Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wrapping Up the Second Round

I've really been neglecting my blog. Even my journal is starting to become neglected. :/ Anyway, the Rugby World Cup has come and gone. It was a whirlwind tournament!! New Zealand went all the way to the finals undefeated AND won!!! Their first win since the World Cup's inception in 1985. O_O. Talk about a well-earned win.

My finals are next week. -Gulp-. Akid has finished his UPSR examinations so he's busy playing the PS3 night and day. Hehe. On top of that, he got straight A's too! Congrats lil bro!!! So we've gotten 4 new games. 2 of them came with more than one game. We got Batman: Arkham City, Metal Gear Solid HD Collection -- which consists of MGS3: Snake Eater, MGS2: Sons of Liberty, and MGS: Peace Walker. The games have been updated graphically as well as achievement-wise for the PS3. from the PS2 and PSP systems, respectively. The next game we got was Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. Awesome awesome game. I love Uncharted!!! The latest game we got was Assassin's Creed: Revelations, which also came with Assassin's Creed. 8D. Always wanted the first one. So that's a total of like 7 full games. O_O. Ay carumba!!!

Phew. Oh, I got voted as best speaker for Public Speaking this sem. 8D Yaaaay!!! So happy!!! Muahaha!! I wonder what the margin is/was. Hmm. Need to ask Ms. Yati some day. This past Saturday, I went riding with some friends in PCP & did the full length of the DH (red) track. Next time I want to try Bukit Ramlee. B) Booyeah!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011


My blog is really really slowing down isn't it? :/ Not good. The worst part is that it's not just my blog. I've virtually stopped writing. Hmm.

I suppose now that I'm in college, I should have more things to blog about. Well, I do, but I haven't been dilligent. Did I blog about getting into the ADTP Committee? What about the 4th of July Pool Party we organized? I can't remember. The blogger app I'm using doesn't allow me to check a number of things, including past posts & tags.

Well, the IRB Rugby World Cup is coming soon. 8D. Quite excited. Yaay! I'll be rooting for a number of teams; namely the All Blacks (New Zealand), Wallabies (Australia), Eagles (USA), Tonga, Fiji, Japan, & Springboks (South Africa). Phew. Hehe!

Speaking of rugby, I'll be joining my college's rugby club this coming semester. I hope I'll make it to the team... Hmm. I'll need new boots. The cost of the parts needed to revive my F50i TUNiT will set me back considerably more than f I got a new pair. -Sigh-. I really hate to have to replace my F50i like that... :(

The Canterbury in The Curve was having a huge sale. Their boots were going for 40% on their Rampage models & 50% for the Wero. Sadly, they didn't have my size... I was having mixed feelings of relief & disapppintment. Relief because I'm disheartened by the fact that I'm forced to get a new paor of boots, & disappointed because they didn't have my size -- c'mon, 50% on Canterbury boots. Who wouldn't grab the opportunity?

I think that's good. Hopefully my next post will be soon. :)
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Monday, July 4, 2011

Busy Weekend Recap

Today is the 4th of July!!! The American Independence Day. In conjunction with this, the Sunway ADTP Student Committee is orgainizing a summer pool party called "An American Summer" this evening, from 6-10. It's going to be a blast!! Hehe!

Anyway, the weekend was busy for me. I went to my mom's Family Day in Taman Rimba Kiara, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, KL. Quite a nice place. Apparently, there's also some trails there so definitely worth a look.

I used my student ID to get a discount for the first time on Saturday!! Woohoo!! Hehe!!

On Sunday, I went to Bukit Bandaraya, Shah Alam for the 3rd leg of the Token Bikezooka MTB Series. The turn up was a bit less this time around. The track was a blast!! Phew. At the beginning, they give us this massive climb. 80. Everybody was cursing on their way up. I was humming. Hehe! A trick I learned from my mom. After the climb, there's a quick descent then some tarmac where you can regain your breath. Then more climbing. This time up some ridges. 0_0. That was daunting the first time around. Then some really wicked descents! Some parts made me wish I was riding my all-mountain Polygon rather than my dad's XC hardtail. But during the climbs, I was thankful to be riding my dad's Specialized.

1 loop was 5km but it sure didn't feel like 5km. Hehe! It was quite a compact track so I guess that reinforced that feeling. The start/finish line always felt nearby. The race was staggered so the riders in the 3rd & 4th categories went first, followed by the 1st, 2nd and new riders.

We saw the pro riders go off. Lightning fast. They were practically sprinting off the start line. Anuar Manan was there again. It's kinda cool that he's been to almost every other race I've participated in.

After the race, we went to collect my life saving Bronze Medallion. Finally!!

That's all for now.

Au revoir!

Friday, June 24, 2011

What A Dramatic Day!

Today was full of ups & downs. The morning started innocently enough; I woke up on time, by 8:15 I was seated in class, waiting for the Precalculus class to start at 8:30. Graphs of Sine & Cosine was quite fun! Hehe! Then, Ms. Tan gave us the results for our Mid-Terms; I got 15/15! Booyah! Then we helped her rearrange the tables for her Calculus I class.

At Sunway Pyramid, Ajit & I browsed through the Focus Point promotion/exhibition thingy. Some nice glasses. It'll be cool to get some. Hehe! After some browsing, with Ajit enquiring about some of the prices, we headed for our cars. Before I climbed in, I took out my Season Parking Pass card. In the car, I noticed that it was gone! Huhu! I looked high & low for it before I spent the next 2 hours either running back & forth between Sunway Campus & Pyramid getting things sorted out or waiting around. -sigh-. Bummer. I ended up praying at the mosque in front of Sunway Pyramid, across NPE. Good thing there's a pedestrian bridge. I should be getting the new card around July.

I got home around 3:30 & left the house almost immediately with my dad to go to the Curve. On the way, a lady from the bank called & I referred to my dad as Dr. Sidek. She misheard me & said Dato'. O_O. After that everybody was laughing their head off. Hehe!

