Thursday, July 31, 2008

Borneo Marathon—Surviving The First Week

Yes, folks, It's been slightly over a week since I started training seriously for the half marathon. During the first week, I ran a total distance of 22 km; seven of which was covered in the Sutera Harbour Sunset Run 2008.

Overall, I can say that my training is progressing quite well. I have since lost about 1 kg in body weight. My knees are getting stronger. In fact, I feel my whole body is getting stronger. A bit tired in the mornings after the long runs, but otherwise I'm doing great.

Two days ago I received a call from the lab. The formal report on my medical examination was ready. So yesterday, I made an appointment to see the doctor. I was found to be healthy; even my lipid profile turned out to be very good:

Total cholesterol = 4.4 mmol/l
Triglycerides = 1.6 mmol/l
HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) = 1.5 mmol/l
LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) = 2.2 mmol/l
Total chol/HDL ratio = 2.9.

I am also happy to note that my blood pressure had improved dramatically to 120/80.

At the rate I am going now, I'm sure I will continue to lose weight over the next couple of weeks. And this Saturday I will check out the marathon clinic at the Likas Sports Complex. Perhaps I will also buy a new pair of running shoes later this week.

I have a lot of stories to tell about running gears, but I will tell you later. I'm seeing some other people running longer than usual in the gym, so I suppose they're also preparing for the marathon. It's quite interesting to see an increasing number of women runners too.

Good to see some sexy women in the gym for a change. Women are generally not very keen on doing physical exercises, you see. They only do it when they are already fat. Otherwise, the best formula for them is to go on a strict diet; which means refrain from eating.

But of course some women are exercise freaks too. They train so damn hard until they become something like in the above picture. I don't have anything against active women; in fact, I admire them. But I am still inclined to obey my masculine instinct; it is scary to see women without any breasts, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, I have been corresponding with Shan Sandhu, the Event Coordinator of the Borneo International Marathon. And she has a blog too; she posted an article about the marathon clinic in her blog. This is one interesting information that I've found out from her. These are the important stations throughout the routes of the various runs:

It's good to know that there will be plenty of opportunities to rehydrate the body during the run.

Now I shall look for Shan again; let's see if I can get my RM50 Adidas voucher for my shoe-shopping this weekend. I'm sure Mia could use a RM50 discount too.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Last Tango For Old Time Sake?

Going through a divorce is a lousy experience for most people. First of all, there will be many busy-bodies; those who want to have the juicy details of what actually happened between the couple. Everyone in the family would want to be a private investigator.

Then there is that hassle with the formalities—this documents, that documents to sign. A lot of the times lawyers are also involved, especially if there are issues relating to children's custody or visitation rights, and properties etc. Not to mention the heartaches and sudden feeling of loneliness, sadness etc.

That's why a lot of the times, people will try very hard for reconciliation before deciding on a divorce. Couples have many, many sessions of discussions upon discussions to iron out their problems in search of possibilities of reconciliation. Some couples will choose to live separately for a while—to think things over for a bit.

And then imagine meeting up for one more final discussion in the hope of a compromise. Somehow during that discussion, there is a bit of spark from old times...

The guy looks at his wife, remembering those happy moments they've shared. They've been separated for three months now. Suddenly his wife looks "beautiful" again to him...

The woman looks at her husband, remembering all those lousy moments she's had. Three months she's been living without this jerk around; it's one of those best moments in her life.

But now the husband has that "look" in his eyes. The wife knows what's happening; she knows what her husband wants. And he's making his move now. She refuses to cooperate. He somehow manages to get the headscarf and underwear off. She fights him off. And then suddenly he pulls out a sharp object and slashed her neck. [The Star]

Makes you wonder why he brought along the weapon in the first place, huh? Was it for scaring the wife? Or was it for killing her after the last tango?

Sutera Harbour 7K Sunset Charity Run 2008

Yesterday was the first time I participated in the Sutera Harbour 7K Sunset Charity Run. My friend, Teo, told me earlier that it would start around 5:30pm. I arrived there at about 5:10pm, but had to spend several minutes to look for a parking. I finally found one at quite a distance from the starting point. While Mia and I walked to the starting point, we were informed by a guard that the run was scheduled to start at 5:17pm. I don't know what's the significance of that time, but I intend to find out soon.

Anyway, we were about 100 metres, walking towards the starting point, when we heard the countdown on the loudspeaker; and then soon after we heard the loud blaring of the starting horn. We ran the remaining several metres to the starting point, but had to stop again because of the huge crowd—it was impossible to run. About 300 metres later, the gaps were building up and it was then possible to start running.

I turned back and saw Mia was still close behind me. It wasn't a very pleasant run because we had to maneuvre our way in between the big crowd. That was the condition of the run until almost 2 kilometres into the run.

