Paul Immigrations Reviews: Being A PR In Singapore

I am going to digress from my usual topics and talk about being a Permanent Resident (PR) in Singapore. I have quite a number of friends who are PRs and a few of them have successfully converted their blue card to the pink ones in a matter of years. The permanent residency of Singapore has been highly sought over the years. This got me thinking about the who, what, why and how of being a Singapore PR.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF ATTAINING SINGAPORE PR

Being a Singaporean, I can validate that being a Singaporean equates to having ample benefits ranging from tax benefits to enjoying subsidized fees in one of the top-notched healthcare facilities in the world. The healthcare industry in the country is nothing short of efficient, clean and safe. The government has organised the Republic’s Public Healthcare System to 3 integrated clusters – each equipped with a full suite of healthcare services, including polyclinics, general hospital, community hospital and a medical school — to better facilitate patients management. As the country takes strong preventative measures against counterfeit and unsafe drugs, all drugs that can be readily found in pharmacies across the island are usually safe for consumption.

If you are a parent, you will also want to enrol your child/children into local educational institutions, where they are operated under a system envied by the rest of the world. It was raved by former British Education Minister Michael Gove back in 2010 as one of the ‘world-leading’ education systems in the World. While international students bear a monthly school fee ranging from S$763 to S$1,777 depending on the educational level, PRs will only need to pay between S$218 to S$487. Hence, many expats prefer to attain PR status for themselves and their children in order to benefit from the exceptional educational system at a subsidized rate.

If that is not enough to persuade you, what about the idea of living in a country with an extremely low crime rate? The latest Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) Safe Cities Index (SCI) ranked Singapore as the world’s second safest city, after Tokyo. One reason is due to the stringent laws and strict enforcement which deters both its citizens and foreigners from committing crimes. The abundance of CCTVs installed across the island makes it even more difficult for criminals to get away freely. The city-state is the 11th-most surveilled city in the world, making it the 3rd-most outside China. Therefore, many will feel extremely safe even when commuting late into the night.

If you are someone who embraces multi-culturalism, and are always excited to linger with people of other cultures while learning about their background and practices, you will fit in perfectly in Singapore. The Lion City is home to 4 major races – Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian – giving the country a wonderful mix of various cultures. The city-state prioritises social harmony in Singapore, making racial tensions almost unheard of.

Influenced by such diversity, the local delicacies contain elements from the various ethnic groups and are something you cannot find elsewhere in the world. Furthermore, such delicacies are conveniently found in open-aired food complex called hawker centres, coffee shops and food courts. These places provide a wider range of options and are more affordable compared to those found in restaurants. The ‘hawker culture’ was nominated by Singapore’s National Heritage Board (NHB), National Environment Agency (NEA) and Federation of Merchants’ Associations Singapore for inscription into UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2018.

Given the benefits of being a PR in this little red dot, the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority of Singapore (ICA) receives plenty of applications. However, the authority only grants between 25,000 to 35,000 PR applications per year, down from about 80,000 in 2008. Furthermore, the application process can be very tedious, given the amount of paperwork that has to be done. It can be very intimidating for people who want to start afresh in a new country.

Yet, local immigration consultancy firm Paul Immigrations specialise in the application of Singapore PR. They are well-equipped with comprehensive knowledge and expertise of the application process. The firm undertakes the responsibility of applying for PR on behalf of individuals from diverse backgrounds. What makes it one of the top choices for expats is due to the high success rate over the years, with over 15,000 satisfied clients.

HOW CAN PAUL IMMIGRATIONS HELP YOU?

1.   Share Insights and Provide Expertise

Given the complexity of the application process, it can be a hassle for many applicants. The consultancy has a team of specialists with years of experience that are valuable in helping to ease the whole process significantly. At the same time, they will be able to share insights and expertise to help you attain a better chance in getting an approval.

2.   Organise ALL Necessary Documents

Any missing documents during the next step of submitting your documents through the online portal can result in an incomplete application. As the e-PR system is the only way for one to apply for SPR, an incomplete submission can result in your submission to be invalid. The specialists at Paul Immigrations will ensure that all the necessary documents are processed and delivered.

3.   Gather Additional Essential Documents

Just like an outstanding resume, additional documents that showcase your talents, strengths and contributions – including a letter of recommendation by your employer – will shine a spotlight on you for the right reasons. This can boost your chances of getting the highly sought after PR status.

4.   Write Personalised Cover Letter

It is essential for you to set your application apart from the rest of the applicants to gain the upper hand to attain an approval since ICA handles cases by the thousands. The specialised team of writers will craft the personalised cover letters, using your strengths to help you stand out from the crowd.

5.   Lead You Throughout The Entire Process

As mentioned, the whole journey to submit the application can be tedious. A simple mistake made during the submission can deem your submission invalid. The consultancy’s specialists will help guide you through the entire process to ensure you do not miss any documents or steps along the way.

6.   Reduce Hassle & Time Wastage

It can be a waste of precious time attempting to undertake the whole process without an expert to guide you. From the paperwork to the submission, make your process a seamless and hassle-free one with the professional team at Paul Immigrations.

If you are looking for an effortless PR application, visit Paul Immigrations!

Escape Into The Night with Sustainability

We are heading into the final weekend of the year and you might be wondering if there are actually any other activities apart from all the countdown events sprouting across the island.

Yes there is. In fact, there are plenty of it. The Lite-Up Sustainability Night is one of which you should not want to miss! Held this Saturday (28 December) from 6PM to 10.30PM, the event will be themed around energy conservation.

ESCAPE ROOM

One of the main highlights of the night is the “Night at the Gallery” Eco Escape Room. You team of 4 to 8 explorers will have to travel back in time to prevent a climate apocalypse from happening. The objective of the game is to find out which year was the year of change. In order to find the answers, your team will need to solve some riddles and play some mini-games at the respective stations.

As the Escape Room is being held under a pitch dark environment, adequate safety briefing was given by the staffs before players embark on their journey. Each team will be provided with a game bag where you can find 2 torchlights and a map to help you navigate.

MAP IT OUT: Rebecca with the map that will be given to each group.
SERIOUS DISCUSSION: The team trying to figure out the answer of a riddle, in order to proceed to their next challenge.

Thanks to organisers, we managed to get a hand-on to the Escape Room and we can proudly say that we managed to solve all the riddles and eventually found the answer to the main question. Amazingly, we did it quite fast and learn a lot of knowledge regarding conservation efforts in Singapore, as well as how we as an individual can do our part in saving Mother Earth!

Registration is free and limited slots are available for the Escape Room! Sign up now HERE!

LED BOTTLE LAMP WORKSHOP

Apart from the exciting Escape Room, there is also a meaningful LED Bottle Lamp Workshop for you to unleash your craft skills and creativity! You will be surprised how upcycling plastic bottles can become a work of art.

All materials will be provided and it is free of charge for all participants! Limited slots are available so register now here.

My Shopping Haul on Shopee – Perfect for Running Enthusiasts!

