Monday, August 21, 2006

THE STRIP @ The City of Las Vegas

Pictures taken during my 2.5hrs walk along The Strip, and yet I cud not complete it. End-to-End on one way of The Strip is 4.5 miles. If you do a loop it is 9 miles.

What goes down, Must go back up

More pictures taken during my hiking trip at The Grand Canyon

Friday, August 11, 2006

Las Vegas

I will be there for the next two weeks to attend my company Global Sales Meeting to kick start our new financial year and some other related business meetings. And as I am writing, I know I will again have to go thru the hassle of the detail security checking at the airport and all exit/entry point after what had happened in UK yesterday. Well just need to take extra caution and more time to check-in. Bye for now!!!!!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Extinction of Leatherback Turtles in Malaysia

Have Malaysia (as a country) and Malaysians (as the citizens) learn to luv the nature. I think with the report yesterday on the above, it have been clearly stated it is a big NO. Majority of Malaysians dont bother about nature!!!!

It was extremely sad to read the report yesterday that
the endangered leatherback turtle population is effectively extinct in Malaysia and this has deprived the country of one of its most charismatic tourist lures, says a United Nations Environment Programme report.

As long as we Malaysian continue to behave the way we are, ie throwing rubbish all over the places, open burning, dirtying and poluting the rivers, winding down the car windows and spit on the road, chopping down of trees in the forest etc, etc, we will continue to see that lots of other natures that are invaluble to the country may be extinct in no time.

With the declaration of the extinction of the leatherback turtles on our shore, gone are the days where you can camp by the beach at dawn and wait for the giant creature to come out to lay their eggs. It was the most amazing thing that I have ever witness in a real life and nature environment of the giant turtle laying their eggs on Malaysian shores. Yet people are so inconsiderate where they will climb on the turtle backs for a picture and eventually steal the eggs and sell it away. The main culprint are the people who eat turtle eggs.

Today we can said GOODBYE to them and you probably will never see them again on Malaysian shores. One country lost is another country gain, and maybe these creatures will migrate elsewhere to do their business. And that country will leverage on that to lure tourists to their spots.

Looking at the way it is going, in no time our tropical forest will be the next thing to get extinct as well, if control are not put in place. The activities of illegal logging and chopping down of trees in forest for the purpose of development are getting out of control now. No one even bother about nature as long as money can be made and are in their pockets.

Having all said and done, we Malaysian only have ourselves to blame. Full stop. Think about nature before your next move.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Hungry Ghost Festival

Today is Hungry Ghost Festival - the 15th day of the 7th month of the Chinese Lunar year, and those Chinese who are Buddhist and Taoist will do prayers and offerings to their loved ones who have passed away. Burining of joss sticks, red candles, and special paper money aka HELL NOTES are practised. In the new generation, they are people who will burn paper DVDs, Astro decoders, mobilephones, etc, etc. Wonder these things will reach them who stay in the other part of the world. And how does all these began......

Chinese legend has it that a long time ago, there lived a young man, Mu Lian and his widowed mother. His mother was a wicked woman. She often turned away beggars who came to her door asking for food. She liked to jeer at the working poor and their dirty clothes; in essence, the only person she cared about was herself.

Mu Lian on the other hand was a kind soul. He was a gentle person and always willing to help anybody who was in need. One day he decided to become a monk and this did not please his mother. She scowled at him for being such a useless son; she wanted him to go out and work to earn more money for her. Wealth and materialistic things meant more to her than anything else.

When she saw that she could not dissuade her son, a plan began to hatch in her mind. She decided to play a trick on the monks just to get back at them for taking away her son. Now it was the custom to offer food to the monks (this custom still exists to this very day), but only vegetarian food. Mu Lian’s mother thought that it was nonsensical that these monks did not eat meat, so one day she offered food to some monks and slipped in some non-vegetarian items.

According to one version of the story, the wicked woman was punished immediately and was sent to hell. Mu Lian wanted to save his mother’s soul because he knew her soul was suffering.

He set out and ventured deep into the bowels of hell. Soon he came upon his mother and he saw that she was sitting a bed of very sharp pointy stakes and was holding on to a basin of blood.

