Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Waiting outside the surgery room

I am penning this post outside the surgery room. In the room lies my beloved mother who is in the safe hands of the doctor.

This is the third time in less than a year that she has undergone the same operation. My mom does have times when she feels frustrated that her children have to take time-off and spend their hard-earnt money on her. She insisted to use her paltry CPF monies to help defray part of her medical costs. Thanks to the generosity of our government, though my mom has always been a full-time home maker, she had some in her account given by the State. 

In a sense, I am thankful that I have this far-sightedness to buy medical insurance for my parents. So we have one less worry about the high medical costs.

But there is still the emotional aspect. We have to assure our mother that it is our pleasure to be able to spend time with her. We treasure the time that we spend waiting to see doctor where we can have small talk. 

I felt this sense of lightness and peace while waiting outside the surgery room. Her predicament has given her children a chance to share our care and concern to her. A tiny smile crept into my face. I am contented and will cherish every single moment with my loved ones.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Living simply is the key to happiness

Finding myself always with a ready smile
Unbridled happiness exuding from within
I am thankful for the little things in life
Smelling the roses along my path 
Always eager to sing praises for a job well done 
I feel wonderful and joyous!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Man who changed golf must change himself

Today, I will just want to share this article by Rohit Brijnath. I love this article which demonstrates great choice of words that pack a punch. Enjoy!
Man who changed golf must change himself 
Rohit Brijnath 

The sporting life revolves around a repetitious and hypnotic soundtrack. Tick-tock goes the referee's wristwatch, the timer in boxing, the stopwatch in sprinting. The athlete is tuned to this ticking music but there is one clock he dislikes - the one which never stops while it counts down his career.

Athletes anyway don't age like us, their birth certificates are beautiful lies, for their body parts can feel distinctly older. In his 20s, a doctor told Diego Maradona that his scarred, battered knees belonged to an older man.

Tiger Woods is 38 but his wounded body and surgically-repaired back might argue that number. All those millions of swings, the hand-to-hand combat exercises, the weights, the runs in combat boots, the bulky physique, they wear away the body like sandpaper on wood. His greatness arrived from believing he was not like anyone else, yet, like everyone else, he is built of bone, cartilage, tendons and he hurts.

Pain is the athletes' friend and their enemy. There is the good pain of tough training and the bad pain of arriving injury. Pain transmits signals and, as Scott Barr, presently 17th on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, says: "You feel your body before it gets into serious trouble." It twinges, it aches, it throbs, it pinches.

Not everybody listens. Because athletes believe they must manage pain. Don't whine. Just put face mask over broken nose. Just swallow anti-inflammatories. Just inject cortisone. Just play.

A review of 15 studies by the PAIN journal in 2012 concluded that athletes "possessed higher pain tolerance" than normal people. They're used to it, they ignore it, they use ego to subdue it and drive to overcome it. It is at once heroic and insane.

And so Woods played because he wasn't just the man who reshaped how we viewed golf or whose length led to the redesign of courses. He was the rare jock as golfer, he just had to play, on a broken leg or with back spasms, for this is who he was to himself and us. Invincible and unstoppable.

There is a madness here, some gene of addiction and obsession which confounds ordinary folk and drives athletes to the impossible and the irrational. It is deeply coded into Woods' DNA, for whether it was winning or women or workouts, he couldn't recognise a stop sign. He had to chase Jack Nicklaus' 18 Majors even when he was hurt till he has arrived at this point where he has hurt his chase of Nicklaus.

The injured back - resulting in a missed Masters - matters for golf revolves around a rotating spine. "The back is the dynamic part of the swing," says Barr. "If it's hard to turn, you can't turn, and shots go everywhere." If you're everywhere, not on the fairway, not near enough to a pin, you can't regularly win. And so Woods, the man who changed golf, must change himself.
Athletes make adjustments to technique and compensate for fraying bodies. Rafael Nadal can't train as ferociously, so he rests, he returns. At the 2003 World Cup, a hurting Sachin Tendulkar didn't have a single "net" session and marshalled his body for another decade. Genius protects itself, it calculates: if it can't be 100 per cent every day any more, it learns to win at 90 per cent.