I love online shopping, especially when it comes to buying supplements, sports equipment or apparels. Due to the fact that I am serving the nation now (going to ORD soon tho), I don’t have much time to go out and shop for things that I want and need. Hence, online shopping is what I gravitate to. My closer circle of friends know how much I spent online, especially via the Liverpool FC online store (LET’S TALK ABOUT SIX, BABY). 

For runners, the second half of the year usually proved to be one of the most eventful periods on our calendars. In Singapore, most of our races seem to be held during the southwest monsoon season (June – September) and the wet inter-monsoon period (October – December). These periods provide a less-dry and humid weather, hence forming the perfect weather to run in. While preparing for the upcoming running season, I always make an effort to gear myself up with the correct supplements and equipment.

Since I don’t have the time to shop for my items from brick and mortar stores, I naturally turn to online platforms for my procurement. Shopee became the app I turned to.

The reason why I like Shopee is simple. Shopee provides a great variety of products for an affordable price, there are products that you wouldn’t find in retail shops and yet are readily available on Shopee (i.e. Himalaya Salt in boxes). The deals on Shopee is by far one of the best I’ve encountered due to the daily flash sales and sitewide vouchers (those $10 off or 10% off vouchers that you can get to use once you spent over a certain amount from that specific shop). Even though Shopee’s 9.9 Super Shopping Campaign has ended, you guys won’t be missing out as I’m excited to share my exclusive promo code, SHSEDDY, where you’ll enjoy $7 off a minimum purchase of $15! (For new users only, valid till 31st March 2020)

As Shopee follows a mobile-first approach, it means that users are able to shop on-the-go, everywhere and anywhere. I could be doing my purchase in my bunk, far out of civilisation in a land far away called Sungei Gedong, and have them delivered to my doorstep by the time I returned home over the weekends. Just how convenient it gets.


In the recently concluded 9.9 Super Shopping Day held between 27 August to 9 September, more vouchers and flash deals were made available and of course, an opportunist like me would jump on these deals and seized the moment to shop! I got most of my items from Shopee Mall, which hosts official brands and top sellers like Optimum Premium and Compressport. These brands and sellers can be identified through the label with the wording ‘Mall’ on both their profile and product page. This is definitely a great way to shop because it helps to ensure that you are dealing with 100% authenticity! So since I’ve made quite a number of purchases this time round, I would like to share with you what a typical runner like myself would buy online.

A screenshot of a cell phone

Description automatically generated

It took a few days for all my items to arrive. It’s considered quite fast already and they all arrived in good condition. I am quite surprised by that big parcel I received because I didn’t expect one of the items to come with that.

A picture containing indoor, floor, table, sitting

Description automatically generated
A screenshot of a cell phone

Description automatically generated

I like how I could track my orders via the Shopee app.

1. Doctor’s Best Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM with OptiMSM ($23.80)

Because I suffered a knee injury (knee effusion, to be exact) weeks back, I was recommended to take glucosamine. There are also online articles which also discussed the usage of glucosamine and chondroitin in supplementing our joint health. 

Glucosamine is an amino sugar produced by your body that can be found in the cartilage. Chondroitin forms a crucial part of the cartilage and it helps to cushion joints against compression. 

According to an article by Liz Applegate on Runners’ World, ‘orthopedists and other physicians have increasingly advised patients to take both glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate to ease the inflammation and pain of osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint condition caused by overuse, traumatic injury, or old age.’

Since I have inflammation in my knee, there is no harm for me to try this supplement to help me recover quicker from my injury and return on the roads soon.

2. Compressport Pro Racing Socks V3.0 Ultralight Run High ($17.40)

Despite being a runner for 5 years, I only have a pair of running-specific socks. The reason why I would prefer going on the roads with running socks instead of the normal ones is that running socks provide a better support for your foot every step you take. 

This pair of Compressport PRS V3.0 Ultralight Run High socks are designed to provide maximum support to the feet, perfect moisture management, ultra-lightness and superior comfort. Exactly the few characteristics of the perfect pair of socks I am looking for. Furthermore, it comprises of 360° slight compression band arch support, which prevents the socks from sliding down. Most importantly, it stimulates venous, hence delivering more tonicity to every stride.

Being knitted with fast-drying fibres, the socks dry very quickly so it prevents the runner from having wet feet. This is a welcoming feature especially if you have a sweaty foot situation like me and have to bear with it for the rest of the half-marathon/full marathon races.

I’ve yet to try it out for a run due to my ongoing injury, but I’ve tried wearing it casually. It does feel lightweight and very comfortable even when walking for hours.

Compressport is the apparel sponsor for this year’s Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon.

3. Sport Breathable Knee Guard Protector Support Brace Pad ($3.49)

Before I continue to write on, I need to add a claim that this is no branded knee guard protector. This is just a normal knee sleeve.

Knee sleeves are designed to protect the knees from any risk of future injuries or damages. For those who put their knees under great pressure – like runners – it is important to have such protection. Because knee sleeves act like a compression around your knee, it helps to increase blood flow and reduces pain during and after working out. A combination of compression and improved blood circulation would aid better recovery.

Because I don’t want to aggravate my knee pain, I am currently wearing this knee sleeve on my injured knee on a daily basis in order to prevent any pressure acting up on the same knee. It has been good so far and I will see how much I have improved once I returned for a recovery jog this weekend.

4. Sports Armband for iPhone/Samsung ($4.90)

Nothing fancy, just a normal sports armband to keep my phone in place when I am running. I am someone who cannot seem to be separated from my phone, even when I am on the roads. I need to rely on my playlist to keep my pace constant and motivate me further down the miles. A tight and sturdy armband would be sufficient for me as long as my phone doesn’t dangle and makes me feel uncomfortable during my run.

I got this armband because I lost my previous one, and I could complain to you all day long how much of a hassle it is to hold my phone while running.

5. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey ($29.90)

Should I say this is my favourite piece of loot I’ve gotten from this 9.9 sale? 

Whey protein is the liquid part of milk that separates during cheese production. And if you think you’ve yet to have seen whey protein before, it’s that layer of liquid floating on top when you peeled a fresh carton of yoghurt. Protein shake is not exclusive to bodybuilders or gym-goers, runners also take in their share of protein. The reason is simple: since whey protein is a complete protein and a great source of branch-chained amino acids (BCAAs), it helps in fueling the muscle and stimulating protein synthesis. 

As endurance athletes, runners tend to have their muscles broken down and this results in micro-tears forming, damaging the muscle as a result. In order for the affected muscle to be repaired to become stronger and faster, anabolism needs to occur. Anabolism refers to a metabolic pathway that repairs these muscle fibres and stimulates muscle growth. Our body requires energy and nutrients for the anabolic process to occur, a lack of it will result in the body ‘eating’ its own muscle to supply itself with the energy required, leading to a process called catabolism. Catabolism might sound good for runners who are afraid of building too much muscle mass, however it must be noted that catabolism further weakens your muscle fibre, hence slowing down the process of post-run recovery.

As whey is the fastest digesting form of protein, it is the ideal way to increase the amino acid level in the blood and hence preventing catabolism from happening and increase the speed of recovery. A study in Nutrients published in 2018 stated that although protein supplementation does not alter recovery within the first 24 hours after a marathon, it does change the runner’s perception of fatigue and muscle soreness over the next 72 hours. Indeed, whey protein is crucial for post-race recovery.

