Category Archives: Self Development

Succeeded in labuan cross channel open swimming 5.4km

I attempted to swim the labuan cross channel swim last year… Attempted and was only successful halfway. I reached pulau papan, but decided to quit due to sea sickness, and dehydration from several vomiting… While swimming. this time, 28.June 2013, I was successful. 🙂
Training for the distance was not a problem, considering practice and the total immersion technique. My main worry was (other than sea creatures) motion sickness. For a whole year I didn’t think about it until a week before the event. Then I started to research, the cure that was cited was often eating ginger and wearing earplugs. The normal sea sickness medication of dramamine was either ineffective or it may cause drowsiness, not something I want to feel when swimming a long distance.
I also read about sea sickness in Wikipedia, how it is the incongruence between our inner ear’s sense of balance and movement with our sense of sight, causing the brain/mind to think we are hallucinating due to a toxin in our body, which it then tries to expel from the action of vomiting, ginger apparently reduces this effect by emptying the contents of the stomach into the intestine. It is unclear of how it affects the brain.
I found a motion sickness pill at guardian that contained ginger (contents labelled zanziber, which was scientific name for it). Additionally, I avoided citrus fruits and apples, and instead carbo-loaded with bananas.
On the night of the swim, I had an early dinner at Singapore Chicken Rice. I was pleasantly surprised that they served ginger as condiments, naturally I added some to my chicken. Then I made sure I had enough sleep as last time I didn’t cuz I was too excited.
Early in the morning, I woke up, had my one litre water, my canned tuna breakfast, and did my morning business. I warmed up by walking from the hotel to the water complex, a 1km walk. Arrived so early no one, not even the organizer was there at 5.30am.
When the swim started at 7 ish, I had just swam a few metres when a dark skinned guy (looked like a jamaican with dredges) turned back, seeing panic in his eyes, it didn’t bother me why, just thought that it was his first time in these murky and salty labuan waters. Later I heard he got kicked in the head. Then there was this lady who was asking passing by swimmers if they mind pacing and accompanying her as it is her first time. Seeing that I was practically the last guy there and I didn’t mind the company, I obliged, but informed her that I may be swimming slower than her (which it turned out wasn’t the case). So we swam together, and I found myself sighting often then I originally intended, once every two strokes, and occasionally signalling to her to correct her course, there was a male swimmer we passed by that then tagged along. I only realized in the middle of the swim to pulau papan, that I had no sign of sea sickness. I thought it might be the remedy, but then close to the jetty when I was able to see the sea floor and leaving number 6 behind (i just realize I don’t know her name, but that’s the number written on her limbs), I began to feel dizzy. Quickly thinking that it was the act of focusing on my swim partner, I waited for her and arrived at the jetty together. I avoided seeing the sea floor, kept looking at number 6 when I breathed, and kept telling myself and my brain, that I was not hallucinating, that I was swimming in the water, in quite choppy waters by this time.
At the jetty, there were a few swimmers who went up, I guess they were intimidated by the choppy waters, but I also realized that the way back filled with buoys were obscured by the waves, and the finishing point was slightly blocked by a drifted tanker. I remembered there was a clear line of sight when I started.
After dehydrating at the jetty, and one lady swam back with a kayaker to guide her,we decided to swim back. I was slightly worried that either the ginger was wearing off, or that the waves were getting bigger, and couldn’t see the tower that was present at the starting line. but I remind myself to just do what I was doing from the beginning. I swam unsure of the finish line, just swimming towards the buoys, and the kayaker who is now quite far away. We reached the half point again, reaching the buoy close to the blocking tanker, then I could see the tower and the finish line, I was relieved. But then I saw a line connected to the buoys under water, I felt dizzy again, I could also smell the diesel fumes, and then I saw a piece of plastic drifting underwater, my gag reflex activated and I puked. Last year I stopped to puked, but seeing how closer I was, I didn’t stop, I continued my front crawl, breathed on my right, and puked to my left, for about 3 times. The taste of banana and garlic actually tasted better then the salty see :p
I then chose to close my eyes in the water, only opening to my right to see my swim partner. I realize at this point we have left the third swimmer behind. But as long as she could keep up, then I was determined to swim fast to reduce my chances of breaking down. The waves at this point was pushing us to the shore, but derailed my partner a few times to the right, but as we neared the finish line, I decided to hurry, taking care not to see the sea floor.
As I walked in shallow waters, I saw my wife walking down to greet me, she had not woken up when I left, but she came around the time I estimated I would finish. The feeling I had was that I was invincible. And it was great that my wife was there. The other bruneians had finished earlier, some of them still at the finish line sharing their experience with each other.
And thus ends my story on my SUCCESSFUL 5.4 km openswim at 2hr 47mins, I was informed later by another bruneian that a professional open swimmer recorded his swim on his GPS to be 7km rather than the informed 5.4km. My guess was the drifted tanker caused us to swim around it at a longer distance. I also checked Google earth. The straight distance would have been 5.4km, but it might have been more 😀
At the end I got my wife to take picture of me at the finish line and later with my swim partner, number 6, whose name is apple sin.
My next marathon open swim I’m gonna need ginger pills and some bananas, I wouldn’t mind swimming with apple again :p I think she smiled everytime she breathed when swimming. But I am definitely gonna need a swimming partner…. Wifey?…… 🙂

