Christmas 2009

At the first hour of Christmas, I was with my buddies at Vivocity, catching the movie “Guards and Assassins”. I had not been to the cinema with them for very long. It was an unusual outing since the guys had their girlfriends along, except for Weitat and me. We split into two groups of four each, on the same row, but separated by around three to four persons.

It was a story about people trying to protect the father of Republic of China, Sun Zhong Shan aka Sunwen. Some people thought that we had to really understand the story so that we could understand the movie, I thought differently. The story was simple, but the plot was definitely good enough to link up all the characters. Fighting scenes were nice. It was one of the nicest Chinese movies ever.

At the start of the movie, someone nearby started snoozing. In the midst of it, Weitat joined in the fun, then I realised the sleepy person could have watched the movie before like Weitat.

After the movie, we proceeded to Ruo Chun at Geylang for dim sum. I reached home at around 5am and the rest of them were definitely later.

In the afternoon, Mingfa came over to fetch me to East Coast Park. We rented bikes and cycled to the beach volleyball court. The sand was lousy but the poles were firm. None of them wanted to dive and I was the only fearless yet stupid one. I played better on sand than indoor court most of the time.

After the short volleyball game, we went further after the Outward bound campus before going back to the bicycle kiosk. We decided to end the day then. Jingkun sent me home and in the midst of the journey, just as I was admiring the dark clouds seemed like dropping, it started pouring very heavily.

It was evening and I started dozing off again.


Last Indoor Volleyball of the Year 2009

On Wednesday, I had lunch with Magdalene, Jingkun and Weitat at West Coast Plaza’s Thai Express. It was my second time having lunch with Magdalene, and also, at the exact same location. The food was great. After that, we went to the bubble tea shop for the $1 cheap drinks and once again, the girl placed the pearls in before I could stop her.

I hurried my existing work and had to wait for further instructions before continuing, thus I was able to do my own stuffs without any burden the first time in the past two years. It was a pity that the office had to close by 7pm.

I went down and saw students arriving for taekwando and I could sense problems. Uncle Jiaming had arrived and I started talking to him. Mr Peh arrived to solve the problem by requesting the coach to have the training outside the MPH instead.

Mingfa helped me to packet fish and chips over and it was instead lousy. The french fries were similar to botak Jones’ but they tasted much awful. After eating, I joined in their second game and it was an easy match to us. Everything turned over completely since Mingfa stepped out of the court and everyone was restless. We could never get back our forms even when Mingfa was back. My energy was optimised but I could only stroll around the court most of the time. In the last game, we finally regained some spirit. We had fun finally.

During a spike, my right calf cramped and I collapsed on the floor. I missed the next few chances to perform myself since I could no longer jump properly.

We went to Carl’s Junior at East Coast Park. For the second time, I felt dizzy after the travelling. I was afraid that I could not finish the set meal and thus, I chose not to eat for the first time.


Volleyball on a Saturday with Hangover

Last Saturday, I stepped onto the volleyball court again. I had been missing Saturdays’ sessions.

I was totally not in good condition to play but since I had promised my buddies that I would go down, I tried to keep my words.

I was busy with my phone and thus I left my house quite late. The hangover was still dwelling me and my head was spinning. My brain and body were partially numbed but some of them claimed that I jumped extremely high that night, and joked that I should have taken alcohol before any volleyball game in future.

I suffered an injury on my left ear when I went down to get the ball and Oliver dashed over in his usual childishness for the already lost ball. The pain stayed with me for many days.

That night, we went to East Coast Park’s Carl’s Junior where I had my late dinner. Initially they wanted to catch a movie but dropped the idea. I was quite worried that they purposely made the way down to the east just for the convenience of sending me home after that.


Teambuilding Games

Last Friday was the teambuilding event. I took half day off from boss in the morning since it would be redundant to travel to the west and to the east after that. It was the only off I took during the entire holidays.