Since I’ll need to take more care of myself and my recovery over the next 2 months leading to Singapore Marathon, I will make it an effort to swallow a bottle of whey protein post-run to ensure faster recovery and readiness for the next training.

You can catch the full unboxing video here:

What are you waiting for?! Grab all your running essentials on Shopee. Don’t forget to use my exclusive promo code SHSEDDY to receive $7 off a minimum spending of $15! (For new users only, valid till 31st March 2020)

A screenshot of a cell phone

Description automatically generated

And hey! Shopee 11.11 Big Sale is coming too! From today to 11 November, you will get to enjoy free shipping on over 15 million products with 10% cashback all-day vouchers and 20% flash cashback vouchers with no minimum spend for the entire period!

ORD Farewell Address to Unit

23 September, 2019

Good morning CO 1AMB, various depot KAH, fellow batchmates and 1AMBians,

It has been 586 days since the first day I stepped into 1AMB. That sounds like a very long period of time. Yes, indeed, I ain’t going to lie. It felt so great yet surreal to be standing here right now, looking at all my batchmates in front of me, on the verge of completing our 2-year service.

We were once recruits, taking the ferry – some for the very first time – to the resort called Tekong. It was a moment of mixed feelings because we knew a little too much of what is expected of us during BMT.

Some of us were excited, maybe because you get to live your dream as a character in your First-Person Shooter game, living in barracks, holding a gun.

Some of us were overwhelmed, maybe because you watched too much Ah Boys to Men and were afraid to be tekan by your sergeants, signing extras, doing unlimited sets of 20 push-ups.

Some of us were clueless and emotionless but because this is a process of growing up as a Singaporean son, you have had no choice but to report for enlistment.

I was the third kind of recruit. I knew it was my duty as a citizen to train, to protect, to fight for what’s around me – my parents, my friends, my people, and the foundation this country is being built upon. I remember sitting by window seat, looking out to the vast sea, allowing the rhythm of the crashing wave accompany me through the journey while envisioning my military life over the next two years.

Fast forward a month later, I found myself in OETI, training to be an armour technician. I have no clue, no clue at all why I was placed there. I graduated with a Diploma in Chinese Media & Communication, it has nothing to do with science, nor engineering. I felt out of place when my peers seems rather confident in answering questions by our instructors. I was the most clueless person, no doubt.

Yet, thankfully, my peers were all very helpful. They showed me their notes and even explained to me of concepts that I was unsure of. It is camaraderie shown by them that helped me get hold of the basic concepts, that helped me through this rather steep learning curve. Without them, it wouldn’t be possible for me to be trained in 3 different platforms – Bionix, Bronco and Leopard. Without them, I would be overwhelmed by the theory and concepts so stranger to me. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to bring home the honour of being the Best Recruit.

On a very significant 15 February last year, I came into 1AMB as a fresh graduate from OETI. The month ahead was another period of settling down and adjusting to another new environment – our 3rd new environment in less than 6 months.


Gedong was a whole new place to me. When I thought Tekong was far enough, I never expect Gedong was so much further. The road to Gedong is depressing, I think we all agree with that. There was no scenery at all, no vast sea, no sounds of the crashing waves. All that were left were spooky cemeteries, remnants of the old Neo Tiew Estate and rows and rows of plantation.

As much as how Gedong might seems depressing at the first glance, it turns out to be the main highlight of my 2 years in service.

This is where I learnt more about the Leopard Main Battle Tank through the regulars who are so willing to pass on their knowledge to us.

This is where I forged closer bonds with my batchmates, supporting each other during times of need. We worked together, played together, got scolded together, clean our bunks together and even nights out together.

This is where I was given the opportunity to be grow and be nurtured into a section commander, a leader to lead my men towards the betterment of our depot.

This is where all of us fought together day and sometimes, night, to maintain or even improve our vehicle turnover rate, to support our combatant counterparts in all their trainings and exercises.

This is where my mentors and friends are and I am thankful for them to walk this journey with me.

To the new OJE guys, this is just the beginning of your life as an armour technician. Learn whatever you can and do whatever you could. Serve with pride and loyalty. Though we might not be like the combatants, driving the vehicles out for battle or engaging the enemy face to face. But keep this in mind, each vocation is like our body part, and only when they work together, the body could function.

For without the hull mechanics, there will be no chance the vehicle could move out for battle.

For without the turret mechanics, we will not be able to engage the enemy and deter them with a display of our firepower.

For without the comms technicians, we will not be able to sustain a proper channel for communication during battle.

Every vocation, and every single one of you counted. I once told my fellow batchmates that no matter where you are from, you pledged your loyalty to the flag. No matter who your boss, your superior is, you work not for them but for the uniform you are wearing. No matter which unit you are supporting, you are involved in the defence capability of the state. This is your country and mine, and we play our individual parts

I know how tough it is to adjust to a military lifestyle – the discipline and regimentation. Some of you are still struggling with it till today, but it is normal. I understand because I’ve been through all these.

But remember, when you walked through a storm, hold your head up high, and don’t be afraid of the dark;

Walk on through the wind, walk on through the rain, though your dreams will be tossed and blown.

Walk on, walk on, with your hope in your heart, and You’ll Never Walk Alone.

Now turn to your buddy to the left and right side of you and say, “Thank you for being here with me, and we will survive this together.”

I hope you guys will carry this battalion on, bring out your fighting spirit and always strive for your best. For loyalty, honour and a willing heart.

And this is 3SG Eddy signing off.

And to my fellow batchmates, ORD loh.

When A Bachelorette Party Goes Wrong

A bachelorette party is a party that is being held in honour of a woman who is about to get married. Thanks to Hollywood’s depiction, we tend to view such events as an evening of alcohol and to some extent, debauchery. It supposed to be a fun and thrilling night (depending on your definition) and everyone ought to enjoy themselves to the fullest.

But what if, things did not go as planned? Here comes THE JUGULAR VEIN,  written by seasoned in-house playwright James Thoo and directed by veteran theatre performer Kamil Haque. The Jugular Vein a one-act play about a group of women on a bachelorette night who, over the course of the evening, come to realise that they don’t all like each other as much as they thought. Tension builds, tempers begin to flare, and before long the entire situation breaks down into all-out anarchy.

This play is presented by The Haque Collective, a crowdfunded theatre troupe which prides itself in providing the opportunities for deserving talented and dedicated performers whose chances are limited due to their background, experience, vague ethnicity or appearance.

While there are a lot of plays or shows produced in Singapore with roles for women, few offer the range of characters or the breadth of definition to allow an actress to do their most interesting work. The Jugular Vein, features four strong female roles (portrayed by Stephanie Bovis, Nadia Dayan, Aiswarya Nair and Jolene Wong) with no male roles. The four characters may all be wives and one of them is a mother, but this is not the thing that defines them as people.

If you are ready to witness drama and splendid acting skills, be sure not to miss this play! GET YOUR TICKETS HERE.

