Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Freelancing: Feeling "lost" and terrified...

Changi Airport Terminal 3

It is a nice, quiet Tuesday morning, I have decided to take things slow on this day and not cram too many things on the schedule. 

Former Hectic Life

I had being juggling a permanent job and running my teaching business for many years. Day in day out, I had been rushing through meals, rushing from one point to another. Having many deadlines to juggle on the day job. Lessons plans to be made for my classes. Family time to juggle. etc. etc.

Current Reality

I woke up on Tuesday morning at 8am, sent my baby boy and his mummy to his infant care centre and drove to Changi International Airport for my medical checkup. After the check up, which ended at 10.30am, I walked out of the clinic and began wandering along the airport terminal. My mind endlessly thinking about finding something to do.

Note that this is not a off day for me. I do have lessons in the evenings. I just have the morning and afternoon off. I thought to myself, perhaps I should call up the car rental company to get a Uber car for a spot of Uber driving. Perhaps, there is some paperwork to do or errands to run. Perhaps, I should head to the office to sit down to read and write my blog. 

I was utterly lost

I look at the restaurants and cafes, yes in my previous life. I would have loved to have time to sit down in a restaurant to have a nice meal or spend time in a cafe over coffee to read. It was a luxury I yearned to have. Now I can, but I couldn't do it. I know it sounds like a first world problem. But I was quite terrified.

Germanic Trait

I remembered watching a documentary on modern day Germany and remembered the reporter interviewing a German on how he spends his free time. The German was quite serious about the word "vacation" and gave a solemn face reply that vacations are a free and a dangerous time. It requires careful planning and structure.

Yes, I do have a strand of German DNA in me and now I feel just as terrified as that solemn face German.

Back to the cubicle

In the end, I gave in. Headed to my nearest Regus serviced office and wrote this post. I did have my coffee.  

In an office cubicle though.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

I want to be a motoring journalist!

Petrol Head Heaven, the Stelvio Pass

Picture source: http://www.midlifecyclist.info/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/stelvio-4-of-24-1024x663.jpg

Petrol head

I am a petrol head. There is no denying of it. Petrol literally runs in my veins. Now that I am very much a man who is free to dabble in my interests. I would like try my hand as a motoring journalist. Albeit an amateur one.

A shortage of car reviews for Singapore

There is clearly a shortage of good motoring review of cars in Singapore especially long term reviews by owners. Other than the odd comment or short review in oneshift.com or in sgcarmart.com, there is hardly any other information source from car owners in Singapore. When I am looking for car reviews, I often have to turn to the British motoring website autocar.co.uk or the US motoring website motortrend.com for objective and professional reviews.

It is often inadequate as these websites review cars that are equipped for the UK or US markets. 

In Singapore, due to the high cost of cars, equipment on cars is often spartan as dealers are afraid to bring in more equipment for fear of further elevating the selling price of the cars. Hence, while very good reviews are written on these websites. Often many of the features in these reviews are not available in Singapore.

Outrageous Prices for Singapore Cars

To put in perspective on how high car prices are in Singapore, I shall put in some numbers over here for new cars sold locally.

Picture source: https://media.ed.edmundmedia.com/honda/civic/2017/ot/2017_honda_civic_LIFE1_ot_1105163_1280.jpg

Honda Civic 1.5  VTEC Turbo Sedan (Price as on 19 Mar 2017)  

SGD $130,000 or USD $92,731.30

Picture source: https://photos-1.carwow.co.uk/models/1600x800/C-Class-3.jpg

Mercedes Benz C-Class C180 Sedan Avantgarde (Price as on 19 Mar 2017)

SGD $184,000 or USD $131, 250.46 

Now let that sink in for a while.

I must be mad to be a petrol head in Singapore.

My motoring credentials

Thankfully, I have travelled and driven extensively in these countries. Hertz and Budget car rentals have allowed me to drive in the following countries:

  • Malaysia
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam (on motorcycle)
  • Western Australia
  • Germany
  • Austria
  • Liechtenstein
  • France
  • Northern Italy
  • Belgium
  • The Netherlands

With the above credentials, and my extensive autobahn experience, I can proudly declare I am an international driver.

My daily ride is Honda Civic Hybrid which I name the Whisperer. 

Yes, some pure petrol heads will cringe now and say it is sacrilege for a petrol head to own and drives a hybrid. I will write a post in the future about why petrol heads should look at hybrids in the future. 

A clue? 

Instant torque is the answer. Instant torque. Nothing that runs purely on petrol can beat that.

Believe me, the Civic Hybrid is a good car and workhorse. This is especially so when you will forget when was the last time you visited a petrol station.

Car Reviews and Driving Destinations

I will be posting reviews on cars that I have driven overseas and some cars that I have tested in Singapore. 

