Bring the twang in

19 10 2014

MY TEXAS twang – the shirt, that is – just has to be put on as I send my HAPPY BIRTHDAY wishes to one of my best friends in the whole wide world – the Michael Fisher!  The 18TH of October marks his special day.

 

Don't mess with Texas!  Or with BFF Michael, the Birthday Boy, for that matter.

Don’t mess with Texas! Or with BFF Michael, the Birthday Boy, for that matter.

He is the original BFF – Best Folsom Friend – and has been for 11 years now.  (Not to be confused with the BBF – Best Boise Friend.)

“I know I still owe you an e–Mail response.  Just really swamped lately.  But if ever I am averaging days to reply, you should know that it’s always less when it’s you.”

“I hope you had a good one!  I shall see you again.”

The ADIDAS Samba, Michael Fisher's trademark shoes, his biggest influence on me.

The ADIDAS Samba, Michael Fisher’s trademark shoes, his biggest influence on me.

 

All things Michael!  An homage to a most awesome, cool guy!

All things Michael! An homage to a most awesome, cool guy!

Copyright © 2014 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

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From all over

5 10 2012

This is a tin of special tea that traveled the seas from the mouth of the Yangtze River to the straits of the Lion City. With a lovely note to boot!

YOU STAY on a job long enough and chances are you will have figured out for yourself the things that do matter.  Or at least, the perks.  I’ve been on my job for over 16 years now and I guess I’ve gotten a good handle on that thing that, in the midst of the daily placid mundane scenes or the grind of complexities, has kept me going.

My job allows me to contribute in a convolutedly matrixed, highly integrative, and deeply collaborative effort, sometimes without having to really leave the familiar comforts of my desk.  That also means having to work with someone you don’t necessarily have to meet in person.  I guess this is true for most of us in today’s workforce.

In the course of years, you get to know your colleagues better.  When you work together through enough challenges and really tough situations; and when you open your eyes wide and tune your ears to the finer, salient points that break through tumultuous discourse, you’d be lucky to find in some of them role models to look up to.  To emulate.

And – for lack of a better, less sentimental term – you start to care.  Care that other people do exist in this world besides yourself.

When 9/11 happened, I found myself frantically going online – insert the sound of dial-up connectivity here (haha!) – and checking on all my US–based friends.  I couldn’t care less that all the people I was worried about were on the West Coast.  It’s one of those knee-jerk reactions that seemed to make sense when your heart is pounding through your rib cage.

Whenever my place – or the whole Philippines for that matter – gets submerged after a heavy deluge of apocalyptic proportions, I do hear from them.  They ask how my family is and if they still have a roof over their heads – and not actually standing on one.  When my special day comes along, I get the best birthday wishes from all over.

And as if the Universe has been conspiring lately to grant me some of my own wishes, I’ve gotten to meet a lot of them in person – some of them for the first time ever, some of them, again.

And in of all places – Singapore!  Ain’t life unexpectedly, unexplainably beautiful sometimes?

That’s Ms. Lynda on the left, with Denice and Xu Dong. I took this photo so I’m out of the frame.

 

With Andy

 

With Melissa. She and her husband have been nice to me since I met them over nine years ago. On the card that came with the gift they gave me on the last day of my assignment in the States, they wrote about remembering me for my… songs. Haha!

 

With Melissa again and here, with Junwyn.

 

With Bin

 

With The ShenJun

 

eNTeNG, the Chilli Crab, and The ShenJun

 

Bin, The ShenJun, the Chilli Crab, eNTeNG, and Kia Leh

 

This is my good good friend of over nine years, Michael. This was taken during one of his daughter’s soccer matches. He coaches the team! Whatever fanaticism I have for the Adidas Samba, I got from him.

