Flashbacks, Health, Human Nature, Simplify

To Not Be…

What do you want to be when you grow up?

That is a question that I have been asked countless times in my life. When I was a child, my answers had been a medical doctor, then a dentist, and later a veterinarian, because I loved all my pet dogs, cats, fishes, a turtle and a monkey. When I get to understand matters such as finances and rights, I realised and accepted what the world has in store for me and have thus carved my paths accordingly. I went off to business school and half a decade later, to design school.

When one has matured into a semi-stable personality, the real challenge is to distance oneself from the sort of people that can possibly mould you into the person you do not want to become.

What do you not want to be when you grow older?

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Flashbacks, Numbers

At 22

It was the year 1993…

A cousin, my younger sister and I will be spending the year in college, completing the first half of a US twinning program to Western Michigan University. The days in lively Petaling Jaya were filled with interesting college lessons, friends and many fun experiences. By the end of the year, my cousin and I flew off to Kalamazoo, Michigan to start a new semester in January of 1994.

At 22, I experienced my first long-distance flight crossing the Pacific Ocean. This will be my first time in America. Encountering my first Michigan winter. I shall not see my country, my parents and my two younger brothers till after graduation.

At 22, we live, learn, explore and achieve things in this world of ours! Sadly, life (and death) do not usually come with a fixed schedule. To the 22 year-old cyclist Bjorg, ride in peace, Matchbox…

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Belgium, Flashbacks, Numbers

Warm Mattress

I have survived yesterday’s dry heat which hit 40°C by mid afternoon. At bedtime, I only managed to fall asleep with the fan blowing over me. I woke up at 2.30am and moved myself and the fan to the guestroom. With the window wide opened (at this point, I did not care about mosquitoes), I slept till 5am. Belgian news keep calling this tropical heat, believe me, it is not. This is more like the desert heat which I have experienced in Las Vegas.

Today’s maximum temperature is 30°C. On top of that, it is a bit humid. Now, that is tropical heat. Am I crazy to be looking forward to this weekend’s rainstorms and plummeting temperatures?!

Also, I now know the average price of a decent mobile air-conditioning.

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Belgium, Flashbacks, Travels

European Holiday

Yesterday, D and I met up with a trio of old friends and acquaintance in Gent. The mother-daughter pair had flown in from Japan two days ago and only have a week here. The third person in the group was someone I met in San Diego more than a decade ago, and he flew in from the US. I had a wonderful time catching up with my Japanese friends, K and I, whom I have known in San Francisco since 2001! D and I enjoyed showing the three of them around our beloved Gent.

After seeing most of the popular sights in Gent, we packed everyone in our little car, drove home to show them our house. They have shown great interests in seeing the house we built. We then had a quick dinner in Kortrijk and sent our friends off at the train station. It was a very joyful meet-up, a wonderful time spent together, and a draining trip down memory lane for me.

In 2011, a 70-year old friend from New York City crossed the Atlantic to come visit me. This year, Japanese friends crossed an entire continent to be here for a short holiday and still managed to meet up. I crossed the ocean in 2007 to experience and live a long term European holiday. I would not have imagined that I possess such strong ties and influence to be able to motivate other people to come visit! How incredible!

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Belgium, Flashbacks, Health, Jibber Jabber

Warm Bedroom

D got up earlier than I this morning! We were unsure of the exact reason, but the most probable culprit was the increasing warmth in the bedroom. Welcome to the first day of this year’s first heat wave.

I have to admit that I slept relatively well last night. The comforter was taken out, leaving behind the cover as a light blanket. Our bedroom window was kept opened till 5am, I wore loose fitting cotton outfit to bed, I prepared an ice baby, and have followed some logic pre-bedtime procedures.

The temperature will be rising these next few days, making the bedroom uncomfortably warm. A good night sleep will be sort of a blessing for people without air conditioning. My backup plan and final option will be sleeping in a tent, like I did last year.

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Events, Flashbacks

EQC

My home in Malaysia is only a street away from a football field. So, almost every day you will see people playing football, hockey or some other field sports.

When I was a university student in Michigan, some school friends and I went to a home game of American football (rugby). I remember having a fun time eating hot dogs and drinking Mello Yello (school events are almost always kids-friendly, thus alcohol-free) while watching the game. I can not recall much of the match since I did not understand it and never really bother to.

I have also been a spectator to an ice hockey game at the university’s ice rink. Because it was more than 20 years ago, all I remembered was players crashing violently onto each other and on hard surfaces of ice, cement barriers and some transparent non-glass dividers. It was brutal!

In 2011, when visiting my sister and her husband in Seattle, D and I were invited to a baseball game. That was also a fun and unique experience.

The uniqueness of my spectator sports experience peaked today. D and I biked to the football stadium here in Harelbeke to watch the European Quidditch Cup!

Football, field hockey, cricket, American football, ice hockey, and baseball… none of these prepared me for the strangeness of quidditch. Turning an imaginary sports from the Harry Potter universe into this real life four games combo must have involved a lot of tweaking. The part of my brain which savours fantasy and magic refused to bend to reality. Real life quidditch was weird, confusing and maybe a bit too real for me. To the fans, it proves to be a highly energetic and very exciting event. To each his own.

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Flashbacks, Human Nature, Malaysia

Chicken Leg Math

A chicken has two legs – unless it is handicapped. Each chicken leg is comprised of a thigh and a drumstick.

Back in the days, dad will buy one chicken from the market every Saturday. That was our weekly chicken consumption, unless there were feast days in the week. It that case, there shall be two chickens.

The two thighs and two drumsticks were divided among the four children. If you get the drumstick this week, you will have the chicken thigh next week. And so it goes… fair and logic sharing. Personally, I see no big difference between a thigh or a drumstick. I was just grateful to have half a chicken leg on my plate every Sunday.

And now, let me get to the point. First, Math does not lie. Second, my parents are good and fair people. So, to the claim that one child might have been showered with more than half a chicken leg every week, do check and review your memories. Be reminded that by making such a remark, you are actually questioning the decency of my parents. Please put a cork in this nonsense.

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Flashbacks, Numbers

Math Progress

In the period of two weeks, I have moved from basic arithmetic to algebra II. I could not help feeling a bit proud of myself when I discovered that I was still able to solve semi-complicated mathematical problems. Who would have thought that I have retained so much from my school days, more than 25 years ago!

My objective is to progress to the point where I can understand and solve calculus problems. That was my mathematical level (limit) before I went to business school in the 90s. Business mathematics and case studies only required easy statistical analysis which were mostly solved with the help of computers.

Yep, calculus, the final challenge.

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