I asked myself…

I had an interesting time this past week listening to different conversations and encountering some unique situations. They triggered some existential and day-to-day-living questions in my head and I thought I’d write them down to mull on them further.

1. What defines a person’s status or position in society? His job, his skills, his knowledge, his attitude towards life, the way he treats others, the way he asks to be treated, his wealth (or his idea of wealth), his possessions, his impact on others, his looks, his conversations or his family?

2. Do other people often define us in their own terms? ie. Do people pigeon-hole other people based on what they can understand of themselves?

3. What does it mean to do one’s best? When it impresses other people or when it impresses oneself?

4. When a pastor preaches at his flock and tells them not to live the rat race and live a materialistic, hedonistic life, how many of them actually realize that they’re the ones being described?

5. Do people realize when they have become followers, and living their lives according to how someone defines it for them? Does this in turn lead to the creation of the “status quo”, when enough people believe in a certain definition of “the life they ought to accept” and then actually go fulfill it?

6. Should people live their lives in fear of what might happen, or in the hope of what might happen?

7. Which makes more sense – to lead a life solving problems created by others, or to lead a life solving problems created by oneself?

The last one is the question I’m most interested in.

It’s ok to be bald, people

I was shaving my head in the bathroom today when I realized that it has been 18 years since my hair started to thin out. It really feels like a lifetime ago when I first became terribly distraught about becoming a balding man at the tender age of 21.

My university days was the period which I had to grapple with this issue head-on (ok, bad pun) and I decided not to take any medication as it was both expensive and not permanent in restoring my hair. I also had the support of my girlfriend, and now my wife Goy, who liked my lame jokes better than my departing hair.

Continue reading It’s ok to be bald, people

Biker Bites – A quick spin on the Ducati Scrambler

scrambler 01 Big

As I twisted the throttle of the Ducati Scrambler to overtake a few more cars, I thought to myself : “This is a really nice urban assault vehicle.” I was taking Ducati’s latest motorcycle for a quick 30 minute spin and I felt like this bright yellow bee zipping from one lane to another with minimal effort.

I rode through a few curvy roads, took it onto CTE and TPE expressways, went up a kerb or two (ahem) to make a phone call on the pavement, waited at a few traffic lights and it was all dandy.

The Scrambler feels like an unusual combination of the different bikes that I have ridden before – it looks like the 185cc army recce bike where I began riding in 1996, it has the slim tank of a 125cc learner bikes at BBDC, it has some of the torque-y character of my previous Ducati Monster 1100 Evo and when moving off, even whirrs a little like the venerable Honda 400cc Super Four.

Continue reading Biker Bites – A quick spin on the Ducati Scrambler

Biker Bites – Motorcycle Jackets For Singapore Weather

One of the more encouraging trends I have noticed lately is that more motorcyclists are now wearing dedicated riding jackets on Singapore roads. Despite the sweltering hot weather, bikers are increasingly aware of that you shouldn’t go on the road in thin tee-shirts and shorts, because you would never know when you’re going to get thrown off the bike.

Recently, a reader asked me where to buy riding jackets and what price they should pay, so I thought I might as well do a quick primer here. Apart from a helmet, a pair of gloves, knee guards, a motorcycle jacket is necessary for basic biker protection.

Continue reading Biker Bites – Motorcycle Jackets For Singapore Weather

Are you awake or asleep?

My son likes to ask me very pragmatic questions during meal times like “Why does this fried rice at Han’s cost twice that of the hawker center version?” or “Why doesn’t the cook earn more than the cashier, according to this job advertisement?”

I explain to him as much as I can, covering the logic of high rentals and business survival, because I always believe that if I don’t tell him what he wants to know today, I might never get a chance tomorrow.

He and his sister still don’t believe that I could just die tomorrow from an unpredictable event, but they haven’t gone to many funeral wakes yet. I already exceeded my lifetime quota when I did crime news stories and put my old friend’s coffin into the ground when he was 29.

But sometimes, this whole train of thought also gets me thinking in a meta-sorta way – do we persistently think about the situations we face, or the situations that we are currently operating within? Why do many people accept their scenarios the way they are? Do they ask questions about the obvious things they see? Are we truly awake as we go to work or school every day?

Continue reading Are you awake or asleep?

Biker Bites : BMW R1200R, $6801 COE and a new tee.

Recently, I read this article “How To Make The Next Great Motorcycle Blog” by ex-motorcycle journalist Wes Siler and he’s right, it’s really difficult to find or to create good motorcycle content. And no, I don’t intend to do so because it’s more fun to ride my Ducati than to write about bikes.

But I do discuss motorcycles with my friends frequently, and the motorcycle world is one filled with technological wonders and non-stop advancements. Since the first motorcycle was invented, man has been finding every way to create a two-wheeler that will go faster, look sexier, growl louder, lean lower or all of the above.

Many bikers don’t bother about their bikes – they just ride it to work daily and let it rot in the hot sun. Then there are those of us who care about our works of art and science. It’s not just about cleaning and polishing the bike, but learning about the new models and classic vintages on the road that make it such a great experience of being part of the community.

So once in a while, when the mood strikes, or when I’m tired of the daily grind, I shall write about motorcycles in this journal format. It’s not going to be terribly technical or hopelessly vapid, just sharing some two-wheeled goodness. So here goes another attempt at consistent content (and apologies in advance, I’m just not good at that after 10 years of blogging here):

Continue reading Biker Bites : BMW R1200R, $6801 COE and a new tee.

On donation drives and the ACS spirit

I was looking forward to visiting the ACS Barker Carnival today with my family when I read the most distasteful story in the Straits Times titled “Carnival tickets: Students feel sales pressure“.

An upset housewife had uploaded the principal’s letter (original PDF here) to STOMP (no, I don’t link to hate-filled sites) and claimed that she couldn’t sleep over the letter as she felt that the students were being forced to donate.

Continue reading On donation drives and the ACS spirit

Fenix 3 is a better smartwatch than most

The Apple Watch is about to be launched this month and there isn’t much excitement in Singapore because the country is not in the first launch wave. Enthusiasm over Android Wear has waned with the lack of compelling new models and there have been no improvements in battery life.

In the meantime, most people don’t know that Garmin has actually launched a pretty good smartwatch in the form of the multisport Fenix 3.

It’s just a pity most people won’t know about the Fenix 3 because they think a smartwatch ought to look like an Apple Watch, Moto 360 or Pebble. And when you tell people this is a “fitness watch”, they may give you the leery look since they associate the term with hardcore fitness freaks.

Continue reading Fenix 3 is a better smartwatch than most