Knowledge is Power.

In a dog eat dog world, knowledge is power. It’s the ultimate save-your-face , save-your-dignity, save-your-cause tool.

Don’t narrow down my statement to reading books. Everything which is new to you is knowledge. It could come from directions you would have never expected.

I am speaking/writing from what I have faced, what I have just faced. In my world, baseless arguments will cause you your ass. Pardon my french. You will be shoved aside and worst, you will lose respect.

With knowledge, you will be able to come up with a solid weapon. You will initially be looked at as a snobbish, know-it-all person, but at the same time you are gaining respect. The building up of respect would chip away the negative aura that was initially radiated.

Knowledge is power. Full stop.

Caffeinated.

Since the last few weeks, I’ve been literally feeding on caffeine.

Every morning, a mug of Nescafe mixed with Milo. That is amongst other things that I drink.

4 tablespoons of Milo + 1 teaspoon of Nescafe with hot water mixed in a 200 ml mug. So you can imagine how concentrated it is. Memang kaw! Oh yeah if I make my own drink, I don’t take sugar. At all.

Then come tea time, I will make another mug of the same concoction.

Night time. Another mug. Generally speaking, that is a lot of caffeine per day. Nescafe is already a caffeine filled monster and Milo is also 1/5 made of caffeine (I can’t remember the exact figure). “Why hello there Mr.Google! I’m too lazy to use you!”

Ok here’s one website to help you identify the amount of caffeine in drinks.

http://www.energyfiend.com/the-caffeine-database.

If you wanna know in detailed what are the consequences specifically scientifically, I’ve already introduced you to Mr.Google.

The effects that I experienced personally? I do feel energetic, enthusiastic and always ready to go.

The negatives? My lips are  dry, my throat feels parched 70% of the time, my eyes are redden, increased heartbeat, sometimes I get jittery for no reason. My mind feels active but less disorganized. I would say because of the lack of rest and sleep caused by the extra extra caffeine in my daily diet (I go to sleep at 1++ and I wake up at 4++ -.- )

Like the wise people would always say, “Too much of a good thing is not good too”. There’s a continuation to that phrase, but I forgot.

Protip: Approximately 15-20 mins before you work out/go for a run, take a small cup of hot black coffee without any sugar. It’s an effective catalyst to help you burn your body fat for a certain period and an energy booster too. Even if you look at those fatburner pills, they contain quite a lot of caffeine and usually there would be a warning saying that consumer must not take any caffeinated drinks during the consumption of  said pills.

Submerged thoughts part B

4th winching

I couldn’t feel my legs anymore when one of the instructors yelled for us to get ready for the individual winching exercise. A rescue harness would be dropped, and we would take turn to be winched up using a crane as if it was attached to a helicopter during sea rescue. The waves made the task of putting the winch harness on a pain in the rear end. I had to gulp a lot of water as a part of it got stuck on to the back of my life jacket. When all was properly donned, I gave the signal to the winch operator to lift me up. “Yoweee” the jerk of the belt on my back and the stress of being winched up made my lower body tensed and I felt a jolt in between my crotch >_< . “Relax, loosen your leg. Biar je winch tu carry you, sakit sekejap je. Kalau dekat laut, this is between life and death”.

“Ok now bukak harness tu get ready for the next session”, said one of the facilitators. I couldn’t recognize which one. “Ok walk off the edge again, and then swim to that toppled life raft, use the technique that you learned and get it back up right”. It was easy but you’d have to be ready to swim away when the bottom of the life raft fell over onto you, if not you’d be caught under and that would add to the unnecessary panic and tension. I pulled hard and managed to kick away from the falling bottom of the boat. The rescue diver nearby gave me a thumb up. That was a refreshing remark.

“Okeh dah tau macam mana kan? Pergi berenang dekat survival circle yang member kamu dah formed”. Grrr they were quite far and I could feel the fatigue creeping in and the waves…. -.- .