The route was from the Marina Clubhouse to the internal Sutera Complex road; then making a turn all the way out to the coastal highway. Thereafter, turn towards Wawasan Plaza and up to the roundabout; and finally all the way back to the Marina Clubhouse. A total distance of about 7 kilometres.

By the time we were approaching the coastal highway (perhaps 2 kilometres into the run), the crowd had more or less spread out and it was finally possible to build up speed. I looked back again and Mia was no where in sight by then. The coastal highway to Wawasan was a straight stretch.

There was a "water station" just after the corner out from the Sutera Complex. I grabbed a cup and gulped down the whole content within a few seconds. Actually I had no plans to stop for drinks; it's after all a fairly short course of 7 km. But the sun was hot and the air was burning my lungs. After a dose of that 100 plus, I stepped my pace throughout that stretch up to Wawasan Plaza. There was another "water station" there, but I decided not to have any drink.

Well, I approached the roundabout, made my turn and head back towards Sutera Harbour. Just as I was making a turn at the coastal highway, I saw Mia coming from the opposite direction. At that point Mia was about a kilometre behind me. A little wave and smile to each other. I was feeling pretty OK then, so I decided to increase my pace.

Perhaps it had something to do with psychology, but it's strange that as I was approaching the final 500 metres of the run, I felt extremely exhausted. I had to fight the inclination to stop running.

It was quite a relief to finally see the finish point. A fellow Rotarian, George Ngui, was there to congratulate me. By the way the day before that George said he would join the Sutera run too. I did not know that by "joining the run" he meant as a spectator only.

Well, 7 kilometres in 39 minutes 16 seconds. Perhaps it's possible to shave a few more minutes if not for the big crowd. I must try to do better next year.

I was having my second cup of 100 plus when I saw Mia arrive with a time of about 47 minutes. I think she'll be just fine for the 10 km run this coming October 12. As for me, I can't imagine how I am gonna be able to complete the 21 km. Still so much more work to do to improve my pace and endurance.

So that adds up to an accumulated 22 km run for this week. Next week, I need to improve that to about 25 km somehow. I have stopped taking Lipitor for the time being; but instead have embarked on B complex and cod liver oil capsules. About 10 weeks to go for the half marathon. Bring it on!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Credit Cards

At one time owning credit cards was considered something grand. Back then only some people were entitled to own credit cards. In order to qualify for them, one had to have a minimum steady income; and there was a fixed annual fee charged.

But over the years, as the earning power of Malaysians improved, many more people have reached that minimum income level to qualify for the ownership of credit cards. And because of the competition among the many card merchants, the annual fees have generally been abolished. Even if there were annual fees, they are quite easily waived upon request.

Nowadays almost everyone has a credit card. In fact most people have several each. Every now and then we get to see credit card promotions in shopping malls or any other high pedestrian areas. There is in fact nothing special about having credit cards.

There are basically 3 types of cards—classic, gold and platinum. Broadly speaking, each type is meant for a certain income level, and therefore the credit limit would normally increase with each type. For example, the gold card has a higher charge limit over the classic card; whereas the platinum card has the highest charge limit over the rest. There are of course some exceptions.

I have several credit cards too. And I am not paying any annual fee. Each month I would receive an average of 2 phone calls from card promoters, some from west Malaysia. But I turned down the offers. Presently, I have at least 5 credit cards. Perhaps I have more than that, but I kinda lost track of the rest. Don't get me wrong, I don't enjoy collecting all those cards. In fact I hardly ever used them. But sometimes, because of trying to be nice to some people who I do business with, I had no choice but to accept those credit cards which were forced upon me.

I only use 2 of my credit cards, sometimes when I travel, sometimes when I do my grocery shopping. I am not very crazy about expensive branded goods, so I hardly ever charge a big amount to my cards—at most a few thousand bucks, but even those are very infrequent and far apart. I am also a bit paranoid about leaving a debt hanging when the payment is due. So I make it a point to make full payment when it's due, however much I've charged to my cards. To be very sure, I even signed an instruction to my bank to automatically deduct whatever payments, in full, from my account. That way it's not even possible that I can forget to pay. It's nice that all these could be arranged by the bank, isn't it?

However, as I said earlier, each card has a credit limit. Since I hardly ever charge a big amount to my cards anyway, I can't be bothered about credit limits; I'm not likely to reach those limits anyway. Therefore I don't really care if I hold a classic card or gold card. As far as I am concerned all these cards are the same.

Then about a year ago, there was one time I went to pay my life insurance policies. I have two insurance policies, you see. And I've opted for lump-sum annual payments too. It happened that the amount for those 2 policies came up to a little over RM10,000. I had to use both my cards to make those payments.