I had lunch at McDonald's The Curve. Their Grilled Chicken Burger isn't too bad, actually. My dad had a Chocolate Sundae while my brother had an Oreo McFlurry. Then it was off to Ikano, now called iPC (Ikano Power Centre). We went to their IT Store to buy a toner for our printer. We browsed a bit in there. I went through their selection of headphones. Quite a selection, actually; they had TDK, Audio-Technica, Jabra, Philips, Sonicgear, etc. I really liked their range of Philips' Sports headphones. Very nice. Hehe! Who knows, maybe one day. Hehe! 8)

In 2 das time is the Genting Ride! Booyah! Really excited about that!
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Monday, June 20, 2011

Australia-Malaysia Refugee Exchange Issue: What I Understand/Have Observed About It

Recently, there has been some commotion regarding the refugee exchange deal between Australia & Malaysia. After reading up about it, hearing talks about it, I have noted the reasons this deal is opposed.
  1. The entire act of the exchange is in breach of something called the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention in which a government has no right to forcibly deport asylum seekers. Note, asylum here does not mean the loony bin.
  2. Australia being the instigator of the deal is technically merely transferring their international obligation & responsibilities to another country, especially since they are a signatory of the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.
  3. They have tried a similar move with East Timor and are currently in discussion with Papua New Guinea for a similar deal. Why is this a cause for disagreement? All 3 countries -- Malaysia, East Timor & Papua New Guinea -- are not signatories like Australia. This has something to do with international law and is apparently burdening Australia.
  4. Malaysia has no legal status for refugees. They are parked under 'illegal migrants'.
  5. These 'illegal migrants' in turn are then detained in notoriously poor conditions. Many detainees have died of poor living conditions, including poor sanitation, overcrowded conditions, insufficient bedding, low quality food, etc. If I remember correctly, 8 Burmese detainees recently succumbed to Leptospirosis (I believe transmitted via rodent urine).
  6. The big payoff Malaysia is receiving is deemed inhumane & implying as though the two countries are dealing with trade-able goods rather than human beings.
Whew. Hehe! In my honest opinion, Malaysia is giving away about 4,000 refugees and receiving --or rather taking back-- about 800 Orang Laut who had landed on Australia's shores. On that standpoint alone, I would've said doesn't sound like such a bad proposition. But after hearing the issues regarding the Refugee Convention and such, I think Australia may need to suck it up and find another solution BESIDES unloading the refugees onto other countries. I stress that it is NOT the people of of Australia or even Malaysia that I am dissatisfied at, but rather the select few in charge of making such decisions, in both Malaysia AND Australia.

Malaysia has roughly 90,000 refugees, and Australia is willing to take 3,200 of them off Malaysia's hands, scot-free? In fact, Australia is paying Malaysia RM1 billion. Hmm, must be something about that United Nations Refugee Convention.

Hmm. My opinions may be lopsided towards the downsides of the deal. I'm sure there must be very good reasons why both governments would go through with the deal despite pressure from activist groups and such negative feedback from the media. I certainly hope I can find out what they are. But for now, I'm going to go have lunch.

Au revoir!

Monday, June 6, 2011

College Life

Wow. If blogs could be dusty, mine would be covered in a considerably thick layer of it. Hehe! I'm sorry I haven't been blogging in a while -- I noticed that a lot of people are writing that. College life has begun for me.

So far, so good. My primary worry? It isn't the heaping amount of homework that we don't have to hand in -- yaay! --, it isn't the onslaught of weekly quizzes & everything being practically rushed because it is a short semester, no. It is the fact that I got locked out of my student e-mail... -_-" Somehow, the servers were reset and so were our passwords. I didn't know that so I just kept trying and trying until I was locked out. Had to make 2 trips to the IT Helpdesk. Hopefully this one will work out. Otherwise, I'm quite good. Hehe! Tomorrow is going to be another long day, but at least it'll be spent learning, not waiting like today.

The Sunway Campus is quite nice. I don't think I'll be doing any extra-curricular activities this semester. Maybe next semester.

Liyana's birthday is this Friday... What should I get her? Hmm...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Swim, Two Exams, and an Endurance Race.

Finally the weekend is over. Time for me to recover and recuperate. On Friday, I had my Bronze Medal examinations. I passed so now I'm a qualified life guard! Hehe! It was actually a lot of fun! There were only 2 timed events. The first was to swim 50m (any stroke), rescue the victim and tow him back 50m with the assistance of an aid (a short rope). The time to beat was 00:03:00 minutes. I clocked in 00:02:48. Hehe! The other timed event was the rope toss. You have to gather the rope, roll it so that you can toss it well to the victim who is about 10-20m out in 'open' water. Time to beat; 00:01:00. My time: 00:0043. Muahahaha! I also did very good for the other events. My 'victim' -- a fellow exam taker -- said that my chin tow was very comfortable. Muahahaha! Luckily for me, the guy was a floater, despite being on the heavier side. Me? I sink. Heh heh. Sorry. He had a bit of trouble with me. Hehe!

Saturday was my SAT. Huh. Go figure, the first three letter of Saturday spell SAT... Oh well. Hehe! It was alright. Kind of fun. I like the way they handled things. Very efficient. And punctual. The test was 3 hours and 45 minutes, EXCLUDING breaks. 0_0. It was definitely a LONG day... & Sri KL's swim meet next door wasn't helping. The speakers were loud and quite frankly, distracting. After the test -- the math sections practically flew by! -- we went to Bangsar Village because we needed a couple of things. We had lunch at Subway along Jalan Telawi, then swung by Rodalink Bangsar -- one of my favorite bike stores -- for a bike pump. Hehe! A small one, something I could mount on the bike. We got a Topeak Turbo Morph G. It's a bit long but it does the job. Plus, it isn't too expensive. Hehe!

Today was the Token Bikezooka MTB Series #2. The 4-hour endurance. I reached the finish line after my 4th lap at 3 hours and 36 minutes. I could've gone for another lap and it would still be counted even though I finished after 4 hours. I didn't go because my legs were cramping up. My left calf had already given in & let me tell you, cramping unexpectedly like that hurts. Thank god I wasn't on a precarious ledge or anything, else I would have most definitely fallen down. Even then, it was essentially a collapse onto the ground. It really hurt. A helpful rider gave me a tip how to pedal with a cramp so thanks!! The riders were cool and fun to hang out with. Of course, I only made a bit of small talk but it was fun nevertheless. The track this time around was a bit longer, 9km per lap rather than the previous 6km. There were longer climbs and less technical descents which suited me. My only dissatisfaction was the fact that some parts of the track went through open spaces. The day was BLAZING HOT!! There's freaking lines on my thighs -- from the tights --, and on my wrists -- from the gloves. The trail was dusty and required a lot of pedaling but all in all. A ton of fun. Hehe!