THE JUGULAR VEIN
When: 19th, 20th September 2019 @ 8pm; 21st, 22nd September 2019 @ 3pm & 8pm
Where: CENTRE 42, BLACK BOX – 42 Waterloo Street, Singapore 187951
Price: SGD40

Race Review: Sundown Marathon 2019 (Half-Marathon)

Remember the day when I was notified that I got my hands on the winning ticket to Sundown Marathon? I attended the launch and fast forward 7 months later, I was starting the half-marathon race right beside Soh Rui Yong. For a non-professional (or I should put it — amateur) runner, it was a dream come true to start ahead together with the seasoned runners.

LEAD UP TO THE RACE

Before I start talking about what happened during race day, I shall share a bit about the lead up to the event. I took part in 2 of their lead-up runs on Saturdays with the pacers from Running Department. From the two runs, I had actually kind of guessed how I would finish my run. The first run, where we supposed to do 15km, was a terrible one. I would hardly complete 8KM without feeling the urge to give up. I eventually decide to end my run after crossing the 12KM mark because I was completely exhausted. I thought to myself, with the race coming in about 2 months time, that should not be the stamina that I should possess.

A few weeks later came the second run I wasn’t sure how much I could do that day so I just told myself to take it easy and follow the 7:07 pacers, staying at a consistent speed instead of going for a fast start. Surprisingly, I managed to go 18KM without really stopping. I took a look on my watch and realised I was going at 7:00 flat – my fastest constant speed ever.

GETTING WARMED UP FOR THE BIG DAY: We gathered together at the 3rd Train with Pacer and the first evening session for a 18KM/21KM run. (Photo: Running Dept)

The good thing about having the training session in the evening is that I can roughly gauge how I will perform on the actual night itself. For some reason, our body is programmed to work differently in the different time of the day. For a night owl like me, I tend to perform slightly better when running at night than running before daybreak.

RACE PACK COLLECTION

The Race Pack Collection and Expo was held on 24-26 May at Sands Expo & Convention Centre. I went down to help Justin and myself collect our race pack on the afternoon of the 26th. Because I had a few errands to run that day, I was hoping that the collection would be swift. To my surprise, there was hardly anyone at the queue so the entire process took pretty fast. Maybe it was already the last day and everyone else probably had collected theirs on Friday and Saturday.

Of course the race pack was not the only thing I brought home. At the expo, I was looking out for two items: restocking my energy gel stash and a small portable speaker. Thank God I was about to get those in discounted price at the expo.

And hey, guess who I saw in the Sundown Marathon edition of the RUN Magazine! It’s Eugene and Sofie — the creators of adidasRunnersSG.

RACE DAY

Race day finally came on 1 June. And guess what else fell on the same day? CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL! And who is in the final? LIVERPOOL FC! It is not every time when you run your marathon on the same day as your team playing in a continental cup final.

In preparation for this memorable night, I decided to race in the 2019/20 Liverpool Goalkeeper Home Kit. The black and gold kit is one of the best jersey New Balance has came out with since signing as the club’s shirt sponsor some 4 seasons ago.

Had a good 6 hours of sleep in the afternoon before heading out at around 8pm. It is important to have adequate rest before a race at night because you don’t want to crash halfway along the route. I am always a fan of night runs but the problem of night runs is that it will somehow mess up my sleeping schedule. But obviously, I am fine with it.

I reached the race village at around 9pm, meeting up with Eugene, Terrence and the rest of the adidias Runners/The High Panters runners at their meeting point. Justin came to meet up with me slightly afterwards. He was taking part in the full marathon event with one of his Sirs from his department. He was telling me how he was not as prepared for the race as compared to Singapore Marathon last year. Yet, I remember telling him that he got the full marathon experience and he definitely trained more frequently than me so he will perform well.

BEFORE THE RACE: Justin and I before we parted ways to enter our respective starting pit.
THE EXCITEMENT BUILDS UP: Everyone was very excited lingering around the race village while wanting for the race to begin.
FUELLING BEFORE THE RUN: Food stores were set up for those who wanted some proper fuelling before and after the run. It proved to be the go-to place for many who stayed back to watch the Champions League final match and Muslim who needs to have the suhoor meal before daybreak.
HYDRATION: Hydration points set up by the Official Hydration Partner Pocari Sweat at the race village.

Making my way towards the starting pen, I witness the excitement that was in every participant prior to the flag off. Everyone was eager to start. While some were busy updating their social accounts (uh-hum I was one of the guilty party), some were focusing on doing their warm-ups. Okay, to be fair to me, I did my warm up when I was outside.

It is not a common scene to see me thrown right at the front of the starting pen so there was some excitement building up within me. Yes, I was eager to start as well but I was more mesmerised by the feeling of being pitched at the starting line alongside Soh Rui Yong and Matthew Smith. That’s some once in a lifetime moment that I couldn’t forget. Ok, maybe if I trained hard enough, I would also be able to compete at this level in 10 years time.

There was some delay to the flag off because the organisers were still trying to get the routes cleared of any obstacles. While those who started from the first pen did not actually feel the effect of the delays, those who were starting from the subsequent pen did — as reflected from the negative feedbacks gathered during and after the race on social media. There were reported delay of 30 minutes which definitely affected those who had signed up for the shuttle service at 0300 and 0430.

To be very honest, having the shuttle service at 0300 when the scheduled flag off time was at 2330. Take note that participants are being pushed out in waves, so by the time the last wave started the race, it could have been 0000. And given those who started last could only finish the half-marathon race in another 2hrs 45mins and beyond, having the shuttle service at 0300 means that they will be rushing from the finishing point to the pick up point, praying that there was no bottleneck and enough time was given for them to take a ‘I’ve-completed-this-race’ photoshoot.

You might argue that they could have chosen the 0430 service. Some people would rather rush than to wait another hour and a half idling and doing nothing — especially if you ain’t a football fan. The shuttle bus could have been scheduled at a half-an-hour interval. I believe that would be a more convenient way for most of the runners.

STARTING POINT: Not every time I could pose right behind the starting point.

After a good 15-20 minutes of delay and the wonderful host trying to keep everyone’s spirit going, the routes were cleared for flag-off. Once we were flagged off, I looked at Rui Yong who spirited off within that nano-second. I tried to pace him for the first 10 seconds before I realised that I’ve depleted most of my energy going at my fastest pace. It was a speed that I was not comfortable and familiar with. That was mistake number 1. I slowed down but still going on at my faster than usual pace. Mistake number 2.

FLAG OFF!: Everyone sprinted the moment the horn was blasted and I went dangerously fast as well. (Photo: Sundown Marathon)

I eventually passed the finishing line 2hrs 38mins later. The good thing about this race was that I didn’t stop for toilet break because I wanted to test how fast I could go without stopping. I did stop and walk because of the inconsistent pace from the beginning. It was evident at the 15th and 19th KM that my pace slowed to a walking pace. I was dead exhausted and my right toe was feeling some cramps. This was obviously not my best race and my search for a sub-2h30mins continues.

While I did stop for water points, I suspected I had spent a little more time trying to swallow my drinks before I carried on running. Anyway, speaking about hydration, there was complaints from most runners (especially those full marathon runners) that some of the hydration points ran out of water before the end of the race. Hence, many of them had to carry on with the race with minimal hydration.

