Day three at Bali, Shopping, shopping, shopping

Day three at Bali, Shopping, shopping, shopping
Beautiful Kuta Beach
Beautiful Kuta Beach

Shopping!

It was a day dedicated to exploring the Kuta strip, as well as shopping, your mother’s vice. As Kuta Station Hotel is conveniently located almost smack middle of the Kuta belt, we came out, walked right all the way up to Hard Rock Hotel, exploring and munching, grabbing some touristy stuffs from Matahari. It was a hot day, and after a sun kissed day in Water Bom, we were sun kissed some more walking our beat on Kuta. There is a lot to see, and do, and everywhere, people will tout you for business. Not in a overly oppressive way, but they genuinely want to part money from your wallets, and if you are keen to, you have to bargain, aggressively. Prices can plummet from RP 120,000 to just RP 45,000. And your mum drives a hard bargain. She cuts the price until the stall owner pleaded her for profits. But that is how it works, everything transacted in good spirits and commerce.

Cheap after a hard bargain!
Cheap after a hard bargain!

There are some who are cheeky enough to ask where we are from, and wants us to give them our Singapore currency as souvenirs. ‘Yeah right.’ I told these lame jokers, I only have Rupiah with me.

We went to Kuta Beach via the main gates and are greeted by more touts, they sell everything, you need, and if you don’t stop, they can’t stop you, so we have to ignore them and walk and enjoy our stroll. The view from the beach is wonderful, the openness, the vastness of the Indian Ocean. The beach is beautiful, sans the touts, it is a place you can really sit and relax.

Kuta beach, sans the local touts
Kuta beach, sans the local touts

We walked on and shopped for more gifts, and then headed back to our hotel to deposit the goodies, before heading out again, turning left, for Lippo Mall, another shopping mall which is similar to the Discovery Mall we visited last night.

But is was not to be, Lippo Mall is much cleaner, more up market, the toilets are cleaner and they have a hypermart there, which we walked through, checking out their goods. It was a nice spacious mall with a pleasant surprise, they have a cineplex at the basement showing some nice movies.

We came out of the mall and something nice was happening at the Mall front, there were some Volkswagen streetvan selling food, and these vans can be driven on the road. The stall owners were game enough for the both of you to climb in, on board for some photographs. It was nice as we do not have such food vans in Singapore.

Food truck @ Lippo Mall
Food truck @ Lippo Mall
Food truck! Volkswagen style!
Food truck! Volkswagen style!
Food bike!
Food bike!

We took our stroll back to Discovery Mall, so that you dad can grab a sunset view of Kuta. It was a magnificent sight! We can see the sunset, along with all the sights of Kuta, the folks having fun at the beach, planes landing, the waves, the surf, you can stand and everyone is there to see the movement of the sun, slowly across the horizon, that bright red, orange spot light we called the Sun, setting. And once the sun is completely over the horizon, we can officially call it night time! Of course there are still some residual light and it is still bring before the sun really goes down.

Hindu customs at Bali
Hindu customs at Bali

It was at the beach that I asked one of the Balinese why they have offerings everywhere on the floors, at escalators, in front of shops, streets, stalls. That is where we learned that the Balinese made such offerings 3 times a day, and it is a bad thing to have stepped on them. Caution boys!

We walked back and pondered what to have for dinner, and we settled for a place just 2 hops away from our hotel, they served a decent meal of local fare and western food. We headed back to the hotel, slurping on ice cream we bought outside our hotel. It was a good way to end the day.

The sun over Kuta
The sun over Kuta

Our final Bali Day

We woke up to have our breakfast before heading to the airport for our flight at 1045hrs. Which means we have to be at the airport by 0845hrs, which means we need to be on the road by 0800hrs. Your mum has everything worked out and we got our taxi from the hotel which delivered us to the airport in less than 10 minutes in a Monday Kuta morning traffic.

