Monday 28 August 2017

Sugar! Less, please (Apologies to Maroon 5)

Sugar was a major topic in Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s recent National Day Rally speech.

Sugar is also the title of the song I wrote in response to his speech.

Just as Taylor Swift has given songwriting credit for her new song Look What You Made Me Do to members of the group Right Said Fred of I’m Too Sexy fame, I too must give credit to Maroon 5 because I basically used the tune from their song, Sugar.

Nobody wants to get sued like Robin Thicke.

Here are the lyrics to my song:

I’m hungry, PM, what did you say?
I need to switch to brown rice
Must I today?
White rice taste better, but high GI
Don’t want no diabetes
I guess I’ll try

I don’t wanna be buying soft drinks
I just wanna do more brisk walking
But it’s killing me to exercise
(No chendol)
’Cause I really don’t care how it tastes
I just wanna be watching my waist
So I gotta eat more brown rice

Less, please
Just 1 per cent for my bubble tea
I’m obese, I could lose
Little weight, more than a few kgs
Yeah, you gave me a tracker
Count the steps I take
Need to get 10,000 — in a day
Less, please
PM says it may cause diabetes

My broken diet, I couldn’t fix
I just kept eating, eating
I have the pics
When I eat healthy
I don’t feel full
Pizza’s the one thing, one thing
That always rules

I don’t wanna be needing more food
I just wanna be in a good mood
And it’s killing me to abstain
(More durian)
’Cause I really don’t care if I’m fat
I just wanna have no regrets
So I’m hitting the buffet again

Less, please
“Siu dai” is how I order my teh c
More water, I should drink
Little bland, a little too boring
Yeah, I tried the diet drinks
No calories
Artificial sweetness, not for me
Less, please
PM says it may cause diabetes

I want that roti john
I want that Hokkien mee
Don’t let nobody makan
Unless that somebody’s me
I gotta tell PM
There ain’t no other way
’Cause, man, I’m craving for
sambal barbecue stingray

I’m still hungry for some rice
Don’t have to be all white
Mix in some of that brown shit
No more of that… sugar!
Less, please
I still wanna try to go sugar-free
Even if, no Big Gulp
It’s so hard to avoid corn syrup
Yeah, the doctor just told me
My blood pressure’s high
Need to cut down on salt — in my diet
Now salt too
Think I might as well just stop eating food

- Published in The New Paper, 28 August 2017

Monday 21 August 2017

Safra S'pore Bay Run & Army Half Marathon: Running with Achilles tendinitis — again

For the first time, I ran a half marathon on back-to-back Sundays.

For the second time, I limped to the start line.

Yesterday was the Safra S'pore Bay Run & Army Half Marathon.

A week after The Performance Series run at Punggol, my right ankle still hurt when I walked.

The Army Half Marathon has long been my Moby Dick since I first joined the event in 2013. It was my first 21km race. I joined again last year. Both times, I felt defeated by the distance.

I told myself that this year, I was going to kill the White Whale. Then my Achilles tendinitis happened.

But having survived the Punggol race with the bad ankle, I was a little more hopeful yesterday morning.

Flag-off was at 4:30am.

There were over 40,000 ruuners, about 10 times more than at the Punggol run.

The hydration points were rather chaotic because of the crowd.

Approaching the finish line:

For the first time, I managed to run (or jog) almost all the way from start to finish in a half marathon, walking only at a couple of hydration points. My ankle actually hurt less when I ran (or jogged).

I made it in just under three hours, which was 20 minutes slower than my personal best and six minutes more than last year's Army Half Marathon.

But it was also nine minutes faster than last week's Punggol race. I consider that a win.

For that reason, I'm actually quite happy with yesterday's result (even if I didn't look it in the photos).

For the first time after the Army Half Marathon, I don't hate myself.

I like the new route much better too. A few minor bottlenecks but the dreaded Republic Avenue U-turn was no more.

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I may not have killed the White Whale, but I'm okay with that now.

Monday 14 August 2017

NDP 2017: We have a new national bird

Let me first say, I love my country.

And I dislike the new National Day song, Because It’s Singapore, because it’s not Home — like any true pink IC-carrying Singaporean who did his national service and queued up for the nasi lemak burger at McDonald’s even though it was kind of overrated.

But despite my overweening patriotism, I decided to skip watching the National Day Parade on TV on Thursday because I realised they could re-telecast last year’s parade and I probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

So on our nation’s 52nd birthday, I binge-watched Rick And Morty on Netflix instead.

Now in its third season, Rick And Morty is an M18 cartoon series that’s like a frenetic cross between Back To The Future and Doctor Who but with more decapitations and dick jokes.

