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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Mistreatment of our Nature Reserve?

Today Straits Times (31 October 2009) carries a letter from Mr Shawn Lum, President of the Nature Society (Singapore) where he called for races to be banned from sensitive nature reserves.

Everytime I read in the papers from 'concerned' citizens calling for a ban on this or that, I get pissed off. Why banned something just because you don't like it or it goes against your own personal belief? Just like the chap who criticized the Mediacorp newsreader for wearing a black dress on Deepavali. Are we so insensitive to the needs of others and so selfish that we can only see one side of the story and impose on our beliefs and values on others?

Back to the letter.

The writer cited 3 reasons why the TNF 100 should not be held in 'sensitive nature reserves'.

1) The law. He cited the National Park Board Act which calls for the protection of the plant and animal life of our nature reserve. He questioned whether the high impact run an appropriate form of recreation in sensitive nature reserve. To this - my reply is "In what way is the run through the reserve detrimental to the protection of the plant and animal life?". In fact, the runners ran mainly on the mountain bike trails which were developed by Nparks and did not bash through the reserve at will. So how was plant and animal life threatened by the run?

2) Sustainability. He claimed that the rich biodiversity may be harmed by the noise, compaction and erosion that accompany high impact activities. Again I asked how he came to the conclusion. Runners are solitary creature by nature. They do not run, scream and shout or sing out loud while running. And they will be too tired to bash through the undergrowth. In fact, they will be do busy concentrating on the run to cause any harm to the environment. What is more damaging in fact are the weekend hikers and trekkers, family and maids in tow who laughed loudly, and bring in food to the reserve.

3) Limited Resources. Again without giving example, he concluded that the race is a mistreatment of the limited rainforest and not a prudent way to preserve the natural heritage. Again I beg to differ. It is precisely because we have a limited but well preserved forest reserve that we need to encourage more people to this area (abit in a controlled manner). Only when we go through the various different parts of the reserve can we appreciate the majestic wonder of nature and learn to appreciate nature and consequently take care of it. I am sure the runners while running through the various reserves from MacRitchie to Bukit Timah to Zheng Hua will have noticed the beautiful scenery, the lush greenery and appreciate nature more.

I did not run in this race but was there to support many of my friends who did. We picked up all the litters left behind by the runners and I am sure the organiser did the same - sending in cleaning crew after the event to clean the area. Runners were also briefed prior to the race not to leave any litters behind so I am not too sure exactly in what way did the runners or the orgainser mistreated the reserve.

Singapore is a small country. In the words of the writer, "Living in a small country means we have to accept and work around certain limitations". It is precisely because we are a small country that we need to accept and share what scare resources we have. We should not just because we do not like certain things - call for a ban because it inconveniences us or do not suit us.

Just as we need wet markets as much as supermarkets, and we tolerate cyclists on pedestrian walkways, we need to learn to live side by side in harmony and work together to enrich our quality of life be it sharing our limited green area with other users or our neighbourhood with people of all races and nationality.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The North Face 100

I enjoyed myself at The North Face 100 yesterday, not least because I wasn't one of those runners torturing themselves running 50km or 100km in the scorching heat of Singapore.

But to show solidarity for my fellow runners, I too went and suffered in the heat with them for 7 whooping hours at the pipeline parallel to the Bukit Timah Expressway just after Rifle Range Road. Together with a few other non-runners led by Tigger, we set up a support table for friends and runners. Actually, they support, I took pictures.

To the brave runners, whether you win, complete or even start the race nevermind that you may have to give up mid way through cramps or failed to hit the cut off time, I salute all of you.

Photos will be up once I sort through them and do some censorship:)

28 October 2009. Photo uploaded:

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pipelines Trail

This is just a small part of the long sprawling pipelines trail running from ZhengHua to Rifle Range Rd that participants in the North Face challenge tomorrow will have to run through on their way to complete either a 50km or a 100km race through the Singapore nature reserve areas of MacRichite, Mandai and Bukit Timah.