Checking in is a breeze and we have that settled quickly, thereafter we proceeded to WH Smith to dispose off all our Rupiahs, your mum bought a whole lot of cooking seasonings, and other munchies, I spend the last bit on a packet of Fisherman’s Friend and a stick of bubble gum.

The place where we unloaded all our Rupiah
The place where we unloaded all our Rupiah

Until now, you boys are still harbouring hopes that the plane will get delayed by some volcanic ashes so that your holidays can be extended. Unfortunately, or fortunately, that didn’t happen and we flew back in comfort.

The flight was a very good one, on a very clear day, we can see clouds and the sea, as well as the land. Ian, you spotted a couple of cruise ships at the sea and it was truly a great day to be flying. There were clouds floating by us, like cottons. Some really massive clouds from a distance really makes you think that they are solid enough to walk on, and live in there. It sure looks like a piece of solid real estate and it is no surprise if people will think that there might be a heaven lurking in there somewhere.

We landed in Changi Airport, home sweet home and ended our Bali holidays. It is certainly an experience for us to remember!

Family shot before departure
Family shot before departure

First Published: December 5, 2015

Day 2 of Bali Trip-Kuta Station Hotel and Water Bom

Day 2 of Bali Trip-Kuta Station Hotel and Water Bom
The boys chilling at the front lobby
The boys chilling at the front lobby
Our sweet welcome drink from the hotel
Our sweet welcome drink from the hotel

We reached the hotel like about 9.40pm. tired after a day’s worth of running, flight delays and; our holiday hadn’t officially begun!

So at the front lobby of Kuta Station Hotel, we began the process of checking in, with all the documentation.

Your mother checking in...
Your mother checking in…

Thanks to the internet, we’ve already check out the hotel grounds, the reviews and the pictures, we liked what we saw on the net, and it was exactly that when we reached the place. The service was great, and the bellboy was a great help and extended his services to great lengths. They gave us room 3101, everything was fine except the smell.

It was an intense sewage smell that seeps out from the toilet, And there is no way we can escape that, we called the room service who came and sprayed some kind of deodorizer which neutralized the bad smell, it was a tactical move, and not long after the smell returned, the next day.

Too tired from the day’s adventure, we decide to called their room service and had our dinner outside our room, the food was great, I ordered a pizza and it tasted good! Everything was done clean, and the food was wrapped in cling film, we had no issues with the food.

Wayne's beef sausage hotdog thing.
Wayne’s beef sausage hotdog thing.
Ian with his chicken stripe thingy
Ian with his chicken stripe thingy
station pizza, its actually quite good
station pizza, its actually quite good
Wife's Balinese spread. The chillie is super spicy!
Wife’s Balinese spread. The chillie is super spicy!

Day 2: Water Bom

We woke up rather late and had our first breakfast at the hotel, but before all that we called the room service due to the smell and they came, again with the spray. Your mum took ownership of the can and we used it liberally. Really, really liberally.

At the entrance, waiting for fun to begin!
At the entrance, waiting for fun to begin!

We took the streets after a quick breakfast, for our destination fascination, Water Bom! We choose Kuta Station Hotel simply because it was just a scan 5 minutes stroll from Water Bom. Security was tight in Water Bom, as there was a compulsory bag check, which was done by a very freindly security guard.

Needless to say, you boys are very, very excited about it. We got through quickly with the admissions and headed off to fun! Out of instinct, we headed to the kiddy area, which is not a bad idea. We wanted a gazebo, and we were worried that ALL of it will be taken.

Owner for the day lah
Owner for the day lah
Gazebo number 26, best!
Gazebo number 26, best!

