Thursday, August 30, 2007

Mountain talk.

Ladies and Gents, presenting the TM 21st Mt. Kinabalu International Climbathon *jeng jeng jeng*.
In a nutshell, every year a bunch of crazy and sadistic people torture themselves by running (not trek, hike or walk) up and down 4095.2m of granite also known as Mount Kinabalu. Nerd fact: It's the highest peak in South East Asia. The company I work for is the main organiser and every year, we haul our asses to Ranau and make sure the race happens.

Time check: 6:00am. It's cold. The smart thing to do is wedge yourself between two people. And while you're at it, take photo la... That's Charlie, me and David.

With Zac before the race begins. He's Da Man, pretty much making sure all is in place.

Time check: 7:00am. They're off! Run, Forest, run!

Alamak....hilang glamour. One guy's shoe actually came off. He turned back to retrieve it.

The Men's Open winner: Kilian Jornet Burgada from Spain. The dude is only 19 years old and he finished the race in 2:39.10, just four minutes below the record. He trains six hours a day, seven days a week and i was told he's also the mountain ski racing world champion. It's like racing up and down the mountain but on skis! I'm happy enough if I can finish one round at Bukit Padang without dying.

Agusti Roc Amador rocks! He's been in the race for the last few years, consistently finishing in top spots. This year, he came in second. Also a Spaniard. He's in his 30s though so we'll see how many years he's got left in him. But he'll be a tough act to follow.

Monica Ardid Ubed from Spain was the surprise win in the Women's Open. I don't remember her from past years but she did an amazing job all the same. I have a feeling we'll be seeing her again! (yeah there seems to be a Spanish trend in the Climbathon winners list dontcha think?)

And of course, like all events, everyone needs the staple eye-candy to keep you motivated, heh heh. Albert Balcells is the Director of the Buff Skyrunning organisation in Spain. Adorable no? Si, mucho mucho adorable!

There's work to be done - so here I am with the Ribbon Holders, heh heh. Good work guys! Quote of the day: "This is not a ribbon la!"

At night, the mice come out and play! Whip out the beer and the grill, it's time to par-tay. Never mind we only had four hours a sleep on both's all good. My colleagues Hezrina, Diana, Maps and me.

No, I'm not taking an ass shot. Just wanted to show you guys this guy's energy supply belt. Looks like 'limau kasturi' (calamansi lime) water to me.

One part of the Climbathon I always enjoy? Hanging out and taking care of the local press. I used to be one of them and now...We still get to hang out, yay!

And here's the best meow meow purr purr look I can muster. Yep, the Climbathon is still my favourite Sabah event.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Three years and counting.

Today it begins.

Greetings all. And so my curiosity has gotten the best of me. I have my own blog...Hooray! No more sleepless nights...Hooray! Now the whole world can read my innermost rants and raves...Hoo...wait a minute. This is cheaper than getting a therapist, wouldn't you say? I'll be back when I've got more things to say. I'm gonna fiddle around here for a while....Hmm, i wonder what happens when i click this...?
-August 24th 2004

I just realised that my blog turned three years old on the 24th of August. Wow, already? I spent some time reading my older entries. It's amazing when you look back at your life, remembering what frame of mind you were in back then. And my my, how things have changed. Some plans didn't go quite as planned. Some plans weren't even planned. Twists and turns, dips and dives, ups and downs...It's been one heck of a ride but I wouldn't have it any other way. After all, life's purr-fect when it's not, right?

To my loyal readers, thanks for sticking around. Stay tuned for more moments of Mel-ness.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

To the mountain we go.

It's that time of the year again.

Yep, I'm off to the Mt. Kinabalu International Climbathon for my fourth consecutive year. FYI, my company is the main organiser of this annual mountain race and if i had to pick a favourite event each year, this would be it.

The Climbathon sees some of the top mountain runners from around the world race up and down Mount Kinabalu. And while we mortal beings take a leisurely 2 days to complete the trek, these crazy...I mean, super-fit people... take less than three HOURS. Wowee.

This is Anna Pichrtova, from the Czech Republic. She won last year's Women's Open category and is the current record holder. She also won the overall champion title for the Buff Skyrunners championship (The Climbathon is one of the 8 races held in this series, in which runners have to compete at various mountain races around the world). Oh and did i mention she's a long distance Olympic runner?

