This really made my day.

It really does. I got this message from my brother earlier in the day today.

“But honestly, I have to thank you for being the role model.

I probably won’t learn to listen and be neutral about negative situations, if it wasn’t for you. And I wouldn’t even be bothered to think about why she thought of it this way. This experience has made me a better person.”

I’m so proud of this dude.

All I can say is, I’m glad he’s my brother. Almost thirty years, and we’re still tight. Advice doesn’t matter if there’s no receptive ear, and like I’ve said before – he listens, if nothing else. And that is the first step in growing and maturing as a person.

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Birthdays: keinday 2015, the Truth year!

Tuesday isn’t the best day for taking a day off, and so it came to be that I spent the keinday at the office.

The actual day

The actual day wasn’t too bad. We’d gotten a shared birthday cake for the June/July folks last week, and that was great.

The morning was pretty prosaic, but I got a ramen lunch treat from David at Momotaro! Sam also popped by the office for birthday wishes before that, which was really cool of him. And of course, a birthday cake this year – YES!

2015_cake

This was the same cake from Le Petit Gateau V got for me back in 2008 when some of the guys were around, fond memories.

The site got smacked!

This was the not-so-fun side event to the keinday. My morning began with a text from LS, pointing out my site (yes, this site) was down. Tested it on my phone and yep, this was what I saw.

Warning: Unknown: failed to open stream: Permission denied in Unknown on line 0

Fatal error: Unknown: Failed opening required (REDACTED) (include_path=REDACTED) in Unknown on line 0

Waking up to an outage (admittedly, a non-critical one) was annoying. Plonked myself down at the computer, and after a bit of digging, realised the permissions on the index.php file were set to 00. That was fishy, and it made sense. Obviously the browser error began at line 0, because read permission was being denied. Replacing the index.php with a fresh copy fixed things, but that in turn triggered the question – why was this happening? Figured it might be a security measure from the webhost, so an email was fired off to them.

Apparently, my site was compromised and was being used as a spam relay. Hey webhosting guys, thanks for locking my site down and not letting me know, I really appreciate the support. I guess I sort of deserved that for using a grandfathered (and likely vulnerable) theme. I really liked Hemingway, and had hacked away to keep it usable throughout the years.

Step 1: Change theme.

Step 2: Signing up with Sucuri, and getting them to clean the site up. This was painful, as it involved an annual fee of $200. Great value, but it was a bit of a hit when paid upfront.

Step 3: Go through the usual post-hack measures. Limit permissions, change passwords, remove users, delete unused plugins, regenerate salts, the lot.

The Sucuri signup had a good ending though! Being an affiliate from the earlier days, Sucuri very kindly offered a free account after some discussion, so that really saved a heap. Thanks guys! Sucuri and MaxCDN have some of the best customer service that you can ever find.


Work

The past year hasn’t been too bad overall, and I got a trip to Shanghai last year, which certainly was an eye opener. It wasn’t all pretty though; the workplace went through a pretty severe round of retrenchments a few months back. I survived, but it was a quite a blow to everyone, myself included. Crushing to see friends leave, but things have to go on. Had to pick up the slack left behind, and the extra work resulted in some good karma. Put in the work and get things done, get the recognition, and the rewards will come.

It’s really great to see all the positive feedback from folks around the office, getting the recent office award, and even from the directors on recognition on all the grunt work, definitely made my week.

The Pick and Roll

As far as PnR is concerned, we’ve been slowly but surely getting our feet under us. Improved frequency of coverage, positive partnerships (especially with Basketball Australia and Eurosport), and culling general NBA coverage have been some of the major milestones. The idea to remove general NBA coverage made a lot of sense. There’s fierce competition in that broad topic, it’s hard to gain differentiation/recognition. On top of that: the site is already Australian basketball-centric anyway, so why not focus the NBA towards that niche too?

Let’s not even start talking about the herculean efforts it has been, trying to ensure consistent coverage with a huge team that needed a lot of motivation to keep writing. The strain I faced on pushing topics out, encouraging writers, editing, publishing and promoting was enormous.

I was so burnt out at the end of the playoffs, but have recovered and am getting back on track, no small thanks to the fantastic work from Alistar, Hayley, Winston and Jayme that’s helped so greatly with Aussies in NBA coverage. Streamlining the team has helped keep me sane.

Our core (Steve, Damo, OU) have been nothing but solid, something I’m sure a lot of other sites lack. Big props goes out to guys like Brendan, Grant and Dean for their work as well, and also to people like Tom Read for all the encouraging comments.

