So you, the “slowpoke”, can theoretically run a 2.4km in 8 minutes! In case you have been living under a Singapore rock, 8 minutes for 2.4km nets you a Gold award in every category.
You don’t lack speed. You lack stamina. You lack the stamina to maintain a pace of 20 seconds per 100 metres for the distance of 2.4km.
So, work more on your aerobic ability and not spend all your time on anaerobic runs! The long-distance running guidelines are perfect for the IPPT run. 80% of runs should be done slow. The other 20% can be spent on your fast runs like intervals, tempos and fartleks.
Of course you still can improve doing fast runs all the time but you risk over-training, injuries and most of all, you waste efficiency.
As early as 2011, I’ve been thinking of ways to propose to Ruifang and I finally decided on how to do it about 5 weeks before the marriage proposal date on 18th August 2012.
There hasn’t been a doubt that she will say “Yes” to marrying me as I do believe that I speak for the both of us when I say that we have a rock-solid relationship. In fact, we did the Singaporean thing by applying for a HDB flat way before the proposal. That is part of the reasons why I wanted to make this a big proposal so that she deservingly feels the romance despite the realities of getting a flat at an opportune time.
She had been hinting and sometimes even half threatening me about asking for her hand and her friends will nod their heads furiously in agreement about her readiness for marriage. I knew that she will expect it if I didn’t plan this correctly so I had to throw multiple bluffs/lies at her.
“We are going to get married anyway, so why do I need to ask?”
She knows that I don’t really believe in marriage so it was easy to plant the idea that I won’t ever propose since there’s no point to it. 2nd August is our anniversary so I purposely planned the marriage proposal date to be after that.
I knew her very well so I manipulated her into thinking that it was her idea at the very start to model for my fake project for Oasia Hotel. I just said that my “client” needed non-professional models for a corporate online video and she almost immediately volunteered herself and her two great friends, Josephine and Reena. This set-up ensures that she will be filmed for the whole time without the need to hide cameras. Using this approach, it was also easier for me to set up meetings and arrange for logistics for the video shoot. It was half the truth after all.
Josephine & Reena were let in on the plan and they took it upon themselves to bring Ruifang on a roller-coaster ride of emotions as they pretended to be disinterested or have cold feet about the video shoot from time to time. They were also the one who managed to get her ring size for me. At one point in time, Ruifang was so angry at Reena for having cold feet that I felt really bad but I had to pretend to be all business like.
Ruifang and I live together at her parents place so communications was the biggest worry for me. We don’t look at each others phones but we know each of our passwords to them and to our email/social accounts. My iPhone was also a huge concern with the pop-ups of text and emails and I didn’t want to hide them to arouse suspicion.
I created a new email address and found a way to lock specific apps with a special way to unlock them so that there is no way of her stumbling onto the emails. Communications with Oasia Hotel, MINI Habitat (Story here), JannPaul Diamonds & all our friends and relatives were almost all done exclusively on that channel.
The biggest challenge of it all was to get 40 relatives and friends to attend the proposal without her finding out at all. Two weeks before the actual date, I contacted the guests and set very specific instructions to where and what time they may arrive at the 22nd floor of Oasia Hotel. An accidental text or Freudian slip from any of them could have foiled the whole plan but everything went well despite a few hiccups. I still had many sleepless nights though.
There were other bluffs I threw like having a staff at the hotel send her an official email of work engagement, casually looking around at ring designs to show that I have not even bought one and asking friends to check if she had plans for the proposal date.
The Marriage Proposal Day
I barely slept for 3 hrs but I knew I was in good hands for the video and photo coverage with Derek Foo, Song and Melvin Ho leading the shoot. After doing a “car scene” at the hotel, I pretended to leave for another event so Ruifang and the crew went upstairs while I waited at the lobby till they are in the room.
My Mum & Aunt came too early and spotted Ruifang from afar and headed in the opposite direction. Later, I was extremely lucky to catch them before they went up. I also had another group of friends who drove by too early and amazingly, Ruifang found the car familiar but did not think that it was her friends in it.
I wanted the beauty of the sunset for her walk-in but the clouds didn’t help me that day. Nonetheless, it was fair weather and I am grateful for that.
She took a lot of time before she realised what was going on and at my sight of her reddening eyes, I couldn’t help but teared uncontrollably even before she stepped onto the platform where I was.
I did plan what to say but my mind was blank and I could only say what I really meant while struggling hard to not choke on my own tears. The premise was simple; Love before marriage. Marriage is empty without Love but Love is never empty without marriage.
Our vows were taken before marriage and that is “to Love and Honour each other till the end of our lives.”
I am thankful for all the extra miles that Oasia Hotel put in to ensure a smooth execution. I have countless queries from friends on where the venue was and how pretty it is. The venue is perfect for ROMs and small weddings. (Contact for the Oasia Hotel here.)
I am thankful for all the relatives and friends who had to keep such a big secret and act along.
I am thankful for the wonderful photos that Melvin took (My future bro-in-law). He not only captured wonderful moments of the both of us but also of my guests. (Melvin’s Facebook Page, Melvin’s website.)
I am thankful for the expertise of Derek and Song who refined upon my ideas for the video and added so much more dimensions and story telling to it. (Derek’s Facebook Page)
I am especially thankful for finding a woman like Ruifang and her appreciation for all the little things that I do for her.
This “big” thing was my gift for my fiancée, my dear Ruifang.
If I encountered this once, I might attribute it to an honest staff but I actually experienced this thrice from 2 different outlets in Singapore over the years. On all occasions, I was ready to buy a product but the staff readily suggested that I wait for an upcoming promotion in a week or so.
