Thursday, April 26, 2012

Larian 40 Taman: FRIM & Central Park Bandar Utama

Whoa, I'm far behind in updating the Larian 40 Taman exploits, so I might as well skip a few and talk about the last two runs we did. Hehe.

On the 14th of April, Larian 40 Taman went to FRIM in Kepong to run together with participants of the World Forestry Day Run 2012. Finding the place itself proved to be a challenge for myself, seeing how my last visit there was probably about 15 years ago. Basically, I missed the turning from the highway and ended up further ahead in the middle of Kepong town.

But google maps saved the day for me, and once I found the right turning, it was a breeze finding FRIM. Once I got in, I then had to look out for Rumah Terengganu, the run's starting point. I was pretty fascinated by the fact that there was already a steady stream of people entering FRIM; some in running gear, while others came with the whole family, looking like they're going for a picnic.

I found Rumah Terengganu and immediately hooked up with a few other Larian 40 Taman runners. We then had to wait for a while for the organisers to sort out stuff like T-shirts, but eventually we got the tees with no hitches. The number of participants that morning was were around 160, a bit short of the 200 that they were expecting.

The run was then flagged off at around 8.20am, and this was when things got REALLY interesting. You see, when I was referred to this run, somehow I did not pay attention to the route. Only that very morning did I discover that it was going to be a half/half thing; trail and road running. Which was interesting for me, really. I've always wanted to try trail running and the opportunity came rolling into my path.

We started out OK, but then it was time to go into trail run mode, and immediately we had no negotiate a bukit. A bukit that went on, and on, and on... Seriously, it was literally up the hill for a good few hundred metres.

With no experience whatsoever with the route, it was tough for me to figure out the pacing and what to expect next. So when the climbing didn't stop I just decided to walk it until we got to a flatter part of the route. Plus there was the added challenge of avoiding mountain bikers. So runners, blasting music on your headphones is not recommended at all here. No syok sendiri runners, please!

Of course when you go up, you must come down, and the downhill part was pretty interesting as you had to apply the "brakes" on yourself so as not to skid down the hill. And oh yeah, good and appropriate shoes are definitely needed. I wore my Brooks Glycerin 9, not exactly trail running shoes, but they worked pretty well and gave me good grip throughout.

I finished the 5km route in 40 minutes and was placed 39th out of 160 runners; the first time I'm in the Top 40 of any event. Haha! They also had a lucky draw but I went back empty handed lah. But overall, a very good experience for all of us newbies. Click HERE for the full report.

Next up is the run at Central Park, Bandar Utama, the 14th run in the Larian 40 Taman series. It's a nice little park (with a big name) right next to One Utama and just a few hundred metres away from my office.

A pretty decent crowd turned up this past Saturday morning for an easy 2.6km run (600m per loop). But one thing about this park though, dog owners are allowed to bring their pets here, so Central Park is also known as a "dog park".

For this run too, I got Grand Brilliance and TV9 to sponsor some T-shirts to be given away. So after the run, I had the pleasure of giving away some cool tees to the runners!

For the full report, click HERE .

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Call Of The Kettle Bell

I'm sure you've seen these innocent looking things by the window of fitness shops and thought, "OK, like THAT'S gonna help me with burning fat and stuff". Well, all I can say is, you will be surprised!

The thing about the kettle bell is that it's perfect for you "so-busy-that-I-can't-find-time-to-exercise" lot out there. It's not expensive and you can easily keep them at home or at the office and use them whenever you want.

Seriously though, having known only dumbbells and barbells all this while, using the kettle bell was a nice (and intense) surprise. I regularly use it for squats now, and I can feel the results. For more ideas on how to use the kettle bell, check out this video:

Friday, April 20, 2012

Sami Yusuf On MHI, Will Stage A Concert In Malaysia

Time magazine hails him as "Islam's biggest rockstar", and this morning, Iran-born British "Spiritique" artist Sami Yusuf was a guest on Malaysia Hari Ini. Sitting together with us was also Indonesia's own nasyid star Opick.

