Monday, 7 May 2012

Memories...Light The Corner Of My Mind...

I was working on something and needed some screws. While digging around my work area outside the house, I came across this rusty tin with rusty nails & screws in it. Started digging through it with a screwdriver and picking out all the screws to see if any of them is what I need.

Took me a good while to realise that this actually belonged to my dad. I haven't seen this tin for years, and actually forgot it existed. But once I recognised it for what it is, memories started flooding back.

This is the tin with which my dad taught me how to hammer a nail, how to work a screw, and what screwdriver to use with what screw. This tin is also the reason I got interested in doing DIY stuff, because I wanted to be just like my dad.

I also remembered my dad's peculiar way of using a hammer. He's right handed, but he would hammer a nail with the hammer in his left hand. He used all other tools with his right hand. I asked him why is that, but he couldn't explain it either :D

Can't believe its almost a year since he left us.

Suddenly, a damn ninja decided to cut onions beside me...

Monday, 30 January 2012

My Fitness Journey Thus Far...

This post was originally intended for the last day of 2011, but I decided to delay it till now because I realised I wouldn't be painting an accurate picture, since at that time I've just completed my initial bulking stage, and my body was water-laden due to the supplements I have been taking.

So I decided to wait until I could shed most of that water weight and thus portray a truer form of my progress.

Without further ado, this is what I have accomplished since I started my journey in earnest on June 26 2011.

Me on the first day of my training with Antonio Battistessa on 26th June,2011

Me with Kevin Soh at Cruz Fitness & Fight Station on 22nd January, 2012

Note my above statement 'started my journey in earnest'; that's when I push things into high gear, and devoted every waking moment, and every ounce of energy towards my goal. My journey, however, started way back in March 2010.

With that in mind, I'd like to pay tribute for the people who got me started either because of their own fitness pursuits, giving me advice/help, or training me.

In chronological order:

Massy & Cubex - It was you guys' fat loss journey that propelled me to start slimming down. Seeing your progress greatly helped me maintain my momentum, and motivation.

Daniel - A man of few words, but you are a critical factor in giving me the nudge in the right direction when I hit several obstacles.

Julian - The man who actually kickstarted my fitness regime. Without your early KF sessions, I would never have gotten off my butt and started exercising regularly. Your calm and gentle demeanor, even in the face of adversity and overwhelming negativity, is a great inspiration; and the sacrifices you went through to keep KF up and running proved to me that there ARE sincere, genuinely helpful people in this world.

Fara - Thanks to your post looking for people to join your PT session with Michelle Koh; and subsequently for allowing me to be in the group although you were initially looking for females to join your group, I was able to see the true benefits of having a Personal Trainer.

Michelle - My 1st personal trainer. Thanks to you, Michelle, I got in shape, and gained confidence to push my training into high gear.

Joanna - Your constant positive attitude has been a guiding light and inspiration. You introduced me to HIIT before HIIT was cool.

Antonio - My 2nd personal trainer, who gave me THE most grueling workout to date. My stamina, endurance and strength all improved tremendously after just one month's training. You gave me the foundation to achieve the various long term goals I have set for myself, and the lowdown on what I may, or may not achieve, without candy-coating it. I look forward to another month of grueling training with you again later this year.

Rendy - Words are insufficient to express how much you motivated me, since i know what you went through in the past year, and still managed to make time to join me for my training sessions. Both your company, and the circumstances under which you managed to get fit, kept me going during the many times I nearly gave up.

Emilio - My 3rd and current personal trainer. Thanks for unreservedly sharing your experience and techniques with me, and making sure my complete my workout even when it means staying longer than you are supposed to. I look forward to our next session together.

CRUZ Fitness+ Fight St. - Thanks for the constant motivational posts which are highly motivating. Although I've only joined a few of the sessions, seeing videos and photos of the workout sessions always get me pumped up for my own workouts.

Alpha Wolf - You guys really put the fun back into working out. And your 'never-back-down-even-in-the-pouring-rain' attitude really made my excuses for not wanting to train look lame...

Also a bigh thank you to all others who have give me advise, and shared their experiences and workout techniques with me; all of you are a part of my journey, and will forever be remembered.

I hope this post shows you that whatever your goal in life, it CAN be done.

Also know that you don't have to do it alone; go find like-minded people who will inspire, motivate & support you, either through their own achievements, or their attitude.

As for me, I still have a long way to go, so the journey continues...

To top it off, here's a video of me flipping a 220Kg tyre, taken in earlier January:

(I couldn't even lift, let alone flip a 180Kg tyre last November XD)

Thursday, 3 November 2011

I Weep For Today's Parents...

