Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hello? Anybody Home?

Yesterday, we had cleaned the fishpond -- that was exhausting. Today, we planned to visit my grandfather -- or as my brother, my cousins and I call him, Atuk -- in Banting. Worrying that there wouldn't be any food, we swung by KFC at D'Pangkin to buy a bucket -- this is a rarity. We bought the one that can feed 5-6 people. Bloody expensive. RM75++.

So we officially hit the road around 11:45 or so. An hour's journey coupled with bad drivers -- there seem to be a lot of those in Malaysia -- and we were at Atuk's doorstep around 1:50-ish. Amazingly, no one was home. His car wasn't in the driveway. We swung by my cousin's house which was in the area and they too weren't home. We figured there must've been some kenduri somewhere and Atuk sort of forgot about us. Huhu. Well, he doesn't get guests too often. So for the heck of it, we swung by Pantai Morib. My first time. Hehe!

Before that, my dad said that if followed the sign to Pantai Kelanang, we could get to Morib. He said once he tried, overshot Pantain Kelanang and ended up at Morib. Taking his word for it, we agreed. On the way, there was a scene and this 3-junction. A truck had run down a public phone booth. Quite a scene. And the police officers looked lost and unsure of what to do. The area we were entering was near Jugra, essentially the birth place of Selangor. This is where the Selangor sultanate originally started. Bukit Jugra was where the kerabat -- royal family members -- were buried during the days of the Selangor sultanate.

Further on, we got a bit lost so we doubled back and took the more conventional route to Morib. Hehe. But during our detour, I saw some pretty kampung houses. They were well taken care of and the land area was quite impressive. But that's the typical kampung house. Wooden structure, often on stilts and quite a bit of land -- aside from build-up area.

Oh, and we passed by the late Haji Sidek's house. The family home of the Sidek brothers. Misbun, Rashid, etc. The Malaysian badminton heroes. They have quite a big compound. We saw a couple of kids playing badminton at the back of the house. The detour was almost a trip back in time. Not just because there was a lot of history and old houses and all but also because my dad kind of told us -- my brother and I -- things we previously hadn't known. Small things but you can be amazed how a small thing can give quite an insight into a person.

After some travelling and a funny banner, we got to Morib. It was quite nice. Pantai Morib, that is. According to my parents, a lot had improved. We didn't actually go to the beach but the nearby parking and waterfront area was kinda cool. We found a spot and started eating. Amazingly, we finished the whole bucket. Intended to feed 5-6 adults, it was finished by 2 adults -- who are sketchy around KFC -- one adolescent and one 11 year old. Not bad. I used to sort of like KFC's mash potato and coleslaw. But after eating the one we bought, yuck. I can make better mash and coleslaw. Way better.

Regarding the banner I mentioned earlier; it was regarding coconuts for sale and it said, "2 biji RM10, 3 biji RM10,". Everyone was laughing their heads off. I took some pictures but I haven't managed to upload them yet. Hopefully I'll be able to.

Back to the story, after finishing the KFC bucket, we washed our hands, prayed and my mom wanted some -- as my little cousin Aisyah would put it -- ayak nyiok. In proper Bahasa it can be written as air nyiur or air kelapa. In plain ol' English it's coconut water. Bloody expensive. The sotong bakar -- grilled squid -- was bloody expensive too. In total it was around 20 ringgit or so. And not all of us had the coconut. Akid and I don't like the coconut water. Is that term even accurate? Coconut water? Well, you get the general idea. According to my parents, the coconut water was so and so. I took a small break from typing this and googled coconut water and I was right; it IS coconut water. Huh. Go figure. Still sounds kind of weird.

Anyway, we left Morib and headed home after that. Got home around 6:30. Would have been 6 but we stopped by a local grocer for some supplies.

That's all for now. Au revoir.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

SAT and TOEFL

Right off the bat I'm sure you guys are wondering either;
(A) What on Earth do those acronyms mean?
(B) Aqil mentioned them before... But I can't remember...

Either way, I'll let you know. SAT stands for Scholastic Assessment Test -- formerly Scholastic Aptitude Test. TOEFL stands for Test Of English as A Foreign Language.

Right now, these two are my top priority. Preparing for and taking the tests. For the TOEFL, I'll be taking TOEFL iBT which means internet-based test. I recently bought a couple of books to help with preparations. The titles are; Cracking the SAT 2011 Edition and Cracking the TOEFL iBT 2011 Edition. Both are published by The Princeton Review.


Cracking the SAT 2011 Edition
by The Princeton Review


Cracking the TOEFL iBT 2011 Edition
by The Princeton Review

Insyaallah I'll be able to do it. SAT so far seems quite doable. Hehe!

That's all for now. Au revoir!

Friday, December 17, 2010

What? Where? How?

There's so many questions! What do I want to do? where do I want to go? how am I going to afford it?

Let's start with the first question; what.
What do I want to do? I feel like taking engineering but I'm not sure I can carry it -- thanks to poor grades in Add Math so far. I really REALLY hope I did way better this time. Insyaallah. If I do go for engineering, what type of engineering? Not civil. You're not supposed to take that right away, I think. Mechanical? I like to tinker with stuff but I'm not too sure about job opportunities. -Sigh-.

Second question; where.
This is very much depended on what course/field I'll be taking. But I really really want to go to the US. Maybe Canada. Ivy League colleges are too expensive. The US and Canada have a lot of good colleges. I'm looking for a QUALITY education. Any good college should provide that. I'll just have to keep scouring. Right now, I'm just looking at application deadlines, entry requirements, tuition fees, location -- this translates almost directly to cost of living --, application steps, etc.

Third question; how.
How am I going to afford the tuition fees? Now, tuition fees here doesn't mean tutoring like here in Malaysia. Tuition fees is essentially how much it will cost to go to the said college. This doesn't include travelling, eating and boarding expenses. -Gulp-. I'm looking at some scholarships to help me with this.

Insyaallah things will work out fine.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Final Hurdle

Here it comes,
The most important,
Most challenging 4 weeks,
Of our illustrious high school lives.

It may only be 10 days,
But the days are placed,
Over a span of time,
22 days to be exact.

3 days,
Then 4 days,
Followed by 1 day,
Again and Again.