I had a long rest while waiting for Jingkun to call me. I did not have much appetite and could only force myself to crave for a Mc Chicken burger. I was on my way to the bus-stop at Keppel road and decided to give a try at the MacDonald’s at Shenton Way. The brisk walk started my draining day and I was glad to reach the bus-stop before Jingkun. However, on the way, I remembered there was a drive-through MacDonald’s at East Coast Park and felt very stupid.

The entire event was quite fun, although it was under the sun and not everyone was enthusiastic about it. I was glad enough to group with Dorothy, Magdalene and Joy since they were among my best clicks. We started off with thinking of a team name and decorating a banner, and we got the highest votes. Next game was to fetch water using plastic bags from the sea and collecting them from a distance away using a piece of towel swung over by two members. I got my bottom wet since I went deeper into the water as the plastic bags started floating away. We emerged the champion group again.

One of the games was called off due to time constraint. We started sandcastle and kite making, as we separated ourselves into two groups. I fetched the water over from the sea for more than ten times and got myself exhausted before direct hands-on with the sandcastle. I was quite certain that our sandcastle topped the competition, however, the nicely decorated kite could not kick off in the air.

My team emerged the overall champion among the four games. I was very excited to receive the prize but it dragged on and I almost thought there was none. Everyone started leaving during the barbecue session once they got their stomachs filled. In the end, the call for the prize presentation caught my weary body.

I was very disappointed when I realized the prizes for all positions were the same; I felt our efforts were totally thrashed. It was not about the value of the prizes but the identification of our commitments.

The day was fun with all the friends around, especially the splashing of water with Hirman and Magdalene.

Since Jingkun left before the prize presentation, I took a lift from Dorothy instead together with Mrs Lui. She dropped me at Cantonment Link and I was more than happy with it.


Christmas Eve 2008 – BBQ and Movie

Christmas Eve fell on Wednesday and this time was something different from the usual staying-at-home or hanging-out-with-volleyball-buddies. My family had a barbecue session at East Coast Park in the late afternoon but things did not go smoothly.

I was lazy and it was never my intention to join in the fun if not for my younger brother preferred the family togetherness and that it was a fresh experience. My brothers did the packing of equipments.

The weather was a total disaster. When the dark clouds first sent a warning, we defied proceeded with plan. We boarded bus 196 and alighted at Parkway Parade to shop in the NTUC supermarket to get the food and some other items. It cost me nearly fifty bucks.

Next, we strolled across the underpass and decided on an empty barbecue pit since all the sheds were taken up. I did not feel secure at first and I knew I was right when a group of youngsters came over to tell us they had booked the pit. We quickly evacuated to one of the empty tables.

It started pouring and we set up the tent before moving the lighted tray over to the entrance. My elder brother’s gears were enough to set up a tiny tentage to house the fire and food. I was glad that I did not bring the better ground map along because the current one was pierced at the four corners. We started mocking at the group of youngsters who “snatched” our pit away.

Soon, we realised that we had made a wrong move of setting up our big ground sheet below our tent. The cheap tent was not waterproof and even though it was good enough to block the rain, any contact with the cloth would cause heavy water diffusion. Our pants started to get wet and it was yet another underwear-wet-wet experience.

I was yearning to get home but it was good enough that I was simply enjoying the serving of food with my mum. The amount of food was just nice for the five of us. As the rain got smaller, my mum, elder brother and his girlfriend went to the MacDonald’s and they got back with another ground sheet to put inside the tent and a new pant for me. Then we started to finish the remaining delicious food.

We waited for the rain to stop before packing everything up and walked back to Parkway Parade to catch bus 196.

We started taking shower once we got home. They planned to catch a movie and eventually managed to persuade me to join in. My main hesitation was the problem of taking a cab home after the movie since we had five persons. They proceeded first to Tiong Bahru Plaza to get the tickets while I accompanied my mum over after taking my bathe.

The Yes Man was quite a good movie. It somehow reflected on my life on the number of opportunities I had given up. I said “No” more than “Yes” in my entire life and I had missed out a lot. I did not have a choice anyway.

