Friday, August 26, 2005

Malaysian Astro-NUTS!

Read the paper two days ago and found out that a few hundreds hopeful and aspiring malaysians were chosen to undergo the first stage of selection.

Running 3km in under 20 minutes.

OK.

I'm not going to brag here, but that is hardly nothing. An average exercising person could do 5km in less more than 25 minutes.

Those super atheletes in Malaysia could easily do a 10km run in 40 minutes.

Now, i only hope there is some Malaysian men/women that could set a new record or something or the whole astronuts thingy is just a joke.

Update:

Yesterday's Paper said that the Malaysian Astronouts will be voted jsut like Akedemi Fantasia and Malaysian Idol - ie via SMS.

We are gonna be a world joke.

Monday, August 22, 2005

To Hell, and Back.

If you think what Karen Armstrong wrote was bias/dangerous/bordering on extreme? then try reading this....

To Hell And Back - confession of a monk

These are extremist stories, i was really angry when i found out some people circulated these through churches(all denomination)in KL/PJ area.

There was even one Korean lady, Choo Thomas, which claim that she went to heaven and hell numerous times.(she's not Catholic, fyi, as she refer the head of the church as PASTOR and not PRIEST)

She even say that "i've not seen so many oriental people in one place in my life" when she was brought to visit hell.

She also saw her own parents there and she did question why were they in hell and was told because, well, she didn't believe in Christ.

She went on to write a book, and then it was claimed as best seller. She even said soemthing like:"as per what i wrote in my book, yada..yada..yada", to me, i read it as propogating and selling/marketing of your writing.

I seriously doubt if the above two could book a place in heaven, for openly saying what they said. All religion teaches us to do good, and to me, that is good enough to book a place myself to heaven(sic). I don't think i'm holier than the person next to me, or evil to the extend that i'll be reincarnated as a pig in my next life...so, i guess, i'm jsut average, like everyone else.

I'm born a buddhist, and somewhere along the line, my granparents embraces taoism (and hence, my dad's family turned vegetarian for like almost 25 years now), i married a wonderful catholic girl that did not place any clause for me to convert to her faith. I go to church, temple and i do believe in God, though i sometime joke that i'm Cina Murtad.

Now, why is these write up/confession dangerous?

For the older generations (like my mother in law, a practising Catholic), they tend to believe it. If it is all true, the confession that these people make, then all i can say is that HELL IS A CROWDED place, as we are all of different beliefs and teaching.

Mind you, how about those that just converted, or *born again*? These are dangerous writeups. Luckily these people are not in Malaysia, or else they would had been hauled up for deviationist teaching or propogating hatred to other religions.

At least Taoist is consistent as they believe that everyone will go to hell when they die and punished according to their sins, before they are being *considered* for an entry to heaven (macam visa la). Taoist believe that there is 18 level in hell (hahaha, chinese preoccupation with the number 8, again) and your sins will determine which level you'll be in. You don't die, you merely burn in hell, so to say.

Also, for the don't know how many time sake, Buddishism is not a religion, it's a way of life. Much like Confusionism. Most chinese in Malaysia says that they are Buddhist because the NRD form doesn't have a column to mark themselves as Taoist. ;-)

Also, it's the Taoist practice to burn paper effigies and offerings, not buddhist.

I now recalled that 2 weeks ago, when i went climbing, wifey went to church and the priest was coincidently talking about heaven, and hell.

Conclusion is that, even if you are a prostitute, you might not go to hell for your sin, because you might have a n even nobler reason why you did what you did, be it to feed the mouth of the people you love, or to fend for yourself, for fear of your life. Some does it not because they wanted to, but because, they do not have the choice.

Infact, the priest said that you might just book a place in hell if you act as if you are holier than the person next to you, or talk bad about other's religion and practices.

It was as if the priest answered my wife's worries and anxiety. You see,my mum in law brought back the vcd of the interview done by Choo Thomas, from a friend she knew from this church. Saying that this is worth seeing. My mum in law personally think that what is being said is true (which mean his only son in law will go to hell...) and my worry is that she is easily influenced. No guesses for saying that she, too, read the confession by the ex-monk.

