After a breakdown, you build yourself back up.

Friday night lights in an empty gym.

Friday night lights in an empty gym.

About 2 and a half months since my last post, then I thought I hit rock bottom, I was wrong.

Shortly after that post I had a full-blown breakdown.

I somehow just felt the overwhelming crushing weight of defeat.

I ended up driving around for an entire day just crying at my steering wheel and for a couple of days I was just lost.

Crying at what exactly, I’m not entirely sure.

It’s a combination of mourning a past relationship lost, feeling the pains of regret and the failures I had.

I guess for the longest time I’ve been sucking it up and pushing things aside to keep pressing on, and slowly these things just added up until the straw that broke the camel’s back.

And then the realization came to me, that I was stuck in a rut.

Since 2012 I’ve had no clear goals, not doing what I really wanted to do, the business that I started isn’t really going anywhere and I’m just not spending my days in a fulfilling manner.

I’ve spent a large part of my twenties chasing my dreams but at the end of it, I had pretty much nothing to show for except the scars of my failures and the pains of my defeat.

I needed results.

I realized that if I don’t do anything about it, if I remained the same and kept doing the same things, saying the same things, I’m going to crash and burn, heading nowhere real quick.

I had to get myself out.

The breakdown gave me a chance to have an honest evaluation of my life.

What I have got going and what I did not.

Most of all, it made me realize, I wasn’t happy.

So I had to change.

I took some hard decisions, broke up another relationship with a great girl (hurting others is always the worst, but I knew I wasn’t in the right place and time and that the hard thing to do was the right thing to do).

And then I took some time off.

If you go to another place at another time, will you become another person?

If you go to another place at another time, will you become another person?

Bought tickets to Krabi at 1 in the morning, flew off to Thailand with no expectations just a couple of hours later. One backpack on me, I left everything unnecessary behind.

Sometimes, removing yourself from the familiar and putting yourself in an environment that you got to start all over again makes you realize what you truly need.

Got on the bus and started chatting with another young fella from Brazil. He was traveling for a month whilst taking a break from his studies in Australia.

Straight away, I realized something that I’ve forgotten for a long time.

One of the reasons why I set off on this journey all those years ago was to be free. I watched Jason Mraz’s video and just felt a very deep connection to the message back then.

Along the way I’ve just forgotten what it was like to let go of expectations and enjoy the moments, embracing the uncertainties and just going with it.

Got checked in to a random hotel I booked online called the Happiness Resort (hey, I guess I was looking for happiness), and immediately rented a scooter.

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Water, food, shelter and transport.

Somehow those few things have always stuck on in my head since my army days.

In essence, those are perhaps the only things you truly need. Everything else just weighs you down and slows you.

So I spent the next few days just riding around Krabi on my scooter, exploring the area, hanging around the beaches, went water taxi-ing around to other beaches nearby.

The week went by with me just roaming around, but there wasn’t any sudden realization or enlightenment I was hoping for.

I think perhaps that itself was the enlightenment.

I’ve been travelling quite a lot by myself and roaming around hoping to find myself whatever that means, then I realize that it actually doesn’t quite matter which part of the world you are in.

Happiness is a state of mind.

You’re not going to find it by suddenly being in a different environment and suddenly become a different person.

You’ll just be the same person in a different environment.

Nothing changes.

And being in Krabi made me realize that all along, the state of mind I was looking for was freedom.

Freedom from inhibition.

Nope, I realise you won't. And that's ok.

Nope, I realise you won’t. And that’s ok.

I realized that there was just so many things I do holding myself back, and that if I don’t let go of those things now, I’ll never be happy and I’ll never be the person I could be.

And it’s all about just taking the actions you need.

I wasn’t happy about my weight, my fitness, my career, my personal and social life.

It was time to stop giving myself excuses and work at it.

So I got back to Singapore and actually made the decision to work at it.

No excuses if good enough this time.

I decided to work on what makes me happy.