The year has been mostly good. I’m writing faster than ever, coverage pieces are shorter and I’m slowly tuning my game. The knowledge part of it is still the biggest gap, and I’m glad the internet is there as an invaluable reference – writing with nothing but my noggin would have been tough at times.

The biggest milestone for me on the PnR end, was being able to interview Dante Exum – what an experience! Ask me about the possibility of that a few years back, and I would’ve laughed and gone nah, that’s crazy.

Life

Not much to say here, except that life has been peaceful and pleasant, much the same as it was last year. Once again, much thanks to the family for working around me for times when I zone out and go into one of my get-things-done mode, and blithely ignore everything else.

There was this fun (not so fun) episode early in the year, when almost everyone in the house had food poisoning, and all the adults (except me – I had milder symptoms) were just limp and comatose in bed for the better part of a day. Lots of Hydralyte helped, but that was a scary thing.

And oh, I had a molar yanked. It sounded like a frightening prospect at first, but I don’t even notice the gap anymore. Much thanks to Dr Pippa Robinson for handling it painlessly, been good since.

Elly has been very good for the most part, until she gets into one of her raging crying fits. And then she’s a horrible bundle to deal with. It’s as much a learning process for her as it is for us however, and knowing her quirks helps minimise these episodes.

Keilen (I think I’ll call him Lenny in future) is firmly attached at the hip to mum these days. Overattachment is a bad thing, and we’ll have to slowly sort it out as things go along. He hasn’t been quite as firmly disciplined as Elly was in her younger days, which is part of the fun of being a grandparent – you get to spoil the kid! But when he’s in his fun bubbly mood, he’s an absolute pleasure. Adventurous, stubborn as hell, and a constance menace, Lenny is going to be a walking disaster in the days ahead.

Again, I have been quite remiss with the catch up sessions. Time is absurdly compressed these days; it’s hard to get out on weekdays because I have to charge home and grab Elly from daycare, and Saturday mornings are usually major snooze times. That effectively leaves Sundays and maybe Saturday arvo at best. Things will get better as the kids grow up and leave their naps behind, but for now it’s in a sort of holding pattern.

I’m glad I didn’t miss some of the big stuff, like Bill’s buck night, ahlong’s wedding, seeing WY, QL and ZL’s kids, getting out for KTV time with my singing buddies Vale, HY, Sharon! (Yes, KTV is important.) And all the friends I managed to meet over the past year whenever I got back to SG, like the Swim Team folks, LH and WJ, among others. And also to the other folks, my ex-Netbay people and also Andrew/Gen for catching up, very thankful for that!

Life with the boys Sam, Roland and David and the funny-as-hell work lunches have been an amazingly enjoyable period of my life, and I’ll always remember the lunch gang fondly.

Holidays

No international trips (those endless flights to Singapore didn’t count), but V and I actually managed quite a few getaways, huge thanks to the mother and Stan for helping out with the kids.

We headed out to the Dandenongs for Christmas, and went over to Daylesford for the wedding anniversary. And of course, the birthday weekend.

The birthday weekend

I had a pretty good weekend with V! It’s been ages since we’ve had an extended romp in the city, and this was more or less what I’ve always been wanting to do. A couple of nights away from the kids, having time to ourselves. A stay at a classy hotel, good solid conversations, couple of soaks in the jacuzzi, man. Life is perfect. V also enjoyed the stay a lot. The first night we were there, she just sat at the couch and went, it’s so good to sit there and enjoy the peace without having something always going on in the background.

Let’s not forget about brunch at The Hardware Société (pork belly, yum) and The Grain Store in one weekend, that’s a first for sure.

Catching movies at the theatre, really good too. Thoroughly entertained by Ted 2, and Jurassic World was underwhelming. Of course, it might’ve been that Gold Class seats were too comfortable to begin with, which in turn resulted in me getting some early shuteye.

Basketball

I’m pretty sure I haven’t been near a basketball court in three months or more, so yes I am in a rather depressing situation. The closest I’ve come to sinking baskets these days are popping balls into wastepaper bins – gotta keep working on my shooting stroke!

Will have to find the energy to get up in the weekend mornings and play ball. Soon.

Personal

I haven’t noticed much changes this year. Perhaps it’s been more a constant journey to improve the way I talk, the way I think, and the way I present myself to others.

Perhaps the one biggest perspective shift, would be the rather clinical view I take on content (TV, online) these days. Everything is seen as a pitch, and it’s all about giving a tailored presentation that appeals to the target audience. The best presented pitch wins, period.


Presents

What do you get when you cross Back To The Future with Transformers? This.

11754704_10152939421421994_1604847484_o

Marty McPrime apparently. Pretty rad T-shirt from the brother!

