Perth: Chapter One

Perth: Chapter One

It was the first time we fly scoot, and honestly we were a little apprehensive about it as last year, there was an incident about a Scoot flight to Perth (TZ8!) was delayed for almost a day! (Passengers unhappy after Scoot flight delayed for more than 21 hours) My friend Anny was on that flight and I asked her about it, she still gives Scoot the thumbs up. Nonetheless, we’ve already paid for it and out fate is sealed.

Feb 2007
Lil Ian, Surfing the luggage.

This Perth trip is quite unique, as this is our 3rd trip to Perth. The first, your mum, and I went, with your Ah Gong, Ah Ma, your Ah Gu and another of your mum’s cousins, HanJie Ah Gu. That was quite sometime ago, way before your mum and I was married. The second time was when Ian was about 18 months only. I also coincided that trip with your mum’s birthday.

What we didn’t know was, that your mum, at that point was pregnant as well, which explains a lot about her motion sickness, unfortunately, the pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. Well, that’s another story for another time.

Scoot TZ8- 787 Dreamliner!

This time, 2016. We are going because your 弟弟 wants to see dolphins. Our flight for 28 May was in the afternoon, so we woke up excited about the trip. There was plenty of time for us to prepare and unlike our Bali Trip which was in the wee hours, this time we reach the airport easy, chill and took a bit of makan before heading for the check in.

Collage_Fotor scoot flightThe flight was a non-event, and I prepared some ‘in-flight’ entertainment for you boys by putting up some movies in the iPad2, and you boys end up watching Zootopia and Charlie Brown the movie. It was a budget flight, so the flight is a flight is a flight, we had to entertain ourselves. And one thing I noticed, we weren’t expected to turn off our mobile device unless specifically told to do so. Wow, it’s a
Dreamliner new! The window is electronically tinted, thus there is no physical shade, which you need to bring up during taking off and landing. You can press a button and the window will go from clear to opaque to totally dark, cool!

Perth! Touch down!!!

We reached Perth 5 minutes earlier than scheduled. The first thing we experience when we stepped out of the aircraft was the chill! And it is not from the building’s air-con!  We are indeed enjoying the winter like what we’ve wanted!

The customs was a breeze and we soon got out to the airport DSC_0097terminal. The first thing we got was a pre-paid SIM card. I bought 7 days’ worth of stored value for us to use for a 5 days trip, 2 spare days for the just in case. And each day we are allowed to use up to 500MB of data, easy and more than suffice for us to travel around, post stuff on FaceBook, using the GPS to get around and checking out some stuffs on the net.

The car rental stall folks were also very friendly, and despite of Wayne being 7 years old, which technically waive him from the use of a child booster seat, but due to his small build, the chap at the counter was kind enough to lend us one, which was a good idea, as it will at least prop 弟弟 up and he can better look out of the car and enjoy the scenery.

The car we had was a small, but cozy Hyundai i20. When we stepped out of the airport, it was drizzling lightly. It was a delight as it really pushed the temperature down a couple notches more! S-h-i-o-k!!! To the max!

I went through the usual check for the rental vehicle and make sure that everything that is there is there, and anything that is not, is not. Then I tried to fix the phone holder to the windscreen, but it didn’t quite work; either the angle was wrong, or the suction on the holder won’t; well suck.

No GPS, no holiday

So we ended up having your mum hold the phone,and give directions off the GPS. She is the only co-driver your dad ever wanted.

And the GPS worked flawlessly. And without it, we would have been lost in Australia.

We made our way to the hotel, taking every turn and advise given by the GPS and reached there without any fanfare. But it was! We’ve never done a self drive, never solely relied on GPS for driving, and we have never driven in Australia! Lotsa firsts to celebrate!

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day 1 at room 155

Upon reaching the hotel, the good people at the concierge checked us in with no problem and we snaked our way from the hotel lobby to room 155. It was quite dark by then and we didn’t know what to expect from the exterior of our room. We knew the weather was fabulous and the facilities in the hotel are great. the only let down was, there’s no toothbrush. Other than that, the room is clean, sheets are nice, everything works, and most importantly, the heater works! Otherwise, it would be long cold four nights.

