Tuesday, October 18, 2016


There was a time in my life, for a period of about a year, I was addicted to Hindi movies. It all started when I saw the excitement in my late niece, Erlinna, when the movie Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was showing on TV. I was playing mahjong at the time, and was wondering why she was so excited. I took note of the title of that movie, and when I returned to Brunei after the holidays, I went to the shop to buy the VCD. I surprised myself for the endurance to be able to survive the entire 3 hours of the movie. It was indeed a good movie.

Then the curiosity got the better of me, and I started exploring other Hindi movies. This movie, that movie, and it soon became an evening routine for me to be glued to my TV almost every evening. I have forgotten most of the titles, except for some such as Maan and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. But after a while, somehow my interest in Hindi movies began to fade. You see, after watching so many Hindi movies, I reached a point where I could almost predict the endings, perhaps up to 90% accuracy; and that was just a deal breaker. I sometimes would like to be surprised by the ending, if you know what I mean. 

A typical Hindi movie usually has everything in it—it has the funny parts, it has the sad parts, it has fightings too, and of course a ton of songs and dancing. Heck, they can take up to acres and acres to dance a single song! As far as I know, nobody has come up with an acceptable explanation where the music is from when they start to sing and dance.

But this post is not really about Hindi movies; and I'm guessing that you already know that, right? I raised the story about Hindi movies to make a point, which is this: a story may be very good when you hear or see it for the first time, except for some isolated cases, like the movie Top Gun which I've seen perhaps at least 50 times. But if you keep hearing and seeing the same movie over and over again, there is a kind of exhaustion, thus resulting in finding even the most exciting movie rather boring! If you have seen enough Hindi movies, I think it's just a matter of time when you will become tired of it. The stories are not exactly the same, of course, yet they are very similar.

Well, you know what, this post has a similar ring to the Hindi movies. About 4 years ago to the day,  I posted an article entitled Surviving A Heart Attack. I provided a link to that article in my facebook page, and apparently it almost killed my niece, Ramona Jane, because of uncontrollable laughter!

Today, I'm gonna do the Bollywood thing too; but this time the main character is not me. Instead, it's my daughter, Jamie. She had the shock of her life this evening when she was seated on the toilet. A baby monitor lizard (biawak) appeared in her toilet bowl. How it got there is still a mystery, although I did have a possible explanation in my earlier post. I'm not sure if JJ will have nightmares about the monitor lizard after this. But at least there is variety in her life now—she has baby monitor lizard to worry about apart from spiders.

But anyway, both JJ and I have survived a heart attack from our respective experience. And if the next visit by a monitor lizard is in any way based on a 4-year interval, the next visit will be in 2020. I wonder if next in line will be Mia? I guess I just have to ensure that she keeps up with regular exercise to make sure that her heart is up to the challenge.

I know I said Bollywood movies no longer excite me like before, but somehow this story about a possible return visit by the baby monitor lizard is something that I'm looking forward to!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Rolling The Dice

An interesting story in The Star about a man that stabbed his brother-in-law-to-be to death, because the latter had discovered that the former, despite claiming that he's a bachelor, was actually already married since 6 years ago.

The article says "about to get wed", but it's unclear if that meant about to get wed as in a couple of days, or was it on the wedding day itself? If it's the wedding day, I'm dying of curiosity—why would a groom-to-be bring a knife to his wedding? I mean, that knife is not really important as far as this post is concerned, but I'm just a curious animal, you see.

Anyway, I posted an article in this blog entitled "The Art of Proposal & The Dying Fire" some years ago. A long time ago, when I was still a bachelor, I used to have a bit of a phobia about being married. A friend had told me that the divorce rate in Malaysia was roughly about 30%. I'm not sure where he got that figure from, but I was, like, "Wow! 70% of marriages will last forever!...how scary!"

Now there are many reasons why a marriage would fail, of course; and one of them is what my brother had experienced in the article that I quoted in the preceding paragraph above. But I think the other common reason is that people don't really know the people that they want to marry. They are, like, seated in the grandstand at a horse race. They get to see the horses from afar when they're paraded to the audience, and then they place their bets on the horse that looks the most promising to them. They get a glimpse of those horses, but they don't really know very much about them. The horse that they pick eventually just seems like it's a winner, but that may turn out to be a wrong judgment!

