Sunday, August 31, 2008

Rider's log No. 38: Gita Bayu

Date: 31st August 2008 (Sunday)

Set off/finish time: 6.40am - 8.10am

Total duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

Starting point: Home, Bandar Tun Hussein Onn

Route taken: Cheras Perdana, Silk Highway, Balakong Industrial Estate, Gita Bayu, Minlon (turning point).

Distance covered: 24.36 km

Max. speed: 41.5km/h

Trail condition: Road + bits of unpaved trail

General notes:

Its Merdeka day, and its a Sunday. The roads and highways are almost clear from traffic. That is why I was looking forward to this one.

Plus, its the last ride before Ramadhan. Come Ramadhan I shall do short rides only, just so that I won't get rusty and to keep my Merida company.

But I didn't have it all easy, though. On two occasions I was ambushed by dogs. In the second incident (after Minlon) I was literally surrounded by them, and they looked dead serious on getting their teeth into me.

Obviously nobody had told them its Merdeka Day today, and that they're supposed to take the day off. Phew! For a while there I thought I was going to be shredded to pieces.

It was an enjoyable ride, nevertheless. The traffic were forgiving and my Merida was in good form and game for anything today.

Merdeka! and Selamat Menyambut Ramadhan.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


I cannot help but notice that this year's Merdeka celebration is a thoroughly subdued affair.

The number of cars flying the mini-Jalur Gemilang is noticeably much, much less than in previous years. Even government office buildings in Putrajaya - the Federal Government Administrative Centre - only put up a few token flags up.

The same goes for residential premises.

In my neighbourhood, flags only started to be noticeable immediately the day after the by-election in Permatang Pauh. It was as if, somehow, people had decided that suddenly now there is reason enough to be joyous and celebrate Merdeka.

The reason? Well, I leave it to you to interpret.

Malaysia is 51. So, Happy Merdeka Day.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Reds sitting pretty at the top

Gerrard scoring the winning goal

I watched the Liverpool versus Middlesbrough match last night with my sons Syafiq (the hard core supporter ) and Anas (the newly-converted Liverpool fan).

A hard fought match it was, and Liverpool were not at their best. But what matters is that -despite under-performing - we won and secured the full three points.

This morning, after buying nasi lemak for breakfast, I stopped by at the local Petronas petrol station to get my usual supply of Sunday morning papers. What a nice read it was. And what a pleasant viewing it was to my eyes too, as there on the sports page was splashed the EPL table which clearly showed Liverpool right on top of the pile followed by Blackburn, Hull and Newcastle.

The usual top contenders were no where to be seen. Chelsea came in at fifth place and Arsenal thirteenth. And Man United? Oh! there they are at fifteenth spot. Forgive me for not noticing you down there.

Yes. I know its still early days. But its just too nice to let it pass by and not brag about it.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I was in Ipoh to visit my parents over the weekend. But on Tuesday night, just before maghrib, I dashed back to Ipoh again.

Emak was admitted to hospital due to a serious condition of hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia, or commonly called low blood sugar, happens when blood sugar level drops too low to provide enough energy for one’s body's activities. This happens when the level of glucose drops to about 3.0mmol/l and below. When Emak was admitted, her reading was already around 2.0mmol/l and she was almost unconscious.

Hypoglycemia can occur in people with diabetes who take certain medications to keep their blood glucose levels in control, which is the case with Emak. She was on an overdose of her medication and, to compound matters further, she had not felt like eating since the day before.

As someone with a sweet tooth myself (yes, I am fond of sweet foods) I have to be careful too. Diabetes lurks.

And, unfortunately, it runs in the family.

Exercising regularly, reducing fat and calorie intake, and losing weight are the three main steps for preventing the onslaught of diabetes. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. Easier said than done. But still.

Alhamdulillah my beloved Emak is now recovering. She is still weak. But otherwise she is alert and her appetite is back.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Our first gold medal beckons

Shuttler, Lee Chong Wei did us proud by beating his South Korean opponent in the singles quarterfinals match this evening. My family and I were glued to the TV screen watching the match.

In so doing, Chong Wei guarantees that we have, at the very least, a silver medal to bring home.

