Monday, June 29, 2009

Of Body & Body of Work

There's the body of work and there's the body. Whichever reference you wish to make, they're both prize-winning, respectable and worthy of recognition. Chan Wai Teik recently came away with the title of 'Mr Singapore' at the 47th National Bodybuilding & Fitness Championships.

(above: A foregone conclusion about how the arm-wrestling match turned out!)

Although Wai Teik's been bodybuilding for the last 14 years, it wasn't till just two years ago that he decided to raise it a notch by pursuing it competitively. The impetus, he said, was a diagnosis that showed he suffered a prolapsed disc. So in two years, he raced against time to be the best bodybuilder he could be. His determination and perseverance has reaped rewards.

Despite his frame, the 187-pound thirty-seven-year-old is modest of his achievements and most personable. Barely into the first five minutes of conversation, Wai Teik came across as just an ordinary fella whom you could easily have mistaken to have been a classmate from years back or perhaps in the same soccer team in school.

Though off-putting pride exuded by celebrities didn't seep through, I sensed pride - the unassuming self-deserving sort of pride, that comes with his meeting his mark. About three quarter way through our chat and with a twinkle in his eye, he disclosed that his series of works entitled 'Nocturnal Solitude' had won an honourable mention at the prestigious Prix De La Photographie in Paris. "It was announced just two days ago!", he beamed. It was 'breaking news' at that precise moment in The Living Room; you heard it first on 938LIVE from the photography buff of eleven years.

Many people would see a marked distinction of disciplines when you hold up bodybuilding to photography. What possible similarities could they have? Well Wai Teik didn't think they were worlds apart, in fact, he saw a lot of similarity in the disciplines. "Photography to me is sculpting with light, whereas bodybuilding is sculpting with the physique".

He explains how he melds his knowledge and understanding of the two. "As a photographer, I go on stage and look out for where the stage lights are and how it falls on me. When I photograph a bodybuilder, I look at how light falls on his physique and I think that gives me a slight advantage over the rest".

(above: Wai Teik opting to lift my colleague Evelyn rather than free weights at 938LIVE!)

And if there was just one thing I learnt about health and nutrition, it would be that bodybuilders are prone to water retention too! Wai Teik shared that in their 'off seasons', bodybuilders can look between 5 to 10 kilogrammes heavier due to the rentention of water in their bodies. It's a period when training becomes less intense and muscles get more rest. So women, who says men don't suffer water retention?


Pam said...

love the sense of humour in the pics! :D :D :D and yes, wai teik must surely have made evie's day. that might have been ME, if i wasn't in leave!!! *sob*

Stan said...

let's give the man a break; he's got a prolapsed disc & we surely don't wanna aggravate that. i can lift you up, but you've got to sing josh groban's "you raise me up" (the entire song and recorded on video) while i do. i'm game. are you? ;o)