The innocence of children is both a blessing, and a curse...

Primary kids were at the school for rehearsal in the hall for tomorrow & Saturday evening's performance.

Couple of them noticed that the frame of my glasses is cracked. One said to me, "Uncle, your glasses is broken", to which I smiled and replied, "Yes I know, thanks for telling me".

He then asked, "why don't you get a new pair?". Before I can answer, his schoolmate who were next to him butt in and asked, "Uncle, is it because you don't have money to buy new one? My mother said hawkers are poor people and don't have money for a lot of things."

I just smiled and said, "Yes uncle is poor, not like your parents".

I weep for how parents nowadays are bringing up their children...

Monday, 22 August 2011

To Beaufort By Rail

Richard Sokial, an architect friend who's writing a book about Sabah's vintage & historical buildings was going to Beaufort to gather more information on the old building there, so I tagged along.

We took the 7:45am train from Tanjung Aru station.

 One way fare to Beaufort(a distance of 85km) is only RM4.80

 North Borneo Railway cabins which are operated by Sutera Harbour Resorts parked on its exclusive platform

 This is the normal train that ply the Tanjung Aru-Beaufort route operated by the Sabah State Railway Department.

 Its fully air-conditioned and very comfortable, with proper padded seats and an overhead luggage rack running the entire length of the cabin.

I was disappointed to see hydraulic doors like those on subway trains. This means there'll be no hanging halfway out the doorway to snap pics T_T.

Even the space between the cabins are sealed T_T. 

Luckily the windows are huge and relatively clean, allowing me to snap this pic of a boat coming in from the sea as we pass a river mouth while the train was travelling along the beach before Kimanis.
Old shophouse before Kimanis town.

 Diesel train engine at Beaufort station.


 Sequence of pics showing a diesel train docking with old wooden train cabin, whileRichard looked on.
 And off she goes.

The old wooden cabins towed by diesel locomotive engine plys the Beaufort-Tenom route.

Interior of the vintage train cabin. This seems to be a newer model as the really old white-and-green ones I remember has wooden benches without any cushions, and wooden windows and doors.
This was what greeted us as we stepped out of the train station. Beaufort is changing, and losing its old world charm, fast.

These three blocks of old wooden shop houses is the reason why Richard is here - to document  them in detail for his book.

Took couple of comparison shots using my 18-200(above) and Richard's Sigma 10-20(below), both set at the widest setting.

Beaufort town as seen from the main roan coming from Kota Kinabalu.

Richard posing in front of the old wooden house which is now part of a school compound.

 Interesting mural on one of the school building.

I left early to catch the 11am train back to Tanjung Aru while Richard and his friend stayed behind to complete their documentation work.

Gonna take the train again and go all the way to Tenom, maybe stop over at a few villages along the way. However I will wait for Chindi to come over before making the journey, as he's been wanting to take the train for ages.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Dramatic Skies...

Experimenting with dramatic effects with pics I took in Sipitang recently.

Constructive comments, feedback & suggestions welcomed :D

Monday, 13 June 2011

A New Xperience: Getting Fit The Hollistic Way...

Didn't pay much attention to the email notification that came in from Sabahan Bloggers Facebook page at first, thinking its just another blog update notification.

Only when I opened up my Gmail page to clear the daily clutter did I realise its another offer by Core Fitness; 3 trial sessions for their new fitness programme, X45, over 3 days, free of charge!

The sessions will start by 6:30pm on 13th, 15th, and 17th June, at the brand new CORE Fitness outlet at 8th floor, Center Point.

"X45 uses short, group-based, effective workouts to make the best of every trainee’s time and effort in the gym. Core Fitness use time-tested, science-backed methods that promise you results. Offers a variety of training tools such as pull-up bars, gymnastic rings, kettle bells, plyo boxes, dumbbells, skipping ropes, medicine balls, and etc.

Nobody trains alone at X45 and their goal is to help you achieve your goals in the quickest, most effective way possible."

I have previously failed in my attempt to win a place in CORE's Get Fit Challenge, so I was hoping I'd get a place this time round, since its being offered to the first 10 people who signs up. However, it was already almost a full day since the email arrived, and I wasn't sure if any places would be left. But I sent an email to Dino anyway.

When I logged into my Gmail on Saturday morning, I was greeted by another email from Dino saying that I have secured a place in the 3-day trial sessions. GAME ON!

I'm psyched, I'm excited, and I'm filled with anticipation.