Training for a Triathlon

I was actually training for the half marathon, and then I want to join an upcoming labuan cross channel swim.

For run training I have been using High Intensity Interval Training based on the Four Hour Body which I also based my diet nowadays. The training is basically a 2.4km run in the following effort and timing.

* 400m fast run followed by 1 min 30 second rest. (total 800m)

* 100m sprint with 10 seconds rest x 4 rounds (total 1.6km)

The technique I adopted in running is the POSE method. Which is basically:

  • Landing on the balls or flat on my feet BUT NOT on my heels.
  • Focus on cadence (number of steps per minute) rather than stride
  • Using my centre of gravity to lean me forward and “catch” myself when I fall forward, rather than pushing using my back leg.
  • minimizing my arm movements.

I did a 10km run,and with a heart rate monitor, I tried to maintain within my aerobic heart rate, which allowed me to run continuously for 10km in 1 hour and 12 minutes. I honestly feel with this training I’ll finish the half marathon with a good pace 🙂

Also I recently bought online a watch that can count my laps. it’s called poolmate. so now I know how fast, far and efficient I have been swimming with the total immersion technique. The last one I did was 5.5km in 2hours and 2minutes and 59 seconds.

I used endomondo to track my activities. I just realized I did an exercise every day for the whole week. I feel I could do this everyday for every week of every month 😀

I feel like I can take up a triathlon :p I just need to take up cycling again. where can I get a good cheap one?

hmmm… when and where’s the next one?


Difference between Pool Swimming and Open Swimming

Pictograms of Olympic sports - Triathlon. This...

Image via Wikipedia

I have been practicing Total Immersion Swimming for a few months now, and I have become faster and longer lasting. I have only been practicing in a swimming pool. Last friday I saw an article about the RBAF Triathlon this 31st July 2011, and they had a group category, If it was only individuals then I wouldn’t go, I don’t have enough training or equipment for 10km run and 40km cycle. So I signed up with the intention to just do the open swimming. I subsequently have found my team members.

Having been practicing total immersion based on time per lap and total time, I had no true idea how far I could actually swim, so yesterday, I actually counted my laps. I found I could do 30 laps easily. (1 lap is 2 lengths both ways), so I could actually swim 3km! This morning, there was an open swim trial run at the watermanship centre at pantai serasa. and I rediscovered (I did one in 2005, but i was then too tired/weak to realize most of this) the difference between swimming in a pool and swimming in the open. Here are the things I found out.

  • The water is salty! – it stings the eyes, mouth and nose! The discomfort slightly distracted me. Reminder to have some mouth wash in the bag.
  • The water was muddy! The place is more like an estuary rather than the ocean. this has its pros and cons, I don’t see anything strange, but I don’t see where i’m going either.or whether i’m swimming straight. it also made the next issue worse.
  • There are no underwater lines! – there are only buoys that are the turning points. I think there should have been floating lines on the right, just so I could track my location. In this case there wasn’t. I thought I could just use 1 swimmer on my right, even then that was difficult to see. Initially I stopped after 40 strokes (yes I count them, what else am I do underwater? sing?) and found that I was often off course, and had to stop for a while to locate the buoy. The waves only made it worse, it kept pushing me in either direction. I finally found 10 to 20 strokes were best times to look up and see where i’m headed. So unlike pool swimming, I often had to do correction above water.
  • initially there will be crowd, and facekicked or facekicking is a possibility – this one i didn’t experience, but the experienced triathlete share it with me. I guess i’ll be experiencing this on sunday. His tip was swim faster initially to avoid the traffic.. I think I’ll just swim at the outer edge.