Maybe it’s just me but my general shopping/dining experience in SG is that I will miss out on an upcoming discount or worse, a current card discount promotion if I do not ask the staff about it.
Kudos to the staff of FANCL Singapore, especially to the ones working at the Jurong Point & the Bishan Junction 8 outlets. Great honesty and awesome attitudes when serving customers!
Sorry to have been politically ignorant by choice for all of my life until recently. Living in Jurong West for as long as I can remember, I never had a chance to vote since turning 21 in 2002. My only joke/comment that I could make during election period in 2006 was, “Elections? Who cares. Jurong sure walkover one… Nobody wants the mutants of the west.” There were possibly half-truths in that statement but the fact is that I really didn’t care.
My view on politics was that it doesn’t affect me. Even politicians themselves look bored and uninterested as they sit in parliament, taking turns to speak. I have never seen my MP, nor find the need to visit him/her. See that I didn’t even know the gender of my MP. I was brought up to be self-sufficient and when I needed help, my mother was the one to go to; not my MP. I was a frog in a well; fully contented of where I am, what was available, and what was not. Like any Singaporean, I knew that nothing will be handed to me on a silver platter and I will have to work for what I want as mine. So even if I had a choice, why do I need someone to represent me, my neighbourhood and my country?
Just before the announcement on the Singapore General Elections 2011, I was entering into a stage where I need to think about settling down and that equates to financial planning and looking for a flat. I was looking at HDB’s website for BTOs and looking at affordability charts. These charts tell me that a combined salary with my future wife, I will be able to afford a 4-rm flat in Sengkang. It does sound expensive; paying almost 300k for a good 30 years of my life. Did I blink when I clicked to apply for one? Not really. I took it as status quo like the frog I still am. “Every regular Singaporean of my age look to be surviving with this. I think I can do the same.”
And then it struck me. My mother bought her 3-rm flat for a 5 figure sum and she is now able to sell it for a 6 figure sum if she wants to. Sounds impressive until I realize I am not earning much more than her when she was at her prime. If the price for a flat is 4 times as much compared to my Mum’s time of purchase, shouldn’t I be at least earning at least 4 times as much at this point? Was it my own fault? Did I not study hard enough? Did I make wrong career choices when younger? I look at my friends and I realize only a very, very small handful can claim to have such earning power.
A simple 3 lettered word that I should have asked…
Why is it so expensive? Why do I have to pay for my flat till I hit my 60s? Why do I feel like I need to work till my grave in order to survive. Why do I feel like I am unable to have more kids even if I wanted to. Why do I keep hearing awesome growth of the country but I don’t see it happening to my friends and me? Why are my ministers getting almost $2million a year when I don’t even know their gender or their names or what they actually do for me?
Then nomination day came and the Opposition parties marched. Some marched with experiences and plans. Some marched with a purpose or even agendas. All of them marched because they wanted to ask “Why?”. And “Why?” they asked for the days leading to 7th May. This time, I felt empowered for I can choose.
Through the power of social media and the internet, I was free to read up on the past and present of Singapore. I wasn’t stupid to think everything I read is true or even relevant to the present but we all know the truth is somewhere out there and definitely harder to find in our local news.
So here are my few thoughts after my political awakening.
No doubt that the PAP has a track record but we have been reminded to death about it. Your predecessors record is not yours. Most of you have a track record because you had the chance to do so. Can’t say the same about a chance for our Opposition candidates so what’s the point of saying that they don’t?
We are not stupid. Having such overwhelming numbers in parliament unchallenged, just means that one party’s voice is being heard. There are advantages to such a system and it’s benefits are of a dictatorship and not of a democratic society. How can an MP’s voice represent me when he/she is not accountable to me? I didn’t vote them in. The party brought them in. Guess whose loyalty do they owe it to?
GRCs – They do ensure a minority representation in parliament but my ONE vote can potentially bring in one or two MPs that I wanted to vote for and four to five others I didn’t care for. So should I vote for what I can live with or what I can live without?
In all considerations, I really think the PAP has it tough. Having been in the limelight and in power, their work is for all to be scrutinized. So when the Oppositions nitpick at your policies and your mistakes with the undeniable voices of citizens booing in unison, why in the world would you defend your policies in such a way that make you seem untouchable and never wrong? Where’s the empathy or even the attempt at conjuring some so that you may bring a stronger point across?
Mr Low Thia Kiang and Mr Chiam See Tong are my new found heroes. Both of them dug holes in the walls where JBJ left cracks at and managed to win over residents of their wards for 20-26 years. Both of them could have stayed in their SMCs in Hougang and Potong Pasir respectively for this GE and have high odds of winning but they left for a greater cause – To compete in Aljunied & Bishan/Toa Payoh GRCs so that they may bring more opposition voices to make it count in Parliament. Thanks to point #3, I would have undoubtedly voted for them over any PAP team if I was in the said GRCs.
Not every PAP candidate is a money grubbing, evil person with no regard for citizens and armed with bad analogies. I’m sure there are those who have the right mentality but they are unfortunate by association.
No Opposition team/candidate is worth your vote if you just want to go against PAP because you don’t like them.
Your vote is secret. It really is; so vote wisely.
“Your vote is secret” & “Vote wisely” are not calls for you to vote for the Opposition. Do your research.
To the Opposition parties: Thank you for showing us that our voices can be heard and are heard. Thank you for stepping forward even when most of you seem unprepared. Whatever the results will be after 7th May, I have no doubt that even with an 87-0 landslide, the PAP or shall I say the government, will definitely take bigger steps in the “right” direction.
To the PAP: Show empathy or at least hire a good PR team.
To Lee Kuan Yew: I have nothing much to say out of respect but I shall repent if given a choice.