Friday, 29 August 2008

One more try* - George Michael

Why are you climbing it again???

Many have asked. To which i simply reply, because it's there!

So off i went a couple of weeks ago, trudging up the slopes of Mount Kinabalu. Being my 3rd time going up, the trek up seemed a little familiar. But one memory which kept on returning to me was during my 2nd trek up when i asked meself many times along the way why was i doing it again???

I have to admit that the 3rd time was still hard - despite me being fitter than i was was during the 2nd trek. The walk up to Laban Rata was extremely exhausting near to the end. The 3 am trek to the Summit was simply too cold - the winds were crazy. Many a times, i would lie in a fetal position on the bare steep slope, wishing there was a switch that i could reach out to and stop the winds!!!

The trek down was excrutiatingly painful. Me knees were hurting like crazy - so with every step brought a sharp pain. At times, me knees felt like it was going to give way!!!

I still have this text message stored up in the draft folder of me phone - a message which i tried to send from the peak:-

Good morning. I'm at the peak of the mountain. Please remind me NEVER to do this again.
In fact, i sent out similar ones at Laban Rata!!!

But it wasn't all horrible. The best part was walking down from the peak to Sayat-Sayat check-point. It was downhill and altho very steep, me addidas kampung ensured i never slipped at all. The sun was up and it warmed me. The view was simply wonderful and the guide suddenly became rather chatty!!! I din mind. I learned a lot of new things from her. She'd point out the peaks, the vegetation, the towns in the valley below etc.

I told meself NEVER to do it again. I told me mates to make sure i'll never do it again too.

1st time - 1991. Me at the peak with a couple of bank robbers!!! At this time, all of me students are still in diapers!!! A couple may still not be born yet!!!

2nd time - 2004

3rd time - 2008

Here's the truth - the real reason for me wanting to do it again and again was because i never made it to the peak before sunrise before. And at the peak, i did not look over and stare down Low's Gully!!! And it wasn't an enjoyable experience.

So i wanted to go again, to make it to the peak and see the sunrise, to peer down the scary drop of Low's Gully and to have fun doing it.

I failed again this 3rd time round. Reached the peak long after the sunrise. By then it was too misty up there - and as i crawled to look down Low's Gully, i see nothing but thick fog.

Further, there is the new trail where one can go on a more scenic trek up albeit longer. I wanted to do that this time but couldn't find anyone to share a guide with to do so.

So yes, even on the day after i reached down, i oredi started toying with the idea of going up again!!! I listened with envy as Ru and her mates talk about going up in October this year.


Or go with me again! ;-)

p/s - if you are interested, you can check out my pics here.

* His 3rd consecutive no. 1 single from his brilliant album, Faith.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Absence of fear* - Jewel

I was reading the local newspaper the Sun just now and there was an interesting write-up regarding what happened in the recent by-elections. The analysis was done by Himanshu Bhatt.

The writer gave his views on what Anwar did right and what the BN did wrong. Anwar had a clear and consistent agenda. He emphasised the importance of the rights of all races. He pushed for ethnic harmony. He promised openness in the media. He deplored the ruling government's economic management of the country. He raised issues about the lack of transparency in the present government.

In contrast, BN just did what they had always done - launched a campaign of fear. It is true that you cannot teach old dogs new tricks. It has been their one and only tactic for so long. Instead of telling what they can do, they continually harp on what will happen if they are not voted in. I'll never forget the full page adverts put in newspapers asking people to vote them or else race riots will take place.

Now, they try to frighten the Malays saying that their rights will be taken away.

Yes, nothing has changed.

As Himanshu said in his article, "In contrast, the BN leaders relied to a large degree on an attempt to build a fear of Anwar - that he was double-faced, that he was a trouble-maker, that he was immoral".

This time, it back-fired. As it did in the March general elections. Himanshu went on saying, "It hardly seemed to work. Already riding on widespread resentment towards the BN government’s social and economic policies, Anwar made sure he presented an agenda that appeared intelligent, humane and well-defined".

Read the article

On a closing note, i noted that Himanshu said some nice things about Arif Shah. Me? I think he's a sore loser. Here is what he was quoted saying after losing:-

Voters were influenced by propaganda and slanders by the Opposition during their ceramah.

There were also threats circulated through SMS by irresponsible people that caused many voters to stay away.
Source: see here.

*The last track from her 3rd album, Spirit (altho there is a 'hidden track' after this song). I love this song!

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

The winner takes it all* - Abba

Well, he's back!

Resounding win for Anwar with 15,671 majority

I wasn't too concerned initially - until i came to work yesterday. Me colleagues started chatting in our staff corridor and inevitably, the topic turned to politics. I then found out that i was in the minority, thinking that the opposition will win the by-election easily.

It was then i started getting a little worried. What if the ruling government wins this by-election? On the one hand, it's just a small thing. Who really cares - or even knows - about Permatang Pauh?

But this was no ordinary by-election. The stakes were much much higher. This was stated in an opinion in the BBC News Online:-

A by-election in the north of Malaysia does not strike you as a headline grabber.

The government is not on the brink of collapse. The economy - one of the strongest in the region - is robust. The people are not killing each other, as they have done in the past.