Indeed it was a great thrill and honour to have Sami with us especially since we've been playing hisAsma Al Husna music video countless times on the show. Honestly, I never thought that one day he would be joining us on the show!

Sami was here to promote his upcoming fourth album, Salaam. And even better news for his fans, Sami will be staging his first concert in Malaysia on the 14th of July! So mark that date on your calendars people! He also revealed that tomorrow, he would be recording a duet with our very own Dato' Siti Nurhaliza. How cool is that?

Here are excerpts of the interview:

Q: Nasyid is popular in Malaysia and the region in general. But you call your brand of nasyid as "spiritique". Are you surprised, or not surprised by the success of spiritique which has travelled far and wide across the world?
A: I have a different opinion on the whole concept of Islamic music and Islamic art. I believe we have Islamic sacred music. I don't think it's the correct word to use just because we have some Islamic words in it, that's my opinion. I believe there's good art, and there's bad art. There's good music, and there's bad music. I personally didn't know what nasyid was. I come from a classical background and my father's a composer. The only nasyid I knew was when someone gave me the music of Raihan. That was when I got to know what nasyid was. For me, it's been an absolute pleasure since 2003. I've been blessed by God. I get to travel around the world, greeted by heads of state, performing at arenas and stadium. It's been daunting and surprising at the same time. And I'm very honoured to be here in Malaysia. The concert in Malaysia in July is going to be an absolute pleasure.

Q: You were born in Iran and grew up in England. What was that experience like?
It's beautiful. It's amazing to know the traditions of the east and west. England's a beautiful country with a lovely history. Our national dish is the curry! It's a great thing to know different cultures and backgrounds. The more you learn, the more you realise that we're quite identical on the macro level. One thing I try to do through spiritique is to remind us of that. That we are, ultimately, one human family. And this upcoming tour of mine is about that, about salaam and unity, and bringing people together.

Q: How have you yourself grown as an artist and how have your success and travels impacted your own life.
A: That's a good and complicated question. Well, the more I've travelled, the more I've understood that we are very similar. And as I get older, I have a deeper sense of appreciation for everything traditional. Traditional music, culture, everything. I find myself being at odds with the modern world. But I think that fundamentally, the power of music is a great way of bringing people together. I have been fortunate and blessed to be part of that experience.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Search Box Set!

A dream come-true indeed for a lifelong Search fan like myself! I mean, while we might have all their releases in CD or cassette formats, what's been missing is a box set with everything in it. Well, finally they've done it

Amy, Nasir and Kid were on Malaysia Hari Ini to reveal the box set to everyone and the buzz amongst fans is already building up. Here are a couple of photos of the box set and the press release:


Kuala Lumpur, 16 APRIL 2012 – SEARCH, grup rock raksasa dan legenda Malaysia sering kali muncul dengan membikin histori dan fenomena yang tersendiri. Bukan calang-calang grup yang mampu bertahan lama dalam industri malah sentiasa hadir dengan sesuatu buat menghargai para peminat yang selama ini menjadi tunjang belakang karier mereka, Search adalah salah satu daripadanya.

Selama 30 tahun keberadaan dalam industri muzik tempatan, Search  sudah banyak menghimpun nostalgia buat perjalanan mereka mahu pun para peminat. Satu demi satu naskhah dan momen diberi dan dikongsi bersama membentuk sejarah yang tersendiri.

Daripada zaman Cinta Buatan Malaysia (1985) hinggalah Gothic Malam Edan (2006), irama dan lagu kumpulan itu sentiasa meresap masuk ke dalam jiwa para pencinta grup yang diasaskan pada 1980-an ini. Itu antara sejarah dan hadiah yang sentiasa diberikan buat para peminat.

Kini tiba masa peminat setia  Search  pula membalas jasa grup yang disanjungi mereka. Buat pihak Hooray Marketing Sdn Bhd, inilah cara yang terbaik untuk mereka mempamerkan sokongan terhadap grup yang digawangi oleh Amy, Kid, Din, Nasir dan Yazit tersebut.