After 3 days, I am now a qualified life guard, I have done a 4-hour endurance event -- and lived to tell the tale --, and I've done my SAT.

Next on the list -- besides college -- Fun Ride to Genting, 26 June 2011. 8D

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Night Around the Federal

Went out w/ my dad to go to the MCOBA (Malay College Old Boys' Association) building but we got lost & traffic was hell so we turned back. I took this picture from Federal Highway approaching Lingkaran Syed Putra (Mid Valley area). Just felt like sharing... :)

Plus, it's my first post from my phone. 8D
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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Human Perspective Is Such a Powerful Thing

Recently, there's been some commotion from the States about the whole pat-down thing being performed by TSA (Transport Security Administration) staff. Many people feel that this move is very violating as the person being searched is groped and touched in very private areas. Man, this is actually quite hard to write about. I'm trying to be as objective as I can and I don't want to sound like some tabloid reporter. Yuck.

Back to the story, a family travelling back home from a vacation in New Orleans was selected from the line to go through the screening process. Now, there are 2 steps, you get scanned, then you get physically searched. Though it appears to be fairly random as to why you get searched. Selection from the crowd is also random, I think. I'm not following to closely. Anyway, this family was chosen and after everyone was scanned, their 6-year old daughter was chosen for the physical search. Imagine, you've been telling your daughter that it is wrong for someone to touch you in certain places and then to say "This person can touch you," and for them to do so in a public area. It's very stressful. In fact, afterwards, the little girl broke down, crying and confused.

Here's a video of the incident.

Anyway, that's just the event I'm using to bring my article today into perspective.

The message I want to put out is that I don't blame the TSA agents, they're just doing their job. I don't blame the US government for imposing such measures. Yes, it can be improved and needs to be reviewed but the motivations behind such measures is understandable. So who do I blame for putting that little girl through so much confusion? Terrorists. Muslim extremists, to be exact. I am a Muslim. And I have no shame in saying that. However, I despise, I loathe these people who claim to be doing the right thing. How is strapping yourselves with bombs and blowing up yourself along with countless other innocent people lead to martyrdom? In Islam, suicide is forbidden. In war ethics, only men who are in the war are to be harmed. Women and children must be left untouched. Here you go, screaming "JIHAAAD!!" and blowing yourself up, killing innocent men, women, and children.

These terrorists also make life for other honest, actual Muslims difficult. So much so, there's this phenomena called 'Islamophobia'. Geez, thank guys. Real smooth, assholes. Islam is NEVER about killing. It's about racial equality, judging on meritocracy, women's rights, being at peace, understanding others and appreciating their troubles, being patient, being kind, being forgiving, being fair. All religions preach this. Islam is no different. But when you say "I am a Muslim" and blow yourself up in front of millions of people who have little to no understanding about Islam, they think that's what Islam is about. You can hardly blame them. Sure, they should take the initiative to find out but when something is so overwhelming and so overpowering like that, that idea is permanently etched into their minds.

Just like when we look at drug addicts versus people who are depended on drugs for their very well-being. What's the difference? Awareness. We are aware, the latter group are being prescribed these drugs so they can lead normal lives, whereas the former abuse the drugs for their own pleasure. If we didn't have that awareness, we wouldn't see the difference even if we tried to.

It feels good to be able to write about something with good substance. It's been a while since I did that.

I hope that you found this article to be of some value. Thank you.

Small minds discuss people;
Average minds discuss events;
Great minds discuss ideas
- Eleanor Roosevelt.

Written by; Aqil

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Happy 200th Birthday, Robert Bunsen!!

Does the name 'Bunsen' sound familiar? No it's not the F1 driver. That one is Jensen Button.

Ah, the good old days in the high school science lab where we have to heat something up or set something on fire -- remember that peanut during Bio? The one where we measure the calories?

Those were the good days. And we were able to do all that thanks to our school syllabus, our school funds and a guy named Robert Bunsen, the inventor of the Bunsen burner. 8D. One of the most fun things to play with in the lab. Oh, I remember all those burnt pencil tips & ends, the lighted mechanical pencil leads, the pieces of paper, the occasional fireball from leaving the gas on for too long -- speaking of which, one such fireball almost took out a friend of mine, Faris Iylia & myself. Some of the girls left it on too long, finally got the electric lighter and while they were pointing it away from themselves -- and accidentally at us -- out of fear of it going BOOM in their faces, it went BOOM in our faces... Don't worry, everyone escaped unharmed. Though Faris & I were in stitches from laughing it off. Hehe!

So, to the guy who invented an apparatus that makes the high school science lab smell like burnt/burning wood & paper -- among a variety of other odors and scents, I might add --, thank you. 8D

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Good thing this blog is digital... Otherwise I think my previous posts would've rotted away by now. Hehe! It's been quite a while since I last posted something here.

Um, just a random, pointless update... Wait, it's not pointless, then since it's an update... -_-"

I want to do triathlons someday.

OK, now at least it's still random. 8D

But seriously, I want to be able to do triathlons someday.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Token Bikezooka Series, Race #1

Yesterday, I participated in the Token Bikezooka Series. It was the first of 4 races & was a XC Mass Start event. XC stands for Cross Country, just so you know. The race was 24km spread over 4 laps, meaning 6km/lap. I've ridden 24km on road before & let me assure you, 24km on road is NOTHING like 24km riding a mtb. A lot of climbs. Oh, before I talk about the race, the track, etc; the event was held in RRI or Rubber Research Institute. A lot of fun. Thankfully, the mosquitoes weren't so active. RRI is famous for it's mosquitoes... -_-

Anyway, the track was fun, and quite challenging. I rode my dad's Specialized Hardrock Pro instead of my Polygon Collossus AX1.0. My dad's bike is a hardtail -- only front suspension -- XC bike. My bike on the other hand is a full-suspenson all-mountain bike & heavy as hell. If you feel like it, feel free to revisit my old post where I explain the different forms of mountain biking.