With that we came to the end of Day One, going to sleep knowing the next day would be a great one, watching dolphins.

 

Love as the ultimate epiphany

Love as the ultimate epiphany

It is 1.25am, right now, and for a very sleep deprived me, I woke up with a feeling of profound insight. It took me a while to understand what that is and why I felt so strongly about it.

I have to record this.

When I was young, I took on this Buddhist learning of saying ‘thank you’ for everything that comes my way, more specifically, someone, I cannot remember who, said that we should say thank you everytime people tries to hurt us. So I took this concept to school, and tried it out, as naively as a kid would. So during school assembly, I said this to a classmate and he smacked my hand to ‘test’ me, I of course, true to the ‘teachings’ said, ‘thank you’. What happened? He smacked me again! ‘Thank you.” Smack! “Thank you.” Smack!

‘Thank you’ is a message, and the message is love.

Eventually, I got irritated and I think the smack won that day. It hadn’t dawned to me that had I continue, found the depth in me to continue, I can, say thank you, many more times than my friend could continue with his smack. In short, he will get physically tired. Of course, I’d be hurt, physically to a certain degree, but the spirit of saying thank you…will endure! Thank you!

Point is, ‘Thank you’ is a message, and the message is love. For as long as I can remember, I’ve without fail Whatsapp my wife ‘I love you.’ we always end our call with ‘love you.’ As much as we can remember, sans the times where we are using the phone to hurl quarrels as one another. Well, there are times we can only understood love that much.

Point is, how much can you say ‘I hate you’ as compared to “I love you?’ Eventually, you’d want the hate to end, hate will have to end one way or another. It is commonly known that hate will ‘eat’ into you. I don’t know how that can happened, but how much do you have in you to feed hate? I’ve hated in my life, and it’d always ends, good way or bad. and you’ll never get better with hate.

I cannot imagine where I’d be as a human being if I’d say ‘I hate you’ to a person, everyday. Words being words, has a profound effect on people, the emotions associated with hate is very very different from the emotions linked to love.

I woke up thinking of why O sensei came up with Aikido. During his times, he has seen his fair share of conflict, World War 2 was a terrible event he has to live through. There is a massive sense of tragedy, sadness, destruction, death and many more other bad things beyond words. I think he saw through all that and see a immense sense of love under all that. Love helped people endured hardship and suffering, not hate. Love heals the hate that comes from the bitterness of defeat. Humble pie can only taste sweet in the hands of love. I think, after seeing all those suffering around him, he can see that only love is universal, after all that has fallen off, dead and gone, really, as Colin Raye sings it, Love Remains.

Published on: Jan 20, 2015 @ 01:52

Aikido is action

Aikido is action

 

This is why Aikido is so difficult to learn. Because this ‘reaction’ that we can relate in Aikido is not that of physics, but that of metaphysic, the not-so-visible movement in life.

Aikido is dependent on action. Period.

We can all talk about ki until we run out of it, but Aikido works simply because there is action, If in the case of ‘NATO’- No Action, Talk Only, Aikido will not work.

But it is more complex than that. Because we know that Aikido is dependent on action, we attempt to provoke the other person into action, and then justify the use of our Aikido against the action/aggression that we’ve provoked. The action was not started by the other person’s action, because the other person is not not the aggressor, you are the aggressor.

As mentioned, Aikido is dependent on action, if that aggression arises in your sub-conscious, into your conscious, and from there you scheme and plot mind games to create an outburst of anger from the other person, then you might not have an equal or opposite reaction. Simply because, you caused the action, and the other person is simply giving you an ‘equal and opposite reaction’, and simply because you cannot really, accurately gauge your own action, you might not be able to handle an ‘equal and opposite reaction’ coming your way.

So Aikido is dependent on action, generally not that of yours. That doesn’t mean that Aikido is latent, as it is not. It is a very sensitive art, you have to make sure the action is pure, and the reaction is purer. If you act first with impunity, then the spirit of Aikido is lost. If you act too late, then the spirit of Aikido is lost too, and perhaps your life as well.