ZM and XX sent the latest issue of Dear Boys Act 3 over, along with a card. Love it! Thank you both so much for the thought.

zmxx

亲爱的KEIN-SAN!

祝你身体健康,心想事成!!

生日快乐!

明明&香香
4th JULY 2015

Secret present from LS! A Memobottle that can easily fit into a bag, begone y’all cylindrical bottles. (Just kidding. The car’s drink holder is still unfortunately circular. I still need one other one at least!)

memobottle

Cards

The card arrives once again! Courtesy of LS.

11768608_10152952576971994_2058397459_o

On this special day, I’ll like to thank you for being there for me; a special light in my life.
Throughout the ups & downs, you were always just a tinkle away.

You have a way of making the good times better & the less-than-good times bearable.
Thank you for making a difference, not just in my life but I’m sure in the lives of many of your other frens!

Dearest old fren,
Kein

Simple card for a Simple Man! Happy Birthday ^^

The world is a brighter place because of you!

Love from
LS

And here’s my first ever birthday card from Elly. This is probably what I look like to her, complete with sarcastic smirk:

ellycard


WhatsApp

ahlong: Before the day is through and the flurry of well-wishes descends upon thy.. Happiest Birthday, good health and blessings of a fortuitous nature to you bro..

Stan: Happy bday to you, another year wiser now

Bill: Happy birthday brother!!!

SJ jie: Hi di, happy birthday to you! Things look like they going well for you, so I wish you good health, great energy for running after your kids (reserved for your kids not basketball! ;p), and that everything will be 顺顺for you. 🙂 All the best!

LS: 👍 👍 👍 Happy birthday!!!

ZM: Omg! Today is your birday ! Happy Birthday my most hated friend in this universe … may you continue to be my most hated friend till the end of time 😂

HJ: Happy birthday!! Have a great one :))

Jianhao: Happy birthday bro…. 🙂

CL: Hey hey, Happy Birthday !!!

Cherie: Happy birthday, Mr. Chua 🎈🎊🎉🍰🎂

Estee: Happy Birthday!!!! Hope one day you don’t need to work for sleep hahaha

PR: Happy birthday, Kein!!!

Dinesh: Happy birthday bro! Long time no see but friendship doesn’t fade! Wishing you even more luck and happiness in the future. Oh and satay. I wish you lots of satay

Sharon: hope im not too late=) may u enjoy ur burf with ur dear ones tdy happyburfffffffff

Facebook

LS: Happy birthday to my dearest fren ( AU time). Though we rarely meet, I treasure the random chats we have! Belated card otw! ^^ Awesome bday once again!!!

Dad: 生日快乐,心想事成,步步高升………

Law: Happy birthday to you (and me), Kein.

Jen: Happy birthday Kein, I hope you have a wonderful day

Roz: you’re old mate. hbd bruh.

Cousin Noelle: Happy Birthday Kein..

Yen Shuet: Another year older, another year wiser.. Happy Birthday!!

Greg: Happy Birthday KC !!!

Meishan: Blessed birthday, dear friend. 🙂 The song says it all.

Mat: Happy birthday mate

Momo: Happy birthday Kein!

XX: Happy Birthday Kein!

Happy birthday! 😄

Weizhong: Happy bday bro ☺ have a great one ☺

CP: Happy birthday, frd!

Uncle Loh: Happy Birthday Kein!

Daryl: Vaguely remember it’s sometime in mid Jul. So now jump on the bandwagon and wish you happy birthday + many happy returns.

Ashley: Happy Birthday… enjoy ur special day with lotsa smiles n laughters

Jack: Happy Birthday Kein!

Albin: Happy Birthday Kein Chua

HQ: Happy Birthday!

Meihui: Happy birthday!

Mandy: Happy birthday have a great day ☺️

Julian: Happy Birthday Brother! We ball soon!

Kenneth: Happy birthday Kein! Have a good one!

Weiliang: Happy birthday!

Eugene: Happy birthday!

Kenrick: Happy birthday Kein! ☺️

Benny: Happy birthday !!! good health and happy days!

Nash: Wish you many many happy returns of the day superman

Lukas: Happy Birthday Kein!!!

Cousin Wenjun: happy birthday^^
wish you all the best^^

Dave: Happy birthday brother! Have a great one!

Mike: Happy birthday Kein!

Murray: Happy birthday mate. Hope you had an awesome day

Joyce: happy birthday!!

WY: Happy Birthday!!! May all ur wishes blossom true on this special day! *wink* *wink* 😉😘

NZ: Happy Birthday! mmm… hows it going so far? keinday 2015

From my winning folks in the AITNBA team:

Winston: eh?! Early happy birthday then! Enjoy your day Kein!