These 22 days are represented,
By the most feared 3-letter acronym,
Known to Malaysian high schoolers,
It is SPM.

It is our final set of hurdles,
That last stretch,
Witching hour,
Zero hour.

This is the leap,
We took our breaths during the trials,
Now we jump,
But we are yet to begin falling.

AQ
24th November 2010


Note: I wrote this on the second day of SPM, I think.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Putrajaya Challenge Park Core XC Loop ++

Just got back. We woke up early and after getting everything ready, headed to Putrajaya Challenge Park. However, mom didn't come with us. She had other plans.

We missed the exit and had to sort of double back a bit after the toll. We arrived at PCP around 11 and unloaded the bikes, geared up, etc. When we got arrived, there were A LOT of people! We were both happy and cautious. It was nice to see the trails being used rather than falling into disarray but we were worried about the number of riders that would be on the trails. However, we realized pretty much everyone was leaving, at his/her own pace. Yes, there were a number of female riders too which was nice to see. Mountain biking is far too nice a sport not to be enjoyed by everyone.

Anyway, we headed up to the trail and started.

1st leg; Starts with a rapid but short descent leading straight into a set up ascending switchbacks. Get ready to drop gears quickly and pedal to the top. Stop, and you won't be able to regain the momentum needed to pedal to the top. Once at the top, it's a relatively easy and fun track all the way to the exit where you meet some tarmac. Follow the cul de sac to get to the second leg of the core loop.

The 2nd leg is the longest and rather straightforward. No switchbacks here but a lot of climbs. And one gnarly descent. For some reason, the ground is very loose. Particularly at the climbs. Strange. Anyway, about halfway or so, you'll run into a junction. If you're inexperienced or just looking for an easier run, follow the green sign that says "1". After the junction there's a really steep descent. Here, you need to feather the brakes. My dad fell down here. He kind of shot down the descent, caught the earthen barricade and slid, scraping his elbow and knee. Exiting the 2nd leg, you end up on a pavement with a hut just by the exit.

The third leg is the really tough one. You'll encounter 4 climbs, packed quite close to each other. I'm not sure if it's just the weather or the trail is meant to be like that but the ground is so loose. It's difficult to pedal. The uphills are particularly bad. Anyway, the trail starts across the pavement after exiting the 2nd leg. It starts with a slight descent and a tiny wooden 'bridge'. After that is a lot of weaving around trees, between trees and sheer cliffs, and trying not to be too awestruck by the view. Ah yes, the 3rd leg has the best view. Sorry I forgot to mention that. It's short but the ascents aren't that easy. That said, all of us had to walk our bikes most of the way. Heh heh. After the quad ascents, there's a quick and easy descent to a wooden bridge leading the the look-out tower. Awesome place to take photos of Putrjaya.

After you've filled up your camera's memory and had enjoyed the view, it's time to hit the last, most fun -- for me at least -- yet skill-demanding leg of the core XC loop; the 4th leg. This leg requires a lot of skill, some guts, and, if possible, slack -- well, slack-er -- head tube angle Head tube is where the handlebars are attached to the bike, for those wondering "what the hell is a head tube??". Back to the story; it starts with a descent -- is it me or does every leg seem to start with a descent? -- and leads to a lot of weaving between trees. A lot of fun. After a bit, you'll encounter something new -- if you're inexperienced like I am; a switchback descent. Yup, just like your good ol' switchback but this time, you're heading the other way. This is trickier than uphill switchbacks but once you've mastered it, a hell of a lot more fun!! My dad and Akid has trouble with this one and found it almost undoable.

After finishing the loop, my dad took a break at the dirt ju
mp section's hut and I took his bike for a spin on the dirt jumps. That bike jumps like a charm!! It's a hardtail Specialized Hardrock. Mehehe. It's supposed to be a cross-country (XC) bike but it sure can jump.

me catching some hang-time

We took a quick break, ate our granola bars, I swapped out my XC kit for my downhill (DH) kit and we headed to the trail head for the DH track. It was my first time doing DH and I had a blast!! The trail was short -- short-lived, rather -- , tough, crazy and I only managed to complete half of it. The trail was practically impossible to ride. My tires kept slipping and sliding and I crashed. It wasn't a bad crash but I didn't think it was too wise to continue on with a sore knee. So I packed my gear and headed back to the car. Talk about baptism by fire, eh?

me before hitting the DH track

After that, we went to Subang Parade to join my mom for lunch and headed back home. So here am I, submitting this post for publication.

I only took about 41 pictures. Most of them were burst images. Sorry about the small amount of pictures. I've uploaded them to my Flickr so feel free to drop by and take a look.

P/S;
I do have more than just mountain biking-related photos on my Flickr.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Of Dentists and Mountain Biking

Tomorrow I'm going to Putrajaya Challenge Park!!! Woohoo!! It's been like 3 or months or so since I went there. There's a number of things I want to achieve/do there. But before day, an account of today's events. If you don't want to read through that, my fellow readers, scroll down until you start to see numberings. That should be the list of things I want to do at the Putrajaya Challenge Park.

Everyone woke up earlier than usual -- considering that it IS a Saturday -- and got ready to go to Mid Valley. After a quick breakfast of cereals and bananas. Yummy. Hehe! Anyway, we left the house around 9:45 and arrived at the Gardens at around 10. We made a beeline to the dentist for our regular check up and scaling. We had to take turns since we were all assigned to the same dentist.

After I had finished -- I was the first in -- I brought my VAIO to the Sony Store because I was having trouble uninstalling the trial version of Microsoft Office. Unfortunately, they could only tell me what to do since I hadn't brought the full version along.

After everyone was done, we swung by Studio R because I wanted to check out their selection of running shoes. Abah was still adamant in refusing to buy Nike shoes. Blame one too many bad experiences with their soles coming off -- not to mention finding them along jogging tracks, etc.

Anyway, after that we had lunch at Subway and then it was off to World of Outdoors in the Gardens. We're kind of remembered by a person there, either staff or manager -- I'm not sure -- there. I think it's because we have bought quite a few things there. I got a hydration bladder for my backpack.



The hydration bladder can store up to 2 litres of liquid. Either hot -- less than 60 degrees Celsius -- or cold, no liquors or liquids that contain fat -- I'm guessing soups, etc.

