039 Enjoy Your Rides

Throughout my adulthood, I have an on-and-off love affair with bicycles. I fell in and out of love with cycling more times than all the romantic relationships I had. (sighs and laughs).

  • Rekindled Love

Once again, that love was rekindled recently, after a lapse of a more than a decade. Why that long a break you might ask?

It’s all because the previous relationship ended badly. My left foot was fractured after I tumbled off my speeding bicycle. Scarred by the painful experience, I fell out of love with bicycles for a long time.

Surprisingly even to myself, I have made a comeback. Every day, I cycle twice. Cycling has become a substitute for my regular one-hour morning run. After work, I alight a few stations ahead of my destination and use bicycle as a “last mile solution” to complete the final lap to home. Over a span of 36 days, I have covered 260 km, twice the distance to cycle round the Singapore island!

But the greatest satisfaction came just two days earlier when I set myself a challenge: how far could I cycle along the MRT downtown line route from Bukit Panjang?

I found my answer after 1 hour 23 minutes: The Botanical Gardens of Singapore, a UNESCO Heritage site!

  • Enjoy The Little Things In Life

I was so elated that I had to grab someone to take a picture of me. But it was barely 7 am in the morning, passersby were few. It seemed rather inconsiderate to bother commuters who were trying to beat the early rush hours.

Fortunately, I chanced upon a young, beautiful and helpful lady, Jasmelia who was willing to spend a couple minutes to help a stranger. Jasmelia made an extra effort to take a few better pictures of me with the bicycle using her better quality mobile phone. Almost immediately after we parted ways, she sent me the pictures with encouraging words.

I meant to reply her, ” You’ve made my day, pretty and helpful lady!🤗” But I was filled with hysteria of joy that I couldn’t compose a simple thank you message properly.

In contrast to my awkwardness in expression, Jasmelia’s reply was thoughtful and heartwarming. She wrote, “It’s good to see that you enjoy all these little things in life.”

Like many others, I am often bothered that our once squeaky-clean pedestrian sidewalks are now littered with smart bicycles. Jasmelia’s words reminded us it is how we think and act that decides our quality of life.

Friends, get a sharing bike and enjoy the rides! Just make sure that you ride responsibly and park it right. And don’t overdo it too. Simply ride occasionally for the little joys in life it brings. Surely, you remember the good old days of cycling with friends along the East Coast road when we were young.

William W K Tan

7 April 2018, Saturday

10:45 pm

032 Chinese New Year Tales From SG: Food! Food And Food! Versus Health Efforts

How not to put on weight during festive celebrations? We eat more and exercise less, especially so, during Chinese New Year’s celebrations.

  • All We Do Is Talk, Eat And Drink

The only body part that gets real busy during this period is the mouth. All that everyone does is talk, eat and drink. Period.

Like many Chinese families in Singapore, we had lots of seafood such as abalone, cuttlefish, prawns, scallops and a variety of meat such as chicken and pork, and even pork liver that went into a steamboat at reunion dinner, which marked the start of a 3- day food indulgence.

I’ve heard that CNY celebrations last for as long as 15 days in mainland China, while the Taiwanese across the island enjoy a break from school and work until the 5th day, though the celebrations very much continue till the Spring Lantern Festival (元宵节), which falls on the 15th. Thankfully, we adopt an abridged version in Singapore. Just 3 days.

I took no picture of the reunion dinner this year because it was no different from any other years. The above picture is taken from the internet, but it looks almost identical to what I had at home. Here is a picture of my children and their cousins having reunion dinner last year.

That was not all. Below is a glimpse of some dishes that my culinary-gifted sister Marilyn had cooked for family, relatives and friends when they visited my parents’ place this year.

(From top-left clockwise: Stir-fried giant tiger prawns, fried yam rolls, stir-fried vegetables, mixed mushrooms with fried chicken, and oysters-omelette.)

And let’s not forget to mention all the CNY goodies and snacks that were served round the clock.

The above picture shows some of my all-time favourite CNY goodies: pineapple tarts, mini prawn and pork floss rolls, sweetened BBQ pork aka Bak Kwa and egg rolls aka love letters.