I was in the middle of the second season when my teenage daughter interrupted my binge to inform me that some kid showed his middle finger at the NDP and was blowing up on Reddit.

She said there was even a picture of the schoolboy being scolded by his teacher (who reminded me of actor Rami Malek from Mr Robot).

Aiyah, why must something exciting always happen at the NDP when I’m not watching it?

Faster than you can say “guitar-playing grandma”, the video clip of the NDP kid was shared all over social media.

As one Reddit user commented: “$40m spent on the parade and the only thing people are going to remember about it is this. Godspeed, young prince.”

Reactions to the obscene gesture on live TV ranged from disapproval to approval to disapproval of the approval.

It’s like a national Rorschach test. How you react reveals more about your own values than anything else.

The principal of the boy’s primary school told The Straits Times the next day: “The student regrets his action and is deeply apologetic. The school and his parents have counselled him, and will ensure he learns from this incident.”

I’m not sure what the boy will learn from this incident though. That you can be called a “national hero” for flipping the bird at the TV camera during NDP?

Radio DJ Rosalyn Lee wrote on Facebook:
“It’s just a finger. That finger can only be offensive to a person with a deviant mind. Chill the fuck out and leave my lil hero alone.

“He made so many people laugh, and gave the terribly dull NDP an exciting boost! Shouldn’t that be celebrated? Hahaha! #thuglife”

But my former fellow New Paper columnist Ivan Lim (the disgruntled parent of the special-needs student rejected by Yamaha Contempo Music School) disapproved of calling “Littlefinger” a hero.

He wrote online:
“Celebrating the heroics of Littlefinger might start an unhealthy fad: Children could start posting videos of themselves flipping the finger, and we could become famous for starting a trend we couldn’t possibly be proud of later.”
But a video of another young man waving the finger on TV supposedly at last year’s NDP has surfaced in the wake of Littlefinger, so the trend may have already started.

Like I said, they could re-telecast last year’s parade and it would be almost like the same thing.

And that was why I was watching Rick And Morty.

After my daughter’s interruption, I continued with an episode called The Ricks Must Be Crazy.

By some cosmic coincidence, this is the episode where the characters are flipping each other off because it means “peace among worlds”.

Hey, I thought, maybe Littlefinger was just gesticulating “peace among worlds” as a tribute to Rick And Morty.

What does that reveal about my values?

Nah, the show is rated M18 so the primary school kid couldn’t have possibly seen it.

I guess he could just really hate this year’s National Day song.

Peace among worlds, y’all.

- Published in The New Paper, 14 August 2017

UPDATE: I received this e-mail:

Sunday 13 August 2017

The Performance Series Race at Punggol: Running with Achilles tendinitis

For the first time, I limped to the start line.

It was The Performance Series Race at Punggol East-Coney Island this morning.

I had been suffering from Achilles tendinitis in my right ankle since last weekend. I was hoping it would go away by today's race, but I was still limping.

I considered skipping the race and maybe just collect the medal and T-shirt. I might still heal in time for next Sunday's Army Half Marathon.

But being prone to poor decision-making, of course I decided to try to run with the injury.

Flag-off time was 7am, which was unusual for a half marathon. It's usually much earlier before sunrise I believe to avoid the heat of daylight.

Apparently, the late flag-off had to do with the opening hours of Coney Island.

The race was flagged off by Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP Ng Chee Meng, who is also Minister of Education (Schools).

At first, I jogged awkwardly with the limp. But to my pleasant surprise, the pain dissipated after a while and I could run almost normally albeit very slowly.

Each kilometre was still a slog.

This was the first race where I got a sponge soaked in cold water.

Even though the weather didn't turn out as hot as I had feared, the sponge provided a cool respite.

I saw these bikes and thought maybe I could use one to finish the race.

After this, I started to walk more than run.

My second time at Coney Island. The first time was another Performance Series race,

The finish line was near the Riviera LRT station. I didn't know there was a Riviera LRT station.

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My time for the 21km race was 3 hours 8 minutes 49 seconds, which is a new personal worst.

Despite my injury, I optimistically thought I could make it in three hours.

Apart from my Achilles tendinitis and general lack of fitness, this was actually quite a pleasant run. The weather was forgiving and it was a nice change to get away from the usual route around Marina Bay. Also, there seemed to be fewer participants (4,500 runners) due to other races (Shape Run, Ground Zero Race for Humanity) on the same day, so it felt less congested.

Surprisingly, my left ankle doesn't hurt as much anymore after the race.

Just both my legs hurt.

I'm actually looking forward to the Army Half Marathon in less than seven days.