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This is the challenge, there is a high risk of injury. Especially to the knees and joints.

It’ll stretch the limits of normal human endurance. Only the brave, the strong, and the lucky will prevail

Who Dares Wins prevails

Note: this is about the no of times I’ve run marathons. Not about LFC’s euro record!! lol

And yeah, what a game, no one on earth can play Barça.

Alright!! back to the point. Yes the marathon experience. I’ve started this passion back in May 2009. After 19 months in the army & constant runs in and about camp, I’ve decided to take on a new challenge. The marathon.

Why? At that time I’ve endured a difficult period in the army. I was unpopular, targeted against cos’ I don’t fit in, I didn’t agree with the dominant clique there and they made it a point to outcast and make me a scapegoat. But the one thing they aren’t good at? Running. Yep.

Weekly live runs would often see them slacking, throwing excuses and executing ‘stunts’ just to escape those runs, but I saw them as an opportunity to prove I was different. To stand up against them despite all the bullying and discrimination. Eventually I’ve become good at running and people remarked on my ability to maintain long distances and stamina.

So, when sundown 2009 came about, I thought: why not? Just give it a shot!!

And boy, what an adventure it has been. Each marathon has shown me life in a nutshell.

Life in those arduous, mundane and painful runs. People do change after a marathon, they learn discipline, resilience, determination, fighting spirit, courage, conviction, so on so forth…..

The first one? I leapt into it despite only training up to 15km. Result ain’t pretty, legs gave way after 3 hours and experienced extreme pain in those legs. End result: 5 hours 49 mins. Not too bad for a start!!! (I’ll always remember this one for the insane uphill road from Pasir Ris – Changi Village)

Next was the Singapore Marathon (Stanchart 2009). Pretty smooth, the easiest run I’ve been on. Alvin & Jesh came together to take this on and I did it in 5 hours 14 mins. This was memorable for the companionship (You’ll never run alone guys!!), main challenge was the heat and the crowd. But this is easy.

Third run was my personal best: Sundown 2010. I didn’t have enough rest, came straight from service and was delayed by the bus. So I started 35 mins late. But I finished at 4 hours 52 mins. Wow, but the legs gave way at 24 km again. But this is my finest run, the record I’ve yet to break.

Now, Stanchart 2010 was a tough one, emotionally. It came at a breaking time for me, not doing well with studies, having emotional turmoil and self-esteem issues. I took this on without sufficient rest (one hour of sleep), drank red bull (depressed energy after 2 hours) and ate too much (puked the excess pasta at 7km). And had serious doubts (come to think of it, it was a demonic attack) at 20km and almost broke down during the run. But this was the first time God spoke to me directly in a marathon. To keep going, to keep believing in myself, to finish the race. And I did!! 4 hours 54 mins. This run taught me to be emotionally strong and to guard myself against doubt. Oh the heat was much more intense this time.

And yes…….the latest run!!! Sundown 2011.

If sundown 2009 was my virgin run (bloody painful), stanchart 2009 & sundown 2010 was my honeymoon and peak (no obvious difficulties and good timings), stanchart 2010 the emotionally challenging run, then sundown 2011 is the run I’ve come to realize my limitations and reality.

This time I’ve rested well, drank tons of fluid and ate less than before. And I was more relaxed and at ease cos of experience. So none of those jitters in the previous runs, came 2 hours early, psyched myself, stretched well and prayed for a good run.

Only this time, I’ve got thrown a curve ball in the form of my ageing body. I ran slower than before in the first 10km. Vomited twice (drank too much water and didn’t eat sufficiently), especially at the 14 km point where it got really bad. I vomited three times (must’ve lost 3 cans of fluid?) together with my gel and pre-race meal and spent the next hour and a half running stop-start and feeling really weak and pale. It got that bad that a race medic asked me if I could continue at the half-way point.

As pastor phil later shared that day, it came to pass at that point: your breaking point is your turning point

That time I kept telling myself, and vowing to god that I will not give up, because I’ve come to far to fall, and I know my strengths. To stay strong mentally despite my physical weakness and this sounds stupid. I was smiling cos I know I’m still gonna finish, and finish strong!!! Why?

Because of God who gives me strength and courage

Gradually I decided to pace myself, using the stop start strategy of walking 30 seconds-bursting 15 seconds. I’ve managed to gain back some ground and for the first time in all my runs. My legs did not break (it came pretty close at 35-40km) as a result of the burst strategy. And yeah…..

Did it in 5 hours 6 mins. This was also the first time I’m running with the water bag too.