After the movie, we tried to get cab but none of the drivers was daring enough to house in five of us and thus we decided to walk home.


Cycling in the Rain – Underwear Wet Wet

I caught a little nap after taking my flu syrup. It was quite a nervous preparation since I did not know the exact arrangement of the night cycling trip. Bus 196 took ages to arrive and I was cursing SBS for the indication of “13 minutes” waiting time on the board at the bus-stop.

A well dressed up collar shirt man boarded the bus and sat beside me at Lao Pa sat and I felt like kicking him for his body smelt of liquor and that he added as if his body was huge. My initiate plan to rest in the journey failed all because of him moving about and having his long sleeve shirt slicing my skin on the arm.

Anyway, I was surprised to reach the destination on time despite all the factors that stalled my time. I was so shocked that nobody else was at the meeting point, carpark C4, except for many unfamiliar faces. Luckily, some of them were wearing the school’s shirts. I took a walk further down to make sure I was at the correct location and twenty minutes later, I returned to see a few familiar faces.

Weiming arrived before Faris and I realised there were only three of us. The kids were divided into four groups and appointed leaders did most of the controlling.

At the beginning of the trip

Since there got to be two persons on the vehicle and that I did not have a civilian driving license, Faris and Weiming had to be the drivers. I was left alone to cycle by myself. I could have joined the groups randomly to have a clearer picture of the entire situation or tease them around, but since Faris placed the responsibility of being the sweeper at the most back to ensure that we would not lose anyone by the end of the event, I was all by myself.

The stoppages since beginning of the trip caused yawning. The thing I hated most was the “yaya papaya” attitude from some of them who were from another department – banking. I regretted joining in the trip when I could have used the time to work on my websites instead, or at least, surf net at home.

Alex joined us when we reached the runway and we actually sped up a bit on the long stretch of path. Our pace was in fact still quite slow that I could not feel any stress on the legs’ muscle. When we reached Changi Village, everyone simply dumped their bicycles by the side of the hawker centre and I volunteered to stay behind to look after everything.

More than an hour later, we decided to move on further to the Old Changi Hospital but at the start of the expedition, there were too many casualties that we had to halt the plan. The cramping of legs and the breaking of a bicycle chain caused the problems. Worst still, there was a girl who fell more than five times throughout the trip and luckily there was a small personal bicycle in exchange for her rented one. It took us some time to clear up the mess and begin on the journey back. This time round, since the small lorry was already occupied with the casualties, Faris and Weiming took a bicycle each while Alex became the chauffeur.

The entire trip would not be so memorable without the rain which started to hit us at the Changi Beach. We had to put on poncho before reaching the runway as the rain started to pierce through the air. Alex did a good job by distributing them at a road junction and I was impressed by his responsibility.

The pace on the return trip seemed to be much faster. Visibility was a great issue to me for my spectacle was almost wet by the huge rain. As my shoes started to get wet, I felt so irritated and it reminded me of the army days. In the mid of the runway, Jiaquan stopped due to stress probably from cycling in the huge rain. His body was weak and thus we had to accompany him. We contacted Alex and pushed our bicycles to the nearest small shelter, the last of the third shelter along the path.

The thin plastic poncho could not help much to resist the coldness and my Ripcurl singlet was probably a wrong choice of top to wear in the weather. We realised the rain would not stop and thus we continued after some time and to begin on the journey in our almost frozen bodies made it seem like it was impossible to carry on. The entire bicycle was shaking because my body was shivering in the numbness, too cold to talk. If only we did not pause at all, our body could have provided enough heat to resist part of the coldness.

At the end of the runway, we chose to move on the road since it could be faster and Alex drove the lorry with hassle light on behind us to ensure our safety until we reached East Coast Park again.

The stress level was definitely high under the never-seem-to-stop rain. However, it was probably the only chance to challenge our limits together. That was probably the best gift of the entire trip. I was certain that others would be envious of my struggle together with both Weiming and Faris because we could probably not find many better men than them in this world.