It's a really really neat package. Looks good and feels solid. I'm going to hit the trails at PCP tomorrow so I'll get to put it through its paces.

Now, for the things I want to do at PCP tomorrow:
  1. Complete the green XC loop (core loop). By the way, XC stands for cross-country.
  2. Take pictures and/or videos at the Dirt Jump and Freeride section.
  3. Do the technical DH trail. DH stands for Downhill.
I'll take as many pictures as I can and upload them to Facebook, Flickr, etc.

That's all for now. Au revoir.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ding! Ding! Ding! Last Round!

I've finally finished the heaviest of 9 of the 10 subjects. Like I've written in my previous post(s), I'm taking 10 subjects totaling about 23 papers. O_O".

So I've done 21/23 papers! YEAAH!! The heaviest are over! Today was Biology. Next week is English for Science and Technology (EST). I'm not panicking too much because all I need to do is read through my National Geographic magazines. I have around 2 years worth of them. Hehe! Great pictures AND great articles. I guess you could say that National Geographic is what got me into amateur photography and writing. To top it off, I've always loved animals and the environment and issues that matter so it was a really natural fit. When I mean issues that matter, politics doesn't fall under it. Unless it's something really major and/or will affect me.

Speaking of which; in Malaysian newspapers and/or news networks there's too many of these things:
  1. 'Politics'. It's rarely about government bills, new legislations, etc. It's often about people cutting ribbons and fancy-schmancy ribbon cutting ceremonies. Big waste of taxpayers money.
  2. Sports. I can open up the sports section in virtually any newspaper and find at least 3 articles on the same bloody thing; soccer in Europe. What about the development of our NATIONAL athletes? We're doing awesome in cycling, diving, rugby and swimming. I don't see these articles getting the top spots in the papers.
  3. People. Well, these are most visible in tabloids that claim to be newspapers. Here is where you can find all the weird news. A headline I remember was "Ayah Masuk Kelambu Saya" which roughly translates as "Dad Climbed Into My Mosquito Net". Good god, is this what Malaysians love to read? -Shudders-. Scary. No substance at all.
Oops. I've strayed very far off topic. Hmm. Oh well. It feels good to be able to type seriously again. Hopefully more blogging and updating about what I see, hear and feel in the days and weeks to come!

Editor's note: Sorry to anyone who felt offended by what I've written in this post and at any point in this blog. I know some of the things I say and write can be a tad bit controversial and I know would upset some people.

That's all for now, au revoir!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Round 7 Over. 3 More To Go

So I've made it through 7 subjects totalling 15 papers. Phew. 3 more subjects to go. That means another 8 more papers. O_O'.

I have 3 days to brush up my Chemistry then one day to memorize Biology then 1 week to pour over my NatGeo magazines for EST.

At least after Biology, I can hit PCP!! YEEAAH!!!

So far, SPM wasn't too bad. Insyaallah I will be OK.

I hope so.

P/S
I've managed to keep my promise of staying off Facebook for 3 weeks. I'll stay off until AFTER I sit for my EST papers. Why? Because I know I can do it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

SPM

It's SPM season now. I've already finished the first 3 subjects. I have another 7 to go. Which means I'll be sitting for 23 papers in total. -choking sounds-. Oh well. I've already completed 6 papers so that's 17 papers left. Wish me luck!!


Monday, November 8, 2010

Tick Tock Tick Tock Time Is Ticking...

Only 14 more days till SPM... Ouch. I'm not ready! Least of all for Add Math. I can barely pass, let alone scrape an A...

14 more days till the start of SPM. 10 days of exams -- not counting the breaks in between. So that makes... 13 days to go till I'm free! -Gulp-.

-Sigh-. Time to hunker down & give it my all. After that, once I'm done with SPM, I'm going to blank out and forget about everything I've learned and refuse to study. That's a fact. Even if I don't want to -- pfft as if -- I WILL. Especially the last part. After exams, I always have difficulty studying.

Things to do After SPM:
  1. Driver's license!!
  2. Putrajaya Challenge Park. No way is ANYBODY stopping me!
  3. Triathlon. Which reminds me; I need running shoes.
  4. S.A.T. This one is my parents request. :(
There's a lot more on that list but not enough time to write it all down here. Not yet anyway.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Miracle Polymer With 1001 Uses? Myth of Fact?



Alright, so maybe not exactly 1001 uses but you get the point. The polymer I'm referring to was developed recently; its called d30. Really nifty stuff. Under low impact, it reacts kind of like playdoh but under high impact, the molecules pack tightly together, causing it to harden up and hold its shape. The video below is demonstrates d30 so you can see it for yourself.

P.S.
As mentioned in the video, the form of d30 featured is not yet processed and formed.


Cool, eh?

Brands SixSixOne and Raceface have begun to apply it in their protective gear such as elbow/forearm and knee/shin guards, etc.

I thought that this thing wasn't 100% perfected yet so I wasn't expecting it to be available in at least 3-5 years. Yesterday, I went to the Specialized Concept Store in the Strand, Damansara and there it was; 2011 SixSixOne Evo Lite XC elbow AND knee guards as well as SixSixOne Evo elbow and knee guards! Sadly, they cost RM300++ a pair. Huhu.

But it's already here in Malaysia!! Here are some pictures



SixSixOne Evo Lite XC knee guard


This is the d30 tab, indicating that the item contains the polymer.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Finally!

Trials are over! Phew. At last. But unfortunately, those are only the trials. The real SPM is yet to come. -Sigh-. At least I'll get a break, I hope. Hehe. I'm going to enjoy not studying right now.

Au revoir for now.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My Personal Opinion(s) On This Matter Is...

It's nearly the end of Ramadhan and tomorrow, I'll be hitting the road heading back to my 'kampung' or village in Perak which is about 100+ kilometres up north. My father said to brace ourselves as traffic is bound to be heavy, especially with Eid il Fitri right around the corner.

I'm bored and I can't sleep. Lately, the state of our education system keeps playing on my mind.

