Monday, February 27, 2017

Merbok 2

1. I came back from Terengganu on Tuesday, took EL (Emergency Leave) on Wednesday to fully recover from fatigue, and back to work on Thursday.

2. On Friday, I was again back on the road...this time for a much-awaited research expedition to Merbok.

3. I first came to Merbok in 2000, during a school trip. We visited Lembah Bujang. As a 15-year-old then, I was swept away by the sight of old monuments (candi) scattering across the area up to the top of the hill.

4. I made a promise (then) to come back to that area when I was older. That promise was realised last year.

5. I followed the first (Merbok) expedition last year on the back of an outsider's ticket. Fakhrul had a freak accident, injured his elbow and was unable to lift heavy materials. I was roped in to help with his project.

6. It was among the best decisions I'd ever made throughout my life. The expedition was a success, and I'd absorbed a great deal of experience over the entire course of the trip. A packed schedule refrains me from putting all of it into words ever since; but in due time, I will.

7. So it's the same case for Merbok 2...I still couldn't find the much needed time to properly put all that priceless experience into words yet. But in due time, I will. 

8. So for the time being, I'll just share this beautifully set-up net for insect trapping, which was erected just outside our lodging. I don't know why but this picture is so pleasing to my eyes.
9. So, until then.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Kuala Terengganu

The Crystal Mosque of Kuala Terengganu. This is my second visit here, the first being on April 11, 2015. 
How time really flies.

I arrived from the east coast late night yesterday.

Heavy windstorm greeted me while I was in Grik, and it chased me all the way to Kulim and Penang.

Maybe the dark clouds were never tired of crowning over my head.

As if, they were enjoying chasing me ever since.

Even when I kept running, they never failed to locate me.

It was a weird four-day hiatus in Kuala Terengganu.

I was very happy there...with my friends, basking in the sunlight of the east coast, moving here and there looking for tasty food, watching people all around.

Laughing together.

But it was the person that I wanted to meet the most that ripped my heart apart.

I knew she was there...but with no news, a cut off communication, and a bizarre silence, I couldn’t comprehend her real intention behind her course of action.

Curiosity kills the cat.

Un-explanation kills me. 

A hurtful explanation is always better than a complete silence.

That’s why I always left people in black or white...not grey.

At the people who I cared the most.

It was literally the end of a chapter for me.

Was it a failure?
Yes but no.

Was it a success?
No but yes.

I can’t answer that question specifically...because the answer depends.

It depends on how you define “success” or “failure”.

But deep inside, I know I’ve done all that I could.

So in the future, when my older self questions me,
“It could have been...”

I could reply to him,
“It was never a could have been...I did all I could”

I still have friends in Penang...but the one friend that I lost over the east coast, was the most definitive.

She may have gone, but the memories will remain.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Skills vs Stamina, Which Comes First?

I did a very simple experiment these past few determine the single most important aspect in squash.

Some say squash is the most demanding sports in the world in terms of fitness. High level of fitness is greatly required to properly play this fantastic game.

I had doubt about this claim, although I admit fitness/stamina is crucial towards how far a player can move up the rank in squash.

I placed more importance on finesse, because to me, squash is about technique. I remember, during my younger days, watching in awe how (King) Kenny of Malacca beautifully control the ball and made his opponent move like a headless chicken around the court.

Kenny was the man who inspired me to take up squash seriously. I met him before I knew Fahmi, another squash's gem from Malacca. These two were the biggest impact that influenced my early life.

I had been playing squash without the aid of stamina last year (played one week, rested three weeks, played again, rested another month). The result was humiliating...I lost even to the young player who took up squash just recently.

So I tried a new up my fitness before I hold squash racquet again, by concentrating on badminton.

I played two to three times a week (badminton), sometimes until my body told me to stop. I also played ping pong sparingly (at least once a week) and watched my food intake. I tried regulating my sleep pattern to ensure that I sleep around the same time every night.

After a month and a half, today I picked up squash racquet and headed towards the court. I'm fairly confident that my level of fitness has arisen significantly, although the same could not be said of my skills. Skills and techniques improve and rot in tandem with practice...if you didn't practise, your skills and techniques will surely deteriorate with the passing of time. 

I played against Cyrus and comfortably won, which was strange. I used to struggle against him, but not this time. We played a total of five games, and I won all.

Next was Megat, my long-time friend when off court, but arch-enemy when inside court. Megat is now a coach for Penang under-12 category. I never beat Megat before, and this trend seemed to continue when I went down the first two sets against him.

But something strange was happening, as the match went on, I felt more and more comfortable moving around the court. As the match progressed, his point lead was narrowing, and I won the third set after levelling the score.

I strongly believed this miracle has something to do with my fitness level. I used to think fitness is second after finesse, but now after this experience, I think fitness is more important than finesse, at least in squash.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Where are the Women?

"Romeo died for love, Valentine died for love, Jack of Titanic, Samson from the Bible, Hercules, Achilles, and even Jesus died for love"
Where are the women?
As tomorrow is Valentine's Day, this amusing anecdote is again gaining momentum in the cyberspace.

I first read it last year, mentioned and elaborated passionately by a female editor of our local daily English newspaper.

She tried (a bit) hard to expose the fallacy of this passage, but in the end, she must have realised that there is no fallacy in the above statement...

...because it is entirely true (apart from Jesus, where we Muslims have different interpretation about his final moment on earth). 

Women always cry foul that they sacrificed a lot for love, but the truth is, as was proven time and time again over the course of history, men sacrificed a lot more than women.

Men even died for the women they love.

I do not celebrate Valentine's Day, but for one (especially women), just take a moment to appreciate men around you. 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Time is Important; Facts are Sacred

I'm seriously considering elaborating my last post (The Last Lecture) into a full-length article, but time is of a concern. 

Nowadays, I rarely had time to do any extra reading on subjects related to my work, let alone putting down a complete write-up of a farewell speech, even though its message was overwhelming and its relevance was far-reaching.

For now, I'm just concentrating on my work, trying to stay on course on my work's schedule. I was given much leeway now compared to the yesteryear.

Out of boredom, I read a posting by a facebook page called PseudoScience Watch, in which they tried to expose a scam purportedly committed by a researcher.

What PseudoScience Watch intended to achieve was noble; they tried to expose the scammer. But in so doing, they inadvertently committed a grave mistake - they mixed up their facts.

First, they claimed a supervisor shall be the first writer in every journal's article, not the student. This is blatantly not true as it is a common practice for a post-graduate student to be the first author, with his or her supervisor as the corresponding author.

Second, they had the audacity to claim that only a certified medical doctor could conduct a medical-related research (P/S: This comment was made by a commentator, not admin). Visit any research institution related to medical/healthcare or any pharmaceutical company, hardly any medical doctor is stationed there. Most of the researches are conducted by chemists/biologists or even pharmacists.

Two of well-known examples are INFORMM (Institute For Research in Molecular Medicine) in USM and IPHARM (Malaysian Institute of Pharmaceuticals and Nutraceuticals). Not even one medical doctor is currently working there, yet these two institutions are actively conducting research related to medicine/vaccine/drug.

PseudoScience Watch is a good page, but their young admins need to refrain themselves from talking about subject that they knew very little about. Facts are very sacred nowadays; once you lose your credibility, it's hard to get it back.

Correction 13/2/2017
I was made to understand that the second claim was made by a commentator, not the admin. For this, I apologise and have made necessary correction, although I left the accompanying comments for clarification purposes. 

The real comment by the admin was "only a certified medical doctor could prescribe drug to combat diseases in human body", which is factually correct.