Saturday, June 21, 2008

Back from the dead

I have made a lot of firsts, and now it's time for me to write a new chapter and create new history.

it's time to stand up
it's time to move on,
its time to live!!

Saturday, June 14, 2008


2 weeks of what seemed as a very shprt holiday, a wonderful trip to Kota Kinabalu and now I’m back in Banting, for another grueling semester of IB. I survived a year here, and I can do it again, though the tribulation and challenges will be far more grater that what I experienced for the last 2 semesters. But no piggy, life is short, and you just need to survive it and make the best of it.
I have never anticipated such a surprising week, starting off with a trip in Air Asia’s flight AK 3860 from Kuantan to LCCT on that Wednesday morning. The match between Sweden and Greece was filled with goals and action and no doubt it was worth not sleeping. Being awake the whole night, I planned on having my desperately-needed sleep in the plane, and I was not aware of the big shots and huge names that were on board.
The moment the plane left the tarmac, I read a couple of pages from Cecilia Ahern’s Dear Rosie, and I went into a very comfortable, deep sleep. But guess who was the first person I saw once my eyes were opened? TONY FERNANDES. I’m not shitting you, and it is real as it could possibly get. It felt as if I’ve been off for 5 minutes, but I was sound asleep for the whole 40 minutes. Actually, I’m no fan of Malaysian celebrities, but to have the experience of the CEO of Air Asia saying hello to me and asking how well I slept was undeniably an experience of a life time. As a bonus, I also got the chance of meeting the board of directors and those Air Asia models, people who you don’t usually meet on the road side on any normal days. Maybe they were on their way back after launching the Kuantan-KL route in Kuantan recently.
Nothing much about the PROSTAR though. Just helping out with the preparations and anything that I could offer my hands to. It’s nice to see 500 students all over from Malaysia coming down to this small town and mingling with each other and just have fun. What I did is just ushering and welcoming the VIP’s and some heavy lifting. But at the end of the programme, some of us were treated to a theater presentation in Bangsar called ‘Sybil’. It was staged at the Actor’s Studio in the lavish Bangsar Shoppin Complex. As just an overview, ‘Sybil’ depicts the strength and perseverance of a woman named Sybil during the Japanese occupation. Her name could not be found in any history text books, but her contributions shaped the course of the Malaya’s history during the Japanese occupation.
Ms Loh, Imran, Ammal, and I were at the ticket stall and there was this lady, just hovering in front of the ticket booth. We were not aware of who this lady was, but Ms Loh hurriedly told us that she was the director of ‘Sybil’, Dato’ Faridah Merican. For a woman who was gifted with the touch of arts and has her name marked in the production and performing arts industry, she was very easy going, friendly, and we were very comfortable with her presence. We have never seen a woman of her prominent position being very humble and down to earth and it was an honor having the opportunity to shake the hands of this iron lady. I’ll give the theater a 2 thumbs up, and we really enjoyed the show. I looked forward to my next theater moment.

Hey, just a friendly advice, life is full of surprises.;) Take it from me!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

An evening drive with my mom

I was my mom’s wingman when we send Imran to Seremban, and the trip became a lesson of family values and responsibilities. That evening, on the way to Kuantan from Seremban, my mom mention reminded me things of great importance and it would be my lying foundation in every decisions and actions I take.
It seemed that it has become my family’s tradition to organize our own weddings, with Grandma being the chief and mak lang as the wedding planner. This former dentistry lecturer iron lady has a god-given ability to put up grand and glamorous weddings. Of course, no matter how meticulous you are in planning something, there will be certain things that might get wrong, or miscalculated, or certain flaws that were overlooked. Conflicts would surely arise between those who are directly or indirectly involved; it’s the way how things work. But one thing was definitely evident when the whole family members come together to achieve this feat; it reflects a strong blood tie between us all that could never be broken nor separated.
My mom mentioned that we might go different paths and mind our own businesses, but when the time comes, we will come back together again as a family. When my grandpa and adik Wan passed away, it brought all of the family members closer. And of course, when weddings arrive, the whole family will come together and helped out. In my personal account, I was a man of confidence, believing that the world is in my hands and I could achieve everything that I have my mind on. But when my life somehow went astray, there was no where else that I can go to, except to my family. Maybe there’s truth behind the saying ‘home is where the love is’.
Being the eldest in the family has its own perks and down fall, but the package comes with its own distinct set of responsibilities. I have 4 brothers under me, and being the first born once deceived me into believing that I was invincible and I have the license to kill. I was once the dictator of the second generation of the family, where I ruled and reigned my brothers with an iron claw. But my mom reminded me that evening that the responsibility of keeping the family together lies on my shoulder. Each of my family members would play an important role in upholding the good name of the family, but as the first born, I bear the vital task of protecting the family from anything that could break us apart. Well, no one says it would be easy but what can be done, I’m born with it.
Now I know that every step I take, and every event that took place in my life now do not just lead me into becoming a person of greatness and a man of service, but a man of family. And it all came to me during a drive back to Kuantan on one evening with my mom.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


