At The Break of Dawn

My ears are jolted awake by the vibrations of Troyboi’s Spirits of the Night.


The harsher sounds of 5SOS’s Rejects attempt to wake me up.

Snooze. And snooze some more.

My brain finally registers the wake up call about half an hour after the first alarm. Finally.

With eyes still closed, I can feel the rusty gears within my body whirring into action. My arms and legs stretch, my hips and knuckles crack. Time to get up!

Putting on my bed slippers, I walk the journey of 5 steps towards the toilet and flush out the 6 or 7 hours’ accumulation of urine. My eyes fully open as soon as water touches my face. I then continue the short ritual of cleansing my arms, the crown of my head, ears and feet. All without having to take off my pyjamas — how convenient.

I lay out the prayer mat in a South-Easterly direction. For me being in this part of the world, it does not only mean I get to face the Kaaba, but also my home country. Again, how convenient.

After prostrating at least twice to the Almighty God, and asking for whatever I wish, I stood up with the mat still beneath my feet and begin an extensive breathing exercise — not that I have difficulty in breathing.

Conscious breathing. That’s what I’d like to call.

This extra ritual (or exercise, if one is allergic to such a word) kills three birds with one stone, metaphorically speaking. I first stretch all the joints in my body — wrists, elbows, shoulders, ankles, knees, hips, waist, back and neck. This is the most basic warming up exercise adopted by Shaolin monks.

Then, I begin cultivating energy from the inside using the Qigong techniques I’ve been learning. This is basically breathing in and out following the motion of my arms and torso, lengthening my chest cavity, imitating the movement of the waves of the ocean. So not only does this set of action manifests energy for the day, it also encourages air to enter my lungs, thus training my lungs to receive a larger volume of air at a time.

Stretch joints, cultivate energy, admit air.

Half an hour of my time is dedicated to this at dawn just before sunrise. And the rest of my day is guaranteed sunshine regardless of the actual weather.



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