So the lessons I learned about open swimming is basically, withstand the pain/discomfort and move on, (also bring mouth wash), Focus on the turning points/buoys, unfortunately constantly focusing on the goal itself is not efficient if you swim while looking at them, it is more efficient to do what you need to do (swim) , and frequently/occassionaly check whether you are on the right course, and do corrections if necessary.

Last but not least, I’d like to share that I was the first one to finish out of 5 people at 31 minutes. 2 were military, 1 is an MOE officer who is an avid triathlete. 1 person knew of the total immersion technique, but has yet to master it, he was 3rd place. Some thought that I either had strong legs or hands, but I’d like to emphasize that the total immersion technique is practically effortless for me, and I believe that a person who has mastered the technique would find that out as well. Finally, I would like to add that I may have beaten 4 guys in swimming, I’d like to acknowledge that they would definitely kick my ass in cycling and swimming. I’ll be working on that after raya. I heard there will be a national triathlon held at the end of this year.

For more information on the RBAF triathlon go to

For more information on total immersion search for it on youtube or this linkes

Now where is that mouth wash…

Keeping an Open Mind for Love, Peace and Harmony

I have kept my mind open after landmark forum. When I shared with people about landmark forum, some responded that they have joined other self-development workshops as well. Among those I’ve heard about were Tony Robbins, T Harv Eker, “money and you” and Core Values Training or CV for short.

When I ask other people about these workshops some had positive views, and there were those who had negative views. I’ve heard people say, that Landmark was a cult. Interestingly I’ve also heard people say that  CV was a cult.

When someone commented in my initial post on landmark, that I had been “Fully indoctrinated into Landmark (AKA EST) Cult“, I was initially defensive, but then I recognized my desire to be right and not to be wrong,so I looked into the words. And in doing so, I accepted that the statement can be true, but not necessarily wrong (read my reply in that post) I came to accept that some people are allowed to have their opinions or interpretations. I am being open to accept (not necessarily condone) what people have to say.

Recently I was invited to a CV power lunch, they shared their experiences after taking their CV. I found that their results were similar to the experience of my wife and I from landmark forum. They shared that they learned “change” has to come from within, their spouses stated they experience the changes, and found that their relationship have improved.

Later when the power lunch was concluded and everybody was about to leave, I managed to talk to a few more people on their results and on what they had learned. What I found some answered clearly on what they had experience, others were more cryptic and often say that people have to join to really understand what they got. This experience was similar to those if you asked anyone else from any other self-development program including landmark :p

Unfortunately in some cases, I’ve noticed that some graduates of these workshops may exhibit a tendency to be… Arrogant. Holding so strongly the belief that their program is the best program, and any other program are not. So much so that they were not open to attending any other programs. This was apparent when I asked some CV grads about attending other courses such as landmark or money and you. Some landmark grads had shared that they discovered they had reservations about attending anything else.

When I shared with my wife (who also attended landmark) about this finding. She exhibited the same behaviour. She was defensive maybe even slightly frustrated that these people did not have the open mind that they should have if these courses were that eye opening.Then she realized that she had a racket against these people, I helped here to pull her through. She realized that though she no longer worries about looking good, she was now more into being right. That other people who had belief that their program is the best, and those who think that landmark was a cult was making her feel wrong. She realized that those people are just expressing their opinions and interpretations. That IT made here feel wrong. So now she created the possibility of being open.

A similar event actually happened to another landmark graduate I met in Singapore, he shared that he attended a different program that expressed different views from landmark, he became frustrated and left. It was later with the help of other graduates that he realized he had a racket with that program.

