Sometimes we let things get to us when it’s really none of our concerns.

Fernando Torres

Wait, this really has nothing to do with me battling my personal demons, but rather of tonight’s (or early morning, depending on where you are) Europa league game between FC Utrecht and Liverpool FC, my beloved Reds.

In other words, mind your own business is the mantra that I’m preaching here, dear Torres and Co.

There’s no other bigger news than 18yr Old Jumps after roommate live-streamed  sex video secretly Liverpool FC’s on-going ownership drama, thrusted even more into the limelight with Hollywood A-lister’s not-so-secret movie regarding the boardroom’s very public cleaning of dirty laundry.

And issues like that do get to players’ head as they ponder of the club’s securities, or worse, their own securities.

Anyway, as a professional (footballer), you’re paid to do a job, so you do a job to the best of your ability, because that’s what professionalism is all about.

It’s not easy to say that emotional quotient is merely myth, because we’re all humans, and humans have emotions — be it a professional footballer or an amateur footballer on a Sunday morning.

But no matter what happens on the pitch, the boardroom won’t get affected by it, not much that is, so why let it bother you, as a player?

I do hope that my Reds will release themselves from the shackles of club-ownership drama and for once in a long while, start enjoying their football.

Seriously, it’s been a long while since I’ve seen them enjoy their football, and being one myself, I can sense when someone’s enjoying their football or not.

Judging by their recent performance, Liverpool have been weighed down badly by recent events, or non-events, and I guess that they’re allowing things to get to them.

I know, I know, I know that many things affect the way we perform our lives, so I suppose  it’s not wrong to say that sometimes we let things get to us.

So chill out Reds, forget your problems for 90minutes, and please, please, please just enjoy your football.

Everything else is nothing to be concerned with.

A blonde gets a job as a teacher.

So, a blonde gets a job as a teacher.
She notices a boy in the field standing alone, while all the other kids are running around having fun. She takes pity on him and decides to speak to him.
“You ok?” she says.
“Yes.” he says.
“You can go and play with the other kids you know,” she says.
“It’s best I stay here,” he says.
“Why? says the blonde.
“Because, I’m the f**king goalie!”

Don’t judge until they’ve explained, uninterrupted.

The one thing that I’ve learned best from my experience with the Police Force is that everyone deserves their ‘speak time’ no matter how guilty (or innocent) they may be, and it’s a leaf that I’ve taken gratuitously from my former boss’ book.

I was fully aware that he’d never let slip the chance for anyone to speak for themselves, uninterrupted for a full 5 minutes, before passing any judgement, and whenever someone digressed or cut in, he’ll glare at them and asks them to shut the hell up before getting the defendant to finish his 5 minutes.

Now 5 minutes may not seem much, but when you’re walking on a thin red line, that amount is priceless and worth every expletives colourful words used.

I greatly admired my superior’s methods of passing judgement, whether it’s internal or external mediations. Unfortunately for him he’s had too much internal disputes to arbitrate and too much external issues to tackle. Fortunately for me, it opened my eyes greatly.

Before I share what I’m getting at, allow me to share an honest story that’s close to the heart.

A young man was judged to lack gratitude by his loving Godma (where I may add that however this still never changes his affection and appreciation for her) after an incident a few months back where he left a handphone bill in his room before he left for work.

She’s an early sleeper, where 9pm equates to bedtime, due to her daily early morning kitchen commitments (from 2am to 6am, when she’ll start working at her curry puff and kueh-kuehs business), while he comes home pretty late, from work. So they never really got the chance to talk about it. The thing is, it wasn’t his normal hp bill.

He’d gotten her a smartphone, weeks earlier, and being the first time that she’s getting used to all these GPRS / 3G thingy, the data usage was astronomical and having a close to $500 hp bill for a month isn’t something that anyone is used to around there.

So he left it on his bed, hoping to speak to her when he got the chance to get home earlier, but as it turned out, she mistook his intention of trying to inform her to utilise data usage moderately as him trying to get her to pay for a portion of the bills.

You see, he’s been paying for a few bills around the house, Godma’s bills included, and never has he ever asked for her to settle any portion of them. After all that she’s done for him, he’d never ask her for anything other than a place to call home. Money was the least of a worry that he’ll ever have, but she’d thought that he was seeking financial siege. Unfortunately for him, she never asked and unfortunately for her, he has yet to say anything.

So it came both as a shock and not as a shock when she passed him a message that’s somewhere along the line of “I’m too disappointed in you, someone who holds no gratitude towards all my past efforts even when I never ask for anything in return.”

Judgement passed without the young man being given any opportunity for a listening.

And then she added at the end, “Love you.”