Oh ya, ironically, the lady that gave her the vcd and write ups, aren't even christian to begin with, she's goes to church and all, but she's not christian...perhaps i better check if she has 6-6-6 on her feet....

Thursday, August 18, 2005

If you got nothing better to say...

Somehow, blogger nowadays are prone to spammers as well. I received one such spam from this user and his really really incoherent comment here.

all i can say is, if you don't know what HAZE is, or anything else are...just shut teh fuck up.

Thank you.

Monday, August 15, 2005

haze is gone, so are the races...

Hoooray and sigh...

Haze is gone after 2 weeks of bugging the citizen of Klang Valley and has since shifted upnorth. I hope it would reach Thai Kingdom, because by then, the Indons will be facing the warth of the Royal Kingdom.

I've since refrained from any outdoor activities, but because of my work, i am outdoor, almost everyday. Thank Goodness Melaka is not really effected, but the haze is as bad as in Seremban.

Also, because of the haze, Rat Race (not that i took part) was postponed to 6th September 2005. Big Walk was called off until futher notice. Then AXN was also postponed.

This is serious.

September is a pretty busy week.

11th September is Perhentian Island Challenge and KL MTB Carnival.

16-18 September is the Half Ironman in Desaru and UPSI Challenge in Tg Malim.

Then it is Powerman Series on the 25th September 2005.

October is when the fasting month will start.

Now, something ought to be cancelled to fit into the racers' schedule.

I've signed up for KL MTB Carnival, Desaru and Powerman.

AXN is scheduled for 20th August 2005, which will now be, err, postponed, until futher notice, even the skill testing due tomorrow is postponed and "racers will be notified 2 weeks in advance", meaning, even if they announced it like today, it won't happen until the first week of September.

Now, assuming that the Big Walk will take place by then, there is only the first week end of september where AXN could take place....

That would also meant that some of us would be Superman & Supergirl...racing for 4 consecutive weekend, with the Half Ironman being the most taking (in terms of travelling and race, of course).

It's truly pushing the body to the limit, no average joes or janes could possibly do it, without the body crying and begging for mercy.

Whatever it is, i hope non of the event above would clash...and make some of us give up to make way for another race...

And Fog you Indonesia!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Kiara Hill Run

It was 7am when i realised i overslept. Took a quick shower and rushed with wifey to the starting line. Switch on the phone and realised that TTDI park is packed with weekend joggers. Decided to try my luck parking closer to the starting line.

Nope. It's all jammed up. Doc's sms said to go to KSH bike shop's parking. After losing 10 minutes in the jam near the starting line, we finally parked next to the IBM building.

i wasn't the last to reach, Azman reached after i did. Race hasn't started, the organisers are still trying to figure out which aerobic/yoga should be done as the warm up exercise. The whole gang couldn't be bothered and was seen snapping happy pictures, while waiting for them to call us to register ourselves.

Picture 008
Yes, all sleepy face and wondering should the organiser pay us to join instead.

At about 8am, the organisers asked all men's category to go to the starting line. Off we went... Men, young and old alike, dashed for the Kiara hill. Weekend joggers were taken aback and was seen getting out of the way of the runners dashing up the hill. A few powerbar sponsored atheletes such as Wong Ah Thiam and Heidilee was seen there as well. A few Thailand runner came for the run too...

Picture 009
Men going after loose chicken in Kiara.

"we can't let Steve run himself", doc told me as he picked up pace and chased Steve. I left Zabil and BEan behind and tried keeping up with this Super Doc. We managed to catch steve after the first climb and by then, i know i'll look like some constipated chicken running this race.

As we reached the Apex of the kiara hill, a few lady runner, namely Yufang overtook us. She is fast. Well, she is, afterall, a (neutralised)National Athelete...so, for her to overtake us is nothing new. The race took us downhill towards the Kiara 2k loop(MTB-er has funny way to name the trail, well, this is a 2km loop, hence, the name).

