021 Afterthoughts of Vacation (1)

  • The Things We Chose To Remember And Forget

I’m not adept at taking vacation,
coz I think too much.

My mind is always filled with thoughts.

About things and people.

The good thing is I get to reflect and learn more about myself.

The bad thing is I get lost in my own thoughts.

And miss out those that I also value.

Do you have the same problem?

Some people return from vacation feeling revitalised.

Others return home feeling more lethargic than ever.

Where does their difference lie?

I think it lies in what you have chosen to remember and forget.

If all you remember is your bodily gratification, then all you do is probably to eat, shop and play.

But have you forgotten about your spiritual and emotional needs?

Do not forget to empty your mind.

And to let go of your emotions.

When it’s time to take a pause,

stop for that moment.

Think of nothing else.

Allow the beautiful sight

that comes before your eyes

to etch into your heart eternally.

I halt when I caught sight

of the Melaka River

in this gloomy rainy weather.

Don’t you find it melancholic yet

beautiful?

The next moment,

I heard my wife exclaimed,

“Look! A big crocodile in the river!”

Wow! There, it is.

Suddenly, the same river no longer

look the same anymore.

How’s interesting!

Very often,

people rely on cameras

to capture memories.

Yet memories only stay

in our hearts

when emotions are stirred.

In many homes,

people display pictures

to keep memories.

Sadly, so often

memories have faded

even before

the pictures turn dull.

Always keep in mind,

Listen to your heart

When it comes to

people and things

that matter.

William W K Tan

30/11/2017, Thursday

Personal Notes

I’ve just taken a vacation in Melaka.

A place so near,

Yet I’ve never been there before.

Found this place has a strong

atmosphere of humanities, history

and culture.

There is no short of

local produce,

boutique cafes and

delicious cuisines.

Immediately I developed a liking

for Melaka.

In the next issue, I will continue to

share my thoughts about taking

vacations. And I will be introducing

you to “The Geographer Cafe” in

Melaka that my good friend and an

excellent Kumon Instructor Ms Loo

had recommended me.

 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

倒不是想保密。只是人有时侯,近在眼前的,就在身旁的,不管是地,物或人,我们总以为有机会再说。结果呢,错过了说的时机。日子久了,习以为常,就更忘了初时的感动,没了说出口的必要。趁着初心未忘,今天想和大家好好分享。

  • 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。

你瞧,池塘的水面上倒映着以高楼为背景的绿荫和蓝天白云,宛如一幅带有都市风情的现代风景画。

慢跑在蜿蜒于水面上的木板步道,有如把自己置身于画中,煞是有趣。步道的下面是一片种植着如香兰叶等水生植物的浮动湿地。只要一趋近,就能闻到扑鼻而来的香气。

这里除了植物,还有生物呢。你就算看不见,也肯定会听得到躲在植物中的蟋蟀和青蛙共同谱奏的乐章。

最美的画面则是这一幕:两艘小艇像情侣般依偎着,静静地在小码头停泊。一天早上,还意外地发现两只水獭(otter)在这里上岸约会,可惜来不及拍下镜头就让害羞的它们给溜了。

这池里充满着生机。或许你不一定有机会看得到水獭,但你绝对还是看得到鱼儿在水中游。如果像我一样幸运的话,或者还会碰到它呢。

猴子,可爱吧。不过呢,我劝你还是保持安全距离的好。毕竟不久前这一带就出现过一只离经叛道,抢东西吃又咬人的野猴呢。还好,碰到猴子又遇到麻烦的情况真稀有。难得的是,这里俨然成为了人类和动物都爱的憩站。

陈惠谦

William Tan

2017年9月 28日

注:

上次写了中文版后,也做了英译版。有人觉得我双语兼通,也有人坦白说我的中文较优,英文逊色些。这倒激起我进一步想把双语搞好的念头。

这次,突发奇想,或者可以像一鱼两吃一样,分别对同一个题材写完全不同的中,英文版。

这下子又有新发现。原来,用中文的我,和用英文的我,像两个人。一个用心看生活,一个用脑过日子。多学习,多发现自己,真有趣。

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.

