Monday, November 21, 2011


42.195KM.My heart never really felt perturbed as I clicked the “REGISTER” button on the Full Marathon page. Soon enough I was going to learn that this was to be the journey of my life.

Never have I ran this long a distance, and never have I ran with this much emotion. The marathon as I now see it, was not just a battle of strength and stamina but in fact a psychological war which had dimensions I never knew existed.

Pondering about this “great challenge” which left me with sore legs and an overwhelmed mind, I decided that I should write an account, the experience of my heart journeying this distance.It all began in an early morning on the 20th of November 2011.In the stillness of that early morn; I knew that I was at the going for a great test of mental and physical endurance.

After having an extra early meal, I hastily drove off to Queensbay where the marathon was to begin. Sharp 2.00 AM the marathon began and the sea of participants started moving albeit, slowly. I kept telling myself “Slow pace, slow pace, Rexy!” so that I won’t speed off and wear myself out early on.

Going at a slow and gentle pace of 10KM per hour, I was able to sustain myself well for the first 20KM.Then as everything seemed to go very much uneventfully, I decided to slow down and finally start walking. A regretful decision indeed! At first the feeling was, AHH, finally some rest for my legs!

Soon as I kept moving forward at my “Starwalk” like pace, a subtle pain started manifesting itself behind my knees. I realised it was not a pain that would go off immediately. After some time, my legs were just crying out in pain asking me to stop. Succumbing to this pain, I sat by the pavement to massage my worn out legs.
As I sat down there relieving my aching legs, I glanced at the fellow marathoners passing by. Looking intently at their faces, I realised I was not the only one in this mental tug of war. Distraught and embattled faces outnumbered those who had some kinda cheer. Turning a deaf ear to my leg's relentless cry, I stood up and kept marching on.

As I descended the Bridge a thought of relief filled my mind.”Finally some rest for my legs!”Little did I know the journey was far from over. It would test me to my farthest limits.

This last stretch from Penang Bridge to Macallum and then back to Queensbay was about 12-15KM , a distance very much fine for a seasoned runner. But after covering 30 KM,I felt very much exhausted. Every kilometre seemed like a huge hurdle. As time ticked away, I knew it was a losing battle to reach my goals.

Confidence ebbed away. Finishing the marathon in 5 hours was the first aim; soon it was 5.5 hours and then 6 hours. The thought of not going back with the finisher medal and T-shirt haunted me. “What if I don’t complete in 7 hours?” “Will I get my finisher medal?” These questions raced back and forth my mind.

Confidence, strength and stamina were all at an all time low but I knew if I kept pushing, perhaps, by the grace of G-d there would be some hope.

As I approached the final 5KM of the journey it became almost a hellish experience. Almost every 5 minutes I would sit down to massage my overstrained legs and then hastily get up to brisk walk again. Soon it was down to the final 1KM.

I knew the pain, torture and misery were coming to an end, and so with every bit of energy I had within me, I sprinted to the finish line.6 HOURS 16MINUTES 44SECONDS.I was satisfied :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Experiments In Floral Photography

A newbie to the world of Photography,I thought I would start of with floral photography,which I guess is one of the easiest!Enjoy the collage of colours!

Friday, June 10, 2011

A night of Fiery speeches and "Political Bashings".

10/6/2011 was the day PR flags were raised high with the banner "KE ARAH PULAU PINANG HARMONI" gleaming at the Gelugor juntion.Knowing well that my destiny is going to be with this land I call home,I decided I should exercise my full right by going to this Opposition meet up and hear the "Alternative Voice".Guest Speakers were Siti Aishah Shaik Ismail(PKR),Jeff Ooi (DAP) and Mohd Mujahid Yusof Rawa(PAS).

Scheduled at 9pm,the talk only commenced at about 10pm with a warm welcoming note by Rayer (DAP Bkt Gelugor)followed by fiery speech by Siti Aishah.Her guns were very much aimed at Najib and Rosmah with incessant insults from the very beginning(Najib,being the top man has a tough job).Half an hour of charisma mixed with a tinge of humor was followed by a well prepared speech by our Jelutong DAP strongman,Jeff Ooi.His too was no less fiery but his aim was mostly at UMNO rather than Najib himself.

Bravo to him for making it clear that DAP was not in pursuit of a Christian State,as its very much unthinkable for him a DAP Stalwart and a Buddist,(He disclosed his religious affiliation during the session)to fight for a "Christian State".It was almost 11pm by the time Jeff was about to close his speech,so I decided I'll call it a day.Mujahid would have been good to listen to especially his religious stance on issues.Anyway I hope the video will do more talking.Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


The recent letter I wrote to THE STAR got published in the METRO NORTHERN REGION on the 7th of June 2011.I'm not really sure how many would have seen it as the theme,Environmental Protection doesnt really resound with many in our populace.

Well,happy as I was with the article being published in the paper,I was dismayed by the extent of editing the printing press did before it published my article.(I understand its part of THE STAR's policy to edit articles sent to them and its legally right for them to do so)

The editing undertaken did not in any way upset the content of the article but it did make the article lose its personality and story like continuity,a trade mark of my writing.
Well I guess an article in the newspaper has to be devoid of excessive emotions and be very much factual.
But I did note that they made one little grammatical mistake in the process of editing too!FORGIVEN.