Hence, it is an equal and opposite reaction.

To be able to respond to an action, with an equal and opposite reaction, one must not only react, but react with the clarity of a human being. Anyone can kill, maim and injure, it takes a highly conscious human being to be able to hold back, and protect, even in the most devastating moments. In all moments of death and destruction, we must strive to give an equal and opposite reaction, and not to add to the damage.

  • The opposite reaction to war, is peace.
  • The opposite reaction to fighting, is non-violence.
  • The opposite reaction to hurt, is love
  • The opposite reaction to pride and jealousy, is humility and acceptance.

So, reaction is not reaction in the purest, animal sense. We are human as animal, and we are endowed with a conscious choice, so if you are trained, and trained well, you will react, to an action, with not too much, nor too little, but with suffice equal and opposite reaction.

So please, react, and react well.

Published on: Feb 23, 2014 @ 22:30

TRX-Your dad’s new toy.

TRX-Your dad’s new toy.
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TRX Force, entire package.

Dear Boys,

To begin with, I’m not paid by TRX to do this. I am a consumer, dad, and blogger. This particular item I bought for use is absolutely bad-ass and I want you boys to know that in my time there is something as awesome as TRX.

The original TRX is black and yellow in colour, this variation also from TRX is called Force. It is a tad lighter compared to the original version and is specially tailored for military use, which explains the muted colours.

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Hanging at the playground downstairs
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Hanging on my door
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Another view of it hanging from the playground. My speed rope is next to it

What is TRX

Well, go to youtube and you’ll find so many videos on it. Anyway here is their website: https://www.trxtraining.com/.

What is TRX to me

It is one awesome fitness device that helps your dad keeps fit. The catch phrase is ‘suspension training’. You hang the TRX straps some where, at the playground, fitness corner, or using their special door stop strap, you can hang it on your door and do your training.

TRX Style Bench Press
TRX Style Bench Press

Why is it so special?

It is using your body weight to do all sorts of crazy moves, instead of dumb bells and bar bells. And because you are only using your body weight, your body will adjust to the resistance. To add more resistance, incline more, add more gravity to the workout!

There are plenty of moves you can do on the TRX, and the good thing is, most of the moves are impact free, unless you want to do some crazy burpees or star jumps.

The other good thing is if you use it carefully, you are unlikely to injure yourself, I mean no barbells dropping on you, and machine failures. It is a simple, safe and effective fitness system.

And as a dad, this is a fitness system I can introduce the both of you to. It is really really simple to use.

What’s not so good about it.

SUSPENSION SYSTEM.

That means you need to hang this somewhere for it to work. if you want to be really fanatical, you can drill a hole on your ceiling and hang it there. of course the door stop thing helps to make things a little more convenient for lazy bums like me, I do worry that the metal buckles on the TRX will scratch my bedroom door and leave unsightly marks on it.

Nonethless, the pros outweights the cons. I’m currently combining this with skipping and that really amps up the workout!

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Published on: Dec 22, 2015 @ 00:00

The best martial arts in the world

The best martial arts in the world

The best martial arts in the world is…

Untouchable-do: The way of the untouchables

Its a fancy way of saying learn Maai, 間合い. Harry sensei always tells us to watch our maai, but what does he really means? What doe maai really means?

It all don’t mean a thing, when you attach no meaning to it.

Loosely speaking, we all understood it distance, sometime, like a kind of safe distance for us to launch our attack. Too close, we get kicked, or countered; too far, well…

Speaking of which, too far.

I think Maai is not just about physical distance. I say ‘ The way of the untouchables’ in a sense that what cannot touch you, cannot hurt you. A knife has to reach your skin to cut, a punch, comes into contact with your face. No touch, no hurt, it’s as simple as that. I often say the best thing a martial art can teach you is a superior cardiovascular conditioning, you need to outrun your attacker(s). Provided you attacker(s) do not outrun you with a bullet!

