Sunday, April 05, 2015

Let's be good friends

Let's be good friends
You said

When we first met
You swept me off my feet
With a kiss 
We've never been friends

I don't know what I want
You said

I know what I want
All you need is to
Want me

I like you
You said

Maybe not enough
Maybe you're scared
Maybe I'm not scared
Maybe we can keep trying

We can't try without an end in mind
You said

We can't
But it's been perfect
Why stop now

At least we have the memories
You said

There's permanence in the ending
A finality, like death
Once we move on
There'd be no reason to remember

I take it back
I hoped you'd say

You didn't
And I didn't protest
I hear you
This is what you want

I shouldn't have pressed for an answer
I was happy 
Now I'm slipping under

Let's be good friends
You said

I said

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Strolling the Green Corridor

The Green Corridor is possibly one of the most interesting walking routes that I've done in Singapore and I highly recommend that you check it out! 

Also called the Rail Corridor, it is the path that traces the route connecting us to Malaysia by train. The Singapore portion is about 24km, stretching from Tanjong Pagar Railway Station to Woodlands Road, which would probably take an entire day to complete! Being flexible and to a greater extent, less ambitious, we started at Buona Vista and headed northwards with no fixed end point in mind. It took a morning for us to cover 6km leisurely, bringing us to The Rail Mall, a convenient place to grab lunch. 

The terrain is flat, clearly because that would have been most ideal for a train, making the walk easy and relaxing. The path snakes through swathes of greenery, housing estates and sometimes schools. Often, there'd be interesting landmarks, most commonly bridges and the most iconic, at least along this route, being the Bt Timah Railway Station. 

Parts of the track have been left intact, such as those at the railway station and bridges. The impressive steel structures make for dramatic photos and were the highlight of the trip. 

Walking in the "woods". There's a clear path where the rail used to be.

Off the path, there are spaces to discover.

Bamboo doesn't break. It bends.
A Bangladeshi woman was getting some vegetables that apparently goes well with prawns.
One of the railway stations that is still standing! 
Bukit Timah Railway Station

A bridge overlooking the road, near Jardin condominium, with Bt Timah nature reserve ahead.

The bridge overlooking the road near The Rail Mall

Explore, go your own way. Throw caution to the wind. 
What to bring for the Green Corridor walk:

Unlike other NParks-type of places, there aren't shelters along the way having an umbrella would be helpful if it rains. It's a continuous route apart from when the rail intersects some roads and finding a convenience store would be challenge so bring all your refreshments - chips, biscuits, water - with you. You could even stop and have a picnic at the wide open spaces such as the Bt Timah Railway station if you wanted (I hope it's not illegal) - just whip out a mat!

I read these before the walk, just to get an idea of what I was getting into:

The Green Corridor website, with maps and suggested routes: 
Development-weary Singaporeans back Green Corridor:
URA calls for proposals for Green Corridor:

Since I haven't completed the entire trail, I'd definitely be back to complete the last segment from Buona to Tanjong Pagar Railway Station.

Let me know if there are other walking routes that I should explore! 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Above the Tree Tops

Crazy enough to walk for four hours
Through Macritchie Reservoir
On a Wednesday morning

It wasn't as hot as our last walk
In fact it was shady, with a bit of a breeze

We went up the Tree Top Walk
and Jelutong Tower
Both offered views overlooking the reservoir
Surrounded by pretty impressive greenery
Okay, maybe not so impressive
But it offered respite from the concrete jungle

The most relaxing part was the boardwalk
That runs along the side of the reservoir
Covered in shade by the trees
With benches to take a pause
We stopped plenty of times along the way
To enjoy the view
and appreciate the moment

Friday, March 13, 2015

To Stand in the Sun

When I'm on my way to work, the sun is barely in the sky. When I'm in the office, the sun is up and I think, "What a nice day. If only I were out." When I'm done, I head home and the sun has set. The day is gone, just like that.

Then one day I realised - I want to stand in the sun.

So before Chinese New Year, I served my last day at my previous job. It was my very first job, the one that gave me a chance to work and do something meaningful. It was the job that put food in my tummy and allowed me to contribute to my family. It saw me through races, holidays and countless parties (hey Zoukout and F1) and helped me repay my study loan.