Many people choose their life partners the same way that they'd bet on horses too. They know some things about their future spouses, and then they're convinced that whatever that they don't know yet will be something that they can sort out after the wedding. Well, let me just say that if a woman is unaware that the man she's gonna marry is already married, then she knows nothing about him!

When I first got to know my wife many years ago, there was a time when I wondered if she was a transvestite! It had something to do with her manly voice; and I used to cringe in pain whenever she tried to sing, because it's just too awful—she's always way out of tune! It's fast approaching 30 years since the very first time I got to know her, and I sometimes still cringe in pain whenever she sings! At times, she'd try too hard to be funny, and she'd sing P. Ramlee's song, "Tidurlah wahai permaisuri; Tidurlah...pejam mata..."; and I would imagine that P.Ramlee is turning in his grave!

People can fall in love with a total stranger, i.e. without knowing anything about him. And love is, of course, an important ingredient for a successful marriage. In the good old days, many people had their parents choosing their spouses for them. Their parents were the ones seated in the grandstand, observing the horses, so to speak, and then placing their bets on the best horse. The bride and groom, if they're lucky, would then hope to fall in love after the wedding. And if they're not lucky, then they will just endure the crappy deal for the rest of their lives. Those were the affairs of things in the good old days. These days, it doesn't really work that way anymore. Women, especially, are aware of their rights; they won't just suffer in silence. They are prepared to give their husbands the "24-hour notice" if that becomes necessary!

In the end, I think it's almost impossible to know everything there is to know about one's future spouse. Getting married is still in most cases a gamble—it's a lot like rolling the dice and hoping for the best outcome. Sometimes, you get pleasantly surprised with something good from your spouse that you didn't expect. But at other times, you get surprised by something that annoys you a great deal. Whether or not you will end up making it work depends on which is more. If there is more good than bad, then it's much easier to keep it going, and hope that at least some of the bad ones could be changed into good eventually. But if you get substantially more bad than good, it's usually a matter of time before the marriage would fail, and the parties start rolling the dice again.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Dealing With Pain

I write about a wide variety of stuff in this blog, and it's therefore not surprising that my readers come from all walks of life and very diverse in interests. I occasionally write humorous pieces; sometimes serious stuff, and each having its own attraction to different groups of people.

I have written funny essays in the past—for example, here and here—and I keep getting hits on these pieces. Some people would send me private messages to comment about my past posts. But on the other hand, I also write about some serious stuff—for example, here and here—and again, although these posts are old, yet from time to time, people would send me private messages to discuss about these so-called serious essays.

One of the more serious essays that I've written, and apparently caught the attention of many of my readers, is entitled Time & Its Healing Properties. Many of my readers said that although the post is based on a true story, they couldn't help but felt that there's a kind of theatrical flow in the paragraphs. I'm not sure if that's because of my writing style; or because the mind is convinced that some things can only happen in the movies, but not really in real life? Well, I can only say that despite popular belief to the contrary, some things in life are very much like what we see in the movies!

This lately, I've been seeing some real stories unfolding around me—of what people are going through in their lives, and how they're reacting to their respective stories—and I'm once again drawn to my own experience in the story that I've quoted in the preceding paragraph above; and I'm moved to write a bit on my thoughts on this issue.

All of us, at one time or another in our life, are apt to be hurt and betrayed by the very people whom we trust unconditionally. And because the hurt is inflicted by someone we trust with everything we're worth, the resulting pain can be quite unbearable. Being human, the natural reaction is that of anger and frustration, and while many of us are usually calm in handling troubles, we may sometimes lose our bearing when in pain and then anger or frustration would give itself rein. Anger and frustration are also ingredients that can eventually lead to hate.

All too often there is that tendency to strike back—it seems only right to inflict the same degree of pain on the perpetrator; he has it coming! In fact, if possible at all, the lust to inflict twice the pain! And so we set out to find ways to retaliate; to strike back with all our might. After that we shall be satisfied...

