The Twin Towers That Placed Malaysia On The World Map

In the early 1990s, no one knew where or what Malaysia is. I used to enter IRC chat rooms and introduce Malaysia as a country in Southeast Asia located between Singapore and Thailand. When I’d tell French language speakers “J’habite en Malaisie” (I live in Malaysia), inevitably they’d ask me in jest “Tu as du malaise?” (Are you unwell?).

Then the Petronas Twin Towers were built and, I dare say, finally put Malaysia on the world map and stopped all the nonsense about malaise.

Petronas Twin Towers

I realise it’s a man-made wonder but it is a wonder, all the same. These towers never fail to evoke deep within me feelings of amazement, of belonging, of being home.

Pics taken with an ASUS Zenfone 3 on auto mode.

Categories: Malaysia | 1 Comment

SCKLM 2016 — A Roaring Success

Standard Chartered KL Marathon (SCKLM) 2016 concluded with a big bang, with a total of 5,595 runners finishing the Full Marathon within the stipulated seven-hour cutoff time;  8,160 finished the Honda Half Marathon within 3.5 hours; 12,804 finished the 10KM run; 2,400 finished the 5KM fun run; and 750 kids completed the Kids Dash, despite race day being a total scorcher.


Full marathon flag off


5 km Fun Run featuring 60 visually impaired runners with their running buddies

For this year’s race, SCKLM started implementing for the first time a new checkpoint system that is commonly practised in international marathons to ensure the safety of the runners and that the roads were handed in a systematic manner. Other changes included an extended seven-hour cut-off time for the 42.195-kilometre full marathon which flagged off at 4 am.

The race was flagged off by Tan Sri Datuk Mohd. Sheriff Mohd. Kassim, Chairman of Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia, Ajay Kanwal, Regional CEO ASEAN & South Asia of Standard Chartered Bank, and Mahendra Gursahani, Managing Director & CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia. The race route afforded the runners closeup views of Kuala Lumpur’s iconic landmarks such as the Kuala Lumpur City Centre, Parliament of Malaysia, the National Museum, Menara Standard Chartered and Dataran Merdeka, which served as the race village.

Emotions ran high at the final seconds of the cutoff time, as shown in this video by Hong Lan Tan.

Three Kenyans took the top three prizes for the male category — Kennedy Kiproo Lilan with an insane 2:18:57 finish; with Tonui Kiprop hot at his heels at 2:18:59; and Luka Kipkemoi Chelimo finishing at 2:19:24. Meanwhile, in the female category, an Ethiopian grabbed the top spot, followed by two Kenyan ladies –  Hirut Beyene Guangul at 2:39:02, Naomi Jepkogei Maiyo at 2:39:14, and Elizabeth Jeruiyot Chemweno at 2:41:10.

Malaysian Full Marathoners also put up a brave display with returning champion, Muhaizar Mohamad, winning the Full Marathon Malaysian Men’s title with a time of 02:39:23 and Yuan YuFang taking the Malaysian Women’s category with a time of 03:19:04.

Runners praised SCKLM 2016 for the strategically-placed water stations; plentiful portable toilets (rows of them as you turn into Dataran Merdeka!); friendly and efficient volunteers; and a fantastic medical team.

Making the race a true platform for people to do extraordinary things were 60 visually impaired runners with their running buddies taking part in the 5 km Fun Run category, 36 runners with autism together with their parents in the 3 km Kids Dash and over 300 Standard Chartered Bank staff running in red tutus across different categories.  Their participation in the race was supported by Standard Chartered Bank in their efforts to tackle avoidable blindness, raise awareness and educating the public on autism and HIV.

IMG_010This Full Marathon runner was surprised with a wedding proposal at the finish line! Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia will be treating the happy couple to an exclusive dinner at the Grand Hyatt.

Under Standard Chartered KL Marathon’s “Run For A Reason” initiative, a total of RM444,848.00 was raised for the beneficiaries Standard Chartered Foundation, Hospis Malaysia, Yayasan Sejahtera and IJN Foundation. The funds were raised collectively by approximately 364 runners and Corporate Challenge participants who also did their part in raising awareness towards the beneficiaries they selected.

Managing Director and CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia, Mahendra Gursahani, said, “Standard Chartered Bank is proud to provide a platform for people from all walks of life to accomplish extraordinary goals. These acts are a brilliant demonstration of what personal empowerment can do for the human spirit. We salute all runners that took part in the marathon, and we thank them all for the great support shown.”

SCKLM2016_medalThe finisher’s medal is a real keeper!

The Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2016 was made possible by title sponsor Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia, along with event owner and organiser, Dirigo Events Sdn. Bhd. and co-organiser Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur. Also supporting the Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2016 were Gold Sponsor, Honda Malaysia; and official partners Seiko, 100 Plus, Adidas and Pacific Regency Hotel Group.

Standard Chartered KL Marathon is sanctioned and supported by Malaysia Athletics Federation (MAF), Federal Territory Kuala Lumpur Athletic Federation (FTKLAA), International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and Association of International Marathons, Distance Races (AIMS).


Categories: Running | Leave a comment

Standard Chartered KL Marathon is back!

After a loooooong blogging hiatus, it’s only appropriate that, for my “I-am-back-did-you-miss-me” post, I’m writing about one of my great loves — running. Yup, Standard Chartered KL Marathon takes place this Sunday, 7th August 2016. Even if you are not fond of running yourself but plan to be in KL this weekend, you ought to pay attention due to the inevitable road closures.