So what makes the Climbathon the best event to organise? Well, the pre-preparation stuff in the office is a bitch though - press releases, e-mail correspondence, packing press kits bla bla bla. One big yawn-fest. But it's the event itself that I enjoy.
And you get to meet all the top world mountain runners. My personal favourite is Ricardo Mejia from Mexico - I even got his autopraph! He doesn't have the physical form of the European runners but he still emerged champion last year. Hooray for the underdogs!

There's also the whole bonding and chilling with your colleagues. Late night supper, beer drinking sessions and just having a good laugh. The one 'tradition' that amazes me is how we can pull through a late night and still wake up at 4:30am everyday. And when I say late night, I mean hitting the sack at 2:30am and getting up two hours later. The trick is to take an afternoon nap after the event ends after lunch time. And then the day repeats, heh heh. Yeah, we mess up our body clocks but it's all good.

Me and my colleagues at last year's gig. Let's hope this is year is bigger and better!

I'm off to Kundasang till the weekend. More pix and stories when I get back. Why not check out the action yourself? The Climbathon will take place at the Kinabalu Park on the 25th and 26th of August. See you there!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Match point.

I've been glued to the TV the last few days, thanks to my parents. They are huge badminton fans and the World Championships are on (yes, there is more to Astro than English football, thank God).

Malaysian players saw the exit before the semi finals much to our disappointment but I have to say they all gave a valiant effort. This afternoon, I spent it cheering for the only Malaysian pair to make it to the semis, Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah, who played against the formidable Indonesian duo (their names escape me now). From the get-go, I thought they gave a superb performance and eventhough they lost the first set, you could see that the crowd was confident all was not lost. The second set a nail biter and the Malaysians pushed it past the 21-point mark and played all the way to 27! It got so nerve-wrecking that I started walking around the living room, wiping my sweaty palms on my shirt with every point won - or lost. I haven't had that kind of adrenaline rush in a while. My dad got so nervous that he left the house at 18-all during the second set.

We lost.

But the crowd did an amazing thing. They gave Choong and Tan a standing ovation for a game well played. And for some reason, it gave me a sense of satisfaction. They played a fantastic game, not letting the Indonesians waltz into the finals without a fight. Eventhough we only walked away with the bronze, I think our Malaysian doubles really gave us something to cheer about, apart from nasi lemak and pirated DVDs. It's not always about winning the game, but how you play it.

And if you think about it, that's how life should be lived. You can't always have your way. Sometimes you win, sometimes you fall. But if you gave your all, at least you won't look back in regret and say 'If only'.

All that from watching a badminton match. Go figure.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Overexposed. Overwhelmed. Under pressure.

As of late, I've been having plenty of nightmares. They're all different but they pretty much run under the same theme. In one dream, I had this overwhelming sense of being left behind. There was a huge crowd and I was with someone, a friend or family member, but all I could remember was losing sight of them as they disappeared into the crowd. And I felt so lost and confused. Not to mention completely helpless. Two nights ago, I dreamt I finally went to visit Haw in Canada and when I got there, he hugged me and said, "Don't cry. It's just another two years and I'll be home..."


Thank God I woke up. Last night, the latest episode involved me in a shopping mall and I REALLY had to go to use the loo. But it was all occupied and the only one left was right in the middle of the shopping centre, where everyone could see you. And i don't know what came over me but I figured, "Hey if it's there, someone's gotta use it." And I did. I pulled my pants down and did my business. In the middle of a mall. With everyone watching me. And then the feeling of extreme humiliation sank in. Everyone was pointing and laughing. And guys were obscenely gawking. I felt completely naked. It was a very vivid feeling: My cheeks were flaming, my palms sweaty and I was struggling to pull up my pants without exposing myself TOO much. At the height of my panic...I woke up.

I don't know what it is. I feel like a bottle of anxiety ready to explode at any moment. I'm not angry. I'm not frustrated. I'm just anxious and nervous almost all the time. My palms sweat non-stop in the office that I have tissues on standby to dab them dry every few minutes. Ugh.
Maybe it's work. Things have been a bit demanding in the office but nothing I can't handle. Some personal family issues too. I try not to let stuff bother me but once in a while, it gets the better of me. And I've been thinking about my blog too. Don't get me wrong: I enjoy blogging. But as of late, I feel like i'm in a fishbowl and, well, I feel exposed (with no one to blame but myself of course). Still, my blog used to be more 'personal' and I would freely express my thoughts and frustrations, but these days, I realise I have to be more careful on what I write about (more like, WHO I write about). I have plenty to bitch about but i think my blog is no longer the safehaven of emo-babble I used to frequent. Blogs are double-edged swords, I suppose. Win some, lose some.