Learning is supposed to be fun. That's the most efficient way to learn. Where you see it's application in daily life and you get the appreciation because you know how it works. Well, when the students despise going to school, something isn't right. I can tell you for a fact, I learn best when I know and understand it's application in daily life. That really helps me. Like history, it's facts regarding what has happened and I kind of like history so I'm sort of alright there. Modern math is fun to do because our teacher really walks us through it one by one, makes us do exercises in class, making sure we understand. That's another factor, by the way; teaching method. A teacher's teaching method really makes an impact on his/her students. Teachers should really bear that in mind. It will make not only learning more fun but also teaching more fun.

All in all, I say that our education system needs to be looked at and analysed very closely. Put in all the factors from the obvious question of how relevant the syllabus is right down to the students' AND teachers' psyche is being affected. How it affects teaching efficiency. Education is as much social science as it is pure academia.

One more thing the politicians need to get through their ultra-thick skulls; STOP CHANGING THE LANGUAGE FOR THE F****** SYLLABUS!! These people can't even make up their bloody minds. A language change is a massive overhaul. Yes, initially, maybe the students on the country may lag behind a bit but it was only what 5 years? If I'm not mistaken. 5 years is hardly enough time to see whether the move has borne fruit or hasn't brought about any positive change. Also, the government must look at why. Is it purely the lack of mastery of the scientific terms and so on? Or is their mastery of English in general. If so, why? Are the English Language teachers doing a good enough job? Or are there simply insufficient programs to help the majority of students cope with learning a new language?

Unfortunately, Bahasa is also losing its identity. We have words like erti, istilah, maksudnya and so on and so forth. But what word does the government and other related parties like to use? Definisi. Bluergh! Yuck! What the hell are you guys doing?! The government says "Kita mesti mengagungkan Bahasa Malaysia!" which generally means we must uphold Bahasa Malaysia (the national language). But instead of bringing back older words which are in effect, actual Bahasa, we 'malayanize' -- I know its not an actual word -- english words. That really bothers me. Sure, many people can relate better to the borrowed words but I thought upholding our national language means reminding and re-educating people that we DO have our own words for it. Our language is indeed complete and not full of loopholes in the vocabulary. It is a sad fate of our national language.

I know it's been a long post and if you've made it this far my fellow readers, I thank you and wish you a hearty congratulations. Some of what I have said may be a bit uneasy for some readers as I am slightly commenting on the government's actions but I sincerely hope the government will take the proper steps in upholding our national language.

To my friends who are reading this, I know this post may be a bit contradictory as you guys know me as being pro-English but I am sincerely bothered by the fact that Bahasa nowadays is borrowing so many words from English and forgetting its own words.

Thank you for reading.
Aqil

P/S
Pardon the harsh language in paragraph 5.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Raya Holidays Have Begun. But Not For Some of Us

The 1 week semester break has been extended to 2 weeks due to Eid il Fitri. So once school reopens, it's 3 days of school and then on Thursday, TRIALS! Huhu. So for those of us in Form 3 & Form 5, these 2 weeks is not so much a holiday as it is a study-a-thon. I feel our exam-oriented system is stressful on students and actually limiting our opportunities to be all-rounders. Too few are scoring A+'s AND excelling in the co-curricular activities. Our syllabus is heavy and I think getting heavier. History is about to be incorporated into the primary school syllabus. The Standard 1 kids are already learning Science. It is literally back-breaking work. Those little kids in Primary school can't lift all those books without damaging the back posture. And when we consider leaving the heavy textbooks in class. It's not allowed. What the?

Anyway, I'm bored and having trouble sleeping. My birthday is in about 2 weeks and my family is asking me what I want for my birthday. The problem is, I don't know what I want. Sure, there are things I think would be cool to have but nothing I feel worth asking for. On top of that, Trials are already very close so right now, I'm just studying studying studying. So much so, my blog has become so very neglected.

I think... for my birthday, I don't want anything as in I don't want a present in the classic sense of the word. I think an outing somewhere, doing something I like would be very nice. Yes, I like the sound of that. Unfortunately, my birthday is the weekend before school reopens and less than a week away from trials so my parents will be reluctant, I imagine. At least, a 'regular' present, I can receive than it's back to my room to study. -Sigh-. I really hate SPM.

Just 2++ more months till SPM... Ouch.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

RRI Sungai Buloh

Last Sunday, my family & I went for a ride at the Rubber Research Institute (RRI) is Sungai Buloh. It's a really cool XC trail. A lot of loops. The week leading up to our trip was kind of stressful because information regarding RRI was hard to obtain.

Getting there is simple enough. Starting from Skypark Terminal, Subang Airport, keep going straight until you reach a Caltex gas station. From there, turn right and keep going, following the signs. The signs will lead you to the actual institute itself which is on your left. The entrance to the trail however, is right across the street, on your right. So turn right -- it's between two nurseries -- and park. There's a small plot of land perfect for parking and unloading the bikes. After that, start off.

Map from Subang Airport to Entrance of RRI

The road going into the plantation is red soil road and it's a nice ride. You can do some pretty cool sprints there but I'd advise against that. Along the road, you'll come to a junction on your left. You can take this or go up ahead. I haven't been up ahead yet. Hehe. Anyway, if you DO turn left, it's a slight downward slope before a short, steep-ish climb. After that is a flatter strip of road before a winding, crazy uphill. I recommend using lightest everything -- weight & gear -- to save yourself. At the top, there's a hut with seats so you can plonk down and recover. The hut at this point shall be referred to as Hut 1 from hereon in.

From the hut, you'll notice the road forks into 3 junctions. The first one -- which is on the right-most choice -- is a real test of your stamina and endurance. Only try this if you are really fit. My family, unfortunately, did not know this so we did the first one and during one of the breaks, my father passed out for a second because his body wasn't used to the arduous climb. Me? I'm climbing hills back and forth from school with a heavy backpack so I guess that helped.

The first option however, also leads to some rewarding downhill. Pretty rough, bumpy road so you need to be comfortable on your bike and maintain a firm grip. Otherwise, the loose rock could easily 'de-track' your tires and make you a weak impersonation of Superman. There is another 3-option fork here but two of them is actually the same loop. The third leads you on another uphill.

Back at Hut 1, the second option -- middle lane -- is generally flat with a nice, shaded ride. This is definitely the most relaxing of the three main loops. This is the loop I recommend for those of you who are beginners to mountain biking.