 

Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





Whatever

21 04 2012

"Will the rain stop?"... My colleague and friend, Heng Yie, on the sidelines, Team WHATEVER vs. Team SYNERGY League Match, Soccer Carnival, St. Wilfrid Sports Complex, St. George's Road, Singapore, 21 April 2012

IT IS not my nature to commit in halves.  It is either I commit, or I don’t.  So when I pledged my support to my colleagues and friends that I would be there to see them bend it like Beckham, I meant to be there for all of them – for the guys last Sunday and for the girls earlier today.

Though I don’t think I’d hear the end of it from Kiddo.  She pointed out how shamelessly late I was.  I blamed it on the rain.  I don’t remember her actual reaction.  But from the looks of it, she could have very well just told me, “WHATEVER!”

Soccer has never been my spectator sport of choice.  Track and field is my favorite, having toyed with the illusion of becoming a world-famous sprinter.  But a couple of weekends spent watching these brainy individuals – I’ve already declared how much I look up to most of them – morph into goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders, and strikers, gave me a deeper appreciation of the sport.

Not to mention a higher level of respect for colleagues and friends who clearly are so much more than computer programs, data analysis, resource allocation, and fault isolation that, in the nature of their jobs, often goes to dimensions in the order of tens of thousandths of the thickness of human hair.

The fact that soccer is quite a physically demanding sport; these girls – much like their Head Coach Kelvin and the rest of the guys in Sunday’s matches – were willing to risk limb and flawless skin in the name of the game.  Pulling a muscle the wrong way, tumbling several times on the green artificial turf, and sustaining cuts and bruises were all just part of their end goal in mind – to win this year’s championship crown.

It was no easy feat.  It took all of seven matches – five league, one semi-final, and the final – and a lot of goal-creating opportunities, actual shots taken, passes, interceptions, and quite a number of tackles before the Team clinched victory.  And the defending champions, who clearly came in to the field with targets on their back from just about every other participating team, didn’t make it easy either.  Every match always turned out to be one good fight.

Each was so good that not even the rain that came pouring down very early in the morning – which for hours didn’t show any signs of letting up – was enough to put a dent on the day.  Sure, it drenched the field and soaked the players in their jerseys.  But that was all that it dampened – definitely not the spirits.

I went to the soccer carnival excited to see my friends play, and by the time the program was through, I took away with me a truth so clear, it was in sharp contrast to the overcast sky.

Whatever your language, whatever your nationality, whatever you do, when you work with your team and you put your heart into it, together you can all win.  Remember, WHATEVER.

Congratulations to Team WHATEVER for winning this year’s Soccer Carnival!  I’m so proud of all of you!

"We Are The Champions"... Mitch, Shan Shan, Kia Leh, Marge, Bee Lian, Evone, Joyce, Cheng Cheng, Suk Li, and Team Captain, Kwai Han.

Getting ready for one big fight!

One... Two... Three... WHATEVER!!!

"Of course, we can win this next one!"

A smile to the camera from Shan Shan. Her delicate frame and sweet smile belie how much of an aggressive striker she could be on the field!

Shan Shan in action

Shan Shan dribbles.

Maneuvering some more

Shan Shan kicks the ball in.

"The ball is mine!"

Shan Shan sees an opening and scores!

Cheng Cheng rejoices!

 

One Ball to rule them all, One Ball to fight over. One Ball to bring them all, and in the pouring rain on the field, bind them.

Kiddo, patiently waiting in the wings.

Kia Leh and Kwai Han. I saw them form "91" with their jersey numbers. That was the year I graduated from high school... at the top of my class. Har har har!

Winning five straight matches (so far) could take its toll. The girls would take very quick power breaks in between.

Kia Leh is a fireball of energy on the green.

This photo of Kwai Han has the feel of a shampoo or a beauty soap ad. Seriously!

I told her about it and the self-effacing person that I've always known her to be made this cute face. Of course that's Kiddo Kia Leh in the background.

As Kwai Han proved, they are more than just pretty faces. They are fun, fab, but at the same time fearless. And in this shot, kind of fierce. Rawrrrrr!

Joyce, Kia Leh and Kwai Han battle it out for control of the ball.

Shan Shan, Kia Leh and Michelle charge to convert this goal-creating moment.