The very friendly staff at the locker area helped us with our woes, luckily, there are still gazebos available (actually a lot of them are not taken up) and we took her suggestion ‘number 26’ which is in my opinion, THE BEST GAZEBO IN WATER BOM. Firstly, it overlooked the entire Funtastic kiddy pool play area, and just next to us, a life guard, so it is like having a security guard for our gazebo. And it is the only lone gazebo there, the rest are clustered near the toilet and other places. The breeze is good for number 26 and all other amenities, food, top up counter, locker, toilet are all nearby. Location, Location, Location…

Funtastic play area. you boys spend the most time here.
Funtastic play area. you boys spend the most time here.
At the Funtastic kiddy play area, just outside our gazebo
At the Funtastic area, just outside our gazebo
Ian having fun
Ian having fun

We played with everything our family can play, that means some slides that Wayne’s too short to go for, we have to omit, which is the boomerang, that ride needs at least 1.2m of height for entry.

Ian at the Twin Racer.
Ian at the Twin Racer.

Wayne, you’re most game for Twin Racer, and made no hesitation. For Ian, you were rather apprehensive, but after seeing you little didi went for the ride, you decided to join the fun. Your mum called it the ‘Aladdin’s ride’ as you have to use a blue foam mat for the ride, which looks something like Aladdin’s magic carpet.

I tried the ‘toilet bowl flush’ ride and that is one of the most exhilarating ride ever!!! You step into a capsule and the bottom is a transparent piece of plastic, which acts like a trap door, it opens and you drop, near vertical down the tube, and slide, screaming down all the way. Wonderful adrenaline rush!

The only family ride we took together was the Python where all 4 of us can squeeze into the dinghy for an exciting, white water rafting style sliding down a dark tunnel, we all screamed all the way down!

‘toilet bowl flush’ ride … is one of the most exhilarating ride ever!!!

We also tried the pipeline, another ride that the little Wayne can take without hesitation, I have a feeling that you are going to grow up to become an adrenaline junkie.

And I have a feeling we will be returning to Water Bom, because there are some rides that is too high for Wayne, and we will come back and finish our unfinished ride.

The money we paid are well worth it, the food is good, your mum ordered an apple crumble and chocolate brownie, and cheese fries for you boys, it was delivered to the gazebo and they will return to collect the empty plates.

Overall, we loved Water Bom, it is fun safe and very thrilling. Very convenient, we walk out we can find food, and convenience. It is so vibrant and they really made us feel very welcomed.

Wayne with his Conetto
Wayne with his Cornetto
Ian with his Magnum
Ian with his Magnum
The food! which is very Good!
The food! which is very Good!

We ended the day around 6pm, the time the water park closes for the day. After trudging back to the hotel, we bath and cleaned up a bit, before heading out again to get dinner at Coco Bistro, at Discovery Mall. Consistent to the spirit of Balinese hospitality, we had a hearty meal whilst enjoying the good service. By then, Wayne is beyond tired and we head back to the hotel to grab our night’s rest.

After Waterbom, Wayne's too tired to walk
After Waterbom, Wayne’s too tired to walk

First Published: December 4, 2015

Our Bali Adventure-Day One, The Plane trip

Our Bali Adventure-Day One, The Plane trip
3K241 departing .0715hrs, gates open!
3K241 departing .0715hrs, gates open!
Terminal 1, at about 6am in the morning
Terminal 1, at about 6am in the morning
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Gate C11, waiting to board our plane…

We can choose our trip, but we can’t choose our adventures.

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boarding yay!

We experiences exactly that when we depart for our Bali trip on 27 November, a warm Friday morning. We booked a cab, we took the first early flight to Bali, Jetstar 3K241, on an Airbus A320, and we were all excited about what lies ahead. The flight will be about 2 hours 40 mins tops, and we settled down with the take off, and other mundane experiences of taking an aeroplane.

Ian, your timing was impeccable when you asked your mother,’what time are we landing?’ To which your mum replied, ‘in just about 30 minutes.’ We’ve been on the air for about 2 hours and looking forward to touching down on Bali about 9 or 10 in the morning, on schedule. Cool.

