On 24th July 2010, Lydia and I took part in “The Kiss of Eternity” organized by Cathay to celebrate their 75 Anniversary. It’s an endurance challenge which the last standing participant kissing the giant size diamond prop will win the Lustria Diamond Jewellery set, worth $75,000 sponsored by Soo Kee Jewellery. For me, that’ll mean our wedding jewellery well taken care of, so does the 20% down-payment requirement for the HDB property unit we are looking at.
On that day itself, we started off with some mini games which decide the winner will get to choose their kissing spot first. Lydia and I emerged as the winner for the mini game and we were both happy enough to get to choose the kissing spot first. This will be the kissing spot that both lips must not leave in order to win the grand prize. It’s a good start to the endurance challenge, that’s what I told myself.
The endurance challenge game started at 5pm, 24th July. There were 9 participants(a representative from each couple) in total, and among us, only one lady and one 68 years old man. Participants are given 5 or 10 minutes break every alternate 2 hours during the challenge. No other body parts were allowed to be in contact with the diamond prop, only lips were to be firmly placed on the lips mark which we chose earlier on. In my mind, strong will and determination to win the jewellery set for my most loved lady will keep me through the end.
Game master officiated starting of the game! Songs blasted away from the PA system, few peoples stopped by to see what’s going on, participants concentrated on kissing firmly on the diamond. 1st 2 hours passed easily for all of us, and then we were given 5 minutes break. If things was going on at this pace, I should be able outlast all of them. That was easier said than done….
5 minutes break was up and every participant back to their position for another round of 2 hours. Not sure how much time has passed and suddenly there was loud applause. Not sure what’s going on as I couldn’t turn my head to see, I can only roll my eyes left and right trying to see what’s happening. Shortly after that, game master announced that one participant gave up. To my surprised, it’s not the old uncle but a young man like me. Game continued on for the rest of us. Not knowing the time, we can only relied on our surrounding to guess how much time has passed and how much time left till our next break.
Another round of applause sent off the old uncle who had held on for 3 hours 10 mins. Participants’ number was down to 7, and we were still gluing our lips to the kissing mark. All are hoping to outlast one another. My whole body started to feel the uneasiness of the prolonged standing but it’s still acceptable. 2nd round passed with two participants quit the game, now everyone got their 10 mins break. I quickly gobbled up some biscuits that Lydia prepared for me and then lied down to get some sleep.
Good time passed swiftly without me noticing it and once again game master reminded us there was 2 more mins before resuming the game. Lydia, my loveliest girlfriend helped to massage my leg before I proceed to the kissing position. She hugged me and whispered to me, “You can do it”. These words of encouragement were what I needed most when my body stamina was deteriorating. I readied myself for the 3rd round, stretched my leg and arms before heading to the kissing position. Another round of 2 hours start and next break will be at 11:20pm. From this round on ward, I not only had to sustain physical fatigue but also sleepiness.
Time passed…… Tried hard to keep myself awake and not went into sleep state. I guessed aching leg and shoulder did a little bit of favor in keeping me awake by making me do some exercise on my leg and arms.
“It’s 1 hour left to your 5 mins break!” game master announced. That’s when my heart got troubled, my leg, back, shoulder and neck felt even sore. I’ve been standing for so long and yet it’s just 1 hour? Never mind, it’s just another hour to go, trying to comfort myself. Songs didn’t help in speeding up the time passed, rather it torture me by reminding how slow the time passed. One song after another, yet it’s still not our break yet. Listening anxiously and impatiently for the announcement yet it’s so quiet. I felt like my Gastrocnemius muscle going to break any moment.
Then the announcement came, which I thought finally I can have a 5 mins rest. But my heart sank when I heard, “Another 30 mins till your break”. WHAT! Only 20 mins has passed since last announcement, how could that be possible, I’ve heard countless of songs being played yet it’s just 30 mins. Disbelieving my ears, I’ve to kiss on in order to win. Just another half an hour to go… I will be doing fine. Then I started to track the number of songs being played to decide how much time has passed. I was assuming back then, each song will play for 4 mins. Usually, I lost count after counting first few songs. It doesn’t really matter, because I knew I was getting closer to my break time though it seems thousands year away.