What I have realized that the whole world had a racket against each other, not just individually, but also as group, country, sect and religion. That all these people believe so strongly that what they have or what they believe in is right and everyone else is wrong. That in turn made others felt wrong, and those who felt wrong in turn were compelled to make others wrong to make themselves feel right. Some (not all) believers of a religion may believe that their religion is right, and other religions are wrong, and these also happens the other. That countries belief that their neighboring country or state is invalid. I am inclined to believe that if everyone and every leader could accept everyone for who they are,including accepting themselves as they are, and not label anyone as right or wrong. As it is what it is. And so the world would be truly at peace.

And that is my racket, that not everyone is working towards peace, love, and harmony. But if I continue to believe so, I will not achieve it. I realize that I cannot expect everyone to do the same thing as I do, to be open, to be patient, and to be compassionate. So now I am truly open for people to be open. I can only BE what I want to BE, to Do what I want to DO, and to HAVE what I want to HAVE. and in the process I can only hope to enroll people to realize my reality of love peace and harmony.

I have found that most what I hear from these programmes have existed for a long time. I first thought that most of the techniques used are similar to what I learned in educational Psychology. Mostly Carl Roger’s Person Centred Approach on Being true to yourself, and Albert EllisRational Emotive Behaviour Therapy on examining our beliefs on what happens in the world and how it makes us feel. But after further research I found that they also built their studies on ancient eastern philosophies.

All these different programmes may or may not have the same vocabulary, but I would like to believe that all these development programmes have the same goals, but in different techniques, which is to know ourselves, to accept ourselves and others for who they are, to find what we really want and achieve in life, to be present in the moment and to ultimately live our lives to the fullest.

It seems to me, that what we have learn is often in a short time, what took our predecessors a ages. What we learned in school or in these programs in a short time. Took philosophers, Scientists and researchers from a  life time up to several generations. We are in a time where the Information flows freely, where the culmination of human knowledge can be found in books, on the internet, in wikipedia, youtube and can be found by searching google. Reminds me of the Age or Renaissance where they were searching for what the philospher Leon Battista Alberti (1404–1472) stated “a man can do all things if he will.”  We are living in the age of Tranformation.

May we all achieve Love, Peace and Harmony

Landmark Forum Notes

I would like to take this time to note what I have learned in landmark forum in this blog. This is to remind myself and others what we have learned from landmark forum, as well as to share with others so that they may be open to take up landmark forum.

But first I would like to assure the organizers that I will not reveal too much of the course. I believe what I share will urge people to be inspired or moved. And if they would like to join Landmark forum, then it would be a bonus for both those people as well as the Landmark forum. There is more value in understanding these words through the forum, then just reading them from this blog. Words in brackets note where I have heard or read something similar before. but I admit that after attending this course I have a deeper understanding of them and their proper applications in life.

  • Have Integrity – Part of Integrity is being Authentic to others as well as yourself, especially your word. (Your word is your wand, Laws of Success)
  • Separate Facts and Interpretations – Life happens. How you interpret it, and how you interpret other people’s interpretations has affected your beliefs and actions. Once you accepted this and let go of your past and persistent interpretations, you are open to new possibilities in life and take charge of how you see things in life. (REBT – Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy)
  • Be aware of “IT” – “IT” is a part of human nature that can be described of Inner chatter. “IT” often stops you from doing anything. If you do nothing you will definitely fail, but if you do something you will have a chance to succeed (Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor on “stroke of insight” and Eckhart Tolle on “A new earth“)
  • Be, Do and Have – People often want certain results, and they do actions to create this results, but they only do actions based on their view. But being open to a bigger picture, allows people to have more options and choose the right actions. (Bruce Lee)
  • Be aware of Rackets or Persistent Complaints – Complaints that come with fix way of being causes people to lose ownership of their life, and sacrifice their Life to satisfy “IT”. So let go of “IT’s” interpretation, and gain full life. Accepting events does not mean condoning it. (Eckhart tolle on “a new earth”)
  • Issues in your life may affect other parts of it. e.g. family conflict can affect love relationships or working performance, and vice versa.
  • Change Versus Transformation
  • Truth about life that will give you power
  • Meaning of Life (My own introspections and self reflection. I thought I had the answer before, but I didn’t, and now I do)

For the points that have no brackets are were new to me, and yet it may have been present through out history as the tools successful people have used intentionally or inadvertently to become powerful and remarkable. Please Comment if you want.

Patient, Loving and Compassionate,

Bobbyofbrunei 🙂