Option 3, a gnarly downhill drop. It will give you enough momentum to keep rolling at high speed for the next two kilometres. Note; do not brake until the first corner you see. Doing so too early and you'll again impersonate Superman. Too late and you'll impersonate the Hulk by crashing into a rest hut at the end. After that the track is really nice. You come by a river and some factories -- which are on the other side of the river. After that, you'll pop out halfway up the crazy climb you first encountered before Hut 1.

Once your legs have stopped shaking, get ready for another wicked downhill as you descend back to the main 'road'.

At this point, my parents were too tired to continue so we headed back towards the car. Hence, my lack of knowledge on what lies ahead should you choose to go further.

Thank you!

P/S:
For questions regarding RRI such as directions, tips and the sort, pelase feel free and drop a comment.

Friday, July 16, 2010

National Service

The draftees -- is that even a word? Well, the name list for selected or drafted to attend the Program Latihan Khidmat Negara (PLKN) or National Service is out! A number of my friends got selected. And I --finally! -- found out whether I was selected or not. Turns out I got picked! Hehe. I don't really care.

To me, the worst part is probably going to be having to share bathrooms and the haircut. Well, the hair will grow back so not really a problem there. Honestly, I don't really mind going. Last time, I wanted to go but that was because I didn't know what I would do during the long holiday after SPM. Now that I do, I'm kinda bummed but hey, better than sitting for Form 6. That I don't want to do. Sorry to those who want to attend Form 6, I don't mean to put you guys down.

Mama & Abah would probably want to talk about National Service when they get home.

I guess that's all for now.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bringing Things Up to Speed

So much has happened. Sad, happy and everything in between. A fast-forwarded version would be like this. Editor's note; most events listed below have happened whereas some have yet to happen.

  1. I watched Toy Story 3. And I cried. Well, not sobbing crying but yeah, I shed tears. I really grew up with that movie. During the 1st movie, Andy was moving to a new house. Around the same time, I was moving back to Malaysia from the US. Sad times. In the third movie, Andy is 17 & about to go to college. So am I.
  2. I got an invitation from a friend to participate in the Urban Downhill event of the King of Fraser's Hill mountain bike carnival/bash/event/wtv. But I can't go. Huhu.
  3. I learned how to take out my back tire, take it apart (tube & tire only) and of course put it back. Another milestone in learning about bikes.
  4. My grades are slowly climbing. Yaay! Except for Add Math and Chemistry. Huhu.
  5. I'm paying more attention in class than ever before. Which is a good thing
  6. Retirement is looming. -gasps!-. Retirement because I have to sit for a major exam and also because I'm a senior.
  7. PLKN drafts are out. Wonder if I got it. Haven't checked yet. Hehe.
  8. Trials are literally around the corner! -faints-. Haha. Drama queen much. Hopefully I'll do well.
  9. SPM...
So many things... Huhu. I miss blogging. It's been so long. Hopefully my next post won't take as long to publish.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

I Ask Of You

I ask; what is personal belief? And at what point is your personal belief compromised?

Is personal belief something that you believe is right despite any doubts that you may have?

Is it compromised when you feel like going against your personal beliefs every time you run into the same situation?

Or is personal belief the very thing that prevents you from giving in to your emotions because deep down, you know that not giving in is the right move to do?

For example; my mother often makes rather hurtful remarks about the things. Destructive constructive criticism you may say. And for those of us in the Eastern culture in particular, it is very much unacceptable to talk back to your parents. Many a time in such situations, I feel like storming out of the room or shouting back at her.

So do I actually believe in my personal belief of not talking back no matter how much I want to? Or am I merely submitting myself painfully to the norms of society?

Slow Saturday...


It's a slow Saturday afternoon but at least it's not stressful. I always feel stressed out when I have to study for extended periods of time in my room. Maybe it's because I'm really REALLY studying. Hehehe. I can hear some jazz music coming from one of the neighbours. Sets a nice ambiance.

I was hoping to go out with my family today but my mom decided not to. Huhu. She said we would go out tomorrow. So for the time being, I'm alternating between 'studying' and looking up places to ride. Provided I can get another mountain bike for my dad. And a car rack. Haha.

Oh well. Guess that's it for now.

Au revoir.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Quick Update...

Sorry for not blogging lately! A lot has been happening and I just haven't had the time to blog.

Last weekend, I participated in a public speaking competition and naturally, blew it. Haha. A friend of mine, Mikhail entered too but he didn't make it to the semi-finals either. Kinda disappointed but I kinda saw it coming. This weekend I have a debate competition at HELP College. Excited and nervous at the same time.

Also, there's a downhill event coming up; The Kiara Rage. It's on 25th July. Unfortunately, I cannot participate. Huhu. Mainly because I need more practice, a new helmet & my parents' permission. Hehehe.

Um, just a short update for now.

Au revoir.

Friday, March 26, 2010



It's been a while since I blogged. Quite a bit has happened. My dad went to Umrah and he is already safely back home. Though a bit under the weather -- mainly due to lack of rest. Other than that, the school holidays were a wee bit dull if not for the rather pricey -- though short -- shopping list. Hehe.

I got my first pair of goggles! No, not the swimming goggles. I'm talking bout MX-level goggles. The ones they use for motorcross (MX) & mountain biking. Oakley Proven MX. Hehe. They're really cool!

the goggles. Oakley Proven MX

Goggles + helmet

Friday, March 12, 2010

We Won the First TWO Rounds!!

Today was the debate competition at KDU College in Damansara Utama. To my surprise, we won the first 2 rounds! Woohoo! Hehe. If we win 1 more round, we're moving to the octo-finals! Hehe.

That's all for now. Just a short post.

Au revoir!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Feels Good to Be Back

It's been a while since I blogged. Quite a while, I know. I've just been so caught up with school, studying, recovering, etc. Yes, recovering. I know most of you already know what I mean by recovering but for those who don't know, it's because I crashed while mountain biking at Putrajaya Challenge Park.

