Monday, March 31, 2008

Seven ain’t too bad

I have never been very fit physically. In my active NS (national service) days, it was always a struggle just to pass my running tests by a tiny margin. In BMT we had the 5 km run and in section leaders we had the 10 km run.

Still I was quite consistent in maintaining an average fitness and never had serious problems with my IPPT (Individual Physical Proficiency Test) during my reservist days. Most times I was able to pass with a comfortable margin; but with much effort of course, I must add.

Why this sudden talk about fitness? Yesterday I was at the National Canoeing Championships at the MacRitchie Reservoir and saw some young kayakers doing their chin-ups in the very strange fashion that I used to do in my kampong days. At that time, my brothers and I liked to do our chin-ups on the horizontal cross bar of our door frame. Instead of pulling upwards till our chins crossed the bar, we would bend our heads forward so that the back of the neck touched the bar. I wonder if there is a name for this style of doing chin-ups.

By the way, how do you usually do your chin-ups? Is it with the palms facing inwards towards you or outwards? I have been told that facing inwards is easier, but I always found it more comfortable to do it with my palms facing forwards.

Recently we had a reunion with my ACS classmates of 1968. We all could remember the “Chin-up king” in our class, my friend Lim Hock Kheng. He could to do something like 15 to 20 chin-ups (sorry cannot remember exact figure) during the annual physical fitness test. What is more impressive is that today, at age 56, when most of us cannot even manage 1 chin-up, he could still do several (again, unfortunately I cannot remember the figure).

As for me, I was able to do 7 back then; which ain’t too bad right?

My Sec 3 & Sec 4 results

This photo taken about 5 years ago at the Kent Ridge Park shows me struggling like crazy to challenge my son at chin-ups. I think I won that day with 2 chin-ups. But today, it would be difficult to beat him. Being in the combined schools kayaking team, he can easily manage 30 at one go.


yg said...

the acceptable way of doing the chin-up for the school's physical fitness test is having the palms facing outwards.
these days, burpee has been replaced by sit & reach. and they start the chin-up from a sitting position.
quite impressive. you achieved gold standard throughout. come to think of it, most kampong boys were physically fit.
i could have been at macritchie on saturday as my good friend sng thai soon was there with his teams from balestier and damai, but i had to go on a walk with my ex-students.

Lam Chun See said...

YG. I wish the G grading stood for Gold, but it doesn't. It stood for Good. Based on the Total T score (no explanation of what was T in my results slip), 0-100 is Very Poor, 101-200 is Poor etc. and 401-500 is Very Good.

I was also at MacRitchie on Sat. Morning for the heats, then went home to rest and back again at around 4+ for the finals. I suppose if you had seen me, you would have recognised me.

Victor said...

I can attest to the fact that Chun See has a very recognisable face.

I first saw him at the Flower Festival in Sentosa in 2005, I think. At that time, his avatar wasn't up on his blog yet but he had a very small photo of him 'climbing' a hill in Malaysia.

I didn't say "hi" to him then because he looked, er... quite serious then. Next day, I emailed him to check if he was at the Flower Festival and indeed he was!

That led him to quote Shirley Maclain: "Fear makes strangers out of people who should be friends".

Just for your info, I have since overcome that fear and we are now friends. However, I am still not confident that I could recognise him from his old photo taken at a time when he could do 7 chin-ups. Haha.

Lam Chun See said...

But many of my old friends from back then said I didn't change very much (relatively that is).

peter said...

I think this thing about passing PT test started in 1967 or 68 when NS was officially launched. In my school they also had this PR campaign about "Building A Rugged Singapore Society" and so we boys were encouraged to do weight trg to build > muscles. Imagine with no vitamins or food supplement, a skinny body doing that. Do u think we can be like WWF wrestlers? Now I have backaches because of this weight training, many of my friends also same problem

Chuang Shyue Chou said...

Burpees? I am surprised.

Regarding the standing board jump, what was the measurement? Surely, you could not be jumping 91 cm? That is barely a metre?

Lam Chun See said...

I think it is in inches which works out to 231 cm. How's that by today's standard?