For a race that has been on the local running calendar for years, it is unacceptable for hydration points to even run out of water. I mean, look, hydration is the most basic and important aspect of an organised run. You wouldn’t want someone to pass out due to dehydration during the course of the race. Participants need a wall paced out hydration regime along the way to keep their body going and running out of water is the most ridiculous of all.

Hopefully in the next edition of Sundown, we would see better handling of logistics from the organiser. For example, they could have send for replenishment of refreshments when they realised that stocks are low instead of waiting for things to run out before everyone starts to panic.

Back to some positive points for this race. I need to admit that I loved the creativity behind the design of the finisher medal this year. Can turn one, not bad. At least I could take it out of my medal cabinet and start spinning the medal if I am bored at home.

I took a rest by the road side before limping my way to the main stage for the second event of the night — the live telecast of the Champions League Final. Brought to us by bein Sports, it was technically the highlight of the night apart from the main race events. Kudos for the organisers to bring the telecast live at the race village!

To be honest, I was excited but scared as well. After bottling our chance in Kiev against the mighty Real Madrid last season, I was afraid we might lose this one again. As much as I love Klopp, his track record in cup finals was worrisome. But in Klopp we trust. Also, I do see us having a better chance against Spurs after the stunning performance that saw us coming back against Barcelona from 3-0 down to win the second leg and in aggregate. We could believe again.

Within the first minute, Salah scored through a penalty won after Mane’s cross was blocked by Sissoko’s arm in the 6-yard box. 1-0. And that prompted an electrifying cheer from the Liverpool fans around me. Game on!

It was a nervous 86 mins before Origi’s strike sealed the victory. Origi has been phenomenal for Liverpool this season although he had only made 20 appearances all season. The 96th minute goal that won us the points against Everton. The 2 goals that sunk the unstoppable Barcelona in the second leg of Champions League semi-finals at Anfield. And now, he had just scored the goal that confirmed Liverpool’s 6th European trophy.

By the time the final whistle was blown, I was nearly in tears. I have never witness Liverpool winning a major trophy since supporting the team in 2006 (Yes, I don’t watch football when I was young until FIFA World Cup 2006 happened). The jubilation was unmatched by any sporting victory I have ever witness. I was so touched to witness this significant moment of a club I loved so dearly and for supporters like me who went through one of the most difficult times the club has ever endure during the turn of the decade (cue Roy Hodgson and the era of Tom Hicks and George Gillet), such moment at the pinnacle of European football was very much of a bittersweet moment for all of us.

Well, Liverpool’s run for their 6th European title taught me one very important lesson, as long as you believe in yourself and work hard, even the impossible can become possible.

Now, it’s time for me to get ready for Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2019. I will be working towards a PB for my second ever full marathon race.

Makeup Guide: Finding the Right CC Cream

CC creams help in correcting complexions, so you can achieve that flawless look. But, how many times did you end up buying the wrong CC cream? Let’s face it – looking for the right one isn’t as easy as most people think. In most cases, you end up with a few misses before you land the right product.

Here’s the big question – how do you choose the right product to match your skin? If you’re wondering the same thing, this post is for you. Know how to find the right CC cream online with this quick guide:

Identify Your Skin Type

Different products react to different skin types. If you have oily skin, choosing a CC cream with a matte finish may be the best option for you. If your skin is prone to being flay or dry, better go with a product that has a moisturizing ingredient. In any case, before choosing a CC cream, it’s best to determine your skin type. This will help you find the right formula for your makeup.

Don’t Hesitate to Ask for Opinion

Looking for the right CC cream shouldn’t be a task you do alone. It pays to have help. Ask for suggestions from close friends who may have tried a specific brand. You can also look at online reviews to see what popular products are out there.

Consider the Coverage for Application

One thing you have to understand about CC creams is they tend to have thinner formulations than your regular BB cream. This means you will have to consider the coverage when applying the product. If you’re looking for complete coverage, almost all CC creams can provide you with this.

Look for Products with SPF

The sun can be unkind to the skin, which is why you need to choose CC cream products that have a good amount of sun protection factor (SPF). Go for products with SPF 30. Otherwise, you need to apply sunscreen before anything else.

Time to Shop for Your CC Cream

One last tip: compare products. Take your time when browsing online cosmetic shops for your item. If anything, go over the details of your chosen products and see if these can match what your skin needs.

The above article is written by guest author Lance Sprewell.

AIA GLOW FESTIVAL

Everyone has a favourite place and mine’s always the beach. I don’t know why but I always felt at ease sitting by the beach side and hearing wave crashing. As much as I enjoy personal time by the beach, I always fantasise about being part of a beach party. The idea of everyone chilling out by the beach, listening to live bands playing the familiar tunes sounds like a perfect storyboard for a day out.

Last Saturday, together with The Fitspo People, we took part in the 5KM Charity Fun Run at the AIA Glow Festival. For every runner who completes the race, the organiser will donate $10 to children in need at the Children’s Wishing Well. The AIA Glow Festival fits the definition of my perfect day out.

Beach? Checked.
Live bands? Checked.

And on top of that, it’s a fitness event! I enjoy being part of any festival/event that promotes health and wellness and sports. Hence a combination of both kind of events just makes me feel so at ease and this was one of the rare moments that I could really forget about all my worries and relax myself. There was no PB to worry about, there was no work to ponder about. I just let my mind went into relaxation mode.

While the fun run segment supposed to flag off at 4pm, most of us reached the venue slightly later than the timing. Some of us managed to run together with the rest of the participants in waves, the rest just OTOT start the run after the last wave had been pushed out. Shuen, Reb and I were the last few from FPAC to start the run because we arrived a little too late. Yet, the thrills and fun of running in Sentosa was never diminished. The scenery was equally breathtaking, the hills were equally deadly, the sun was equally scorching and the energy level was high.

I went off on my own after I took this video from my Instagram Story. I want to explore one of the running route that I’ve been wanting to try at my own pace – the slow yet comfortable one. I’ve been to Sentosa quite a few times and I’d be lying if I claimed not to be tempted by runners speeding past me along Siloso Beach. The place is as attractive – if not, more attractive – than East Coast Park but the downside is that Sentosa is just too out of the way for me.

I ended up completing the course of the run (which is around 4.3km instead of 5km) within 30 minutes. I couldn’t have ask for a better timing given how bad my stamina and performance is these days. Alright, this is supposed to be a fun run so no talking about form and performance right here.

We gathered back at our meeting spot for a photo before everyone left for their own post-run activities.

Not everyone who was present was in the photo but nevertheless, it was great to see new faces joining us. Even though some of them might be joining us one-off, but it is still a good thing. FPAC really grew from like a 5-person squad into a relatively sizeable community. It started with Viv, Mish, Charmz, Yapz and I during Sundown Marathon 2016 and we ended up expanding and welcoming new friends like Justin, Shuen, Jaslyn and Zongwei.

