|Eileen Chai, a gymnast|
"When a star is born”. That was the headline of the first feature article in The Straits Times, Thursday, 21 November 1985. Hakikat Rai, the then reporter, interviewed me for my Southeast Asian Games debut at the age of 7. He quoted US gymnastic coach Ryan Fleck in the article, "Look after her for another five years and she'll be a dynamite." On the sideline, coach Ryan said to me that my passion, commitment and determination for gymnastics would see me to the Olympics - the Olympic Dream. 27 years passed, I did not fulfill my dream.
|"When a star is born" - The Straits Times|
Every four years, vivid memories of my sporting past flash before me. First few years of life after sports was tough: I didn't know how to manage the pain in my heart that was yearning to give sport one more try; I didn't have friends who I could talk to for advise and guidance; I didn't have social skills to seek for life resources. The intensive training in China during my school-going years didn't help much in my social networking. I was lost, and my life seemed hopeless.
Yin and yang are complementary opposites that exist in relation to one another - a downward-spiraling life balances with a promising one. I've been blessed since I was born - opportunities to do what I loved, supportive parents who provided me financial, emotional and moral support, and friends who lend their helping hands in times of need. All these combined, I managed to find my footing in the society, the love of my life and ways to cope with my aching heart. Life is a journey filled with excitement, isn't it? :D
Our heart wares have withstood the test of time because we have found pathways to happiness. I am happy when I play sport and make music with my friends - the emotional connection we feel in our jam sessions, the friendship we develop during the after cycling prata sessions and the family bond we build on weekend get-togethers. We find motivation to better our lives in ways that make us happy.
Stories recount past events that have made significant impact on our lives in different environments and situations. Everyone has different life journeys and own stories to tell. My life is a myriad of colourful experiences - from dark hues of life after sports to bright shades of romantic spiels. Close friends have suggested that I share snippets of my life with people, to peek at a few memorable snapshots of my sporting experiences and images, to recognise the challenges elite athletes face, and to understand the motivation behind my sports and music.
|Coach Ryan presenting me with a medal at Pesta Sukan 1985|
Life stories that we relate to can help discover our desire to live better lives. I may not have fulfilled my dream of becoming an Olympian, but I've found hope through sports and music.
TLC to your heart and keep smiling.