The route took us to the peak of RRI & back down. We did this for 4 laps. There weren't that many flats. Those that were tended to be muddy. But not the wet, loose, messy kind. This was the kind of mud you get with well-worn ground. It's soggy, heavy, and the tires really stick to it. The mud itself doesn't catch on the tires. So there were a lot of tire thread marks on the ground. It was kind of interesting looking at all the different tires used by different riders. Hehe.

The track also had equal amounts of steep, short climbs -- really steep ones -- as well as long, arduous climbs. This applied to the descents as well. You know what they say, what goes up, must come down. Though some riders hold to the saying that what comes down must first go up. XD. On the first lap, I couldn't ride up some of the steep climbs because people had stopped and walked & when that happens, everyone else ends up stopping & when you stop, there's no way to continue pedaling up the hill. The later laps were smoother in that sense. Less crowd.

The climbs were really awesome. I was cursing and struggling, yeah, but that's XC. Sadistic little sport. The descents were a whole different story. The fast descents were fun! But when it came to the technical, steep ones, phew. Those were tough. I crashed twice. The 2nd was more serious than the first. After the 2nd crash, I was glad I could finish the race. My calf muscle hurt but thankfully, when cycling, we use our thigh muscles more often. Heh heh.

Despite me falling behind, crashing twice, taking breaks, and pushing the bike up a number of the hills, I still managed to get a placing! Hehe! I got 9th place for my category. Among the top 10 baby!!

I got a bottle cage & frame protector, both from Token. Hehehe! Next race is on 8th May. This one will be a 4-hour endurance. Yeeha. -Gulp-. I'm not sure if I'll join this one. Yeah, it's tempting... But at the same time... 4 hours? Whew. Need to train really hard for that one.

Monday, February 28, 2011


I've said it before; once I'm bored, I start doing lists. So for today, I decided to make a list of cool things I found that would be neat to own. Hehe!
  1. GoPro HD Hero. It's a camera for action sports. With an assortment of mounts, you can mount it anywhere to get that awesome footage. The HD Hero model shoots in 1080p videos and 5mp pictures. Impressive considering it's just this small little thing. P/S; the camera is mounted on the helmet. You don't get a free helmet (nor goggles) with the purchase of the camera. Hehe!

  2. A cyclocross bike. Cyclocross is sometimes written/typed as CX. They look identical to road bikes with the drops bars and all but they're actually built to go off-road. Pretty neat concept. Hehe. If you notice the bike in the picture below has drop bars and rather thin tires, reminiscent of a road bike.

  3. Some ring I found on this website called Novica and it looks like a Jaguar. The animal, not the car. It's a really nifty looking thing. I like that the ring has features all around. Not just on top. And also, it's not you standard band nor is it the standard one-stone-on-top-with-engravings-all-around-it kind of ring.
3 things that I think would be pretty cool to have. Hehe. Hmm. I wonder if I should squeeze another list here? What the heck, why not. I think this time I'll write about things I want to be able to do one day, and I'll work to it. Almost like a set of goals.
  1. Build my own bike. As in buy the frame I want, the components I want and build it from the ground up. That would be awesome. Although, I would either need to learn how to assemble a bike first or find somewhere I can get it assembled. Though I really want to be able to participate actively in the assembly rather than just sit there and watch a bunch of bike technicians put together my dream steed.
  2. Study engineering in the US. Mechanical engineering, specifically. I don't know why, but materials engineering really interests me.
  3. Visit my foster-grandparents in Canada. Lue (my foster grandmom) visited us late last year and it would be really nice to be able to go visit them.
  4. Ride the trails in Downieville, California, and in Whistler, British Columbia. Ah, mountain biking heaven. Oh, and Ray's Indoor Mountain biking Park in Milwaukee. Hehe! I know, you're thinking, "Indoors? I thought mountain biking was about being OUTdoors?", and you are correct up to that extent. You must remember, though, winter can be harsh. Besides, you gotta try everything once, eh? Well, almost everything.
  5. Bungee jumping. Hehe!
  6. Not forgetting the most important of all; enjoy life.

I think hat's all. Au revoir.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Why I Ride

Looking back, mountain biking, particularly XC, is sadism at it's finest. During the race you feel your spirit breaking, you want to cry and give up yet you keep motivating yourself, "I want to finish this, I want to finish this," and you do. You don't win, but you did finish where many others pulled out. You're body is aching, and you feel like collapsing. At the same time, once you cross that finish line, you're like, "I actually did it," and you look at the expressions of those who didn't finish it and you feel a mix of joy and pain. Days after that, after you've recovered and gotten back in the saddle, you think, "I can't wait for the next race."

It's borderline stupid but it's addictive. That feeling when you're atop the hill and you know you pedalled and struggled your way up. You didn't take some big 4x4 and wreck the environment to get the view. You broke a sweat, you swore, you struggled, and when you make, it's that much sweeter. Pure, sweet hell. And you want to do it again.

Events like Downhill, Dirtjump, Freeride, etc take lots of guts, a pair of titanium balls and skill. The adrenaline rush is amazing. But it's not the same as the strange, addictive sadism of Cross Country riding.

On those crazy climbs, your legs are burning, your lungs are burning, your mouth is dry, you can feel your lips cracking & your heart is racing at a thousand miles an hour. As you approach the top, it just gets harder and you seem to be travelling at an increasingly slower pace. Once you've hit the top, however, that's when the rolling hills start and you look forward to that next climb.

It's that feeling of "I can do it" and the sense of triumph when you reach the top that makes XC riding so addictive.

Kencana-SIC Bikeathon

Some of you may have read on Facebook that I participated in a race this past Sunday on February 20th, 2011. It was an all-day event consisting of one mountain bike event -- called the Jamboree --, and 3 road bike events -- called Criterium races. The Jamboree was the first event of the day and was scheduled to start and 10. Riders were to be at the starting grid by 9:45 a.m.

Alright, before you go on, I'm going to rant about the flaws of the event before the good part. So if you want to skip the bad, go to paragraph 7 (not counting this paragraph & the one above).

By 9:30, there were still around 30 people who hadn't received their race number and transponders. No, it's not that so many people showed up, overwhelming the organizers. It was the sheer inefficiency of the organizer's themselves. In short, the registration was an absolute mess. The counters weren't properly labelled, the chain of command was all over the place, there was hardly anyone in charge & the way they split the counters was ridiculous.