Except that quite often when the dust has settled, we come to a shocking revelation—despite striking back and causing what seems like epic pain on the perpetrator, we find that the pain we are suffering from still does not go away! It still hurts like hell inside!

It took me more than half of my life to realise that the best way to deal with the pain is to just let it go. The more we disturb the wound, the longer it takes to heal. Just leave it be and get on with life. There are so many other good things in life, and it's a big shame to let one or two bad experiences overshadow all those other good stuff. Let the wound heal and learn from the experience. Scars are sometimes good to remind us of the mistakes we've made in life. God willing, hopefully we won't ever repeat those same mistakes again. Don't choose to be vengeful because it will very rarely result in any good; choose to be happy instead.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Tip Of The Iceberg

I have been keeping myself active in sports over the last few months, and I spent the time participating in several races, ranging from the full marathons in the Borneo International Marathon and the Gold Coast Airport Marathon (achieved a personal best in 3:52:08), to a half marathon in the local La Salle Charity Run (finished 8th); to Challenge Iskandar Puteri (Half Ironman Distance Triathlon—2nd Runner-Up), to the Labuan International Duathlon (finished 6th).

All these races were just a few weeks apart, but my next event will be a full Ironman race in Langkawi in mid November. I don't intend to join anymore short races until after the Ironman, so that I can really focus on endurance training. Although I'm happy with my general fitness, I'm a little worried about my endurance. You see, the Ironman is altogether a different beast. It comprises a 3.8km swim, 180km bike, and finally a 42.2km run, all to be done one after another in that order, and to be completed within a cut off time of 17 hours.

Last Saturday, I finally cycled 120km, a distance that I haven't done on my bike for ages. It was such a painfully exhausting workout because it just so happened that it was a windy day. Then yesterday, I rode another 120km. I had wanted to do more than that, but a freak storm forced me to shorten my workout. It was still an exhausting workout anyway; enough to result in sore legs today. Then in a short while, at about 2pm, I'm going to run 21km in this ridiculous heat. Hopefully, if I'm still alive after the run, I will go for a short recovery swim at the Likas Sports Complex at around 5pm. I much prefer to swim at the Sutera Marina, but it's closed for repairs; it's been closed for a few weeks, and I'm not sure how much longer they'll be closed. So I have no choice but to swim in Likas where the water is just too awfully cold. Since tomorrow will be a public holiday, and if the weather permits, I will go for a short recovery ride, followed by a short run.

The reason that I'm sharing all this is because when I do reasonably well in races—and I don't do well all the time, mind you—way too many people would say that I'm gifted, that I'm naturally strong or fast, that I'm genetically made for sports, that I have some sort of unfair advantage over others. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Some people would be pleased to get such comments from others. But not me. To be very honest, I'm rather frustrated when I get these comments, because for the simple reason, it's just not true. The truth of the matter is that I had to put in a lot of time and efforts in order to do well in races. It most certainly did not happen because I'm gifted; neither was it due to genetic superiority.

People have the general tendency to judge one's abilities from his or her performance during races, but they are not aware of what happens when he or she is not racing. It's a lot like seeing just the tip of the iceberg floating in the sea. For that portion of the ice is just about 20% of the whole thing; the remaining 80% is below the surface of the water and therefore hidden from sight.

It's too easy to forget that like many other things in life, in order to get good results, one has to put in the time and efforts to achieve them. At times, the kind of sacrifice that needs to be made is beyond imagination to most people, and a lot of the fight actually happens there rather than on the race day itself.

It's very hard to appreciate the value of proper preparations for a race until one experiences it for himself. This is overwhelmingly true in whatever "race" or competition in life. The sooner one can accept this as a fact of life, and start putting in the efforts, and sacrifices, to achieve whatever it is that he aims to achieve, the better are his chances of achieving it; and achieving it well. Pay more attention on the part of the ice that is submerged in the water, because after all the part that is above the water is supported by the part below it.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Scientific Study & Its Implications On Some People

Having been postponing my Ironman training over the last couple of months, I finally embarked on an intensive programme from last week. Typically, one would require at least 4 months (6 months for most people) to train for the Ironman race. But now I only have about 2 months to train for the Ironman race in Langkawi in November. 

