Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Ode to my string of pearls (and Kenyir tri race report!)

It has been 3 years since i heard this story but i never fully understood what it meant until the kenyir race last weekend..

3 years ago, as i embarked on to the world of triathlons - heart broken, frumpy looking and thrown into a whole new working industry - a good friend of mine said "forget what you have lost. look forward to what you will receive". i didn't believe her and in her sweet quest to help me recover she emailed me a chain letter about a father-daughter and a string of pearls.

i'm quite sure many of you would have received this chain letter one time or the other, but just in case you haven't, let me tell you the story (it was honestly long and boring, so i'll give you the more touching version.. but long still)

on her 5th birthday, her father gave her a pretty pearl necklace he had bought at toys r' us. she loved dressing up and she was his princess so he wanted to make sure she knew that. naturally, over time the pearl necklace chipped and the colour coating peeled.

couple of years later, her father said
"let's give away your necklace, it's old and the colour is faded"
"NO! this is my favourite pearl necklace. it is pretty still" she replied
"my darling, you must learn to let go. it will be alright" her father said lovingly.
and this conversation went on for weeks. each night, her father said "give away" and each night she replied "no".

finally two days before her 7th birthday she said:
"ok daddy, because i love you, i trust you that everything will be alright. but i want you to know my heart is breaking as i give this pearl necklace away"

her father smiled and hugged her.

on the eve of her birthday, her father came to her bedside and found her crying
father: "don't cry my darling. tomorrow is your birthday"
daughter: "daddy, it hurts. i don't want it to be my birthday"
father: "i know it does. but i wanted you to learn that letting go of something precious to you doesn't mean you will never be happy again"
daughter: "what do you mean?"

her father then took out a velvet box and in it is was a real string of pearls.

"i wanted you to let go of the past so that i can give you something more precious and beautiful for the future.. happy birthday darling.."

many friends said "ah! so materialistic! the old pearls may have been in bad shape but it was sentimental". true, but i'm sure there's a chain letter somewhere to cover that issue.


the moral of the story here is never be afraid to let go of something you feel is precious to you as there is always something more precious to discover.

so how does this relate to my enlightenment over the weekend?

well, for 3 years now i have been blessed with a loving partner which i initially thought was my 'real string of pearls' but i was never completely convinced. replacing a lover with another cannot really justify the empty spot left by the previous lover. not because he is insufficient, but because each lover is different so they fill up different areas of the void.

then after almost 5 months since february of not meeting my triathlon friends i realised something: my string of pearls is not represented by one person... it is literally a string of pearls! many many representatives... each one a pearl in my string:
from sweet alisa who is on a constant high and full of love, to her equally energetic father who braved IM 2008 after swimming 2k for the first time 10 days before race day.

from funny mj kalam, to his loving nurina whose heart of gold and determination to complete tris is a true admiration, to his kopi susu family tagging along everywhere like little ducklings.

from the elites of steph, dino, and kim who have achieved far beyond my personal ability yet remain humble and close.

from shen who introduced me to this triathlon world to her devoted KC and now tiny peanut who's almost 1 month old!

from edwin and his endless support and dedication, to his gentle kelly and everybody from

from willie with his funny ways of waiting for me at races, to shiraz and his "shut up! forget about the medal..just finish the race!

from patrick and his never ending evaluation of what is "necessary" and his growing up son now more interested in straddling the bench press to bulk up than straddling his bike.

from the fast and furious boys of ironmonyet to the new boys in town from bike boutique.

from my evergreen race bunny karen siah, to karoline yee and now michelle looi (all great gals that i target at races and all great gals that beat me flat at races!)

from carmen leong and her admirable win for a spot in kona 2008, to randy tan and his dedicated bench side barbie ivy.

from mac the ever trusty friend sweeping at the back, to adeline, to jaja, to vong, to pk and family and all the great guys/gals at pcc and their enjoyable sunday rides.

from yit thing coming slowly into this tri world to weina across the sea

the list goes on (if your name is not mentioned here, sorry... but don't worry, i still think you would be a pearl in my string too!)