For example, there were 4 counters; 2 for registration (let's call them Counters #1 & #2), 1 for payment (Counter #3), 1 for collection of race number & transponder (Counter #4). Sounds simple? That part is. Now stay with me, Counters #1 & #2 were split such that Counter #1 handles group as well as individual registrations. Counter #2 handles individual registrations ONLY. And there was only a small label on the counter you could only see once it was your turn. So for those who wanted to do group registration but ended up in the individual registration line would've obediently waited until his/her turn came only to be told that he was in the wrong line.

Counter #3 was smooth, duh. All you did was pay up RM30 per event. Counter #4 is where the trouble begins. After standing in line for 10 minutes, only 3 people had collected their race number & transponder. There was another 7 people in front of us & about 20 behind us. And the line was growing almost literally by the minute. At 9, we still hadn't moved so the organizers asked those participating in the Jamboree to step aside & form a new line, presumably we would get priority because our event started in 45 minutes and there were A LOT of us. 2 minutes later, we're asked to go back in line. So everyone lost their spot. Nice going. That was still bearable, though.

They did it a 2nd time. This time, they left us standing there like idiots for 20 minutes. No one at the counter, NO ONE said ANYTHING. We were standing IN A LINE facing the bloody counter for 2o minutes & no one bothers asking, "Excuse me, why are you guys standing there?"

Not a fucking soul.

Everyone bitterly went back in line. Luckily for me, my dad was in line because he had to collect the race number & transponder for the Criterium races the rest of my family would be participating in. After talking to some of the regualr participants of the event, they said this was the case every year. That makes 3 years in a row. Nice going. The only reason some people bear with it & come back is because you get to win free F1 tickets if you win any event. As well as cash. The kids got RM300 for 1st place but I'm not sure how much the adults stand to win.

-Deep Sigh-. Now that I've gotten that off my chest, I can tell you about the fun part. Hehe!

The Jamboree was a 42km event broken into 3, 14km laps. Each lap starts at the start/finish line on the circuit, goes in the opposite direction than the F1 races, exits after the first bend behind the stands, goes into the ring road around Sepang International Circuit before leading up a climb into the oil palm estate. By the time you get there, your legs are already burning after the massive climb. The initial off road part allows you to regain your breath before dumping you into a steep & sketchy descent. You exit and reenter the plantation once. During the reentry, you're faced with this steep, straight climb. It must've been like a 45 degree incline. I never made it pedalling. Heh heh. That was a confidence bruiser. At least almost no one else did. After that is a fast, rough off double track till the ring road again where you reenter the circuit. In the circuit, you have to go all the way around, doing virtually the whole lap back to the start/finish line. Repeat another 2 times. Hehe!

Overall the off road part was a ton of fun. For me, it was the circuit that was the real killer. Fuh. Anuar Manan, local cycling hero was also there! I managed to take pictures with him! He also joined the jambore. That guy is fast. On the 3rd lap, me and several other riders were told that a winner was already crowned so if we wanted to, we can double back to the track or push on. About 6 of us decided to. For me, the final section on the circuit leading to the finish line was pure hell. Sweet, pure hell.

As I wrote earlier, Anuar Manan was there. He participated in the Jamboree as well as under the Men's Open category for the Criterium. He's one strong and fast rider. Clinched 6th place for Jamboree and 2nd for the Criterium. A friend of ours, Ijad also did both but he couldn't finish the Men's Open. It's exhausting.

Ijad, my brother, Anuar Manan, & myself

Halfway through the Men's Open Criterium, Tun Dr. Mahathir came to watch. He came and stood at the pit stop with everyone else to watch the riders zip by. It was amazing to see him. All of us managed to shake his hand. My mom even managed to take a picture with him.

All in all, I rate the event as average. The races are awesome but in terms of event management, a lot is left to be desired.

That's all for now, au revoir.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

251st Post!!

I would have done this one my 250th post but I didn't notice that it was the 250th. Heh heh. My bad.

Anyway, I recently bought a book. Finally, a book. Hehe. I'm an avid reader & as I was browsing through MPH Subang Parade last weekend, I realized it's been a while since I read a book that I wanted to. The latter part of last year many of us had our noses buried in reference books, text books, notes we took down during class, etc, gearing up for SPM. Now it was time I got something I wanted to read.

I've always been intrigued by mystery novels; the Hardy Boys, Famous Five, etc. So I got one. Want to guess what book I got? I'll give you a hint.

Look familiar? I'm sure it pretty is. Yep, I got myself a copy of 'The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Somehow, despite being a fan of mystery books, I had never read any of Sherlock Holmes' Adventures. Sure, I've heard of some of his stories but never actually read them. It's a nice book. I really like it. It's from Collins Classic and the language is old English. Really sounds nice. Kind of hampering my reading speed but hey, I have time. I'm taking my time reading it, enjoying the stories.

On a different note, I'm currently training & gearing up for 2 races. The first is going to be next Sunday -- 2oth February 2011 -- and is called the Kencana-SIC Bikeathon

I'll be racing in the Junior Open Category & it's 5 laps x 5++km. So roughly about 25km. For the F1 aficionados, they will know that SIC stands for Sepang International Circuit. Yes, the race will be held on the actual circuit. I think I'll enjoy this one very much.

The next race I'll be participating in is called the Token Bikezooka Series.

It's more like a tournament because there are 4 races & you will earn points for each race. What's unique about this event is that the riders are not sorted by age but by skill. Therefore, at the end of each leg, it will be decided which rider goes into which category. Throughout the series, it is possible to be promoted/demoted to higher/lower categories depending on how you perform. There is of course, certain criterion that needs to be fulfilled before that happens.

Like I said, there will be 4 races. 3 of which will be Cross Country or XC and the other one will be a 4-hour endurance! Woohoo! I know that this is your most likely expression;


Definitely need to train as well as get to know the track. Looking forward to all the races.

Tomorrow, Weii Syuen is having a gathering at Domino's D'Bayu. Glad my parents said I can go. Yaay!

Hmm. What else? Oh right, before I forget. This Saturday, I'll be picking up my 'L' license! Kind of nervous. Heh heh. Insyallah I'll be alright. My mom had booked for us to watch a performance by the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra! It's going to be the night show thus very formal. Good thing I found my dad's old blazer hanging in one of the closets in my granddad's house. My granddad had it made for my dad when he -- my dad -- was my age. And it fits like it was tailored to me. I really take after my dad in terms of build.

