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June 11, 2018

Trump & Kim Summit - A Sentosa Run

Yup, we are back!

SG Unfit Runners took a long hiatus because I was really too overloaded with life and I have to give up my blogging time to manage a dementia grandma, a start-up company that's constantly on fire and a new found love. With things becoming more stable, I am able to devote more time blogging about our various adventures around Singapore.

We have been continuing our weekly runs even though I have retired my pen for a year.

Thanks to the inspiration from the Trump & Kim Summit, we planned a run at Sentosa with every intention to take a photo at the front porch of the luxurious Capella hotel which the Trump Kim Summit is to be held.

First, we decided to flank in via the beach side, hoping to find a side door into Capella.

Surrounded by a high sloping ground and tall fences, we are unable to find a side entrance into Capella. The only possible entry is a small drainage system into the compound.

No willing to risk our neck getting hurt trying to scale a hill and a fence, we decided to loop around to the main road and see if we can make our way to the main door of the hotel.

 The road leading to the front door is heavily guarded by security officers with an ominous poster of a soldier welding a rifle. Dressed only in our running attire and an EZ link transport pass, I don't think we have the necessary documentations to get pass the securities. Besides, they aren't going to let a couple of sweating runners get close to the VVIPS. We entertained ourselves by spying on the various journalists that are milling around the area, capturing footage for the big meet.

The security around the waters around Sentosa island is equally tight with multiple security officers patrolling the waters to ensure no one tries to sneak past from under water.

Eventually, we get to meet the fake Trump & Kim at an event at Bugis Junction as part of a publicity stunt. Many people are queuing up to get their photos taken! The summit has really taken Singapore by storm!

If you are looking to check out the Trump and Kim summit via a lap around the compound, check out the route we have taken for reference. 

And don't provoke the security officers unnecessarily! 

Stay smart, stay safe!

August 22, 2017

Mizuno Ekiden 2017: Unfit Runners United!

by Big Boned Guy

We were invited to the Mizuno Ekiden 2017 for the second year running. Thanks to Mizuno, SG Unfit Runners run as one again! This time I’m running first, PES E second, Fan Tai third and Lazy Girl as the anchor because the girls wanted to avoid the afternoon sun.

May 14, 2017

An Accidental Biathlon

We are doing our usual Sunday run around Marina Bay and Big Boned Guy decided to head south towards Gardens by the Bay, while i decided to head north towards Clark Quay with 2 dratini in sight (Yes, there are still people playing Pokemon Go!). As soon as I reach the end of Clark Quay, I received a message from BBG, "Fluffy spotted at Gardens at the Bay!"

April 26, 2017

3 Reasons why Unfit Runners will never participate in a Triathlon

Triathlon... An activity that the Unfit Runners will definitely not participate. In fact, the term is quite alien to us that we have to google to look for more information on the effort involved in the run. A triathlon requires a participant to run 16km, cycle 65km and swim for 2km. While reading through the website of Singapore International Triathlon, 3 reasons came to my mind immediately why we will probably never participate in a triathlon in our entire lives.

Reason 1: Cannot Cycle


Two of our members have not picked up cycling. In this age of crowd sharing bike, you may be surprised that there are still many people who have not learned cycling yet. Lazy girl will only get on a bike with a double sharing option, with the poor front cyclist doing most of the work. Meanwhile, Big boned guy has challenges with any sports that require balancing and that includes bicycles, tricycles, unicycles, hoverboard, in-line skates.

Reason 2: Cannot Swim

While Singaporean guys have the privilege of learning how to swim via forced drowning during their national service days, the ladies don't have these privileges. Other than a casual dip in an onsen or spa, asking them to swim 2km is as good as trying to drown them. The best way to make Singapore a swimming literate country, it will be great to introduce a short national service stint for the ladies whereby swimming is taught to them.