But millions are being spent, the day-to-day business of government is on hold. The battle for the constituency of Permatang Pauh has become a fight for the future of the country.

Read the entire article here.

Yes, one may say that the winner will take it all. I was afraid that BN - the ruling government - will win this. The implications will be grave. All the good that was achieved in March's General Election will be undone. It would be like taking 2 steps forward then and 3 steps back.

Anwar Ibrahim - whatever yr views about him may be - is personally responsible for uniting the opposition together. If he had lost this by-election, he would not be able to make a come back to the Parliament as a MP. The Opposition Coalition may break apart too.

If he had lost, the BN will become as arrogant as ever. In fact, even more. They had defeated the head of the opposition. After the embarassment of the general elections in March, some still maintained their arrogant stance. If BN had won, they would think that they are untouchable, that they can do anything they want.

So it was with great relief when i read the news last night that Anwar has won - by a landslide.

The stage is set. The actors are in place. We now watch with bated breath.

*Their first single from their album, Super Trouper, this song was originally titled The story of my life.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Peace on earth* - U2

Is that why your father named you 'Mun Onn' - because you are born on Christmas day?

Augustine asked me that question as we sipped drinks at Secret Recipe, catching up with each other for the first time in 3 years! I really like chatting with him. I always feel like i'm really having fellowship with him, not just meaningless chatter.

There were to be many more such occasions when we would chat - and Constance, his wife would also be involved. We'd just chat after dinner and before we know it, it was time to get the kids ready for bed.

Back to his original question - he was asking me that when we were talking about me dad. You see, for those of you who may not know, my name comes from a chinese saying that basically means peace to all men in this land. 'Mun Onn' would just mean peace to men.

My name, high and exalted in Chinatown, London! ;-) It was also high and exalted in Kota Kinabalu - but the pic i took din make it back.

Augustine of course was referring to the song of the angels on that first Christmas day when Jesus was born in a humble manger. The angels sang a refrain that goes "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." (Luke 2v14).

i replied confidently that it was prolly not the intention of my dad. You see, me dad only believed in Jesus very recently. At the time of my birth, i'm pretty sure he had very little knowledge of the Bible and of the true meaning of Christmas. So, i concluded, it must have been a pure coincidence. In any event, i believed that it was prolly me grand mom who coined up my name.

But Augustine persisted, saying that perhaps even in a non-Christian state, God could have still impressed upon me dad to name me so. It was too much of a coincidence.

And i think i agree with him. At the very least, it was interesting food for thought!

*The song was written about the Omagh bombing at Northern Ireland, 1998.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Lost in your eyes* - Debbie Gibson

I watched Red Cliff today. I enjoyed it. It was a good war movie. Not much acting, tho. Personally, i enjoyed the war sequences. It was a thinking man's war, unlike the big (and boring) battlefield war scenes that we've seen over and over again (thanks to Braveheart which started it all).

But what made it really worth my time and effort was none other than this girl:-

And i was glad that she had a big role in this all-men movie. After all, women in war movies are usually just there for eye-candy (just like the role given to Lin Chiling). Yes, she was eye-candy to me but she had part to play.

I must say it was a typical Zhao Wei role - the mischievous tomboy-ish younger sister who wishes to be taken seriously. Yet its a role that she plays so well!

I've been a huge fan of hers for a long time. But she never seems to get into good movies in recent times. Yes, i'm smitten by her eyes!!!! Me chinese mates in UK used to be amused at how much i liked her. They can't stand her eyes, tho!!!! They say it's too big! Unnatural.

Not to moi! I'm just lost in her eyes. *swoons*

*Her most successful single, this was her first single from her 2nd album.

It might be you* - Stephen Bishop

I braced meself for the weekend. After the terrible experience the last time, i could not expect this time to be any different. I will be dealing with pettiness, emotional outbursts, hypocrisy, self-righteousness, finger pointing, back-biting, dirty tactics, the whole nine yards.

After the weekend, i was pleasantly surprised to find that i was wrong. None of the aforesaid took place. The competition ran smoothly with a good spirit among everyone. There were NO COMPLAINTS LODGED!!!! Perhaps a little hypocrisy when the losers congratulated the winners - but this i see more as an act of graciousness than hypocritical. The only pettiness were when some participants made life difficult for our ushers and escorts - making them run up and down to bring coffee and then complained that it was not good.

But that was it!

When the results were announced, almost everyone was a winner in one way or another. But the biggest winner i guess is the spirit of competition. I find myself looking forward to meeting the other teams again in the next competition.

I had to stand corrected before my new mooters when my warnings regarding my initial fears did not materialise.

So what made the difference this time? Was it because the stakes were not as high, since this was a 'smaller' competition? Perhaps. But i think it could be something else - the absence of one particular institution!!!

Come to think about it, it was a member of that institution who had previously warned me about how dirty and petty the other teams could get. It was that member from that institution who lodged complaints against my team for making too much noise and distracting them - a complaint which was duly thrown out. It was that member from that institution who tried to garner my support when they were planning to bring the organisers into disrepute.

Scientifically, it points to them - all things being more or less equal, the main difference between this competition and the one earlier in the year was their presence. So is it a coincidence that in their absence, things went in good spirits?

*The theme song for the movie, Tootsie.