Goooaaal!!! Team WHATEVER scores!

Joyce, Kwai Han, Eone, Kia Leh and Cheng Cheng protect the goal.

A head butt interception from Eone saves the day! Haha!

Mitch!

Michelle, Cheng Cheng and Shan Shan charge forward!

Michelle is determined to meet the blues head on.

Score!!!

Bee Lian rejoices!

Cheng Cheng looks at the ball as if telling it, "Cooperate or else. Either way, you'll get good kicking from me!"

Cheng cheng intercepts and successfully stops the ball on its tracks.

Now, it is mine!

"If you want it, come and get it." Cheng cheng prepares to fight over the ball.

Cheng Cheng is one of the girls who sustained some injury during the games. Here, she is attended by both Bee Lian and a staff of the Medical Team.

Be Lian said that she has a built-in camera detector. She knows whenever she needs to flash her megawatt smile. Here, she realizes I was covering the moment and beams, some of the players and the supporters, including the injured Cheng Cheng couldn't help but smile as well.

A fleet of supporters is important to any sports team. Or sometimes, that ONE SUPPORTER is all that matters.

11 + 3 = 1

Don't be afraid. You can play this game.

Team WHATEVER enjoyed the loyal support of colleagues and friends like Kok Wah, Chee Hou, and Heng Yie.

Not even the non-stop rain could keep Jellyn and everybody else from supporting the team.

The team could definitely count on Eric, Heng Yie, Chee Hou, Way Hung, Ee Xyan, and Jellyn to be there.

All the pretty ladies! Who run the world?! Girls! Hehe...

Some of the guys jumped in - Chee Sian, Assistant Coach Der Zhan, and Chee Hou.

Yu Ting was clowning around and finally made it to the group shot. Haha!

Let's hear it for the boys!

Once more with the girls

There's a Team WHATEVER because there's a Head Coach Kelvin.

Kelvin, the cool coach, here wearing his cool Oakley sunnies.

Coach Kelvin keeps a close watch on the team's moves.

Kelvin is quite the cool coach. I think I was more hyper than he was. Haha!

Coach Kelvin and Team PE Player, Wee Hee.

Coach Kelvin confers with Wee Hee while Adam captures the action in still.

 

This is Adam, who used to be one of my engineers in the Philippines. Here, he comes across to me as the photography enthusiast that he really is!

 

The Sunday prior, these guys, Timothy, Kelvin and Wee Hee, went to the field to play. They came back to officially officiate in the matches. Though I guess a part of them was silently cheering for Team WHATEVER. Haha!

 

One of the supporters who came was my good friend Way Hung, who I learned, through this shirt, to be Team WHATEVER's Kwai Han's secondary school classmate in Perak, Malaysia. Friendships do last.

 

See there, Kwai Han!

 

And that's his, Way Hung!

 

While I did assume that Kelvin will just be all too happy to teach me how to play, I won't mind being coached by this guy. I call this photo, "Way Hung and his Power Kick". I first saw just what he could unleash with one kick of that ball on the practice field at Kallang Community Center. You wouldn't want to be at the receiving end of that kick. Haha!

 

Okay, let's try something else fancy.

 

A dribble here...

 

...and there.

 

See that?!

 

And that's how you play.

 

Of course I attempted...

 

But my best contribution would be to pick up the balls after the real athletes!

 

So I just went on to have my photos taken with some of these lovely, beautiful, interesting people I saw on the field. Here, with Shan Shan.

 

With Coach Kelvin!

 

With Kwai Han

 

With my own coach (haha!), Way Hung. And oh, I haven't acknowledged yet the special participation of Mickey Mouse. Haha!

 

Me and someone else's umbrella which I picked up from the pile on the green. Don't worry, I made sure I returned it.

 

Way Hung, Yong Run, eNTeNG

 

With Karen who was doing emceeing duties for the second time around. Good job, Karen!

 

With one of the nicest and loveliest people in the office, Joey! See that on her arm? Artwork! People do have a fun side to them. Body painting looked great on her.