Thanks to T@z who volunteered to show me this beautiful area otherwise I couldn't even know such a place exist in Singapore. Now it has got me itching to run there but see all the slopes damn shiong very scare.

Anyway good luck to all friends doing this. Do stop by to say hello and get a drink when you pass by the pipelines.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Salomon X Trail Run 2009

Went over to the Tampines Mountain Bike park for my masquerade sessions.

This was the day of the Salomon XTrail Run at the TMBP. Had originally wanted to sign up for this race but my constant companion was not keen and so in the end decided to save the $38 and skipped it with a lot of regrets. Firstly, the event tee came in orange! and TMBP was like home ground since I go there pretty often. I like the wide open area, soft ground and peace except when those people go in there to fly their model planes.

Anyway, out of the blue, got a call from a friend to take over his slot as he had to run another event so begin the first of my masquerade.

Wearing a bib that did not belong to me, I went there to begin my passing off. Met M's Uncle Seah, my Simei team captain and a few friends from sgrunners. The race started a little bit earlier for the Men Open, flagged off by MP Charles Chong and the rest of us, meaning the Women, Men and Women veterans started 15 minutes later. The sun had came out by then but fortunately it soon went behind the clouds and stayed that way for the rest of the run. Since I was just there to soak in the atmosphere, I did not make any attempts to run fast (not that I am that fast anyway) and was content to hang behind the main bulk of the runners.

I thought I was pretty familiar with TMBP but the lazy runner that I am, whenever I go there, I only run the easy path but this time round they made us run all over with many up and down over the knolls and including 1 'river' crossing. Fortunately for me, my Adidas Exerta held up well, and did not get suck into the mud although my Wright socks was a goner.

The 'river' crossing. The organiser forced the runners to go into the water instead of crossing the bridge.

The narrow path especially on the various up/down slopes made it difficult to run and I had to constantly stop to let runners pass me. Also had to walk quite a bit on these slopes when the runners in front refuse to give way. Nevermind, I was in good spirit and enjoying the run so I didn't get frus like normal.

Just one of the many small narrow path that we had to navigate

Back at the end was my second masquerade session. This one more drama lol. Removed my bib and assumed another identity - this time of my Simei team captain who had to rush off for a oversea trip. Why need to assume his identity when the race is already over? Cos he came in 2nd in the Men Veteran and I unabashedly stepped up on stage to claim his prize and shake hand with the VIP! Ha ha ha my 'first podium finish' lol. I think the other runners must be wondering where this guy came from and how did he ended up 2nd! And for my masquerade, I got rewarded with a black Salomon T-shirt (the same one that was worn by the volunteers and organiser)

Not bad for a free and nice Sunday morning run!

And congrats to Uncle Seah (8th position Men Veteran), Stella (3rd Women Open). And to my friend who passed me his bib, I hope I didn't disgrace you with my slow timing.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

2 Person in the Gym

2 person at the gym yesterday caught my attention.

The first one was a boy probably about 14 - 15 yrs old. He was with his father and the father was trying to get him to do a workout. He first started on a bike and barely 10 mins later step off and then went to the treadmill where he walked another 10 mins. After the father finished his own run, he got the boy to do some stretches but all I could see was the boy making futile attempts to copy his old man. You see, the boy was obese. Not just fat but obese with wobbly chin, arms and legs.

Later, a lady came in. She started stretching impressively, went on the Flabelos and ended up on the treadmill where she stopped more than she walked. Not obese but just fat.

The things is I know 1 month later, 6 months or even 1 year later when I see them again, they will still be in the same shape. Why? From time to time I bummed into people who enthusiastically took up some sort of exercises to lose weight but I dare say most of them I know fail. Because after they finish their exercises, they are so hungry that they eat like nobody business and put back everything plus more. And I can wager my last dollar these 2 person are in this group.

Which reminds me of 1 person I know who is currently doing the same thing........ me! Ha ha ha, the scale on the weight machine has been creeping up. My food intake dates back to my pre-marathon days but now that I am only doing an average of 20km a week, it's still the same. At this rate, I will hit 80 in 1 month and maybe 90 by year end.