A few over-zealous female runner was seen overtaking all the male participant by cutting their run short by bypassing the compulsory route but still stay on the track by identifying the ribbon marked trail.

"cheater...cheater...why pay to cheat, jsut go to the finish line" Steve said to a few of them that does the stunt.

We emerged from the lower portion of the trail, overtaking a good number of runners which is not accustomed to trail running and made a dash for the hill attack. The running route slowly became steeper as we approach the other apex of the hill, by then, we knew that me and steve looks like some guy that will be having heart attack soon. We left doc behind. Maybe he didn't get enough rest, hence the non-performance that day.

After the downhill at the apex, we saw Man.

"Kass Kas!!!" Steve shouted.

"OI, Kass, Kaass!!! Run faster!!!!" I echoed.

Man heard us, he started picking up pace, by then, the 3 of us looked like some spastic overgrown kids, with our mouth opened and saliva dripping while we attempted to run the last steep incline. It was really hilarious really.

So, ahead of the pack was the 3 dumbasses trying to outrun each other. At the final stage of the run, we collected a wristband from the organiser as a sign we passed the check point.

We gathered enough speed while running downhill. Me and Steve tried chasing Man, which is about 5 meters infront, but for a guy that brushes his teeth everymorning with Tongkat Ali, that would be a hard thing to do...he is like Super Man, literally.

We finished the race in 32 Minutes, with Man a good 2 or 3 seconds infront...then slowly, one by one, the rest of the gang came in...surviving the 7km run in Kiara...

Picture 012
Man leading the pack.

Picture 013
While me and Steve finish the race at the same time.

Picture 014
We didn't sweat a bit...

Picture 017
Bean came in next.

Picture 018
followed by Zabil

Picture 019
And Doc

Picture 022
Then Ashley

Picture 023
Stephanie came in after

Picture 031
And finally Azah...strolling down the road...with ease.

Picture 024
Steve then complained about not getting medal, our 3rd in a row since Power Run.

Picture 025
Stupe could only laugh it off, for running like headless chicken

Picture 030
Ashley and Zeus and their happy gang of runners!

Picture 029
While Doc and Steph discuss about the possibility to change running shoes...

Picture 026
Man was telling them it's not the shoes that counts...

Picture 027
Zabil hoping Azah will share her medal with him...

Picture 033
The LnE gang that completed the race. Aileen was the Camera Woman of the day!!! Thanks Wifey!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Gopeng - X Pics.

Enjoy...

Before race pics
LnE GopengX
Light and Easy

111 Skidrow
Skidrow Bjorn and Steve - lethal mix...

Steve Race Ration
Steve's secret race food....

314 Super Socks
Supersocks Posing maut ala Britney

Supersocks and race manageress
we'll come back alive, despite the lack of proper safety checks...

315 smokescreen
Smoke Screen Zabil and Karoline gonna smoke em all away...

312 Dumass
Dumass Bandit and Zeus - Nothing gonna stop us now...

Kucing Meow
The two babes that compete in the MEN's CATEGORY!!!! Way to go Kucing Meow!

310
The Kas Kas - Stephanie Kas and Azman Kas - their secret race food is, well, the poppy seeds!!!!

britney pose
More Britney I'm not a girl, Not yet a Woman pose...

ready to race
Kiasu.....tsk tsk tsk...

after run
Supersocks and Skidrow coming in after 2km warm up run.

Finish Line
first
First was Skid Row - about 6hours 45minutes

Second
Second was Smoke Screen - About 6Hours 55minutes

Third
Third Was Kas Kas - 7 hours.

fourth
Fourth was Dumass - came in truck, DNF, injury problem.

fifth
Fifth was Kucing Meow - 7Hours 15 minutes

sixth
Sixth, was, well, Supersocks -7Hours 30 minutes, not very super afterall...

Gopeng - X : 31st July 2005

“You might not know me, but I have years in adventure racing”. Those were the words that echoed through the loud-holler that sent chill and jostled me from my seat as one of the organizer introduced himself for the briefing at 9pm on 30th July.