Mu Lian tried feeding her some food but the food would either turn into fire or blood. It was hopeless: he couldn’t do anything for her so he left. He returned home and started to pray.

It is said that Buddha heard Mu Lian’s prayers and was touched by Mu Lian’s compassion. Thus Buddha decreed that once a year, the gates of hell be opened so that the lost souls will be able to roam the earth and be fed. This is why every year on the seventh day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar, the Chinese celebrate the festival of the hungry ghost. This is one of five major festivals in the Chinese culture.

Food and drink will be offered at night outside the gates of houses. This is so that the ghosts do not enter their houses and cause trouble. A traditional food made for this festival is steamed sweet bread. Lanterns are lit to help guide the ghosts to the feasts set out for them. Special paper money is also burned as offerings to these ghosts so that they can take it back to hell and spend it there. To make sure that these souls stay out of trouble, entertainment is set up round the clock, mainly Chinese operas or tok tok chiang are performed on outdoor stages.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

I Not Stupid 2

I finally found some time with my family to catch up with this movie since I bought the VCD god-knows-when, and was sitting inside the CD drawer all this while (almost forgotten that I purchased it)

I Not Stupid 2 is not a continuation of the part 1, but focuses more on teenage school children issues and the communication problems between 2 generations ie the parents and the school going kiddos. The storyline focuses on two family; a rich and well to do family where the parents are so busy with their work and business, they practically have no time for the kids. The other was a broken family where the father is a single parent and also an ex-prisoner. There is a subplot about the youngest son thinking that kissing, holding hands and sleeping together would lead to pregnancy does create a question on whether sex education should be part of the school curriculum. Another subplot was the technique required to teach students that have no interest in their studies and are also more aggressive and mischievous.

What the story also told us was that do not under estimate school children that does not excel. These young people need encourgement and they could turn out to be the most street smart people and probably very successful in their life. Anyway this a an average movie, compare to the first one (I Not Stupid), but I think its a wakeup call to those parents out there that are so busy with their life that they totally ignored their kids. Worst thing is that they have no clue on what their children are doing and do not communicate effectively with them and understand their needs and challenges.

Watching a Jack Neo's movie is like listening to all your Uncles and Aunties that you've met during Chinese New Year, talk about their lives, and their lives and views about the world (or Singapore/Malaysia for that matter). Just like relatives whom you meet once a year or so at major family gatherings, it is all joyous and good, but it can get a little annoying if you have too much of the same thing.

Watch the movie yourself and tell me how you like it !!!!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Its Friday !!!

Its Friday, and let me tell you something that you dont know:

A bus station is where the bus stops,
and a train station is where the train stops.

On my desk there is a work station.
Oops!!!, the company that I worked for, changed that to a notebook!!!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Story of a comeback kid

Pictures courtesy from Tey ET

The recent Penang Bridge Marathon 2006 was the race for my comeback. I didnt put any pressure on myself to achieve certain timing except that I will be happy if I can clock a sub-5 and complete the race without suffering. And to make the long story short but interesting, I wont be very Cheong Hei (long winded) about it.

Started my journey with Lifemou where he picked me up at KL Sentral before hitting on the highway towards the north. Stop by in Ipoh for our Hor Fun dinner and continue our journey towards Penang. Reached Penang at about 11pm where we checked into CitiTel along Penang Road. Went down to the mamak store and have our dinner. Had mamak rojak and teh halia for supper, while my buddy go for Sup Ekor - the power soup of the mamak. I was asking Lifemou why dont he try the Sup Torpedo!!!!, if he wants to run like a torpedo in the race.

Next morning, went to Sports Complex at Batu Uban to collect our running bib. While we were there, I bumped into a long lost (20 years) running friend of mine - Mah Chai Meng whom we used to run together in Ipoh. He is now a committe member of the Kelab Roadrunners Ipoh. We exchanged our contact number, and hopefully we can get in touch again. After that we got a message from Eugene saying that he had already reached Penang and will meet us at CitiTel at 1pm for lunch.