As a person who adheres to time-tested traditions (laughs), I cast my cholesterol concerns temporarily aside for three days and succumbed to the lure of CNY delicacies. Constantly, I reminded myself to eat in moderation. The tricky part was I wasn’t sure how much was too much when it came to my irresistible favourites like Bak Kwa and pineapple tarts.

  • Guilt-lessening Efforts

To lessen my sense of guilt, I immediately switched to drinking a self-concocted Apple cider vinegar green tea throughout the days after I failed to resist a can of Kickapoo, a sugary lime-flavoured carbonated drink that brought nostalgia of childhood memories.

I knew that I had to find time to exercise. Despite the disrupted morning routine, I stole time to visit the gym twice, but did lesser than usual because of time constraint. I was even caught in video doing exercise at my mum’s place.

In the background of the video, you’d probably hear the chatter of children. It was the voice of my children and their cousins. Guess what they were doing on the first day of Chinese New Year’s celebrations?

  • Learning Discipline From Children

They actually did some serious school homework together! This is how some school-going children celebrate Chinese New Year the Singapore way. As a disclaimer, I had no part in orchestrating this scene at all.

It just happened that the kids were given too much homework by their school teachers. Conan’s eldest cousin, Sherman decided that he had to do homework. Shernice, his diligent younger sister and Conan, my self-professed less-hardworking younger son followed suit. There was no study gloom as they listened to pop-music and enjoyed CNY snacks while solving Maths problems on practice papers.

On normal days, I’d have told Conan off for putting in half-hearted efforts. But I decided to cut him some slack that day. He was at least enthusiastic and focused to keep up with his diligent cousins for an hour or so, before falling prey to playing games on his mobile phone later.

I am no better in the department of discipline. But I’ve learnt something from the children. Sometimes, when it becomes too hard to do it alone, do it together with others. Perhaps I should start asking friends out for exercise soon. Care to join me?

William W. K. Tan

19 February 2018

019 Is There An Easier Way To Become Disciplined?

  • Is Discipline Hard Work?

“You and your family are so disciplined. I take my hat off. At 5 am, I am still in my slumber.” A friend J texted me after reading that my eleven-year-old boy Conan and I work out in the gym as early as 5:15 am almost every morning (018 Make Time To Enjoy Each Day).

Another friend C, who I meet regularly in the gym, made a similar remark, “Quite amazing that you can get your kid to exercise with you that early. Not easy at all.”

Their remarks seem to suggest that we must have put in some incredible efforts in order to be disciplined for daily workouts. Which, I know, is not completely the truth.

I can’t help thinking if people tend to equate discipline with hard work. Knowing a friend F who believe strongly in the value of hard work, I asked her what discipline meant. Unsurprisingly, she said,

“Of course, being disciplined means you can keep on doing things that you do not like because you know it’s good for you.”

By F’s definition, I probably do not qualify as a disciplined person. Neither does my son. But then, we managed to do some seemingly disciplined stuff, didn’t we?

Here is the inside story. Hopefully it may offer you some insights to developing discipline for yourself and your loved ones in a less painful manner.

  • A Home Secret To Discipline

Embarrassed by the undeserving praises, I shared with Conan the things my friends said. He responded with an impish smile, “Me? Discipline? Not at all. You’ve to get me to wake up first.”

I laughed. “And I can tell that on some days you are eager to get up. On other days, you dread getting up. Yet, you still go to the gym without fail, why?”

“Well, the feeling of at the start of the exercise is mixed. But the feeling during and at the end of it is always good.” Conan reasoned.

He said it succinctly. That is our home secret to discipline.

  1. Accept how you feel at the start.
  2. Find joy in the process.
  3. Feel satisfied at the end.
  • Accept how you feel at the start

Since young, were you fed with contradictory views about getting things started?

On one hand, people say, “Don’t give up. Because the beginning is always the hardest”.

On the other hand, people also say, “Don’t be complacent. It’s easiest to start but hardest to finish.”