If his winning streak continues right into the finals match, then it's a gold in the bag for Malaysia. Our first ever.

But to do that he would have to go against the Great Wall of China - in the form of world number 1, Lin Dan.

Go ahead Chong Wei. Show 'em what you've got. We've got nothing to lose. All Malaysians will be rooting for you.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Beijing Olympics 2008

They call it the greatest show on Earth. Judging by the show put up by hosts China during the opening ceremony, one can see why.

But that was just for starters. Now that the ceremony is over, let the games begin.

Over the course of next two weeks sports lovers will be treated to an overdose of sporting events. I shall be particularly on the look the lookout for results in badminton, cycling and archery - events which I think Malaysia has a decent chance of performing well.

Will this be the Olympics that we get our first gold medal? Only time will tell.

The problem with our athletes is that we just can't get over the "jaguh kampung" curse. If that trend continues, then I guess we'd just have to wait for the time when we become the hosts ourselves.

Now, that could take a while yet.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The kite runner (2)

A beautiful Afghanisan landscape

I finished reading The Kite Runner four days after I started. The short time span taken reflects the great interest the book held on me.

It is a story about loyalty. It is also about self respect and being true to oneself.

After betraying his good friend, Hassan, during their childhood days, Amir was haunted by his act many years later into adulthood.

But in the end he had the chance to redeem himself – by rescuing Hassan’s son. And how he redeemed himself indeed. He had to pay much for his earlier betrayal by enduring lots of pain – emotionally and physically.

Okay. That much I would say about the story in the book.

The rest is for one to discover him or herself by reading it personally. Or, by catching the movie. The novel has been turned into a movie in 2007.

What’s more interesting to me now, is that The Kite Runner has piqued my interest in Afghanistan.

Like everyone else, of course I have seen and heard a lot about Afghanistan on the television. It has been in the news ever since 1979 when the Soviet invaded it.

But I never listened nor looked with real interest. I saw images of Afghanistan with my eyes. And listened with my ears. But never with my heart.

Not anymore, I hope. Now, I know Afghanistan is a great Muslim nation, with a long and proud history.

Sadly though, Afghanistan is also a nation which has been torn and ravaged by wars as invaders one after another continue to conquer her.

The current situation is not much different either.

A puppet leader is put in place by a foreign superpower merely to safeguard its regional security interests. This has seen Afghanistan turning into an impoverished country, one of the world's poorest and least developed.

Demographically, Afghanistan is ethnically mixed. This reflects its location astride historic trade and invasion routes leading from Central Asia into South Asia and Southwest Asia.

The major ethnic group is Pashtun (Amir’s ethnic group). Other, smaller, groups include the Tajiks, the Hazara (Hassan’s ethnic group) and a few more.

The most common languages spoken in Afghanistan are Persian and Pashto. But Persian is the most widely used language. It is an Indo-European language from the Iranian languages sub-family.

This explains why the book was sprinkled with many familiar words, i.e. words which are found in the Malay language such as hadiah, shalwar (seluar), naan, quwat (kuat), watan (tanah air), and biryani.

Religiously, Afghans are over 99% Muslims. Islam plays a key role in the formation of Afghanistan's society. Despite the early thirteenth century Mongol invasion of the nation, even a brutal warrior in the form of Genghis Khan could not uproot Islamic civilization.

In fact, within two generations, his heirs had become Muslims themselves.

You know, actually, once a year a group of Afghan men would visit my neighbourhood in Bandar Tun Huseein Onn. They come in collection of alms to build schools and madrasahs in the remote parts of Afghanistan, they say.

They come well prepared with documentations and photos to prove their genuine cause. But still, when I hand out my small donation, questions would still hang on my mind, “is this truly for a worthy cause? Are they honest people? ”

Yes, I know. I should practice “husnuzon”, bersangka baik. But still…

But the next time they come around, it shall be different, insyaAllah. There is now a feeling of kinship with them. We are brothers, after all.

"Oh mankind, We created you from a single (pair)of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes,so that you may know (recognize) each other"

(Al-Quran, Al-Hujrat 49:13).