Great sadness caused for both parties when presumptions and actions are actively taken at face value, where it’s like beating a dead horse when if he tries to explain himself.

By the way, neither am I vindicating the young man here, because he shouldn’t be, nor am I hanging him high and dry, because in fairness he deserves a fair trial, but sometimes there comes a time, especially in our Asian tradition, when a child (no matter how grown up he is) has got take it on the chin and give respect when it’s due and apologize.

Nothing more and nothing less, but oh how the young man is regretting his actions, ill-timed and misunderstood. He still loves her greatly, and he harbours a wish for his very own 5 minutes, and this much I know for sure.

I know for I see this young man everyday, who looks back at me with the quiet of a man drained of energy — this man in the mirror.

One of the best way to learn is by doing it wrong.

And no, it’s not about setting up yourself to do it wrong on purpose, but rather to do what you think is right, what feels right and what wouldn’t be catastrophic whence the outcomes, when you’ve got no one else to turn to for that much required assistance.

Just like playing Texas Hold’Em Poker, where if you’re decently okay, generally you’ll get on fine and gain plenty of chips, I mean knowledge along the way.

When I get asked how to do a certain thing  and what will happen when a certain thing is done this way or that way, it deeply irks me when they can find it out themselves by simply trying (since there really isn’t any any disastrous consequences) and the mere act of hesitation in trying and instead seeking to be spoonfed, well it irks me.

You just don’t learn as much when you’re spoonfed.

In a way, I actually enjoy assisting someone who’s done something wrong, and it’s not a schadenfraude nor am I a sadist, but rather I believe that that someone is actively and sincerely seeking for more knowledge, and is a sponge, and both parties benefits in this situation.

Go ahead make a beautiful mistake and explore the world, ditch your laptop and dump your boyfriend. (Why am I even reading an article that’s intended for the opposite sex? Oh well..

So, when was the last time you learned something new by mistake?

Overhead @ A Red Thing: Light at the end of the Anfield tunnel.

I’m not sure if I should feel relieved, or reprieved.

Last year at the stadium of light, a beachball knocked Red’s lights out, so I guess we’ll have to be thankful that Beachball Boy didn’t bring along his toys home this time around eh — Or should I? At least back then there was the beach ball to lay blame on, and I’m far more comfortable with that actually.

Earlier in the year, last season in the same fixture, Liverpool ran rampant at Anfield with a resounding 3-0 victory as they chased for the 4th spot, but what happened in this recent game huh? Especially when you mildly notice that the players fielded were largely similar.

Hmmm… Let’s compare…

[READ MORE @ A Red Thing] (Opens in new window)

A Poor Man’s Story: Lies of a Mother.

This story begins when I was a child. I was born poor. Often we hadn’t enough to eat. Whenever we had some food, Mother often gave me her portion of rice. While she was transferring her rice into my bowl, she would say “Eat this rice, Son! I’m not hungry.”

This was Mother’s First Lie.

As I grew, Mother gave up her spare time to fish in a river near our house. She hoped that from the fish she caught, she could give me a little bit more nutritious food for my growth. Once she had caught just two fish, she would make fish soup. While I was eating the soup, mother would sit beside me and eat what was still left on the bone of the fish I had eaten. My heart was touched and I gave her the other fish on my chopstick but she immediately refused it and said, “Eat this fish, Son! I don’t really like fish.”

This was Mother’s Second Lie.

Then, in order to fund my education, Mother went to a Match Factory to bring home some used matchboxes, which she filled with fresh matchsticks. This helped her get some money to cover our needs. One wintry night I awoke to find Mother filling the matchboxes by candlelight. So I said, “Mother, go to sleep. It’s late. You can continue working tomorrow morning.” Mother smiled and said, “Go to sleep, Son! I’m not tired.”

This was Mother’s Third Lie.

When I had to sit my Final Examination, Mother accompanied me. After dawn, Mother waited for me for hours in the heat of the sun. When the bell rang, I ran to meet her. Mother embraced me and poured me a glass of tea that she had prepared in a thermos. The tea was not as strong as my Mother’s love. Seeing Mother covered with perspiration, I at once gave her my glass and asked her to drink too. Mother said, “Drink, Son! I’m not thirsty!”.

This was Mother’s Fourth Lie.

After Father’s death, Mother had to play the role of a single parent. She held on to her former job. She had to fund our needs alone. Our family’s life was more complicated. We suffered from starvation. Seeing our family’s condition worsening, my kind Uncle who lived near our house came to help us solve our problems big and small. Our neighbors saw that we were poverty stricken so they often advised my mother to marry again. But Mother refused to remarry saying, “I don’t need love.”

