Wednesday, 28 November 2007

I fainted for the 1st time in my life

Just came back from Reuben wake....

During the wake, I fainted....

Wondering if its due to fatigue, hunger or over-whelmed sadness....

I miss you buddy....

Monday, 26 November 2007

Reuben Kee - Miss you forever

Typing this entry with a very heavy heart... Sorry, for this entry, there wouldn't be any jokes, there wouldn't be any laughter and for sure, you wouldn't feel any happiness in it....

I just needed some time on my own to type out my feelings now... I have lost a friend, a buddy, a platoon mate, a section mate and a bunk mate today.

Reuben Kee... My bunk mate in BMTC, Pegasus Company 59th Direct Enhanced Platoon 1, Section 4. 3 months with him make me respect him so much that I look upon him as an elder brother, someone who will always stand up for you and protect you..

He was a very talented man... Composing music, painting etc.... And not forgetting his fitness, he was the only man in our platoon who could do a total of 25pull ups non-stop... while I was a "Zero-fighter" during those days....

During our admin time, he would always ask us down to do pull up with him... in a way training us.... We grew closer when both of us shared a same dream before our POP (Passing out period)... We both wanted to be "MAN" for the rest of our NS life...

As our batch was a commander batch, meaning most of us will end up being officers or specialists.. Hence, chances of us becoming "MAN" was slim... My reason for being a "MAN" - I wanted to become a lifeguard and swim all day with a 8am-5pm vocation where I can book out everyday and be home with my family every night.

His reason - To row for SAFSA. Dragon boating was his love. I believe as much as my love for swimming and triathlons.

Hence, we started to "chao-kin"(thinking of alternatives) to escape whatever ways we can from becoming officers or specialists. We will discuss this issue every day with new and silly ideas everyday... From telling our platoon frenz to list us as the last frenz they like during our "Peer-Appraiser" to not performing our best during team works... Anyway, that we feel can "demote" us to become "Man", We will try...

Eventually, we succeeded. He became a full time rower for safsa and I became a lifeguard for SAF. Of course, we were so happy!

I didn't know about the news of the capsize boat until I read the papers today.. Its' when I saw his unique name, age and photo that I realised, it was him.... MISSING

Now... Its official that he's no longer with us...

I dunnoe what I should say, I dun even noe how I should feel..... And I dun even noe how I'm going to take it.....

I just can't imagine losing 3 friends in a span of just 2 years....

In 2005, I lost my very very very best friend, JiaHui. Cause of death: Drown

A few months later, I lost my best childhood friend, Alvin. Cause of death: Brain Tumor

Now, I lost a very good buddy, Reuben. Cause of death: Drown

Sometimes, I cant help but ask myself... Why? Why are they all leaving me so fast? I'm scared. I have my fears... Are these what a 23year old guy should be going thru? A life test?

My mum asked me... "Why must you kids always worry the parents?" Reuben was the only son in the family..

I dunnoe how to reply her. I told her, every sport has its risks... But 1 old man told me this before that he rather die doing something he love than to die of illness and drag ppl around him.

I really dunnoe what I can say/do now to keep my mum @ ease when I go for triathlons, ironman and marathons. I can only promise her that I will not push myself too hard and stop @ the slightest heart pain if I feel any.

Somehow, I feel the passion of dragon boating in Reuben and I pray for him in the other world...

To ask a sportsmen to give up his love for sport is a very difficult thing to do...

My student ask... "Teacher, why you always go for competition? You also never win... Never win still go there lose for what?"

I said "Winning is not everything... Most important is you enjoy the whole process... Just like how you all enjoy your lessons.. And losing is part of winning and its a form of winning..."

And I think Reuben... You have won the race of life... I'm going to miss you.... Memories of you will always be in both my heart and mind....

And here's the drawing that Reuben drew for our Company Logo... The spirit of Reuben will always fly high like our flag


Saturday, 24 November 2007

2nd December

Dear parents and students

There will be no lessons on 2nd December (1st week of December) as I will be taking part in the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2007....

Last year, I completed it in 7hrs30min's due to an injury on my left leg on the 1othKm. I ended up limping all the way for the rest of the 32.195km.... I'm determined to do better this year round... And hopefully i will be able to do it! Not going for timing this year, completion without injury will be a success for me. =D

Your support is greatly appreciated! In terms of mentally, physically and financially! Haha...

So... just in case u manage to get down to the race course on that day... This is the number to look out for! 2567


P.s: Last week of december, I will be away for a holiday from the 24th to 31st december. Will update you guys again. Most of my students are not affected except for those on the sunday classes. I will make arrangements with you all by next week. =D

Friday, 16 November 2007

The Price of Education

-"If you think education is expensive, you should try ignorance"
-DR. DOLF DE ROOS

You know... the ugly side of some Singaporeans... Who want to practically save on everything? Like having free stuff for everything including education for their children?

There are parents who want to save on that few bucks and rather choose a less qualified, experience coach. I have nothing against that, in fact.. I'm 1 such person shamefully to admit.