Being fit and riding a motorbike around came to my head as the obvious ones to start working on.

So I decided to sort my body out, my Achilles tendon was giving me big issues still when I ran, so I sought out a physiotherapist and went for intensive 2-3 times a week rehab/therapy sessions, completely stopping any training for a month to focus on healing.

Every single night I worked on the rehab exercises, no exceptions, no excuses.

If I missed one day, I know that I’ll miss everyday.

After I got that sorted, then I went to cut down my weight.

Over the year I’ve gotten fat.

Was weighing in at about 86kg, up from 83kg back when I was competing in decathlon.

So I put my sports science knowledge to use, cut out carbs completely from my diet to get into a net negative caloric state and after 4 weeks, this is my current weight.

Yup, it's back got it back down.

Yup, it’s back got it back down.


Next phase is to get myself cardiovascular-ly fit. I will be using my 1500m timing as a gauge of my fitness (my best time was back in 2012, 5 min 26s during a decathlon).

Time to take some of my own medicine that I have prescribed.

After 3 weeks I took a time trial and it turned out to be like this:

It's slow, but I'm ok. I'm working on it.

It’s slow, but I’m ok. I’m working on it.

Yup, definitely a lot more work needed.

But this time, I found myself a lot more determined.

I boiled down the essence of my life to this:

At 530am when the alarm rings, either I get up or I give up, it’s that simple.

I always struggled in the past to put in these before work training session, but now, it’s gotten a lot easier.

I guess it’s because the alternative, which is a life wasted, is a lot more painful than the feeling of waking up early.

I’m running with my heart rate monitor and paying attention to the time spent in the heart rate zones to maximize the effectiveness of my trainings.

I found out that I tended to be overly harsh on myself at times, cause I kick myself for not going hard enough to hit the times or reps, but when I look at the data from my HR monitor, it clearly shows the improvements and that session after session I was pushing into new times spent in the max zones.

My next test will be in 2 weeks time, will post out the results then.

Next, motorbike license.

Well this is what classic procrastination looks like.

Each day you delay is a day longer you will take to succeed.

I’ve enrolled in motorbike riding school since late 2012, could have gotten my license by mid 2013 if I focused and took consistent lessons back tend. Which would mean by now I can take my 2A license (Singapore’s riding license format requires you to wait a year after you get your 2B license (200cc and below) till you take your 2A (400cc and below) and another year to class 2(unlimited)).

Instead, I’m still without a license and it would mean it would be at least another 2 years before I can get my class 2 license and get my dream bike, a BMW GS1200.

So I set a schedule, 2 lessons a week, no excuses.

After two months, finally.

After over a year and a half, I finally completed all the lessons.

After over a year and a half, I finally completed all the lessons.

I passed all the school lessons and internal evaluations, allowing me to book a test date (28th May).

In fact, I failed the lesson 8 evaluation once because I was a little too nervous, then I realized, heck, I’m prepared to keep going until I passed everything.

And being in that frame of mind, failure really doesn’t faze you anymore.

Fail forwards until you reach your goals.

That was the idea behind the company I started last year, but I guess along the way we’ve kinda gotten sloppy due to the lack of results.

So I got together with whoever was left in the group committed to the process, and decided there was no substitute to being competent and getting skilled.

To build a modern business empire, we realized that a big skill set that was missing was the ability to code.

Which incidentally once again was something I started learning 4 years ago but just procrastinated over.

So I bit the bullet and threw myself into it.

No excuses this time.

You can follow our process at this other blog where we are building a super awesome to do list (a web app built on Ruby on Rails) as a technical exercise to learn coding.

Functional version of the web app, still primitive but rapidly iterating. Great learning experience.

Functional version of the web app, still primitive but rapidly iterating. Great learning experience.

So two and a half months later, here I am and I’m seeing small results.

Am I happy?

Happier I must say, but I know there is still a lot of work to be done.

How do you build a life worth living?

I’m not sure, but I’m doing my best to find out.

Man, Heroic, Sublime.