This was Mother’s Fifth Lie.

After I had finished my studies and gotten a job, it was time for my old Mother to retire but she carried on going to the market every morning just to sell a few vegetables. I kept sending her money but she was steadfast and even sent the money back to me. She said, “I have enough money.”

That was Mother’s Sixth Lie.

I continued my part-time studies for my Master’s Degree. Funded by the American Corporation for which I worked. I succeeded in my studies. With a big jump in my salary, I decided to bring Mother to enjoy life in America but Mother didn’t want to bother her son. She said, “I’m not used to high living.”

That was Mother’s Seventh Lie.

In her dotage, Mother was attacked by cancer and had to be hospitalized. Now living far across the ocean, I went home to visit Mother who was bedridden. In one of the minor bedside operation, I saw her tears and heard her cries. After, Mother tried to smile but I was heartbroken because she was so thin and feeble but Mother said, “Don’t cry, son! I’m not in pain.”

That was Mother’s Eighth Lie.

And then she passsed on.

M – O – T – H – E – R

“M” is for the MILLION things she gave me without asking for anything,

“O” for being the ONLY one who’s always there,

“T” is for the TEARS she shed to save me,

“H” is for her HEART of gold,

“E” is for her EYES with love-light shining in them,

“R” is for being the number one REASON that I am thankful for waking every morning.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

And I’m eternally thankful.

It’s not easy for a grown man to well up when he reads a passage of writing but sometimes, like when he reads the passage above, he does betray a tear or two.

The passage above, I may have taken off an email (or was it a forum posting that I chanced upon somewhere) and edited a little, but the message it presents is true and genuine, which is comfortably close to my heart.

MOTHER, a word that means the world to me. For those of you who are lucky to be still blessed with your Mom’s presence on Earth, this story is beautiful. For those who aren’t so blessed, this is even more beautiful, and it makes you ever so grateful that your life has been presented with the most beautiful present ever.

Without that present, I feel under-privileged, under-appreciated, like everything that I could ever have in this world would never really mean anything anymore, and like every dollars earned and accumulated is just another metric in the system?

Without that present, I feel the way that the child in the story was born — Poor, robbed of love.

Best lecture I’ve ever had. Thank you Randy Pausch.


I hated lectures, and probably the only lectures I didn’t skip were the ones that were presented by the young female lecturers or the ones where it promised clips, or sometimes the full length, of animations and movies.

Or the ones which, if I skipped, would earn me a complimentary visit to the Director’s office for a slow mano-a-mano talk, for you-know-what.

Anyway, in retrospect, the academic misfit that I was, I knew I had the capacity to sit through any lecture thrown at me and absorb, learn as much as possible and then figure out what to do with that new found knowledge.

The only problem was to get me interested in the agenda first, or the speaker.

Gary Vaynerchuck and Jeff Walker are probably two names that would get me interested, sitted, and drooling, so it surprised me that I managed to wade through an hour plus or so into viewing the youtube vid of Prof. Randy Pausch’s aptly called ‘last lecture’.

Prof. Randy who?

Well he’s not a professor for nothing and I’m not sure how famous he is, but perhaps 12million youtube views (and counting) does attest to his calibre, and the quality of his ‘last lecture’, which really was his farewell lecture.

Someone close has been asking me ‘How do you get to be so optimistic everytime?’ and I guess that I finally have a link to show her what it really and truly takes to be cheerful, even when death is staring you in the face in two months time, as was in the case of Prof. Randy Pausch when he gave this ‘last lecture’ of his.

I guess it won’t be that morbid of me to say this, enjoy this youtube video that was actually meant for his kids for the years that he won’t be around, but it’s a truly inspirational one and I hope you’ll gain something out of it.

The best lecture I’ve ever had:

Here are some quotes taken off his lecture for you to nibble on, as I remember them, so :p

“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”

“When you see yourself doing something badly and nobody’s bothering to tell you anymore, it means they’ve given up you.”

“You can’t get there alone. People have to help you and I do believe in karma. I believe in paybacks. You get people to help you by telling the truth. Being earnest.”

“Be prepared. Luck is truly where preparation meets opportunity.”

“Don’t bail. The best of the gold’s at the bottom of barrels of crap.”

And here is my favourite lesson learned from it all…

“Sometime you try so hard and you hit a brick wall. Wham! The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough.”

So have you met your brick wall yet? Perhaps you’ve yet to meet them and when you do, bury them.

Hari Raya Puasa 2010

I could get into a rambling mood and start churning out an unnecessarily eloquent posts about this festive season and all the overspending that’s being done all over the world, but I think I could practice a little restrain here.

