1. Hungry dogs = angry dogs
Just last Saturday, I was heading home after gym to the LRT station at Taman Paramount. Two white dogs of indeterminate gender were hanging their thin necks over a pile of rice which was stored in a plastic bag but has been torn open by their ferocious jaws – their tails wagging in utter delight. They have chosen their dining spot well, in an ironic sense – as they have blocked the pedestrian walkway (now barricaded by a small fence). The mongrels looked like they are busy enjoying their feast that I started thinking – what the hell, they probably won’t even notice if I sneaked through.
Now this is a lesson in territorial domination about the animal kingdom. One of the more agile ones, presumably a male, flew at me like a rocket and started to bark me off its turf. It did make menacing nips that I thought were so predatory that my senses started to become so acute. My first instinct was to run but I know that the moment you face the other direction, the fleshy gluteus would present an immense opportunity for these dogs to taste gold. So I backed off slowly, with my gym bag protecting my hands in case I needed to fend these off. I’ve no credible weapons inside, save for a jar of Kraft cheddar cheese spread, a bottle of Sunglo Lassi, some canned food for dinner and a Rilakkuma blue umbrella like so-
The dog did advance slowly and barked intermittently, ready to take a bite at my legs (I was wearing khaki shorts) and it probably don’t mind a bunch of leg hair to go with it until I had no choice but to reroute my way to the station. There were onlookers at the scene and one nearly got bitten by the more threatening pooch as well but I can’t be too sure. But I was pretty bemused by the fact that dogs could have a certain sort of restraint in their actions, namely that of just intending to shoo trespassers off rather than to actually make a meal out of humans. I mean, the way the dog was behaving I was pretty sure that if it wanted to take a chunk off me, it possibly could with far less effort than imagined.
2. The Brain – A Pandora’s Box or a Well-oiled Machine
Imagine if your limbs are not subservient to your brain and have a certain degree of autonomy in deciding its choice of actions of its own – then you’d have a real problem on your hands. Ok, that’s just a rhetoric.
On Sunday, I was at a tournament for a niche product in the market. I deem it to be a specialized market as it is not a very affordable hobby and is rather ill-fitting for working adults who can’t commit too much time in such activities. Plus, you need to be a real history buff to be able to appreciate the intricacies of the game. Yes, it is a game played with model tanks, soldiers and planes from World War II.
I was there because I build and collect scale models. Playing the game might be fun, but after 9 or so games, I’ve yet to fully appreciate the strategy side of it. There are quite a lot of rules to remember in the game and offhand, I’d rather go for video games where all the micro management is already sorted out for you.
Anyway, you might have already a glimpse of my general perception towards the tournament. I’d wanted to leave earlier from the venue as I can’t bear surrendering my entire Sunday to staying indoors (it was held at an international school’s main hall with stuffy surroundings). That’s just so sad!
So, here it is – every participant was to play three games in the tournament. I strategized to play the first game badly and then lose the rest that I may cut myself loose early. The Swiss system meant that the losers of the first round would meet another loser and adversely speaking as well. You always need a game plan.
This was when the mental strength comes to play here. For the first game, I was deliberately careless about the rules of the game. I lost that one easily. So far, everything going to plan! When the second game came, I was itching to leave the place already but stayed to play as I also wanted to test out the army that I was fielding that day. But, torn between wanting to go off and staying to play, I also got slack at the end and then went on to lose the match. Not badly, but not good either.
Then the heavy rain came. Shucks. I had wanted to go swimming outdoors and the weather changes forcibly changed my plans.
So, with my back facing the wall for the last game, I was really burning to win the last one. I’ve had to save my face, you see.
And yes, I won my last game with the maximum possible score. No, I wasn’t looking back and ruing the fact that had I played better, I’d have placed better in the rankings. It’s just that, I’m amazed at what the human brain can really do when you are really focused on achieving something. It’s like the mental test whereby you repeat a self-defeating phrase to yourself ten times and then at the end, you would be programmed to believe in it. Likewise, if you deliver a positive message to your brain, it’d register as such. Like a hapless Tamagotchi, your brain takes on whatever messages that you are feeding it.