More recently, we had our annual dinner. At the end of the dinner, the bill came up to over RM10,000; and again I had to use both my cards to make the payment. Luckily the restaurant manager was kind enough to agree for a credit, which was to be settled by cheque at a later date. After that I started thinking of the inconvenience of the credit limits. It's still true that I hardly ever reach those limits, but it's still better if I have cards with higher limits.

I was having a yam-cha with a friend one day, and I told him about this credit card story. He said why not apply for a platinum card? Platinum cards are supposed to have higher limits. And I thought that's a good idea. But I never really looked into it, so the matter died off there and then.

Then about 2 weeks ago, I happened to be doing a small transaction in a bank wherein I have an account. While waiting in a queue, I noticed the application forms for credit cards. I took one and brought it back to the office. The general requirements for a platinum card are the same, except that the annual income is much higher than the other cards.

I filled up the form, made photocopies of some documents to prove my annual income, and then dropped it off at the bank. I was told that it would take a week or two for processing my application. But I told the clerk I don't really need it urgently, so they could take their time.

About a week later, I received a letter from the bank. I was surprised to have been informed that my application was rejected. I have never missed any payments for any of my credit cards before. I have an existing home loan with another bank, of which I am "over-paying" each month so that I can redeem the loan earlier by about 5 years (of a 15-year loan). As far as I am concerned, I have satisfied all the requirements in the application form. Of all the things that could go wrong with my application, I did not expect that it would be rejected. How embarrassing!

I don't really need the platinum card, and I don't intend to pursue the matter. But I wished the bank would at least give me a reason for rejecting my application. When I asked the clerk at the bank, he told me to call a toll-free number to get the answer. Now why would I make that call?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Promising Cure

Just the other day I was chit-chatting with a fellow Rotarian, Immediate Past Secretary, Dr Ravi. We were talking about heart diseases. He said it's strange that the Chinese are generally blessed with huge arteries whereas the Indians have relatively smaller arteries. Therefore when the Chinese have, say, 80% - 90% clogged arteries, a lot of the times they are in time for medical help. But when the Indians have that same degree of blockage, they will most probably not make it. I am not sure if this was based on his own clinical observations or from a madical literature.

On the other hand, the Chinese are prone to many kinds of cancer, e.g. colon, liver etc. Comparatively lesser number of the Indians suffer from these cancers. He said the "big guy up there" has a way to balance things up.

I don't know about the Indians, but as far as my family is concerned, there is a lot of truth in what Dr Ravi said. My grandmother died of liver cancer at the age of 65. Actually she had cervical cancer which she fought for quite a long time. The doctors recommended surgery at an early stage, but my grandmother refused. Some old people wouldn't go under the knife no matter what you tell them.

Instead, she went for the so-called traditional methods for healing. This sinsei, that sinsei; this bomoh, that bomoh. In the end, she couldn't stand the pain and agreed to go for the surgery.

By the time she agreed to the surgery, the doctors gave a 50%-50% chance of survival. Surprisingly the surgery was successful after all. However, her condition continued to deteriorate after the surgery. Upon further checks, the doctors realised that she had liver cancer too. Well, it was too late to do anything, and grandma died about 3 months after the surgery.

Last year, my niece died of cancer at the age of 21. It started on her left cheek. She went through a series of surgeries to remove the cancer and to repair her face. But a few months later, it was found that the cancer had spread into her brain. She died after fighting for about a year.

It was during those few months when my niece was fighting for her life that we heard of someone from Sarawak who reportedly could cure cancer by using herbal cocktails. He claimed to have cured many people. But by the time we found him, it was already too late. When my brother, Dennis, told me about this Sarawakian healer, I dismissed the claim of a cure for cancer. I remember telling Dennis that if indeed he had the cure for cancer he'd be a multi-millionaire by now.

But now that I have found this article, maybe there is hope for a cure for cancer after all. 70% success rate on an "incurable" disease sounds fantastic to me. Perhaps it won't be immediately available yet—many more clinical tests will have to be performed first—but who knows, in a couple of years from now, cancer might no longer be such a dreadful disease. At least we have now reached human testing stage, so I consider the vaccine as very promising. I am also glad to note that we have found a more useful purpose for tobacco.

With any luck, I might be able to see the cure for cancer during my lifetime. I hope so...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Healthy Project

These days it is becoming increasingly difficult for me to find the time to do physical exercises. By the time I come home from the office, I am always overwhelmed by laziness. There is this tendency to blame it on mental exhaustion from work, whatever that means. At other times, it would be raining in the evenings, so the jogging track would be out of the question.

I’ve asked many people which one they prefer to have more: wealth or health. The universal answer is health. Yet most people hardly ever spare the time for their health. They don’t really do any forms of decent aerobics exercise. Interestingly, however, quite a number of people spend a fortune on food supplements and some other vitamins in the hope of maintaining or improving their health. Anything but the forsaken physical exercise!