As we reached the destination, we were glad to see everyone back in a piece. We started to return the bicycles to the exact spot and everyone was too anxious to leave, such that in the end we were the only ones keeping account of the bicycles.

Faris first sent Azyan back to Bedok North and then the rest of the guys to Bukit Panjang. I realised I could have gotten home much earlier if I were to take bus 196 in my wet shoes but it was good to accompany Faris who did not catch a wink as well and had to drive. He was yawning and trying to keep himself awake, but insisted to send the kids back home even though he was in a rush to return the lorry. In the end, he dropped me at Jurong East MRT before making a turn back to the school.

It could be a much better trip if the convoy was smaller or having a bigger lorry and that more adults were present to control the problematic kids, especially from the banking side.

Volleyball after so Long

A long day began early in the morning. I struggled to leave my house as usual not long after the sun rose.

Once again I gave myself extra work instead of concentrating or resting inside the office. Weitat was kind enough to accompany me for a quick brunch.

The late afternoon was hours of torturing period but eventually working with the kind souls made me feel quite honourable.

Starvation was my foe for the evening. Faris donated some chocolates to me but my poor health could only allow me to have one piece to win favour from the rumbling stomach. Famine drove me down to the canteen for in search of food and luckily, I managed to get a cup noodle from the beloved drinks stall auntie.

Just as I was trying to take a break and catch up with the online news after neglecting them for a couple of days, Weitat announced that both Mingfa and Mingli were already waiting for us inside the hall.

A quick setup of the net permitted Weitat and I to get changed up. We began playing two versus two, and this time I teamed up with Mingfa to drag his score down.

After the weeks of secluded life, away from the court, I was totally rusted that I could not even serve the ball, let alone spiking. The hit on the top joint of my right thumb when I was trying to spike the ball added to the phobia of touching the ball. I could feel the blue-black and it was a terrible pain to start off with the game. My right index finger was still a victim to the sprain months ago.

We had quite good games but however, I felt weird to have outsiders in the same team. My backache caused me to pause at the later hour – it was not due to volleyball but bad sitting posture probably.

My entire mind was filled with complications throughout the night.

Jingkun drove us to East Coast Park’s C Nai Hong Kong Café. We had great jokes inside the car, and the seat belts’ joke simply lasted us for long. However, I started to get kicked up with famine once again and my entire body was so weak that I stopped talking. In my collapsing eyelids, I could feel only numbness in my mind but could not doze off.

Small cup of Yuan-Yang (same size as the Si Wa Nai Cha)

Wilson and Ruoci joined us soon. I had the usual dish but ordered a cup of “Yuan Yang” (coffee with tea) instead. I could not help but to complain again about the size of the cup as they had reduced it since months ago. I could not stand the small serving with the same amount of price, which failed to give me the satisfaction especially with the enormous numbers of free ice inside the drinks.

Jingkun sent me home. Without looking at the clock, I knew well it was already very late.

Volleyball after Reservist

After missing two sessions of volleyball game, I finally got to get back to the court again. I was, however, hesitating to leave the house; there were too many things to do and I was just too tired.

Sleepiness took control over me and I felt doped. This evening, there were another team who came over. Without properly warm-up, I started into the game and was caught in embarrass situation where I lost points during spiking. After the first game, Mingfa mentioned about Edison Chen and until then I realised Shengli was among the team; that described how sleepy I was. Like usual, when there were too many people, I would play as libero even when I was ready to float in the air and itch for more spiking.

The game ended late. Supper was at East Coast Park’s Hong Kong Café again. It happened like all other time that they served wrong food again. However, I had to admit that the food was quite tasty even though I always took only the same few dishes.

On the way home, Mingfa took over Wilson’s car. They advised me to take up driving again and I really hoped to do it except that money was too big an issue. Unlike any of my friends, there was a big burden on my shoulder.