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Day 5 (Thu): The unknown

It’s been almost a whole day that I’ve not heard from my Family and while I’m not worried, it makes me slightly restless that I’m unable to keep up with the progress of their journey.

Where are they now? What are they eating? Who is guiding them along? When will they reach Medina? Why aren’t they responding?

Valid questions and all unanswered, but I’m pretty sure God will take care of them and that they’re travelling safely — insyallah.

The only good news: 5 days have already passed by, which means that there is slightly a week++ left before everyone returns.

Can’t wait to hear more of their stories!

Day 4 (Wed): The next leg.

A journey always begins with the first step, as the cliche goes, and the only thing harder than the first step.. is that second step.

On a day that Stalwart Empire embarks on its newfound second leg of its freshly minted startup journey — after the considerably ‘experiential and mildly successful’ NTUC Future Starter campaign — my family is also moving forward towards their second leg of this year’s Umrah trip.

Fresh from the near freezing climate of Masjid Al-Aqsa in West Bank, Palestine, they travelled back into Amman, Jordan where they’ll take another plane trip down to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, before heading to Medina.

Sounds awfully exhaustive? Well, you bet it is.

Actually, both the Umrah trip and this Startup experience are unequivocally exhaustive, considerably taxing the mind and incessantly sapping away the energy of all willing participants.

Despite all that, we steadfastly, humbly and devotedly keep soldiering onwards, because, as another cliche saying goes, no pain no gain.

Onto our next steps!

Day 3 (Tue): A magical night.

A magical night? Lol, not quite in that mesmerising sense but more of in the card gaming sense, as I visited BricksPlay for Modern night, and promptly got thrashed left-right-center as my 4C Zombie deck’s wild variance reared its ugly head.

Indeed, sometimes you just got to put up your hand and admit defeat as luck passes you by, looks at you with one glance and ignores your plight.

Bad draws, bad draws, and bad draws were the order of the day as the Zombie deck malfunctioned extravagantly, but fortunately my dinner of Yellow Submarine ‘sub-radar’ beef with cheesy fries was oh-so-awesome.

Anyways, as for my family, they’re doing really good over there, and though it’s cold, they’ve prepared well with chemical warmers, cold jackets, thick clothes and a staunch faith in accomplishing ibadah.

I vividly recall my Arabian nights — see what I did there? — where I spent nearly 2 weeks accomplishing my own ibadah at Medina and Mecca.

They were cold, not freezing, but cool and pleasing, and the most vivid experience that I recall is that peaceful and serene effect the place had on me.

The place was no barren or desert, but it was simple and… functional.

Days pass by like cars and bikes on a busy road, where you don’t really notice them passing by, and while I’ve always wished I could go there again, somehow this time round I’m unable to.

But I’m really happy that my family gets to experience those magical nights on my behalf.

Ain’t nothin like an Umrah’s Arabian nights.

Day 2 (Mon): A quiet affair.

At work, the sisters Ching (Teng & Ling), were away and so there wasn’t much ramblings or musings to ramble and muse about, and before I knew it 6.30pm greeted me and I was on my way home in a flash.

Stopped by Taman Jurong shopping Centre and bought Chicken Wing rice for dinner, but as tasty and yummy as it was, eating alone in my sis’s room wasn’t as enjoyable as eating with them all~ *pangs*

I tried to start a bit of work here and there but everything just crumbled as I kept refreshing multiple channels of Heartstone streams on Twitch, and today somehow Mira chose to stream exclusively in Russian, to my annoyance.

And to her annoyance, she retorted “Don’t question how I stream” when I asked “Why only in Russian today?”. ;p

Pretty soon, I was too tired to continue and after a quick exchange of messages and checking to see that everyone is doing fine in Palestine, I succumbed and rested till the next morning~

Day 1 (Sun): A Good Start

It’s day 1, and they’ve yet to contact me, as they’re probably still on their way to Hotel Holyland Jerusalem, after landing at Amman, Jordan hours earlier.

Me? As usual, it’s my Sunday morning soccer game baby!

Made an assist and even scored a screamer of a freakish freekick for Barneys on Sunday morning, to make it 4-0, and I think I had a decent game at both Leftback and Rightback position.

The opponent were way more technically gifted and skillful, but somehow we were more clinical and finished the game 5-0, good game indeed.

It was supposedly Modern GPT at Bricks Play next, but the incessant rain dampened all plans and I stayed home instead, and it was a very, very quiet Sunday at home, because usually when everyone is around, you can’t get 10 minutes without someone annoying, pleasantly of course, you.