“Now, the last session for today except those guys from the heli company, we will practice to get on board of a life raft and we will paddle from this side to the other side. Time given is 30 secs. Group 1 go!” Phew, my group managed to complete it within the given time. Those who failed were told to repeat the exercise. At the end of it, our coveralls were sticking to our bodies and revealed our shapes, LOL. I think I was prolly the only one laughing at it. It didn’t really matter, we were tired as heck and in real life situation your body shape is the last thing that you would care about. 1st thing? Staying alive.

“Ok, peserta lain boleh dismiss, yang datang for HUET (Helicopter Underwater Evacuation Training) please move to the to the other side and if you cannot swim take the white helmet, if you can, put on the black”. Protip: From my cousin who attended the same training before, just say that you don’t know how to swim because if anything happens, you will be their first target to be rescued. Plus if you are tired, you can cheat a little. “Eh tadi awak bukan main berenang, sekarang dah tak reti?” asked one of the divers. “Penat buat saya tak reti bang”, I answered. “Saya betul tak reti berenang ni, tarik la saya pegi dummy heli tu”, I said when one of them gave me that skeptical look. Haha, pemalas. “Ok relax, lembutkan badan masa I tarik you” one answered whilst dragging me in the water. Rasa macam anak patung.

*****

In the dummy helicopter, there were enough seats for the four of us. Once inside, there was one senior guy who looked like in his 40s wearing short tights and started yelling instructions at us. “DON’T PANIC!” . We were told to buckle our seat belts and tightened them up as if we were really really in a real helicopter. We were reminded on how to use the Emergency Breathing System (EBS).

EBS: Before the helicopter is fully submerged, the user will take in one deep breath and blow the air out into his EBS. When the user is underwater, he will use the air that he kept in the EBS to breath whilst looking for the way out. Fact: We do not fully use all the oxygen we breath in, in one inhalation. If you are calm and can control your breathing, you should be able to breath using the EBS for 2 mins++. Breathing using the EBS is achieved via the mouth, not the nose. Macam orang hisap gam bak kat instructornye.

“Ok ingat, bila pilot announced ready for ditching, check yourself for sharp object, check your belt buckle, brace yourselves for the impact! READY???”

“READY FOR DITCHING!”

and the dummy heli was lowered down. When the water reached waist level, I took one deep breath and blew all the air in my lungs into the EBS. The pressure on the chest started to tickle my panic button, it was exciting and scary at the same time! Then the helicopter stopped, and we unbuckled and swam our way out. “That was kinda easy”, I thought to myself. Not for my friend, he panicked and totally forgot how to breath through his mouth, he had to hold his breath and and when he emerged, his face was pale and he was mumbling incoherently. “Relax, relax bro, cuba bernafas ikut mulut sekarang,  ok?” said one of the rescue divers.

“Ok, kali ni, heli ni akan diterbalikkan. Remember don’t unbuckle until dia dah stop rotating! Bila dia rotate 1 hand on the wall, 1 hand on your belt buckle” reminder after reminder.

“READY FOR DITCHING!”

Submerged. And the heli began to rotate. I was startled by the change and unbuckled early! “Oh shizz, I don’t wanna fail this!” I hook both of my feet to the feet of the seat that I was on so that I would look like as if I was hanging upside down even though I’ve already unbuckled my seatbelt. The reason we were told not to unbuckle was because so that we didn’t get disorientate when the heli was upside down. When you are disorientated, you wouldn’t know which way is up and which way is down. When the heli stopped rotating, I swam out. Again, my friend panicked but this time he managed to breath using the EBS but he used the furthest exit from his seat instead of the nearby pushable window.

3rd time. Same thing. No mistake this time.

