Sunday, July 08, 2012

Wimbledon 2012

I am not a tennis person but today marks the fifth year I watch the Wimbledon Championships final and big congratulations to Roger Federer whom I supported. He won the Wimbledon Champion title for the seventh time.

It's easy to be indulged in a conversation about tennis in Britain when everyone talks about it. It gets you into the mood. Without realising, I started reading and learning about the game and players. It was only recently everyone talks about this year's match when Andy Murray advanced into the finals. He was about to create history if he won the Wimbledon Champion title. He would be the first British to win it in the last 76 years!

Unfortunately that day never came. As I expected, this is not the time for him yet. Perhaps next year. His tears made me see him very differently now. I hope he wins a gold medal for the London 2012 Games.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

In Chartered Territory

"Victory often comes at a time when failure seems inevitable."

This is one of my favourite quotes for determination and success.

Yesterday marked a significant milestone of my career as an engineer. I am very happy to announce that I am now a Chartered Civil Engineer with the Institution of Civil Engineers which earns me the title "CEng MICE" at the back of my name.

This has been an incredible chapter of my life to close. It has been a long chapter not because the ending was not in sight. Very much the contrary. In fact, the ending was abrupt, unexpected, one which I neither wanted to write nor accept as outcome initially. And so I persevered to re-write the chapter.

In 2010, the construction industry took a huge tumble in the UK due to the financial crisis. The engineering division I was with fired many staff. Call it bad timing, my review was smack bang in the middle of them all - all of us were put under consultation, I needed to prepare for the worst, so started looking for another job in case I got the short stick whilst preparing for my review. My maternal granny in Malaysia was gravely ill and the doctor called time on her. Even though I survived the firing line, it was no surprise I didn't make it for the review. I was mentally exhausted and morally deprived. I was terribly ill-prepared for the review even though I still had my opinions about the process which I will refrain from discussing under this forum.

My granny escaped death. So there was another chance to let her know my good news for her to be proud of me. Unfortunately, she finally passed away when I returned for Christmas. It was before I could submit an application for re-sit.

My sponsors supported me throughout.  None of them hinted a hesitation when I checked if they were willing to be my sponsors for my next review. This was particularly encouraging.

Fast forward to the latest review, I was advised to take a longer break before re-sitting. This was to avoid being seen as "arrogant" and sending the wrong message that I have mastered the weak areas in less than a year - when it would normally take a year or more to rectify. However, deep in my heart, I knew I was ready. My sponsors knew I was ready. All of us agreed I was ready. Only one  person thought I was arrogant - let's call this person K.

In the end, I went for the inner calling. I submitted my application for a re-sit. Yes my arrogance prevailed to turn a deaf ear to K's advice.

It was at this time I realised that if you go against the grain, then you better make sure you bloody know what you're doing. This made me work doubly hard - mock reviews after reviews; report revisions after revisions, presentation rehearsals after rehearsals. I also turned lots of NCE pages after pages and building up FAQs and answers over the weeks to come.


A lot of sacrifices had to be made. There had to be a compromise between what I wanted and what I liked. Weekends? Forget about it, I'll be in the office. Catching up with friends? I had to be very selective - sorry!!  Holidays? Almost negligible. My sporting life? Compare this: in 2005 I did 3 triathlons, 5 half-marathons and 2 marathons; in 2010 ZERO triathlon, ZERO half-marathon, ZERO marathon.

All the short-term suffering to justify for the little arrogance.

The review day came, I felt there was nothing more I could have done. I was ready. The two reviewers I was assigned were fellows of the institution. During the review, I managed to tackle all of the questions, yes and most of them were tough. But they're only tough if you didn't prepare for them. I prepared for them, so they weren't too bad. I enjoyed the review. A lot of people told me it was a good sign and a precursor I've made it.

Eight weeks to the results, I waited patiently, sometimes even forgetting it entirely due to the daily workload. But May 18 had to come, sooner or later. Colleagues who followed my progress have put the date in their calendars. Pressure mounted, expectations built it up further. This would be the date for a good news or bad news.

It was good news; a sweet good news.

A fb comment I received from a friend who's been through this thick and thin with me best sums up this post:

"Victory is sweeter when you've suffered for it..."

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Running grade

I completed a half marathon today at Tunbridge Wells, a royal city in Kent. My time was 1hr 38mins, two minutes short of smashing my previous personal best.

A few years ago, The World Association of Veteran Athletics published an Open Class Standards which grade runners' performance based on finishing time and age. The method it was developed and linked to age and finishing time is unknown, but it is an interesting way to gauge performance against our peers.

For example, the winner of today's race finished in 1hr 4mins. Rather impressive, one must admit. His performance grade was 92.84%.

Mine was 58.74%. With two minutes shaved to bring the time down to my PB, that would only improve the grade marginally to 61.8%. If a university grading system is applied here, that's a grade C.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Pendulum beauty

One of the wonders of Physics.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

All Relative

In October last year I cursed the weather should decline to early teen temperatures. This signaled the end of swimming in the open water for 2011. What's even more miserable was that dark days were setting in.

I complained when I returned from KL end of January this year because the weather dropped to 2 deg C. I had to wear a beanie hat to stop my ears from falling off. I wished the temperature was at early teens.

Last week temperatures fell further to -6deg C. While running out to Hyde Park my butt almost fell off my body from frost bite. My 2xu tights made little difference to a cold like this. I wished the temperature was above freezing, 2 deg C would've been lovely!

This evening the temperature stayed at 6 deg C, I wished it will be this high for the next few weeks. Now I'll be so grateful if the weather can be in early teens again.