Vir Heroicus Sublimis by Barnett Newman, MoMA, New York City

Vir Heroicus Sublimis by Barnett Newman, MoMA, New York City

All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost – J.R.R. Tolkien

Last month, I took a flight at the start of August from Singapore, found myself back in Loughborough, UK, travelled to Ireland, flew over to New York before finally deciding to buy a one way ticket back to Singapore.

What prompted the trip was the overwhelming feeling that I needed I get away for a while, get away from who I was and get away from the surroundings that started to define me.

You see the year back in Singapore has been, hard.

Everything was a reminder of my failures and everything reminded me of what I’ve failed to become.

Everything’s ‘halfway done’ in a sense. Did become a decathlete, but nowhere as good as I wanted. Did start my own business and investment portfolio, but nowhere near achieving the level of success I wanted.

So I packed my bags and hit the road with a one way ticket out to London.

No schedule, no plan, no expectations, no limits.

Track, Loughborough University, UK

Track, Loughborough University, UK

A revisit of my past.

For the week I was back in Loughborough, I trained with a fellow decathlete who also dropped training for a season due to work.

I realized, damn I’ve gotten so unfit, and damn I still love this sport very much.

I had a great journey over the past few years and the friends I’ve made really added a lot of colour to my life.

Running again with them just made me realize how thankful I am for it. Without question they put my up in their houses as I’m travelling and helped me along the way like they’ve always had in the past.

So not going to be crazily ambitious and come up with a training program that I have no hope in hell completing without getting injured 4 weeks down the road. Know your real edge and don’t fake it, as perfectly described by David Deida in Chapter 4 of The Way of The Superior Man (Worth a read).

Just going to progressively build the base I need to and work toward improving just 1 thing at a time.

Fitness first, then sprinting later.

Run 12.20s for the 100m during a competition by the end of the year.

That’s my target.

No point trying to pretend I’m running 11s plus when my PB is 12.24s, so let’s just aim to get that little bit better for a start.

86th Floor, Empire State Building, New York City

86th Floor, Empire State Building, New York City

A peak into the future.

Didn’t know anyone in NYC, perfect place to figure myself out.

And in a sense, I did.

Visited the museums with all the wonderful artwork and managed to hook up with a few startup founders. Attended a Tech Meet up event and seen all the wonderful and great work the people there are doing with their businesses to make an impact on people’s lives.

Compared to what we’re doing here, it’s like seeing first hand how the big boys play in this field.

So to sum things up, my dreams haven’t changed.

I just need to get better, I just have to become who I always wanted to be.

Feeling inspired and motivated, I came back in September after being a month away on the road, shuffling from friends’ homes and dodgy hotel rooms, ready to take on the world again.

And a week in, I’m starting to feel deflated already.

One’s current reality can be quite overwhelming at times, and the only way to break free is to literally free yourself from the reality that is the old you and just become ‘him’ or ‘her’, the person you wanted to be.

It’s not the place or space, it’s an empire state of mind.

This article on pretty much expresses it in a way better than I ever could. (Saint is the ‘alter ego’ of the write Dominic that he decided to become, which the person he always wanted to be.)

To become Saint, I’d have to forget. To forget, I’d have to suffer. To suffer, I’d have to commit. Saint would require sacrifice, and in order for Saint to survive, I’d have to suppress all my excuses about why I wasn’t who or what I wanted to be… and just be him – that burning desire inside myself to supersede all notions of success. To be Saint, meant to be great — the two go hand in hand.

And so I decided to become who I wanted to be.

The guy who wakes up at 6 to hit the gym or track, go to work and powers through a to-do list long enough to scare an uninspired worker. Plans out big projects and assembles great teams to achieve awesome stuff.

It’s time to live like how I should.

6 Things I need to do whislt I’m 26

Me on top of Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa 2 weeks ago. The years are starting to show.

Me on top of Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa 2 weeks ago. The years are starting to show.