Alistar: Champaign showers at 12

Jayme: Happy Birthday Kein! Same day as Dante, something in that.

Hayley: Happy birthday Kein!

And here are two of my favourite people:

Steve: How was your birthday weekend away KM? Happy Birthday big fella! Hope you had a great day ☺

Jim: Damn, I missed your Bday! Rock on Keinmeister! You are the standard that everyone should subscribe to! Wait a minute it’s still Tuesday! Happy Birthday Mate! Damn alzheimers!

And belated wishes as well, including ones from people at the office like Ashish and Simon, love ’em all:

Shuxian: Happy birthday!

Zhiwei: Happy birthday to you!! ☺

Adele: Happy blessed birthday!🍦🍭🎁🎂🎉🎊🍰


What will the year ahead bring? Hopefully good health, and good strides made in everything else from family to work. (And hopefully a longer holiday to somewhere else.) And satay. Very important.

The journey begins once more.

On 21 Feb 2014, I went from being the dad of one, to being the dad of two.

WELL DONE, ME! (Nine months ago, that is.)

The real credit goes to V, who did all of the work in getting our little boy out into this world. Thanks to J and IL for helping on the day of delivery, and to all our friends and family for the well wishes, congratulations and encouragement. The delivery wasn’t a one push event like a certain friend of mine. It took 17 pushes (in true Celtic tradition y’all – 17 pushes for 17 banners!) and epidural was used, but V got through it with a minimum of fuss this time. She was even coherent enough to exclaim, “I can see the head!” in the middle of contractions no less. I thought it was a pretty funny moment.

One thing that will linger in my memories on the childbirth: the pungent smell of blood in the delivery suite. It smelt like I was at the butcher’s but worse. Way worse.

Every child is different, and we keep reminding ourselves. The seemingly familiar journey of caring for a newborn begins once again. Same, yet different. One thing for sure, life is never going to be dull with two kids around!

Onwards.

p.s. a lot of people noticed little Keilen’s name is an amalgam of mine and V’s, but no one ever realised Elly’s name is a combination too, albeit in reverse.

Of the most beautiful phase

A lot of people speak of a woman’s wedding day as the the time when she looked her best. It could be true, but I’m inclined to disagree.

In all honesty, my wife wasn’t at her best on our wedding day. She was tired from staying up the night before. Getting an early start with all the make up, hair and so on was a grind. Add the fact that she was dressed in a wedding gown, trying to tahan the chills of that morning and looking forward to GTFO (if I might put it crudely), didn’t do any wonders for her disposition. Nevertheless, she looked fine in the photographs, and that’s all that matters when memories fade eh?

To me, V was always at her most beautiful during the later phase of pregnancy. The radiance of impending motherhood puts an indescribable hue onto her countenance.

Well of course, there is that Neanderthal feeling of satisfaction I get (“THAT THUNG GROWING INSIDE HER? I HAD A PART OF IT! RAWWRRR GRUNT OOMPH *THUMPS CHEST*) on a job well done, but that’s not it.

I love the feel of her growing belly, feeling the skin move with new life beneath. Those might not be Upton-esque curves, but there is just that indefinable glow that seems to shine forth. The way she gently pats her swollen belly, as if reassuring the little boy within, holds a sense of calm about it.

I’m not going to lie about the bad parts of it (throwing up, inability to sleep through the night, waddling with all that extra weight), but the thought that she’s willing to bear it all for the sake of bringing a new life —our new life– into this world, makes her that much more beautiful in my eyes.

So the little one is due in less than a month, and we’re all waiting. Just for now though, I’d like to dedicate this day to the woman who’s shared the past eight years of her life with me, and years to come.

Happy Valentine’s Day V. I’m not the best writer out there, but this is all I’ve can come up with. Love you, and thank you for being with me all this time.

Walking the line between self and parenthood

I wrote about this same topic two years ago, and I thought it would be a good time to revisit things, seeing as I’ve been through the grind of parenthood for nearly two years now.

To quote myself:

To me, this memory is a reminder of who I want to be.

I want to be someone I’m proud of, someone the younger me can look and marvel at. To be wise, understanding and a ready listener; someone my child would have no problems sharing his joys and fears with. Someone he can respect and look up to as a role model. Someone he would be able to tell his friends about; that his dad is an awesome fellow who lives life doing the things he loves. I want to be the friend, the geek, the basketball fanatic, the gamer, the photographer, the armchair philosopher, the fussy critic and so many other parts that make up the self.

I would really dread the day when I have to tell my kid something to the order of “I used to love doing blahblah before we had you.” Instant confusion (“Why do you not do it now?”) and subsequent guilt trip (“Am I to blame for this?”).