Hooray Marketing Sdn. Bhd. Berkolaborasi bersama grup Search mengeluarkan koleksi lagu-lagu  Search  dalam format  MP3 , sebuah idea yang mula dirancang sejak November lalu

"Sebanyak 101 buah lagu dimasukkan ke dalam  MP3  yang merupakan sebuah item koleksi buat para peminat tegar  Search . Kami bekerjasama dengan empat buah kilang di China dan sebuah kilang di Malaysia untuk mendapatkan hasil yang terbaik," ujar Sham selaku Ketua Projek MP3 ini .

"Cuma 5,000 unit akan dijual dengan harga RM333 setiap satu. Harga ini berpatutan dengan jumlah lagu dan reka bentuk kotak yang boleh menjadi hiasan rumah.  MP3  ini  boleh didapati dijual di laman web ," ujar Sham mewakili Hooray Marketing Sdn Bhd.

Sebanyak 100 buah lagu  Search  menjalani proses master semula untuk  MP3  ini dan sebagai bonus, lagu Kejoraku Bersatu dirakamkan semula dan dinyanyikan oleh Amy Search. Proses rakaman lagu Kejoraku Bersatu nukilan Datuk M. Nasir dibikin di Studio Ronggeng, Luncai Emas dan ia merupakan kali pertama semua ahli  Search  terlibat penuh dengan lagu ini.

 "MP3  ini adalah salah satu item  Search  dan menunjukkan kepelbagaian yang masih berkaitan dengan muzik. Bermula dengan kaset kira-kira tiga dekad lalu, kini  Search  tampil dengan sebuah buah tangan yang direka dalam bentuk MP3 pula sesuai dengan peredaran masa ," ujar Nasir Daud yang merancang untuk keluar dengan barangan  Search  yang lain pula selepas ini.

Buat Nasir, dia melihat rakaman semula lagu Kejoraku Bersatu sebagai satu perangsang baharu buat  Search dan menurutnya lagi, pengeluaran  MP3  merupakan satu pemasaran baru dalam industri.

"Saya rasa ini kaedah yang bagus malah reka bentuk  MP3  juga cantik dan sesuai untuk para peminat tegar  Search ," ujarnya.

Buat vokalis Search, Suhaimi Abdul Rahman atau Amy, MP3 ini merupakan sebuah buah tangan istimewa buat para peminat Search.

“Ini merupakan sebuah koleksi box set yang dibuat dalam bentuk MP3 yang dibuat dalam pakej yang cantik dan unik. MP3 ini adalah sesuatu yang perlu dibeli pleh para peminat Search,” ujarnya yang menyatakan bahawa rakaman semula lagu Kejoraku Bersatu dibuat dengan susunan lagu yang berlainan.

Menyentuh proses rakaman semula lagu Kejoraku Bersatu, M. Nasir yang digelar sifu berkata: "Dahulu lagu ini dinyanyikan peminat Amy, Moq. Kini lagu ini dinyanyikan oleh  Search  dan sangat sesuai dengan mereka. Kita cuba keluar dengan susunan lagu dan stail yang berbeza."

Friday, April 13, 2012

Before & After: How I Lost 10kgs

How? Well, through bloody hard work, that's how. Haha.

But honestly, I thought it was an impossible task doing it on my own without the help of one of those fat-sucking treatments with a celebrity face on it. Oh yes, I did consider paying a bunch of money to do exactly that, but I never made the phone call, which has proved to be the right decision. (Also, I can't imagine going into one of the outlets and saying, "can flatten my tummy ah?")

I've also had a few false starts these past couple of years. In late 2010, I decided to basically cut down on my meals, and it did work for a while. I also bought the exercise bike and treadmill, but those became very expensive clothes hangers after a few months.

But the road to seriously losing weight started approximately one year ago when I took up running. I've blogged about it, so click HERE to read about exactly why I run.

I actually didn't put any target on the amount of weight I wanted to lose or even the time frame. I wanted to get into shape without that extra pressure. And as you know, I have fallen in love with running during the process.