‘hate to be the bearer of bad news…’

That was when the PA system came on and the captain of the plane told us, he ‘hate to be the bearer of bad news…’ (His exact words!!!) and proceed to professionally deliver it to us, due to the volcano erupting spewing volcanic ash into the atmosphere….(I was still think at this part, ok, our landing will be delayed. Which is fine. Still) … ‘We are unable to land and we will be returning to Singapore’… Yes… returning to Singapore…people in the plane was shocked in disbelief…. Not to mention an air of disappointment. The captain proceed to sum it up… ‘Safety first…’ And that was that. And to add on, the return flight would be another 2 hours…. Of on-air dismay…

Landed back in Singapore, about 11.40am
Landed back in Singapore, about 11.40am

It was no fault of anyone actually, it’s just one of those things, unexpected. While we were flying back, I was still half entertaining thoughts that ‘Hey, things might take a turn for the better and we might make another U turn and head for Bali!’ That’s me entertaining wishful thinking, but of course the reality is that, there is only so much fuel the plane hold, and once a decision is made, it is made and will not revert.

The look on your face was utterly disappointment, Wayne, I don’t know about you, Ian, because you were sitting with your mother, but from what I know from her, she said you look just as sian. Well, what to do, we are all encapsulated in an airborne flying tube, with no control over what has just happened, we cannot march into the cockpit and commandeered the plane to land in Bali, the pilot is doing his job for the safety of the entire plane. It is a sense of helplessness, that our plans for the day, or even for the whole holiday might be in jeopardy.

So your mum and I worked out our contingent, claim insurance. If we can take an afternoon flight, we would, we might lost a day, but we can still salvage the rest of the trip, and the highlight, Water Bom.

So the plane made its way back and we sat pondering our fate. The crew was very nice and tried their best to make everyone comfortable. We landed in Singapore, with the cabin crew announcing ‘Welcome to Singapore.’ There were a lot of ‘pfffft…’ And hmph!!!….’ In the air but everyone knew and understood it was not really Jetstar’s fault. It was their company’s policy on safety, and we cannot argue with them on that, better we land back in Singapore, than to have other untoward situations happen elsewhere.

DSC_0137

As it was Singapore Changi Airport, we were not short of help. We were told to proceed to Transit counter ‘C’ to check out our alternatives. As we were amongst the last to leave the plane, a queue has already formed at the counter. The Changi Airport staffs wasted no time helping us, by allowing us to help ourselves with their inexhaustive supply of Nescafe Canned coffee, Milo, bottled water, biscuits, Oreos. They helped to allay our inconveniences. The staffs were also very helpful in ‘babysitting’ the both of you while you parents handled the process. It always feels good to be home, even if we were inconvenienced.

We learned that there is another flight out for us, which will depart in 1525hrs, which means we have a little more than 2 hours to kill in the terminal, we were given meal vouchers to settle our lunch at Burger King (honestly we weren’t too starved after gobbling the biscuits and drinks), but want not waste not! We got our meals and had our tummies filled.

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kill time at a terminal 3 play area

We explored the terminals a bit, since this is quite a rare chance for us to have free time, we went to terminal 3 to explore and then took a sky train back, after going to our gate at C11 only to find out that the gate was empty, we panicked and your mum rushed ahead to check what happened, did we missed the flight???!

Delayed!
Delayed!

Turned out we didn’t and the gate was changed to D38, which is at the other side of the terminal. So we rushed there, only to find out the flight was delayed! Until 1705hrs, gates open only at 1605hrs. So we sat and waited again. It sure feels a bit like the Amazing Race! Without the prize money.

So much happening for Day 1! And we have not reached Bali! Eventually, we did, board the plane; the plane took off; the plane flew for the entire journey; and landed in Bali!. This time there was an euphoric cheer in the whole cabin, when they announced “Welcome to Bali!”

Our 'Lucky' SG 50 plane
Our ‘Lucky’ SG 50 plane

First Published: December 3, 2015

Punctuality

Punctuality

Dear Boys,

This is one virtue that will never go out of style, it will always be trending and you can never be wrong with it.