After 3.5 years though, I am ready to switch gears. If you want change, you've got to do things differently. I wanted 2015 to be different, to stand out, be remembered. So call it risky, call me reckless but I'm taking the plunge. I'm taking one year off work, to have the flexibility and freedom to travel, dabble in photography, read, write, be outdoors, do sports, hit the gym, swim - basically, stand in the sun. This will be the year of learning for fun, learning without fear of failure, learning by doing. I'll sharpen my skills and produce work on my own terms.

I'm all too aware that it sounds idealistic. Even supportive friends cautioned me.  What about job stability, company insurance, benefits and leave? What about CPF? What about a monthly pay check? It's actually really scary not to have a monthly paycheck to depend on. But there's always this dilemma - you either get time or you get money. You can't have it both ways.

There's also no longer any KPIs and promotions - milestones to tell you where you stand. I have to forge my own path and that's scary. It's highly probable that this year will fly by and I'd have nothing to show for it. But at the same time, it's now or never. I would regret not taking this opportunity to seek clarity on what I want in my life now that I am in control of everything I do - can I make a living? Will it be meaningful? What are the limits I can push myself to? What is it that I want and can I achieve it without being employed?

That's a lot of questions to answer in a year.

In the meantime, I'm still grounded and I will be realistic and practical. I'm still working, albeit not in a "proper" job. I've been teaching tuition for the past 8 years and I've been doing well, so I'll take this year to throw myself into it, impart knowledge and inspire kids.

I don't rule out returning to the corporate world. For now though, I'm taking the year off to stand in the sun.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Epic Long Walk

Who knew that it'd be 
To walk from Harbourfront
to Kent Ridge?

Climbed Mt Faber 
Crossed Henderson Waves
and Alexandra Archs
Stunning views, looking from treetops

Then there was Hortpark
Cleverly horticulture and park
A swing, a colourful playground, and
Green houses that were boomz

It led us to a
but impressive 
Canopy Walk
Overlooking a nursery
At Kent Ridge Park

Ended at Science Park 1
When we saw office folks
A return to civilisation of sorts

We went to Botak Jones for lunch
At Clementi
And watched the world go by
at the void decks of HDBs

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Resisting the Urge to Text

My name is Jason and I think I'm addicted to texting.

It's not a serious. I'm sure I'm far from the only one who is! It's hard to escape when there are chat-apps like WhatsApp, Line, Snapchat and GChat, and then there are those with chat functions like facebook and Tinder.

The reason that they are there is because we can't get enough of texting. There's a need for us to connect instantly like a drug. At any time, I am able reach out to multiple people at once. So many brains, so many personalities, so many characters... find out what they're doing, what inspires them, what's on their mind. I text most when I'm travelling because, well, what else are you supposed to do right? But sometimes, even when we're out with our family and friends, we're texting to find out how other people are doing! It's an addiction, and for many of us, a form of escape from boredom, from being in the present.

So recently, I got to know this friend who touches his phone about 10 times a day. 10 times! His last seen on WhatsApp could be 8 hours ago. 8 hours! Compared to me, well, my last seen on WhatsApp is probably 2 minutes ago at any time of the day. He is a busy man, I get it, but if he's not on WhatsApp then how do his colleagues ask him for lunch? Or go to a meeting? Or give him work-related info? I was baffled. If I were to do that, I'd be crippled. I can't imagine living like that!

It then led me to wonder: What if I could? What if I could let go a little and resist the urge to touch my phone every second?

So, in an attempt to be more present, I've tossed my phone aside, put it out of reach. I've even switched it off for a couple of hours a day, which I found to be the most effective way of disconnecting. I focus on what I'm doing. I could be watching a TV show, writing or hanging out with a friend. With some effort, I stay away from my phone and after awhile, I forget it exists!

As with all cold turkey treatments, it's hard not to give in to the impulse. The most difficult time for me is when I'm by myself, and the need to feel connected is amplified. Some parts of me actually feel physical pain when my brain tells my hand not to reach for my phone.

It's been liberating. I no longer feel like I'm an answering machine. It's calming. I don't feel like I'm doing multiple things at once, all the time. I'm more focused. I get on with my tasks. They reap the feel-good-factor less instantly, but lasts way longer than the high of punching words on the phone. Oh, and that feeling of waiting for people to reply dies along with the desire to text. You don't measure your self-worth by the number of texts you receive or the number of people who text you. You learn to enjoy your own company, or that of people next to you, more.

Another thing is that if you text each other less, you'd have more to share when you meet up. And when the conversation flows, you wouldn't think of looking at the phone at all. When you resist the urge to text, you're in the moment, and when you enjoy the present, you won't feel the need to escape.