I started my saxophone lesson with a local teacher charging me @ $140 per month for 45mins at his place (No Aircon!).... After 6months, I can no longer take the heat in his place and I feel that I'm not learning much from him.....

Than I changed teacher... charging me @ $120 per month for 45mins at my place... Woah.. Cheaper right.. But WRONG! His way of teaching is bad... I was with him for just the 1st month. -End of story-

Now, I have a concert player teacher from Bulgarian..charging me @ $200 per month for 45mins... Its alot more expensive and I feel the pinch.. But hey! I learn alot of him...

Conclusion: You pay for what you get....

Letting you kids learn to swim for $50bucks a month with me if you think its way too expensive.. Than please... look for those that are charging you $30,$40 a month.. I even heard there are those charging @ $25 per month... And there are those charging @ $60 per month

My class is standard - max 10 students... And I believe the way I coach my students, NONE I dare to say confidently, will ever want to change coach...

And kids with me go for their test at a speed so fast that parents always say.. ."so fast go for test?"

Most importantly is children learning swimming from me enjoys that! But its always the parents who can't understand... I dunnoe why, perhaps, some really have financial difficulties but for some... They "Coach-hop"... Jumping from 1 coach to another, just to save on the school fees, time, location etc...

But does the child really benefit @ the end of the day? I honestly dun think so... Not in any single way...

My very 1st few batches of student... There is 1 ger called Celine.. She finished her Bronze test with me many many years ago... And the grandmum (who was the one who always bring her for swimming lesson) decided to stop her lesson with me cause she find it such a hassle to bring her to the pool every friday night...

Its been years since I last saw her.. Until I saw her just last week at the pool again...On further conversation, She has been swimming for a few years with a few coaches... And I must say, she must have @ least 10 different coaches till date... Ranging from the most reputable swimming schools, association in Singapore to private coaches...

Now, she's learning from another coach... I asked her..."why you change so many coaches?"
Celine: "I dunnoe. Grandma say change... Than I change lorx..."
Me: "So.. how many coaches you changed?"
Celine: "I dunnoe... 10?"
Me: "Than out of the 10, U like which coach the most"
Celine (Without thinking): "You!"

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Chao Yang Special School

Late in the night... and suddenly these kids from Chao Yang Special School came into my mind....

Chao Yang Special School... According to their website. They are " with mild intellectual disabililty(IQ level of 50-70, with concurrent significant limitations in adaptive behaviour as expressed in conceptual, social and practical adaptive skills"

To be very honest, I have never taught such students before and hence.. I was really afraid I can't manage them. But thank goodness... As a matter of fact, they are no different from any other children. Just that, most of them need alot of attention and patience...

I don't see them in anyway different from the other children that I taught. In fact, I feel that these kids learn to swim in a much faster way. I don't know why but not much explanations are needed for them. I show them once and they can do it! It amaze me, thought, correcting them in their strokings come with alot more patience...

I had 8 boys in my class.. Each with different temper, attitude and behaviour... And I really respect the teachers from these schools.. I think they are doing a great job! Because.. its not easy to control and teach them.

On a more personal side.... There were times were I feel so sad @ times for these boys. They are like 9-11years old... And I can feel for them... I wonder if the society can accept them. I hope they can be accepted! But I feel more for their parents... I'm not a parent yet of course... But I think their parents are going thru great pains to put them thru school, to communicate with them etc... Its not really easy I guess but they are hanging on to it....

I might not be able to help them in anyother ways other than teaching them swimming and water confidence but I hope I can do something thru my blog here....So.. Whoever is reading this....

Please, next time if you happen to see/meet such children/adults.... Give them a chance and time.... I think sometimes attention and a chance to speak matters alot to them

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Nee Soon South CC


It started 12 weeks ago... with a total of 12 students.

I had a swim class with the Nee Soon South CC 12 weeks ago.. Today is the 12th lesson and marks the end of their swimming elementary Level 1. Due to the upcoming school holidays, I wouldn't be able to continue coaching them @ least till the beginning of next year....

You know, the thing about kids is that they don't lie.. Well, at least not at their age. =)

You can tell from their actions. These kids are the 1st batch of students that came 30mins before their lesson starts and rush to me when they saw me. One kid will shout and point.. "Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!" And all will rush to me as if I'm some SUPERSTAR or Actor... *blush* And they will offer to carry my boards for me... "Jerry, I help you take..."

Today, their 1st sentence to me was not that.. it was...

"Jerry.. Today last lesson already.. So fast, I'm not really happy"
Me: "Why?
"Because, no more swimming lesson. I cannot come to the swimming pool. I cannot see you."

Sometimes, its the way these kids put their words that they end up putting tears in my eyes...

I love this class! Cause of the kids smile and laughter.... And these kids really bond and help with each other... I see their encouragement in 1 another tot they know each other less than 3months...

And what makes this class so special is... 2 of the mothers join their kids in the lesson! That's cool.... I remember one of the mum saying tis to me... "Treat me as a kid... Teach me like a kid... I'm a child in swimming!"

This is 1 class that I will definately miss... =)

Sorry kids, I will see you guys next year January..hopefully...