Being on time is something we all need to strive, and I am certainly not the prime example, your mum would forever say that I was late for our first date! What an impression I made huh.

On Time, Every Time

This is your report book, Ian, if there’s anything you can be proud of, that will be the ‘0’ you have for the records. You 弟弟 is also a stickler for punctuality, constantly hustling me to get out of the house on time so that he will be on time. In fact he would like to be very early.

Remember this habit, and always practice is.

Long Tail Effect of Being Late

We engaged a Math tutor and she is brilliant in her work, but we can never trust her to be on time. She is so consistent in being late for your lessons, we wouldn’t bet that she will be punctual. There is always some kind of excuse, and it got so bad one time; she was more than 45mins late! So we have to push bac our dinner appointment because she was so darn late. While you can be an ace performer, brilliant in your work, and perhaps an expert in your field. but if you cannot turn up on time, it will affect the way people depend on you to get things done. You may not see the effect. but having the entire village wait for you to turn up also shows your lack of respect for other people’s time. It also distracts people from your real talent and cause people to doubt your abilities.

Tip of the ice berg

Never mind why you are late, honestly people don’t care about the reason why you are late. You. Are. Late. If you consistent bend time, the effects will show, once people casts an image of your tardiness in time, that reputation will be difficult to shake off, and it will precedes everything else you do. When you can’t plan your personal time well, people will come to a conclusion you are not good at planning anything at all.

Of course that is a sweeping statement, and you are your best agent to make sure people don’t come to that wrong conclusion. So that is the first battle to fight and win, be on time.

Being Early is Being On Time, and Being on Time is Being Late

This is a mantra I try to practice every time, granted that the vicissitudes of life is a constant curve ball, you cannot expect the unexpected and you will be late for this or that, now and then.

So always add some buffer into your time; if you need one hour to complete a task then turn up some place else, add another 30 minutes extra wouldn’t hurt. If you are cutting it too close, and you might be late, let people know in advance, and still endeavor to be on time.

End on Time

Being punctual is not only about being there on time, it is also about ending on time, so that you can let people go about with whatever other tasks they have after your time with them. Ending on time also tells people you can deliver within that stipulated window and speak concisely in a tight package, focused and undistracted.

There are some unforeseen issues that will crop up, make sure you don’t get drawn away from the main point. Keep the main point the main point and take other matters that might come up later when you have settled the main point.

Much more than punctuality

Being on time builds credibility and trust, people can count on you to show up, on time, and things can get done. This is a virtue that will never be out of fashion and you boys must continue to keep to this best practice wherever you go and in whatever you do.

Camping June 2022

Camping June 2022

Dear Boys,

We decided to spice up our lives for the June 2022 holidays by going camping. On our own. Woohoo.

With the limited space campsite available, we picked an offshore one, at Pulau Ubin, Jelutong Campsite, and one of the challenges will be getting ourselves cleaned. Unlike the campsites on Singapore, we are very much on our own at Pulau Ubin, and we have to lug our own drinking water there. So yeah, no bathing for the night.

Enter the Beast

So with the enhanced logistics, encumbered by water, we decided to buy The Beast, which is essentially a 4 wheeled cart that allows me to load the camping stuff and pull it there.

This is certainly very helpful as we don’t need to walk our supplies there on our back, and it helped us bring more stuff that which gives us greater comforts. This trip do gives us feedback on how to improve our next camping trip.

Setting up

We got there early and found a hut where we can use as a additional shelter and we got to work. Now that you boys are older, it is certainly more helpful with 2 extra pair of hands.

For our ‘bed’ we tried to use airmocks, and it looked something like this, we brought 2 along and unfortunately it didn’t work out as it was hot to sleep on, and we cannot hold the air in it and it deflates itself.

Our dinner, barbeque!

Setting up the fire isn’t a big deal and we learned to us a portable battery operated fan to help speed things up. This is also another learning point for us which we will talk about later.