Frankly, I'm somewhat in panic mode right now. Luckily, I've been keeping up with shorter races, and I'm sure the training for those races can help at least a bit for the Ironman. Last Saturday I cycled 120km, and then ran 21km on Sunday. I woke up with epic sore legs on Monday morning and had to rest my body. It's at times like this that I would wonder why I registered for yet another Ironman race.

This evening I had to force myself to go for the usual 10km run, and thankfully, I met Dr Peter at the track. If he were not there, I might have been tempted to shorten my run to 5km only. We ran together in the rain. I got home, had a shower, dinner, and then just shortly ago, received a message from my friend, Teo Chen Lung, through Whatsapp. He sent me a newspaper cutting of a study, which I have since searched online. Here is that study.

The study, as you can see from that article, found that "sex later in life puts men at a higher risk for heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems like strokes and heart failure, but actually lowers the risks for hypertension for women."

According to Teo, he's sharing the article with me in order to warn me to reduce sex. Didn't know that he's so concerned about my life, but that goes to show how blessed I am for having such a friend in him. I'm not sure what's giving him the impression that I'm overly active in sex though, but truth be told, I'm not even sure what's the use of this study. I'm thinking, maybe a lot of men would say something like, "To hell with heart attacks—it's worth it bah!... if I die, die lah!"

While I now have a scientific explanation for my mother-in-law's hypertension, I must say that I'm not fully convinced with this sort of study. I mean the kind of sports that I indulge in is much more demanding on my heart than sex, and I'm inclined to believe that if I'm gonna die because of exertion, I will die in one of my races, rather than while I'm pretending to try for a second child.

Having said that, however, I've been seriously considering toning down my indulgence in sports this recently, for I feel that my body is finding it increasingly harder to cope. Over the recent months, I feel like it's taking longer and longer for my body to recover after a long training session, or after a gruesome race. Perhaps that is the cue for me to take a rest from the Ironman after November. Maybe I will just limit my triathlons up to the Half Ironman distance only beginning from next year. That's what I said to Dr Peter during the run just now. This is not a promise to myself, of course, because I do realise that this kind of promise is extremely difficult to keep!

Oh well, it's impossible for me to know when I'm gonna die—maybe tomorrow, maybe next year, maybe in 20 years from now. But one thing is for sure; I plan to live life doing the things I enjoy doing, until my body can no longer do it. If I die while doing what I enjoy doing, then so be it—that's just too bad!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Labuan Duathlon Challenge 2016

I'm supposed to be training hard for Ironman Malaysia in Langkawi in November. Instead, I've had quite a busy racing calendar over the last couple of months. I've actually registered for the  Bukit Merah half Ironman distance triathlon, but I decided to withdraw from the race and do the Challenge Iskandar Puteri instead.

I thought the Iskandar Puteri event would be the last one before I embark on serious training for Langkawi. But a friend, Teo Chen Lung, talked me into registering for the Labuan Duathlon Challenge 2016 about 2 months ago. Regular visitors of this blog would already know about Teo; I have mentioned his name several times in numerous articles in this blog. For example, here and here. Well, this is another post in which I'm sharing an adventure with him!

The Labuan Duathlon Challenge 2016 was for a distance of 5km run, 32km bike, and finally 5km run again. I was reluctant to join at first, because I'm not a big fan of fast and short races. I'm not one of those athletes who're bestowed with plenty of fast-twitch muscles in the body, and I therefore don't have enough speed in my legs. That's why I'd shy away from the many local 10km running events here in KK.

However, if you knew my friend Teo, you'd know how difficult it is to say "NO" to him. That fellow just never let up, and he can go on and on about the subject until you say "YES"! It's a wonder that he didn't choose the law as his profession. I sometimes fancy that he'd make a good lawyer. Well, at the very least he'd make a good loyar buruk!

So anyway, to cut the chase, I found myself in the ferry with Teo, departing Jesselton Point in KK at 8:00am last Saturday, heading for Labuan. I brought my bike along, which was arranged on the deck with the rest of the participants' bikes from KK. The journey to Labuan took about three-and-a-half hours. Don't pay any attention to the 3 hours that they published in the website—that's total rubbish.