Oops will I have to change my nick then?

Friday, October 09, 2009

Searching searching..........

It's nearly mid October and with 2 and a half months left to go before the end of the year, am still searching for a nice oversea destination to do a race.

Originally wanted to do the Angkor Wat but that has to be put on hold as it clashed with the Kid's school term. We could go without him of course but he wanted to go Cambodia so thought it would be wasteful to go again another time so can this for the time being.

So then we decided to go Taiwan and right smack in the middle of the trip is the Taipei Marathon. How nice but M said we will be in Kaoshiung at that time and it will be too much of a hassle to travel back to Taipei and then back to Kaoshiung so that is off too. So sad. Can somebody enlighten exactly how long does it take to travel from Kaoshiung to Taipei?

There is of course the Auckland marathon but that is in November and certainly both kids will want to go along and so that time period is out since they are still in school.

A last option before the year runs out is Chiang Mai but that is like 3 days after we return from Taiwan .... do I want to travel again so soon after a trip? Hmmmmm

Where else? Anybody any suggestions?

Monday, October 05, 2009

Balance and the Physio

Read an article in the Saturday's ST about balance. No - not work life balance or family life balance whatever but physical balance as in standing/walking/cycling and not falling. I have always been bad in balancing. When I was doing my NS, I remember a lot of time I cannot clear the swing bridge(?) because the darned thing keep moving when you try to run across it.

Anyway, the writer of the article was emphasizing the importance of balance in our physical life citing example of how proper balancing can help mobility especially when we grow older.

Reading this article set me thinking about some comments some friends made some time ago about the quality of the physio in CGH. Most of the comments were that the physio in CGH were not good, not up to standard and it will be better for me to go to a private physio. Now this argument is not new and it is something that I hear very often about government hospitals in general. Not just about physio, but doctors and even nurses. And I do believe there is some basis for this. Most time, the government hospital are training grounds for medical staff. There they learn and pick up their skills and once they are 'experienced' enough, they leave for private practice. So in that sense, it is not wrong to say that the physio are not very 'good' as they lack experience.

So what has this got to do with balance? The first time I learnt or heard about balancing was you guess it - at CGH. A few years ago, when I first went for the physio session, the first thing the physio did was to check my balance. He made me stand on one leg, do squats and determine that I wasn't very good in my balancing and subsequently put me through a lot of balancing exercises on the bosu ball. In fact, the physio finally discharged me only when I could prove that my balancing had improved and I could stand on one leg without quivering for 1 minutes.

Guess what I am trying to say is - the guys at CGH SMC are not that bad. Maybe they are not too good in explaining the why but certainly in term of knowledge, I think they are right on par with the best there is but maybe lack experience?

So friends, give them a chance. I did and I believe I have benefited from the sessions there. To this day, I still do some 1 leg balancing on the Flabelos because its importance has been drummed into me by the physio and as the article pointed out - it is crucial to have good balance whether it is for the purpose of doing sports or just moving around.

PS: Unfortunately I can't reproduce the ST's article here since SPH is very ngoew about copyrights issue blah blah blah

Friday, October 02, 2009

Hurray - Starhub lost the EPL rights

I am probably like the only guy in this little red dot who is cheering the new that Singtel has won the rights to the EPL for next year.

I don't have any Mio account with Singtel. In fact, I am a Starhub cable tv subscriber which includes the sports channel. So why am I happy over the news?

Cos I gonna get to save $24.00 per month which is $288.00 per annum and that's not including GST. And that can get me 1 pair of running shoes, possibly 2 with discount thrown in.

I been meaning to cancel my subscription for quite some time but have been dragging my foot on it so this is the best opportunity to do so so. I am not going to miss watching the EPL since I hardly watch nowadays. In fact, for the whole of September, I only watched 1 game and that was the Manchester derby. And I am not a big fan of F1 so I not gonna miss that as well.

Now which shoe should I get?