I crashed about a week back on Saturday. Looked quite bad. But it wasn't as bad as it looked. Some of you may have noticed my walking around school with a mask the past week. It wasn't because I wasn't feeling well, it was because I was hiding my injuries. Didn't want to attract too much attention. Though the slash-like bruise on my forehead and love bite-like bruises on my neck -- that's what many people said -- attracted quite a bit of attention. Those were harder to cover up.
This was me just over a week ago. Now, my bruises are all gone and my lips & chin are completely healed, if not a bit pink because the scabs just fell off. OK, maybe a bit TMI but too late. Heh heh.

Anyway, debate is coming up this Friday. I'm torn between wanting my team to advance through the stages and slightly hoping that we don't. My father is leaving for Umrah that Sunday and I would absolutely love to be able to see him off. Which reminds me, I need to ask the teacher for the exact program. As in what is when during the debate.
Many people said I recovered very fast from my injuries. My parents said the same thing too. Hmm. Oh well.

Oh and one more thing. The debate is impromptu. We will get the topics and we will be quarantined for 20 minutes to prepare our speeches. What little of it that we can. I think it's going to be a LOT of fun! Of course, most of my team thinks otherwise. I'm excited about the upcoming debate. Nervous too at the same time.

Hmm. Considering that next week is a semester break... I'll ask Haziq if he wants to train in the morning. He'll like that. Hopefully, he'll be up for it. I think I can ask some of the other kids too if they're interested.

I really REALLY want to see Abah go off and judging by my teammates' reactions and expectations towards the idea of an impromptu debate, I might get to do just that. Unfortunately, life has a way of going upside down when you least want it. -Sigh-. Hopefully, that won't happen.

I just had a photojournalism seminar -- It's part of the 5-seminar Creative Writing thing -- and it was quite fun. One of my friends at the seminar kept wondering how I didn't feel hot wearing a jacket AND a hoody while under the hot sun during our 'photo shoot' session in Denai Alam. Seriously, I wasn't feeling that hot. It was very much bearable. Maybe it's the concept of insulation? Maybe. Oh well.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Winter Olympics Scare.

I was reading an article on Yahoo! News and there's been another accident at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. This time involving a two-person bobsledding team. Neither members were seriously hurt but that's not the point. What's scary is that it happened on the same track the late Georgian luger, Nodar Kumaritashvili died.

The Olympic governing body had allegedly taken safety precautions to improve the safety of the track. Particularly since the tragic death of the luger had occured during a training session. I feel that either the governing body has either not taken sufficient precautions or that the entire track itself is not safe. I understand that many sports -- including luge and bobsledding -- have high risks but one death and one accident on the same track during the same Olympics? Something is amiss. Merely my point of view, here.

A short post this time, I'm afraid.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New Equipment!

As I had published in one of my previous posts, I had gone to the Putrajaya Challenge Park on Monday and it was a blast!
I got a small cut on my knee and some parts of the track I did were risky so my parents decided that I needed knee and elbow guards. I expected to get them next weekend or maybe even next month. What I didn't expect is I would be getting them the following day! I was overjoyed! I found an open store in Shah Alam. Due Roda Extreme is the name of the store. It is a really cool store. The store itself is divided into two; one for mountain bikes and mountain bike related products, the other is for motorcycles. It was an interesting combination.
Another surprise when I bought the guards was that I also got a full face helmet. I was a bit taken aback when my parents subtly agreed to my gawking. Hehe.

I got a pair of FOX Racing Launch knee/shin guards and a Mongoose elbow + knee guard set. My full face helmet is a limited edition matte bronze FOX Rampage DH Helmet. DH means downhill, just so you know.
FOX Launch Knee/Shin guards
FOX Rampage DH Full Face helmet

And my dad told me something really cool last night. He noticed an eagle on the back of my helmet and told me that there's a Latin constellation named Aquila. Hehe. I did something digging around and Aquil is actually a variant of the name Achilles. Interesting. Hehe. So the helmet has some distant relation to my name. I like that. And I had no idea when I bought it. It caught my eye in the store and the rest is history. All the other helmets weren't as appealing.

I just thought it was really cool.

That's all for now.

Au revoir.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Putrajaya Challenge Park

I finally managed to go to the Putrajaya Challenge Park today! WOOHOO! It is a nice place but it takes a teensy bit to get there. Just follow the signboards till you get there. The best place to start is in front of the Putrajaya International Convention Center with all the flags waving. From there, turn left, follow the directions and you'll get there. By the way, you'll pass by a cemetery which is a tad bit creepy, especially considering that you're going to do some extreme sports.

I had a blast. Crashed once and got a slight cut on my knee. I had to bail out on a few parts coz I didn't have enough momentum. Man. Those tracks are tricky. Especially the jumps. My feet keep lifting off the pedals. Phew. Haha. But it was wicked!

the cut on my knee
And the cut looks worse than it is. It's just one small cut but it bled out a bit, thus the gruesome effect. Sorry to any of my readers who find this image graphical and hard to digest.
Alright, now time for a quick walk-through. I promised to do this since I had difficulty looking for information on the Park prior to December 9 2009 (the date of their official opening) so here it is;

By the way, they now have their own website and blog so if you want to find out a bit more or contact them, etc, this should be the place for you to start.

However, since I already promised to this -- and I don't have anything better to do right now, I'll give basic instructions. For me, the best place to start is in front of the Putrajaya International Convention Center with all the flags waving. From there, turn left, follow the directions and you'll get there. By the way, you'll pass by a cemetery which is a tad bit creepy, especially considering that you're going to do some extreme sports. Once you get to the cemetery, go straight through and there's a roundabout there. Just follow the sign -- it's a two o'clock, just so you know.

Once there, there are two main buildings -- though not exactly side by side. One for rock climbing -- which is the first you'll encounter, the other for skateboarding/BMX/Mountain biking, etc. If you want to get to the latter, go straight and at a junction turning left, take a peek. You can't miss it. It's a a big, silvery-ish building. There were several roller bladers when I arrived so I suppose you could roller blade there. The facilities at the moment are a bit empty -- at least for the mountain bike building/center. Yeah, there are toilets but despite the signs, there are no cafeterias or pro shops. Yet. There's also a place for you to wash your mountain bike/BMX but no hoses so hopefully, those too are coming soon.