Now in order to get the full story of this adventure, you simply must know the story of the 2 months prior to the race. As soon as I registered for the race, Teo started bombarding me with his analysis—almost on a daily basis—of past years' results of the race. He made thorough analysis of the names of past winners, their respective finishing times, as well as his predictions of the possible winners for this year's race. At the end of it all, he tried to gauge his own chances of sneaking into the top 10 finishers of his category. Of course while he was at it, he took the liberty to analyse my category too, including searching high and low through the net for photos of past winners, times etc. He has a curious obsession for that sort of thing, you know. He then came up with strategies on how we're gonna race in order to enhance our chances to be in the top 10 finishers in our respective categories. In fact, he made the whole thing look like a complex and sophisticated project akin to one that NASA would formulate for a human space flight to Mars!

I sometimes find myself in enormous awe when seeing tons of messages from Teo through Whatsapp, mainly on his detailed analysis on the event. The fellow just never fail to amuse me. Whether intentionally or not, he is a good source of daily entertainment, really!

Having made all those daunting analysis, he came up with a PLAN, one that would bring us both glory in Labuan. According to this bombastic plan of  his, we should start the race with a 5-minute-per-km pace during the first leg, which was the 5km run. Then, we should start the bike leg together, and we would take turns to draft each other so that we can save energy. However, if we could find other fast cyclists to draft, then both of us should just tag along for a "free ride". Sounds like a great plan, doesn't it? I won't dwell too much on Plan B, Plan C and Plan D for the sake of sparing my readers from boredom, but rest assured that Teo had plenty of back-up plans too; he always does!

Now Teo typically would challenge me whenever we join the same race, but in the case of the Labuan Duathlon, he decided that we should work together instead. You see, we were in different categories of the race, and he reckoned that we both had a chance to win cash prizes. That's because there were up to 10 cash prizes for the top 10 finishers in each category.

So anyway, we started the race together and we soon realised that we were actually running at around 4:30 mins per km, a pace that's much faster than planned. We both eventually slowed down a bit after about 1km, although he slowed down a bit more than me. Soon, he was already lagging behind, and I began to worry about our little plan to help each other in the bike leg of the race.

When I reached Transition 1 (T1), Teo was no longer in sight. I hesitated for a moment, but seeing other competitors embarking on their bike leg, I reluctantly started pedaling too. I was sure that Teo would be catching up soon with his mighty Cervelo P5.

So I waited...and waited; and still no Teo in sight. I found myself in an unenviable situation of being too slow for the fast cyclists, and too fast for the slow cyclists. I had to work hard on my own for about 20 minutes until a cyclist from Team GP Riders pull along side. He was riding perhaps close to 40kph, and I took the opportunity to draft. It was such a relief, but my legs were already a bit tired from the earlier section of the bike leg. Later, we had to climb hills and then undulating terrains before finally arriving at Transition 2. Teo was still nowhere to be seen. I wondered what was he up to.

After racking up my bike, I started running. As usual, it was tough to suddenly switch to my running muscles again. But I was also feeling tired from the tough ride. I was down to about 5:20 mins per km, but I was gradually getting slower and slower. When we reached the hill, I started walking a bit, and that was when several people overtook me again. I tried to keep up, but I soon gave up as I knew that I couldn't hold the pace. There was nothing left in my legs.

Photo credit: Jack Ah Beh

After making the turning point and coming back to the finish line, I saw Teo struggling uphill on the other said of the road. He was perhaps close to 10 minutes behind me by then. If you have read previous mentions of Teo—for example here—he has this awesome skill in conjuring up the so-called killer face during his races.; and the Labuan Duathlon was no exception. Check out this killer face photo below.

Photo credit: Jack Ah Beh

Well, in the end, I finished 6th in my category in about 1 hour 53 minutes, but sad to say Teo was nowhere near the top 10 finishers of his category.

Photo credit: Vachel Voon

I think there is still a lot of room for improvements in the Labuan Duathlon Challenge. For example, they could use bigger pipes to construct the bike racks, so as to be structurally sound to support the weight of the bikes. Even the layout of the transition area was all wrong and needed a thorough overhaul for future events. But there is little doubts that the cash prizes on offer are among the best in Malaysia. So I think it's fair to expect many of our friends from the West would consider joining this race next year.

