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A Kydra Lifestyle Series Blog - The Everyday People

Commitment And Persistence: The Fighter

Commitment And Persistence: The Fighter

The Everyday Passion

Kydra believes in people, passion and purpose. Every individual is in pursuit of something that gives meaning to their lives. Your passion is what makes you unique. Whether it is daily recreation, an occasional hobby, or a professional skill, we recognize the truth that your passion can affect someone else’s life, for the better.

We want to put the spotlight on everyday people and discover what makes them feel strongly about their craft and interests. In this edition, we pay homage to: The Fighter.

The Fighter: Kydra - The Everyday Passion Series

Persistence And Commitment

It comes as no surprise that fight sports have taken the world by storm. The most recent Mcgregor versus Mayweather fight was so popular that it captured the attention of non-fighters. Whilst in the limelight, professional fighters are revered for being tough and fearsome competitors, glorified for competing in a physically demanding yet entertaining sport. But behind the scenes of these lightning-fast reactions and impressive moves are the blood, sweat, and tears (literally) from intensive training.

The Fighter: Kydra - The Everyday Passion Series

In this edition we showcase an individual whose passion lies in extreme sports - Nigel Wongsanguan. When not fighting in the MMA scene, Nigel is busy studying Veterinary medicine, in hopes of saving animals lives in the future.

Life as a student-athlete is both challenging and demanding, involving a balancing act between academics and sports. In the midst of juggling everyday commitments Nigel has managed to dedicate a fraction of his time to training and competing in various MMA tournaments.

We met with Nigel to discuss what drove his passion for combat sports, the obstacles he faced and how his training has impacted his daily life.

The Fighter: Kydra - The Everyday Passion Series

The Interview:

Q: When did you start getting into combat sports, and how did you know it was what you wanted to do?

Nigel: I never expected to get into combat sports. After returning to Singapore from Australia, my friend and I went for a trial lesson at Evolve MMA. I fell in love with the sport instantly and found myself attending every training session in the days that followed. The ability to fight and put a much larger opponent  into submission gave me a sense of accomplishment and empowerment, and I was always eager to learn new moves the next day. I think the continuous self improvement is what drove me and kept me motivated.

Q: What are the best and worst part of Fight sports? How should one prepare to take up fighting?

Nigel: I feel that the best aspect of fight sports is character development. Martial arts training helps improve self confidence and fitness, and as you progress, you start getting more and more confident in yourself. At the same time, when beaten by a more experienced opponent, it really humbles you.

I’d say the downside of fighting is the risk of injuries. Suffice to say, engaging in combat sports increases your risk of injuries. Of course when you are just starting out, you’re not immediately thrown into the deep end and expected to start sparring/fighting.

The most important thing to have when you are about to enter the world of fight sports is a resilient mind. The training is both physically and mentally demanding, but with a strong mind and clear goals, you will make it through.

The Fighter: Kydra - The Everyday Passion Series

Q: What are some incidents where you injured yourself during a fight?

Nigel: I once told my mum I was sleeping over at a friend’s, when in reality I had gone to Malaysia (Johor Bahru) for an MMA fight. I took the win but suffered a nasty bruise on my eye. Another incident occurred just three weeks before my next MMA fight, where I had fractured my orbital bone while sparring. Though these injuries may sound painful, they contribute to my experiences and help better prepare me for future fights.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about fight sports and what qualities are essential to being a good fighter?

Nigel: The classic misconception about fight sports is that those who train in MMA are obnoxious because they use their training to bully others. There are obviously people like that, but they don't make up the general community. In fact, most people I know train simply for the love of the sport!

I feel that it is important to have good character when training in fight sports. Humility is at the top of my list as it makes you a better person. The fight scene in Singapore has just exploded and it's one of the best hotspots for MMA in Asia.

The Fighter: Kydra - The Everyday Passion Series

Q: How does fighting help with Veterinarian school?

Nigel: I really enjoy training as it is such a good outlet for relieving stress, especially during exam periods in Vet school. The study load is enormous and sometimes, stress gets the better of us. All those hours spent studying eventually burns you out and I am glad I have my martial arts training to keep me sane. I believe that it's important to have a good work life balance, and I feel that my training sessions have helped me better cope with the demands of vet school.

Q: Who is your biggest inspiration?

Nigel: My biggest inspiration would definitely be my mother. A single mother who raised three boys all on her own. Her tenacity and commitment to me and my brothers definitely command a greater respect than what I do in the ring.