Anyway, I decided why not I post up the original article up here for all of you out there to see.Here it is!

I wholeheartedly support and applaud the Penang Forestry Department’s plans to mark forest reserve boundaries in Penang, (Clearer demarcation-The Star, 27th May) but there is much more we can do in saving our natural treasure troves. Penang with its long history of human colonisation has seen much of its forests fall to the wrath of chainsaws. All that is left are now tucked away in some of the many hills that dot the state. I consider myself lucky living in Penang, as a short drive from the hustle and bustle of Georgetown, I would be greeted by the greenery of the Penang Botanical Gardens and the surrounding forests, a luxury many don’t get to enjoy. But are we at the brink of losing our natural heritage?
Being an avid hiker myself, I have seen much encroachment into gazetted forest reserves on the island in the past few years. One example I would like to highlight is the Bukit Relau Forest Reserve, along the Tun Sardon Road, the main artery that connects Balik Pulau to Relau. Development and clearing has encroached well into the designated boundary of this forest reserve, with much destruction along the way. I am very much surprised why nothing has been done thus far, to stop the clearing activity as this forest reserve is located along a very accessible and well connected area. So, being a proud Penangite and a nature lover myself I too wanted to share a few ideas on what else can be done to curtail illegal encroachment into forest reserves

1. Forest Rangers should be deployed from time to time to monitor forest reserves, especially the ones which are close to farms and human habitation. This not only ensures our forests are protected, but also helps in the effort to crack down of illegal immigrants who occasionally make forest reserves, their hideouts.

2. Create an easily accessible platform where nature lovers and hikers can report illegal encroachments to the authorities. We Penangites are ever ready to help out in the effort to protect our natural heritage. Penang Forestry Department should work on creating a website or a hotline primarily to enable the general public to report incidents of encroachment in forest reserves.

3. Educate farmers on the importance of preserving forests and do let them know about the penalties they face if caught encroaching into protected forests.

Yet again I would like to applaud the Penang Forestry Department’s timely decision, but let me remind you there is much more which can be done. With enough effort from all sides, we will be able to effectively protect our forests. Together we can make Penang a cleaner and greener state.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Deforestation in our Backyard

I made this video to highlight the deforestation activities which are going on in Anjung Indah,Balik Pulau,Penang(along Tun Sardon Road).Much damage has been done,and I hope the Penang Government will take immediate action soon.

See it for yourself and be free to comment on what you think should be done.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Quest for the Missing Link

Northern hills- CONQUERED, Eastern hills-CONQUERED, Central hills...That remained a question mark. It was one of the last bastions where we had never set our hiking shoes upon. The largest hinterland on the island that we missed out in our tireless endeavour to hike every hill in Penang. Scrolling through the maps, this frontier land seemed equally elusive and exciting. The perfect cowboy country for any nature lover. And so we set, into this hinterland, a land of mysteries and stories untold, expecting adventure and some fun.

It began an early Saturday morning after breakfast. Dad and I, fully equipped with all our ‘’hiking gear’’ started our journey by heading to Anjung Indah, Balik Pulau on our Red Perdana. The mountain air was so refreshing and invigorated our spirits with new energy and zeal for the hike. As we bade farewell to civilization we were greeted by the pitiful sight of a forest being choked by the unscrupulous activities of man.”HUTAN SIMPAN KEKAL BUKIT RELAU” read the sign,gleaming in bright yellow, only to be surrounded by the sight of rotting logs and fresh tree stumps. Shatters the heart of any nature lover who sees it. Alas, the fate of the forest is sealed. A pitiful death in the hands of man.

Environmental concerns aside, our hike proceeded on through the thickets of Bukit Relau forest reserve, mainly on gentle hill ridges and occasional steep descents. To my surprise there is a large patch of Seraya(Shorea Curtisii) trees with their gleaming silver and golden leaves flourishing in the middle of what is now Penang’s main farmland country. Even after 100 years of agriculture in the area, there still remain virgin pockets of nature, tucked away in small valleys and hill tops.

After almost an hour through this biodiversity hotspot, we finally came to a place not many in Penang would know. Tucked away between the ridges of Bukit Penara to the east and lush verdant hills to the south was a valley, a valley of farms, right in the heart of Penang. I’ll call it Umm al-Farms, Mother of Farms. And there we were, in Umm al-Farms, seemingly awestruck by the sheer beauty of the topography in the area. Bukit Penara with its towering transmittion station rising gently in front of us and below were lush Bunga Kantan farms, a must have ingredient for the well known Penang Laksa. Looking up the steep trail to Bukit Penara, I wondered if ever by the slightest chance there would be a link,a link that took us from Balik Pulau to the northernmost town of Penang, Teluk Bahang. The thought itself brought a surge of adrenalin and my mind started going wild, pondering what such a trek would be like.

Soon, the sun’s scorching rays were just too unbearable for us and we decided to call it a day, ending our hike by following a motorbike track down to Paya Terubong.
Going down the hill, the thought kept coming back to mind. Where would the missing link be? The missing link to Teluk Bahang. I promised myself I’ll be back very soon in search of it. And so the quest for the missing link continues...