I will also be writing about the countries that I have driven in and hopefully it can provide those who intend to drive them to have some information before hitting the road. All countries have their own road nuances and idiosyncrasies. In my opinion, Singapore roads has the most idiosyncrasies.

If you are feeling generous and would like me to write a review of your car(s). Please feel free to email me at takeflightnow@outlook.com. I will try my best to write a thorough and objective review on them.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Isaac Lidsky, the man without sight but sees better than most

I came across Isaac Lidsky while researching for a coaching session. 

Isaac Lidsky,

A man who lost his sight at age 25

Despite of his disability, he went on to become a successful lawyer and served as a law clerk under two justices in the Supreme Court

The CEO of ODC Construction, a construction company worth USD$70 million 

The writer for the book "Eyes Wide Open"

Most importantly, a father of four kids who insist on changing his children's diapers even though he could not see. And he did a good job of that.

Sight without Vision

The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision - Helen Keller

How many of us are guilty of that? Seeing an open door which leads out of our predicament but refusing it as it is unknown, foreign and fearful. Choosing instead to remain where we are and continuing with deal with the problems and constraints we are familiar with. In other words, choosing to remain stuck.

In my early adulthood, I was convinced that holding a stable job would allow me to have a comfortable life and pay all my bills. Not a luxurious, but a comfortable life. I was wrong.

I rejected any suggestion of teaching part time, after all I was a trained teacher with the Ministry of Education. To me, it was too tiring, too difficult. Who holds two jobs nowadays, I thought.

I struggled to pay my bills for a number of years. In the end, a chance referral by a friend restarted my teaching career. Yes, it was tiring, and difficult. But I enjoyed it and made me aware that I was being short changed in my day job. I was worth a lot more.

A few years later, my little start-up company TakeFlight was formed, established and bringing in decent profits. It was a long, exhausting process. It was a fulfilling process. Still, it took a long while for me to say farewell to my day job. 

I eventually did and to be honest, it is still scary and uncertain but I definitely feel happier. 

We decide our own reality

If you are carrying a heavy load, a hill will look steeper that it really is. If we are rushing for time, the bus will seem slower than it really it. We see what we want to see, and more often than not, we choose not to see what we do not want to see. 

What we see is only as real as how we decide for it to be.

For Lidsky, his eyes were failing and worse still, it was giving him false messages. The world that he sees through his eyes before he went blind were strange images and false realities. He can't trust his sight even when he had it. Hence, he started to make sense of his world in his own way. And it also began his journey on believing in his vision rather than his sight. 

Knowing that he was going blind, he knew that he was destined for a simple life with limited opportunities. A life of pity and possibly alone,

He rejected that destiny and built for himself a life which may seem even impossible for a fully able person.

We decide our own destiny

Recently, I watched a Korean drama titled "Goblin" who mentioned that even God cannot predict and defy the will of the human spirit. I subscribed to that notion.

Like Lidsky, I was once diagnosed with a disabling illness that made me questioned if I will ever be an independent person again, Life was so uncertain that it is far easier to give up then to fight the reality. However, I choose to fight. And the destiny, that I thought would be my life, was in fact untrue.

Now, if you think you are stuck, you are not. if you think you are a failure, you are not. That is not the reality. The open doors are just around you. Try to see them.

The impossible is simply not impossible. 

Lidsky, in his own words is over here.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Restarting a Blog

This blog has been in existence since 20 Nov 2011. Of which from 2013-2017. It was largely frozen. The running robot during that period was very busy juggling a day job and starting his little teaching business. That left him with little time for himself, hence, the blog was frozen in time.

Now that the day job is out of the way, the running robot has time to sit down and write what he had missed writing in the span of 4 years. That is if, the mad driven running robot don’t go crazy doing multiple jobs again.

Given that this blog began as a personal blog, a place to where the running robot shared his joys, frustrations and interests in life. So where do we go from here?

I am thinking along this framework:

The Running Robot Blog = Interests + Joys + Education + Opinion + Short stories*beta

Interests = Cars + Aeroplanes + Running + Army + Travel + etc.

Joys =  Great days + touching days

Education = I am a teacher as well as a personal coach, hence there will be things to teach naturally. Two of my pet subjects is entrepreneurship and income diversification, I will share some of those things over here.

Opinion =  I am entitled to my own opinion, right? Not too many of those though.

Short storiesThis is in beta stage. I hope to write some fiction over here. Not sure when that will happen. But it is coming.

In summation

I do hope that I could, through this blog, bring some happiness and inspiration to your lives. I like to educate people and help them get ahead in their lives. In my day work, I help students and adults improve their lives one by one. Over here, while I may not be able to give the personal attention that I give to my students, but hopefully some of the strategies and thought could rub off and get you to a better place.

Above picture sourced from: https://cdn2.iconfinder.com/data/icons/power-symbol/512/power_symbol_7-512.png