The Fighter: Kydra - The Everyday Passion Series

Nigel ends the interview by giving us a quick fighter’s workout:

  • 2 x 15 minutes of skipping
  • 3 x 5 minutes of shadow boxing

Finish off with 3 Sets of the following:

  • 30 x Leg Raises
  • 30 x Knee Crunches
  • 30 x Heel touches
  • 30 x Flutter Kicks

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Unsung Hero: The Barista

Unsung Hero: The Barista

The Everyday Passion

Kydra believes in people, passion and purpose. Every individual is in pursuit of something that gives meaning to their lives. Your passion is what makes you unique. Whether it is daily recreation, an occasional hobby, or a professional skill, we recognize the truth that your passion can affect someone else’s life, for the better.

We want to put the spotlight on everyday people and discover what makes them feel strongly about their crafts and interests. In this edition, we pay homage to one of the most important personalities in this millennial world: The Barista.


Kydra Lifestyle - Monument Cafe

Our Hero

Every day, they stand behind the counter, ready to give you that much-needed morning jolt to power up your day. With smiles on their faces, they hand you your favourite brew, greet you respectfully and keep you in for a nice chat before you dive into your daily routine. And if you wonder how you were able to overcome the rest of your chores, you might as well give the credit to that cup of coffee, and the skilled hands that made it.

Some of Kydra’s best ideas were conceived in cafes. We’re sure that many others had their own eureka! moment over a cup of fine roasted coffee beans. There’s something magical about the sip, and the scent, simmering all over the space. A gaze into the froth makes us realize that coffee is more than a drink; it is an art form that extends farther than a brew. Coffee binds people, turns them into acquaintances, and may even lead them to the best romance of their life.

These facts, we put into memory as we recall the passion, love and occasional banter from our favourite barista, Aslam, Head Barista of Monument Lifestyle. We asked Aslam what he thinks about coffee and how his daily brew has become a staple to much of Monument Lifestyle’s patrons.

Kydra Lifestyle - Monument Cafe

The Interview:

Q: What makes coffee special? How does one choose their favourite cup?

Aslam: Coffee is science, but at the same time, coffee is also all about personal preference. I can lay out instant coffees that cost less than 10 cents a serving to the best auction lot from Panama which costs $500USD/pound and there will still be people saying that the instant coffees taste better. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to the question, which coffee is better – it is all a matter of preference.

Q: What role do you play, as a barista, in ensuring a cup of coffee is an enjoyable experience as well?

A: Coffee is a craft – to me. Not all baristas view it that way but when I decided to embark on this journey 4 years ago, I fell in love with how the word coffee, can mean so many things to different people. A coffee scientist will look at numbers. A brewer will look at taste. A coffee drinker will try to find a café that suits his/her tastes. But being a barista is different. We don’t just make coffee. Our job requires us to greet everyone who walks in, remember their names, keep their orders in mind, and take note of their body language. That’s important; if they’re in a rush, they’d try to bump up their order. On the other hand, we also cheer up customers who’s feeling under the weather and try to make their day a bit more special.


Kydra Lifestyle - Monument Cafe

Q: So, the magic is not just in the brew, but in the way you pay attention to people, is that it?

A: Most times, I’ll get customers telling me about their day – how busy it is, how tiring the grind gets. I will always offer a listening ear but sometimes an encouraging word or a reminder to take a breather will make someone’s day. Maybe it can be as simple as giving away a cup of coffee on the house to make them smile.

Q: How do you start your day? Do you have time to focus on various activities other than your craft? How do you keep up with your work’s pace?

A: As a barista, I tend to start my day really early at 6AM, that means I must sleep by 10PM. Despite this, I think it is really important for me to lead a balanced lifestyle. It is so common for people in the F&B profession to neglect their health due to the long hours and tiring workday. For me, I try to find the time during my lunch break to attend either a class in a nearby gym, or go for a fast run after work. It all comes down to time management and willpower to create and maintain a habit. A healthier body leads to a healthier mind. As a barista, if you’re tired, how are you going to energise your customers?

Looks like our baristas try their best to be in their positive mood all the time.


Kydra Lifestyle - Monument Cafe

Aslam finishes the interview with a parting gift: a cool recipe for the coffee drinkers to brew their own delicious cup of French press. It’s quick, easy and fuss free. Here’s what you need:

3-cup French Press maker

30g coffee ~ coarse grind (about the size of breadcrumbs)

Step 1: Boil water

Step 2: Grind Coffee, 1:12 coffee to water

Step 3: Pour about double the coffee weight in water

Step 4: Let sit for 30s with a gentle stir

Step 5: Add the rest of the water and let sit for 4 minutes

Step 6: Press down. It should feel like you’re applying 15-20 pounds of pressure. Adjust grind size to meet that (If too hard to press down, go coarser. If too easy to press down, go finer) Decant to another vessel

Chug along and enjoy your cup of caffeine!         

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