Last November, Y-Fitness was established in KK City Mall. That is very close to Taman Iramanis where I live. Membership is not exactly cheap as far as I am concerned, but I signed up anyway.

Now I have no more excuses not to exercise. Since all the equipment are located indoor, I can visit the gym any time from as early as 7:00 am in the morning up to 10:00 pm at night. I have been visiting the gym at an average of 3 times per week. And I would normally spend about 30 minutes running on the treadmill on each session. Depending on my mood—yes folks, men have moods too—I’d cover about 4 to 5 km per session. I have to force myself to keep it up, not only because my waistline would otherwise expand extremely fast, but also because I have a family history of diabetes and obesity, leading to heart problems.

Then I read about the Borneo International Marathon scheduled for 12 October this year. We don’t have many marathons organized here in KK. In fact, I can’t remember if we have had any before this. What we had in the past were short courses of 10 km and below; not marathons.

I have never joined any marathon before. The mere thought of 42 km makes me cringe with pain. I don’t think I have it in me to run—and keep running—for that distance. But upon reading up the Borneo International Marathon website, I noticed that there is such a thing as half-marathon, which means a distance of 21 km only. That is still a great distance for me, but at least it doesn’t sound so impossible to achieve.

Would it be possible for me to stretch the 4 to 5 km I normally do in the gym to 21 km? I think I can do it. There is only one way to find out. But I will need to train up my body for the feat.

And so yesterday morning, I went for a comprehensive medical check-up. In particular, I wanted to know if my heart is up to it. I think not many 43-year olds would go for a comprehensive medical check-up, but you know, with my family history and all, I decided not to take the risk. Well, it turned out that my blood pressure is borderline high, but not serious enough for me to have sleepless nights. And after doing a short session on the treadmill, the doctor gave me a clean bill of health. All those high-tech machines did not find any inconsistency in my heartbeats etc.

So bring it on! It's probably a good excuse to buy a new pair of shoes anyway. I heard that Adidas is offering RM50 discounts at selected outlets in KK in conjunction with the Borneo International Marathon. Not that I don't know that the original prices are several hundred percent overpriced anyway.

I have a little less than 3 months to train up for the 21 km run. Time is running short, so I will have to build up the distance within quite a short timeframe. I will have to make more visits to the gym—perhaps at least 4 to 5 times a week. Next week, I will try to accumulate up to 20 km. Then gradually increase that to 25 km to 30 km to 35 km and so on in the following weeks. Such a great jump from the average 15 km I usually accumulate per week.

I searched through some of my old stuffs and found this old bathroom scale. As of yesterday morning, I weighed about 73 kg. I‘m aiming to reduce that to at least 65 kg by 12 October.

I reckon that the treadmill sessions and the weight-loss (hopefully) should be able to help me to build up my speed and endurance. I was told that there is a time limit of 3 hours to complete the run. If I’m going to do this at all, I might as well do it within the allocated time. There is not much point if I were to walk all the way and reach the finish line when everyone had gone home.

So much to do in such a short time. While I am a bit worried of the task, I am also excited of the challenge.

I hope I will survive this to tell you all about it after 12 October.

Friday, July 18, 2008

KK Challenge 4—Acidic Acid

Another question from my recent KK Challenge 4, which was discussed with the masters shortly after the hunt. I had intended to discuss it in this blog earlier on, but had somehow forgotten about it until it came up again in a recent exchange of emails with the master.

Q) Partially dry acid at this retail outlet?

The kind of question that might be considered as "loose" when the components are treated independently. For example, "partially dry", if taken independently (and literally) might be referring to the word "damp" or "lembab". It can also mean "dr" or "ry" cryptically (partial of the word dry). In that sense one might say it's not an exclusive fit.

Then the word "acid" might be referring to, say, amino or hydrochloric; "retail outlet" might be shop, supermarket etc.

Three components with several possibilities with not much else in the clue to help the solver. The way to solve this question is to scan the sector and hopefully find something there will fit all these 3 components.

A) Dr Phone Shop

Partially dry = DR

acid = PHONE (pH1)

retail outlet = SHOP

The answer on the board covers all the components found in the question. But although the master found this answer, she wasn't very happy with ACID = PHONE.

Now we all know our basic science—pH7 is neutral; above pH7 is alkaline; less than pH7 is acidic. The question we need to ask ourselves now is: Can we agree to equate pH1 to ACID?

After all, pH is a measurement of acidity/alkaline. Therefore, shouldn't we say that pH1 is acidic rather than acid?

My answer is yes, we can equate pH1 to ACID. When I was working on this question, I foresaw this argument coming. In fact, I tried very hard to adopt the word acidic instead of acid. But I couldn't make a decent sentence with acidic. Since I was forced to use the word acid, I had to think hard and long on its accuracy in this context.

