one day, but I don't think I want to sacrifice all these good things that I currently have already. Hopefully, someday, that time will come again.



* * *


Today, I turned 25.





Chapter 24.07 : The Lifeguard and 2 Stupid Bricks

“I can’t do it,” I panted. “It’s too deep.”

“So, you wanna give up?” asked the lifeguard.

I pondered for a moment.
No, you can’t say that, stupid! There is no such word as “can’t”. You can. It’s just your mind you have to psycho. A fail, is a fail! You can’t afford to fail!

“No, I’m not giving up. Let me try another time.”

* * *

“So, why are you here?”

“My dream is to teach orphanage children swimming. I’m hoping that I could join your team, so that I could learn to teach them one day.”

“That’s a very noble cause. I hope you’ll be able to achieve them one day.”

“Thank you.”

“But first thing first, you would need to complete our swimming competency test.”

My eyes widened.

Test? What test? Swimming also need test?
“Alright.”

“After you’ve done changing, your lifeguard will be waiting for you over there.”
The interviewer pointed to the male lifeguard who was busy rolling up the pool dividers.

I changed and walked up to the lifeguard.
“Hi, you must be Jude. You’ll be the one accessing me, right?”

He looks at his checklist board.
“Chua…… Siewwww… Lin…..”

“Yes,” I said. “That’s me.”

“Okay, Siew Lin. Please take a seat.”
Jude, the lifeguard, sat down, and I follow after him.

“Okay, so untuk competency test ni,” he spoke in Malay, “there will be a few task that you will need to complete.”

I looked at him, as he fiddles the pen in his hand.

“First, is to swim breast-stroke 100m in 1 minute.”
“Second, freestyle 100m in 1 minute.”
“Third, you would need to float in the water for 10minutes.”

“10 minutes?” I repeated.

“Yes, 10 minutes.” He confirms. 
“Fourth, you will need to retrieve dua batu ni kat dalam air. No time limit. Okay?”

“Okay.”

Lepas tu, ambil dua batu ni, swim dari sini sampai hujung. Last sekali, swim 1,200m in 20minutes and wave simulation.” 

By the time he had finished briefing, my face was stoned, and the only thoughts in my head were…
What. The. Fuck? Did you get yourself into, Siew Lin?

“Okay? Understand? You may do your warm up or stretching first or you may rinse your body before entering the pool.”

I don’t know what I was getting myself into, I just know that…

I’m fucked.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Chapter 24.06 : Uber & The Loyal Sony Guy

Credits to Dennis Publishing

"Thanks for waiting," I said, as I closed the door.
The driver switched his gear to "D" and the car began to move forward, slowly inching the green Perodua Myvi out to the main road.

"NO PROBLEM," he assured. "You say 5 minute, I will wait for you. NO WORRIES. No problem for me."

The driver had a slight foreign slang which prompted me to ask...
"Are you local?"
"YES. YES! I am! I lived in Puchong," he said.

Okay. I was wrong.
I judged him simply because of the car he was driving, the slang he was speaking, and, of course, the clothes he was wearing. Long dark brown pants, tucked in with a red and black checkered sleeve shirt, paired with a decent pair of brown leather shoe.
He looked a little bit...
...too....
...casual smart for an Uber driver.

He adjusted his pink Sony phone on his phone holder and started typing with one-hand!
The car slowly and slightly drifted off the lane. I held my breath, hoping nothing bad will happen, while thinking to myself,"This guy is so gonna be in the 1-star list."
But in a minute, the guy was done texting and was already focusing on his driving.

Throughout the journey, none of us spoke, only allowing the soft music to entertained us.
We drove passed TUDM Old Airport (also know as Simpang Airport) at Sungai Besi.

"Did you know this is an airport?" he spoke up. "I used to work here."

"Oh?" I reacted. "As a pilot?"

"Nope. I work as an aviation engineer for 9 years! I was really young back then. Around your age."

"Wow," I said. "You must have really love your job."

"Definitely. Those were the days. After I left, the airport closed down and moved to Subang Airport instead. I work as a chemical engineer for 5 years before quitting and starting my own business."

I didn't know what else to ask to continue the conversation.
Instead, I took a final glimpse of the abandon airport and the worn out wind cones.

* * *

"This looks new. Just bought your phone?"

"YEAH!"

"Rarely see people buying Sony phones. So, why Sony? Why not Samsung or iPhone?"

"Sony is good! Used it so far for many years and it's still good! I'm a loyal Sony user. Since from the beginning, I only use and buy Sony phones."

I felt impressed with the loyalty he has to the brand.
I wonder if he shares the same loyalty for his other half as well.

Somehow, I ended up giving him 5-stars for his good hospitable service, and his loyalty to Sony.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Chapter 24.05 : Newton Challenge 2017 Review

It was my target to have a good closure run for 2017, prior to my training for full marathon next year, but the experience at Newton Challenge 2017 just left me feeling worst. Even now, the experience still haunts me as I sat here writing this article.

After completing 3 half-marathons this year, my performance for long distance running gradually improved. Not only in terms of speed, but also in terms of consistency. So, I decided to up the challenge by completing another 21km + 9km. Just so happens, that Newton Challenge 2017 was the only running event so far that offers this distance. As naive as I am, I eagerly signed up without doing any research on the terrain and elevation difficulty. Boy, how wrong I was.