He was shaky, at his best composure; only sure of telling us there is 6 checkpoints, which we found out on the day of race, were all wrong and misleading. He told us there were 5 mystery tests, which we only encountered 3, 6 bearing points for score navigation, which he himself are unsure if there were 8 or 6 points. There were 3 water stations, as opposed to 4 that he told us and 1 rope skill, instead of 2 he briefed.

If he was shaky, we, the participants/racer wannabe felt even more uncomfortable as he seems to make up the route as he goes on with the race briefing. Two mat salleh participant looked downright confused with the organizer’s English, which I pity them. There were no gear checks…or first aid equipment check. Any tom, dick, Harry, Jane, marry and ah lian would be able to come in and race, and put their lives at risk.

We all went back feeling uncomfortable but decided that all of us will be extra careful on race day.

After 5 hours of sleepless night at Tambun Inn, the premier hotel in Ipoh, where we suspected is used for dodgy activities (well, stained bed sheets and TV that could tune into the hotel’s CCTV was a dead giveaway). But at RM68 per night, we are not going to complain, or put ourselves in Steve’s house fending off mosquitoes the whole night. Poor Bjorn, having to sleep in the truck’s cargo area, as that was the only place that the mossies refused to go (Durian stench).

Racers were seen converging at the Gua Tempurung area by 6.30am. Most did their own last gear check and ensuring they have everything they ever need is a badly organized race, this included some spare change just in case of emergency or buying lunch when we decided that we do not want to continue on.

The race organizer says that breakfast will be served at 6.30am, no food were seen until 7.15am. For the love of our country, I never doubt why our athlete failed to excel in the sports of their choice. Here we have, for breakfast, full-fledged Nasi Lemak complete with sambal, tonnes of them for breakfast, no participants in their right mind would down those spicy stuff, let alone filled with coconut milk before race. Thank goodness for the availability of a hypermarket in Ipoh for there is where we got our proper carbo supplies for the race morning.

By 7.45am, the VIPs are still not at camp site yet. Racers were getting impatient and some were shouting for the race to start. Obviously, the VIP just came in their orange-black shirt and we weren’t call to the starting line until 8.30am. By then, there were some photo moments with the VIPs that most probably do not know what is a harness is, and we were flagged off. Well, that is before the organizer converged and decided that we should run towards the main road and not towards the Gua Tempurung side…what a joke.

There were about 30 teams all in the race. Most were familiar faces and some were elite athlete that decided to give JB Duathlon a miss to win the bigger prize money here.

The Light and Easy guys and girls; Me and Adilah, Man and Stephanie, Zabil and Karoline, Bandit and Zeus, Ashley and El and the only all Men’s team for LnE, Steve and Bjorn were seen running in a pack ala TTDI run, with enough time to bitch and gossip as we run the first 2km.

One by one, the participants reached their bike for the cycling league; we cycled to the first cave, about 5km away, following the red-white danger tape tied onto trees and branches. We reached what seems to be a fish pond area for our caving activity. First off was climbing an 8 foot high wall to gain entry into the cave. Most did it with no problem. Then Adilah realized that there isn’t any safety rope, or place where we could actually clip onto for safety. Oh well…we’ve expected this. So, off we went…around the cave and hill doing mostly some simple bouldering moves with loads of places where not careful participant will fall and break their ankle.

CP1 was just off the cave and we ran to our bike for the 35km journey to Gopeng’s Puspakom, the next CP. I kept thinking to myself, Gopeng can’t be that big, for 35km, I would had reached Ipoh if I go north and kampar, if I go south…no way that the cycling would be 35km, even though it meant we have to cycle in the inner portion of the Gopeng District. The cycling league was boring, nothing challenging and it favours cross country rider. Short of a few dumbass motorcross bikes that kicked off tones of dust and stones into our face, oblivious to the race that is going on, I felt that the organizers could had done a better job ensuring that the path is free from these people. Having said that, we were tailed by one organizer that decided that is more fun to watch some of the girls’ backside when they pedaled to the next CP. I stopped and asked him to go ahead…and to leave us alone; the sound of their motorbike with broken exhaust pipe is a pain in the ear, and butt, literally.