For those of you who do not have a bike or are unable to transport it, the center has bike rental services. For the mountain bikes it is RM20 for 3 hours which is dirt cheap! And you're renting Fuji bikes. Doesn't get much better than that. OK, maybe it could but where else can you rent BRANDED bikes for ONLY RM20 for 3 HOURS? The BMX bikes, I am unsure about the rates but it shouldn't vary too much. I think.

Other than that, bring lots of water, proper safety gear and enjoy!

That's all for now.

Au revoir.

P.S.
Sorry about the lack of pictures. I was so excited in finally being able to ride at a proper mountain bike course, I totally forgot to take pictures.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Change of Tides

Friday night, my parents had decided that this weekend, we would not be going out of the house except for necessities like groceries, Akid's swim class, family meetings, etc. So, naturally, I was prepared -- sort of -- for a weekend full of studying. I sort of guessed as much because next week is Akid's birthday. I'll put up a post when the time comes.

Anyway, as I had said earlier, I was sort of ready to face a weekend of studying and then another week of the same activity -- huhu. Then today, while having snack after Akid's swimming lesson, my mom decided that on Monday morning, we were going to swim in Putrajaya. A series of things came to mind in this order; Putrajaya-mountain bike-Putrajaya Challenge Park-IDEA! Inevitably, my dad caught the look on my face -- or he was thinking about it too -- and said we would check out the park since it was close by AND that we would bring my mountain bike along. WOOHOO!!



I only face two dilemmas; one of which is easily solved. The other; not so much. My first dilemma is that I don't have a full-face helmet or even pads for that matter so I have to stick to the cross-country tracks or the tamer freeride ones. No downhill for me. Huhu. The other problem is I would like to also go swimming with my family... Hmm. That one, I will deal with it when I get there. Hehe.

Really, really hope I get to ride there.

That's all for now.

Au revoir.

P.S.
None of the pictures above are me. Huhu.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Chinese New Year Break!

The one week Chinese New Year holidays have started! That means... -building up to climatic reveal- more studying. Huhuhu. Talk about anti-climatic. I really, really hope I can get a full-face helmet, some padding and go hit the slopes at Putrajaya Challenge Park! Huhu.

-Sigh-. We'll see how that turns out.

To all my Chinese friends and/or my fellow bloggers & bloggerettes, regardless of race, age or gender, I wish you a very happy Chinese New Year!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I Think Something Broke...

I'm really strained for time lately. -Sigh-. Form 5 is getting more exhaustive as it goes by. The past 3-4 weekends have been so hectic!

This weekend, Akid entered a swim meet in the 50m breaststroke and 50m front crawl/freestyle. Unfortunately, he didn't win either. He was pretty bummed out about it but it's his first competition and he just started picking back up on the training/classes anyway. Today, I had to be the 'pembawa bunga manggar' during my coach's wedding and I had to borrow a pair of black baju melayu. Which reminds me, need to give it back. Hehe. Anyway, while changing, I dropped my phone and though it has suffered many a drop, this one was bad. My screen cracked. -Gasps!-. Haha. So much for melodrama. It's quite a crack but thankfully, it's on the extreme lower right side so it's not really a bother. I'm going to hold on to this phone 'till it goes kaput -- completely unusable. Or maybe until the price of the HTC HD2 drops below the 2500 mark? Hehehe. Like that's ever gonna happen. Well, a guy can wish can't he? There are actually a number of things I want. But that is a story for another time.

The crack on my screen. Huhu

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Awakening the Leader In You

That is the title of the seminar I went to this weekend. It's part of the 5-session thing organized by NST & sponsored by Sime Darby.

Yesterday, the activities were a tad bit boring because the activities were just the group carrying it out and then pasting it up on the wall. No presenting. It was fun, don't get me wrong. It just wasn't the most involving or challenging, that's all.

Today, the activities were less group-based and much more individual participation. We did some personality profiling on ourselves. There were 4 categories; Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholy and Phlegmatic. I know some of the names are not so pleasant but that aside, the activity was quite fun. Everyone will get a combination of two personality groups except the following combinations; Sanguine-Melancholy or Melancholy-Sanguine and Choleric-Phlegmatic or Phlegmatic-Choleric

My combination was Sanguine-Choleric.

Sanguines are very talkative, cannot sit still, hyper-active and very fun to be around but sometimes don't know when to stop. While those who are Choleric like to take the lead, very objective in decision-making -- don't let emotion get in the way -- and have a competitive streak. However, they can be bossy and they are often labelled as laser-mouthed or short-tempered. But they cool down real quick. Phlegmatic tend to be rather indecisive and can't say 'no'. But, they are an easy-going bunch who are able to mingle in virtually all types of groups. Those in Melancholy are very much introverts or almost anti-social. And they don't express what they feel. They also tend to be moody. But they are very observant and most great thinkers are of the Melancholy group.

It was an awesome day. Next weekend should be the next session -- unless it gets postponed.

That's all for now. Au revoir.

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Wrap-Up of the Week

It's been a while since I blogged. I don't think I've blogged at all this week. Nope, I haven't.

Soo... Hehe. Um. Wow. What's with all the damn one-word sentences. Wait, that last one wasn't. Hehe. Alright. To the actual point.

This week -- on Wednesday, I believe -- we dissected a frog in Biology. Guess that makes me 'eligible' for the AVATAR program. Hehe. In the movie, the main character is asked how much laboratory experience he has and he cheekily replied, "I dissected a frog in high school once."

It was kinda cool. I managed to use the scalpel and all. 5 Epsilon did it the next day, I think. In both classes, there were those who objected against the use of frogs -- or rather the killing of an animal -- for the sake of learning. Though they were a minority. I think.

Besides that, I signed up for debate & public speaking. While Sharanya & QM were going around the school getting names, some form 3 went to them and asked if he/she could be on my team. Hehe. I admire his/her bravado in asking it straight-forward like that. Kudos to you, whoever you may be. Keep up that self-confidence, and you'll be going places.

Tomorrow, I'll be attending the 3rd session in a series of NST Seminars sponsored by Sime Darby. Hopefully, it'll be a lot of fun, just like the previous sessions.

Hmm. What else? Oh right. We have to write a letter to the Prime Minister concerning importance of 'perpaduan' or unity and harmony. Well, along those lines. A bit lazy to do it. Oh well. I think that's all for now.

Au revoir.