May 2011 vs Mar 2012

But after a few months, I had gone down 5kgs to 87.5. Then it became 86. All this through running and cutting down on all the makan a little. No supplements or personal training.

Jan 2010 vs April 2012

Then came the hardest part; for the longest time, I simply couldn't dip below the 85kgs barrier. It would almost be there, but for some reason, it would go up again. This despite all the extra mileage I was putting into my running. I honestly thought it couldn't be done.

But a couple of months ago, I started going to the gym on a regular basis. Ah yes, the gym. It's been ages since I joined a proper club. Even when I worked out, I basically used the mini gym set I have at home comprising a few dumbbells, a barbell with weights and a bench.

But with a proper gym, I was instantly motivated to zap the fat and pile on the muscle. Chewah.

And guess what? I got on the weighing machine yesterday and saw that I have lost 10kgs since April last year. At 82.5kgs, I am still 3-4kgs off my ideal body weight, but I do feel great.

And here's my current routine and eating habit: I take one type of supplement from GNC, workout at the gym three times a week (30-40mins of weights & 25mins of cardio), run three times a week (3-6km on average), stay away from roti canai and nasi lemak, and eat healthier snacks. Support from the fam is also crucial. And yes, I read a lot of health magazines!

The downside? I need new clothes! Jeans, shirts, t-shirts, the works. And the steak houses are rather upset with me now. Haha.

A lot of work still needs to be done though; especially when it comes to getting rid of those pesky love handles. Perut ni memang tak reti bahasa!

10kgs lost might not be a big deal to some of you out there, but more than anything else, it proved to me that the impossible could definitely be, doable.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Standard Chartered Brunei Half Marathon 2012

Thanks to ntv7 and Media Prima, I hit another milestone in my running, er, career, when I ran in my first international event this past Sunday; the Standard Chartered Brunei Half Marathon.

In case you didn't know, I once worked in Miri, Sarawak which's just a few minutes away from the oil Sultanate. But somehow I never did cross the border then, so this was indeed my first time in Brunei.

We left Saturday morning on an AirAsia flight, and yes, the plane was filled with runner-looking peeps from Malaysia. It took us just a little over two hours to reach our destination, after which a van took us to our hotel, the Radisson. It's one of the better hotels in the city I was told, and also the official hotel for the event.

Then it was time to hunt for lunch, and we were told there was a good food court just around the corner. We walked in the blazing sun and picked a stall to try some local dishes, although I ended up ordering Roti John. Haha!

After then it was time to rest and I also got to sneak in a bit of gym time, the fitness club being right opposite my room! When night fell, we were all ready to paint the town red! As if, lah. : ) We actually took the hotel shuttle that dropped us off at one of the malls, Komplek Bangunan Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah. What caught our eye straight away was the magnificent Omar Ali Saifuddien mosque. 

We also got to see a bit of the famed Kampung Air. It was funny how when we stood by the jetty area, tons of speedboats came racing through in the dark, thinking we were potential passengers.

We then made our way back to the mall in search of some souvenirs and local food. Using a map as a guide, we walked around town a bit looking for the food stalls near the river, but were told that the place "dah terbakar". But we did see a few other decent-looking makan places before that, so we picked one, and ordered the Ambuyat spread. Ambu-what? Well, this was a local delicacy that many people recommended to me, so I just had to check it out.

But first came the various lauk pauk. I must say they were pretty good, indeed.

After a bit of a wait, the ambuyat came. Ambuyat's a "dish derived from the interior trunk of the sago palm. It is a starchy bland substance, similar to tapioca starch." I didn't mind the taste, but trying to twist and flick it on to the plate was rather tricky.

Then it was time to head back to the mall for the shuttle to return to the hotel and a good night's sleep.

Woke up the next morning at round 4.45am and proceeded with the normal pre-run rituals. We then took a taxi to Stadium Hassanal Bolkiah, which took about 10 minutes and 10 Brunei dollars.