It is not physical distance.

Maai starts from the mind.

Sticks and stones can really break something, words are just words. But more often than not, we get into stupid arguments that end up in a physical argument . We mentally maneuvered ourselves to a physical confrontation. We did not give ourselves and our opponent sufficient mental Maai.

Everyone is entitled their space, mental space to begin with. The problem starts when we become too engaged and heated up in a argument, we forget that we are closing in, and risked be ‘attacked’ first, mentally, the verbally.

So give yourself plenty of space, mental space, for arguments, opinions, perspectives, views, studies, remarks, insults, slurs to come, and go. It all don’t mean a thing, when you attach no meaning to it. Let it slide and constantly adjust your mental maai to give yourself space to see what is coming. And of course, when the maai closes, within striking distance, we also need to be aware of that and work our way out of it.

Maai is nature and Maai is everywhere

There is plenty of space in nature for us to put as much distance as we can from the things and words that will harm us. When we want to close in, we must also observe maai so that we can move in when our opponent is least alert. Maai can be closed serendipitously without your opponent noticing, simply observe nature and move with the rhythm. In order for that rhythm to develop, we need to allow our mind to settle on the distance, and mentally work our way out, or in, to effectively engage our partners.

Always remember your maai and not many people can hurt you, mentally, or physically.

 

Our Perth Trip-Prologue

Dear Boys,

We decided to go to Perth, because your 弟弟 looked at us one day and say, ‘can we go to the place where kor kor saw the dolphins?

Every now and then when we look through the photographs of our Perth trip with Ian back in March 2007. Ian will regale those memories (honestly, he was 18 months then, I don;t really think he remembered anything in Perth!) he had, and Wayne will always have to see Perth through his big brother’s memories.

So this time we decided to make it to Perth, again, because our youngest son wants to have the same experience as his elder brother.

I think this year is a particularly good year to go, well, we have 2 excuses to splurge on this:

  1. The Exchange Rate
  2. The Perth Winter

The Exchange Rate

The Singapore dollar has been doing great against the Aussie. Typically the Aussie dollar is the stronger of the 2 currencies and we will always have to pay a bit more to spend in Australia, but this time around the currency rate has been in our favour!

SGD vs AUD

So effectively, we can spend a lot more over there, as there are things cheaper in Australia compared to Singapore. Well, there are also a lot of things, a heck a lot more expensive too! More about that later.

The Perth Winter

Well, this one, pure excuse. Winter in Perth is usually a respectable 20°C. So it is akin to our air-con room temperature, and your mum loved and remembered fondly the Perth weather when we were there back in March 2007. Ironically, in March, it is usually a warm Perth, but during our stay there in 2007, it was a freakish 20°C too! We learned over the radio back then, it was a cold spell that lasted our entire stay there. Cool! (Pun intended!)

So we wanted to go back there for the winter, cool air, frosty weather, we can only get in Singapore if we go to a shopping centre. But this time, we get Air-con, even when we are out in the open, how awesome is that?

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The secret’s out!

We did our bookings through Expedia, as we have done so for many of our trips, even to Bali last year. The cost savings is unbeatable, when they combined flight with hotel. Perhaps they are so huge on the Online Travel Agency sphere, they can get massive economies of scale. Whatever. We usually get a good deal out of it. This time is was no difference, we went in checked and happily realised that we can get flight and room for about S$1,400 for a 5 night trip. So we casually plotted and planned, in a non-committal manner, unbeknownst to us, the price went up the next day!

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as at 18 April

Your mum Whatsapped me the piece of shocking news. S$2,877.80. S-H-I-T.

We missed the boat!

So we sat up and paid attention to Expedia like how we are supposed to play the stock market. Everyday we will check for the best deal, and hoped that we can get back the S$1,400++ we saw days ago. Thankfully, we did.

So we book and confirmed it pronto. Final damage?

S$1,354.40 for a trip Saturday May 28 to Wednesday 1 June for 4 happy travelers.

 

So with our trip confirmed, we look forward to it excitedly!