Woods can't hit a thousand practice balls any more nor run in boots. As Barr says: "He has to probably reassess his workload and work-outs and probably even his swing if he's having problems during it." He has to navigate his way out of his predicament, not muscle his way through. Golf's Thor has to become its Yoda.

But Woods is not without advantage for history is his ally. Athletes have been shot by buckshot (Greg LeMond), they have been burnt (Niki Lauda), they have suffered injuries to ribs, clavicle, pelvis in car accidents (Ben Hogan), and they returned to relevance. Bodies heal and minds repair.

It requires an act of utter conviction, of bloody-minded resolve and, if this is obsession's attractive side, it is also Woods' signature, this readiness to grimly wrestle with challenge.

Yet, he must listen. As LeMond would say, "The hardest part about coming back from an injury is you always remember yourself at your best", and Woods will never find his old best. Not that best when he was favourite every event, when he played not against young men but old ghosts in history books, when he turned Majors into exhibitions. But he doesn't need to find that best, he just needs to find a way to best everyone else and there is a difference.

Woods is a child of optimism and, almost predictably, said, "I plan to have a lot of years left in (my career)". But they will be winning years only if they are wise years. Only if he slowly rehabilitates a body held together by string and scotch-tape. Only if he can negotiate a paradoxical life: the clock is running but he dare not hurry. This is not his last Masters just a lost one.


This article was published on April 3 in The Straits Times.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Take Flight with Balloons

Take Flight with Balloons 

By Aileen Chua
Big beautiful balloons
Popping up and down
Swaying in the wind
So carefree and playful
Ageless since time immemorial 
They are our dreams
To fly up high in the sky
Drifting clouds and colourful rainbow
Such joy and peace
It's a beautiful day.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Family Adventure Walk@Gardens By the Bay

It was an overcast morning and I would loved to stay in bed if not for the event at Gardens By the Bay. I have signed up to participate in the Family Adventure Walk together with P some weeks ago.

Like clockwork, we mechanically packed our bags and headed out. Rain or no rain, the show had to go on.

Strangely, there was some trepidation as this was the first time that we participated in a somewhat mass event. However we quickly made new friends. 

The event was designed for the parents and children to learn more about each other. There were 4 stations. Each having a lesson to teach us. One at the colonial garden where we took time to plan a family activity. Another at the Chinese garden where we learnt about the different love languages - service, spending time etc. We also had a mini quiz on how much we know about each other. We took time out to have a family picture too with a Polaroid little photo as keepsake.

When we had completed our stations, it was time to let our creative juice flow. Working with P as a team, we created our very own memorabilia.

This is one beautiful memory which we would remember deep in our hearts.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Absence Built Strength

I have had just another period of being the defacto head of household as my hubby was out of town. 

I remembered the first time he needed to travel was more than 10 years ago, I was at my wits' end. I had just given birth to our elder boy and still in my 8 weeks of maternity leave. Then I moved to my parents' place to stay as they helped to take care of me until my hubby returned.

Another period his absence which etched in my mind was the one that coincided with the birth our younger boy. I missed him badly and my parents again helped to tide me over the period. 

More than 10 years on, I was determined to take care of our boys as if daddy was in Singapore. We did the same activities and enjoyed the same level of comfort. 

When daddy was back, I cannot help but heave a big relief. I slept through more of the weekend. Little did I know that doubling of roles was draining me of vitality. My hubby may not be perfect but he loves the family deeply. He works hard to provide for us.

Levelling up I must. I have seen myself grown from strength to strength. The biggest improvement was when my hubby was not around. My boys were the reservoir of my strength and belief. I will continue to work to be better than who I was yesterday.