Malaysia may be a great country, but there’s a lot of things here I don’t get.
One issue I constantly remain ignorant about is the issue of Datukship.
For the uninitiated, “Datuk” is an honorary title bestowed to outstanding citizens here by the Malaysian royal family. It’s akin to achieving knighthood in the UK where the receiver carries the title of “Sir”.
In literal terms though, the word “Datuk” translated from Malay means “Grandfather”. Over here in Sarawak, we have an even higher title called “Datuk Amar”, which means “Grandfather Grandmother”.
It seems as if the older someone is called, the better it is. So technically speaking, some super-ultra-high-ranking official would be called “Great Grandfather Datuk Ah Pek Uncle Auntie Ah Mah Ah Soh Lau Peh Lim Lau Bu”
While the vast majority of Datuks lead exemplary lives and contributed greatly to the community, in recent years however, “Evil Datuks” have appeared in newspapers on trial for cheating and corruption.
It begs the question: how do they decide who to award those elusive Datuk titles to?
There are countless people around us everyday who dedicated their lives helping people, serving the nation. It could be the caring doctor in the hospital, the selfless teacher in school, that 64-year-old man who rides around in a bicycle fixing up dangerous potholes in JB.
Yet, never in a million years would they dream of being awarded the honorary title of Datuk.
What seems to be clear is that all the Datuks have one thing in common: money. Lots of ’em. They are rich before they’re awarded Datukship and they’re a lot richer after they’ve been awarded Datukship.
Think about it. How many Datuks have you seen that are not rich?
Not trying to generalise nor am I trying to insinuate anything. Like I said, a good majority of Datuks genuinely earns and deserves the title. But hey, isn’t it somewhat of an open secret what tactics rogue Datuks employ to grab that title?
Who knows? Maybe there’s even an application form out there to make it easier for people wanting to become Datuk So-And-So.
The Lab is a little-known hair salon in Desa Seri Hartamas, KL.
I decided to try out this place on JoyceTheFairy’s recommendation. This is where TheFairy got her fabulous pixie hair done. 8TV celebrity and Marion Caunter’s co-host Adam Carruthers visits The Lab almost daily as well for his superstar hair fix.
A lot of modern hair salons these days opt for bright colours, cool decors and stylish designs to freshen up their interior, but The Lab sorta went against this convention and showcased an interior that’s surprisingly bare and minimalistic.
Check out that yellow Mercedes outside.
Their walls are painted white and the floor is just unpaved cement. Instead of swanky leather chairs that whirls around, they use normal armchairs you see in hotel coffee houses. Even the kind of music played is alternative rock by bands no one has ever heard of.
Most people probably couldn’t get used to this, but I think it’s nice to see something that’s not a clone of every other hair salons out there.
This is me before my haircut.
I should mention that this post was up 2 months late, so this is not how I look like right now. 😉
I’m putting this pic up because I looks like I have B-cup boobies from this angle. Oh my!
Getting a hairwash.
The Lab must be one of the few salons in Malaysia that shampoos your hair at the basin. I don’t know why other salons insist on shampooing your hair at your seat! It’s so awkward, not to mention the risk of having foam drop off your head and onto your jeans.
Her massage was good though. Got the oomph!
Haggard after a wash.
Most of the Lab’s clientele that day seems have that edgy “grunge” look about them. These are definitely not your average run-of-the-mill Sungai Wang lala zhai and lala mui.
Another thing I noticed is how The Lab allows smoking indoors. It’s more of an annoyance to me and the habit is not something I approve of, but smokers might find this a great convenience especially if you had to sit through a 3-4 hour session rebonding or colouring your hair.
TheFairy asked me to look up for the head stylist Ricco but he wasn’t in that day. This is my stylist, Ken.
Ken, doing the hair of Kenny. hehe.
I wanted a cool hairstyle like Adam’s but I didn’t have enough hair on my head. So I just asked Ken to just do his magic and see what he comes out with.
A short while later, this is what I looks like.
Ok ok ok… so I didn’t exactly transform into a white boy with an oversized head.
But I did end up looking like this.
Costs me RM65 all up.
I quite like it. The short boyish hair suits me better than any other hairdo I’ve done. Had always wanted to experiment with a longer hair or changing my hair colour, but I think I lack the X-factor to do that.
Conservative is good. 🙂
I woke up at 3:30am that day.
A part of me wanted to give up already since I’m not used to waking up so early. With merely 4 hours of sleep and 2 weeks of training, I was desperately underprepared.
The free shuttle bus was already outside the Mandarin Court Hotel waiting to take me to Dataran Merdeka. It was dark, but I can literally feel the electricity in the air.
The Sultan Abdul Samad building was beautifully lit up. Hundreds of participants were already there. Some stretching, others rubbing generous amount of petroleum jelly onto their bodies.