One of the many meanings of the word acid is "having pH less than 7". After a lengthy consideration, I decided it is OK to use acid because pH1 is acidic. And an acid is most certainly acidic.

Consider this hypothetical question:

Q) Acid?

A) pH1

If you can't find, say, amino or hydrochloric within that sector, would you opt for pH1 as your answer, assuming there is a board containing that? And would you be happy with that answer?

Now consider this famous question discussed in the RR Blog some time ago:



Now this is a little bit more complicated. The "I" in the middle of the question is a roman numeral for ONE; and it is contained by the word ELAM (MALE reversed). The setter had intended to equate MALE to XY.

Let's ask that question along similar lines again: Can we accept XY = MALE?

Scientifically speaking, X and Y are names given to the sex chromosomes. The combination of the X and Y chromosomes would result in the male gender. So strictly speaking, XY = CHROMOSOMES or at least GENES. But to equate XY to MALE is a bit loose. One might question the possibility of XY referring to other mathematical formula?

But, if taken as a whole, the ONE supports and confirms the XY, which is reversed to become YONEX.

My view is that if we have a hypothetical question of, say:



I would not accept it.

XY need not necessarily refer to the sex chromosomes. But in the actual hunt question, there is that ONE to confirm the answer. So in that case, I would accept it.

I think sometimes we need to look at the question from the overall point of view. But of course if we can come up with a perfect fit for all the components of the question, even if treated independently, that is even better!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Time Bomb

Last night I went for a casual committee meeting at Restoran Kak Nong, off Jalan Bundusan. It was raining quite heavily and only some of us Rotarians were able to make it. We had rojak ayam and ABC, so much for my plan to lose weight for the marathon!

Anyway, before we went into the meeting proper, we talked about so many other topics. It's quite a lot of fun exchanging views about current issues.

We talked about climbing Mount Kinabalu and altitude sickness; the several alternative routes to approach the peak. Also health issues and some technical matters on angiogram and cholesterol-lowering drugs. I was also pleasantly surprised that Dr Ravi will be joining the 7 km Sutera Sunset Run too next Saturday. At least now I know I have a running partner (that is if Dr Ravi doesn't leave me too far behind!).

Then we talked about politics—SAPP's vote of no confidence against the Prime Minister. We talked about some other politicians; we all agreed that Anwar did it.

This topic, that topic—and then we talked about HIV and AIDS. The phrase "time bomb" was used. I was surprised to have been told that the AIDS problem in Sabah is quite serious. It seems that a fair number of the folks from the villages are carriers fo the HIV virus. Apparently one of the most viable explanations is that some of the young men went off to the bigger cities, got involved in drugs, shared needles and became infected with the virus. The young girls went to the big cities (outside Sabah), became involved in the flesh trade somehow, and later brought home the virus. These people then infected some more people back home. I have a feeling this problem is not isolated to Sabah only; perhaps it's the same story throughout Malaysia.

If the above is true—and I can't see why the good doctor would lie—then I think that phrase "time bomb" is easily justifiable here. Many people are going to fall seriously ill and then die like flies. I doubt that we have the resources to treat these people.

I think Marina Mahathir has an uphill task ahead.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Kuala Lumpur—Seen Through The Eyes Of Rudy

Many of us who have experienced city life have the tendency to take things for granted. Those who are used to the kind of infrastructure or any other facilities available in the city might find it hard to cope in the rural areas. Most of us have forgotten where we came from; of how far we have progressed...

We have about 60 employees in our KK office. This year we picked 4 of them for a few days' visit to Kuala Lumpur (KL). They were Ejrailah Rasid, Boyed, Karen and Dolnah. Except for Karen, the rest have never been to KL before. Ejrailah has never even been on an airplane in his entire life. Never mind about how to pronounce his name—all of us in the office have not come to a consensus on what's the correct pronunciation. Anyway, to keep things simple, he has come to be known as Rudy.

The company paid for the airfares and lodging. It's an opportunity of a lifetime for these people. The plane was scheduled to depart a little after 7 am last Friday. Rudy, being a first timer, was somewhat unsure how much earlier he should be at the airport to check in before departure. Well, he arrived at the airport at 3am. The excitement was simply too overwhelming that he stayed awake the entire night.

About an hour before the flight the other three arrived for the check in. Unfortunately, they were unaware that the 7am flight has been cancelled, and their seats have been moved to the 4pm flight. Yes, AirAsia is quite famous for that. Well, to make the long story short, they somehow managed to get onto the 9am flight. I don't quite know what happened throughout that 2 hours in the airplane—it must have been exciting for Rudy—but, yes, he did find out how to put on the safety belt and how to undo it. I hope he was informed that there're toilets onboard.