And the reward? Getting to watch the champions league final after the race! What a classic, United had fighting spirit, Barça had everything else (including the trophy, heh)

So like a marathon: you’ll need to prepare for it, know the route inside out, train for it, believe that you can do it and despite having a million things going wrong (trust me, 5 runs have shown me just about everything can go wrong) you can still do it and finish well. Sometimes you just have to shut everything else up and bash right through ’em all.

Same goes for everything in life =)

PS: I didn’t expect Pastor Phil to ‘arrow’ me upstage!!! lol. If my legs didn’t give way during the run, it certainly did by daybreak!!

Now for the impossible: the 100km

25 more days

I’ve heard his prompting.

It came three weeks ago, and it was affirmed during Pastor Kong’s message on May 10.

It prompted me towards this direction, there are many challenges ahead. Many pitfalls.

Many things have cried for my attention these past few months. But now:

A small step of faith is taken today. I’ve volunteered for the Workers’ Party.

Direct my steps lord

First time spending QT in a while.

So many truths, so many revelations.

like:

A false prophet claims his word is from God, whereas a true prophet speaks God’s word to his people. Simple as that

And……a real stunner. The reason why I’m studying economics?

To prepare myself for public service. And step in to serve nations when the call comes.

Now I know why John is truly beloved by God. All of the verses I’ve been prompted to is from the book of John, 1 john, 2 john , 3 john these days. All about love.

Well: If need be, I’ll enter Politics as an economist trained statesman. But I’ll want to build my track record and credibility first.

Bombshell: Not with the mainstream party. But H.S revealed to me this:

Serve not because of your dissatisfaction for the present government’s policies. Serve because you love the people, to truly provide for them when the call comes. Love them even though they may not understand why.

Got a feeling many things are gonna change in the coming weeks.

This has been a momentous week.

Final Exams, GE campaigns. Polling day, the works.

It as also been a life-defining moment for myself.

So many times people say ‘I want to do this, or I want to do that’

But how many realize the price to pay?

Hard work, sacrifices. Cutting off bad habits and doing the very things you dislike the most for the result you like.

Of course, easier said than done. Until you actually go through it. The storms, fiery furnaces and seemingly unending avalanches of trials.

Three areas in my life resound loudly to the statement above.

One, Common grace.

Two, Personal Ambititons and calling.

Three, Personal struggles and life.

The first? No surprises there. Liverpool Football Club.

Let’s begin the tale two years back. My beloved team accumulated 86 points, went on an amazing 11 game winning streak losing only twice, and came within a whisker of claiming a record 19th title. Which if we’ve done, will settle the ‘dispute’ of who’s the better team. (At least for a season)

Next, came the big joy. They’ve come to Singapore. I’ve watched the team in person. Cheered them on, met Fernando Torres and Jamie Carragher in person at Novena. Even had my first Torres jersey signed by the man himself. I wanted to keep it as a keepsake and tell my kids: Your old man was there. When the best no. 9 in Daddy’s generation signed on his shirt!!!

The following year and a half was a disaster of epic proportions. A disastrous start, seeing everyone struggle, lack of confidence and not helped by circumstances off the field with backroom squabbles and financial meltdown threatening the very existence of the club itself. The Kop, so famed by it’s patience, knowledge and unity began fighting amongst itself in differences of opinion. It was without doubt, a crisis.

Then 2010 rolled on, and Roy Hodgson came in, you know the story. Yadayada and the like. Ended up the fate of a club was decided not on a football pitch on an october match day. But in a court room on a october friday.

History was made, peace will come. Or so i thought.

Gravity started taking effect on results, and subsequently on morale. Things went pear-shaped and the famed, storied club went into a relegation dogfight by November. Until something was done. Finally.

Uncle Roy left, And the king returned.

Return of the King. Kenny Dalglish.

I admit I haven’t watched the king in his playing days or have much of an opinion on him. But golly, do I have one now.

Then came the hammer blow. The Idol, our number nine put in a transfer request. An act of betrayal. And of all teams, chelsea.

After days of him committing his future to us. Holding the World Cup trophy with a liverpool scarf around his neck. Kissing his badge after scoring against the mancs. And the times he sent the Kop wild with the Torres bounce. Even the team setting up for him to score. Even signing Luis Suarez as support for him.

The storm clouds were gathering. Pool was in eighth place, the sworn enemy closing in and beating the league record. Financial meltdown coming. And times when it occured to me. Yes, even a hardcore uncompromising red like myself considered giving up the sport altogether.

Part two: My calling

Many years I wondered what it’ll be. I wasn’t good in many things, I am good in certain things.

Like, my Chinese is, let’s face it. Amatuerish and ‘cui’. Coming from a chinese speaking background. And surprisingly, My command of English was pretty impressive. Even topping the school for o levels english.