Reason 3: Bad Knees

Since all of the unfit runners are in their late 30s going on to 40s, many of them are running into knee problems which are limiting the amount of distance they can run. As much as hard core runners will shout at us saying "It is mental!" or super-positive people start quoting motivation quotes from Tony Robbins, we have seen enough cases of our more hard core sporty friends go for knee surgeries and concluded that we like to keep our knees and forgo that shinny triathlon medal.

Now if you are not scared off by now and is still inspired to go ahead with this triathlon madness, check out the Singapore International Triathlon. Go ahead! I challenge you!

Meanwhile, do check out Durasafe Store, who is the sponsor for Singapore International Triathlon for their sporting equipment. Nope, we are not getting paid or gotten any sponsorship goods from Durasafe Store and we are just doing a friendly shout out. In any case, we like the wide variety of sporting goods available from lesser known international brands. Maybe, It's time to give other products a try other than the usual sporting brands.

April 21, 2017

Mizuno Ekiden 2017: A Cooperative Run with a Festive Mood

Mizuno Ekiden Run is back and this popular event is now in their 3rd year and the event will be held on 19th Aug 2017. For those who are unfamiliar with what Ekiden is, here is a short write-up on what an Ekiden is:

"In Japanese terms, Ekiden refers to a relay-styled long distance running and that is exactly how the Mizuno Ekiden 2017 will work. Runners are set to compete against the clock whilst unlocking milestones as they transmit from one station to the next within a specific time."

The cool thing about the race is that you can actually monitor the progress of your friends through the use of a race app, while slurping down a bowl of ramen at the waiting area.

We also brought along a bunch of board and card game and entertained ourselves, while complaining how slow the current runner is. Great fun.

The race village also have a host of events that you can participate and free food and drinks which you can collect from. There are sports clinics and demos which you can participate in which can improve your knowledge in the area of health and fitness. The medal is also very cool as you can fit the design together to form a "super medal"

The biggest complaint we have about the event is the position of the tables relative to the sun. As the event starts at 4pm, a portion of the event grounds will be baked in the sun, and the waiting runners often have to move the furniture towards the more shady part of the event ground which forces the tables to be squeezed together to a small shady section. Also, if you are looking to reserve a table for your team, you will need to arrive earlier else you will not be able to get a table for all your eating, gaming activities.  

So if you prefer a race that has a community feel, where you can spend time with you friends and getting a work out at the time, Mizuno Ekiden is a race you can consider. The Mizuno Ekiden registration is now open with the early bird offer closing on 30th April. You can also get a 30% off Mizuno products if you sign up as a participating runner. The final registration will close on 27th July.

March 19, 2017

Caring for Elderly Dementia: Understanding the World A Dementia Lives in

Grandma insist on using a chopper to chop mushrooms to prove that she is still useful.
Our domestic foreign worker, Ati, is a widower. Her husband died a few years back and her daughter is relying on her income to working in a foreign land for her education and daily expenses. Ati has a sweet disposition, hard working and is mature enough to understand how dementia has taken hold of Grandma's mind. Even though she has worked with another dementia patient in Taiwan, the initial acclimatization was still a shock to her and often drive her to tears in the first few weeks.

Grandma is able to curse fluently in 4 different languages (Mandarin, Hakka, Hokkien and Cantonese) and can go on for hours once the dementia demon took hold of her.

I have heard of stories from my friends whereby the dementia patient will always have a number one enemy which causes all the ills and confusion in the parallel universe of a dementia patient. In our household, poor Ati bore the brunt of the verbal and physical attacks when Grandma becomes agitated. We often sat down with Ati and work her through Grandma's history and why she behaves this way to help her understand better.