And as for Teo, I guess this means back to the drawing board to plan again for next year. I can foresee a bigger adventure in 2017, which in turn means even more analysis and racing strategies from him...

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Challenge Iskandar Puteri 2016

I had quite an adventure, racing the Challenge Iskandar Puteri in Johor Bahru last Saturday (13 August 2016). It's a half Ironman distance triathlon comprising 1.9km swim, 90km bike, and 21km run.

In the months, weeks and days leading up to the race, I experienced a bit of anxiety, not only because I felt that I didn't train sufficiently for the race, but also because the organiser seemed to be in a mess. I have lost count of how many times the race routes were changed, but of course in the end what mattered most was that the event went ahead as planned.

It was the first time I joined a race organised under the Challenge brand, and because it's a world-known brand name, I had high expectation of the event. Let's just say that the event fell short of its reputation, as well as my expectation by a long shot. I'm not suggesting that it was a lousy event; just that I thought it could have been better. But this post is not about criticizing the organiser. After all, under the circumstances, I'd say the organiser did reasonably well.

Being in the 50 - 54 category, I was among the last few participants to start the race that morning. I can still remember grumbling to myself when I did the Putrajaya 70.3 a few months ago when I had to struggle in the crowded swim. Well, the swim leg last Saturday was unusually quiet, and I realised then that that wasn't such a good thing too. Many of my loyal readers would know that I'm not a good swimmer. In fact, I've shared about my swimming ability in this blog, here. I haven't improved very much since then, and having to regularly sight in the open water is something that doesn't come naturally to me. Shortly before the race started, I made new friends with Henry Wong. This wasn't the first time I met him though; I think we met in Miri a few years ago, but then we became friends on facebook, and we finally met in person that morning. Dr Pui San was there and took this photo (Thanks, doc). It's always fun to make new friends.

I found myself swimming alone for the most part, but I'm fairly amused that I was able to catch up with some of the earlier participants. It must have been around 1.5km into the swim when I caught up with Wendy Tan, the sexy creature that you could just spend the whole day drooling and admiring, much the same way you could enjoy watching Kate Beckinsale over and over again in the Underworld series with the sound muted. Her long hair...and those wicked legs... oh! don't let me start on those! I've exchanged messages and comments through facebook with her—I mean Wendy, not Kate Beckinsale—but had never really spoken to her in person. Anyway, as I came up beside her, I had a glimpse of her graceful strokes, and of course my eyes were drawn to her legs for a bit; you can't fight instinct, if you know what I mean? I think I caught her turning her head to look at me for a split second, and that absolutely resulted in an adrenaline rush through my veins. Accordingly, I felt a little stronger and was able to swim just a tad faster.

A few minutes later I arrived at the end of the swim leg, panting as I climbed up the ladder. Damn! I really need to improve my swim! From that point, I had to run approximately 300m up the ramp through the shower, passing a drink station all the way up to my bike. I thought I'd take no more than 2 minutes for the transition, but it's not as smooth sailing as how it seems when seeing the pro athletes do it on telly. In the end, I spent over 6 minutes at T1. Finally I took my bike off the rack and started pushing it towards the mount line, and that in itself was quite a challenge.

There were several other participants at the start of the bike leg, and we were essentially quite close together. I'm not an experienced triathlete, and I wasn't sure if the fact that we were that close together would constitute a breach of the 12m non-drafting rule. Anyway, a short distance later, we began to disperse, and the gaps between us began to build up. In my mind, I thought that the 12m-gap rule was rather overdoing it by the organiser. I mean, I'm not even sure if there is any benefit at all in tailing a front rider at 6m gap, let alone 12m. But what do I know?