 

A few more action shots. Here with Shan Shan, Cheng Cheng and Mitch. Good deflection by Shan Shan!

Shan Shan and Kwai Han team up to show their opponents just how it is done.

 

 

See what I mean!

 

Shan Shan is now in control.

 

Sports Superstars have a veritable fan base. Here, Team WHATEVER poses with their very own!

 

Let's try that one more time!

 

There would be a number of cameras flashing all at the same time everytime these girls and their supporters strike pose that we sometimes wouldn't know if we were done or not. Haha!

 

Bee Lian said that she has a "built-in camera detector". She knows when the lens is being trained upon her sight. I have to say it is true. Here, she knew exactly I was trying to steal a shot. (Way Hung, why so serious?! Hehe...)

 

Ladies and gentlemen, Beyonce!!! "All the single ladies... All the single ladies..."

 

Kwai Han, Kia Leh, Assistant Coach Der Zhan, and Joyce

 

How can the really gloomy sky bring anyone's spirits down when smiles are this bright?!

 

Shan Shan... Milo should be paying you for this photo. You could very well be their new endorser!

 

I have to say, Team WHATEVER had the hugest loyal following that day!

 

After 17 matches on the field, everything boiled down to these final two matches.

 

Team WHATEVER takes on last year's champions, Synergy. Go Team WHATEVER!!!

 

The road to victory...

 

They even clinched a special title, that of the highest-scoring team!

 

What is their hands saying? Oh yeah, number one!!!

 

Here they are joined by the two guys who really helped make this all happen, Assistant Coach Der Zhan, and Head Coach, the Kelvin!

 

Everybody now joins in on the celebration!

 

Celebrate good times. Come on!

 

Presenting this year's Soccer Carnival Champions, Team WHATEVER!

 

On top of their medals, the girls received a special award for being the highest-scoring team.

 

The taste of victory!

 

Der Zhan, Timothy, and Kelvin

 

Clearly, a part of this victory is offered by the girls to their friends and supporters.

 

The girls get movie vouchers for scoring the highest!

 

Suk Lee even won a lucky draw prize!!! She got the 10th in an array of 15 prizes.

 

Kwai Han and her medal

 

Can you handle this?!

Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





From the sidelines: Moments at a soccer carnival

17 04 2012

My good friend Kelvin was particularly inspired in all five matches. Anyone can see that it was with very good reason.

THE VICARIOUS THRILL of a spectator sport like soccer is the kind of rush that can shoot right through your cerebellum convolutions, form an upsurge of emotion in your arterial system, and make you clench your fist as you prepare to release your brewing manifestation of plain and unequivocal support and pride for one team, in one unbridled cry, “Go Team PE-E-E-E-E-E!!!

Quite obviously, you can tell I went to the Soccer Carnival to show my support.  That, and my fierce loyalty.  And you can tell for which team.

Those who can, do.  Those who cannot – like me – spectate.  I love being a spectator.

Or in the case of some of these wonderful people, just show not only their support but also their love.  (Wow!)

Or, still for others, just wait for their own time on the field.

This was where it all happened - St. Wilfrid Sports Complex, St. George's Road, Singapore.

 

A spectator can't go around running and screaming at the top of his lungs on an empty stomach! Since St. Wilfrid didn't have a cafeteria, I had to cross the street to the nearest 7-11 and get my fill. A bowl of instant noodles and jasmine green tea. Good enough for me. Five minutes and I was back on the field.

 

My trusty Adidas Samba, having stood on puddles of muddy water and grass on the sidelines, was in on all the action!

 

Present to support their friends are these lovely, brainy ladies - Chiet Yen, Cheng Cheng, and Ee Xyan.

 

A closer shot with the girls.

 

Yu Ting, Way Hung, Cheng Cheng and Chiet Yen

 

Stepping out of the white line: Yong Run, Way Hung, Kok Wah, Jeck, and Yu Ting (at the back)

 

As fields became free as teams got eliminated one by one, I had the chance to make some kicks of my own.