In order to take care of a dementia patient, we often have to step into their dementia world and see from their point of view. In my Grandma's demented world, Ati is seen as:

1) A threat to Grandma's usefulness
Grandma's greatest joy is to cook, clean the house and sew new clothes for the rest of the family. With her incapacitated by both a stroke and dementia, she is no longer able to perform these tasks without putting herself in risk. She already had a couple of hospitalization due to her insistence to perform these tasks as a results of falls. The feel of being useless and Ati replacing her role puts her in the crosshairs

2) Waste of Money
Grandma's brought up two sons after WWII and she is proud of her ability to be frugal. When Ati first came on board, she was angry that we are wasting money and she is well enough to do whatever is Ati can do, Many a times, she will try to convince us that Ati is expensive and a waste of money in order to chase her away. A few months later, she gave up on that idea and turned to more aggressive ways to try to get rid of her

3) Thief
A dementia patient will often forget where she places her valuables. Dementia patientw may also think that they still have old possessions which no longer exist today, and start looking for them. When they are unable to find the missing objects, and believing that their mind and memory is still sound, the only explanation is that someone stole her valuable possessions. Being the only outside in the family, Grandma often accuse Ati of stealing her bra, underwear, dentures, soap box, money, earrings, pillow and many other things which does not make any sense. Showing her the missing objects will not convince her that the items were not stolen. Rather, she will choose to believe that Ati took it out of hiding after she exposed her. The solution to this is to try to distract her, or if she is in an ugly mood, let her rant and hopes that she forgets about this the next day.
4) Husband Stealer
As Grandma desperate attempts to convince us that Ati is a thief did not convince us to chase her away, she came to one conclusion: That she is sleeping with me and my Dad, which made us took her side rather than hers. No amount of convincing and arguing can convince her of otherwise. We also have no idea how to resolve this situation and the doctor advise us to continue to assure her, even if its not working.

5) Torturer
"She is starving me to death!"
"She is trying to boil me alive by turning the heater to the maximum!"
"She is trying to freeze me to death by turning off the heater!"
"She is giving me smelly clothes to wear!"
"She is trying to kill me by locking me up in the bathroom!"

All these allegations are often as an indirect results of Grandma's actions, such as forgetting how the heater works or forgetting how to open the lock after locking herself up in the toilet. In her demented world, her mind thinks that she never had such a problem before and all these occurrences only started when Ati came aboard after her hospital stay. Grandma thinks Ati is trying to kill her and usurp her place as the head of the house hold.

Do we have solutions to many of the misunderstanding and parallel universe thinking of a dementia patient? Frankly speaking, we don't have any perfect solutions and we try to cope with a combination of coaxing, walking off and letting her rant and sometimes, force to prevent her from hurting herself and others. However, the first step is which any caregivers need to do, is to forgive the dementia patient as we have to understand that it is the illness that made her this way, or not herself. The only way to forgive them is to stand from the angle of a dementia patient and try to empathize as much as we can, and laugh about the various curses and insults which are thrown at us. Also, it is important to help each other out as care-givers, whether we are employers or foreign domestic worker.

It is an illness that we not only have to care for the patient, but also for the care-giver.  

February 26, 2017

Caring for Elderly Dementia: Communication Culture Shock

Grandma complaining to dad about her things being stolen

Caring for an elderly dementia patient is nothing like we have ever experienced before, even for mum and dad who have brought up 2 of their own kids and is now in the process of coaching my nephew and niece. With our limited exposure during her hospital stay, we initially thought that she will be her usual self, except for a few messed up names and places. Little did we realize that we have to totally change the way we communicate with her and there is no hard and fast rule on how that is to be achieved. As every dementia patient is different, we often have to use trial and error to see what works best for her and any judgement lapse in communication will lead to a very uncooperative grandma or even suicide attempts, which pushes the family to the brink of break-down. Here are some of the lessons we learnt during that first few weeks.

Logic doesn't work.

"Ati (Helper) tries to steal my dentures!"

Wrong Answer

"Why will Ati try to steal your dentures? It's not valuable and she has no use for it!"

"Who says she has no use of it! Who says! Who says! You rather believe her than believe me? She is your second mum izzit? Go go go! You don't need me! You are one family! I am useless! Let me die!

Correct Answer

"I will ask Ati why she wants to steal your denture! I will scold her and make sure it doesn't happens again!"

A few days later, she will forget that hers claims of her denture being stolen.