Monday, January 18, 2010

They Only Tell You Half the Truth

Recently, so many things I enjoy have been cut down. Among which include; my phone, my laptop, PS3 and TV. And though I admit, it is pretty much my only ticket to getting back to the US where I can see once more what the country of my birth looks like. Last time I was there was 13 years ago. I want to go back.

But then there's something my mom keeps saying; work hard now and enjoy success later. Problem is, first was UPSR, then was the constant monthly exams, then PMR and then SPM. Once all of that is done, you have 4 not-so-relaxing months applying for colleges that will accept your SPM Trial results. And when we finally do get into a college, we have to struggle -- again -- to stay in college, graduate with decent results and get a good job. And finally, we're done struggling.

AAANT (buzzer sound) WRONG ANSWER! Why? We have to work hard until we're seeing therapists to stay sane otherwise that 6-digit paycheck we worked so hard to earn, won't come in.

So, we spend a lifetime of struggling. If not for success in life -- and the afterlife --, then we struggle against bad drivers and bad people we are likely to encounter on a daily basis. Considering that, we should probably just give up, wouldn't you agree? Less hassle.

But then, we wouldn't be able to own that Lamborghini you've always wanted. Or that penthouse overlooking New York City. And you'd likely to be struggling to put food on your table. And you'd be bottling up all your frustrations and pain which is never a good thing.

So, given that which I have stated. How do you gauge the quality of life? How do you gauge success in life? Is it by your accomplishments? Or by what you accomplish? Is it by what you own? Or what you have?

The 4 questions I have put forth above carry different meanings. I hope you are able to understand and figure it out.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

NST Seminar. And a Bit More

Tomorrow & today there was supposed to be a seminar on leadership. It is part of the Creative Writing course. But there was an emergency cancellation so instead of cancelling the seminar itself, they went on with it but only for today. That means no seminar tomorrow.

Replacement will be on the 30th & 31st of January. I should be free. I don't want to enter anything for the school Sports Day & I don't want to go for Co-Curricular activities on a Saturday. Quite frankly, I'm not in the mood to participate in any of the Co-Curricular activities at the moment. Save maybe for debate through the English Literature Society & rugby but not really fond of going for Kadet Bomba. I guess maybe I feel that I have fulfilled my -- ah what the heck. Just say it. I feel lazy to go and that I have done my time with Bomba. There I said it.

-Sigh-. Why did they have to do it on a Saturday. So lazy...

I really want a full-face helmet and then to try out the course at the Extreme Park in Section 13 or to try out Taman Cabaran.

Anyway, I'm going to hit the showers now.

Au revoir

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What's Next?

The year just keeps getting better and better as the hours roll by.

Due to homework + studying -- honest, this time -- +tuition/tuition work, the time I spend online has significantly reduced. But I don't mind that.

Last night, my mom imposed a MEGA-curfew. No phone unless they're home or we're outside. Or rather, I have to go out. It's kind of frustrating. I know, I know, SPM is coming up, etc.

-Sigh-. But I'm adamant about trying out Taman Cabaran BEFORE the damn exam. Hehe.

Friday, January 8, 2010

1st Week of School

It's only the first-week of school and already it's getting a wee bit complicating. First there's the upcoming sports day to contend with. In which I -- somehow -- ended up AJK Kawad Kaki for Earth. I don't want to be that! I pulled out of Kadet Bomba for that AND to focus on other things. Like studies, before anyone can say anything else.

Then there is fact that sports day is on 6th February, on which I also have the creative writing course. This situation could get a bit sticky... -Sigh-...

Oh, and the Honda Scholarship I want to check out.

Then there's the dilemma with the rugby team because the juniors are in the afternoon session.

And last, but most certainly not least, my academics. I hope their improving. And I'm not sure about EST... I think go for it first and see.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Dilemma! And School Hasn't Even Started!

Yes. I have a studies-related dilemma & school hasn't even freaking reopened! Wow. Looks like its going to be a rough year from here on in.

What is my dilemma?

My physics tuition is scheduled on Fridays. I know right now you are thinking, "alright, he's lost it. There's nothing wrong with physics tuition on Fridays,"

True, there shouldn't be. But wait just one moment. I also have rugby practice on Fridays. NOO! My head says drop rugby and focus on physics but my heart says drop physics & play rugby.

And given the past evidence, the new physics teacher isn't quite up to the mark. I mean, I managed to scrape 70% with my old teacher but barely passed with the new one.

I know, maybe it is me but I'm merely stating my inference and observation, respectively.

My dad too is undecided. I am yet to discuss with my mom. We shall see.

-Sigh-. Looks like a rough year ahead. -Gulp-.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Custom Order New Year's Resolutions

I know it is already the 2nd of January and I know this should have been written the LATEST by 31st December but I finally got around to writing this -- and thinking about it. Hehe.

I've color-coded them by the way. Red means VERY important, Purple means preferable but optional and Green means it's just something I want that isn't important. Hehe.

So my New Year's Resolutions -- which are in no particular order of importance are;

  1. A full-face MTB helmet. Preferrably -- or rather, hopefully -- from Specialized or SixSixOne but I don't mind any other brand. As long as I like it -- duh.
  2. Elbow/forearm + knee/shin guards. This too I would prefer SixSixOne. Or maybe Fox Head but again, I'm just hoping.
  3. 10 A's for SPM -- duh.
  4. Improve myself so that I study hard AND smart. A lot. Without burning out. That means minimum 1 SOLID hour a day. Then I can play, a bit.
  5. Get Abah a bike and hit the trails one fine weekend.
  6. Get a scholarship to M.I.T and do engineering
  7. Get myself a road bike. It looks really cool and sporty. Hehe.
  8. As much as I don't want to, slow down a bit with my girl... I'm sorry. I believe that this is the best step to be taken for the time being...
  9. Improve -- and I mean REALLY improve. Especially Add Math & Chemistry. Biology too.
  10. Get my own rugby ball.
10 goals. That seems fair. Not completely unachievable. Except maybe for #7. The minimal price of a road bike is 4 grand. -Whistles-.

Wish me luck in achieving this.

Happy New Year & good luck in achieving all your goals! And to my fellow form 5's, good luck in SPM! May we all do well.