So pardon me if my entries are far and between these days. Sometimes I feel like I have to 'live up' to certain blogging expectations (ya la, not that i'm Kenny Sia or Xiaxue...) and there's a 'blogsernality' that defines me - and that makes me a bit uneasy. Labels are everywhere. You know, like The Funny Blogger, The Blogger With Good Photos, The Blogging Couple, The Blogger Who Travels etc etc.

That said, thanks for dropping by time and again. Sometimes it's just nice to hear different perspectives and words of encouragement.

I told you it's a double-edged sword.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

What's the story morning glory?

It's been a whirlwind of events for yours truly over the last couple of weeks. I've been meaning to blog each event separately but thanks to my procrastination skills, I've decided to just plonk it all in one entry. Me so lazy but I think you've figured that out by now.

First, I attended a fancy schmancy dinner thrown by my 'ex boss', Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat. There was wine, people singing, men in penguin suits and more wine. Such a classy event - which to me reflected the character of the host. After a few more glasses of wine and Chivas, I was cha-cha-ing with the Chairman of Sabah Tourism. And I don't even cha cha.

Ok everyone, senyuuuuuuum:

The next day, I hopped on a plane and headed to KL for the Malaysia Tourism Awards. Sabah won six awards that night, hooray! And the two tables filled with Sabahans did the state proud by hooting and cheering everytime we got nominated or won something. (Notice my curly hair is still intact from the previous night's event, heh heh. I can't be arsed to get it 'done'). We stayed at Traders' Hotel (v.nice) which had a great view of the Twin Towers. In between doing nothing and watching CNN, I took shots of myself. Click.

Oops, forgot to mention: Somewhere between don't know when and don't care when, I went to Ranau to attend a poignant ceremony to remember the fallen Australian soldiers during the second world war. A ceremony was held at Quailley Hill in the Sabah Tea Garden. I especially liked the burning of the gum leaves. During the war, the girlfriends and wives of the soldiers would send gum leaves to them from Australia. They would burn the leaves and the smell would remind them of home. Unfortunately, many of them would find their resting place in Sabah.

We did a photo shoot of Luna Rossa, an Italian joint near the Jesselton Waterfront. I'm sure you've seen it. While the professionals did their thing, I spent the evening chatting with the owner, sipping delicious white wine and trying my hand at taking this shot:
Yummy potatoes with a gooey texture that kinda reminds me of peanut butter. Yum. But be warned: It's filling.

Well, that's it for now. But let me leave you with a vanity shot.

This is Fridaycat signing off, meow meow purr purr.

Friday, August 03, 2007


I'm feeling a bit low. Maybe it's the crappy weather in KK. Maybe it's my hormones. Maybe it's the unending work on my desk. Maybe it's just everything piled together. I do have my temporary highs. Like when I go for a run in the park, and then I feel good about myself. Or when Haw's online and we chat for a bit.

It's August and I just want the months to go as quickly as possible. Every morning, I wake up and sigh in relief that another day has gone. I know there will be a time when I want time to slow down but right now, I wish someone would push the fast-forward button already.

And my job. Ah, my job my job. The opportunities it has presented me have been fantastic, no doubt. The traveling, meeting people etc etc. But as a writer...Sometimes I don't know if I'm a 'writer' anymore. For the last four years, I've had to write a certain way and my fear is that I'm stuck in that 'way'. To an extent, I feel stifled. I love writing. I may not be the best writer out there but I love what I do. But after some years in the industry, who am I kidding...Writing doesn't pay the bills. Unless you're JK Rowling, heh heh.

I'm feeling low. I need a happy fix.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

6 Weird Things

Tagged! Been a while since I did these things so allow me while I humour myself:

6 Weird Things About Me

1. I like walking around the Baby's Department in any shopping mall to sniff the baby stuff.

2. I like sniffing stuff, actually.

3. I categorise my underwear.

4. I have to mentally plan my day/week/month or all hell breaks loose.

5. I like to be 'fair' to all my food on a plate and try my best to eat equal portions of each at the same time.

6. It irritates me to see the toothpaste tube squeezed in the middle so I will make it a point to squeeze it from the bottom to even it out. And my bro never caps the shampoo bottles after use. Drives me nuts.

Ok, me gonna tag:
1. Jacq
2. Papajoneh
3. Charlenediane
4. Cindy
5. Karmilla

and whoever wants to do it la.