And this free trial came at a very appropriate time, as I'm just about to finish my personal training sessions with my existing trainer. I might just end up adopting X45 as my new training regeime. 

Really appreciate Core Fitness for making this experience available to Sabahan Bloggers for free!

1Malaysia, We (meaning Sabah) Has It...

I've always known East Malaysia is the embodiment of the much touted '1Malaysia' concept, even eons before it was packaged and promoted as a gimmick to win votes by our honorable leaders.

However, I didn't quite know how this has changed, or adulterated, by the influx of West Malaysian ideology and brainwashing over the years since UMNO took over the state's administration.

Apparently, I need not have worried.

During my father's funeral proceedings, I witnessed shining examples of this unity and harmony amongst races, not just from the older generations who would be more resilient to the constant bombardment of West Malaysian ideology of 'race & religion first, fellow Malaysians second', but also from young adults who grew up under UMNO administration.

My father's Requiem Mass was held in a Roman Catholic Church; one of the oldest institutions in the world. And it brought tears to my eyes (apart from the tears I shed for my dearly departed father) to see Muslim friends amongst the attendees, some in their tudung(head scarf). They sat through the whole mass, and even stood when we stood for prayers.

This is something I highly doubt you'd see in Peninsular Malaysia, where Bibles printed in the Malay language has been seized by authorities because they were considered a 'threat to national security'. More info HERE.

It was also speculated that the government(i.e. UMNOputras) is worried that Muslims might be influenced and seek conversion to Christianity if they should get their hands on the Malay Language Bible. *roll eyes profusely*

Meanwhile, in harmonious Sabah...

After the funeral rites following the mass, we adjourned to my residence for a thanksgiving luncheon. In true Sabahan style, we prepared something for the Muslims as well as the non-Muslims. Pork dishes were put on one side of the table while non-pork dishes on the other side; but all still on the same table.

Our Muslim guests were informed which are the non-pork dishes, and they tucked in, without a word about if the chicken and fish came from a halal supplier, and if the dishes were cooked by a Muslim using utensils never used to cook non-halal dishes previously.

THIS, is 1Malaysia, my friends, not the propaganda and lip service exploited by the government, while promoting racial segregation and tolerating racial hatred by their cronies.

Another shining example was witnessed when I attended the official opening of a shop owned by two friends; a Christian and a Muslim.

When it came time to officially unveil the shop's signboard, which was previously covered by a piece of red cloth(a traditional Chinese practice), both proprietors, who are both in their 20s, said a goodwill prayer. The Christian partner made the sign of the cross and said his prayer, while the Muslim partner held up his hands and recited versus from the Qur'an. And they did this in unison, without any prior discussion or consultation with each other.

THIS, is 1Malaysia, my friend.

Sabah has it. In droves.

(for the uninitiated, the deliberate use of 'has' instead of 'have' is reference to a popular internet meme)

Sunday, 29 May 2011

In Loving Memory...

For the benefit of my friends who do not read, or has no access to Daily Express & The Overseas Chinese Daily (Sabah newspaper).

There will be a thanksgiving luncheon at my residence on Monday.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Revised Workout Plan...

9:30am to 11am: Gym time - 2 muscle groups (including 10 mins interval on treadmill/cross trainer as warm up, and 10 mins stretching as cool down)
On hold until further notice due to two staff resigning end of April.

7:30pm to 9pm: Circuit/cardio workout with Kinabalu Fighters

6:30pm to 8pm: Gym time - 2 muscle groups (including 10 mins stretching as warm up, and 10 mins stretching as cool down)
On hold until further notice due to two staff resigning end of April.

5:30pm to 8pm: Gym time - 2 muscle groups (including 10 mins warm up, and 10 mins cool down)
9:30am to 11am: Core exercises +  Interval training on treadmill/cross trainer
On hold until further notice due to two staff resigning end of April.

7:30pm to 9pm: Circuit/cardio workout with Kinabalu Fighters

7pm to 8pm: Personal Training

9:30am to 11am: Core exercises +  Interval training on treadmill/cross trainer.
On hold until further notice due to two staff resigning end of April.

6pm to 7:30pm:
Gym time - 2 muscle groups (including 10 mins warm up, and 10 mins cool down)


Circuit workout: Crunches (1/12, 2/10, 3/8, 4/6,  V-Bench 1/12, 2/10, 3/8, 4/6 with 5min Cross Trainer in between)
10am to 11:30am: Gym time - 2 muscle groups (including 10 mins stretching as warm up, and 10 mins stretching as cool down)
On hold until further notice due to two staff resigning end of April.