That's all for now, au revoir.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Jules Verne's Birthday, Downhill at a Quarry, and a New Store in D'Bayu!

Today is Jules Verne's birthday! Well, he was born on February 8th 1828 which means that if he was alive, he would be 183 years old. Whew. Who is Jules Verne? Probably, his most renowned work would be 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. A good book. Considering that at the time, submarines didn't exist, quite visionary. He is one of 3 people to be dubbed 'The Father of Science Fiction'. The other two authors are H.G. Wells and Hugo Gernsback.

But, why am I writing about this? Well, it's because Google came up with a really neat header for their search engine. They often do this in conjunction with important events & dates. I snipped it & here is the header;

Pretty nifty, no? Hehe.

Anyway, yesterday, my brother & I shot a video at the abandoned quarry near our house. The last time we did was a very short one, and it was only one clip. This time around, we took several videos & pictures & I made a short clip out of it. It's my first video, and I'm rather proud of it. Hehe. I think it's about a minute or so. Hope you enjoy!

Today, I swung by the new bike store in D'Bayu. It's called enDurance Cycles & Sport. Very nice store. I was surprised -- and ecstatic -- when I found out that they carry Polygon bikes! Hehehe! Not too many bikes just yet. They're only into their 2nd week of business. Hopefully one day, I'll be able to get both the front and rear mudguards. That would look so wicked on my bike. Or at least just the front. Hehehe! Tomorrow, I'm going to go get my bike fixed. While shooting the video above, my rear disc brake rotor clipped a rock and now it's kinda bent. Not outrightly noticeable visibly but yeah, bent. It's serious enough that I need to get it looked at pronto.

Sorry if you found this post uninteresting and not of any interest. Hehe.

I guess that's all for now. Au revoir.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

No Longer Green.


Random? Not quite. Bear with me here for a while.

Today, we went to Alamanda, Putrajaya and got a Lowepro camera bag for Akid. It was a Flipside200. Awesome bag. Compact and sturdy. Not to mention perfect for cycling because it's a backpack.

After buying a few supplies at Cold Storage, including chips, pita bread, canned tuna, and mayonnaise -- among others -- we had lunch at Taman Warisan nearby. Awesome local food. They have a Satay Kajang Haji Samuri outlet there so we ate there. We had some daging (beef), ayam (chicken), arnab (rabbit), perut (stomach, which only my parents ate), and rusa (venison). Hehe! The venison was a bit tougher than beef and I couldn't really tell the rabbit apart from the chicken. Heh. I'm a horrible food critic.

Putrajaya Challenge Park was next on the agenda after lunch. 8D. At PCP, we changed into our shorts and jerseys, unloaded the bikes, put on our helmets and sunglasses, and started the warm up climb to the trail head. We only did the Core Green Loop because none of us had totally mastered it. Yet. After doing the loop, I told Akid to walk back into the trail and take pictures as I came down the downhill switchbacks. Hehe! Mama took some good pictures herself.

I had been itching to give my dad's bike a go on the XC loops of PCP so I did. I tackled all 4 legs in one go. It was a blast. My dad's Specialized Hardrock Pro climbs like a freaking mountain goat. All the climbs I had difficulty with on my bike, I could do on my dad's bike. Of course, being used to a full-suspension and my dad's being hardtail, it was a bumpy ride. But hey, that's mountain biking. I had a blast riding my dad's bike! The last leg for was the hardest part for me the last time I went to PCP. I had difficulty with the downhill switchbacks on the last leg. This time around, I was able to do them flawlessly. -cue applaud-. XD. Just kidding. It did feel good, though to be able to do those switchback descents without skidding or crashing.

Tomorrow we plan to ride GCE. Woohoo!

Please don't rain.

Au revoir.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


This morning, we wanted to go for a bike ride along the GCE -- Guthrie Corridor Expressway. Unfortunately, it started raining and it hasn't stopped since. So now I'm stuck at home, bored, with no idea what to do.

I just had a yummy lunch my mom cooked. Hehe. Hmm. If the weather doesn't let up, I might try and convince Mama & Abah to take me for a haircut. I need it badly. I don't like having long hair. I tried. Heh heh.

I also need to confirm with Mama whether I can go to Mid Valley with Liyana & Sofea tomorrow... Hmm. Suddenly there are things to do. Sort of. I think I'll curl up for a nap.

Au revoir.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bittersweet, Nostalgic, and Chance

Over the months and years, I have made lists and lists of all kind of things. I like to do lists, for some reason. Places to visit, things to do, things I want, etc. Well, 3 things I can cross of the list of "Things I Want" is a road bike, a DSLR and a pair of Converse/Puma/whateverelselookslikethat. Last year, I got a road bike Well, 2 actually -- each at half price. So for the price of one full bike, I got 2. A miracle, really that one. Finding even one road bike with 50% discount is a rarity. Let alone, 2. In the same store. If that fact alone wasn't enough, let's go over some details, shall we?

They were technically still the latest -- the 2011 versions were just about to roll out and they were 2010 models. They were brand new -- as in not second hand. And the cherry on the icing -- or rather, the final nail in the coffin -- is that they were both top end models. Even as we were making the payment, people were still ogling it. Hehe. I got them during the official opening of Rodalink's Putrajaya outlet.

The story behind the DSLR is bittersweet. Lue was still here at the time -- about 2-3 weeks ago -- and the Antipest guys came for the regular spray. I was downstairs, kind of busy compiling a CD to give Lue as a parting gift. Lue was outside reading. The guys weren't the regulars. Our still-new digital camera was upstairs. After that, we noticed it was gone. So, after that, Akid pushed for a DSLR and even paid for it out of his account. We're taking very good care of that one. Practically never out of our sights. I've taken some good pictures with it. I still miss the camera we lost. That was an awesome digital camera. Sometimes I still half-hope it'll turn up somewhere in the house, the battery dead but otherwise perfect. I had always wanted a DSLR myself but I never pushed for it because I knew I would have to pay for it myself and that didn't bother me but I was saving my money for college. In the end, I decided that, I would put off the DSLR until I could get it myself.

