Wednesday, September 30, 2009

To Bukit Timah Summit

The run to Bukit Timah Summit on last Sunday (27 Sep) was my first attempt and for Chua, his third or fourth I think. Got up at about 6.15am and arrived at Chua's place before 7am, he was already warming up at the carpark. Chua is staying at Bukit Panjang, fairly near to Bukit Timah. We used to have three musketeers, missing was Eddie.

From Chua's place, we ran to the forested pipeline heading to Rifle Range. The terrain was quite undulating, tougher than running on a normal tarred road which took us under half an hour to reach the fringe of Rifle Range where Eddie lives. We then made an u-turn to the mid-point, one of the routes up Bukit Timah summit.

Chua led the way, I followed behind. Unlike Mt Faber, the steps were uneven and not cemented. We had to watch out for the protuding roots, a mis-step could spell trouble. It was a long run up the improvised steps, as if never ending. I had to stop to catch a breather or two while Chua continued his ascend. We huffed and we puffed, we finally reached but the half-way mark only. I had to stop, my muscles were already aching. After a short rest, we continued again. And there we were but only just, we had reached the final assault base to the summit. We took longer rest, loosen up our joints and muscles. Chua signalled to me whether I was ready for the final ascend, and yes, I was raring to go. Almost immediately, we made a dash up. Chua was infront followed by me. He was inching faster and faster ahead of me, I pressed on but only barely. My legs were aching and tried I did but each step forward was getting slower and slower. After covering two third on the final ascend, I had to walk. Chua who was almost reaching the top, also stopped to walk. Finally, we reached the summit. We took picture of each other, clearly satisfied of our feat.

For our descend, we chose the forested path over the easier tarred pathway. We had to walk for most part, pratically not possible to run down. There was quite a crowd, many senior citizens and young children were slowly walking up. We finally reached the newly opened park, took a short tour around at the place before running back to Chua's place. I had breakfast with Chua, his wife and the children and by the time I reached home, I was dead-tired. Stayed home the whole day but still managed to do some house chores. In our next assault to Bukit Timah summit, it will not be complete without Eddie. We should be ready to conquer our 42 km marathon come December, I hope.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Another Comical Comment From Malaysia Tourism Minister

I wonder, has food anything to do with politics where Malaysia current sorry state-of-affair is concerned?, just wonder aloud! The honourable Tourism Minister, YB Dr Ng Yen Yen, who launched the Malaysia International Gourmet Festival recently complained some countries 'hijacked' some of so-called Malaysia local food as their own, which include Bak Kut Teh, Laksa, Hainanese Chicken Rice, Nasi Lemak and Chilli Crab...what craps!

As a learned and seasoned politician, she should not have not known Singapore and Malaysia were intertwined historically & culturally (or she chose not to know for obvious reasons) and at the same time, inherited some old political baggage (sigh!) after Singapore gained her independence on 9 August 1965.

If she had intended to shore up much needed public support after a big lashing by Indonesia for the boo-boo in featuring Bali penyet dance as Malaysia's own, her undiplomatic comment certainly did not gain her friends in Singapore too. Using food at the expense of friends to gain political mileage for herself, for her badly bruised political party 'mired in civil squabble' only worsen situation.

So what if these food originated from Malaysia, YB? Will tourists be lured to Malaysia because Malaysia has now claimed a world's first on Bak Kut Teh, Laksa, Hainanese Chicken Rice, Nasi Lemak and Chilli Crab and for that, all Malaysians will give you a thumbs-up for a good job done as the Tourism Minister? The job of a Tourism Minister does not end with food only but you certainly need to watch your own waistline though. Wishful thinking, YB.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Jailed For Wearing Pants

If the recent incident in Malaysia involving a Muslim lady caught drinking and sentenced to be whipped though the case is still pending has not caused much hue-and-cry, this one that happened in Sudan is even more absurd. See the story below by Guillaume Lavallee.

KHARTOUM (AFP) – Sudanese journalist Lubna Ahmed Hussein who spent a day in jail for refusing to pay a fine for wearing "indecent trousers" vowed on her release on Tuesday to keep up the battle against the law.

"We will continue the fight to change this law, the public order police, the public order tribunals," she told AFP at the offices of Ajras Al-Hurriya (Bells of Freedom) newspaper where noisy supporters celebrated her release.

Hussein was imprisoned on Monday after she refused to pay the fine imposed earlier the same day by a Khartoum court for wearing trousers deemed indecent. She could have faced one month in jail.

"She came out of prison. We paid the 500-pound (200-dollar) fine," explained Mohiedinne Titawi, president of the Sudanese Union of Journalists, announcing the release.

"I don't even know who paid the fine, I had told my family and friends not to pay it," Hussein said.

The journalist was wearing slacks when she was arrested along with 12 other women in a Khartoum restaurant in July.

Sudanese law in the conservative Muslim north stipulates a maximum of 40 lashes for wearing indecent clothing.

Women in trousers are not a rare sight in Sudan but the authorities can take offence at trousers which reveal too much of a woman's shape, leading to accusations from rights groups that judgement is arbitrary.

In Hussein's case, the court opted for the 500 Sudanese pounds (200 dollars) fine rather than a flogging, but ten of the 12 other women who were arrested in a Khartoum restaurant at the same time as Hussein have been whipped for their offence.

Last year nearly 43,000 women were detained for indecent clothing offences in Khartoum region, where five million people live, according to Hussein's supporters.

Hussein, who was released after one day when the journalists' union paid her fine, felt the loose trousers she was wearing when arrested were not indecent and the incident spurred her to wage a public challenge to the law.

She resigned from the United Nations so she could stand trial and publicise her campaign.

In the trial, the judge sought to determine whether her trousers were too tight, according to witnesses in the court, which was closed to journalists.

She has pledged to continue fighting the law, challenging anyone to provide her evidence that it has grounds in the Koran and the Prophetic traditions, which comprise the source of Islamic legislation.

"I'm ready for anything to happen. I'm absolutely not afraid of the verdict," she told AFP in an interview on August 3. "If I'm sentenced to be whipped, or to anything else, I will appeal. I will see it through to the end, to the constitutional court if necessary.

Her case led to an outcry abroad and demonstrations at home.

The office of the UN human rights chief on Tuesday said her sentencing breached international law and exemplified the discrimination faced by women in Sudan.

"Lubna Hussein's case is, in our view, emblematic of a wider pattern of ... application of discriminatory laws against women in Sudan," said Rupert Colville, spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

On Friday, Amnesty International urged the Khartoum government to withdraw the charges against Hussein, saying the law used to justify flogging women for wearing clothes deemed "indecent" should be repealed.