Played with fire, knives and sticks

It was after all the great outdoors and I brought along my SOG Seal Pup and SOG Force knives for play, and thankfully you boys handled the sharp items well and got to have fun shaping branches into ‘spears’ and other sticks for fun and play.

Jeluntong Campsite has a designated spot for us to start campfires, but we didn’t have anything large enough to burn and it was harder than it looks trying to start a fire on our own.

Things we learned

Bring a fan, a big one.

The small little USB fan was really heaven, but it had to be held by hand, and the wind wasn’t strong enough to bring enough ventilation for our hot, humid night there, we barely catch any sleep, and you mum certainly didn’t as she held the fan up throughout the night.

So now we got this bad boy which has it’s own internal battery to last a lot longer, it has it’s own legs, or we can hang it, it also come with LED lights so it is the perfect tool for our next camping trip!

Inflatable mattress

Yoga mats won’t cut it, ground sheet is a no, no. we are going to sleep with some comfort, and we are definitely getting one of these. It will be softer and keeps us off the ground, so the next time we do this, we are all going to get some sleep!

Make sure you have camping permits

Our expereince in ubin showed us how safe Singapore is, the Police still did their rounds, twice checking in on us and our permits. They were friendly enough to warned us on some of the wildlife we might encounter, such as pythons and monkeys. We did come across some hogs which are residents to Pulau Ubin.

Great fun

This was certainly a very different experience from the one we had back in 2017, as back then we camping in a larger group, and had activities set up for us to enjoy, there was also food provided, but this one we really lived on our own, having our own freedom to just enjoy the wilderness and being responsible for our own stuffs.

Camping 2017

Camping 2017

Dear Boys,

Taking us back to memory lane where we did not just one, but 2 camping trips back in 2017

Camping #1

It was also at this camping event that we got our outdoor tent and also Wayne’s very first abseiling experience, (Ian chickened out, fear of heights)

I can never forget how for day one, the weather came out to play and it poured. Thankfully this also puts our new tents to the test and it held up, our contents was dry, even though everywhere was wet.

Despite of all that, we still had fun and after the rain receded, we managed to do a few rounds of abseiling which Wayne love and Ian didn’t. For that camp, Wayne had the honor of being the youngest to try to abseiling course.

We also had good fun knowing that a few of our neighbors/ classmates went along, and that build on the familiarity and bonding we have.

December 2017 Camping #2

Coincidentally we also had a camping event in December with another group from the community club, and the campsite brought us to another part of Singapore we seldom get a chance to explore, PAssion WaVe @ Sembawang.

This puts us in a very out of the way spot but it does give us a very rustic feel, and unlike the one in Pasir Ris, where we get to pitch on grass, we had to pitch our tents on concrete floor, not the best place to sleep on but we have to make do.

Stand-up Paddling, Star Gazing and Morning Tidal walk

It was at this place where I get to experience Stand-up Paddling, didn’t like it. The rest of the campsite staff also brought us out to do a bit of star-gazing but it was a valiant effort, since the Singapore night sky is usually brightly lite and polluted with artificial light. Not to mention the amount of clouds covering the night sky, we didn’t see much stars but we did appreciate the effort as well as the night walk.

We went out at low tide to look at some of the sea creatures and fishes that is trapped in some of the shallows.

Overall I think it was good fun back then and we were glad to have this experience, it certainly made our highlights and helps cement the reality that Wayne is adventurous go-getter!

A Good Class

A Good Class

It rained heavily these days, well, the year end monsoon is here. The particular thing about our Dojo is, the shelter holds out the rain, but if it gets windy, rain will blow into and onto the mat, wet to an extent where we cannot train.

I wanted to end Monday’s class due to inclement weather, but Ming Jie texted me to ‘push on’, well, let’s do it then. Thankfully, the rain subsided and we can have class, a small one though, since there is only Ming Jie, Melvin, Radek and myself.