009-C 晨跑新发现:奥斯汀小镇@ 新山  

一般上到新山工作,由于靠近新加坡的关系,我都会选择当日返回的。两周前到那儿出差四天,其中一天因为工作至较迟,就选择了留宿一晚。

这选择,在隔日晨跑时,叫我又有了新发现。本以为四周不过是尚未开店的店铺和毫不起眼的街道,却意外而惊喜地发现了一处景色怡人的地方。

沿着小道两侧的树木,并不是在新马两地随处可见,很有生命力地朝天伸展树枝的雨树  (Rain Tree),而是更像我在纽澳惯见的一种酷似圣诞树,取名揽仁树 (Sea Almond)的树木,据说树名由果实貌似橄榄的壳而来。

可别取笑它的名字和懒人同音。它身型魁梧挺拔,漂亮的树形如同沿途有一把又一把雨伞整齐地排列着,欢迎人们的到来。

还不到早上七点,可能是时间还早的关系吧,天空显得特别的蓝。连空中的云彩也像染上了一抹淡淡的蓝。

天渐渐亮了,同一个地方却如同变妆了一样,立即换上了草地的颜色,一片翠绿。

想知道这美丽的地方具体位置在哪里吧?我暂且想卖个小关子,鼓励大家自己去奥斯汀小镇去探索,不难找的。问题在于你是否保持着在平凡生活中探索美的能力吗?

其实美丽的景致到处都有,关键在于是否能让自己有静下心来的时间,好好去感受生活中的美。尤其是当一个人忙了累了烦了的时候,更加需要这种静心的时间。

陈惠谦 William W K Tan

2017年9月5日(星期二)

009-E A Morning Run Discovery: Mount Austin@ Johor Bahru 

Because of Johor Bahru (JB)’s proximity to Singapore, I usually chose to return home on the same day whenever I have to travel there for work. Two weeks ago, I was there for four days, but decided to stay for one night because I had to work late on one particular day.

It was a decision that allowed me to discover another great place during my morning run the next day. I expected to see nothing more than closed shops and ordinary streets, but was pleasantly surprised to find a scenic location.

The trees planted on both sides of the foot path were not the boisterous Rain Trees that are commonly found everywhere in Singapore and Malaysia. Rather, they were the Sea Almond Trees, Christmas trees look-a-likes, that I often see in New Zealand and Australia. It was said that its name originated from its seeds that resemble almonds.

You would probably laughed at its name if you know that it sounds exactly like another word meaning lazybones in Chinese. Quite on the contrary though, sea almond trees were sturdy and tall, and they looked like beautifully-shaped umbrellas all lined up neatly along the road, extending welcome to whoever may come its way.

It was barely 7 am in the morning, perhaps as it was still early, the sky looked exceptionally blue. Even the clouds in the sky were dyed with a slight dash of blue.

As the sky turned brighter, the same place took on a new coat of green, derived from the grasslands, as if it has undergone a cosmetic makeover instantly.

Would you like to know the exact location of this scenic spot?  For now, I thought it might be wiser not to divulge the location, but to allow you discover it at Mount Austin on your own. It should be an easy place to find. The question is whether you still possess the ability to discover the beautiful things in ordinary life.

Beautiful places are bountiful and can be found everywhere. The key is whether we allow ourselves to have moments of tranquillity to appreciate the beauty of life. Especially when we are busy, tired or troubled, making time like this to have quiet moments of serenity is more precious than ever.       

陈惠谦 William W K Tan

5 September 2017 ( Tuesday)

Personal Notes:

I tried writing in two languages this time because some of my friends told me that they would very much like to read the blog posts I wrote in Chinese. 

One friend even told me she google translated whenever I wrote in Chinese. I am grateful and feel encouraged by you. I know I have to give it try even though it takes more time and effort to do the translation. 

Coincidentally, I feel a pressing need to recapture those tranquil moments I got in Mount Austin now. So, I am really glad to write this blog post tonight. Hope you’d like reading it too.

003 晨跑新发现:科伦布市中心     A Morning Run Discovery: Colombo City 

就算只是在异地公干一两天,我也习惯带上跑步鞋去晨跑。这习惯让我发现科伦布 (Colombo),这城市的美。

入目所见,市容整齐,街道干净。不论是繁忙的都市大街,或是老旧的僻静小道,至少在我慢跑一小时所到之处,干净的程度不亚于新加坡,令人欣喜。斯里兰卡人在保持环境整洁方面的表现亮眼,令人刮目相看。

海岸就在市中心不远处。 沿着海岸线的步行道上的人虽然不多,但有老有少,有男有女,或是结伴,或是独行,感觉治安良好。

在步行道的尽头,有一片是狭窄的沙滩。没见人弄潮,因为印度洋的潮水力道强劲,告示牌写着不宜游泳戏水。只见几只不知天高地厚的流浪狗儿在沙堆上戏耍。

我深深地被这里的海浪给吸引了。它时而娴静,时而娇嗔,时而澎湃,像极了颇有性格的女子。

在步行道的另一端,我原以为只是钢骨水泥的建筑物,不料是火车道! 当列车沿着海岸线徐徐经过,真别有一番风味。

户外晨跑的习惯,让原本的出差公干更有意思,也更叫人起劲地开启一天的工作!

陈惠谦

 2017å¹´8月1至2日