We reached CP2, need to do mystery test la…some jigsaw puzzle…assembling some plastic plate with the perak mascot in it. And there is like extra pieces that don’t fit into the whole jigsaw. We are supposed to assemble 2 plates…well, it wasn’t mind boggling at all as most of us got it done in 2 minutes…though me and Adilah got it a wee bit longer because we were told there is ONLY ONE extra piece. We replenished some of our water and grab hold of 2 cans of warm 100plus, they never heard of ice box ka?

The cycling became a nuisance, the loose gravel do not favour those that don’t cycle often. Nevertheless, I and Adilah weren’t any super athletes, and we decided it is best to stick together, rather than racing with each other. We decided that we will catch, or rather try to catch other teams with our running. After the Puspakom, which was supposed to be CP2, we were led by the traffic police to a slip road, which passes by two cemeteries, one a Christian cemetery and one more a Chinese cemetery. I don’t usually *trespass* into these territories, and me and Adilah was excusing ourselves and saying thank you as we pass the graves. It wasn’t pleasant, really. Before we reach the Chinese cemetery, it was a long climb up the hill, we pushed our bike up the hill, and right before Adilah decided to cycle and enjoy the downhill, she dismounted and decided to walk. It was the blood stain on some rock that made her stop. Someone fell, so she decided not to take the risk. I follow suit.

We reached CP3 after the graveyard, which was the Gopeng Wet market. The mystery test was asking us to catch catfish, 2kg of them, which at those fish size, we reckon should be about 8 to 10 fishes. Adilah has phobia about holding long slimy muscle-ly thingy. She shrieked and screamed as she corner the fishes and scooped them up in the plastic bag. She was good with the fishes despite her phobia; I on the other hand, only managed to catch ONE fish. I concentrated too much in catching them individually…good for Adilah…she’s the Man of the moment. After ensuring that our gloves do not smell fishy, we carried on to the next CP.

We cycled a short distance before we reach CP4, which were again, wrongly informed by the organizer. We dropped out bikes and proceed to the mystery test, doing a double push up, with Adilah’s leg on my shoulder, both in push up position; she has to drink a cup of 100plus while doing push up…ok, that was stupid and downright mental challenging. We got it done in no time and we started running…supposedly it is a 3km run…which we later felt it to be close to 8km run, uphill, what training for this week’s Kiara Run.

We noticed, along the way, that the place has a 600mm water pipe running on the road, major leakage on some joints with water wastage so great people might think Gopeng is a town of waterfall. I kid you not. Perhaps Perak could consider selling water to Negeri Sembilan…

We passed by a Durian orchard, which we suspect Steve might had stopped to savour some fruits, but since there wasn’t any evidence of freshly pried open durians, we could not substantiate the possibility of him doing just that. We all know that he secretly hope one of the mystery tests is to eat Durians…

We ran passed Adeline’s Long House; the place suddenly became familiar as we reached the white water rafting place in the last Gopeng Eco-X race. At that point, we were looking for the orienteering point; we were told that we need to do orienteering in Sg Itek…and thought it was cancelled, which won’t surprise us at all. Tired from the running up and down the hill, and overtaking a good 4 teams along the way, we were told to cross the river to get to the other side…

There were families having picnic at the river, our act of just walking into the water without thinking shows just how tired we were at that point. The cooling water was a great welcome change…we felt rejuvenated and headed into the jungle/river trail that me, doc and Steve went hashing in the last previous race. This time around, I let Adilah leads me, and we went in and out of the river, slippery at some point where I slipped, knocked my knees onto some stones and bruised my other knee trying to steady myself from the fall…of course it’s painful…

We managed to reach and exit the river trail, only to see the familiar terrain, which meant, more running. We walked and we ran, overtaking yet another team as we do so. Later, we saw one of the participant giving up, she was riding pillion on a motorbike, obviously not wanting to run the so called 18km as per what was told by the organizer. We know it’s not 18km run, it’s most probably 8km run to the next checkpoint at the river boarding section. Not wanting to give up, Adilah told and encouraged me to run.