 

I was told to make a direct free kick.

 

Getting last minute instructions from Yong Run

 

eNTeNG makes the approach...

 

...delivers the kick...

 

...and scores! The crowd goes wild!!!

 

With Karen

 

With Yong Run

 

With Rohit and his medal

 

With very good friend Wee Sern. For this day at the soccer field, I wore a T-Shirt by Topman, khaki shorts by Topman, dark brown genuine cowhide leather belt by Esprit, Adidas Samba in classic black and white, Ray-Ban Classic Wayfarers in Black, Style in Play eau de toilette by Lacoste, and Incursore Automatic Swiss Made wristwatch by Glycine.

 

Gotta stretch in between!

 

Such a beautiful couple!

 

Someone sure is proud of that medal.

 

Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





Soccer but only on my feet

15 04 2012

My current pair of Adidas Samba, happy to finally be on familiar ground, the soccer field.

THESE SHOES are so popular that they have transcended the indoor soccer training courts and have crossed over to fashion.  They actually found their way to my feet in 2003, much thanks to the influence of my then acquaintance, now really great friend, the Michael J. Fisher.

Last week, my current pair, the most popular color scheme in black with three stripes in white, must’ve thanked its lucky stars that I’ve finally brought it to familiar territory – the soccer field at the complex on St. Georges Road near the office.  It was my colleagues’ practice in preparation for our company’s Annual Soccer Carnival happening very early today.

I wish I knew how to play.  I guess I will have to take lessons under one of my good friends Kelvin or Wee Sern.

But for now, my affinity to the sport will be limited to the Adidas Samba on my feet.

My first ever pair in 2003 was in this color scheme. Navy blue with white stripes. I've had Adidas Samba in various other color combo iterations.

 

A view of the soccer field, captured on my Blackberry Bold 9780.

 

Those are my colleagues and friends playing soccer in the background. I shall forever remain to be the ultimate supporter!

 

I found these Adidas books at one bookstore that has since closed shop here in Singapore. It is a "brand" book and talks about history, collections, and, oh yeah, the complete collections!

 

One of the Adidas books has my great friend Michael's name written all over it. It shall find its way to him halfway around the world. The Louis Vuitton is an extensive and voluminous catalogue that the sales associate gave me the last time I was at their ION Orchard store.

 

Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





Run, eNTeNG, run!

17 02 2012

As Christopher Cross' song says, "Cause it's all right, think we're gonna make it..." And I made it to the finish line! Whew!

I THINK about food all the time.  And whenever my expanded girth hits the edge of my desk at work and I’d find myself reaching a little bit more for the computer keyboard, I realize that it’s time to think about something else even for just a little.  I’ve never been huge on sports.  But eversince I was a kid, I’ve always loved to run.

I was well on my way to being part of the school track and field team when the coach had to pull me out in fear of adversely affecting my studies.  I was at the top of the class and he didn’t want to see my academic performance suffer because of all the time I needed to devote to training after school hours.  I was so stubborn and would still show up to practice, until one day when I saw that he had called my mother to a meeting and said that he would never have me in the team.

Before I moved to Singapore, where I worked in the Philippines, I would almost always run daily.  My office was right smack in the middle of a business park and I had memorized the trail for either the 4km or the 5km run.  My best 5km record was about 27 minutes, 27 seconds.  Nothing stellar, just a personal best.

5km personal best – 27 minutes, 27.37 seconds!

I’ve been here a little over seven months and I haven’t really run.  On my walk from the train station to my flat, I would often get swooshed by by runners.  And I’d always tell myself I should get back to it.

I went to the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2011 on December 4th last year, but that was to just support my good friends Darryl & Brenda, Loradel, Lyndon, Jack, and Melisse.  I proudly carried around a “GO for it!” placard to show for it.

"GO for it!"... The battlecry at the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2011. I have the placard to show for it!