They cannot be disciplined
When grandma was discharged, the doctor emphasized that routine and cleanliness are very important when it comes to taking care of dementia elderly. We took the advice too literally...

The doctor advise us to let grandma wear diapers before she goes to bed in order to ensure her hygiene is taken care of in the middle of the night, just in case she cannot control her bladder. The act of putting on diapers have lead to many cat fights between grandma and the rest of the family. Dad tries to employ the methods of discipline which he will use on my nephew, such as hitting her bum bum and speaking to her sternly. Imagine the chaos in the tight constraint of a toilet as Grandma is struggling against the diaper, dad is holding on to her and smacking her bum bum, mum yelling at dad and helper trying to avoid grandma's failing arms while trying to strap the diaper onto her.

Pure chaos and unspeakable stress.

We thought that after a week or so, she will resign to her fate to wearing diapers. One week became two and two weeks became three. We than realize that what every coaxing, logic, reasoning or punishment we dish out to make her comply, she will simply forget about it after a few days later.

The idea of discipline is simple, the person being disciplined will remember the pain or pleasure as a result of their actions, and they will modify their behavior to perform pleasurable actions and avoid painful actions. The problem with a dementia patient is that they will simply forget about all the coaxing and yelling we done to her and continue to perform as usual. At the end of the day, we decided that the nightly 1 hour worth of diaper struggle is not worth the effort and we gave up. We choose to train ourselves to be more efficient in changing her soiled PJs and bed sheet whenever that happens. This simple act of giving up without all the nightly diaper drama made grandma happier and improved the mood of the family tremendously.

You have no answers for their delusions
Grand has this delusion that she has another male grandson, the son my mother always wanted but restrained by the government's two child policy, and my phantom brother. She will often come to my room and ask, where is Wen Song? Where is your brother who is sleeping in the same room as me.

I will often reply, "I am Wen Song. I have no brother!"

"Do not lie to me! You are called "Ah Wen" Did you chase him away while I am at the hospital?"

"We never have a brother! Look! This is our family photo!"

"Why did you take a photo without your brother inside? Show me a picture with his photo now!"


"Look, I never have a brother! There is only me and sister!"

"Your poor brother!" She wails," What have you done to him? He is only thirteen and you all chase him out of the house! Ask him to come back or I will haunt you when I become a ghost!"

...................... and she rages on throughout the day wailing about my poor brother. Family stress goes up.

Our Solution?

We have a cousin that seldom visits grandma and visits only during Chinese New Year. He became our scrape goat whenever grandma asks about my "brother" by lying to her that our cousin is my brother. I mean, we are "brothers" in some sense right? So we told her that my "brother" lives with uncle and he visits irregularly. We had a picture on standby in our phone in which he is shown to be talking to grandma. Very often, grandma will remark, "How come I don't remember him talking to me?" But she will quietly accept the fact that my "brother" is staying with our uncle and the raging incidents died down as a result.

This is of course not the only delusion she has but it illustrates on the creativity needed to handle them.

The picture of cousin, wife and son which we used to convince that "brother" is no longer 13 years old and has moved out

They can erupt at a drop of a pin
Last weekend, we brought grandma to Sentosa. When she got back home, she searched her pocket and suddenly shouted, "Where's my purse! Who stole my purse!" Of course she did not bring out a purse in the first place. My mum did the wrong thing by trying to logic with her, "You did not bring a purse in the first place!"

We can see the signs of an impending volcanic eruption!

Luckily, Dad came to the rescue. He took out a ten dollars note from his wallet and waved it in front of Grandma. "You did not bring a purse but you brought along $10! You passed it to me for safekeeping! Here, you can have it back."

Grandma gratefully accepted the note.

This event passed peacefully, but during the earlier days, we have a volcanic eruption almost every everyday due to our inability to cope and answer to her sudden illogical outbursts. Over the months, we learn to lie, to cheat and to wrongly blame someone else, in order to keep grandma emotionally stable.

If you think doing sales is a tough job, try working as a caregiver to a dementia patient. It's much harder persuade them to behave in a certain manner than getting someone to purchase an insurance policy.

