Saturday, October 14, 2006

Dragon boating

I am typing this amidst lost of clanging and banging outside. I have no idea what is going on; but my guess is most probably another funeral.

There are a lot of elderly people around. So that is to be expected. Heck, even Lee Kuan Yew himself is an octogenarian. He just turned 83, if I am not mistaken.

I have a feeling there seems to be more deaths for the past two weeks. More than usual. This is exacerbated by the more frequent email notifications about death claims that I have been receiving. The usual frequency would be like one or two a week. But for the past two weeks, I remember getting like 5 or more a week.

Maybe it's because of the haze.

Speaking of which reminds me of something. When someone ask me what do I do, I am loathe to say actuarial. Firstly, because not many know what that is, even though there are more who do now. Secondly, it is kind of difficult to explain what I do.

Replying with "I estimate how much to set aside or reserves to be allocated for insurance payouts in the future, using various assumptions for mortality, morbidity, lapse and interest rates" would give me blank stares.

Saying "I deal with the liability side of the balance sheet" would prompt more questions.

So usually, my answer would be "I work with an insurance company."

And I would get a hesitant and somewhat fearful look.

Why the hell does almost everyone think that anyone who works with an insurance company is an agent and sells insurance? Do they think that a company can survive with just a large sales force, without marketeers, underwriters, administrative staff, etc?

Anyway, in case you are curious, this is what I do. Or more precisely, what I would be doing when I pass all my exams.

And this explains the reason I have not been updating - studying. Not that my exams are near, but there is a lot to cover since it has changed to a module-based system. A lot of reading and module exercises.

The way I think is that, I put off posting till I have done with some studying. But then when I finish, I am too damn tired to blog.

In fact, the reason I am writing this is because I couldn't sleep from all the noise outside, even though I am freaking tired and I can feel the achey feeling (the kind you get after a heavy workout or doing something excessively for the first time) starting to build up in my shoulder muscles.

Me being the "try-everything-once" believer, I went for dragon boating for the first time today. Got up at 7 this morning, all rearing to go.

The Singapore Dragon Boat Association is located in Kallang, near the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Even this early in the morning, there were many people getting ready for their weekly training. More so as there is the annual River Regatta, which I blogged about last year, coming up in a month's time.

Guys make up more than 80% of the rowers. All ages are here, from the late teens to the early twenties to the late thirties and beyond.

I trained with them for about one and a half hours, going all out with some guidance from a dragonboating coach. There was another first-timer too.

Even my friend admitted that the intensity of training today was greater than usual.

Trust me to pick such a day ;P

I kept knocking and hitting the paddle in front of me. Also, the paddle was slippery and my grip slip numerous times. The salty water kept splashing into my eyes and irrirated them, till at one point, I was rowing with my eyes closed. Read the first sentence again.

Towards the end, I stopped quite often to catch my breath. I would rate my performance as bad, but I did give my best.

After the training, my arms were shaking. Could barely lift them up. Which is to be expected from a novice like me. I tried to do it the correct way, using my torso and the twisting motion, but still it would take lots of practice to get it right.

It was about half past ten when we went for breakfast. From then till now, it seems to be better, but still achey.

I was warned that the effects will be fully felt tomorrow. Oh wow ...

Back to the guys who were training. First things I noticed, they come in all shapes and sizes. Some are slim, some nicely built, quite a few are fat. So basically anyone can do it, if he has the right technique.

Cute factor, very much lacking though. Out of ten, maybe one of them is cute. There were about a hundred people on land (the rest were on the river) and about ten were really cute.

Oooh, they have open shower stall in the toilet. And most of the guys are not the shy type where they wear swimming trunks when they shower ;P

I was asked would I go again next week. Well, it very much depends on how I feel tomorrow.


Cliff said...

Always nice to have a little eye-candy incentive to get some exercise.

Anonymous said...

hey dude, glad that you made it for the session. hope our feast after the paddling made up for all the energy you used on the boat!

yupz, hope to see you again. on the boat. but of course that is provided you must like it yah.

have a good rest, babey...

Harvey said...

Funny, coz there's lots of weddings being held around this part of my neighbourhood (presumably in conjunction with the mid-autumn festival) Anyway, dragon-boat racing... muscled men..sweaty.. see through..soaked white shirt... Um, gotta stop hallucinating.

k said...

woah! u're doing actuarial! impressive!

Prince of Darkness said...

Wow dragon boat festival, dunno when is the last time i saw it eh...damn I just miss watching it :P

savante said...

You are in actuarial? I never knew that either!

Derek said...

cliff: Yup, true, true. ;P

anonymous: I enjoyed it. And surprisingly, it didn't hurt as bad as I thought it would.

harvey: Yeah, this is the month of weddings. But these are planned; deaths are not.

And if you come to Sg again, I'll bring you there. Then you can see for yourself and don't need to fantasise LOL

k: Really, it's nothing impressive. Just lots of exams to take ....

prince of darkness: I think they have an annual one in Penang. But the ones here are more for competition, so the boats aren't as decorative.

savante: You are so gonna get it from me! I have been saying that for the longest time!

MrBunnyBan said...

Er. I'm with Paul here. You used to work in a bank. Explain this to me.

William said...

My, my, numbers, numbers, numbers. Double Maths people. I need to grab a calculator to count the correct change. Can't blame people for cringing at the word "insurance". :P. I know a few people who work in claims, a few in sales, but that's about it.

Anonymous said...

Did ur acturial skills help you estimate how many of the not shy naked bods in the open showers are gay?

And yes you didnt say if you were shy or not? :-)

Derek said...

mrbunnyban: I used to work in the Central Bank, which is not a bank per se. ;P

william: And now you know another one in insurance ;P

By the way, doesn't being in the IT industry / programming need logical thinking and thus mathematics? Maths is the most logical of the sciences.

anonymous: Unfortunately, I wasn't trained to use my skills in such a way LOL

But I'm pretty sure quite a number of them are ;P

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, I guessed you were shy then ...

Derek said...

anonymous: Hmmm, a bit ironic coming from someone who doesn't leave a name.