I went to the Standard Chartered Marathon Sngapore 2011 to support my friends! We had a sleepover at Darryl & Brenda's place, excitedly preparing for the day.

Last February 5th 2012, I finally got to run at the Singapore Zoo Safari Run 2012, joining the 6km leg.  I ran without a minute’s practice at all.  WHICH I TOTALLY DO NOT ENCOURAGE, OKAY!  Preparation is key in events like this.  It just so happens that I know myself well enough to know my level of endurance.  That, and that I ate lots of bananas on the days leading to the run, and throughout the 6km stretch, I kept myself hydrated by getting sloshed at all the hydration stations.  It did help a lot that I had my good friend DJ Raoul’s mixes blaring into my ears.

This time, it's the Singapore Zoo Safari Run 2012!

Only adidas and Nike will do.

I'm Team adidas all the way! (That's a little shoutout for you Michael James!)

By the time Brenda and I arrived for our 6km run, Darryl (and Jack) had already completed their 12km!

The Night Safari uphill trail nothwithstanding, the 12km was small beans to Darryl and Jack.

Jack, Loradel, Jossel & Vel, Brenda & Darryl, and eNTeNG

At the start line

Ready... Get Set... Go!

It took me an hour to complete the race – I would take photos of every animal I saw – and at some point I did feel like just walking my way to the finish.  Good thing that as I took my stride towards the final bend, I saw my good friends Jack and Darryl, giving me high fives and cheering me on with the same three words that DJ Raoul’s music had been telling me.  “Run, eNTeNG, run!”

I’m so proud of completing this even if my seat mate at work, Kwang Fook, doesn’t think much of it.  Hahaha!

The first animals I passed, the gaur a.k.a. Indian bison.

The 1km marker

eNTeNG, keep going!

Greater Asian Rhinoceros

This was supposed to be a pose with the Greater Asian Rhinoceros. After giving me the "behind," I guess I was snubbed. Haha!

Now there the rhino is!

Finally a shot together!

Indian wolves

I had my fill at the first hydration station.

Asian Elephant

2km down!

Malayan Tiger

Babirusa

This Sloth Bear was so lovable that I wanted to hug it!

The Lion

Flamingos

The 3km mark... Halfway through!

White Rhinoceros

The 4km marker

Zebra

Giraffe

 

Map of Singapore Zoo

 

Gotta love all those hydration stations!

 

Spider Monkeys

 

Which zoo can lay claim to having a dragon?! Haha!

 

Finally... it's the 5km mark! "5" is my favorite number!

 

It's been almost an hour! Clearly, I wasn't eyeing the prize. Hahaha!

 

The last hydration station

 

Shhh... The White Tiger is asleep.

 

Finally, the finish line!

 

We all made it to the finish!

 

I've got to get a bite off of my finisher's medal! Haha!

 

My very first race bib here in Singapore! It's now up on my wall at the office.

Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





Forever fave footwear

29 10 2010

Adidas Samba in classic black with three white stripes

THE BROWN and black shoes of my childhood seemed meant to last forever.  The most memorable pairs were Adidas leather lace-ups that said they were “Made in Yugoslavia.”  So I practically grew up thinking that Adidas were brown, black, leather, and came from a Southeastern European country that now no longer exists.  Those, and the usual white running shoes.

It wasn’t until 2003 when I got introduced to the Samba, Adidas’s indoor soccer training shoes.  I saw it on my then new friend Michel Fisher and I thought they looked great.  To this day, my fascination for these shoes remains to be one of his enduring influences on my footwear preference.

Since then, I’ve made sure that I would have at least one pair in good condition every year.  The first time I bought them at their Vacaville outlet store, I got four pairs.  Those are now worn out – but I’ve kept them for sentimental reasons.

Last weekend, I decided to get a new pair in a new color combo I haven’t tried – classic black with three gold stripes.  Unfortunately, It wasn’t available in my size so I had to settle for the classic black with three white stripes.  Such a beauty that I just want to stare at them and not wear them at all.

I'm thinking about going back for the one with gold stripes!

 

Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.