Many people die at twenty five and aren’t buried until they are seventy five. – Benjamin Franklin.

Today is my birthday.

I turn 26 today.

I guess it’s not until you reach above 25 that you start to understand what Benjamin Franklin meant.

Here are the 6 things I need to do this year, when I’m 26.

1. Keep Dreaming

Funny thing was, shortly after I left for Loughborough the credit crunch hit and the economy tanked. The industry I was in went from booming to a standstill, what can I say? I was lucky.

Look forward, but please, hold on to your dreams.

It’s so easy to let go and start dying a little bit inside each day.

It’s so easy to let today’s reality overwhelm you and beat you into submission.

It’s so easy to let the pains of failure from yesterday rob you of your confidence to keep dreaming for tomorrow.

At 20, it’s so easy to look at your life ahead and dream big dreams for it.

And 26, things change a little, dut don’t stop dreaming.

The past 8 years of my life, the journey to become a decathlete, if nothing else, has taught me the powers of having and pursuing a dream.

It’ll drive you to see and experience great things in life that you will never otherwise have a chance to.

Things may not always go your way, but it will still make life better.

Now at 26, I have to summon up the courage to take the pains of failure from my past and transmute them into lessons for success in the future.

I have to dream bigger, plan better and execute the hell out of my plans to make it happen.

I have to be thankful too for my past, despite it’s shortcomings, for it is said best by the following great:

I treasure the memory of the past misfortunes. It has added more to my bank of fortitude. – Bruce Lee

I also have to be thankful for my family, mentors, coaches, training partners and friends.

Sometimes I find myself blaming the people around me (including my family) for the lack of success today, but I realised its just a cowardly avoidance of the real problem, which is myself.

So thank you all, for everything.

Time to man up and point the finger back at myself.


2. Follow Through

Trap Shooting at Sun City, South Africa

Trap Shooting at Sun City, South Africa

Lessons from my previous sport, shooting.

Steady the aim, pull the trigger and follow through.

Thinking back on the past 5-8 years of my life, one very big reason why I failed to achieve the success I wanted was that I failed many a times to follow through on the little things.

The small daily rehab routine for my injuries.

The daily diet and food preparation that I should have made.

The weekly financial planning and decisions I should have taken.

All the small little things that I should have been doing on a day to day basis to learn the skills I wanted or to complete the goals I’ve set.

I’m pretty good at making big decisions with my life and taking big chances, but its the little mundane stuff that gets to me.

So no more of this nonsense.

Put out the to-do list everyday, attacking each small task to make it happen.

No excuse is good enough anymore.


3. Choose


Jordan 2011

There is no more time to stay uncommitted, to ‘keep my options open’ and just wander around hoping that something great will happen.

Time to make a choice on what kind of person I want to be, the path ahead I wish to take, the family I want to have and the city I want to live in.

As how Dr Meg Jay puts it brilliantly in the video below, the course you set out for yourself in your 20s is going to have a huge impact on how your life turns out to be in the future.

At 26, you realise you’re starting to run out of time.

I have to force myself to make the hard decisions to close some doors and to start walking through the ones I left open.


4. Be Brutally Honest

Malibu Beach, California 2012

Malibu Beach, California 2012

No more time for bullshit.

Time to be completely honest with myself, see the harsh reflection of myself and pinpoint what I’m doing that’s holding myself back.

Equally important is to be completely honest with myself about what I want or do not want with my life.

Life’s too short to be living out somebody else’s desire or dreams.

And only with this honesty can I make those difficult decisions I need to make above.


5. Network

Johannesburg Airport, South Africa 2013

Johannesburg Airport, South Africa 2013

We’ve heard it all before, no man is an island.

In fact one of the first few steps in Napoleon Hill’s success instructions was to form a mastermind group (another term for a great crew).

So enter The Company.

A group I am part of that aims to fulfil our own potentials and engage in start ups and small businesses to make the world a slightly better place.

One of our start ups, an e-commerce platform in Singapore will aim to make e-commerce easier and better with a fulfilment service for retailers (third party logistics) to make selling online easier as well.

