Team Singapore chill out during break

Team Singapore chill out during break
National water polo women's team members dressing up for their annual Christmas party.

Almost all of the year is devoted to training as athletes make untold sacrifices in pursuit of their dreams. But the festive season is a time to let their hair down and unwind. The Sunday Times catches up with some Singapore athletes and asks them to reveal their holiday indulgences.



My festive indulgence is: "Dressing up for our annual Christmas parties which is usually at a team-mate's house. There's normally a theme for our year-end gatherings which our entire team of 20 players plus our coaches attend.

"We did the Grinch a couple of years ago and this year's theme is a Winter Wonderland, inspired by the movie Frozen.

"It's the perfect opportunity for us to catch up with each other and also with our seniors who have retired.

"It's a big feast and there's always a lot of food as it's a pot luck and everyone has a speciality that they bring.

"The more food and the broader the type of food the better. This year there's sushi, satay, kueh pie tee, Thai tang hoon (vermicelli) salad, pizza, pasta, potato salad, sio bak (roasted pork belly), turkey and stuffing. And ice cream of course!"



"My festive indulgence is: Watching my favourite movie The Nightmare Before Christmas (with brother Nicholas and cat Seb).

"I like everything about it, especially the animation and the singing skeletons and have seen it more than 20 times.

"The first time was probably back in 2002. A friend recommended it to me and ever since then, I watch it at home every year and around this time.

"I even have the special edition DVD and have backed it up into my hard disk and have another copy on my laptop so I'll never lose it.

"I'm usually very busy training throughout the year but the end of the year is less hectic and watching this movie helps me unwind and just switch off and enjoy myself."



"My festive indulgence is: Getting the rare chance to sleep in on New Year's Day.

"The rest of the year I'm usually up by around 5-5.30am from Monday to Saturday as I have training at either the Sports Hub or MacRitchie Reservoir. I'm a Christian so I have service to attend on Sunday mornings.

"I've been canoeing for eight years so I'm quite used to getting up early. It was definitely an easier transition to National Service which I'm currently still in.

"New Year's Eve is a time for me to relax and even if I stay out late, which I rarely do anyway, it's comforting to know that I can sleep in the next day for a change.

"I just need to remember to switch off my alarm clock before I go to bed."



"Our festive indulgence is: Organising a gathering and inviting our team-mates to hang out together.

"We started this tradition a few years back and try to book a hotel room or a chalet for a couple of nights.

"It's usually all girls. They just have to bring a gift as we get everyone to exchange presents since it's Christmas.

"There are some games that we play, depending on what someone brings, but we normally just play our favourite music and talk late into the night.

"It's just a great way to chill out with our friends as we've known each other for many years but don't always get a chance to spend time together. It's definitely something we look forward after a long year."



"My festive indulgence is: "Spending the year-end in Hong Kong with boyfriend Cheng Kwok Fai (Hong Kong windsurfer and 2014 Asian Games Mistral gold medallist).

"During the festive season, I make a trip to Hong Kong for a 'winter' holiday. It's my indulgence to come over here and enjoy some quality time after exams and training.

"Usually we would make a trip to Macau, China or one of the islands near Hong Kong for a few days as a short getaway. It's become a yearly tradition since we met over three years ago and this year is the fourth time that I'm making this trip.

"Aside from dim sum, I also love indulging in sashimi and shabu shabu!"



My festive indulgence is: "Spending time with my family. As a professional golfer, I'm travelling for the most part of the year, going from tournament to tournament, hotel room to hotel room.

"It's a grind to make a living and it takes up so much of your focus and attention. Even when I'm not playing in a competition, I'm practising at the range or working out in the gym so I rarely get to spend any time with my family.

"My season ends in December so that's the only chance I get to take a holiday with my family. This year, I'll be going to Kuala Lumpur with them to visit our relatives there.

"It will be nice to see everyone, even if it is for just a week or so as early next month I'm going back to Bangkok to train with my coach and prepare for a new season."

This article was first published on Dec 28, 2014.
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