SO, with me all by myself, I cleaned, washed clothes, watered the plants, fed the cats, played games, watched movies — and about that, I watched Heist, starring Robert De Niro, a not too shabby show indeed!

Also added to my watched list was Matt Damon’s “The Martian”, a really really good show, and a weird “Scout’s guide to the zombie apocalypse”.

What else could’ve top off my lazy  Sunday?

What else, fried chicken with salcicia spaghetti pasta from Pastamania! Yummy

Day 0 (Sat): Umrah Sabatical, The send off.

Everyone except me went for their Umrah trip, and I just came back from sending them off at Terminal 1, an hour earlier where they took flight at 0120hrs with EK405 (Emirates).

Even bro and his 9 month pregnant wifey was there to grace the occasion and lend their precious time, as our family faded into the departure halls along with about 30 other participants from Jallaludin travel.

The send off was clean, peaceful and a little joyful too, fortunately.

I vividly recall my last trip to Umrah, circa 2004, as a homage to my late mum’s passing, as the opportunity to get closer to god presented itself, many many years ago.

Today, is Day 0 of their trip, as well as my solitary sabbatical, albeit at home — a much welcomed change of pace, as I’ll be aiming to complete tasks and achievements within the next 2 weeks.

Tonight, actually, is a challenge that I am looking forward to, one of many to come.

2 weeks.

Let’s see what I can accomplish eh?

Another John C Maxwell’s video on leadership? Lids? What lids?

Last night, I occupied myself watching John C Maxwell’s videos again and particularly one kept me awake an hour — an hour long speech where he impromptus after finding out he’s going to be speaking to an awesome bunch of leaders from a certain company. (Youtube link here)

He titled his presentation “The rule of 5 for for lifting your leadership lid.”.

It’s about how you, as a leader, if you could rank your leadership capacity and based on that rank, the type of followers you’ll attract are the levels below which your leadership capacity is on — and in terms of an institution or a company, your followers are your business itself.

This means your organisation rises and falls on the level of your leadership.

So to build a better company or business, you’ll need to attract better people/customers by raising your leadership rank, or in this case your leadership lid.

John’s 5 rule to lift your leadership lid, by employing them EVERYDAY, are:
1) Lead Yourself — Lead by example. People do what people see.
2) Add value to people — Value your people. Don’t discount anyone.
3) Study leadership — Never stop learning about leadership.
4) Practice Leadership — Empower and teach others to lead others. Train more leaders.
5) Grow intentionally — Employ yourself to be in an environment where you can grow as a leader.

Harvest these 5 rules every single day, and John says that you’ll be able to raise your leadership lid.

IMHO, he’s basically repackaging the mantra of teaching yourself discipline and intentionally moulding yourselves into a successful leader.

Hmmm, I wonder what rank my lid is on?

Today I met John.

Jacky and John are brothers, and if you’ve known the history of this blog’s early posts, together with me, we founded Jacky Printing in 2007.

Well it’s 2015 now and John has been steadily running his own printshop, while Jacky has been steadily restarting his own, and me?

Good question.

So anyways, today is the day I met John after months of us being busy with our own setup, and it was indeed a good catch up, just like old times.

You see, John had called me to assist with his printshop’s networking setup, which I rectified gladfully after running a few tests, tweaking a few details and sprucing up the PCs and Macs  — just like how I did 5.5years ago — and I did it again today because I wanted to and I kinda miss our old conversations.

So yeah, 5.5 years did flash by indeed, and what have I been doing huh, or a better question would be ‘Where am I after all these years?’

Both John and I asked the same, while I shrugged and sighed while sharing a bit of the past, present and future.

A future plan was what I told him of and indeed I’m going to be intentional about it, because just minutes ago, another John had inspired, motivated, and he advices to be living life intentionally.

This ‘other’ John is John C Maxwell, and if you’re like me, I’m sure you’ve heard of the name before but was never really aware of what he does, or who he is even.

Well, today I found out, accidentally of course, and I’m glad I had the chance to have met John C Maxwell for the first time, and I think he is arguably THE best speaker on earth right now.

How good a speaker? How about 12,000-speeches-under-his-belt-over-50-years-and-sold-25-million-books and still as humble-as-a-pie good? ** I’m not even sure if that pie figurative line is accurate or apt?

Yes he IS that good, and after watching him for the first time on youtube with his ‘5 levels of leadership’ video, I got sucked into an hour long video of his “15 Laws of Growth” video, of which he only shared 3.

That’s right, he only shared 3 out of 15 and expended 1 hour doing so, mesmerising and motivating incessantly along the way.

And if you’d know of his 5 levels of leadership, he’s got me hooked on Level 5.

