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Feeding the Soul

Posted By Charley Larcombe, Wednesday, 5 July 2017

What is good for you is so much more than healthy eating.

 

Living in the epicentre of South East Asian cuisine, we’re more than aware of our foodie credentials here in Singapore. However, there is something far more nutritious than your five a day, more delicious than a Michelen star and far trendier than your acai berry bowl. Feeding our souls will never go out of style, will keep us going in darker times and helps us savour the really great occasions. Charley Larcombe talks to three very different members of the Singapore community on what fulfils them, how their lives feel nourished and what others can draw from their outlook on life.

 

Aleksander Duric by Russell Wong

 

ALEKSANDER DURIC

Alex’s story is one to inspire. From war-torn Yugoslavia, to the Olympics; from refugee camps, to the pitches of Premiership football, Alex is an incredible example of how hard work, determination and discipline can take the most unlikely and hopeless of situations and turn them into the extraordinary.

In 2008, he became the first foreign-born player to captain the Singapore soccer team, and since his retirement from the professional game – at the incredible age of 44 – he has worked with the government in promoting the sport and mentoring children to give back to the country he now calls home.

What do you need in your life to feel fulfilled?

“Family is my priority, my three children. Also keeping a positive mind-set; it has always held me in good stead. Life can be difficult, but I encourage myself and the people around me to be positive. Trying for positivity in every moment, every day helps you to keep going and moving forward.”

Have you received a piece of advice which made a profound difference to you?

“My mum used to say ‘stay humble. Respect and be kind to everyone you meet’. I didn’t really understand it as a kid, but growing up and then travelling the world, you see it isn’t always something to simply expect. I’ve always tried to keep her advice in mind.”

Which milestone has had the greatest effect on you?

“Going to war. Although I appreciated my time in the Army, being sent to fight in the Yugoslav Wars for something I didn’t believe in and which was just so horrendous, was a really bad period in my life. Getting my men and myself out of harm’s way and then subsequently having to leave the country was frightening. Ultimately, it was a turning point that changed my perspective on my future.”

How do you stay healthy in body and mind?

“Sport really teaches you how to live. You need to be mentally strong and focussed to succeed in anything. There does need to be a balance to enjoy a healthy life, and now I have slowed down a little. I still enjoy a long run, going to the gym and playing casual soccer; I also have a Harley Davidson, which I ride in just my shorts and a t-shirt.”

How do you formulate your goals?

“It has always been day-by-day, week-by-week. Striving for the Olympics in ’92 [Alex represented the new Bosnia in canoeing], or moving between soccer teams in Australia, China and then here in Singapore, it was all about the immediate goal – working on the present rather than ‘the bigger picture’. I have always put great pressure on myself – to the point where I’ve totally forgotten myself in the past.”

How do you measure success?

“Fulfilling my dream to compete at the Olympics, playing professional soccer... these have been personal highs, but real success is something bigger. My children are my greatest success and my hard work has always been with the aim to support them. Nothing compares to that.”

 

 

CAT STEPHENS

If any of you have battled through a Functional 45-minute gym class, you’ll recall that paradigm of endorphin-bliss and I-can’t-feel-my-bloody-legs pain. Cat, hailing from Canada, married to an Australian,

set-up her own F45 gym in February last year in Tanjong Katong, with a second location opening later this year. She balances her entrepreneurial streak with looking after her son, Sam and family life with her husband, Tom. Her ethos on fitness is less about how you look, and more about how you feel.

What do you feel nourishes you?

“Lots of things: exercise, meditation, family, friends, music, traveling. I really believe in energies and sometimes we “empty our internal batteries” and we need to recharge whether that’s by being surrounded by the people that you love, going for a fitness class or walk, or just listening to music. Little things can change your mood.”

What do you recommend to people struggling?

“Find a good network of people that you trust and who accept you for your true authentic self. Be honest with yourself. Try to focus on the positive in your life and get rid of the negative to help you find your inner strength.”

Your advice?

“If I’m giving advice on fitness I tell people it’s more than just a ‘look’. It’s about how strong you feel, how energised.”

How do you stay healthy?

“For my body, I do F45 at least 4-5 times a week, and sometimes I will go to a spin class, do yoga, or anything that catches my eye because I like to try new things and mix it up. As for mind, it’s about meditation and gratitude.”

How do you measure success?

“If you are passionate about what you do and if you wake up happy, then I believe that is a successful life.”

How do you formulate your goals?

“When I put my mind to something I never quit until I reach that goal. Failure is just a lesson. I try to drown out fear and look at the positive in every situation.”

How do you relax and recharge?

“I’m actually not good at “relaxing”. I do love going on beach holidays but I’m usually the one wanting to go walk the beach or paddle board. I come from a family that is very active and that’s just what we do. I started meditating again about two years ago and that has definitely helped me recharge.”

Which charities or causes are close to your heart?

“My Dad has beaten cancer twice so we like to donate to charities fighting this disease. We also donate to Willing Hearts which is a great foundation here in Singapore that helps people in need.”

 

 

RAELENE TAN
Known by many an ANZA member, Raelene is the writer, etiquette expert, traveller, volunteer and ball of energy that shows no signs of slowing down. Originally hailing from Australia, she has lived much of her life in South East Asia, and nearly 50 years ago, she met and married her Singaporean husband at a time when cross-cultural family existence was far from the norm. She is a published author of a series of five books, Etiquette – A Matter of Course. Covering Chinese, Malay, Indian, Western and Japanese table ‘dos and don’ts’, her book is a celebration of enjoyable eating and gracious living.

What do you feel nourishes you?

“Love from my family nourishes me and my love for them. Dark chocolate helps, too.”

What do you draw on in darker times?

“My Christian faith gives me strength through any challenges along life’s way.”

What do you recommend to people struggling?

“To stop, keep calm, be still and focus. Even though it is difficult, look for the worst that might happen, think about it, and then look at the best that might happen. Focus on being positive. If one is a religious person, pray for guidance.”

What has made a difference to you?

“Being true to myself in any situation. You must listen to others, but ultimately, one is responsible for one’s decisions. Also, I remember a story when I was in Perth. I found myself standing next to an elderly gentleman at a hotel driveway, waiting for a taxi, after some taxing medical treatment. He smiled and I said, “It’s a nice day today.” His reply was, “My dear, every day is a good day, and some days are better than others.” I mused on this for only a second or two, turned to thank him, and he was not there. There was nowhere he could have gone, as it was a blocked area…!”

Which milestone has had the greatest effect on you?

“Marrying my husband. Against negative advice, we married and are still happily going strong, with our 50th wedding anniversary coming up next year.”

How do you measure success?

“Success, to me, is being happy with my lot in life. It is not about money, fame, possessions or similar, but of feeling content with what I have achieved in life, especially related to family, to friends and to the community in general.”

How do you formulate your goals?

“By looking for contentment of my soul, knowing that my goals are for the betterment of not only myself, but also those closest to me. Sounds corny, but it’s true.”

How do you relax and recharge?

“Not sure that I know how to relax or recharge, but just being around positive people gives a certain oomph to one’s spirit. I also find solace through prayer. Going on a cruise, too, of course! Or enjoying a nice glass of cold bubbly!”

Tags:  ANZA magazine  ANZA magazine Singapore  feature  fitness  food  interview  performance  sports 

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