3pm to 4pm: Personal Training

Rest day, or hike Bkt Padang a few laps if there's company :)

Hopefully I can get new staff soon so that I can resume the earlier routine :(

Monday, 18 April 2011

My New Fitness Regime...

Starting today (Monday April 18, 2011), I will enter into a new fitness regime. Well not so much 'new', but more like 'well rounded'. I've been building up to this for the last few months, so this is not something I suddenly decided to do when I woke up this morning.

9:30am to 11am: Gym time - 2 muscle groups (including 10 mins interval on treadmill/cross trainer as warm up, and 10 mins stretching as cool down)

7:30pm to 9pm: Circuit/cardio workout with Kinabalu Fighters

6:30pm to 8pm: Gym time - 2 muscle groups (including 10 mins stretching as warm up, and 10 mins stretching as cool down)

9:30am to 11am: Core exercises +  Interval training on treadmill/cross trainer

7:30pm to 9pm: Circuit/cardio workout with Kinabalu Fighters

7pm to 8pm: Personal Training

9:30am to 11am: Core exercises +  Interval training on treadmill/cross trainer.

10am to 11:30am: Gym time - 2 muscle groups (including 10 mins stretching as warm up, and 10 mins stretching as cool down)

3pm to 4pm: Personal Training

Rest day

Gonna be a busy few months ahead...wish me luck! :D

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Ladies And Gentlemen, Pembela Presents...The Christian Extremist!!

Pembela spokesman Dr Yusri Mohamad accused Christians in Malaysia of harbouring a hidden agenda.
(Pic by Jack Ooi)

Excerpts from the article:

KUALA LUMPUR, April 15 — An umbrella coalition of Muslim groups held a protest today and declared they were willing to shed blood against ‘extremist’ Christians that insult and ridicule the position of Islam in the country.

The Muslim Organisations in Defence of Islam (Pembela), comprising 20 groups, protested after Friday prayers at the National Mosque against Putrajaya’s release of Malay-language bibles and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s promise to never impound the Alkitab again.

Malaysia was tanah melayu, tanah Islam. But when British colonialists came to our land, they also brought Christianity with them.

“We are being taken over by colonialists through their demands once again. We must unite and not compromise with those that insult our religion. We are willing to die for Islam and our country!” he said.

The Muslim coalition also reiterated its threat to challenge Putrajaya’s 10-point solution to the bibles row in court.

My favourite bits are the numbers highlighted in the following paragraphs :D

The Muslim Organisations in Defence of Islam (Pembela), comprising 20 groups, protested after Friday prayers at the National Mosque against Putrajaya’s release of Malay-language bibles and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s promise to never impound the Alkitab again.

A group of 30 men dressed in white shirts and skullcaps gathered at the main entrance of the mosque after prayers with placards saying “Allah is great! We Ansarullah (helpers of Allah) are watching you!”

“Pembela believe that despite the bible issue there is a hidden mission to open the Muslim community in Malaysia to apostasy, or at least inject religious pluralism, secularism and extreme-liberalism which can erode the integrity and identity of Muslims in Malaysia,” he said while addressing a crowd of over 50 over a loudhailer.

Reminds me of this image:

Najib, where is your 1Malaysia now?

Sarawakian neighbours, vote wisely today.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Malaysia Boleh...

I wonder if this would happen if its a REAL 6th generation Dihatsu Mira (which the Viva is based on) instead...

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Charity Work - A Load Of Hot Air?

As I trawl through articles on local happenings, I can't help but come across charity events every now and then. Some of these I read on my FB page, and some in blogs I frequent.

Some events are initiated by individuals, with the aim of having a good time bonding with friends and like-minded people, and to meet new friends, while dishing out some much needed love and attention to orphans and underprivileged children. They pay their own way to get to the event venue, sometimes they put on a show, or sometimes just by being there to help with a bazaar or garage sale. These events usually do not yield much in terms of monetary returns, but the goodwill and joy generated by these individuals who take time off of their lives to enrich other human being's lives can not be calculated in dollars and cents.

And then there are those charity events which are much grander in scale, and human resource involvement.

These are the widely publicised events, usually with a custom-designed logo, banners, flyers, and plastered all over every form of electronic (and sometimes print) media at their disposal.

These events takes months of planning, and can involve up to hundreds of individuals. Before long you hear of politically motivated in-fighting, backstabbing, jealousy, rivalry, and even sabotage. All the while on the surface everyone put up a front that they're doing it for charity.