Upon reaching LCCT, they took a bus to KL Sentral. Thereafter they walked across the road to the Monorail station. Rudy was impressed to see a train that didn't produce any smoke. And the train was passing above the city overlooking many buildings and the highways below.

Soon, they arrived at the place where they're to spend the next 2 nights. A short rest, and then it was time to explore the city! Now I am a bit mixed up on the sequence of the visits, but I will try to cover as much as my memory can cope based on what Rudy told me.

They went to KLCC where, according to Rudy, they walked until his legs began to ache. Soon it was time for a meal. They reached an eatery. Scanning the signboard, he saw a meal that cost RM7.60. He quickly went to the front of the queue. There was a variety of food. He chose ikan rumahan (fish) being the cheapest he could afford. The rest had the common sense to wait and watch the whole process. Then he went to the counter and was told that his meal cost RM21.00. Of course Rudy was shocked; he turned back to see the others slowly moving away. He said he finished his food budget for the day.

Later they went to Aquaria KLCC. They took many pictures and he was very proud showing them to his colleagues in the office this afternoon. Surprisingly Rudy has a flair for posing for the camera; lots and lots of "V" signs with the fingers, if you know what I mean.

They also went to some sort of science centre where Rudy took a picture with his face appearing as if he's in a space suit. But he wasn't very happy with that picture, because he said he looked like a corpse.

In the evening, they went to the night market at Chow Kit Road. He's amazed to have been told that the so-called night market actually encroaches into the wee hours of the morning, and closes at around 4am. In Kota Kinabalu (KK), night markets usually mean they will close around midnight.

After buying some T-shirts, Rudy suggested to Boyed that they should try to walk back to the apartment. Apparently they could see the building from Chow Kit Road. It's not exactly near, but might as well take the opportunity to walk and explore the area. Well, they walked and walked for an hour or so and found themselves making a big circle and ended up in the exact spot where they had started. The concrete jungle wasn't that straightforward after all. So in the end, they gave up and took the Monorail.

The next day was even more exciting. They made a trip to Genting Highland. We don't have a casino here in KK. So it would be fun to see how people throw away their money up in the hills. Upon disembarking the bus, Rudy was surprised to see the mode of transportation up to the casinos. They queued up for a few minutes, and soon found themselves in the cable car. Again it was a scary feeling hanging by the cable like that. They spent their day exploring the park and hotels/casinos. But soon it was already time to leave.

I think they spent several more hours exploring the city the next day before making their way to the airport. By then I'm sure Rudy must have been told that there're toilets in the plane. It's good that the aircraft manufacturers thought of the toilets, you know.

Rudy was so excited this morning, telling his colleagues of his wonderful experience. The city that never sleeps, he said. He has learned that in KL fish is more expensive than beef and chicken. It is understandable why he thought ikan rumahan is the cheapest. In KK, I usually buy rumahan between RM5 to RM7 per kg (depending on the weather) merely as bait for my fishing trips. I'm sure it is expensive in KL. I think Rudy will remember that RM21 meal in KL for the rest of his life.

I am so happy for Rudy for learning all those new stuff within just 3 days and 2 nights. I'm sure he feels a whole lot more experienced and wiser now.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Situation Vacant

We are putting up an ad in the local papers tomorrow for the position of Research Executive. Since there are many Sabahan readers of this blog, I thought I might as well take advantage of that and post the notice here too.


1) Degree in Estate Management or Economics;

2) Good written and spoken English (Ability to speak in Chinese would an added advantage);

3) Computer literate;

4) Able to work independently with initiative.

The successful applicant shall be mainly in charge of the collection of data relating to property development and the analysis of general economic trends. He/she shall be attached to our Kota Kinabalu office at the address given below.

Interested candidates please write in with full resume and non-returnable passport size photograph before 26 July to:

The Manager
P O Box 14414
88850 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Only shortlisted candidates will be notified for interview.

My First YouTube Slideshow

I have just inserted another slideshow in the first report of KK Challenge 4. But I thought perhaps I'd try again using youtube in a fresh post. This slideshow is way overdue, but I've just learned how to do it now! I consider this yet another major breakthrough... never thought I could learn all this! Enjoy!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Loyalty & Obedience

Is there any difference between loyalty and obedience? Some people—in fact many people—seem to think that these two words, although having different meanings, should be treated as the same. Hence, when someone disobeys our wishes, then that amounts to disloyalty.

If, for example, I am the Prime Minister of Malaysia, and I made an announcement that Mr So-And-So should succeed me when I retire; and there is no need for the election process. I think we can all agree that it is an act of disobedience if a member of my party disagrees with my decision? But does it amount to disloyalty too? Maybe it is indeed an act of disloyalty to the Prime Minister, but I am not sure if it's disloyalty to the party.

Should the members of the party be allowed to object to the decisions of the President? Should those decisions be made by the members, perhaps through the voting system? In fact, shouldn't that be the case in a true democratic system?