It turned out to be a very enjoyable evening and I had a very deep and powerful epiphany, which I will attempt to pen down.

Who am I again?

I consider myself an Aikidoka, a practitioner, not an instructor, I’ve said that before, it will not change how I conduct myself on the mat. I’m far from perfect, nor I consider myself at a reasonable level of techincal competency to dispense Aikido lessons or wisdom.

The imposter syndrome is like an uncomfortable shadow. Harry didn’t even hand the baton to me, I pick it up from where he dropped it, and it is a darn heavy one.

Who will I become

Being thrust into the front, and having to take on the ‘instructor’ role, I got embroiled into who will I become. I can’t help it, it’s a big shoes Harry sensei left behind for me to fill, there is a genuine pressure to not let him down. While I am still struggling with a definition, the only thing I could do, was to turn up for class, as often as I can, and honour the commitment Harry sensei had to Aikido when he was teaching. Just turn up at the dojo, never mind good, bad or ugly.

There is a light in my struggle. You see, it is not about who I will become, it is about who my fellow Aikidokas will become, now that I’ve taken over, through Harry sensei’s legacy and our continued practice, my friends on the mat are becoming better, more peaceful and harmonious.

What did I see?

All this time I’ve been saying that we need to treat each other on the mat with respect, decorum and honour. While we might get frustrated with each other, we still need to know we are there for each other. Train hard, train safe, and train in harmony.

There was harmony on the mat that evening, and it was a beautiful feeling.

Harmony to see that Melvin can correct himself, and relax when I pointed out that there are some technical points he can improve upon, and he did change. Radek, stiff as usual, was amazing, instead of forcing his way through a technique, he stopped himself, corrected the mistake, relaxed and redid the waza. Ming Jie’s technique has also evolved to become less belligerent and more disarming, his commitment to class is certainly a source of motivations for me to keep the class going. That Monday evening, we are learning and reflecting.

As the person offering instructions, when I say move the hips and the hands move, they did it and it worked. There was a genuine change on the mat and my fellow Aikidoka are breaking away from their usual self limiting mindset and embraced something different. Along with my fellow Aikidoka, we have made the mat a safe space for all of us to make mistake, experiment and learn.

The four of us was truly enjoying Aikido and we helped each other explore our techniques, struggles through a spirit of non-judgmental, openness and total vulnerability. It was a very special and precious Monday night to feel that, and it makes me want to go back and relive it again.

Harry sensei would be happy

It’s a thought I shared with my wife when I got home, if for some miracle, Harry sensei was alive that Monday evening and he see where Radek is right now, he would be happy to know what all his teachings and lessons is bearing fruit. He never gave up on Radek, despite of constantly chiding him being stiff and mechanical, Radek was far from mechanical on Monday, I can see a more natural fluid expression of Aikido on the mat. Harry sensei’s tough love paid off.

Harry sensei would also be happy that the tiny little group of us are still training together, growing together and learning from each other. I hope we have done enough for him to know that he left the dojo in a good place. We are not fighting bitterly for egotistical gains, nor critically tearing at each other throat, challenging each other for authority.

Sustainable

There is really not that many of us left, who was with Harry sensei until the end. I’m somehow not concerned with this scarcity, but relish on the fact that this little group of us, is enough to bring a lot of good, love, peace and harmony in our own way. For sure we are not going to change the world in a big bang, but that’s not the aim, we just want to be happy, peaceful human being and the people who interacts with us can feel that. If we can achieve that, I’m sure Harry sensei will be quietly elated, his style of Aikido has cleaned up the world a little bit.

Explore more on the Ground

Explore more on the Ground

Dear Boys,

Sometimes, everyday chore can expose us to a better way of doing things, even when we have been doing the same thing everyday.

This happens to me when I was cycling to work. Yes, since your dad’s office is a scant 11km away, I will try to cycle to work, as much as practicable and the weather allows.