“Another 15 mins till your break”. As usual, shocked by the slowness of passing time but my heart had not gave up. The closer to break time, the slower the time passed. I guessed I was physically worn up and really thirst for the break. “It’s 5 mins till your break”. Finally, just another 5 mins and I’ll be able to get to rest, yearned my heart. “It’s 4 mins till your break”. Minutes passed incredibly slow, I never realized that passing a minute can be so painstaking. Bedridden people with conscious mind must be feeling the same as I was, and it’s fortunate enough that this was just a game with an ending. I really felt so sad for what they are going through, which not all people understand. “60 more sec till your break”…“30 more sec”…“10 more sec”…”5, 4, 3, 2, 1. You may have your 5 mins break now”
Lydia quickly grabbed me and supported me to lie down. She had been standing nearby but can’t communicate with me because of rules and regulations. I really appreciated her effort in staying by my side to let me know that she’s supporting me. I can sense her worries yet supportive heart. It must be torturing for her to see what I was going through physically and mentally. I didn’t bother with food or going to wash room, just drank a little and lied down quickly to get some sleep for the mid-night battle.
5 mins break was over just as fast as I closed my eye. Depriving of sleep, exhausted body, I dragged my body up from the floor with Lydia’s help and headed to the arena once again. Not knowing how much longer I could kiss on to the diamond, but with strong determination and mind, I must win the grand prize. This prize is very important to us as we need it to fund a HDB unit that we are keen in but insufficient of cash on hand. Prior to selling it, we can use it for our wedding as well and that will save a little from spending on jewellery if not much. What a good plan, I thought. Well, at least that’s the reason I joined this endurance challenge.
Another round finished with usual groaning and anticipation for the break time.
It’s 3:35am, and the 6th round started. Half hour through this round, my whole body muscle ached terribly. Though my heart was unwilling to give up but my body couldn’t take it anymore. Am I going to quit and called it a day? Am I going to hold on to win the deposit I need for the HDB unit? I just didn’t know how much more I can hold on. Then, I started to lay my hand on my neck, shoulder, back and thigh; not to massage but pray. Trusting God will strengthen them so that I could carry on with the race, at least for this round. There was a plan going through my mind, which was “let’s finish this round, which end at 5:35am, then play for another half hour till 6:00am, then quit and take cab back home because after 6, there will no 50% mid-night surcharge for the cab fare”. It’s funny for still being very calculative even at the point of collapsing.
The round ended, I quickly lied down and didn’t tell Lydia bout the plan that ran through my mind because I didn’t want to disappoint her. I didn’t have any plan either in winning this challenge but just pray. It’s no longer up to me to control that either.
Yes, ‘final’ round started; at least that was what I planned. Looks like the 10mins rest didn’t help much in relieving my soreness and aching because my body still ached badly. I can no longer rely on my own strength, just pray whenever I felt that I can’t make it. Around 6am, another guy dropped out and it really did cheer me up a little because I am closer to the grand prize. So, there are four of us left after 13 hours. The guy just dropped out was one of the Subaru car challenge participant as well, where winner has to glue his hands on the car for longest possible. One of remaining contestant was a Guard of Honour for three years, looks like a tough one to me.
I managed to finish the ‘final’ round without giving up as planned earlier. Perhaps, dropping out of Subaru guy kept me going though it didn’t guarantee me to be the last standing man. It’s getting longer and longer between subsequent participant dismissals. This showed how far each one of us is willing to go for the grand prize. Guard of Honour was dismissed 6 hours after the Subaru guy dismissal. Judging by the trend, next dismissal will probably happen 12 hours later.
“It’s 24 hours since we started the challenge!” announced the game master. I had never imagined that I could last this long. Deep in my heart I know that it’s through prayer that God had sustained me. If not, I already quit 10 hours ago and lied comfortably on my bed sleeping away. Again, Lydia concerned about my body which was under tremendous strain and stress. I promised her that I’ll back out if I really can’t hold on anymore.
New round started off at 7pm, 25th July 2010 but this round will last 4 hours before the break. To me, it seemed to be knock-out round and it was a good thing because I didn’t wish this whole thing to drag on. I guessed organizer also realized that their game marshals were getting tired even watching over us while seated. I really hoped that winner will emerge from this round. Since morning, I had been shutting my eyes for a short while just to get some rest and wished that time can pass faster by doing so. I started to think of how to outlast the other two by constantly doing some leg and hand exercise in order to keep me awake and relieve my muscle.
“Max… Max…” a very unfamiliar voice called out to me. I opened my eye and helped to a chair nearby. Still not knowing what exactly happen, a game marshal told me that I was disqualified because I’ve moved my lip beyond the kissing lip mark. I clocked 27 hours for this challenge. Aching and exhausted body superseded the sadness the moment I heard it. “I’m sorry that I can’t win the grand prize for you my dear”, uttered me to Lydia. “It’s alright; you’ve done your best. You’ve earn my heart and that’s what matter more to me”, Lydia comforted me by my side.
Man can plan, try hard achieving what’s being planned but it’s not up to us to decide whether we can achieve what we have planned. As of now, I can only trust in the LORD for His provision.