I am very touched every time when I heard people coming forward to say that they wanted to challenge their limit or indicate their new found interest in running – for example Shuen and Zongwei. Reb ended up liking Orienteering after I invited her to represent us for a ranking league upon invitation from the Orienteering Federation of Singapore. It is heartening to see people who never really run in their life, eventually attempted and completed their first 10km run, motivating each other along the way. On the other end of the spectrum, we have Justin, Farhan and I motivating one another for a good 42km timing.

Breaking physical and mental barrier is one thing, providing the support for each other is one thing, providing the support for each other and promoting active lifestyle is another and those are the most important objectives, I feel. To be honest, I had thoughts about ditching this little project along the way because our schedules made it impossible for us to meet up for weekly runs. But eventually I thought, why not just let this little community slowly builds up and even if we do not meet, we could still cheer on and encourage each other on fitness and maybe, performance.

On a personal level, I felt that we are constantly being introduced to unhealthy living habits as we grow up in today’s society. Junk food adverts are omnipresent, giving us – me alike – the impression of the ‘need’ to reward ourselves after a day or a week of constant overworking. I’ve been trying hard to get myself out of the perpetual cycle of indulging in unhealthy lifestyle, only to find the motivation depleting day by day. Coming to the Glow Festival, I found that huge motivation that I need. Witnessing people from all walks of life coming together to sweat it out, improve their fitness and renewing their vitality, I realised that the best way to reward yourself after a day/week at work is to rejuvenate your body and provide your body with the best nutrients to keep functioning.

BALANCING MY LIFE: Trying out my yoga moves because I see so many people doing yoga-inspired photoshoot around me.
LOOKING BACK: Ok, err… I just want to show off the back of FPAC’s singlet. That’s all.

I don’t know when I’ll be back on track for my fitness and wellness, but I hope that the good vibes I get from AIA Glow Festival will carry me through the next stage of my life.

On Voyeurism, the Law & Internet Vigilantism

On that very day I touched down in Singapore after a gruelling 3-weeks away from home, the internet gets a little happening. All of a sudden, screenshots of what seems to be written in a fit of rage by a young lady on her Instagram Story were circulating around, taking up a considerable percentage of my Facebook feed. Never have I felt so overwhelmed by online lashing and long commentary posts since GE2017. Fatigued by the long hours of flight, I admit I did not spend a single second looking through any of the screenshots nor the long memo written by my ‘friends’ on Facebook.

As if the power of social media never meet its end, once the fire spreads, it spreads far and wild. Within the next 24 hours, it became a huge saga. Everyone was talking about it. There is no need for me to provide a back story or, even, give an introduction of Ms. Monica Baey to whoever who is reading this right now. In the midst of all the rage and allegations, whether towards individuals or organisations, let me try to make things a bit more rational.

The Prevalence of Voyeurism

The reason why everyone was furious is simple: the punishment dishes out against a perpetrator of a sexual-related crime is inadequate and seems unconventional to many. Filmed someone bathing, wrote a letter, suspended for a semester and wrap up the incident as it never happened before. This is not kindergarten or primary school where you can get away with almost everything just by expressing your apologies. As grown-ups, we are accountable for our actions. We should know that with every action, comes along its consequences. Moreover, an apology is not adequate for a crime that could possibly leave a deep emotional scar on a young person that she might have to live with it for the rest of her life. What could be a moment of satisfaction to your libidinal impulses might distress the other party forever. As an NUS undergraduate, Nicholas Lim should have known better.

It is not the first time NUS has faced public scrutiny. Three years ago, the university’s orientation programme was rightfully accused for being risqué. This is not an argument whether we remained a conservative country despite claiming otherwise, nor it is an allegation directed at any specific group of people, but the issue of morality. What is the university’s stand on morality? If the ‘second strike and you are out‘ policy is regarded as the standard of discipline even under such context, I think the outrages are justifiable. I am not saying that people do not require a second chance but the severity of the crime dictates the severity of the punishment. If a crime deemed emotionally destructive to the victim, then I guess the punishment needs to be served on par. A suitable punishment is not a tit-for-tat reaction but should trigger an action that will serve as a reminder and deterrence to others.

The lack of proper channels for redressing might be a factor in the prevalence of voyeuristic act in NUS over the past 3 academic years. In a series of reports on the Board of Discipline cases, there were at least 20 reported cases on insult/outrages of modesty since 2015. The following includes selected screenshots from the said documents:

As you can see, filming of others showering seemed to take up the majority of such incidents on campus. The punishment was relatively consistent in almost all cases: a suspension, a Letter of Apology to the victim, counselling and an official reprimand. All the cases, up till the one involving Ms. Baey, seems to be swept under the carpet after the punishment has been dished out. There was basically no mention of these incidents via any medium, as far as I know, over these years.

The surfacing of this saga brought out this very critical issue that hunts the university, and perhaps, the society, for years. What could be the reason(s) which cultivates such an act of indecency? The upbringing of the perpetrators, where they are not given a proper lesson to respect anyone of their mother’s gender? The over-consumption of lewd materials which led to the loss of self-control over their lascivious thoughts that they got confused between the fictitious storyline and reality? The masculinist environment they were so comfortable with, where disrespectful catcalls and remarks towards women were made, thinking that it was alright?

There are endless probabilities. Whether or not who takes the blame is not of the fundamental concern, the society as a whole ought to play a role in bringing down and discourage such acts from happening time and again. Actions from the authorities need to be substantial enough to pay justice to the damage done, yet finding the balance not to go all out and destroy the future of the perpetrator. It is the same how we treat murderers (who were spared the noose) – give them the second life once they have repaid for their crime.

The Law

The government has already put in place plans to criminalise voyeurism. Following a Penal Code Review Committee proposal last August, the first reading of the Criminal Law Reform Bill conducted in February this year stated that ‘the production, possession and distribution of voyeuristic recordings, regardless of the victim’s gender’, will be criminalised. In a joint press statement released by the Ministries of Law and Home Affairs, it stated that this was a move to ‘better address cases of upskirt photography and the circulation of such images’. The second reading of the Bill is expected to happen sometime next month.

Before we start to question why did it take so long for the government to finally take actions on such insidious act, there is currently a section on the Penal Code which briefly provided the recommended punishment for perpetrators. Section 509 of the Penal Code states that ‘Whoever, intending to insult the modesty of any woman, utters any word, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen by such woman, or intrudes upon the privacy of such woman, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both‘.

Furthermore, by entering the premises of the female toilet, he could be charged with criminal trespass, which could mean a punishment with maximum 3 months imprisonment, or with fine up to $1,500, or with both (Section 447 of the PC). In other words, had Ms. Baey been given the proper advice, she could have gone on to pursue the matter immediately last November. Even under the current law in place, Nicholas Lim would not have served such a lenient sentence.

This afternoon, the Singapore Police Force released their statement with regards to the matter:

I would like to applaud the SPF for clarifying the issue, especially with the criminal procedure that precedes over it and the very-much-sought-after identity of Nicholas Lim’s parents (I will touch on this separately later). Yet, using the level of remorse as a basis to decide the severity of punishment will undoubtedly give the wrong impression to others that sexual harassment and anti-moral crimes like this warrant nothing but a weak condemnation. Will this, therefore, act as a motivation to would-be perpetrators? Will this, therefore, instil fear towards hall life, something which was supposed to be a convenience to many students, knowing that they might end up becoming one of the victims one day? We are living in a presumably first-world country – a progressed society – where such a feeling of insecurity over one’s modesty and dignity should not even arise in the first place. Surely, none of us wishes to regress to such a state.

