Bad Beats, Brazil and Breakfast

What a weekend it has been. Bit of a forced alliteration for the title but still, it works for me.

Saturday
Secondary school friends came over for world cup and poker. Multiples bet was already shaky after France scraped through with a 2-1 win over Australia, ticket was dead after Argentina were held by Iceland. Did pretty well in poker though, managed to extract maximum value after hitting a straight draw in the first hand, held on for a $12 win (pretty good for a $10 buy in). Quite pleased with a few safety plays though, mucking A6 and and a few other trouble hands before I could get sucked in. It’s not surprising that YR and WT view AJ and AQ much more highly than they are worth, but for now I will apply Victoria Coren’s advice where you only continue with two specific flops. Can’t really remember what transpired when I won with KK against two players, but YR is correct when he said that I was quite predicatable with regards to protecting monster pockets, so I need to rethink how to better extract value from made hands though.

Sunday
The end of me betting on football. Quite a spur of the moment thing to bet with YR that I would stop betting on football forever if Brazil didn’t win Switzerland, and they duly delivered. And thus my betting “career” ends with a whimper as upset after upset happen at the world cup.
final bets.PNG
I don’t really know what to say though, for both the Argentina and Brazil games, the favorites dominated as expected but just couldn’t find that second goal. But a promise a promise and no more betting on football for me.

Monday
Finally went to Heap Seng Leong to try the traditional breakfast. Shame I can’t post the short 360° I took, but I will try my best to capture that 30 minute experience I had there. A lot of reviewers have used the term “nostalgia” to describe the initial feeling that they experience when they first step into the place, but I being born in 1995 do not share their sentiments; the closest experience that I have of such run down coffee shops is probably the ones that we walk past in Malaysia without giving much consideration. But even so, anyone will instantly identify it as an anachronism; a relic frozen in time even in comparison to the relatively old New Bridge Road area. Initially I thought it faced the main road as I was looking for it, so it was even more surprising to see such an old coffee shop suddenly come into view. When I walked in there were only 3 people in the coffee shop – the owner, his son and a customer. All stared at me with looks suggesting that I didn’t belong, and my discomfort resulted in me reverting in English and literally saying “breakfast set” as I approached the owner’s son, but I quickly regained my composure and ordering “咖啡,面包,鸡蛋”. I do not think that English would have been lost on the owner’s son, nor is there anything overwhelmingly wrong about ordering in English, but it just felt extremely out of place.
The coffee came first, and I really liked it. Admittedly I don’t really know much about coffee or its appreciation, but I really liked the sweetness, and a really subtle hint of a bitter aftertaste that did not become unpleasant. Next came the bread, which was surprisingly cold when it was served, and I suspected that it was not freshly made. It was still pretty good though, a traditional Singapore loaf with a slightly crisp exterior, kaya that was not overwhelmingly sweet and a generous slab of butter. The eggs were quite a let down, with the yolks being overcooked and most of it solidifying, but still decent. I ordered another serving of toast because I thought it would be unfair to judge based on a presumed already made batch. As I ordered, I told the   owner’s son that my first serving of bread was cold, and he appeared surprise and mumbled something along the lines of “刚烘的啊”. When it came, it was only slightly warmer, and I started to realize that the first batch was not pre-made, but in fact the lower temperature was probably due to a combination of a shorter toasting time compared to other places that I have patronized, as well as considerable time spent scraping away the burnt ends of the toast. I would say that compared to the more ubiquitous chains like Wang and Ah Kun, I definitely enjoyed Heap Seng Leong’s version more, even though personally i would have liked the bread charred more and served more warm, but I think the scraping of burnt bits is done for the sake of their older customers. The last item I ordered was a Teh-O, and once again it was sweet, but this time it didn’t come with even the slightest hint of a bitter aftertaste…not sure if that is a good or a bad thing.
One interesting observation I made was the elderly man who sat at the table beside me. He almost staggered into the shop, and after giving his order immediately dozed off for a good minute, when he woke up his eyes were still bloodshot. What was interesting about how he ate his breakfast was placing his bread directly on the table, and pouring some of his hot milo onto the now empty plate, and dunking the bread on it. Quite unthinkable for me, but perhaps it is due to his teeth, or lack thereof. The other peculiar fact was that the eggs served to him were still in their shells, but mine came fully prepared. Maybe it was because there were more customers when he came, but it still seemed quite strange to me. All in all I think I will bring my parents to visit Heap Seng Leong at least once, because while the shop is certainly not from my past, it should remind them of theirs, and it would be interesting to hear their thoughts on the food and beverages too, with my dad being a regular coffee drinker and my mom and sis having their own standards for tea.