And so after some form of competition, many articles in the various media, all sorts of promotional stunts, the whole thing culminates in a grand gala dinner, and performances by some unknown or semi-professional talents (who performed for free no doubt, since it is after all, for charity) graced the stage.

Eventually, the winners for the various competitions are announced, accolades are bestowed, shoulders patted, 'good job' are exchanged, and it comes time to reveal the one thing that the event is all about: the total sum collected.

Correct me in case I've been living under a rock all these years, but I don't think I have ever came across a privately organised charity event where donations comes from individuals and not companies which collected more than RM100K. Most hover around the 50K mark, if that at all.

While any charity organisation could really use that 50K or so, consider this: How much did it cost to raise that RM50K?

50-100 people working part-time, and 10 to 20 people working almost full time for a few months to generate RM50K, with many sponsoring their talent, know-how, business resources, pulling in favours, running all over the place just to achieve this target.

Usually, out of the 100-150 people involved in the project, either as an organiser, committee member, or volunteer, there are no shortage of prominent community leaders and professionals (after all, nobody would get involved if not for these well-connected individuals), so wouldn't it be easier just to have these100-150 individuals pay 300 to 500 ringgit each to make up the RM50K and get it over and done within a week or less? 300-500 is too much? well get 200 people to pay RM250 each then. Surely anyone who is willing to spend a few months on a project like this is willing to part with RM250? Most of them spend more than that on a pair of shoe, or a night out on the town.

You see, charity work, as we know it, has got absolutely nothing to do with being charitable; its all about exposure. Its all about showing the world that you can mobilise a horde of volunteers to make life better for others, that you can command, and do it in style.

No, REAL charity work is done with sleep-deprived eyes, and sore shoulders and arms, as you change diapers after diapers of all the handicapped, mal-nourished, deformed babies that were abandoned by their parents, and by those patiently trying to calm a hysterical child with down syndrome.

REAL charity work is done by the individual who drove for hours through gridlock on a weekend to another town so that he can stand under the blazing sun for hours in a plastic suit or a thick robe, just to bring smiles to children who do not have the opportunity to go to a city to see something like that

REAL charity work is done behind the scenes, in a neglected corner of the world, without expecting even a pat on the back, without the need for someone to say 'good job'.

It is not done by blowing hot air, and showing how charitable you are.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Friday Hash

Finally managed to join the K2H4 Hash group for their Friday hash on 25th Feb.

Was supposed to join them from before Chinese New Year, but wasn't able to.

Didn't know where's the exact location of the starting point, and the only instruction I got was "just drive waaaay in along jalan Kiansom, and you should see a lot of cars parked along the road. That will be it".

O...K... o_O

Surprisingly, that's exactly how I found their meeting point.

And that's exactly the amount of information available on their flyer, as I later found out

By the way, did you notice this little jem in the flyer? :D

This week's route was very hilly, with only some flat areas.

All along the route you can see freshly tapped rubber trees.
Quadruple tap (another tap mark above the pic out of frame)? Extreme much?
These look like termite mounts, but the one on the left looks too sculpted to me...hmmm...
Took me about 45 minutes to get to the top of the hill, and it was a really good workout.

Its good to finally see the path going downwards.
However, I knew from experience the physical exertion is far from over, because the journey down is usually just as difficult, if not MORE difficult than the journey up.

This is because your leg muscles are usually very tired by the time you reach the top, and now you have to use them to brace your downward motion along slippery ground.

You also need to grab onto trees and vines to slow or steady your descend, and your hands may often sustain cuts due to this.
Lose focus, and grab this tree thinking its just any normal tree, and you'll be in a world of hurt.
 Latex processing 'factory' in the middle of the jungle
The route down was full of twists and turns, and I started wondering if I took the wrong turn. The trick is to look for, and follow fresh bits of paper on the ground. Paper that looks like they've been soaked, or stained may have been for a previous Hash, and may lead you the wrong way.

It was good to finally emerge from the jungle after being inside for over an hour and see the sky.
The physical exertion + humidity made me look like I just came out of a pool of water.
The route led to a road, and I had to walk about a Km along this route before entering the jungle again.
Walked right under a high tension cable tower beside the road.
The sun was starting to set so its good to be nearing the end of the route.
My thigh muscles started to cramp up a few seconds after the end of the route came into view. It would have been a real struggle to have to have to walk with cramped thigh muscles. I need to do this more often to get used to it, if I intend to go for real long hikes.

I accidentally deleted the data of this hash on my Garmin Forerunner, so I have nothing to show for it. >.<

No worries, there's always next week.