He has my Respect as a leader.

Anyways, here are his 3 laws out of 15:

Be warned, you might just get motivated and start being intentional with your life.

That lingering feeling.

You know that lingering anxious feeling you have when greatness approaches?

It evaded me last Saturday and Sunday. I was carefree. I was callous.

Bouts of flu and fever, boundless constraints on resources and respites, and yet, thankfully, I am fortunate enough to be given a teeny weeny sniff of success for my latest World Magic Cup Qualifier #1 (WMCQ1) outing, last Saturday/Sunday at Suntec City, with my ABZAN Hangarback Aggro tweak.

It was the WMCQ1 for Singapore and us half-decent Magic:The Gathering (MTG) players aren’t just going to let am ungodly registration fee of $60 ($45 if you pre-register) daunt us as we made our way, on a lovely Saturday morning, filling up room 331 of Suntec City.

So I got 4th, losing in the Semis to MARDU Dragons, piloted by Bryan Ong; Stormbreath Dragons still rule these skies.

WMCQ1 Event details

I’ve never been this close to a major Finals, and had to settle for the Semis.

Still awaiting my first major tournament trophy and still harboring hopes of being in Barcelona.

My crescendo for the event: beating Horny Taxi Beng, leaving him devastated and forlorn, to draw into top 8. Still, with a name like that, he was easily the coolest being in that room.

Surprisingly it wasn’t an exhilarating or super exciting experience — instead it was a calm, collected and carefree one, not just for me but for my playtest buddy, Ming Yi too, who woke up at 8.45am for a 9am event, but somehow still managed to squeeze a quick bath and arrive on time with a homebrew (Mono Blue) deck for Game 1.

Actually my crescendo was that I won all games from round 2 and from round 3 onwards, winning ALL my rounds 2-0. I had an unprecedented 80% match win, before I drew with my final opponent, who was quick to insist on a draw as his percentage point would increase, while mine would decrease.

Nevertheless, since I was on a callous mode, I didn’t really mind if I was 8th, 9th or 10th if we drew, so I told him something like, “Oh well, if I’m in, I’m in. If I’m out, I’m out. We are drawing our game, Sir.”

Long story short, ladyluck smiled and I returned to GamesHaven the next day, still in my carefree mode, and plundered away.

Now.. I just want to slowly sip this warm water with lemon drip, and recover from this lingering fl.. ah.. ah choo!

Happy Faces

April 2015 – Movie Recaps

Don’t get me wrong, I love how movies interact with the common mind — especially one like mind — that’s open to concepts, ideas, imaginations and endless adventures.

And these are just some of the movies that have truly provided me with a memorable adventure thus far this year, and in no rank or order:

  • Good Kill: Ethan Hawke’s quiet, dour, pent-up frustration culminating in self-disgust and climaxing in a self-righteous moment is one hell of the adventure of a ‘war on terror’.
  • The Imitation Game: Alan Cumberbatch’s faith is unwavering and his commitment is self-afflicting.
  • Voices: Ryan Reynolds can do no wrong in probably his best ever screen time as a self-appreciating and conflicted man.
  • St Vincent: Bill Murray still entertaining when he’s not trying to entertain, and indeed a saint-like ending.
  • Penguins of Madagascar: Just entertainingly hilarious and a wildly crazy ride.
  • The Hunger Games: The Mockingjay: Part 1: A quiet, serene crescendo building up towards something good. Hopefully.
  • Interstellar: Out of this world, but ending a bit too ambitious, but still a mind boggling trip.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: A Legend Ends: Stylistic japanese samurai-era fight scenes and cinematograpy/choreography.
  • John Wick: A cool, neverending anti-hero, heroic story.
  • Birdman: Not quite my movie of the year, but a refreshing journey into a new style of filmmaking.
  • Gone Girl: A clever murder movie that’s gripping.
  • The Mule: Disgustingly got me hooked till the end. Has to be good right?
  • Nightcrawler: In your face, unethical, but thrilling like an illegal joy-ride.
  • Dark City: Never too late to enjoy the best that sci-fi has ever introduced.
These are just among the many that I’ve immersed into and feel like worth mentioning that the production team have all excelled in producing their movies, but if I had to pick my top 3 thus far, it’ll be:
  1. Interstellar: The more you watch, the longer you ponder. The longer you begin to ponder, the more you yearn to watch again.
  2. RuRouni Kenshin: I want to watch this piece over and over and over.
  3. St Vincent: I teared at the end, but it’s just deservingly touching, and I’m sure I’ll still be entertained watching it second or third coming.
Fuuh…