Once we hit the main road, I began to work on the pedal. There was this guy in front, perhaps he was riding at around 35kph, and I reckoned I'd just follow him from behind, making sure that I had that 12m gap between us. There were several U-turns in the bike loop, and we had to do 3 loops altogether. But it's strange that I saw no timing mat anywhere throughout the bike route; and neither was there any elastic bands handed out at any of the turning points. Sometime during the bike leg, suddenly there was a freak heavy downpour. But it was just for a mere 2-3 minutes. We also had some nasty headwinds at some sectors. There were ups and downs, but they were generally not very steep. By the end of the second loop, my legs were already a little tired. That's the outcome of insufficient bike training, so I'm blaming nobody but myself! And speaking of legs, did I mention Wendy's legs? Oh! never mind!

Photo credit: Cycling Malaysia Magazine

By the time I returned to the transition, I had been cycling for almost 3 hours. When I got off my bike at the dismount line, my legs felt like jelly. That's not supposed to happen, but, you know, getting old sucks sometimes. I can still remember saying to myself that I'd stop all this nonsense when I'm 50. Yet now, at 51, I'm still torturing myself on a regular basis!

When I reached transition for the second time, there was a bunch of spectators near my bike, making small talks with me. They asked me how far was the bike ride; and I replied that it was about 90km. They responded with some sort of exclamation noises. And I tried my best to look like the 90km ride was no big deal, even though I felt so exhausted already! As I was taking a sip of my Carbopro concoction, one of the guys asked me if I was topping up petrol? I replied in the negative, explaining that I'm a diesel engine. That set them off in a fit of laughter. I think they said something about being in awe of my fighting spirit, and of course the customary "You can do it!", followed by "Run!....Go, Go, Go!". I merely responded that I'll take it slow and steady. Putting on my cap, I told them over my shoulder, that the tortoise beat the hare. And that set them off in a fit of laughter again. Damn! I should charge them for entertainment fee!

So off I went on a slow jog, conscious of the admiration of the spectators. But then, as soon as I made the corner at the end of the carpeted path up a small climb through the arch, I started to walk! I could tell that it was gonna be a long and torturous 21km for me.

A little further down the road, I saw a white man limping. He was obviously injured. As I was overtaking him, I said, "And this is supposed to be fun!"

The sun was up above my head, and although the organiser did keep the promise of tree-lined route for the run, they have forgotten to say that those were very young trees. Oh boy, it was an extremely hot day. I felt like vomitting, and the only logical thing to do was to quit. This was just not worth dying for! But then again, when in a race, sometimes we tend to do things illogically. So I continued torturing myself, jogging and walking alternately while gradually getting roasted in the hot sun. It did not help at all that the water stations were too far apart. It was perhaps about 2 hours 40 minutes later when I was finally approaching the finish line; and as the excitement was building up, so were the cramps that were developing in both my calves. I crossed the finish line in the official time of 6 hours 32 minutes and 22 secs. All the muscles in my body were screaming.

Photo credit: Jack Ah Beh

Anslem and Dr Shah had finished a few minutes ahead of me. After getting my finisher medal, I found a plastic chair that was positioned immediately in front of the finish arch. I sat there rehydrating myself as I watched other participants arrive one by one. 

Not very long later, I saw from afar Wendy Tan approaching the finish line. I don't know if it was hallucination arising from severe exhaustion, but I think I was hearing the song "Beautiful Girl" in my head, and seeing her running in slow-mo. Then the strangest thing happened. After she had crossed the finish line, she stood there for a minute, as if trying to savour the moment. And then suddenly she smiled at me and said "Hi!". She walked over and extended her hand. I was unfortunately too exhausted to stand, although still managed to muster enough energy to extend my hand to shake hers. After that, I was toying with the idea of wrapping my hand in an air-tight plastic bag and refrain from washing my hand for at least a week. But luckily I managed to shake myself out of that ridiculous idea! Oh! did I mention about her legs? Oh! never mind!

Then the funniest thing happened that evening. At the prize-giving presentation, I was announced as the 2nd runner up in my category. Not sure how that happened, but I'm obviously not complaining! I received a huge medal which caused a bit of a stir at the airport, when the officer saw through the scanner machine what appeared like hand-cuffs! I also received an impressive trophy and a 3-month free membership in a gym in Johor, but for which I have to pay RM49!

I have to admit that I'm thrilled for the trophy, but actually I was rather disappointed with how the event was organised. But keeping an open mind, I will come back for this event again next year if I'm fit enough to do so. And oh boy... those legs...