Completing a marathon is a feat that require an almost superhuman effort. And I was there to represent the Average Joes.
Some people were there to win the cash prize. For the majority of us, we were there not for the money, but to push our bodies above and beyond the human limits.
It’s very easy for me to feel out-of-place in this pool of people. Everyone there is so slim and well-built, and there I was standing there with a spare tyre around my waist.
It’s even easier to separate the seasoned marathoners away from the noobs. The experienced ones all have that intimidating bad-ass look about them.
Like this trio of Mainland Chinese girls that look like boys that look like girls.
They finished at 3hr06min, 2hr53min and 2hr57min respectively.
We’re all gathered at the starting point. My mind was all cleared up. Adrenaline pumping high.
Drummers on standby.
I hung around the place quietly observing other people, drinking more water and munching on PowerBar till about 5am.
And then it’s game time.
The timing chip set off a beep as I crossed the starting mat. Everyone was quickly passing through me at this point.
I didn’t want to catch up with them. My aim was to go slow and steady, keeping at a pace I’m comfortable with.
Within ten minutes, the marathon claimed its first victim.
The tarmac on KL roads were rough and lack the “bounce” I’m used to on proper running tracks, but I was still doing OK.
It didn’t take long for me to reach the 5km checkpoint. 40 minutes. That’s 10 minutes longer than what I aimed for. I had to pick up my pace.
I downed two cups of 100 Plus. Usually I don’t drink those stuff (I prefer Gatorade), but at that point in time it was the best tasting drink ever.
At 7.5km I arrived the first sponging station.
These ice-cold sponges are God-sent. I squeezed them over my sweaty head and felt instantly rejuvenated.
I passed the 10km point in 1hr17mins. That was still the easy part.
My feet were just starting to hurt. The seasoned runners were all running far ahead of me and it was pretty clear that I was among the last few.
It was 7:03am when I witnessed daybreak. The KL commuters were jamming up the freeway and the CO2 emission were not doing any good to my lungs.
Still had time to camwhore though.
At this point, I overtook a female runner – a first since I started the race. For a moment, I was thinking of doing something stupid like flirting with her and asking for her phone number. Alas, I was too shy to do that so I just smiled at her cheekily instead.
The girl caught up with me a short while later and quipped “Excuse me. Are you Kenny Sia?!”
OMG SHE RECOGNISED ME! The embarrassment! San San is a reader of kennysia.com and she later finished at 5hr59min. We made some small talks before I let her continue on with the race.
Man peeing by the roadside in broad daylight.
Without a doubt, I met a lot of interesting people during the marathon, but nothing could me prepare for the shock I had when I met Mr Yap. This is one man I DEFINITELY did not expect to see in a race like this is.
THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is Mr Yap.
He is 73 years old, old enough to be my grandpa and yet still running a 42km marathon. Despite being three times my age, he still managed to finish the race at 5hr06min.
Now how’s THAT for determination?
In case any of you KL people were stuck in a traffic jam last Sunday morning, that was me trying to cross the road.
To keep my mind occupied, I attempted to high-five the traffic policemen everytime I passed one of them. Not all of them are cooperative though. KL policemen are so boring.
Or maybe I’m just too boh liao.
Definition of a heaven
3 hours into the race, I crossed the 21km halfway mark. Already I had broken my personal record for longest time spent running.
Lactic acid was building. My legs up till my knees were completely sore and numb. I wished I was doing the half marathon instead.
The course was taking us through Jalan Bukit Bintang in downtown KL when suddenly terror struck.
Cramps had attacked my calves. I stopped running and grimaced in pain. It was the most dreadful feeling I had to endure. For the first time ever since the race started, I had to completely stop and wait for the cramps to subside.
One minute seems like forever, and it was pure Hell.
A stranger passed by and handed me a tube of analgesic cream. Thanks! I probably wouldn’t even be able to finish the race without it.
We passed through some motivational placards sponsored by Nike. “There Is No Finishing Line”, “Punch Through”, “Push Myself”, “Just Do It”.
That was all I needed to mentally go ahead. The pain on my ankles, my feet, my legs were excruciating. But absolutely NOTHING could stop me from finishing the race.
I reached the 30km point in 4hr18mins. 30km is the human threshold. From this point onwards, it’s do or die.
Aches from my feet went up to my lower back. It was punishing. The pain was absolutely unbearable. I’m practically LIMPING my way though. I couldn’t run anymore or I’ll get cramps.
All I could only rely on was willpower and sheer willpower alone to get me through this.
I gritted my teeth and continued pushing myself.
I started to hallucinate.
I thought about life. I thought about my career. I thought about going to Phuket next month. I even imagined the finishing line to be at Phuket where I could just jump into the sea and relax.