Here’s a map of the full marathon route:


Aaaand….here’s the info on the road closures as at press time:


For more information regarding road closures, call the traffic hotline at +603 2071 9777.

See you Sunday, fellow runners!!! ;)

Categories: Running | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Waxing Nostalgic About Literature

libraryDo people still have such a thing called “Literature” in school? Do students still have to struggle through the alien world of Old English; plod through super lengthy short stories; try to stay awake the first few pages of a novel that your own mother recommended (gasp!) , only to find yourself unable to put it down — sniffing and smiling in the odd places — as you browse the last few pages?

Here are some excerpts from a few of my favourite books and short stories (title links are clickable):

Flowers for Algernon

I  have often reread my progress reports and seen the illiteracy, the childish naivete, the mind of low intelligence peering from a dark room, through the keyhole, at the dazzling light outside. I  see that even in my dullness I  knew that I  was inferior, and that other people had something I lacked – something denied me. In my mental blindness, I  thought that it was somehow connected with the ability to read and write, and I  was sure that if  I could get those skills I  would automatically have intelligence too.

Even a  feeble-minded man wants to be like other men. A child may not know how to feed itself, or what to eat, yet it knows of hunger.

This then is what I was like, I never knew. Even with my gift of intellec­tual awareness, I never really knew.

Animal Farm

For  once  Benjamin  consented  to  break  his  rule,  and  he  read  out  to  her what  was  written  on  the  wall.   There  was  nothing  there  now  except  a  single Commandment.  It ran:


The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

“All right,” said Deep Thought. “The Answer to the Great Question …”

“Yes … !”

“Of Life, the Universe and Everything …” said Deep Thought.

“Yes … !”

“Is … ” said Deep Thought, and paused.

“Yes … !”

“Is … “

“Yes … !!! … ?”

“Forty-two,” said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm. …

“Forty-two!” yelled Loonquawl. “Is that all you’ve got to show for seven and a half million years’ work?”

“I checked it very thoroughly,” said the computer, “and that quite definitely is the answer. I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you’ve never actually known what the question is.”

Lamb to the Slaughter

“Personally, I think it’s right here on the premises.”

“Probably right under our very noses. What do you think, Jack?”

And in the other room, Mary Maloney began to giggle.

Gift of the Magi

Of all who give gifts, these two were the most wise. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are the most wise. Everywhere they are the wise ones. They are the magi.

 What about you? What OLD books/short stories have had an impact on your life?

Categories: Rojak | Leave a comment

The Pursuit of Happiness

Rain on a Friday afternoon almost always guarantees traffic jams of massive proportions. Cars crawl excruciatingly through highways like turtles stuck in peanut butter. On the positive side, such moments allow my mind to wander and have the chance to think and reflect on. Thus, today’s reflection on man’s eternal pursuit of happiness was brought to you by last Friday afternoon’s gridlock.

It occurred to me that frustration arises when one of these happens:
1) We know exactly what it is that we want but it’s waaaay out of our reach;
2) We can get the thing that we want but it’s not what we need; or
3) The thing that we want is also the thing that satisfies our need BUT it’s not within reach.

Basically, in diagram form, it’s like 3 separate circles — what I want, what I need, and what I can have.


When two circles overlap each other, some degree of satisfaction takes place, i.e. when the thing that I want fulfills a need; when I get to have the thing that I want; or when I get the thing that I need. However, happiness can only be achieved if all three circles overlap, i.e. the thing that we want the most also fulfills a need within us and it’s within our reach.

Our needs come about due to our specific individual situations and we have no control over them.

The things that we get are dictated by a Divine Power. We can work relentlessly towards the achievement of certain things but ultimately, despite all efforts, only God decides if we get it or not. But at the same time, no one knows what our fate is exactly; all we can do is do our very best and allow God to do the rest, as our teachers used to teach us in kindergarten. (Funny how, the more things change, they more they stay the same.)

Therefore, it is quite apparent that, of these three circles, the only thing that we have some degree of control over is our wants, which has a lot to do with our attitude. I know, I know, it’s easier said than done…but it CAN be done. For instance, I want to have the latest smartphone. But I don’t really need it because mostly I just WhatsApp and take pics to upload to Instagram and Facebook. I don’t need all those fancy game controls and magic pen stick and whatnot. And maybe, even if I do need such a phone, I can’t have it either due to financial reasons. So the only thing that I can do is to divert that overwhelming desire that I have for that particular smartphone then I won’t be as miserable.

Of course, it gets more complicated when we don’t know what we want or when we confuse our needs with our wants (and vice versa).

But even if all three circles overlap, whatever happiness we achieve will never last for long. As humans, we will always be lusting for the next new thingamajig, the next big adventure, the next awesome achievement. As a learned scholar once explained, our desire for happiness and perfection is merely a reflection of our desire for Paradise. So no matter what we achieve on this earth and no matter how much we get on this earth, we will never be able to satisfy that longing deep within us because this world is only a temporary resting place, and is merely a tool — an implement to be used but not to be enjoyed, as one would use a brush or a shovel (credits: NAK) — which we utilise to work for what comes after this fleeting life.

Categories: Thoughts | Leave a comment