but it doesn't stop there!

since letting go of the past i have been blessed with the company of arif's family and many other 'new' people in my life:
from little shafeeq and shaqeel who's laughter and snoring entertain me over weekend stays to their sweet nanny kye that helps around the house.

from sweet farah and cheeky daughter nana to her ever handy fahar and their great weekend parties/games night

from muscle mania and ever smiling feizal to his calming lynn where everything we do, give or buy is niiiiiiice.....

from the great guys at work like joanna, solomon, chua, leong, wan san, tang and many many others who make 8-5pm tolerable.

i could go on forever... but really what i would like to do is thank all of you for coming into my life and enriching it many folds over.

and to think, i would have missed all these had i not let go...

so a toast is "necessary"!

to all my friends mentioned and unmentioned, you enrich my life and each one of you is a true treasured pearl on my string.

i love you all and thank you for bringing colour to my life!

p.s: hope this post gives you the strength to let go of any past haunting you now as what the future brings is always far better.

p.p.s: i forgot about my kenyir race report! o well, here it is:
- did alright considering no training
- had fun
- finished with medal
- came home.
(figured you're all so well aware of my race capability there's no point dwelling in my imperfections!)


Dancing Ciken said...

aku ingat kau nak cerita ttg kenyir, suspen la ko beb!

except yr fall kat broga, apa yang kau tak pernah habis? belasah je

orange juice + 100plus,

The Editor said...

Wow, powderful story, as pwerful as ur determination in Kenyir. (or so I hear). U always touch me with all your anecdotes

beyond cut off said...

hi jaja,

fall kat broga pun i cycle back - still clocked 100km!!

but to be honest, i pernah dnf on my own choosing...

i dnf masa terry fox 6k run last year! i was with bernard and we were just so tired...

sampai lake gardens, 3k more to go, kita turn right. over the lake bridge, straight to the milo van!

hahaha... sampai s'krang i malu...

Al-Ishsal said...

you are indeed a key pearl in alisa's strings :) she was suddenly motivated to bike again 3 days ago, cycled two days in a row, very steadily. first time since the fateful UPNM initiative by mej kalam. i was so happy, then she said, "take a video papa so i can show may senn i can cycle now!" ... today, we're running 2km. its her 8mth plan to be ready to run the final 10k with us in Langkawi next year :)

beyond cut off said...


she melts my heart :)

Al-Ishsal said...

yeah she does give that tingly feeling inside, everytime :)

tomorrow morn, if she wants to bike double hill, i might take my mountie to tag along. was just thinking it wont be fun for her to keep stopping and waiting for us to catch up on foot. might be better if i bike with her and we can go up and down the path to keep you guys company. we'll see.

just did another 10k this morn, thats 30 this week already. its good to be back, though a tad heavier still!

Wandernut said...

And you're an inspiration to many, Senn :) That gives you big shiny pearl status!

Miss you guys terribly :(
Will be running for the first time all by my lonesome this weekend. Found a park like really far away (many many train stops).

One loop is 5km. I think I try one loop first. My only exercise for the past month is my 10min walk to and from work :( Takut pancit. Hee hee.

Shanghai Marathon in November.
Any takers?

Mich said...

you actually inspired me to sign up for ironman. I was quite worry about the full marathon in ironman as i have not run any marathon. After listening to the stories arif told me, it gave me a courage to register.
Oh yahh.. i believe there are things in life that we have to set a deadline and let go.

Vong said...

Love u too....


beyond cut off said...

hey michelle!

I'm flattered but honestly, you are so much stronger than many ppl on the ironman course (myself esp!)

I look forward to see you kick my ass at langkawi next year :D

Stupe said...

Senn - so crony. :P

Stupe said...

Senn - i meant CORNY! Darn! But wifey who is next to me now says...Not really what, cute!

beyond cut off said...


you're a nice red, black and white pearl on my string!

in line with you tune money ma...!