For some reason, I became Hulk Hogan and began talking to myself in the Hulkster’s voice. “Watcha gonna doooo…! Watcha gonna dooo….! When Hulkamania runs wild on yoooooo….!”
Trust me, beyond 30km you think all sorts of crazy things.
The last few kilometres seem to go on forever. The sun was shining bright at this point. My legs felt as if they’ve been run through by an 18-wheeler.
It’s a torture. Pure brutal torture. Every step is like a steel pipe going through my legs. My digicam is like a brick. My shoes weigh a ton. I thought I walked 5 km but in actual fact I only walked one.
SCREW YOU ISAAC NEWTON FOR MAKING ONE KILOMETRE SO BLOODY LONG DAMMIT!
When I reached the 40th kilometre, I knew I had already missed the 6 hour qualifying time.
What made it even worse is that the drinking station that was supposed to be there had disappeared. Stupid DBKL don’t care about the last remaining competitors. 🙁
As if that wasn’t bad enough, my iPod ran out of juice. That was by far my biggest mental support and now it’s gone! I’m all alone.
KL International Marathon claims another casualty.
I was almost ready to give up when the DBKL van passed me and asked if I wanted to hop on. OF COURSE NOT DAMMIT! Tempting, but I rejected their kind offer and continued limping towards the finishing line.
I would NEVER forgive myself if I’ve come THIS far and not complete the marathon.
A roundabout later, I saw it.
The finishing line in sight! Isn’t that the most beautiful thing in the world? It was so near yet so far.
I was limping, literally DRAGGING myself as I inched closer and closer to the finishing line. “Let me finish this race. JUST let me finish this race.” I prayed. I looked up just in time to see my finishing time on the timeboard…
… and the mat goes “BEEP!”
I DID IT. I FUCKING DID IT.
It was my first ever marathon, and I crossed the finishing line after 6hrs33mins.
A HUGE sense of relief came all over me. It was unbelievable. Euphoric. Jubilant. I could not believe myself. THIS is what I call a natural high.
ME!? Conquering the 42km KL International Marathon!? You gotta be joking!
Nonetheless, I was very upset at myself for not making it under 6 hours. I sat under the shade, still in awe of what had just happened.
What an amazing experience.
The greatest relief in the world is when you take off your shoes after a 42km run.
Here I am, an overweight man attempting what myself and many other people thought was the impossible.
It wasn’t easy, but I pushed myself. In the end, I persevered and went on to reach my goal.
Completing this race must be right up there as one of the biggest accomplishments in my life.
Click ‘Play’ button to watch video [10 mins].
I’m not sure if I’m going to do this again. What I’m sure of is that everyone should attempt a marathon at least once in their lives.
You haven’t lived until you physically experienced the pain and sweat running 42km. That feeling you get when you crossed the finishing line – indescribable.
Impossible is nothing and nothing is impossible.
The following day I returned to Kuching a brand new person, with a renewed confidence, ready to take on the world – as soon as my legs are healed of course.
If I could do it, there’s no reason why you couldn’t do too. 😉
I am not built to run a marathon.
I never denied the fact that I’m overweight. I am fat. People teased me about it all the time.
It comes to a point where I’ve learnt to accept the fact that I have a different set of genes from others. Sure, I’ve tried the usual dieting and exercising routine.
It works to a certain extent, but I’ve never gotten my body down to the point where it can be considered “slim” by society’s standards.
When Eddie challenged me to sign up for the 42km KL International Marathon, my immediate instinct was to turn down his offer and check him into the nearest mental hospital.
It’s 42km, Kenny. Not 4.2km, but FORTY-TWO FREAKING KILOMETRES.
That’s like the distance from Kuching to Serian. From KL City to KLIA. From Boon Lay to Pasir Ris along the whole damn East-West MRT Line.
No chance in HELL would I be able to finish that race.
I don’t know why I chose to accept the challenge.
Must be my ego. Maybe I’m inspired by people much older than me joining the marathon. Or maybe I figured I would never know if I never tried.
Regardless, I am grateful to experienced marathoners Eddie and Francis for their invaluable tips, as well as the hundred over commenters who had given me words of encouragement.
Special thanks to my sponsors who made this trip financially possible.
I arrived KL on the eve of the marathon. My friend and celebrity wedding photographer Kid Chan was generous enough to pick me up from KL Sentral to collect my timing chip and number.
I am A0120. Hurry and get your 4D tickets now! 😀
Before heading back to the hotel, I stocked up on more nutritious food I needed for the race: yoghurt drink, bananas, and something called PowerGel.
PowerGel is some weird-ass endurance food in disgusting slimy/gooey format that marathoners seem to like. It’s highly concentrated in electrolytes and it tastes absolutely horrible. The best way to describe the taste of PowerGel is “caramel-coated diarrhoea”.
It looks like shit, feels like shit, tastes like shit.