The truth is, depending on the difficulty of the task and a person’s threshold for stress, getting started on something new may be a daunting task to some people, but an easy experience to others. And it can also be a mixture of both too.

My point is, no matter how it turns out at the beginning, we must learn to accept. Acceptance means, be it good or bad, you’ve made a decision not to be affected and chose to carry on.

  • Learning To Accept Daily Run

Conan never like running. I had a hard time persuading him to run with me in the past. He tried once or twice and concluded,

“I don’t like to jog so slowly like you. It’s so boring. I like to run very fast, but I lose steam quickly. Running is just not the thing for me.”

Since he couldn’t accept running, I played badminton with him at his request occasionally. Then one day I suggested,

“Why not we play badminton in the morning before you go school? Surely, you will shed all the weight you have been gaining rapidly if you exercise daily .”

Conan had no problem waking up earlier to do something fun. Quickly, however, he found it a hassle to play badminton in the early morning. Just getting things ready and finding a suitable spot took time. The actual playtime became too short to be fun.

Conan decided to try out the gym instead. Once we entered the gym, the treadmills were the most obvious choice.

I kept his running time to 10 minutes. And showed him the various ways of running he could experiment on the treadmill in such a short duration.

Keeping the run short and helping him to find his suitable pace and method work! The boy who disliked running, started to run day after day.

  • Find joy in the process

Many people believe in the dogma of “no pain, no gain”. Whether they find joy or not, doesn’t matter. That’s suitable for the strong-willed people, not everyone.

Finding joy in doing things, especially in seemingly mundane activity, is imperative to keeping a person motivated.

Conan thought running was no fun. But after he experimented with starting slow and building up gradual speed at every minute, he felt good.

He also tried walk-and-run intervals, which quickly helped him to break into perspiration and feeling invigorated.

He also learnt to shift his focus to distance and timing, and gained satisfaction in knowing that he now covers a one-kilometre distance faster than before.

Conan also learnt to put speed, distance and timing aside. Simply enjoy the run by refining his running posture and improving his breathing technique.

Running may not be his favourite thing still, but finding joy in the process certainly helped to keep him going.

  • Feel Satisfied At The End

Conan likes the adrenaline rush of running in top speed towards the last minute. He feels satisfied knowing that he can run faster and faster at the end.

I always encourage him to talk about his run at the end. That allows me to find out his satisfaction level.

Sipping a cup of water from the water dispenser having completed his routine, once he told me that running on the treadmill is unnatural. He said, “I feel that my legs are still running even after I stop.”

Another time, he said, “Running fast right from the start is a bad idea.” Yet another time, he even corrected my arms’ movement while running, “Dad, do you realise that you are swinging only with your right arm properly? You should try to move both arms up and down like this.”

And when asked if he feels tired after the run, he always say, “I feel so energetic going to school now.”

Indeed, he is visibly invigorated and quicker in his movement.

  • Discipline: To Endure or Enjoy

Both endurance and enjoyment are necessary elements in developing discipline. But if you have to make a choice between the two, which one do you chose?

I say, enjoyment must precedes endurance. Endurance will develop as a result of continuous efforts. Absent of enjoyment, however, will become the Achilles heels that hamper you from becoming really good at something you do.

William W K Tan

19 November 2017, Sunday

Personal Notes:

Thanks to all my family and friends, you’ve made my birthday this year most memorable. For a middle-age man like me, I have longed past the age of being excited about birthdays. But you have made it special. I truly appreciate. Thank you!

013: Simple changes to the body and mind can transform our lives

This week, I would like to share with you some observations from friends and also my humble views on how simple changes to the body and mind can transform our lives.

  • Stop, look and enjoy simple things in life

A close friend and also my workplace apprentice F, read the previous post (011E/C: Morning Run Discovery: Pang Sua Pond @ Bukit Panjang, Singapore) and remarked, “I am so happy for you. You have learnt to stop, look and enjoy the simple things in life.”