Therefore, I would like to humbly and briefly propose a set of countermeasures in the light of this saga, hoping that such incidents would be better handled and managed in the future. (If it has already been implemented, or if you have better suggestions, please let me know.)

1. Commission an official Sex Offence Unit

I derived this idea from the Specialist Sex Offences Unit, under the Office of Public Persecution of Victoria, Australia. The closest we have currently is the Sexual Assault Care Centre by AWARE, but it focuses more on sexual assault and rape. The Sex Offences Unit could be a joint-agency initiative by the Ministry of Social & Family Development, the Ministry of Law and the Attorney-General Chamber.

The main purpose of such a unit is to provide a mean of support for any sexual offence victims, be it of voyeurism, sexual assault or rape. Specialists will provide legal advice, legal aids and psychological counselling to these victims. This is to ensure that they will receive holistic support during a tough time. This will also help make sure that perpetrators will be brought to task eventually.

2. To set up a reporting centre/hotline for sexual crimes in universities and colleges

While many expect school counsellors to do the job, it is not widely publicised. Students should be aware that they should seek help immediately after realising that they had become the victim of sexual crime. Facilities like the in-campus University Counselling Services (UCS) should offer services to attend to these victims on first hand either through a reporting centre or a reporting hotline. Such a service will offer both psychological and legal support to the victim, relatively similar to the proposed Sex Offence Unit above.

Furthermore, students should be encouraged to report any sexual crimes that they know of, including voyueristic crime, to the authorities via the reporting centre or hotline. An investigation will then have to be conducted based and the results will be published under the Board of Discipline cases – as what has already been practiced.

On Internet Vigilantism

The following comments are not of direct relation to the saga but I still find the need to address it nevertheless.

It is common for people, nowadays, to take their issue to the social media in order to redress their injustice. However, things got out of hand when identity and personal information of whoever was apparently at fault or was tagged by the online community as guilty were dug out and got circulated around. Take the Caltex incident in April last year for example, the moment the post was released, people – or internet vigilantes – who sympathised with the elderly started taking things to their own hands. The personal information of the BMW driver was leaked and he was unduly harassed. In the Bike v. Lorry saga in December last year, the cyclist was not spared from the act of doxxing.

As much as I welcome the decision for Ms. Baey to come out to seek redress and cast spotlight on the loopholes of the law, the decision to publish the details of Nicholas Lim is uncalled for. The result of him being suspended by his company and led to him tendering his resignation does not translate to justice being done under such context. There is no way costing the person his career does the victim any justice.

While I believe that the guilty must be punished but only with the accordance of the law. Even if the loopholes of the law denied the appropriate punishment the guilty should be served, digging out the person’s personal information and harassment seemed like a low-blow. We can fight to seek clarity of such cases, we can fight to change the law – consultation, feedback, petition, you name it. Digging out the guilty and shame them publicly is uncalled for. What’s worst right now is that the so-called vigilante went abroad by naming and shaming the immediate family members and closed ones. To me, mob justice like that does not help with establishing justice. It feels disgusting.

Online vigilantism is not new. It could probably be traced back to 2014 when online group SMRT Ltd (Feedback) launched ‘Operation Air Kangkang’ on Sim Lim Square’s Jover Chew. The same was done against a certain Anton Casey, Amy Cheong and Quek Zhen Hao. Although I agreed to some extend that they asked for it, but it is not for the internet community to take matters on their own hand. The harassment has outdone the initial harm they have committed. Not that I sympathise with these people but which of these act to get back at them are well within limits? Yes, we could just identify the person, gather his/her crimes and let the authorities do the rest. Going all out to destroy a person and harassing their closed ones makes you no less than a devil.

The government has proposed to criminalise doxxing – a decision I very much welcome. As part of a review to the Protection of Harassment Act (POHA), the act of publishing identifiable information about a person to harass, cause violence or fear of violence to the person will be chargeable. Other offences can be view below:

Doxxing is not the only thing that came out of online vigilante. Attacking people online for having a different viewpoint are becoming more prevalent. Comments like ‘I hope you’ll say the same thing if it happens to your daughter’, ‘Why are you defending NUS’ and ‘Spoken like someone who had the privilege of not having suffered the indignity of this crime’ makes you rethink the attitude and open-mindedness of some of our countrymen. People tend to bare the ‘If you are not with us, you are against us’ mentality. They are triggered by comments that do not go by what they have perceived themselves to accept. Even by saying this, I ain’t no saint, I do make the same mistake as well. I had quarrels with friends before on issues where we stood on a different side. It came with a price – the friendship. Yet, I feel that our society can perform much more mature than that. When can we be more rational about things? And instead of making criticism, when can we start making suggestions and be the catalyst of change? Substantial actions are still better than online arguments.

Running for A Cause: SCS-TalkMed Relay for Life 2019

I’ve been participating in quite a few running events over the past few years, but never had I been part of a relay team. I didn’t expect running in a relay would be so much fun.

On the night 2 days before Christmas, I was strolling through my Facebook feed (what’s new), that I came across this post on Relay For Life. Organised by the Singapore Cancer Society since 2017, the event aims to raise awareness, change behaviours, and take actions and to raise fund for the fight for cancer. Something strikes me that I have to rally my Fitspo People kaki to take part in this relay.

It was around the same period when I experience how much of a devil cancer is. The heartless illness takes the dearest ones away from people. One of my aunts was a victim of cancer, she succumbed to the illness some decade and a half ago. Back then, I was still a little kid, all I knew was that the person who took care of me during my parents’ absence and the one who took me out to gaigai was no longer there in my life anymore. I remembered how much I couldn’t handle the news of her passing. It wasn’t easy for anyone to handle such news, let alone a 7-year-old kid. In the recent year, I have also seen how my close friends have to undergo the ordeal of losing their loved ones to cancer. It was so heartbreaking. I knew I need to do something for these people.

I took the chance to rally FPAC for this beneficial cause, and we managed to send in 9 participants to take up the 100km team challenge.

THE EXPERIENCE

On 2 March, we arrived at the National Stadium getting ready to start the relay. Farhan was our first runner. He just kept running until he was tired before our new member, Zongwei, took over. I was prepping myself to cover at least 20km during the ungodly hours so did not start until after midnight.

STARTING RIGHT: Farhan (right) covered a good >20 laps before he left us for his school project.
NEW FACE: Zongwei is the new member that joined us for this run and we hit off quite instantly!
KEEPING THE MOMENTUM GOING: Hui Shuen passing the baton to our co-captain Justin.
GOING STRONG: Viv, who’s our other co-captain, keeping the smile on her face despite how tiring the race was.
HERE YOU GO: Yapz (centre) taking over the baton from Viv as Hui Shuen (left) looks on.
SMILE ON: Our other new member, Kheng Yin, posing for photo while running past us.
NEVER SAY NEVER: Kish showing the victory sign as he speed past us!
CAPTURING THE MOMENT: My official unpaid & underrated (oops) PA helping me to capture all the moments from the race on tape.