It all started by a friend, Khidir, who invited me for a Mount Kinabalu expedition in class one day, and being an adventure junky (I think I am), I completely agreed on the invitation. Thinking about my dad who has dedicated most of his adult life to his career at his clinic, he deserved a break out from the shackles of his daily routines and fly off for an adventure of a life time, and from my standpoint, it’s a great trip for a father-son bonding. I was head over hills for this trip, boosting up my stamina with some extensive jogs around the college and my dad has been climbing hills all over Kuantan on alternate days. That’s my dad.
The cool, chill weather was saturated by the excitement of our group which composed of some KMB students, a couple of UTP staffs, and Khidir’s parents. Lush greeneries covered the mountain range, with the tropical forest left unscratched by any robust economic development. A breather around the park became a walk down a living green showcase of natural history when ferns taller than us could be seen everywhere. We were told to take deep breaths to get ourselves acclimatize. The temperature was not as pleasing as the scenery where it lingers between 8 to 14 degrees Celsius. All of my group members were wearing thick climbing clothes to get themselves all warm up from the freezing night, but me being a natural weirdo, I just wore a simple shirt and my cargo pants, and off I went for a good night sleep without any bath.
We were to start from the Mersilau route which was further for the other trail (Timpohon), which spans around 9.5 Km. It seems no piggy, but this is not your normal jogging trail; you are actually scaling the trail on rocky, rigorous, steep terrains, and bear in mind that the air gets thinner and oxygen will be getting scarce. I had my 4 kg hiking beg on my back, just to get the experience. But it could not be compared with the potters who were carrying huge gas canisters, beds, food supplies on their back, up and down, day and night. These people are the arteries which transport vital supplies to the rest house at 3500 metres above sea level. Despite the huge beg hanging on my back, and the excruciating cramps all over my quadriceps, you just need to continue moving on. But the scenery was just fantastic and you could really observe the transition of the different type of vegetation as you ascend. I just let the pictures do all the talking for me.
Our first leg of the journey ended at Laban Rata where the sight of a cluster of rest houses greeted us after a very tiring climb. Sarah and Alia almost gave up and they have been whining to go down back and refused to continue, but with a little bit of motivation from friends and a little bit of butt-kicking, they succeeded to accomplish the first leg. The rain, altitude sickness, freezing temperatures, fatigue and cramps almost hampered our will and spirit, but when we moved in a group and watched each other’s back, we could achieve much more. But the real challenge was yet to come, at 2 am the next day.
The ascend towards the summit, in the cold, pitch black night, with just your head lamp, a bottle of water, and some chocolates were just simply brutal. The cold, strong winds just scarred your face deeply, and your hands numbed. Your lips felt as if they were poked by needles. At first, it was quite okay, but at a certain point of our ascend, there were not even a single tree that could be seen on the hard granite landscape. Small dust-like particles started falling like rain on us, and it got challenging with every step taken. With the steep terrain, we relied on ropes to help us scale the huge granite boulders and it requires people with nerve of steel to accomplish this feat. The gush of winds could literally blow you away. A friend of mine, who was scaling without any light assistants, freaked out, broke down, and cried in the middle of the ascend, and desperately pushing us to her go back down. But again, teamwork sufficed and prevailed in her tribulation and with strong support from friends, she continued on. She was pale, evidently tired, and completely lost her zest. But what she need was just a friend to help her get up and keep moving forward. At last, we reached the summit just in time for the sunrise.
It was a great accomplishment for all of us. There we stood on the highest peak in South East Asia at 4095 metres above sea level, overwhelmed by a cocktail of emotions. Khidir’s mom, who reached the peak 3 times, broke down to tears after stepping on the granite rocks on the summit. The sunrise from the top was a sight that could not be seen elsewhere and all of Borneo was visible for the eyes to indulge in. We spent almost 2 hours there, but it was just a relieved and it brought us to redefine the term satisfaction. I believe, and I’m sure the others agree with me, when I say that the mind plays a greater role than physical capabilities. You need to motivate yourself constantly by telling yourselves always to take the next step and keep moving on. And the other thing which was essential to execute such feat was the team spirit. Not being cocky and boastful but I know I could reach there way earlier, but I realized that you will be up there all alone in the dark, freezing night, with no one to share your moments with. Quite sad, isn’t it? In this case, individualism was forced to succumb to collective efforts. But again, what goes up must go down.
During our descend, another friend of mine was struck by a disturbing nausea, and someone needs to accompany her. It felt like a rescue mission, but I just accompanied her throughout the descend. Pushing her too much would not be appropriate, so I just let her take her time but at the same time, encouraged her to keep moving on. Along the way, the whole expedition has put strains on my knee, and they were killing me every time I take a step. We were stuck in the heart of the jungle for 7 hours, and at last we were greeted with a hero’s welcome as we reached the Timpohon gate.
Again, this expedition was a test of friendship, mental, brawn, and teamwork. It’s not about reaching there first, but it’s about reaching there together.