Thursday, August 24, 2006


Presenting to you....the Kiara Grand Prix MTb Championships 2001 VCD, produced, shot and edited by Merciless Productions!

The Race and The Trail

The Racers and The Organisers

The Man Behind The Kiara Trail

Cliffhanger from KGP Race 5

Bonus track by Hans Fritsche

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Kiara KGP 2001

This weekend, we be headed to Kiara for the KL MTB Carnival 2006! Below was the first video I ever produced from footage taken over a few timetrial races in the Kiara Grand Prix 2001 race series!

The video is longer than the 10 min / 100 mb limit that most video hosting sites would accept, so the resolution ain't that great! But hope this video makes you wana take the first flight to this MTB haven right in the heart of KL....errr....well, the outskirt, at least!

Chiku, the mountainbiker's Haiku

Haiku : What u need to know about the Haiku to fully understand the Chiku, local cousin to the Japanese Haiku...

1. A 17-syllable verse form consisting of three metrical units of 5, 7, and 5 syllables.

2. Haiku-poems can describe almost anything, but you seldom find themes which are too complicated for normal PEOPLE's recognition and understanding. Some of the most thrilling Haiku-poems describe daily situations in a way that gives the reader a brand new experience of a well-known situation.

3. Each Haiku must contain a kigo, a season word, which indicate in which season the Haiku is set. For example, cherry blossoms indicate spring, snow indicate winter, and mosquitoes indicate summer, but the season word isn't always that obvious.

4. E.g.
Buson, Yosa. (1716-84).

Pressing Sushi;
After a while,
A lonely feeling

Chiku :

1. Not your typical syllable, but a "Sillyblur" rider concocts this sorta stuff while waiting to be picked up for prata before epic MTB ride!

2. No change. See above.

3. Kigo : Thunderstorms (forecast for next 3 hours in Singapore, which never materialised! Bad weather reporter, real bad!)

4. E.g. ChiWei Yap (morning of national day 2006)

Waiting outside my place looking at the black clouds.
I see a bird get fried.
Some hairy shit like dirty candy floss.

My ride,
I cried.

Friday, August 11, 2006

NUMBERS!!! Arghhhhhhh!

Back in school, I used to love math (pronounced "Mets" in Singapore primary school). First comes the numbers, then numbers + symbols + formula + brainpower, then calculator minus (numbers + symbols + formula) minus what little brain cells we had get the drift!

I always wondered if I'd ever use these mind-boggling formula ever again in my life! I thought I'd moved to a profession that requires me to deal with absolutely NO numbers and formula, but boy, was I gravely mistaken! The numbers just keep creeping back (kinda like the video of creepy crawling numbers in the Ring)....

.....e.g. I've had to deal with some numbers lately : convert some funky floating rate formula into words in a legal document, calculate the remaining mortgage payments for the next century (yikes), organising loads and loads household bills
(yawn) while factoring in holiday potential expense claims (yippie), updating timekeeping results (and making it a note to learn excel), and this is an easy one : counting the number of times my computer crashes on me!! Arghhhhh!!!

Ok, but I should know better than to let the numbers turkey get me down!
If you're ever bogged down by numbers, know that there is a creative silver lining at the end of that complex and numerically cluttered cloud! Hee hee!

Math problem 1

Math problem 2

Math problem 3

Math problem 4

If you asked me, that square root sign surrrrre looks like a soccer goal post!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Fix you!

The word "fix" is a small and simple word, not particularly interesting if you asked me. Yet, this word could open a can of worms, depending on how you use it.

For instance, our dear Mr Lee had explained that if the opposition were to hold 10 to 20 seats in Parliament, he would have to spend much more time thinking what was the right way to "fix" them. Mr Lee later apologised for using direct language to get this important point across to a mass rally crowd!

The word "fix" is written all over the TV show "LOST"! Jack, after having fixed his ex-wife, gets marooned on an island so that he has an endless string of problems to fix!

My best "fix" for last month was watching Coldplay perform at the Indoor Stadium, live on 10th July 2006! Their Twisted Logic Tour apparently started with outdoor shows in the UK in early summer 2005 and they have been through Europe, Japan and the US.

They played most of their songs from their third album 'X&Y', and me thinks one or two from their first two albums, 'Parachutes' (2000) and 'A Rush Of Blood To The Head' (2002).

(Photo of Coldplay : Guy Berryman (bass), Jonny Buckland (lead guitar), Will Champion (drums), and of course, Chris Martin (vocals, guitar, keyboards) - also married to actress Gwyneth Paltrow, and I can see why).

It was friggin awesome being showered with amazing visuals and spellbinding laser shows for each particular song! I could see that a lot of thought was put into stage artistry and it was one of the best concerts I've ever been too.

I shall leave you with one of my favourite songs from the X&Y album, "Fix You".

When you try your best but you don't succeed
When you get what you want but not what you need
When you feel so tired but you can't sleep
Stuck in reverse

And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can't replace
When you love some one but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

High up above or down below
When you're too in love to let it go
But if you never try you'll never know
Just what you're worth

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

Tears stream down your face
When you lose something you cannot replace
Tears stream down your face
And I
Tears stream down your face
I promise you I will learn from my mistakes
Tears stream down your face
And I
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you.