Well, I am not the Prime Minister of Malaysia, and I guess I will never know if anyone in the party would challenge my orders if I were the Prime Minister. But I can imagine it must be great if you can get people to obey you unconditionally. The closest I get to that kind of power is over my dog, Boomer. I bought Boomer when he was about a month old. And I started training him myself when he was about 6 months old. It took an accummulated 6 months more or less to train him, plus the occasional "reminder" lessons.

This is Boomer during dinner. He gets one big meal each day. As you can see, he is not exactly underfed. In fact, I am planning to reduce his food so that he can lose some weight. He is slightly over 40 kg now. Anyway, it's been about 24 hours since his last meal. So you can imagine his hunger at this stage. But at this moment, I've given him the DOWN command. He can't even sit up. He must obey me unconditionally.

And this is after the SIT command. He's still not supposed to eat. He can look at the food, but not eat it. He looks at me pleadingly, but he shall not eat until I allow him to do so.

And finally, this is Boomer after the EAT command. He jumps up, and lunged forward to his meal. Usually, he can finish the whole thing within 3 minutes.

That's what you call unconditional loyalty and obedience. But wait! I wonder if it has anything to do with fear of punishment?

Anyway, I think Boomer has the quality to be a politician; don't you think so?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The In Thing

Is it me, or is anal sex fast becoming a favourite pastime of some very important people in Malaysia? It seems to be the in thing, huh? If they're false accusations, must it be anal sex? I'm sure we could use some originality in those accusations.

This fellow has an obsession of becoming the next Prime Minister of Malaysia. At one time, he was almost there. In some ways, he was already there. But for the sodomy charges, he would be there today. Instead, he was thrown into prison for a few years, beaten up real bad, subjected to arsenic poisoning, and finally released and now still obsessed with wanting to become the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

This fellow, on the other hand, also wants to become the Prime Minister of Malaysia. But it does not appear like an obsession. I say it does not appear like an obsession, but he might well be obsessed with the idea too.

Well, both these men—one of them will probably be the next Prime Minister of Malaysia—allegedly have a special fascination and attraction to the anus. But of these 2 fellows, the first one makes better headlines in my opinion. He is not attracted to just any anus. No—it has to be the anus of a young man.

I'm just trying to understand that fascination. As a man it is not even possible for me to become aroused when I see the anus of another man. If anything, I find it disgusting instead. But I guess it takes all sorts to make the world, huh?

Of those who were supposed to have been the "victims" of the above politicians, the woman did not make it to tell her story. She was shot twice in the head and then blown up into pieces in the jungle.

The other victim—and this one is even more interesting—is a young man who actually volunteered his services during the recent general election. Maybe he did not specify the kind of services he volunteered for when he signed up. He was allegedly sodomized by the pervert politician. He lives to tell his story (what a way for the fiancee to find out that her man is no longer a virgin). It is unclear whether there was any element of force, but if indeed he was forced, I find it strange that a man in his early twenties was overpowered by a 60-year old man. I can only guess that it's some kind of (sexual) hormonal reactions that helped the 60-year old man, much the same way how Dr Bruce Banner can suddenly transform into The Incredible Hulk, if you know what I mean.

The other possibility is duress, e.g. the old man put a gun to the poor chap's head. Or perhaps he employed bodyguards who helped him pinned down the young man while he had his way with him. There is yet another possibility; that the young man consented to the act. But in that case, I'm not sure if he can still qualify as a victim? In fact, if indeed this third possibility is the correct one, the so-called "victim" should be punished too.

I hope these accusations are all merely entertainments, cooked up to amuse us Malaysians in the light of escalating cost of living. It's a scary thought that our next Prime Minister is a sodomite freak!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Hormonal Reactions

Since I was a teenager, I am not known as a very interesting guy. I have no style; no class. Girls my age used to find me very boring. Although my playboy dad used to smoke up to 4 packets of cigarettes per day, I couldn't stand it. The smoke gets into the clothes and hair; and not to forget, it potentially shortens my life too.

Neither do I like liquor—any kind, even beer (although some people don't really consider beer as liquor). On several occasions I tried drinking beer as I was told by some friends that moderate consumption of beer could have medicinal benefits. Others suggested red wine. I tried 'em all, but did not find 'em agreeing with my taste buds.

Anyway, did you know that all types of liquors contain a very small amount of women's hormone? Not much though—only very, very little. I must have read of a research done some time ago, but I can't remember where. When a normal man drinks a large amount of liquor, the women's hormone will begin to show its effect. The man will gradually lose his ability to drive; and he will start talking a whole lot of nonsense. If you don't believe me, go on and try several shots of whiskey. I bet you will get those symptoms too.

