I fell sick again during my reservist back in mid-August, about a week after I had recovered from my earlier bout of flu where I became extremely high.
It’s absolutely frustrating to eat healthily, exercise regularly, abstain from fast food, but still fall sick at the end anyway. Twice.
While I was visiting my acupressure therapist for a checkup on a minor shoulder ailment, the first thing he commented on was how much weight I had lost. In particular, I had lost a lot of muscle on my shoulders and deltoid area (if you don’t know what a deltoid is, just google it and learn something new about your body). I told him that I had turned vegan about six months ago, and he strongly recommended me to at least take some fish and eggs into my diet — vital sources of protein.
He also explained that when the body undergoes a drastic change in nutritional intake, its ability to heal and recover from illness will also be impacted. It took me 2 weeks+ to recover from the flu, and then another 2 weeks to recover from the subsequent second illness. Usually, I’ll be fine after about a week.
I measured myself on the weighing scale a few days back and was quite surprised at how much weight I’ve lost. I’m now 52.7kg, the same weight as my sister. This is probably the first time in over a decade (?) that I’ve dropped below 55kg. I knew that I had lost some weight — I dropped two pants sizes from 30 inches to 28 — but I didn’t realise how big a loss it was.
For some perspective, the heaviest I ever weighed was 64.9kg. This was back in 2006 before I first enlisted for my mandatory two full-time years in the army. So yeah, I can thank plants and the army for helping me lose weight.
Reactions to my newfound herbivore eating habits have been surprisingly diplomatic. While eating at the cookhouse during reservist, one of my platoon mates remarked with concern: “Hey bro, you sure you can eat that?! There’s milk and eggs inside…”
He was referring to a pandan cake dessert snack. It had vanilla and cream, made from milk and eggs.
“Ya, I’m not that particular about milk and eggs now,” I replied.
“You sure ar… you’re not committing a sin ar…”
I laughed out loud at that comment. My colleague was referring to Buddhism. Some Buddhists, the devout ones, have to abstain from meat at certain times of the month. I’m a free thinker, but I was grateful at the concern shown by my friend. He is a Malay Muslim.
Interestingly, the news of my vegetarianism had reached my supervisors in the camp, who went the extra mile to make sure that I had received my vegetarian out-rations. One of the cookhouse uncles even handed me my rations automatically during lunch time while I was queuing. I had never met him before.
Another uncle, on another day, gave me a short two minute lecture about the merits of Buddhism.
“We are fighting not because we want to intentionally kill another human being, but because we are defending ourselves,” was the most noteworthy quote I remembered.
Again, I had never met that uncle before.
So yes, six months after turning vegan (but now allowing dairy and seafood back into my diet), I’m happy to say that life is pretty much the same. It’s not that hard to look for vegetarian food, both at home and at work. I love QQ Rice, but I absolutely hate gluten — I cannot stand eating those mock meat substitutes. I’ve lost weight but I honestly don’t care, I was never the type of male who believed in bulking up for the sake of doing so. I’m not a bodybuilder or pro wrestler.
Do I miss meat? A little bit. I miss Texas Chicken. I’m lighter, but I don’t feel weaker or more lethargic. Despite being down for a month trying to recover from illness, my energy levels are still the same and I somehow have more endurance now for my night shifts.
I’m not trying to put others down for eating meat or fast food. It’s your own personal choice. But every time I stare at the latest McDonald’s burger and its accompanying side dish of greasy french fries, knowing that I cannot and will not eat them, I’m happy to be free from consuming that sort of crap.
CM Punk once famously highlighted the straight-edge lifestyle: no alcohol, no tobacco, no recreational drugs. If you add in “no fast food” I wonder what that is called? Ultra sharp straight-edge? Razor’s Edge? Ok, enough wrestling talk from me. This herbivore rant has gone on long enough.
“I was not a person who was capable of empathy…”
In one short phrase at the opening of his blog post, Amos Yee, an aspiring online filmmaker (now himself a screenwriter’s dream topic for a film), explains why he has no friends. He even admitted that it was a personal flaw of his, and that he had to try very hard to repress this in order to interact with his fellow human beings.
via BBC News
This BBC News article provides an excellent summary of everything you should know about Lee Kuan Yew, plus some memorable quotes from our founding father.
There is one other interesting anecdote about LKY that I would like to share, and it can be found in The Papers of Lee Kuan Yew, a massive multi-volume collection of all of his publicly recorded speeches and interviews which I helped to edit back in 2012 to 2013.
I cannot remember the exact page or volume because I don’t have them now with me, but it was an interview about his WWII experience during the Japanese occupation.
According to Mr Lee, he very narrowly escaped execution during the occupation. Apparently, a sentry outpost manned by Japanese soldiers was rounding up Chinese passersby at random, and Mr Lee was one of them.
Mr Lee sensed that something was amiss, and asked the soldiers if he could go back home to grab his clothes first. The soldiers agreed, although Mr Lee actually returned to his gardener’s bunk and hid there for two days. When he emerged from his hideout and walked past the same outpost a second time later, it was manned by a different group of soldiers.
Mr Lee later discovered that all of the Chinese men who were rounded up a few days earlier were actually taken to a river and shot dead. Japan had very strong tensions with China at that time, so this was the Japanese army’s way of punishing the Chinese.