4th time. I was tired. My mind was calmed by my tiredness. I decided to do it slowly. That was when a surge of thoughts invaded my brain. As the heli was rotating in the water, I had these thoughts:

What if I were to be in a heli that was doomed (this word is heavy) to fail?

a) Have I been good enough to people?

b) Have I told my loved ones that I care for them so much?

c) Have I shown my appreciation to those who made me a better person?

d) Have my loved ones got enough of my physical presence?

e) Have I done enough for my loved ones?

f) Am I happy with who I am? and loads of other thoughts. But most revolved around my desire to make sure that the people that I cared for would at least get an idea that they were always on my mind and in my heart despite the emotion that I would show. I was the last person to emerge from the submerged dummy and the rescue divers gave me a thumbs up. I grab hold of the rescue float and one of the divers dragged me to the nearest ladder. I was spent and yet I couldn’t stop thinking. “Apahal termenung bro?” the instructor asked me. I just shake my head. I’ve decided I have to let the people that I cared for know what they meant to me, just in case if I wasn’t meant to be on this Earth for long. Who knows?

 

Submerged thoughts part A

Blub..blub..blub..blub

Ok I kid, I kid.

3rd November, I attended a safety course intended to teach those who would be going by helis to oil rigs/platforms what to do if anything out of the normalcy happened. Out of normalcy as in, if the helicopter crashes, or the pilot decides to do an emergency landing on the water because of unrecoverable malfunction(s), the platform about to blow up or anything of the mentioned nature.

9-12 o’clock was the theories and exam session. There were 4 people in my class, 1 was a really old guy, I think he was around 50+. There were 3 of us from the same company. The instructor was a really experienced guy, and really laid back. “Next when we’re about to do the actual training, DO NOT PANIC. If you panicked, you would forget every basic step that you should do to stay alive. If you panicked, you would do the opposite instead, and you would die. Tapi kat sini, kalau ada apa-apa yang tidak kena, our divers are always ready to rescue”.

I couldn’t wait to be involved in the actual training. I saw the big pool, the dummy helicopters, the mock evacuation boat, the really high platform (from which we would have to walk off later on).

1 o’clock, we were gathered with participants from other classes.

“Ok, sebelum kita masuk ke dalam air, mari menari poco-poco dahulu, untuk warm-up” said a guy who looked like younger Sidi Oraza (Malay actor). The part of the pool that was deep was dark blue in colour and when they turned on the wave generator….there were waves! Really high waves! Some of the female participants let out a yelp. “You engineer kan? Be brave. Takda apa ni”, a facilitator comforted them.

In total, there were about 30+ participants. The others were from different programs but we joined group for that day’s session. Later, for the dummy helicopter session, there would be only 4 of us. The others didn’t need it as they would be going via different means i.e. transport boat or ship.

“Ok sekarang pakai life jacket, kita masuk air, bagi basah dulu. Berenang secara backstroke, jangan guna kaki. Learn how to conserve your energy ya.” Easy, there were a few panicked participants but they managed. One was grabbing my life jacket and was slapping the water around her causing it to splash into my eyes. I had to grab her by the arm and pull her to the closest ladder, “Relax cik, you ada life jacket, baring atas dia. Breath, breath.” My vision was blurry because of the amount of water that had entered.

1st session: Evac Boat

The boat looked like a coffin with inflated hard top. It could fit about 15 people at a time. I was given the task to check the boat first for any signs of damage and if everything was good, I would signal the commander to lead the group to enter the boat. Once we were in, the boat driver would yell for everyone to be in ‘brace position’…and the boat was released. It was not a free fall, the tackle from which the boat hung controlled the drop rate. Easy.

2nd: Vessel to vessel transfer

There were 2 floating platforms on the water. Easy exercise. The waves made it difficult but it was basic, you just jump onto the other platform when the wave pushed it upward towards you. Just like Mario brothers game.