F was spot-on about my change in mindset. I have learnt to live the moment. That allows me to enjoy the friendship of people, appreciate the beauty of places and partake in skilful endeavours of healing and running

  • Do what is right full-heartedly

While it is true that I have become a happier person because of the positive changes I’ve made to my lifestyle, it is definitely not a carefree life devoid of worries as others might have imagined.

Like everyone else, I have my fair share of earthly troubles –increased workload and demands that put me under stress; emotional bumps and bruises that hurt terribly; and health scares and alarms that cause anxiety. 

The difference is I no longer put up with things going the wrong way and yet foolhardly believe that it will somehow get better over time, as long as I do not give up.  

I long knew that time alone is a powerful agent of change. But time can change things for better or worse. If we really want things to change for the better, then we owe it to ourselves and the people we love to make full efforts to do what is right full-heartedly.

  • Health and family come first

But what is the right thing to do? I remember seeking advice from a wise friend and mentor A one and a half year ago, “Work, family, health and study, I am having trouble in the balancing act on all my obligations.” 

I was seriously contemplating what had to be given up before being forced into a situation of unintended consequences.

My mentor A never tell me what to give up. She simply said, “Health and family must come first. The rest will find its place.” 

  • Start with health and wellness 

I started with taking control over my personal health issues. Obese and constantly bothered by viral infections, weight-reduction was the first thing I had to work on. 

I started with a simple change. Sleep early to wake up even earlier to run. Read enough about running to experiment on different methods and stick on to whatever proved most effective (post 04: How to enjoy a good run). The results have been most empowering when one can feel the transformation to the physical body.

In connection, I have also developed an interest to learn more about both western and eastern healing methods. New-found knowledge from reading and self-experiments quickly expanded my interest to dietary improvements. The below is an example of one of my healthy breakfasts- Spelt flakes with black sesame.

It does not look great, but it certainly contains high nutritional value. The health benefits of spelt include boosting metabolism and strengthening immunity, while improving the digestive function and lowering blood sugar and cholesterol level in the body. 

Thanks to the recommendation of another good friend who also goes by the same initial of F*, I even successfully concocted a home-made remedy of TPBR tea (009: Homemade remedy: Tangerine Peel Brown Rice Tea). Like her, I share an interest in healing methods such as traditional chinese medicine.

Here are some books I am presently reading for leisure, mostly health-related, which I intend to glean a wealth of knowledge about health benefits. 

  • Spread positive energy 

Another close friend and workplace apprentice Z said she couldn’t help smiling while reading my blog (010: What happened over 10 weeks of blogging). 

Then she added, “Do you realise that you are spreading positive energy to others?” 

I certainly hope so because I know from personal experience that body wellness must begin in the mind. With this, let me share a quote of wisdom from Plato:

“This is the great error of our day, that physicians separate the soul from the body. The cure should not be attempted without the treatment of the whole, and no attempt should be made to cure the body without the soul.”

William W K Tan 

04 Oct 2017, Wednesday

Written in Dhaka, Bangadesh.

Personal notes:

Return from an inspiring work trip. Glad to tell everyone that our company Kumon, the world’s largest supplementary education program provider is working hand-in-hand with BRAC, the world largest NGO to spread the benefits of self-learning and superior academic ability to the children in Bangadesh, from the affluent families to the less privileged ones. Feel really good knowing that our work is extended to one of the poorest countries in the world. 

 012-C 晨跑新发现:盘沙池 @新加坡的武吉班让市镇

  • 你听过盘沙池吗?

我介绍过两次在异地晨跑时的新发现。一次是近在毗邻的新山(009-C 晨跑新发现:奥斯汀小镇@新山), 另一次则是远在斯里兰卡的科伦布(003 晨跑新发现: 科伦步市中心)。偏偏是离家不远处的盘沙池周边 (Pang Sua Pond),是我常晨跑的地方,我却至今只字未提。盘沙池,这地方,你没听过吧?