So thanks to LKY’s quick wits and intuition, he managed to survive WWII. And the rest is history. Amazing how a brief moment in time could have had such a massive impact had the opposite outcome occurred.
If you really want to find out more about Mr Lee, I highly recommend that you browse the volumes I mentioned above. It can be found in our Singapore National Library’s main branch at Bugis, Level 7. During the time I spent editing and reading all of his interviews and speeches, the constant takeaway that I got was that he was an incredibly eloquent and intelligent man, someone who knew exactly what he wanted out of Singapore and how to go about achieving it.
Rest in peace, Lee Kuan Yew. Thank you making for Singapore a safe, prosperous, uncorrupted, and multi-cultural nation. These four pros alone far outweigh any other shortcomings about our country.
I don’t have a picture to post because my camera is not good enough to capture the subtle red highlights on my fringe. I didn’t want to go overboard because this was the first in my life that I’ve ever coloured my hair, so I went for a small strip of red on one side of my fringe, just to test whether I liked the colour and to see if my body was somehow allergic to it (pretty sure that there’s no such thing).
Red highlights on the fringe. If you know me very well or have read my blog for the past year, you don’t need to make a hard guess to figure out which character gave me that inspiration.
Should I go back for a second round in a month or two, I need to highlight a lot more — probably the entire fringe if I want the red to standout. I’ll probably even highlight the back ends of my hair, because this is the way to be more strong.
Somehow, having highlights now has made me become more aware of the hair colours of the people around me. And I just realised that there are a lot of people who highlight or dye their hair too. 15 years ago such an act would have been considered taboo in our conservative Asian society, the same way how tattoos are still frowned upon by some people. How times have changed and how we have started to become more open-minded.
There is nothing wrong with adding a little bit of colour in our lives.
My good friend Victor directed my attention to the 19 Feburary 2015 edition of The Straits Times, our biggest national daily. I was quite surprised to see my name mentioned in the article near the end. I had commented previously on Mr Roy’s earlier article, but it wasn’t anything noteworthy to be honest. Just a simple “Welcome to Singapore!” (damn you Chow Yun Fat for turning this movie quote into our national greeting) and a show of support.
Now, all of my secondary school friends who read that article have started calling me “Defender of the Internet”. To be honest, the Internet is not worth defending to begin with, but that title sounds cheesy enough to be worthy of Edward.
I will not pretend to ignore the immigration problems we have in this country, where the sudden explosive influx of foreigners has led to overcrowding and a strain on our country’s resources. But I cannot make any further comments about this issue, because if I choose to work overseas in the future, it would turn me into nothing but a bloody hyprocrite.
It’s not okay for foreigners to come to Singapore, but okay for me to travel to other countries and live there? That’s an incredibly moronic double standard.
Are you a moronic, hypocritical double-standard?
There is an old wives’ tale saying that chicken soup is the best recipe to help fight a cold. I didn’t have access to chicken soup yesterday while I was freezing and sneezing, so during lunch I went to find the next best alternative: ramen. A bowl of spicy, hot ramen.
Almost instantly, my cold was stopped dead in its tracks after the meal… although I had to contend with the massive downpour outside the restaurant that caused my shoes to become soaking wet. It’s a simple explanation really: the heat from the ramen broth (or chicken soup) helps to open up your airways by counteracting the constriction caused by a cold. This a trick that all asthmatics such as myself have learned: heat defeats nasal congestion.
As for my waterlogged shoes, I dealt with it by stuffing the insides with newspaper. The paper helps to soak up excess water, allowing the shoe to dry up much quicker. This is something that every SAF soldier learns, because at one point in our army lives, even our water-resistant boots can lose their battle to water.
It is important to keep our feet warm, healthy, and dry. Because the moment you expose them to undesirable elements, the rest of the body will inevitably fall ill. This is called reflexology, where one part of the body is capable of affecting another, and the entire feet contains reflex points that reflect the entire human body. So it was probably not a good idea to go barefoot in the office for several hours after lunch, under the full might of the chilling air-con. But I had no choice, as I didn’t have a spare pair of socks. When I went home, I immediately soaked my feet in a warm foot bath.
Just woke up as I am typing this after turning to bed early at 9pm, and all traces of the cold have been utterly vanquished. With ramen noodles, newspaper, and plenty of sleep. You see, we ourselves have the power to fight our own illnesses. You just need to _know_ how with the right knowledge.
And this is why you read everything and try to learn everything.
I wanted to buy the tickets to watch this match, but somehow my inner gut told me not to. I don’t know why I wouldn’t want to watch my Japanese hero Shinji Okazaki playing live. But everything happens for a weird reason, and my office eventually got hold of two free complimentary tickets to the match on the day itself. My colleague very kindly passed them to me (thanks a lot, Sunny), and I called up my buddy Amos to accompany me to the National Stadium.
via Foreign Policy
A Singapore example of how data collection and mining of personal information can actually be used to detect threats and deter national disasters. A very rare, but plausible argument against Edward Snowden’s crusade against the NSA.
Like anti-venoms, which can only be obtained from the original poison, there are some evils in the world that can be reworked to serve the greater good.
Thanks Wei Meng for sharing this article on Facebook.