One week before the race, me and my partner went for a 2 lap training at Gunung Nuang "Never Ending Road". Which was a total distance 19km++ in 4hours. The next few days were mostly rest days and there weren't much workout. I was supposed to complete my 15km+15km run training, but it was raining for the past few days, and was also caught up with work (actually I'm just giving excuses to myself so I won't feel bad lol).

On the actual running day, although slightly anxious, I still felt great.
The race started on time, and we were flagged off at 5.30am. At 6am, the Quran sounded and some of the Malay runners went off in the opposite direction to the nearest mosque.
Surprisingly, there weren't a lot of participants compared to other running events, but I can tell that these group of runners were pretty serious runners from the pace that they were running.


At 2km, I felt like I wanted to puke. I overate on my breakfast instead of following my usual pre-run meals. This feeling continued until after 10km, but this was the least of my worries. Because I became more worried when I realized that the first water station only appeared after 5km. My negative mind begins to set in because I was afraid of getting dehydrated throughout the run. Luckily, after numerous training, I didn't had to rely on water at such an early stage so I was doing fairly good.

At 6km, the running route slowly starts to ascend. Being naive again, I thought it was only a temporary ascend and descend terrain, so I became hardworking and kept to my 7min pace. But after each km, the hills and slopes seems to like never end!! Like what the farrrrkkkkkk.... the only words in my mind were only cursed words. Even the water stations were so far from each other, some even don't have isotonic drinks (isotonic drinks were alternate for each station). I decided to changed my strategy by taking turns to walk uphill, and run only if it's going downhill.

At 15km, my left calve started to ache. Wasn't sure if it was cramp or muscle ache, but I tried to stretch it once in awhile. The pain didn't bothered me after 17km when my left knee died on me. It became very painful. It felt like someone had pierced needles into my knees. Nevertheless, I still slow jog whenever I can until the pain bothers me, then only I'll walk.

BUT!

At 22km, my right knee also gave up on me, and now, both my knees hurt whenever I run or slow jog. I didn't wanna further pushed and injured my knees, so the only thing I could do is to walk. And for once, I felt that the water stations were really enough lol. Even my partner, who went toilet 3 times also caught up to me! I really felt like I wanna die. Words of regret came flooding into my head and the only thing I wanted to do was to really go home. The worst thing was, all the first aiders at all the water stations didn't have muscle ache spray or cream. *Faints*




I crossed the finishing line together with my partner running beside me at a 4.43 timing. 43 minutes more than what I had expected to finish. It was the worst personal timing I'd ever run. Turns out I was the last 21 females to finish :( I felt even bad when my friends had to wait few hours for me :( :(

I didn't had much muscle pains after the run, the only problem was my knees. It was really no joke.
But nothing else is more painful than the feeling of regret of not being able to do better. Really dissapointed in myself.

But few things I learnt after this painful experience :
1. ALWAYS go SLOW on hills. Even if it's running up or running down, GO SLOW to reduce impact on knees.
2. Bring a knee guard if I'm going a long run.
3. Make sure to do research and read reviews on the running terrain. I wasn't expecting so many hills either. 




* * *


All in all, here are my reviews on the Newton Challenge Run 2017. Although having to hear many good reviews from runners, I would like to give my fair view of the negative and neutral feedback from my experience.


Price : 
Couldn't expect anything much cheaper from the run, given that it's a branded run afterall. RM95 for a 30km run is slightly overpriced, but it's also the market rate for any international / big marathons like SCMKL & Kuching Marathon. But the good side is that it filters out "fun-run" runners from joining this run. You get a more serious of demographic runners who really wants to beat their personal bests.

Race Pack Collection : 
Race pack collection was held at MyTown Shopping Centre @ Cheras. Collection went smoothly but was quite dissapointed with the goodie bag. It came in a plastic bag with only running shirt + big + and Newton socks. I think I went shopping instead of collecting my race pack.

Set Up, Event & Program Flow : 
Flag off time was on the dot. Emcee was great. The program went on smoothly without any hiccups. And the set up for toilets, photo booth, medical tent, etc was just simple and adequate enough.

Parking : 
There were ample of parking spots at Giant, Bandar Kinrara Puchong. No issue on finding parking or double parking/illegal parking.

Running Route Difficulty : 
The first 25km of never ending slopes, uphills and downhills were mind challenging even to the most hardworking ones. The constant U-turns is enough to make you go insane! Good training for those who are intending to spice up their boring running routine, especially for those who are intending to train for a full marathon. Running route mainly covers newly developed residential area. Area is well lit and safe to run.

Water & Carbo Stations : 
No water stations at first 5km route. Water stations were frequent after that for every 2-3km. Not every station has isotonic drinks. Still think that there's insufficient water stations and isotonic drinks. All stations should have a balance of both water and isotonic so that to prevent unnecessary cramps and dehydration. The carb station was good though, the sufficient quantity of bananas was enough to keep the runners going.

First Aiders : 
Plenty of first aiders across all the stations. But, NO muscle cramp spray or cream to apply! Only have ice packs for injury. Next time need to bring your own self medication.

Route Marshals & Volunteers : 
Good! Very well entertained and motivated by all the hardworking volunteers who helped manage every station, and to direct the traffic so that the runners are all safe. The energy shown by them with their smiling faces was really comforting!



Overall Rating : 3.13 / 5

Event is simple and organized. All the necessary runners welfare are met, but could be better in terms of delivering quality experienced for the injured and under performing runners. You're a branded organizer, you shouldn't try to save costs on minor things that could affect the runners performance.