As I grow older, I learn the importance of making connections and in my travels I realise that the world is just one big tribe.

Be part of it.

Aim to make it better.


6. Simplify


Buy less, buy better.

Time to de-clutter my life.

Not just with the things I own but the activities that I do.

And it’s mainly just about overcoming procrastination.

To make the time to empty out the junk in my life and make space for more awesomeness to come in.

And that’s it.

6 things on my to-do list.

Another year ahead.

Time to do it and fly.


I Cry Just A Little.

Reminder. Yup that's me and that's still me.

Reminder. Yup that’s me and that’s still me.

I know, caught in the middle, I cry just a little, when I think of letting go. 

Going into the later half of your 20s, you start to realise that you’re running out of time to catch your youthful dreams.

You get frustrated with the memories of failures and defeat, wondering if you’ll ever make it or if you’ll forever just be a wannabe.

But stay the course, keep strong.

You’ve learnt a heck of a lot, don’t waste it.

Pick yourself up, dust yourself off.

You’re not done yet.

You’re not done yet because you’re not where you want to be yet.

And all those painful memories, well, it’s time to cry a little, and then it’s time to let it go.

We’re going to keeping going until we get it right, you and me.

Better. Never. Stops.

On Carrying On.

Still here, still carry on running strong.

Still here, still carry on running strong.

When the curtain closes, carry on.

Somehow I found back my groove.

I had a hard look at my life, who I’ve become, where I’ve ended up and what I was doing for the past few days/weeks/month and I realised, I already know what I want to be, it never did change.

Get competent in decathlon, build up my business and investments to have financial and time freedom, do good for the people around me.

And just because I’ve failed at my first try doesn’t mean I’m not going to get it right eventually.

In the heart of hearts, I know what robbed me of the life that could have been.


And there’s only 1 cure in the world for that.


Maybe I was angry and frustrated at myself for a long while now, but it’s time to shrug that aside and carry on.

And since I’m at that, do take a listen at Carry On by Daphne Khoo, hit this link to find it on iTunes. Really amazing song by a local artist that’s been through a lot, heard about her cancer story from another fellow local musician Lyndsey Long. Must say, knowing the back story, I could understand the emotions behind this song.

And she’s right, even when the curtain closes, carry on.

And don’t worry if you’re feeling down and out, I was for a long time.

It’s been a ride, guess I had to go to that place to get to this one. Now some of you might still be in that place, if you’re trying to get out, just follow me, I’d get you there. 

On 2012.

Happiest time, at Malibu California.

Happiest time of 2012, at the beaches of California.

’25 is a scary age.’

That was my first entry of my journal for the year 2012.

Today is the last day of 2012.

I’m not going to write this entry like how I did for 2011, somehow this time around I feel a little more somber, a little more grey (just like the weather here in Singapore incidentally, dark gloomy and raining currently).

I must say, it has been an awfully eventful year.

I dropped out of school and finished 15 years of formal education, bought my first house, went to California for almost a month and met all my track & field heroes, finished a few more decathlons, watched the London Olympics come and go, moved back to Singapore from Loughborough.

And in a sense I feel like I’ve come full circle, right back to where I began, yet everything has changed because I have changed.

At times I was awfully depressed, realising that I’ve failed to do what I’ve set out to do. Yet I’m still optimistic because I realised/learnt that it actually can be done.

So I guess I just got to keep going and keep doing.

It can be a cold cold world out there, so if you’re feeling as messed up and confused as I am sometimes, don’t worry, we’re going to keep going until we figure it out yeah?

I still believe.

Happy New Year Everyone! To 2013! =)

On Growing Up.

In Malaysia at a relative's wedding.

In Malaysia at a relative’s wedding.

There was a time I used to look into my father’s eyes.

In a happy home I was king I had a golden throne.

Those days are gone, now the memories are on the wall.

I hear the songs from the places where I was born.