January 20, 2017

Caring for Dementia Elderly: Looking for Helper

When Grandma was diagnosed with stroke, the doctor advised us to engage a trained helper to take care of grandma. The goal is simple, the family should be able to function as normal while ensuring that grandma is well looked after and ensure that essential activities such as bathing and toileting are well taken care of. As a result of the stroke, grandma suffered from both vascular dementia and a deterioration of motor skills, especially in her ability to walk, in which the helper has to help to ensure that she does not fall down.

We were informed by the doctors that we would not be able to bring grandma home, unless we are able to employ a trained helper to help take care of her needs and we were given 2 weeks as the hospital is simply too crowded to grandma to stay any longer. The search for an experienced helper was on with my sister working to interview the helper, while I took care of all necessary legal documentation and coursework to get the helper to our place ASAP. Meanwhile, Mum and Dad started to procure new furniture and home configuration to prepare for a disabled elderly. After extensive interview sessions, my sis managed to locate an experienced Indonesian helper who had 7 years of experience working with dementia elderly in Taiwan. She is able to speak mandarin and hokkien, which is crucial in daily communication with a dementia patient. However, the paperwork took longer than expected and we were unable to complete all the requirements by the end of the 2 weeks period. The doctor than decided to move grandma to St Andrew community hospital and we were told by the doctor that we have another week extension to bring in the helper.

Luckily, there is no other hiccups with the application and soon, our helper, named Ati, touched down at Singapore shores. However, before we can bring grandma home, the helper had to undergo training at the hospital and it was another week later, that everything was in place to welcome grandma home.

We breathe a sign of relief that we have gotten the house and helper in order and that was 4 very stressful weeks as the family banded together to put together a safe environment for grandma and we looked forward to bring grandma home.

A week after bringing grandma home, we began to realize that the journey has just started and the mad rush for the home preparation and helper scouting are the easy parts of the journey.

January 9, 2017

Caring for Dementia Elderly: Home Configuration

While I was in Europe in October, my parents came back home and found grandma on the floor, unconscious, laying beside her sewing kit. Grandma had a stroke. She was immediately sent to hospital and soon after, the effects of the brain damage as a result, she was diagnosed with vascular dementia. Other than a slurring of speech pattern, coordination skills and a weakening of her legs, her memories became confused with time, place and people.

For example, she will think that her mother, who has died over 70 years ago, is alive and well at home.

She also got confused with the number of family members at home. She strongly believes that I have an elder brother called "Song Song", whom does not exist in the first place. "Song song" is the pet name. We had to keep her updated on the number of family members by constantly showing her her family pictures

December 6, 2016

Announcement - Regular Blog Post Activities will be Disrupted!

Dear Friends,

I will have to apologize that blog posts from SG Unfit Runners will be erratic for a while.

The reason why is because my 93 years old grandma suffered a stroke while I was away in Europe and that has caused her to suffer from a serious form of dementia. She also has mobility problem and we have recruited the help of a helper to assist her in her daily activities. As a strong and independent person, this blow took a toll on her mental state and she is unable to cope with her loss of independence. Combined with a dementia problem, she has transformed into an angry lady with an extremely foul mouth, leaving my mum and my helper often in tears. She also started to have suicidal tendencies in recent days which we have to monitor constantly.

I have to spend more time to help out with the family in taking care of Grandma and as such, I have to slow down on my writing on SG Unfit Runners. The other members of the Unfit Runners have offered help but they are unable to write as constantly. They blame it on their rusty writing skills which they have seldom used ever since they left school and everyone started comparing their GP (English) scores trying to compete who has the worst score.

On the bright side, I see this episode as a caretaker to an elderly suicidal dementia patient as an experience which I can share with my readers. There has been many incidents so far, some funny, some not so funny... and I will share them here.

Afterall, this is a health and fitness blog!

And I will continue on with our adventures in Poland, Krakow at a later date.

Yours Sincerely,
Editor of SG Unfit Runners.

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