Well, I'm not a doctor, but I reckon perhaps this guy had too much to drink. Maybe he should consider laying off those liquors for the next few months. That might help.


I was pleasantly surprised by an email from one of my fans this morning. He said that the next post, i.e. this very post, will be the 200th post since I started this blog. He said he's looking forward to my next 200 posts. Frankly, I haven't been counting. But indeed it is true that I've entered that many posts over a period of 9 months. Come to think of it, I surprise myself for achieving that many posts within 9 months!

Some other people have written to me, asking me where I got the ideas for the articles in this blog. I told them that I did not actually do anything special; I did not spend my days thinking very hard on what else to write about. But of course sometimes some friends brought up some interesting topics and I'd rush to my blog to write about them.

When a friend suggested that I start my own blog, I must admit that I was doubtful with that idea. I was worried about the special knowledge that might be required to manage my blog. Then I was also worried if I had it in me to continue posting; I wondered if this blog's gonna die in no time.

But in the end, I spent that first 10 minutes to create this blog. Then I simply put my fingers to the keyboard and let my mind start flowing. And now, 9 months later, I am still enjoying myself, sharing my life experiences, blogging my random thoughts, and commenting and discussing about treasure hunts.

Writing about a variety of topics and exchanging ideas with my readers have been an enriching experience for me. I hope it has been the same for you too. I hope I have it in me to keep entertaining all my fans.

Thank you for your interest in my articles. Contrary to my earlier fears, this blog is not dying after all.

9 months and counting!

Sunday, July 6, 2008


"He has no credibility"

—Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, commenting on the man who declared some very disturbing things about him. [The Star]

Why bother saying it at all? Of course as far as Najib is concerned, Bala has no credibility. It's not like any of us Malaysians was expecting Datuk Seri to say otherwise.

"He was going to see the police. How much safer can you be?"

—Americk Singh, former lawyer of Balasubramaniam, responding to the question on why didn't he advise his client about his personal safety. [The Star]

As a Malaysian lawyer, Mr Americk Singh doesn't seem to be a very bright chap.

In Malaysia, even the biggest boss in the police force had the history of beating up a prisoner while in their legal custody. A man can somehow mysteriously end up with arsenic poisoning while in prison.

Police personnels have been involved in blowing up an unarmed woman into pieces.

A teenage girl was stopped by the police while she was out with her boyfriend on a motorbike. They were brought to the police station for "interrogation". She was then ordered to perform oral sex on the pervert policeman; and then later raped by the same man.

So much for safety while in police custody.

No—I wouldn't say that it is safe to be around the police—far from it! I might not survive the kind of "interrogation" they conduct.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Surviving Dead Phones

Can you still remember the first day you owned a cellphone? When was that? 5 years ago? 10 years? 15 years? Well, I can't remember exactly when I had my very first cellphone, but I'd say it must be around the mid-nineties. That was such a long time ago.

The first time I had a cellphone, I had quite a shock when a friend called me up. It was a cellphone designed for women, you see. I carried my phone in my trousers' pocket. When the first call came in, it started to vibrate!

Anyway, cellphones have been around in Malaysia a little longer than that. I remember the good 'ol days when some rich people were going around carrying what appeared like bricks which were attached to "briefcases". There were also long and ugly antennas jutting out of those "briefcases". Back then owning a cellphone was a grand thing—it could even make heads turn.

With the progress in tele-communication technology in Malaysia, cellphones are common "toys" these days. Almost everyone has it. Just a couple of months ago, my 13 year old nephew was asking his daddy to buy him one. And he wasn't just asking for any phone, it had to come with all those high-tech functions too. Apparently, my brother, Dennis, said that his son needed the phone so that he could get in touch with him from his boarding school. Yes, he made the cut to enter the boarding school, you see.

Anyway, it suddenly occured to me to wonder how did we survive without cellphones in the past? As far as I can remember, we coped just fine back then? How did we come to a stage where our lives can become so miserable without the cellphones?

Since Monday morning Maxis has been dead almost the whole time up to this morning. It did come back on for short periods every now and then. And all of us Maxis subscribers in KK were miserable.

Is there a day we don't send a text message to someone? Is there a day we don't make a call from our cellphones? Is there a day we can leave home without our cellphones (unless of course if we left it there unintentionally)?

I don't know how much business I have lost over the last 3 days alone. And I found it annoying that Maxis did not even bother to inform us subscribers what is going on. I told Pat to call up the Maxis centre in Damai to find out, but they were not answering calls. Then by this afternoon, the service has apparently been fully restored again.

And only now we get a text message from Maxis:

Thank you for your patience and support during our recent service disruption. Full service is being restored.

What the hell—do we deserve at least an apology to start with? And what exactly is the meaning of "being restored"? Does that mean it hasn't been fully restored yet? Does anyone know what is going on?