Here’s what I did in the days leading up to the marathon. Training
I had only 2 weeks of serious training. Most people spend months or even up to a year training for their first marathon. Every day after work, I “walked” between 30 mins to an hour. That’s peanuts compared to the real thing. Eat
I did what’s termed “carbo-loading”. A week before the marathon, all I had for lunch and dinner was pasta, pasta, pasta. For endurance athletes, carbohydates is the human body’s preferred source of energy. It makes perfect sense to load up on the carbs before a big race, like Malaysians loading up their petrol tank before the 30c price increase. Shave
Hair causes friction, and friction causes bleeding. Before the race, I had to shave off my armpit hair and yes, even my pubes down there.
I feel like I’m 7 years old all over again. Music
I compiled a whole 8 hour playlist on my iPod consisting of a mix of upbeat music like Rock, House, and Hip Hop. None of those angry Eminem songs though – I don’t wanna punch the other contestants during the race.
There’s some great “pick-me-up” songs on the list, like:
Nelly – Shake Ya Tailfeather
Jay Chou – Huo Yuan Jia [“Huo huo huo huo huo huo huo huo”]
Celine Dion – My Heart Will Go On
That’s the only thing I could not get enough of. By right I should be getting 8 hours of sleep, but whatever I do I just could not adjust my sleeping pattern to wake up at 5am.
The night before the race I only had 4 hours. I did make it to the starting point in time, only with sleepy eyes, and mouth still yawning. That is NOT what you want to do before you’re about to take part in a 42km race.
That’s the reason I felt my preparation wasn’t adequate.
How did the race go? Did I make it? Did I finish all 42km or did I buckle and collapse halfway through?
Well, I’m not gonna talk about the marathon today. Tune in tomorrow for the exciting sequel on kennysia.com. 😉
I was planning to update tonight, but it’s 10pm now and I need my sleep – the race starts in 7 hours.
My pre-marathon preparation isn’t quite adequate, but I plan to give it a shot regardless.
I’ll update this page tomorrow afternoon after the race.
Wish me luck. I need it.
I got myself the latest Sony DSC-T9 about two months ago.
Please welcome the latest addition of the kennysia.com family.
The Sony shop at Tun Jugah was selling it for RM1,639 with nylon pouch and 256MB card. It’s a pretty sweet deal.
I bought it to replace my trusty Kodak DX6340, which has been serving faithfully kennysia.com since the dawn of time.
I like my old Kodak. It’s capable of taking amazing shots like the ones you see here. The only complaint I have is that it’s built a bit like Kenny Sia – too slow and too damn bulky.
The svelte Sony T9 is completely different from the monstrosity that is Kodak.
It comes in two flavours, silver and black. I chose the latter because silver is so passe and we all know black is the new black.
Measuring no bigger than a deck of cards, the camera fits comfortably in the pocket of my pants without my humungous testicles getting in the way.
The camera supports Sony’s proprietary Memory Strick Pro Duo (that’s a mouthful) and InfoLithium battery. Sony is the only digital camera manufacturer in the market that shows you how many minutes you have left on your battery.
The downside of course is that all these bloody “proprietary” stuffs can cost an arm, a leg and your first born baby.
The Sony T9 oozes sex appeal. I like how it’s front cover slides down with a satisfying snap, revealing the lens and activating the camera. How cool is that?
Like most Sony cameras, the T9 uses Carl Zeiss lens, whoever that bastard is.
The thing I love most about this camera is on the back. Despite having a small real estate, Sony manages to pack a full 2.5″ LCD screen in it. It’s hi-resolution and the photos look great in it, not like those bullshit LCD screens Casio uses.
Of course, the biggest selling point of this baby is what Sony likes to call “Super Steady Shot”. Steady steady pom pi pi.
In theory, it is supposed to correct Shakyhands Syndrome that usually occurs when noobs take photos of chiobus. In practice, theory always fail. I find that the improvements aren’t all that obvious with or without “Super Steady Shot”.
I took the Sony T9 out for a ride with my old Kodak DX6340. Here are the results.
Personally I prefer the Kodak’s image quality.
One thing I don’t like about the Sony camera is the lack of manual functions. I need it to take stunning night scenes. The T9 allows you to set a night mode, but it can’t do long expsure. That sucks.
There’s a lot to like about the Sony T9 eventhough it isn’t perfect. The Kodak may take better pictures but it’s a chore bringing them around due to it’s size.
Not sure if this is a wise idea, but I plan on carrying the camera with me during the race over the weekend. Then maybe I can secretly take photos of other marathoners.
The Sony T9 is slim, light and a great joy to use. Extras like the “Super Steady Shot” though not necessary, is a definite plus.
For someone who likes to take his camera everywhere he goes, this droolworthy camera is just perfect for me. 🙂