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Field Soccer on 20th May

After a long hiatus (from my first game as a 16 year old, to the super aggressive and boundless stamina days, and of course the disastrous paran sports league) I was finally back on the pitch. Real shame Danny couldn’t make it at the last minute after a freak accident, but it was still a pretty good experience.

After the whole “Marcus Rashford” sneaky introduction from Danny was over, I said I could play anywhere and there I was left back. And I know I did well, two key interceptions that prevented the opposition from being through on goal, several key tackles, good through balls, skidding 5m on the ground to save a wayward pass (this is more of a memory record for me so piss off if you are thinking “oh this is so self indulgent”) The interceptions were really pleasing, especially on hindsight. The first one was something I find myself doing a lot, running across to make a slide-clear a through pass away. But at that moment, especially in a “proper” match, it was all the more sweeter and I was the first one to react when everyone stood still. The second one, a little later in the match, running out to the edge of the penalty box to intercept a cut back when everyone else was anticipating a low cross. On hindsight I really felt a sense of wonder and joy that both interceptions were down to me usually playing as a forward and predicting accurately what the final ball would be, because that was exactly what I would do.

interception 1
Interception 1
interception 2
Interception 2

But the weird part is, I don’t really feel elated? I mean, of course there is a certain sense of pride from keeping a clean sheet (may be the only game which my team did, certainly the only one that I was part of the defense), playing well generally, but instead of feeling satisfied, it was more of a feeling of “job done” which I think is quite important for a defender, having that focus, the tenacity and will not to lose. I remember saying that thursday futsal nights were a highlight of my week, and I guess there is more of a sense of camaderie and fun. That’s the word – fun. 11 a side football seems to lack fun, or at least a different sort of fun, especially as a defender and with that particular mindset. Certainly no laughs, no over the top commentary, no “did you see that” moments with Aaron…but at least I can say that I am still a decent addition. At least to a casual team. I don’t know if I will play again, but probably once in a while.

Wenger on social media

Context: The wave of “Wenger out” sentiment resurfaced on social media after the Watford loss, but the 67-year-old insisted he cannot pay too much attention to the outcry.

 

“We live in a society that is like that, I cannot change the society. I focus on what I can influence. And I live with the response of the society,” he said, adding that social media has increased negativity among supporters. “Because everybody can express his frustration straight away in the fraction of a second. And there’s no time to take a distance with what happened.”

 

(ESPNFCASIA, Mattias Karen 2017)

Learning lessons from Guardiola

“When they (the players) don’t get the message, don’t understand the message, it’s the coach’s problem, my problem. All the managers in the world, it doesn’t matter how good you are, if your players don’t understand what you are looking for or what you want, it makes no sense.”

 

“As so often, Guardiola sounded as though he thought of himself as a missionary spreading the light of civilisation to a dark and distant land, unable to hide his horror at the depths of mindless savagery across which he has stumbled. He should have noticed by now that this doesn’t play well with the public. ”

(Ken Early, The Irish Times)

 

Guardiola: ‘Did you hear Benatia’s instructions?

Kimmich: ‘Sorry Pep, I didn’t.’

Guardiola: ‘F***! You were meant to move into centre midfield!’

Kimmich: ‘I’m really sorry. I just didn’t hear him.’

Guardiola: ‘I wanted you to move in front of the defensive line and maintain that position but instead you moved away from that organising position and we lost control. I need you to listen when people pass on my instructions.’

Kimmich: ‘I’m so sorry. I had no idea…’

Up to that point, the conversation is all hairdryer treatment but then Guardiola hugs his young player.

Guardiola: ‘You were brilliant out there today, Josh. Really, really good. I told you could do it!’

Kimmich: ‘Thanks Pep. It was a hard game but I did okay in the end.’

Guardiola: ‘What do you mean “okay”? You f***ing aced it. You were b****y sensational, Josh. Sensational! I’m so proud of you.’

In that conversation there is a hint of how Guardiola works: the intensity, the passion, and obsession with detail, which, to be frank, begins to grate on players by the third or fourth year but can transform teams in the early days. But it also shows the humanity and his ability to inspire young men. It is a formula all the great managers have.”

(Rob Draper, MailOnline)

 

The best piece of advice Wenger gave henry

Henry has revealed how in his early career, he would blame others for failing to pass to him, a trait that Wenger encouraged him to lose.

“One of the best [pieces of] advice I have received in my career was from Arsene, who told me: ‘Stop asking yourself the wrong question’,” the former Gunners striker told Unisport.

“What he means by that is, I would’ve said to myself: ‘Oh, he didn’t see me, oh, he didn’t pass me the ball.’ I would have always talked about you [the team-mate].

“Arsene said to me: ‘What could you have done for him to see you?’

“I was always aware of what can you do to help [the team-mate]. Instead of arguing, I’d try to find a way to make you better.”