3rd: Walk off a platform which was about 3-4 storey building high

This one was quite intimidating. “Ok remember, arms in proper position, look down for any obstacles, then just step off the platform. DON’T LEAP! Legs straigthened down!” the instructor reminded us. Still there were a few of the participants who forgot and fumbled and ended up falling like nangka busuk into the water.  When it was my turn, my God, how scary it was. I didn’t hesitate but as I was falling it felt sooooooooo long. “Weh bila nak sampai air ni???????” that was my actual thought O_O . Until, “BOOOFF!” and the buoyancy of my jacket pushed me back up. “Gotta find where the others are”, I said to myself as I was swimming around looking for them. We were then told to form survival circle as we were taught in class. At this moment, I felt how little I was when compared to the majestic sea and I was glad there were a lot of participants around. We were comforting each other and in actual situation this would be one of the most crucial steps in staying alive, keeping your mind as calm as possible and avoiding any unnecessary movement. I can’t remember how long we were in the water. The instructors would yell for us to form lines, then back to circle, then back to lines, then when we were in a line, he would tell us to swim from point A to point B whilst keeping the human chain intact. The waves made it difficult, the panicked ones made it difficult too. “Pak cik relax pak cik, saya ada kat belakang ni”, I told one old man when he was trashing around in the water looking for a hand to grab hold of. His action caused me to swallow what felt like a gallon of water . Luckily it was not real sea water I’d swallowed.  I was burping! Sambil berenang minum air T_T . On  a serious note, I would have died if it was real sea water.

To be continued… (I’ve typed too much >_<, hence need to do it in 2 parts- I promise, only 2 parts, kalau tak, rumah tak berkemas, baju tak berlipat, lauk tak termasak, and I got a football match this evening)

My mother and I both loved this movie and the songs in it. For me particularly this song, the lyrics are beautiful and the best part of this video is at 2:42 until 3:05       , lirikan mata nya, aduh, ada panah sudah menembusi hatiku. Chewah jiwang!

 

Beautiful just beautiful.

You know this year has so far been the year during which I’ve learnt how to accept how things wanted to present themselves. I used to question the why’s of why’s. Maturity is a subjective mmmm subject that is continuously changing itself and adapting itself to the state of one’s mind. As a way to translate what I really feel, I present to you, the lyrics for Life is Wonderful by Jason Mraz.

Life Is Wonderful

It takes a crane to build a crane
It takes two floors to make a story
It takes an egg to make a hen
It takes a hen to make an egg
There is no end to what I’m saying

It takes a thought to make a word
It takes some words to make an action
And it takes some work to make it work
It takes some good to make it work
It takes some bad for satisfaction

Ah la la la la la la life is wonderful
Ah la la la la la la life goes full circle
Ah la la la la la  life is wonderful
Ah la la la la

It takes a night to make it dawn
And it takes a day to make you yawn brother
And it takes some old to make you young
It takes some cold to know the sun
It takes the one to have the other

And it takes no time to fall in love
But it takes you years to know what love is
And it takes some fears to make you trust
And it takes those tears to make it rust
It takes some dust to have it polished, yeah

Ah la la la la la la life is wonderful
Ah la la la la la la life goes full circle
Ah la la la la la  life is wonderful
Ah la la la la

It is, It is so
And it is so…

It takes some silence to make a sound
And it takes a loss before you found it
And it takes a road to go nowhere
It takes a toll to make you care
It takes a hole to make a mountain

Ah la la la la la la life is wonderful
Ah la la la la la la life goes full circle
Ah la la la la la  life is wonderful
Ah la la la la la is meaningful
Ah la la la la la la la is wonderful

Ah la la la la la la it is so wonderful
It is so meaningful
It is so wonderful
It is so meaningful

It is wonderful
It is meaningful

It goes full circle
Wonderful
Meaningful

Sigh, I missed his concert when he came to Malaysia, was working in KLIA and my train left at 6:50 p.m.