The Beauty of Google Maps

Of course, there is a plethora of mapping technologies on the web these days, we can plot till we foam in the mouth before we embark on our journey. While this level of planning is great, this is also why we have an entire generation of armchair critics. Knowledge you get from mapping helps you plan, knowing if your plan will work or not, depends on the people who have actually been there, and walked the ground.

Nothing beats putting your foot on the ground

In my context, put the pedal to the ground.

Looking at these 2 maps, they look discernably indifferent, with only a 30m between the 2, while on the ground, the experience is another story altogether. If you look between the 5km and 7km part between the 2 maps, lies the difference.

My default route is the 11.246km one, and while I have used it many many times, there is more complexities to overcome, not a big deal, but more.

There is 2 T-junctions (uncontrolled) I have to look out for, many bus stops with pedestrian traffic as Hougang Ave 3 is a major road with many bus plying this route. As this is the official park connector route, there are also more cyclists, like me, using it. Oh not to mention a petrol station along this road, which vehicles I have to be careful of.

My new route the 11.213km, however, is a unused gem. Defu Ave 1 is not as crowded, there are 2 T Junctions, one which has a traffic light. Less pedestrian traffic, since less bus ply this road. It has a clean gentle uphill (towards work) and the ride is generally more pleasant. the incline is reversed when I head home and it does help makes the ride faster, and I don’t have a petrol station to contend with.

It is even more defined when I am using the left side of the pavement, and not the right side, which will put you in the path of 6 T junctions, one of them is the main gate of SBST Hougang Bus depot, with buses turning in and out. Gnarly.

Not many people can tell you the difference in using these few choices and pick the best one out any given day.

Walk the walk, the talk the walk

You really need to walk the ground in whatever you do, this level of knowledge and detail beats any kind of hypothesis hands down. So while you boys go on to attain knowledge in your respective field, nothing beats hands-on, hard work. This level of experience cannot be attained the easy way.

No Augmented Reality, simulation, reading up, map plotting can get you there by actually walking, and for my case, pedaling. The Direct Feedback you get being there gives you the first hand knowledge which you can rely on, and others can count on, instead of just depending on Google map.

The expanding sphere

The expanding sphere

Aikido is a close combat art. It works best when you are closest to your partner. And the paradox is that in order for you to get close to your partner, you need to expand.

What is ‘expand’? Some calls it ‘extension’, or using your ‘ki’. Simply put it, it is putting your thought in a sphere which is rotating round and round, out and out. When you expand, your energy is perpetual, when you contracts, your energy will diminish.

Expanding energy is not a linear propulsion. Nothing works in a straight line, everything as a rotational and spherical phenomenon. You need to see beyond the lines to see the circular energy in action. And all positive circular energy radiates outwards.

An attacking energy can be loosely classified as ‘negative’. There is an intent and once that intent is fixed, it is closed, and concentrated. To effectively deal with a fixed, closed and concentrated intent is a long, open and dissipated trajectory.

You bring your attacker out and round and round, ever expanding. The more you expand, the harder your attacker will try to hold onto the fixed, closed and concentrated intent. But as long as you are travelling and expanding, your attacker’s original intent will be lost. Plainly speaking, he is point A, attacking your point B, but you bring him to ‘C’, ‘D’ ‘E’ and ‘F’ then back to ‘B’. By then the point of origin will no longer hold relevance in the attack or the energy of the attack will be exhausted by the round, long circular movement. It will capitulate at its own peril.

Expanding will also allow you to see a bigger picture than the attacker. It allows you to check your blind spot, check your back, check for other attackers. Expansion also allows you to dissipate your own anger, your own doubt and your own closed perception. Expanding is opening a massive gate in which both you and your attacker can enter with ease. When you close, you will struggle in a phenomenon of scarcity only which one will prevail. Aikido is an art for all to prevail. The best way to do so is to expand your energy.

Published: February 4, 2014