Speaking about the vlog for this race, I wasn’t feeling well the past week so I didn’t have the chance to actually edit the vlog. But I assure that the vlog will be done up quite soon, so maybe by next weekend, we will be able to see the actual footage on what went on during the course of 12 hours.

TIME FOR SELFIE: I don’t usually take selfies like this but it’s a good occasion to do so!
TOGETHER-NESS: Really thankful for all of them for taking their time out to run for a good cause.

It could have been a gruelling 12 hours and it could have been impossible to complete the 250 laps around the track without the effort of every single one of our Fitspo People. It was them that made this race a fun one and pushes me to go on to complete my 50th round. It was the team effort that shouldn’t be undermine.

We eventually came in 161th by distance and 155th by the timing to complete 100km. Really really proud of our results.

COUPLES THAT RUNS TOGETHER, COMPLETE TOGETHER: Yapz and Kish showing off their finisher tee!
WE ARE 100KM FINISHERS: The FPAC fam posing with our finisher tees. We did it!

THE THOUGHTS

During the entire event, running wasn’t in my mind at all. I had a lot of thoughts, thoughts surrounding the endless cycle of life and death. Maybe it was because of what I kind of encounter over the past few months that I was especially emotional when I went to cover the sharing session and reading all the dedications that the participants penned on the luminaria bags.

It just hit me so hard that despite living things are made up of group of cells, yet an abnormal growth of the matter that build us ended up killing us slowly and cruelly. Images of patients last moments before the illness took the toll on them flashed across my minds, even as I was doing my laps.

I hasn’t been running long distance since my CNY run and I was feeling the ache in my tights as I increased my speed during the course of the relay. However, I told myself, what cancer victims are going/went through was much worse. I know I couldn’t do comparisons like that, but you know the point that I am trying to bring across right here. I admire their perseverance and their fighting spirit — the will to overcome their illness against all odds. Maybe Augustus Waters (of The Fault in Our Stars) was right, cancer (or any types of illness) could be that unlighted cigarette in the mouth, “cigarettes only kill when you light them… you put that killing thing right between your teeth, but you don’t give it the power to do its killing.” That was the kind of fighting spirit that somehow becomes a common trait across all the cancer patients.

In the words of Terry Fox, the renowned for his Marathon of Hope to raise money and awareness for cancer, once said, which I find it the most applicable to me at this point in time, “It took cancer to realise that being self-centered is not the way to live. The answer is to try and help others.” I always run races for the sake of bettering my records, but never had I realised that charity runs served a greater communal benefit. Personal glory seems so irrelevant when just a pair of legs and a little perseverance and rallying can change the lives of people, people whom may or may not be close to you but after all, human beings. I didn’t expect I would be running for something bigger.

This will not be the last time I am participating in a run for charitable causes. I am going to embark on more of such runs. I might really do a cross-country (like literally across the island) fundraiser, some sort of a scaled-down version of Marathon of Hope, to raise fund for cancer and maybe other illnesses like asthma (which I am a sufferer of), Alzheimer’s and geriatrics. I will leave to after my ORD to plan for these. I just hope that with that so little I could do in my capacity, I would be able to be of some help to these communities.

MOMENT OF SILENCE: A sign of respect and to remember those who’ve fought cancer.
MAY YOU SEE OUR MESSAGES: To those warriors who battled the demon with their lives, can you see our well wishes lighted up so brightly in the night skies?
PUTTING SOME THOUGHTS: Yapz, Kish and Khengs penning their thoughts and well-wishes.
BE STRONG, STAY STRONG: All the heartfelt messages by the participants.

THE GOOD

Putting all emotions aside, I guess it’s important that we give feedbacks on the planning and execution of any race. I find writing a short review for races as some form of appreciation to the organisers for their sweat, tears and sacrifices.

Overall, this race is very well organised so kudos to the Singapore Cancer Society (SCS). Growing from its inaugural relay back in 2017 at Bukit Gombak, the race grew in size and moved to the National Stadium for its second edition. 2019 saw RFL breaking the record for the longest distance (14, 849.2km) covered by a group of runners in 6hrs. Furthermore, SCS also managed to raise a total of S$1 million, a significant amount more than the S$380,000 raised last year. RFL indeed has went from strength to strength.

1. The Remember Segment

I know this is a custom throughout all the RFL across the world but I find it very meaningful that all of us could take a moment out to remember those who fought so bravely against the illness and to give support to their families. There is really very little thing we could do for those actually feeling the pain. Some people felt the pain in the wounds, others in the heart.

Furthermore, the sharing sessions by cancer patients and their family members gave many insights on how it is to fight to illness as an individual and as a family. I could have sat in front of the stage to listen to the stories but I guess there will be better time in the future when my emotions do not get in the way.

2. Side activities to keep participants motivated

There were zumba and I could remember Henry (radio DJ from 933) being forced to dance as well. That was some light hearted moment during that evening. I recall how I could still hear the music from the zumba or some fitness dance while I was during my laps. It does really keep the participants going especially when most of us are feeling the tiredness kicking in later that night.

THE BAD

Of course, despite all the positivities, there are the bad points I personally feel that it requires some highlight.

1. Open more lanes for running

The whole point for opening up the 3 lanes are for competitive runners (i.e. those who are taking part in the 100km Challenges) to have an ‘express’ route to complete their runs. I know this is just a charity relay but we have to consider that there are fast runners that are chiong-ing round the track like there were racing for glory in an Olympics final. I can’t blame them because that might be the speed they are comfortable in — especially when they are seasoned athletes. On the other hand, there are runners who runs at a slower pace on the track.

With only 3 lanes opened, 294 individuals (there were 294 teams/individuals taking part in the 100km Challenge) on the track with all travelling at different paces, it seems like a recipe for an accident waiting to happen. I remembered when I slowed down to some 7:30 pace, I met this guy who was running at high speed, brushed past me and many other participants. We were so close to crashing into one another, and I ain’t going to think of the domino effect that could have happen had both of us fell. The lanes were just too narrow given the number of expected participants on the track at any moment. 2 more lanes could have been added to better manage the crowd, and for safety reasons too.

2. Track Etiquette

This is less of the fault of the organisers but they could have did a little more to manage the runners and walkers. As much as we want to be inclusive, we need to cater to the safety of every participants. Like I pointed out in the point above, having speed demons rushing through the crowd and increase the probability of toppling over others is a safety concern. Slower runners like myself ought to keep right, leaving the left-most lane for faster runners. Respect the lanes and it will make things easier for everyone.

Furthermore, as one of my team mates pointed out, people with large costumes might poised a threat to the runners, given the props they might be carrying with them. Hence, we would like to suggest that walkers and people dressed up in large costumes ought to be directed to the other lanes that was initially designated for non-competitive runners and casual walkers. Just to be safe, really. 🙂

Above all, it was a pleasing, fun and fulfilling night running with my fam for this good cause. It triggers a lot of thoughts and definitely changes the way I look at running and races as a whole. It added another mission to my life that is to be that good catalyst to people’s life, no matter how small the changes for the better might be.