Up on the hill across the blue lake,

That’s where I had my first heartbreak.

I still remember how it all changed,

My father said,

Don’t you worry, don’t you worry child.

See heaven’s got a plan for you.

Don’t you worry, don’t you worry now, yeah.

On Bali.

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Recharged, refreshed, restarted.

Funny how leaving Singapore for just 2 days put everything back into perspective.

I guess it reminded me that this is just a passing moment, all my struggles here just a temporal disruption to the reality that I am building for myself.

Fighters fight, and I’m going to keep fighting till I get this right.

Reading Arnold’s biography made me realise, I was way too lazy for the past 25 years of my life. There he was, being a champion body builder, running a mail order business, a real estate business, a construction business and aspiring Hollywood leading actor.

I’m amazed at how he is able to so clearly visualise in his head where he is directing his life towards and how committed he is to drive towards it. Of the millions of obstacles that stood in his way, he just methodically broke each one down in front of him until there was none left. That’s how you succeed.

After reflecting on it, I realised it’s time to stop being a wuss, it’s time to commit.

I am going to the SEA games in 2013. No excuses.

I don’t care how many early morning sessions at the track, late nights in the gym or how many times I have to pass out and see my own vomit.

Not even if along the way I have to build a 100 million dollar company will be good enough an excuse anymore.

And I’m going to do whatever it takes to get to where I want to be.

And I really want to thank everyone who’s followed this blog or supported me, you guys are a large reason why I’m still here, still running.

Likewise to all the doubters, to everyone who’s written me off, including my parents who still thinks I’m wasting my time with my sport, I thank each and everyone for you. Because of your hate and ignorance, it makes my 10 times more committed and determined to succeed.

I’ma be what I set out to be, without a doubt, undoubtedly. And all those who look down on me, I’m tearing down your balcony. 

On Losing It.

Back in 2011, floating around the dead sea.

What just happened?

How the heck did I let these two weeks just slip by?

How did I end up so far away from where I want to be?

Did try to start training, but then with the overwhelming work and my tendency for insomnia, I quickly fell sick.

And work, gosh, I don’t even know how to explain.

Sometimes being born in a family business has both it’s blessings and it’s curse.

At times I do want to walk away, knowing that this isn’t ultimately what I want to do and that the enjoyment I get out of it is very, very minimal. I did it once before and that was the best decision I made 4 years ago.

Now though, I know it’s not just about me.

Staff in the company are dependent on me to carry this forward and through.

I guess that’s what growing up is about, you realise it’s no longer just about you. The decisions you make has far reaching consequences that affect many others, hence the weight of the world on your shoulders greatly increases.

So do I just give up? Resign to my fate?

I choose not to.

This is gonna require all my strength to turn my life and the company around, but I’m not gonna just let my life as a decathlete go just like that. I gave too damn much just to give up now.

One way or another, I’m gonna figure this out.

How do I get back to the beaches of Malibu?

How do I go back floating around the Middle East?

I still believe.

On Being Back In Singapore.

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I mean, whoa……

I really forgot how fast and punishing the pace of life can be back in Singapore.

There I was back in Loughborough, living a nice and easy life in the English country side, next thing I know I’m stuck back into the thick of things back in Singapore.

I must apologise for the lack of updates in the past two weeks, it has been one heck of a hectic ride.

Came back finding the family business needing a bit of sorting out.

I guess I can’t shun away from my responsibilities, but at the same time I see the endless possibilities.

Singapore’s pretty crazy, very energetic, a little bit too much tension, but loads of money flowing around which equates to plenty of business opportunities.

Funny thing is that even though my degree was in Sports Science and Management (which has almost nothing to do with the nature of business), somehow what I’ve done over the past few years armed me with something much more valuable than a degree.

It taught me that it can be done, and that the world is for your taking.

1 more week of ‘rest’ before I have to start fitting in my winter training phase along with my crazy working hours.

It can be done.

It has to.

Let’s see what I’m actually made of.



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