The stadium itself was quite a sight. As a fan of sports venues, I must say it was pretty exciting to be at a stadium I've only seen on TV all these years.

The half-marathon was flagged off at 6am. So we had a bit of time to warm up before the 10km started at 6.30am. According to reports, 4,000 people took part in the event, and it did feel like it. It wasn't too crowded, but the feel was rather lively.

The run was flagged off on time and the weather at that time was really good.

There were plenty of water stations, so I can't say I have any complaints there. I started off well too, but by 7.15am, the heat was really getting torturous. All of us agreed that the heat added at least 2 minutes to our final time, while another 2 minutes were contributed by the T-shirt. Yup, a vest would have been much, much better.

But still, it was a pretty good run. The route was rather up and down, but no steep inclines. And there were trees everywhere!

The other great thing about the event? The queue at the milo van was really short! Haha.

A very well-organised event overall, and a great experience indeed for all of us. Thank you Brunei!

Friday, April 06, 2012

Yuna on Conan, Yo!

Wow, wow, wow... was all I could muster when I first saw the news on my twitter timeline recently. I mean, Conan is my FAVOURITE talk show host (click here to see how I was firmly behind Team Coco during the Jay Leno feud), and to have a Malaysian perform on his show was simply mind-blowing to me.

So, congrats to Yuna for this breakthrough (and this is REALLY a  breakthrough -- not another Malaysian doing a concert overseas only to be watched my overseas Malaysians). Just goes to show what real talent (and a good agent) can take you. Enjoy the video!

Monday, April 02, 2012

MHI @ Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Skudai

I might be wrong, but I think it was the first time ever that Malaysia Hari Ini (MHI) TX-ed "live" from my home state Johor, last week. Yup, we did a full show on the campus of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Skudai last Friday and it turned out to be another fun and enlightening broadcast.

Drove down to JB on Thursday and my first thought when I entered UTM was, like seriously, wow! I think the last time I was here was 20 years ago, and I don't remember the campus being this lively and lovely with horses and stuff (I'm not kidding!). There are even parks and trails that I would love to run one day.

We're put up at the Scholar's Inn, a hotel within the campus grounds. It's undergoing some major renovation works but the rooms proved to be a pleasant surprise.

It was a 2-bedroom apartment for me with a flat-screen TV, air-cond, kitchen with some cooking essentials and very comfortable beds. It's open to the public, so you might consider staying here if you're ever in JB.

Of course, that Thursday night, I just had to take my peeps out for some Johor food. But seeing how time was tight and there was still a bit of work to be done, we couldn't really go makan-hopping and settled at just one place; ZZ mee rebus tulang.

Apart from the mee rebus tulang, we also had satay and otak-otak. Everyone agreed that the food was awesome; I mean, the tulangs were left just, well, tulangs.

The next morning, it was time to rock n roll.  In case you didn't know, our broadcast was done in conjunction with UTMost Imagination 2012, the UTM Innovation and Creativity Festival. So there were loads in store for visitors to the 4-day carnival with some amazing stuff on display.

The Carnival, as well as our broadcast was done at the Padang Kawad. We got there around 6am, and the production crew was in the final stages of making sure everything was ready for the TX.

Like I said, it turned out to be a fun and enlightening broadcast. We interviewed the Vice Chancellor, Professor Dato' Ir Dr Zaini Ujang, played with some sumo robots, heard some interesting music, discovered some new inventions and even flagged off a non-conventional bicycle race between the UTM bosses.

The university also invited angkasawan Mejar Dr Faiz Khaleed who tested out something called the Multi Axis Simulator.

The atmosphere was great and personally, I always enjoy doing a show with a "live" audience as you could feed off the energy from the crowd.

After the TX, we were then invited to have some breakfast, Johor-style. Which meant lontong and fried tempe with sambal kicap, among other stuff. Hehe. Thanks for the hospitality UTM!

I stayed back in JB for the next couple of days as the fam joined me for some R & R. Food pics will be shared soon, but before that, have a look at these shots we snapped as we left JB city yesterday.


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