I am absolutely fixated!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Referee Fever!

I first started playing soccer when I was in high school in the land where little girls like to giggle. Since returning to Singapore, I've learnt quite a lot about our local branding of soccer "lingo" - most notably, those relating to the least celebrated person on the field : the referee!

For instance, apart from the words "GOAL!" followed by "ole, ole, ole, ole....ole...ole", the two other most common terms that I can think of are :-

Referee Kayu : According to Talking Cock dictionary, kayu means "wood" in Malay, used to suggest stupidity. Hence, no prizes for guessing what "referee kayu" means!

Referee Kelong : No, I don't think this has anything to do with a kelong that a referee lives in. According to the same cock dictionary, "kelong" is a term used to describe any form of cheating or corruption in any competition. Hence, when he or she drives away in a flashy car after a match, you start to wonder if referee.....

Since the World Cup this year, I've learnt a new term :

Shamsul Maidin : According to Wikipedia (no Cock Talking here) (born April 16, 1966) is a football (soccer) referee from Singapore......blah blah blah...He was rated the top referee at the 2006 FIFA World Cup by

Everyone's been talking about this local sensation.

Mr Brown : Top rated referee in the World Cup at soccernet today

Sivasothi (well known-celebrity) : Shamsul Makes Me Proud to be Singaporean

How does one become a referee anywayz? Well, when I was younger (and fitter?), I was asked by a fellow female soccer mate if I wanted to become one of the first few female soccer referees in Singapore! Having umpired for several Netball games, I didn't think it would be too different? But I think it's a totally different ball game altogether (excuse the pun)...

I was in for a real surprise! I forget what the criteria was (as it was quite a few years ago and I blame my short-term memory loss on my face plant incident) but I remembered having to sign up for a basic referee course with the Football Association of Singapore (FAS). A couple of class-room training sessions and written exams on the Rules of the Game later, we were off for our mandatory fitness test! I can't quite remember what the test entailed, but according to an English website on "How to become a ref", the standard FIFA fitness test will involve :-

1. Eyesight test, car number plate at 25 m
2. 50m sprint in less than 7.5 seconds
3. 200m sprint in less than 32 seconds
4. 15 min break
5. A distance run, 12 minutes continuous running covering at least 2,700m

I recalled passing this test and then being interviewed by some newspaper.....hmmm....

Anywayz, it was heavily emphasized during the course that the referee has to be "the" fittest person on the field, having to run to where the "ball" and "action" is, while keeping a tab on what's happening on the rest of the field...and that's where the eyes behind their backs come in with the aid of their linesmen. Not an easy task, if you asked me!

In the words of Shamsul in an interview :

'Being a referee is an art,' he says. 'You have to be physically and mentally strong to handle 22 players, 22 kinds of characters.' He adds: 'I keep reminding myself in a game that I should be above the players in self-control. There's nothing for me to lose, but they get nervous because they have something to win.'

After my physical fitness test, I borrowed a basic black referee uniform, collected a list of items : whistle, little black score book, red and yellow cards, a set of flags etc. and attended my first assignment....a game between 2 men's soccer team, not as a referee but as a linesman (who, as we can see from the Zidane incident, is equally important; who else would have spotted the head butt?) During the game, I remembered being bored to tears! I was itching to play! It was then that I realised that refereeing just wasn't my cup of tea...and besides, the only remarks I got when I took the test back then were exactly the words "Referee Kayu" and "Referee Kelong"! :P
I think it also takes a certain assertiveness and self-confidence in order to do well. If I ever get around to completing my course, the following would be good advice to heed :

".....[Shamsul] reveals that one of the highlights of his career so far was meeting his idol, Portuguese referee Vito Melo Pereira, at the Confederations Cup 2005 in Germany, where Mr Shamsul was also refereeing.

Mr Pereira, 49, offered him this piece of advice: Look sterner. 'He told me: 'In dealing with the mega-stars of football, you come from a smaller country, so it's a disadvantage. When you look at the players, look at their eyes, don't move until they look away. When you show the card, be very, very confident. Once the player is satisfied, let him go first, then you put down the card.''

Well, if the chances of our making it to the World Cup are looking rather dim, there is still light at the end of the tunnel! The FAS offers basic referee courses for working adults ($58.80) / students ($27.30). All candidates (men or women) have to be physically fit, be between the ages of 16 and 34, and be able to speak and write English! If we can't play, at least we can play our cards right!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A fortuneteller told me

A few months ago, a visit to the regular medical clinic for the annual company chest x-ray ended with the most extraordinary experience...

The friendly and cheerful Malay radiographer at the clinic started a conversation with me to pass away the time...or so I thought...

X-Ray Man : "So, are you studying or working?"

Me : "Oh, I've been working for sometime now."

X-Ray Man : (adjusting the radio machine) "So, how is work?"

Me : "It's ok, thank you..."

