Saturday, February 28, 2009

Putrajaya Critical Mass 27 Feb 2009

This was my second ride in the PCM. By the look of it (except for the start-off time), things are turning out for the better.

First, the RV was shifted from the Food Court area of Precinct 9 to the Dataran Putrajaya in Precinct 3. With this, things became more orderly as riders could congregate in the middle of the Boulevard without causing disruption to traffic. The Dataran is also well-lit by the special flood light. So now, the claim that “safety of all riders is a main priority” doesn’t ring hollow anymore.

No doubt in a Critical Mass we want to claim the roads for cyclists. But we also want to do it right – and responsibly.

Second, there was ample parking space for all to park their cars on the yet to be developed plots close to and around the Perbadanan Putrajaya Complex and the Palace of Justice. Very convenient for everybody.

Third, the Dataran Putrajaya is also the venue and starting point for Le Tour de Langkawi and the Putrajaya Cyclefest. So, as an extension to those prestigious events, it is only befitting that the Dataran also hosts PCM. Yup, Dataran Putrajaya is fast becoming a major destination on the world cycling map (wow!).

As a town planner, I’m thrilled. After all, this is what the Dataran was built for. It is a public realm purposely designed for public usage and enjoyment in mind.

I rode with the PERs gang. Having laid off riding for two weeks, I was huffing and puffing a bit on my mtb trying to stay in touch with the rest of the gang.

This is especially because many of the PERs members are now “converted roadies”. Last night many turned up with their road bikes. Bedesup!!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Real Madrid 0 - 1 Liverpool

Liverpool beat Real Madrid 0 -1 in the Champions League after an unmarked Benayoun nodded past the helpless Real keeper Casillas. As always, the Champions League brought out the best of Liverpool under manager Rafael Benitez.

Now to get back to winning ways in the English Premier League and overhaul Man United’s seven point lead. Impossible? Don’t bet on it (not yet, anyway).

What do you think, Syafiq? Can we do it?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Pantun nasihat

Posting kali ini ditujukan khusus buat anak-anak Abah yang disayangi.

Mula-mula, kita berpantun dahulu.

Buah cempedak di luar pagar
Ambil galah tolong jolokkan
Saya budak baru belajar
Kalau salah tolong tunjukkan.

Pantun ini ialah sebuah pantun Melayu klasik. Abah percaya semua anak-anak Abah pernah mendengar dan mengungkapkannya.

Sebagaimana lazimnya pantun-pantun Melayu, ia membawa maksud dan tunjuk ajar yang cukup baik dan indah, dengan cara yang ringkas dan padat.

“Saya budak baru belajar” menggambarkan sifat Melayu kita yang berbudi bahasa dan beradab. Ini adalah sifat yang mulia yang perlu kita berpegang teguh kepadanya.

Namun, pada Abah, apa yang lebih penting di sini adalah ayat keempat iaitu:

“Kalau salah tolong tunjukkan”

Ayat ini membawa maksud yang amat penting sekali.

Ia mengajar kita supaya sentiasa belajar dan mempunyai sifat ingin tahu. Bukan itu sahaja. Malah ia mengajak kita supaya, dalam kita hendak belajar itu, janganlah sesekali takut untuk membuat kesilapan. Jauh sekali berkecil hati sekiranya ditegur.

Buat kata orang putih, “it’s okay to make mistakes”. Ia bukanlah suatu dosa yang tidak boleh dimaafkan.

Apa yang "tidak okay” adalah sekiranya kita tidak belajar dari kesilapan yang lepas. Dan, yang keduanya, jikalau kita tidak berani untuk mengaku kesilapan yang kita lakukan - malah merajuk atau berkecil hati pula bila ditegur.

Kesimpulannya: Janganlah takut untuk membuat kesilapan dalam kita hendak belajar. Sentiasa bersikap optimistik. Sentiasa berfikiran terbuka kepada teguran. Beranikan diri untuk bersoal, dan beranikan diri juga untuk disoal orang lain. Takda hal punya!

Itulah cara terbaik untuk belajar. Sekian dahulu ya.

Nota: Gambar cempedak yang cantik di atas ehsan Pak Teh. Gambar dirakam di halaman rumah Opah di Kampung Kepayang.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Rugby: the gentlemen’s game

If there is one sport which continues to mystify me, it’s rugby.

I have never played the game. Nor ever came close to doing it. For, my boarding school in Perlis back then didn’t have a rugby field. In any case, Perlis was too small a state to have a proper inter-school rugby tournament.

But during my student days in the UK, during the rugby season, rugby match highlights received a lot of coverage. International matches between England and Scotland (traditional rival) and Wales (arch-rival?) could make the streets empty.

What intrigues me is the sight of burly, heavily-built men sprinting across the field as if they weigh half their actual weight. That, and the fact that these seemingly violent game manage to never invoke violence on and off the field.

Etiquette, it seems, is a large part of the game. Unlike what you see during soccer matches, the referee's judgment is never questioned.

The honour of the sport and mutual respect between teams is upheld regardless of how rough a game may be. Thus, the saying “rugby is a beastly game played by gentlemen; soccer is a gentleman's game played by beasts; football (American) is a beastly game played by beasts”.

May be this has to do with the origin of the sport. You see, rugby originated at an English public school. Perhaps a misnomer, ‘public schools’ are actually fee-charging private independent schools (read: schools for the rich, lah...).

It was said that in 1823, during a game of soccer at Rugby School in England, a 16 year old William Webb Ellis in disregard for the rules (or bored, perhaps) picked up the ball and ran with it. Apparently everyone must have agreed with him that it was much more fun. Soon the whole school adopted the new rules and word quickly spread. And so the game of rugby was born.

Since then it has spread to all over the world. The game enjoys its greatest popularity in Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and France. And of course, it is the forerunner of American football.

Malaysia, being a commonwealth nation, is one of the earliest nations to play rugby (see here). In fact we host the world’s premiere rugby 10s tournament which is the COBRA 10 (see here).

The pics below show my son Syafiq during a match against his current college team (MRSM KKB) recently. His team comprises seniors presently waiting for their SPM result.

Being low on match fitness, as expected, the seniors were trounced 16 - 0!!! (maluuu...)

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Gaza Holocaust 2009: history repeated

They say that “history repeats itself”. And so it has.

Witness the recent Gaza Holocaust. The grandchildren of the holocaust survivors from World War II are doing onto the Palestinians exactly what was done to them by Nazi Germany.

Just look at the pictures below.

Ironic isn't it?

The question that begs to be answered is this: why do the Palestinians have to pay for what happened to the Jews during World War II?

Beats me. Can anyone figure?

Building walls and fences to keep people in prisons

Checkpoints everywhere to not allow the people their basic freedom and movement

Arrests and harassments

Destruction of homes and livelihoods

Killing of innocent civilians, including children