The Converse is rather interesting. This one is more nostalgic, really. Yet at the same time, bittersweet too. My dad used to have a pair of black leather, high top Chuck Taylor All Stars. He got it in the US and it meant a lot to him. He was living on his own, in college, and he saw this pair of lovely shoes. He bought it and even his classmates were saying "Nice shoes!". He is very careful with money and prizes what he does own. He and my mom moved back to Malaysia and one day, the shoes were stolen. So in part to help my dad get it back and in part because I've secretly always wanted something like that, I got a pair of brown, tumbled leather Chuck Taylor All Stars. Since both my dad and I wear the same shoe size; whenever he wants to, he can wear them as well.

I suppose, I kind of wait until the thing I want will have some sort of significance before I get them. The bikes were a once-in-a-lifetime deal, the camera was bittersweet and the Converse nostalgic.

Split Courses

I passed my Computerized Test in one go! I'm glad I was able to. But you know what was weird? My score. Before I elaborate, the test is split into 2 'papers' with the first being a vision test and the 2nd the actual Law or Undang test. The 2nd part is split into 3 sections; the first 15 questions -- Part I --, the next 25 -- Part II --, and the final 10 -- Part III. The parts difficulty transition from easy, hard to medium. I scored 15/15 for Part I, 25/25 for Part II but 5/10 for Part III. Heh. Go figure, eh? Well, I was still able to get the passing mark so I'm happy. I got 45/50 which is 90%. Woohoo!!

After that, I decided to go straight for the 3-hour Theory course. Unfortunately, the classes were full for the 3-hour Practical course so I'm taking that one next week. A week after that, I'll get my 'L' license or Learning Driver's License -- LDL.

Hmm. What to do in that week before I get my LDL? Hehe. Hopefully I can hit PCP by myself or something. Hehe! That would be fun. Abah said if the office is empty-er, I can hang out at the office after PCP. We'll see how things go.

This Sunday, we're planning to ride the Guthrie Corridor Expressway -- GCE. Abah, Akid, and Mama want to ride their mountain bikes. I want to ride the road bike. I really want to do GCE on the road bike. Abah said that the TCR is so stiff. I kind of like it. Then again, I haven't really clocked that much time on the Defy. Oh, by the way, TCR and Defy are the two road bikes we have. Heh heh. Sorry for the confusion. Was kind of talking to myself.

That's all for now. A short post in comparison to my previous post. Hehe!

Listening to You've Got A Friend In Me by Randy Newman. What? Toy Story is one of my childhood Disney classics. I -- almost literally -- grew up with Toy Story. A lot of history with that movie...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mountain Biking!

As the title says, this post is going to be about mountain biking. Yes, I'm bored.

So just to introduce my fellow readers to the realm of mountain biking. I'll do my best to include photos so you kind of get the idea of the different bikes and objectives of each form. Before I start, let me introduce very briefly on what categories I will be elaborating on about below. First of all is Cross Country, the very roots of mountain biking. Afterwards I will explain on All-Mountain/Enduro. Following that will be Downhill. My personal favorite. Following up on that part will be Freeride/Slopestyle. And last but not least, Fourcross.

This is the most popular form; Cross Country or XC in short. XC mountain biking was one of the first forms of mountain biking. It was pioneered by a group of friends in the early to mid-80's. I could go into a long-winding talk about that alone but I think what I've written suffices. If you want to know more, just look it up. The internet is a HUGE library. XC bikes tend to be hardtail. A hardtail is a bicycle with only front suspension. There are of course full-suspension XC bikes. Full-suspension means it has both front and rear shock absorbers.

XC Riding

XC Hardtail

XC Full-suspension

If you notice, the 2nd bike has what appears to be a small piston located beneath the top part of the frame. That is the rear suspension. What sets apart mountain bikes really is the amount of travel the suspension has. For example, XC bikes typically have between 80-100mm of travel. The word 'travel' refers to how much the shock absorbers will compress. A sub-category of XC is known as Trail. These bikes tend to have between 120-150mm of travel. Otherwise, they're pretty similar in terms of geometry and purpose.

The next category of mountain biking is known as All-Mountain or Enduro. It's basically the same thing. Enduro is a relatively new segment of mountain biking and All-Mountain bikes -- as the name suggests -- can go all over the mountain. All-Mountain bikes are the most versatile of all mountain bikes because they can be adjusted to do virtually every form of mountain biking. Of course there are set backs such as weight and efficiency but getting a bike under this category is much cheaper than a bike for each category. Obviously. These bikes tend to have between 160-180mm of travel. Enduro events are similar to XC but they are faster and rougher, hence the longer amount of travel. Bikes under this category are always Full-suspension.

Enduro event. Note the knee guards.

All-Mountain/Enduro bike.

Ah, Downhill or DH. The roughest, wildest ride you'll ever have on a mountain bike. It's difficulty and danger is rivaled only by it's sister category, Freeride. Downhill bikes are ALWAYS full-suspension. A hardtail is practically suicide. Try riding any hardcore DH track with an XC hardtail and you're likely to break the frame. DH bikes typically have between 180-200mm of travel. DH riders have to suit up like motocross riders with all the guards, helmets and such. Here are the pictures. Going airborne in DH is expected. My parents aren't too keen on me participating in DH. Understandably, they're just worried for my safety.

Some of the guards worn by DH riders

DH rider

DH bike

Freeride/Slopestyle/Urban. The madman's sport. It's like BMX but on a mountain bike. Slopestyle is also abbreviated as SX. The guys who do it are nuts. This category is my little brother's favorite. He aspires to be able to ride like them. Freeride bikes tend to be slightly smaller and lighter than DH bikes. This allows them to be trick-able as the term goes. It allows the riders to do tricks. SX bikes come in both hardtail and full-suspension. They also tend to be single-speed though that is in not a definitive way to identify a Freeride bike. Some people setup their bikes to be brakeless, one rear brake, both brakes, etc. I notice that bikes in this category have the most variation in terms of geometry and set up. Despite the hard impact of this form of mountain biking, the bikes tend to have very little travel because the riders want maximum power transfer when jumping. Less shock absorbers means a higher jump. These bikes are also ridden in BMX bowls, vert ramps, etc because of their similarity to BMX.

