Friday, October 29, 2010

Guang Ming Bukit Jambul(BJ) Hikathon 2010

It has been quite a while since I last blogged here,I guess it’s because of the time factor and besides I dint feel that I had anything interesting to write about! Well now I do!

It is almost a week since Bukit Jambul Hikathon 2010 took place, but it’s still etched in my mind. Thus far, it has been the most successful run I participated in, after I first fell in love with this sport 4 months ago. All credit goes to Ooi Kok Hin, who took me for my first run which was of course the KWYP Penang Hill Run on the 4th of July 2010 after which I knew this was really my obsession. Credits aside, let’s get to the main story now!

It was a fine evening when my eagle eyes spotted a banner with the words “GUANG MING BUKIT JAMBUL HIKATHON 2010” near my college. Right away an adrenalin rush surged within me and my mind just kept telling me, “Rexy, you are so going for this!!”

So me and my dad signed up and we waited patiently, practicing and getting ready for the 24 of Oct 2010,the day of the run.There were only 2 categories, Men’s category and Women’s category ,unlike other runs which had at least 4 categories.The first 70 men and 30 women to finish the race were to be awarded medals.So,I set my goal to come within that 70 men perhaps somewhere like 40th or 50th placing,but little did I know the surprise G-d had in store for me.

I still vividly remember the night before. Rolling on the bed, I couldn’t get enough sleep as the excitement and adrenalin rush started building within me.I kept on waking up from time to time at night thinking that it’s time for the race! Worst still, I even had a dream of myself struggling up the steep slope of the hill that night!The alarm rang at 5.00am and I jumped out of bed to get ready. Soon, all stretched and warmed up, me and my dad were at the Bukit Jambul foothill, with almost 2000 others getting ready for the hikathon. As usual there was an Aerobics session just to get all those stiffened muscles loosened up before the run began.

As soon as our own Batu Uban PKR Strongman S Raveentharan flagged off the race everyone started running downhill along the road in front of INTI and then turning back up a steep road back to the Bukit Jambul trail head,before heading into the Bukit Jambul forest.Early on,my mind kept on reminding me “REXY,you listen here!Go fast,only the first 70 will get a medal!What if you turn out 71st?Wasted effort right?”These fears crept into my mind and kept me going at full speed.

Soon, i realised that I was quite far ahead.The number of people ahead of me seemed to get lesser and lesser.First top 30,then top 20 and soon among the first 10 runners leading the race!Seriously even I myself couldnt believe it!My mind was “Wow,Rexy this is cekap la!!Or are these guys delibrately slowing down to reserve energy for the steep slopes of Bukit Jambul and Bukit Kukus which were to come?”This thought made me slow down a bit but i kept going at a good pace so as to not get left out.

Soon the tarred road ended and we were met by the trees and the bushy undergrowth of the forest.The slopes of Bukit Jambul and Bukit Kukus looked daunting as they were equally rocky and steep.I kept pushing myself, picturing myself at the finishline.I kept telling myself “Rexy,you’ve come this far,you are never gonna stop,go on!go on!”.The trail snaked up Bukit Kukus Hill,a little known 418metre hill beside Bukit Jambul,before going down to Bukit Jambul Hill(Bukit Jambul is shorter).

After the uphill climb to Bukit Kukus,i dashed down the steep hillside.By now I had lost much pace and was down to the 13th position,instead of the top 10 initialy.I kept on pushing not losing hope even with my legs aching and my energy zapped.
As I reached the final 200 meters of the run,the running officials gave us Malaysia flags to wave as we ran to the finish line.

It was a steep decent down and I knew this was my grand finale .I accelerated and dashed past the 12th and 11th persons in pack.Joy awaited me as I reached the finish line.As I was awarded my medal at the finish line,I knew I had done it!11th placing,WOHOO!!I was overjoyed and raised my hands in the air in a show of personal victory.Praise the Lord!The gruelling training sessions I subjected myself to,being drenched by the rain and even vomiting during trainning were all worthwhile after all.Finally I was able to prove myself to all those who belittled me and said things like “Your running a losing race” that I indeed could achieve something in this sport.As I held on to that medal of mine,I knew in my heart that where there is a will there will always be a way.

Just give running a chance and once you get that blood moving,its show time!-Wilfredo Melendez,US ARMY

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A glimmer of hope for Tolerance

The recent events in Malaysia have triggered a form of sectarianism like never expected before in this nation. A court verdict which gave the green light for the usage of the term in the Arabic language to describe G-D by the Christians triggered an uproar of anger within the religious majority of the nation. Though at first the anger was confined to non-violent methods like demonstrations and blog articles it soon turned violent when extremist elements within the society brought the simmering conflict to a different level.
A day after the killing of 6 parishioners outside a church in the intolerant nation of Egypt, Malaysia was seeing its own share of religious intolerance. The Metro Tabernacle Church in the periphery of KL city was arsoned. Soon more attacks followed and in 5 days almost 9 churches nationwide were attacked. As Christians nationwide thronged the gates of heavens with pleas and prayers, a whirlwind of thoughts overwhelmed me. Is our fate sealed like that of the Mustaarabi Jews who contributed so much to the Arab nations but were at last disowned by their own governments? The semangat perpaduan which I upheld as my principle in life was almost at the brink of shattering. Am I supposed to leave this beloved land, the only place I call “home” just because of my religious affiliation? Questions ran in and out of my mind, bringing me to a standstill.

These notions of mine were silenced when I read the “Star” paper yesterday (13/1/10).I was filled with surprise when I saw the picture on the first page. There right in front of me was a photo of Muslims in their traditional Baju Melayu and headgear called the songkok standing in front of a church which I presume was a Catholic church guarding it against attacks from extremists! I was so surprised and overwhelmed with joy. I immediately showed the article to my mom and it too invoked the same feelings in her. Awe and surprise. I flipped through the pages and I saw another picture which caught my attention. It was about a middle aged Indian Muslim blogger who raised RM8500 for the rebuilding of the Metro Tabernacle Church. I felt joy and awe when I read the article and saw the great responsibility the Muslims in the nation felt towards the Christian community even though the attacks were not perpetrated by them but by extremist elements.

Even MCA (Malaysian Chinese Association),a political body offered its support by letting the Pentecostal faithful of Metro Tabernacle Church use MCA’s hall for worship services.As a Christian Malaysian seeing this outpouring of concern from Malaysians of different backgrounds, I felt that my fellow citizens of different races and religions were treating me and the wider Christian community as one of them,as part and parcel of their family, as a Malaysian.
Indeed this incident has shed light on the fact that we Malaysian are united as one. We do not see each other as Malay, Chinese, or Indian but ultimately as Malaysians only. We love each other and cherish the differences which make us uniquely Malaysian! So I guess the flame of tolerance which is embedded in every Malaysian’s soul will continue burning for generations to come. No one,no matter who it may be can extinguish this spirit of tolerance which has propelled our nation for this long. Malaysia Boleh!

The island paradise in the Carribean

The unspoilt queen of the Carribean.Saba an island,the smallest in fact of the Netherlands Antilles is a paradise of its own.I have never personaly been there before but judging from the photos on the net and the travel videos I am more than sure this island of 1500 inhabitants is indeed paradise.Take a look!