I want to be my own person, and to die doing the things I love. I have never believed that being an employee, a boyfriend, a husband and a father would mean submerging my own persona “for the long term good”, as Stan once said. That’s utter bullshit to me. Everything is but just a facet of the big picture, and a balance.

And to add another quote from my thoughts on parenthood last year:

All too often, parenthood is seen as a burden, and in today’s society it is more than acceptable to outsource the labour, be it to the parents or paid help externally. Being a full-time parent is physically exhausting and mentally unstimulating at times. It is a mundane routine for the most part, but yet filled with unexpected surprises at every turn. It’s no walk in the park, but if you ask me? It is something everyone should get a taste of.

Like I told Stan the other night, parenthood has come to mean an accelerated maturation in one’s life. It’s about learning to take care of another, about being careful not to make mistakes that could prove costly. It’s about being constantly watchful, constantly learning, and staying calm in a crisis. It’s about learning to the virtue of observation over action, about understanding the situation before trying to fix it. Parenthood is about learning to love unconditionally, to give without expecting anything in return and putting the needs of another above yourself. It’s about responsibility, and learning the simple joys of labour that money can never replace.

Is being a parent an absolute choice between the self and the child? Why can’t we work towards our dreams while being parents?

Granted, some goals are tougher than others. For example, entrepeneurship might be a trifle harder to accomplish when you have to hold a day job while tending to a cranky kid at night. So do things like movie marathons, crazy all-night drinking sessions, and a lot of things that involve either spontaneity or extended periods outside the home.

That being said, is it really possible to put opportunity costs into weighing parenthood? How do you measure a mundane goal that might hold its metric in dollars and cents, when the real value of being a parent lies in the intangible satisfaction, joy and contentment that comes out of seeing your child grow every day, and the simple pleasures of interacting and teaching that make little steps so interesting?

How do we factually report and put forth the benefits of being a parent in an objective manner, when relationships and emotions are tenuous things to begin with? I’d like to see someone quantitively measure and compare for example, the thrill of watching a sports game up live, versus the joy of seeing their little one run to them with a welcoming hug and a big smile, after a long hard day of work. Do you record your variances in heartbeat? The amount of endorphins dumped into your bloodstream? Or perhaps, the level of neuron activity even?

To lament the loss of a dream, only speaks volumes about how hard you tried. Nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it, and it’s all about what you are willing to invest into achieving that goal you long for. To use parenthood as an pragmatic-sounding excuse is just that – a self-justification made to appease one’s mind, self-psychosis in believing one had no choice in the matter.

“It’s all for the best, because I must be a responsible parent and do what is right.”

The uncontrollable urge to mouth a vile epithet arises whenever I see oh-so-righteous and noble sounding conclusions like these.

There is always a choice. Never shift the blame for your supposed losses in life to the fact of rearing a child. Instead, ask yourself if you had tried enough to make it happen. If you want it badly enough, nothing can stop you from realising your dreams.

Always remember: the only person that can limit you from living your life the way you want, is you. Not your spouse, not your kids, not your parents, not your peers, and most definitely not your boss. It’s all about whether you want it badly enough to make it happen.

Battery low.

Yet another one of those nights. I’m too bushed to write anything meaningful, so this is it. I can feel my lifespan shortening, a bit at a time heh.

Good night folks, have a good weekend.

Anticipation: the close and the start.

It’s funny how quickly things end and begin sometimes.

Come March, mum’ll be here. With that, Operation SAHD comes to a close for a while. It’s been a gratifying seven months of experience, endurance and patience, without which I would be a much lesser person. Once again, I am thankful for having had the chance to grow together with Elly, and to have a shot at understanding my little girl that much more. It wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows, but one does one’s best even through the tough patches. Appreciation and thanks would have been good, but all I ever needed was the belief that I was doing the right thing for her.

Come March, I’ll be flying off to the States once more, this time with V. A long holiday is something we have been looking forward to, and at the same time I’m hoping to grow myself further with the opportunity to attend a C’s game as a member of the media. New learning opportunity, new growing opportunity. Gotta love life for giving fun opportunities like these.

Come April, it will be time to look for a job once more. I’m hoping to bypass the dreary interview route, so if you hear of something that could be good, please let me know. Everything is an option, literally everything. I’m not really picky on jobs, the criteria is usually no excessive OT and no overly stupid management. You can only take stupidity that far before you blow your top. It seems like a long while since I have been in a full-time job, but reality says it’s only been seven months – not too long ago. I’m sure I will not have any problems in adjusting back to full-time work, but that’s just me talking; reality could be otherwise.