  • 别忘了分享生活美好


  • 盘沙池的点点滴滴

位于武吉班让市镇中心的盘沙池,其实是在信加凯秀民众俱乐部(Senja-Cashew Community Club)旁的一个雨水收集池。








William Tan

2017年9月 28日





012-E Morning Run Discovery: Pang Sua Pond @ Bukit Panjang

I always wake up at about 5.30 am for morning run. Before 7 am, the sky remains dark. But there is this long timber boardwalk nearby, suspended above a pond, which is always illuminated for early joggers. It has become one of my favourite spots because of its unique charms as a wetland attraction.

Even at such early hours, you are unlikely to be a lone jogger. Pang Sua Pond, originally a tired-looking storm water collection pond, has transformed itself into a picturesque location that attracts people from all walks of life to engage in physical activities together. Some people jog while others walk, and there are also those who chose to do work-outs as a group.

By 7 am, you will find many elderly folks gather at the park. It is particularly heart-warming to see people of different ethnicity coming together to engage in synchronised movement of dance and physcial activity.

I am enthused over their work-outs, but still I prefer to run laps around the pond on the boardwalk, which is akin to an upgraded version of running around a track and field stadium.

In case you cannot imagine how is it like running across the water, here is a majestic view of running on the long boardwalk suspended over the Pang Sua Pond.

My usual routine is to do 5 laps of running around the pond slowly, enjoying the scenery and the freshness of morning air as I run. Then, I complete the routine with some simple muscle training.

Just right in front of this small fitness corner, you may be delighted to spot an idyllic view of two petite-looking boats, one yellow and the other white, resting quietly in a miniature dock.

Near the dock, you will find a floating wetland. Visitors will be first drawn by the fragrance of wetland plants such as the leather fern and fragrant pandan even before they can catch sight of these plants.

The wetland plants create a natural habitat for dragonflies, crickets, frogs and fishes.

On the land, if you are lucky, you might even chance upon some monkeys. Of course, you should refrain from feeding and keep a safety distance. Just a couple of months ago, a monkey went rouge after being disturbed by human activity. But no worries, it is a remote possibility.

Anyway, do you think you would fall in love with this place? If so, join me at Bukit Panjang for a run. After that, we can go for breakfast at the Bukit Panjang Plaza, which is just across the street or the Hillion Mall which is situated above the nearest Bukit Panjang MRT station. 

And to my many friends in Johor Bahru, Bukit Panjang is just 20 mins’ drive from the Woodlands causeway. Bring your family here and join me and my family for a healthy morning exercise!

William Tan

28 September 2017

Personal Notes:

I did not do a translation this time, but wrote two different articles on the same topic in two different languages. That takes twice the time, which explains the delay of publication to Thursday.

For those who read both languages, please don’t tell me again that my Chinese proficiency is superior to English. I know that. What I constantly need most is validation for my efforts to improve English proficiency, you know?

For a predominantly Chinese speaker, you perhaps have little idea how much toil and sweat I have put in to polish my English writing skills over these years (laughs). I hope my efforts to be effectively bilingual will set a good example for my children.

007 健康小贴士:天天要流汗

  • 看病看到累了

过去,由于长年患有严重鼻窦炎(sinusitis), 我的眼鼻喉极容易被病菌感染 (viral infection),每隔一两个月,就得看医生。其实,来来去去,不外乎是感冒发烧,头涨眼昏,四肢乏力,不算什么大毛病。但是这么频繁地看医生,真是累人。




  •  å¤©å¤©æŽ’汗,排毒



  • 晨间的超慢跑






  • 饮用养生茶


现在,基本上我会在早上喝加了柠檬汁的日本绿茶(green tea)。这热茶一饮之下,本来在跑步后已干的汗水,又会大量排出。到了办公室,早上我尽可能喝温水,午后才开始喝茴香茶 (fennel tea)或喝一位有心的同事泡给大家喝的花茶。上个周末在家里尝试泡制了陈皮糙米茶( tangerine peel brown rice tea),饮后发现有出汗利尿的效果。看来,也是个好选择。冷气办公室不易出汗,可是喝热茶还是起着暖胃的功效的。

  • 睡前热水泡脚




Email: wktanwilliam@gmail.com 

Whatsapp: +6597630945

William W.K. Tan


10:30 pm