Rider doing a backflip

Hardtail slopestyle bike. This one is more towards urban riding

Freeride bike. Designed to take big hits and pull of big tricks

The final form of mountain biking I will be talking about is Fourcross or 4X in short. This event is somewhat like a slalom event where multiple riders -- typically between 4 and 6 -- start off and race to cross the finish line first. Races under this category are similar to the BMX Supercross as well as the Motocross Supercross events. Riders in this event also pad-up similarly to DH riders due to the nature of the event. 4-6 riders racing side-by-side on a tight course and everyone is competing for the best line around corners and through obstacles. Crashes are common and the tendency is, when one rider goes down, at least one other rider behind him/her will go down.

Ladies 4X event

4X bike.

I know it's a lengthy post and probably quite boring to most of you but if you read it thoroughly and made it this far, my sincerest thanks for taking the time to read it. And if you skimmed through, I don't blame you. Hehe.

That's all for now.

None of the bikes above are actually mine. I grabbed them off the net. Most are from the bike manufacturer, Specialized. The last 2 bikes are from KONA.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Last Weekend

Lue has left back for Canada. :(

This past Saturday, we went to watch Gulliver's Travels. It was a fun movie. Jack Black really likes his rock and roll. Hehehe! Of course, I'm not complaining, the guy can actually sing.

Before the movie, Akid was kind of hunting around for a camera. We had bought a Sony Cybershot TX-9 sometime back but about two weeks ago, it got stolen. :(. I won't delve into the details. Quite disheartened by that incident. So he was seriously considering a DSLR which is kind of unfair because I've always wanted one but I never pushed for it because it cost so much. I guess I can be a bit more careful with money than my little brother.

We woke up early the next day because we needed to send Lue to the airport. :(. It was fun having her around. Everyone was sad at the airport. Heh. We had so much fun and 3 weeks went by so quickly. Huhu. After she left, we had breakfast at McDonald's then we went hunting for cameras around KLIA because it's duty free. Hehe. They didn't have the model Akid wanted so we left for the Gardens.

In the Gardens we went to the Sony Store and after some consideration, Akid agreed to forgo his preferred model and get something 'lower'. Lower as in instead of the Alpha 55, he opted for the Alpha 33. Heh. Well, if they had that one in stock, we would have got an extra lens for only RM100 more. I'd say a pretty good deal. However, after they checked their stock, they were out. Heck, the Sony headquarters was out. So back to the Alpha 55.

Now it's sitting in Akid's room. I took some pictures while Akid was in school. Hehehe!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Viva la Inpendencia!

That's the name of the performance that I attended at the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) yesterday. I know it's spelled Inpendencia and apparently, that's not a typo. It was a lot of fun. The entire performance was awesome. The whole reason behind it was because many South American countries had just celebrated their 200th year of independence. According to the maestro for the evening, those countries are Mexico, Argentina and Columbia. I think that's all. Although there were some music from Cuba and he apologized for that. I didn't mind. They were all very good. It was the first "happy hour" session meaning it wasn't too formal though you still had to dress smartly.

Akid and I were very excited for several reasons. Firstly, it would be our first time attending any of the MPO's performances, it would also be the first time we would get to go to take the public transport by ourselves and as it turned out, the first time just the two of us wandered around any mall.

After lunch, Akid, Lue -- my foster grandmom -- and I took the cab to the Kelana Jaya LRT station then proceeded to KLCC. It was a lot of fun! The show started at 6:30 and to avoid traffic, the three of us left for KLCC around 3 p.m. Lue suggested we split up so that Akid and I can do what we want and she can do what she wants. So Akid and I browsed through Adidas Originals, Adidas, Converse, Coolshades --an Oakley distributor --, Nike and Stadium -- a sports store like Studio R.

Mama and Abah joined us while we were having a snack at Burger King around 5:50 or so. The 1 hour performance felt so very short. Wish it was longer. :(

That's all for now. Au revoir!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Au Revoir 2010 and Bonjour 2011!

I have been so busy!! I haven't had time to post anything for the new year. This has happened to me, what 2 years in a row? Huh. Go figure.

Well, a lot has come and passed in 2010. Debates, public speaking, having fun with friends -- QM, Lina, Alliya, Sharanya, Divya, and Letticia who make up the debate team! --, lots of laughter, lots of heartache -- Add Math, I'm looking at you --, did my first downhill mountain biking run, did my SPM/O-Levels, just to name a few. Looking back, many of my friends were kinda sad on the last day(s) of SPM but somehow I wasn't too bothered. Yeah, I knew I was going to miss all of them but I didn't feel sad. Call me a heartless creep but yeah, kinda. Huh. Anyway, I certainly hope that everyone keeps in touch!

Another year, another new year's resolution. Before that, however, I want to look back at this year's resolution and see what I've accomplished

As I've said in the post Custom Order New Year's Resolutions,

So, I can cancel out numbers 1, 2, 5, and 7. Most of the red I can only know after the SPM results come out. Hehe! Insyaallah they'll be good.

My new year's resolutions for this year are.... Uh... Hmm. Let's see shall we?
  1. Stay fit. My 'workout regime' used to be quite integrated into my daily routine and I would say was rather rigorous for a daily routine. Now that I have stopped going to school I need to keep it up.
  2. Driver's license. Very important. Why? Because I want to drive, is there any other reason?
  3. Go to PCP more often. Complete the red DH track and do a lot more XC. Get very comfortable with the green loop. Not to forget the pumptrack. Tough little nut.
  4. Visit Singapore. Seriously, I've never visited Singapore. I'm sure many people will be "What?! You've never been to S'pore?!" But yes, it is true. I have never been outside of Malaysia's borders for 14 straight years of my life.
  5. Participate in a mountain bike event. Hopefully Fraser's Hill Urban DH. Hehehe!
  6. Elbow+forearm guards. Hopefully FOX Launch. Yeah, I know I dedicated a whole post to this amazing substance called D30 but somehow I still want that FOX guard.
6 objectives. Slightly more than half of the previous year's. Well, considering the yet-to-be-determined future ahead -- look out world! I'm carving my path and I'm going to f****** love every moment of it!!! *Ahem*. Anyway back to the point, considering the fact that many things remain to be seen, I'd say the 6 objectives are good.

Tomorrow will be the first time in long while where I'll wake up on a school day and not have to go to school. Until I find college. It's sort of sad not having to put on the uniform, strap on my helmet and pant-tie, pedal my bike to school, lock, have a smile plastered across my face the moment I see Liyana, have fun with the debate team, and learn.