“Don’t let the motorbikes pick you up. RUN!!” she said chirpily while eating some dried mango she bought the night before as race food.

We ran. And ran. And ran. And reached the so called orienteering place. Har . Har. There were, as per the paper slip, 4 point only! With each point situated like 20 meters away…you don’t need a compass to see where you need to head out too. It’s a simple thingy to do by just looking for the very white cardboard they place at eye’s level!!! What a joke!!!

At the end of the orienteering, we weren’t told where to go, just arrow pointing to CP4. So, we ran there. We caught up with one more team, Derek and partner. We took our tubes and in the Kampar river we went…it was shallow, most probably ankle high at most points and waist deep at some creek. Ashley and El was seen doing the Sunway Lagoon thingy by sitting in the tube and letting the water current push them downstream. I sank as I went on top of the tube. Not good. Decided to just keep my feet high while I supposedly cruise down the river…

After what seems like eternal bump whacking and river cruising through a few rapids and bumping into river rocks, we reached CP5.

Wait a minute, I don’t recalled getting the passport chopped at CP4…damn…Adilah looked frustrated at that point and just wanted to finish the race. So was I. I then realized that the passport HAD the CP4 signed…but not chopped!! I have no idea how that actually happened!!! See, the CPs was so f-up that we were confused which is which. We ran for it…passing through the inner part of Gopeng, though small roads where there were more cow dung and horse dung that Zoo Negara. It was already almost 6hours and 30 minutes since the race started at 8.30am. The cut off time is at 2pm at the Abseiling, of which, team that couldn’t reach there by 2pm will be, well, disqualified. It was already 2.30pm; Adilah ran out of water, I still had a liter left. I can’t recall the last water station anywhere. Bad organization. We ran under the North South highway towards Gua Tempurung and found the river that will lead us to the cave entrance.

We reached the opening, we saw someone abseiling down, only to find out from the race marshal that the race course is closed, nothing we could do, except to enter the cave and get out to the other side. We were told to just follow the river and don’t get out of the course…

The Gua Tempurung was dark, and I reckon I’ll retire my 7LEDs light for something more conservative, like a halogen bulb torch. Adilah claimed it was her first time in the cave, it was my first time, Caving. A brand new experience. The limestone formation at some parts, and the shimmering quartz like stone on certain part when the white LED lights were shined on it were a wonder of nature…we took time to savour the cave. But it was warm actually; so much so we though cave should be cooling.

We came to a dead end, with only opening as big of about 1 foot in height, with river running underneath. There isn’t anymore place to go. We knew that that is the only way, so, we went crawling in the river, under the cave opening, to reach a bigger chamber, only to crawl again… and again. We finally reached a big chamber with man made staircase. We knew we are close to the end of the race. By then, we had 2 other teams with us, figuring out which way best to take. Adilah reminded everyone to stay ON the river and don’t get anywhere, no matter how tempting the route is. We followed the advised and enter the river back…more crawling later and we sort of reach the cave lover/river opening.

The bright light from the 4pm sun was too much for our eyes to get accustomed to. But it was a welcomed sight. By the time I walked out of the river, they were having the prize giving ceremony. No organizers were seen anywhere, except at the prize giving ceremony. We walked and finished the race ourselves, and were later approached by a boy that came to took down team 314, that finished the race, san the abseiling, at position 12, out of 16 mix team.

We felt that the race was too long, with no consideration of the cut off time, despite the race starting late. Steve and Bjorn was the first team to be DQ at the abseiling because of the cut off time. Non of us Light and Easy guys and girls managed to do any abseil, we should had left our harnesses back home and also the first aid kit…ah, perhaps we should had just gone for this race as tourists.

Don’t think I would join this race again next year, unless the organizers will take into account to be more organized, and take in all safety precaution. Even Nomad Adventure gave everyone that wants to do the 3 technical rope skill a chance, despite their very lenient cut off time.

Pictures after this entry, wait up!
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