What the fasting month of Ramadhan preaches is really all about abstinence from any particular apetite.

And finding yourself too.

With that said, Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri to all Muslims and Happy Holidays to everyone!

When it breaks, it makes you go ‘Ugh’.

What else would you say when you had to see two different doctors, three times in the past 2 weeks, trying to find that elusive magic pills to cast the flu bug away?

And that one of the doctor was coughing himself while trying to consult me.

Ugh.

What else would you sum it as when you witness with your naked eyes the 2nd broken leg event of the year alone, and this time round that it was one of your best friend that suffered it — and it was you that invited him for that game of soccer?

It’s not pretty, it looks like jelly, and trust me when I say that the torturous trauma of the ordeal will leave you sick as you hear that thunderous ‘crack, comparable to an explosion which leaves you dumbfounded, shocked and in rage.

Double Ugh.

What else can you describe your Ramadhan month as when you can’t spend time with your family for that simple act of ‘breaking your fast’ in the comfort of your home?

Work cuts the legs off of you and you wonder why your priorities have been mixed up, minced and left to decompose in a pile of ‘what-could-have-beens’.

Triple Ugh.

And then when you’re trying to sleep to Marianas Trench’s ‘Lover Dearest’ playing in your ears pre-dawn, you find your betraying tear ducts leak as that oft beating organ in your chest, skips a beat, breaks apart, and collapse like a suffocating black hole.

The morning air gets thin and the darkness envelopes you in loneliness as you gasp, and gasp, and gasp, and cripple your pillow tight, the only thing you were able to hold onto.

Ugh.

Why does it seem like everything unfolds never as planned, and you find that the more you try to undo, the stranger it gets.

You find you reminding you that it’s not worth trying to reverse the spinning of the earth, or trying to force an outcome.

Things happen, it happens, so let it happen.

All you can do is to keep the gears turning, and who knows what’ll happen next?

Ugh.

Marianas Trench: Masterpiece Theatre review.

Have you heard of Marianas Trench?

Well I stumbled upon them while I was stumbling upon Kristyn’s blog, Pretty Missile, and I sort of enjoyed the preview I got there.

Long story short, I bought their album, was tremendously impressed — after a long while of stale melodies and riffs — and thought that I could recommend you a listen to the album ‘Masterpiece Theatre’.

Here we go..

Full of Acapella verse and goofy, lyrically majestic and musically refreshing — what’s not to like about Canada-based Marianas Trench, especially when their music videos might fool you into thinking that it was a mentos commercial (and not that their songs wouldn’t complement such commercials though~)?

From the contemporary catchy ‘All To Myself’ to the soothingly smooth ‘Beside You’ to the emotional emphatic explosive endearment of ‘Lover Dearest’, a song that derived from a letter written to a drug addiction.

That the latter song (full lyrics here)is written by Josh Ramsay, lead vocals, while he was in rehab makes it all the more compelling, and as you breathe in his honest confessions of “..my tongues turnin’ black, but I’ll take you back, your still the best more or less..” and “..it hurts me to say that it hurts me to stay
and it might be all right if you go..
“, it all builds up into an emphatic crescendo of an ending with “..i think that the bitter in you and the quitter in me is the bitter in you and quitter in me..“.

That ‘Lover Dearest’ is just one of the many listenable, emotionally charged and tight lyrics with teasing riffs, justifies this denouement that is their follow-up album, aptly titled ‘Masterpiece Theatre’, to ‘Fix Me’.


The beautifully arranged and directed music vid, ‘Beside You’.

Worth listening from the album includes ‘Perfect”, a raunchy riffy song for any day and the 3 parts ‘Masterpiece Theatre’, which is experimentally musically yet ably sounding complete, rich and exquisitely executed.

You’ve got to appreciate the candid outlook of the guys mixed with sober experimentation of their sound, and which band do you know of that holds a contest for anyone to grab the chance of doing a duet with them in a performance of their next song?

What a delicately painful-yet-oh-so-passionate duet ‘Good to you’ is indeed (with Kate Voele on the track), that reminds you of the moment where you’re caught in between something you’re-not-but-willing-to-be and the real you.

And if the more upbeat tracks like ‘Sing Sing’ and ‘Celebrity Status’ don’t make you feel like giving your bums a good workout, then perhaps I might’ve erred when I claim them as THE next big band to break out into mainstream this year.

Recommend for tasteful audiophiles everywhere, and even if you’re not one of them, I’d guarantee that you’d still be able to appreciate the album.

Oh, did you know that ‘Mariana Trench’ is actually the world’s deepest ocean trench? Well, now you do.

And Marianas Trench’s music is deep indeed.