Running

I used to ask an ex-colleague of mine when I was in MAS whilst we were on the ERL train on the way home, “What drives you to run?”. He was silent for a few minutes and I didn’t take my eyes off him, trying to read his body language. His eyeballs were staring around looking for an answer. “I just love it”, he answered.

“That’s it?” I asked. “Yeah”. I didn’t believe him. I was sure there was a hidden motive, the x-factor that pushed him into such activity. I was not that keen on running during that time. I love sports but was not that interested when it came to long distance running. “Mindless, pointless”, I would say.

Until one day, my mind was so depressed from work, studies, life’s expectation, I decided to give it a go. A scene from Forrest Gump flashed in my mind. Mr Gump was so sad that his lover left him, he just ran. What happened next? You gotta watch the movie to appreciate it.

My first attempt at running was excruciatingly painful. I was wearing my basketball shoes, worn basketball shoes with the cushioning all looked like a thin slice of cheese with holes eaten out by rats. 1st issue was impact on the soles, 2nd issue was, stamina. 2nd issue was the biggest embarrassment from my personal point of view. I was an athlete who represented my school, my faculty, my university in various sports. But I couldn’t maintain the proper posture and pace within 15 minutes of running. Fast paces became a step by step personal achievement. That was all I could maintain for the next hour or so. But one aspect of it which really comforted me was, I was in my own world of huff and puff. I didn’t care what other people was thinking of me.

The objective: to reach point B from point A. The road does not care who you are. It lays sprawled for you to explore, for you to step on. The road does not discriminate. The fact that my house is located near to a wonderful lake, helps to keep me running. “Wanna see more beautiful scenes? Keep running”. “Wanna see those pretty ladies over there? Keep running”. “Are those guys shooting for a movie or something? Keep running”. “We’ll pass by them and see more wonderful things”.

Now, I’ve got a proper pair of running shoes. A Sony Walkman mp3 player. Running shirt/shorts/pants. And have been yearning for any chance I could get to get my legs moving. The feeling of accomplishment for finishing a certain predetermined distance is so awesome it is as if all your organs are giving you a pat on the back thanking you for clearing their vessels and strengthening them physically and refreshing their will.

Now I understand what drives these runners to run. At least that’s how I understand it and that’s what I’ve been experiencing. It’s a ‘me’ time, an addictive activity which in a way helps me to build up my self esteem, confidence and strengthening my resolve. Not to mention, helps to tone my physique too 😉 .

Give me hills, give me gravel, give me shoes in which I will travel.

Words from the heart.

Some people think that those with an ‘acute’ sense of what is going on, of the intricate details of the general scenario, of the little kinks in a straight line as unnecessarily petty. But I prefer to look at them situationally. Lately I would look at them as concerned beings, for I’ve understood what make poets poets, painters painters and songwriters songwriters. In simpler terms, why there are artists – people who expresses their emotion via various mediums, drawings, songs, and a whole load of other thinkable presentations.

Ramadhan is a month which from my first account experience when such senses grow. Meaningful words flourish and touch people in wonderful ways.

The coming of Ramadhan always give me a wonderful kinda tingle.

A tingle that says it’s ok, men do cry. An explosion of emotion which swelled time after time covered by layers of ego, pride and individualism. Ramadhan strips those opened and brings us back to the basics. The fitrah.

“Ma, wa mintak maaf zahir dan batin (Ma, I’m sorry for everything).” Pause. Then we’d talk about other things, but still the residual emotion from such a statement would resonate for the whole month. I hope it would for the rest of my life.

Some may call it sissy. But how long do we have just to live up to others expectation?

I love trying to read between the lines. I love how I feel the love of the people in my lives. I love how strangers express their appreciation of others. I love how we all actually share a common ground. Emotionally human.

I have to admit that in my view  jazz/oldies tend to connect with humanity more often than other genres. I also have to admit, that Michael Buble has a very warming voice. I still like the female species though. Have a great Ramadhan everyone. May you find the Ramadhan you are looking for!