I was small as a kid, easily bullied and picked on. Not to mention that I was different. 8 year olds love to go out and play. Or read Enid Blyton books. Instead I loved burying myself in encyclopedias and sharing my knowledge to everyone within earshot. When to kids their world was school, play and home. I loved to travel and find out more about the world we live in. About every country, to find everything, and i mean EVERYTHING about the world.

I was physically weak too. Even though the SAF classified me as Combat Fit. I was only average as a soldier. in fitness, in sports. Everyone threw me around like a spare tyre nobody wanted in PE games.

Everybody in school supported Man United. I supported Liverpool. Man united cos they were winning everything they say. Liverpool because of it’s glittering history and a special unique atmosphere generated by the fans, I argued. And they laughed and poked fun. Saying we are history.

Then came the time to choose my uni path. I wanted to do marketing. But something pushed me in the direction of economics. To the point when submitting my admission papers I felt H.S speaking explicitly into my heart

Don’t go into marketing, not for you. Take Economics.

And here I am, stuffing graphs, theory, money supply and equilibrium in my head. Not to mention an inbuilt fear of Maths ever since Secondary school. And maths is critically intensive in economics too.

I knew I was called into the marketplace. SOT confirmed it, I can preach, but not really the style of full-time preachers/pastors. I can prophesy/discern. But not as explicit as others can. Then it hit me, when I share about stuff, people are drawn in by the concepts, the ideas and analogies. And also the testimonies I’ve experienced and lived to tell.

And it is easily relatable, to believers and non-believers alike.

But something kept nagging at me, yes it’s economics, but there’s a gap somewhere. And guess when the kairos moment came?

GE 2011.

Suddenly all the economic theory and IS-LM curve made sense. Lives and livelihoods were at stake. Also by the dozens of candidates fighting passionately for their causes in the GE. True, the ‘lightnings’ did great for the country, grew the economy in stormy times and they were really tried and tested.

But, have they forgotten their people?

Hence the opposition took advantage. Calling them into account for what they’ve done or failed to do as a government. First and foremost: To serve the people.

How can you claim to serve them well by paying yourselves obscene amounts when there’re people struggling with assistance daily?

And the dirty tricks played, certain ones have really incensed me. The ‘gay’ agenda played senselessly. Failure to account for past mistakes, not even apologizing for it. Ignorance to what people have suffered and remaining delusional. Personal attacks on integrity which stinked badly of fear. And the last straw:

Saying that people will ‘regret’ voting for so and so. As said by our founding father.

I have respect for him, he built this nation to where we are today. But to resort to those words reek of overwhelming arrogance, as if he was God. This is my choice, my vote, my decision. Who are you to impose yourself on me like that?

Felt disrespected and angry. No prizes for guessing my vote. I stay in Aljunied GRC.

Now there’s purpose, I’ve a part to play in shaping our nation. And the right policies can bring a better life for citizens or drive them into conflict, starvation or death. It all makes sense now and a Khairos moment happened.

Now back to exams, I’ll be frank.

I don’t think I’ll do that well. 5 papers so far, all cramped within 3 days. What tactics worked in poly do not work in University.

And while I did ok in 2, well in one. I didnt prepare enough for the last two. And I accept whatever consequence there might be.

Hard work really plays a big part in success.

And now: Part three. Personal life

I come from a dysfunctional family. I’ve had issues with bitterness after being rejected. I was a social outcast. I had anger problems before. And I was subconsciously angry with my Dad for what he did to my family and me in the past.

Accepting Christ began the healing process. One by one the problems went. And I’ve started changing for the better. SOT sped up the healing and exposed my weaknesses and fears. I’m easily stressed up. And there are cracks in my cool exterior when actually I’m all emotional and fearful inside.

So, well. Bit by bit I’ve learnt to pray, read the word of God, balance out my life carefully in every area. To take responsibility for my walk and growth. And decided to step out for change in my family even though I was the introvert and the fearful one.

Now, parents are divorced and living separately, I stay with Dad even though I’m closer to mum. Not to mention I’ve taken my headstrong ways and bad temper from Dad. Thus there were nights of heated arguments, persecutions when I was praying for my life. Fighting for survival in SOT. List goes on.

And came a period of time I was desiring for companionship. And I behaved like a little boy. Until I realised that I’ve to grow up. To accept responsibility, to be a man of standards, excellence. And the past year God has shown to me my +ve’s and -ve’s.

So for now? It’s on hold, until the time is right.

Part one concluded, Stay tuned for part two – Chaos to Kairos

Round one’s over:

Round two, three, four and five coming up.

Meanwhile, chilling out with my favourite actor from my favourite series!!

The barnacle

It’s gonna be LEGEN- wait for it…..-DARY!!!!