We continued chatting for while before he gave instructions on how to position my arms etc. Snap....snap....and it was all over in a few seconds. And before he left the room....

X-Ray Man : (pausing for a moment before looking at me reassurringly) "Don't worry, all will be well after July."

He shuts the door.

I scratched my head, wondering where did that come from? worry? about what? work?'s been pretty slack since the beginning of the year.... hmmmm....

I quickly slipped out of the robes and back into work wear. I bumped into him before leaving the clinic...

Me : "Nice chatting with you. By the way.........why July?"

X-Man : (looked at my records, from which he probably extracted the information needed for the advice he was about to give)..."Now, Saggitarius is moving backwards.....[and he went on about stars shifting and other stuff you read about in Linda Goodman's astrological bestsellers] and will eventually align with your ruling planet, Jupiter".

Me : (looking rather amused) "Errr...thank you very much for the advice".

I found it hilarious that a radiographer could offer more than even Superman's x-ray vision...a vision of my future! I think I'll dub him "my personal soothsayer"!

That afternoon, a ton of work fell from nowhere and onto my desk! All the marketeers started feeding me with matters marked "urgent"! A big project required me to burn the midnight oil every night and for 3 weekends! Day had become night and night, day! Unbelievable! I thought to meself, when it rains, it pours! Such was the nature of my job! Or was it? Did this have anything to do with the X-Ray Man and his astrological predictions? Who was having the last laugh?

Upon reflection, one never knows in what form foretune-tellers will appear in one's life. I've had my palm read several times, once by a reportedly famous blind Taiwanese fella. I can safety say that most of their predictions were easily forgettable, mostly general speculative statements that could have applied to a dozen other persons.

The most accurate palmreader for me to date was a lady introduced to me by my younger sister, Ping, both of whom are currently residing in a little island called Waiheke in NZ. Faye was born in the 1920s in North Island, NZ and reminded me of a character who had just stepped out of "Little House on the Prairie"! Her life story begs a whole blog of its own!

Anywayz, she said many things which held very true, which unless my sister had blabbered to her about before our meeting, could not have been known to her.

Or did my face and mannerisms hold the answers? Was I so easy to read?

One of the things she warned me about was the hazards of living in the "city". Because I needed to be "close to nature", I had to compensate for the lack thereof by keeping at least 17 plants at home. The first thing I did when I reached home was to count the number of pots I had in my little garden! Ok, I've at least passed that test with flying colours!

My fascination with "fortunetellers", "palm readers" etc. had waned through the years as my "cynism" meter started rising. I pondered about how general prediction statements usually read, and how easily one could be swayed by the words of someone professing to be able to predict another's path in life.

I remembered treating Linda Goodman's Love Signs as the ultimate dating bible - with the pages on which star sign was most compatible with a female Saggitarian being doggy eared! Haha! Looking back, it surely was an entertaining piece of work, but was there an ounce of truth?

I recalled reading the book when I was a teenager...and reading it again 10 years later. I was shocked to re-discover that Linda had specifically mentioned that people of my starsign would, for the love of animals, organise a charity event for organisations such as the SPCA. True enough, a couple friends and I had organised a concert titled "Animania Musique" to raise funds for the SPCA in our early 20s!

Was it a self-fulfilling prophesy? Had I somehow allowed Linda to creep into my sub-concious? Hmmm....I'm no psychology major, and I'm sure debunkers out there will scoff at my silly theories offering a dozen valid explanations....but I'm sure the truth is out there...somewhere, if you really need to know the answers.

For an interesting read about fortune-tellers in our region, I would highly recommend the book "A Fortune-Teller Told Me" by Tiziano Terzani. Extract about the author from Wikipedia :

"Terzani knew much about the historical and political background of Asia, but had also a deep interest in the philosophical aspects of Asian culture. Though an unbeliever, he always looked in his journeys for the spiritual aspects of the countries he was visiting. He lived in Beijing, Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok and New Delhi which became his second home. His stay in Beijing came to an end when he was arrested and expelled from the country for "counter-revolutionary activities".

And about the book : Warned by a Hong Kong fortune-teller not to risk flying for a year, Tiziano Terzani, a vastly experienced Asia correspondent, took his first step into an unknown world. Traveling by foot, train, bus, car, and boat, and consulting soothsayers and shamans along the way, Terzani discovered as never before the complex traditions and unexpected delights of the people and lands he had been reporting on for years. "I was marked for death, " writes Terzani, "and instead I was reborn."

I guess I have in my own little way a special connection with Mr Terzani when I first heard about him when I was studying in Japan. His daughter, Saskia Terzani, had just joined our class and we heard that he'd worked for Die Spiegel and had just been expelled from China, fleeing to Japan. Last I read, Tiziano had passed on almost exactly 2 years ago. And I hadn't seen Saskia since high school!

It's the 1st of August, and my workload has tapered down somewhat, though not to the state pre-Mr-X-Ray-soothsayer visit when life was a lot less hazardous!

Maybe it's time to pay another visit to the X-Ray Man to find out what lies ahead for me? But then again, maybe not....:P