Monthly Archives: July 2013
29 July 2013 Monday – managed to do the bigger circuit after warming up on the small circuit (that I did the last two lessons). This larger circuit was to do gear changing all the way to 4th gear, before step down to 3rd or 2nd gear to round the corners. While managing to do all of that, none of the 5 of us managed to clear it (the rest had been on this circuit before, while it was first time for me) and make it to Lesson 2, because our handling of the bike was still not considered that good. In fact, one of the ladies fell while rounding a corner because she was following the instructor who perhaps was doing it too fast for us to follow; she and bike ended up on the lane where learner drivers were going in the opposite direction, and luckily she did not seem too badly affected.
Instructor “chided” the three guys (me included) for going even slower than the 2 ladies; but I thought it was not fair comment as I was right at the back and “slow” due to the other two in front who were slow! Hrrmph…!
26 July Friday – went for practical again, one week after the first lesson. This time, still could not clear Lesson 1 because of braking – it is immediate failure (also in the actual test) if the right foot touches the ground upon braking and stopping; seems I am not using the foot break enough (which is why the foot will then tend to step down onto the road – Newton’s third law in action, haha). Consolation: at least I did not crash into the stationary bikes or stall, like what happened to some others today!
19 July Friday – spent the whole morning at SSDC taking 3 theory trial tests (practice) followed by the actual trial test (50/50, yay!) in order just to qualify to book the actual riding theory test (RTT) administered by the traffic police TWO MONTHS later (yup!! that is how long the wait list is).
After lunch, went for my first practical lesson (1:05 – 3:05). People doing first lesson wear a red bib and there were about 8 of us – we gathered and instructor says, “those who have ridden before, stand on my right” … everyone moved to his right, leaving me as the solo newbie. This turned out to be a good thing, as I had one-on-one instruction. At this point, I had not processed the fact that all the rest were “repeat Lesson 1” people (haha, a bit slow, but probably for the better!). Got to move around a small circuit, practising starts and stops, engaging 1st gear, and changing to second gear by the end of two hours. However, gear change was not smooth enough and my eyes not always looking front, so I “failed”, and have to repeat lesson 1 again next time… now it hit me why there were so many other people with red bibs (haha!). oh, btw, my instructor calls me “affectionately” gor-gor (i.e. brother) LOL!!
Besides getting a nice tan on my arms between my glove-line and the elbow guard, I think my motorcortex gained new connections (plenty of arm-hand-fingers-toes-legs-eye-ear coordination to ride a bike for a first timer like me!). At 3:20, I went for my 7th theory lesson (defensive riding) – the first thing instructor Eugene showed the class was a video of 100 motor bike accidents, and the first question of the lesson – “you’all still wanna learn motorbike?” Haha, YES!!
12/7/2013 between Jelutong Tower and the Ranger Station during my Macritchie Loop run. I just had to stop and walk through the curtains of light (more than 50 m stretch) and feel the “spirit” of the universe shining through the forest canopy … absolutely magical! I told a couple walking towards me that they had to turn around to see it … (it can only be seen from one direction and they would have missed it if they did not look back; they also smiled when they turned around and saw it : ) ).
If I had to name a single source for my “inspiration” to resign from MOE (the Elephant) to become a free agent (the flea), it has to be Charles Handy, and his ideas in The Elephant and the Flea (first published 2001, available NLB as ebook and softcover). Widely acknowledge as the No. 2 management guru (after Peter Drucker), he left the business world of Royal Dutch Shell, and professorship tenure at London Business School in his late forties. Why?
So as to live out his life at the age of 49 (this was in 1981), according to the ideas that he had prophesized about work and life in the future. I find this idea to be powerful: that a full and rich life would be a complicated portfolio of different categories of work (paid work, gift work, study work, home work) “seasoned with a touch of leisure and pleasure”. Think I am ready to re-balance my portfolio at this stage in life, so that “paid work” doesn’t take centre stage anymore 🙂
Chapter 1 starts off like this: “I woke up early on the morning of 25 July 1981. It was my forty-ninth birthday. Not usually a landmark event, one might think, but I was drowsily aware that this time the cliche was true; today really was going to be the first day of the rest of my life. In six days’ time I would be unemployed – by my own choice. I didn’t call it unemployed, of course. I was ‘going portfolio'”…
Yup, the book certainly speaks to me (first read in early 2000s); many uncanny parallels in what I am doing now. And it provides lots of mental preparation and advice to take the final step to such a life … (and exchanging “security” for “freedom”).
After a little briefing for Tammy and myself on materials and equipment (brush, inks, paper, etc), we were seated in the front and “borrowed” the teacher’s things to do our first attempt at “trees and rocks”. Using the demo painting (previous post) stuck to the whiteboard just in front of us as a guide, we put into practice the techniques (what we thought he was teaching anyway – haha, the lesson was in 70% Chinese, 30% English, and my chinese C5 standard) for the next hour. It was all “free-style” and Mr Ang went around offering suggestions for improvement (like how to make my rocks more 3D by making the front part darker). Here is the result…
(not bad for a first timer according to most reviews!! my personal favourite are the rocks … Chien’s uncle gave the most insightful critique by saying “your painting got 3 seasons” whereupon I replied “no lah, 3 species of trees, haha”… looking forward to the next lesson!!