Thats was the beginning of our food feast in Penang. Hop from lane to lane for those delicious food, and the finale or encore was we ended ourselves in Teluk Bahang for a durian feast. That was when we decided enuf is enuf for the day. No more heavy meals before the race tomorrow and we call off our dinner. Dinner was just some porridge and Tong Sui (Chinese desert) for me at New Lane nearby Sunway Hotel. We also accidentally manage to catch the tok-tok chiang show along the streets which was held in conjunction with the one month celebration of the Ghost Festival.

Went to bed at about 11pm and gotta wake up at 2am and leave the hotel by 2.30pm and to reach the race starting point at about 3pm for registration. Once we reached the race area, got a space to park the car just opposite of Gelugor School where the registration for all 42k runners are at. Do our business, changed and got ourselves all ready. Went over to the school for registration and we were kept within the school compound before starting the race. At almost 4am, all runners were called out onto the road where the marathon will be started by one of the YB designated to blow the horn. After some standard message from the organiser, there was a 20 secounds countdown, and off we go.

All the runners have to run a loop and back to the starting point (the 6km mark) before heading onto the bridge. I skipped the 1st water station and ran at a very easy pace at this stage of the race, just keeping myself comfortable and get myself warm up. As all the runners turned back onto road leading to the bridge, there are lots of students and other runners (for the 1/2 and1/4 marathon) cheering us up. Headed onto the flyover where it leads to the bridge and this is the point where most runners are running ahead or falling away.

Reached the 10k water station and pour in a few cups of cooling refreshing chill water and isotonic drinks and continued on. At the mid-span of the bridge, my timing shows 1:16, and I am still doing fine with the pace I am running. On the opposite side of the bridge, the leading pack of the race were on their way back. At this point, I am almost running on my own excpet for a few runners that overtook me. The nite scene along the bridge was quite and beautiful, and I can even hear the sound of the waves. The wind was pretty strong and chilly, and that is where I feared most. Running against the wind and the cold winds are cooling my body down. No good for me.

Reached the Prai side of the bridge and needed to do a loop back before the toll booth and got back onto the opposite side towards the island to complete the first half of the race. As I emerged from the loop back onto the bridge, the winds are a lot more stronger and colder. At this stage I was practically running alone. I didnt really bother about my timing, just continued running at a very comfortable pace and enjoy the early morning scene along the bridge. My timing was around 2:10 when I reached the end of the bridge and getting onto the highway that leads to the FTZ area (towards Seagate)

This stretch was almost a never ending one. Pushing on and on. Reaches the 25k mark, then 27.5k and 30k mark. My watch shows 3:15. Intel and Seagate plant had the best view of the sea overlooking Pulau Jerejak. Am still very comfortable with my pace and no pressure on timing. Just out to enjoy and complete the race, and if I can do it within sub-5, the better. A few of the strong lady runners had overtaken me by then. Good luck to all these ladies. I believe they will be fighting each other out for a better position at the finish.

Reaches the 35k mark in 30mins time and my watch showed 3:45, and 7k more to go. At this moment, my energy level is going down and down. Both legs have started to feel the strain and muscle are getting tight and have the muscle pull effect. Started to apply Flanin to get that buring sensation and hopefully able to control cramps from happening. This was the time when my body was totally out, I am struggling now. The pace is a lot slow, and am pushing hard step after step. Lots of runners have started the walk-run strategy and hoping to pull thru.

Steps after steps, kilometre after kilometre, I push on and then I hit the 37.5k mark. At this juncture, my energy level is totally gone. My steps are smaller and slower and I continued to hit the tarmac. I am getting my mind to take over from the body of not giving up. After all the struggle, I hit the 40k mark, and 2k to go. This is the most demoralising stretch bcos I have to get onto a uphill stretch of the highway before taking on the loop that leads me to the finishing line at USM ground. This is where I adpoted the walk-run strategy, because I am walking faster than I run. After the uphill stretch I try to pick myself up, started to jog slowly (not run) , reaches the USM gorund and crossed the finishing line. I took almost 1:15 to complete the last 7k, and that was a real struggle. Anyway I crossed the line, knowing that I am totally satisfy and truely enjoy the race. My comeback after 15 years.

My timing - 4:57:36 (a sub-5 finishing) and Penang - I will come back again next year.

And a picture paints a thousand words........