Thursday, December 22, 2005

Penang Jamboree 2003 - Expect the Unexpected

Penang MTB Jamboree 4 - 5 October 2003
Saturday : Sunset Boulevard Ride
Sunday : Expect the Unexpected (Pain-nang Hill Challenge)
350 participants

Article below : This ride set new standards with a record-breaking 350 participants attending a leisure mountain bike event.

Below : Yes, another award-winning hand-drawn map.

This time round, we hired a Sri Maju bus which took us from Golden Mile to the doorsteps of our regular Penang haunt, Hotel Waterfall. It rained cats and dogs the moment we arrived until the start of the ride on Sunday morning! Bring out the raincoats and mud tires!

Below : The neverending spiral of torture....reminds me of an Escher painting...

Below : And finally, the part we've all been waiting for! The downhills are to die for.

Below : And finally, we see the light at the end of the tunnel!

After experiencing 2 jamborees, we realise that bike pushing (both uphill and downhill) and portaging was expected to be part and parcel of any penang ride. It was the wet weather and landslide which was unexpected!

The man and lady to touch the top of Penang Hill gets to be crowned "King" and "Queen" of "Pain-nang Hill" respectively. However, the overall winner who comes in in record time ahead of all others get to be the "Winner of Overall Mountain Bike Jamboree" for all men bikers and lady bikers. Think since then, they'd created a veteran category.

In 2003, Becks clinched the "Queen of Pain-nang" title, winning her a hamper which I accepted on her behalf as she zipped off early with Swee Haw, accompanying him on a long car ride back to Singapore. Turns out kopi was spilling out of that huge hamper from all corners....and Becks doesn't even drink coffee! We might still be drinking that same coffee today! haha!

For more juicy accounts from folks who embarked on this journey with us, go to :-
Chi's Account

Smurf Bikers Account

Ironhorse's Account

Thank you notes

And the cold hard evidence...
My Album 1
My Album 2
My Album 3
Winnie's Album

Penang Jamboree 2002 - The 1 Hill Ride

Penang MTB Jamboree 26 - 27 October 2002
Saturday : Sunset Boulevard Ride
Sunday : 1 Hill Ride
270 participants

After being victims of KOTRT's Cameron Highlands ride the year before, 5 of us then Absolutees were itching for more torture. Here's Pain's Account of this initiation ride. Will not go into painful details of this ride, as Pain has said it all....notice how he blanked out when it came to Stages 2-3? The penang ride has that effect on you! Oh....and I broke my chain less than 5 minutes into the ride....think that was my first encounter with the slow smurfs, who later became our remaining fellow sufferers!

First thing I learnt : Never trust the Malaysian metric system! It lies. The warm-up "Sunset Boulevard" ride on Saturday was more than twice the distance it was touted to be. And we found this gross mis-aggaration of distance a habit picked up by many Malaysians who do it just to be kind. Am proud to say we Singaporeans have learnt to adapt to this habit - always mutiply distance by 2, and you're just about right (kinda like the SGD-Ringgit). Some of us have even learnt to adopt the habit, especially during our Eco-X-Capade race. We told other competitors the next checkpoint was 5 minutes away when it was more than 30 minutes! Poor souls, they can only thank us for it! hee hee!

Second thing I learnt : A jamboree map, although a beautiful piece of art, is never drawn to scale. Or maybe like many Singaporen bikers, we just weren't paying attention to details. The artist was still completing the second and third leg of the ride when we registered. Above, you see No 228 on a plate. These were our badges of honour, aka passport for bragging rights! Collect all 5 stickers and you get a medal once you complete the ride! Can't remember if medals were dished out for this first ride, but the experience itself was well worth it.

Third thing I learnt : When asked the simple question, "how many more slopes are there?", the standard answer is "don't worry, this is the last one"...and then holy smoke, every corner you turn you are greeted by yet another concrete slope, til you reach the big mama - the Stairway to Heaven staring rightatchya! Next time, trust no one along the way! The only way you truly know you've reached the top is when you smell chicken pie!

Since this was a leisure ride, we even had time to jalan jalan, check out the treetop walk, stuff our faces with oh-that-famous-Penang-chicken-pie and other goodies and "cheeze", another photo-evidence that we're not dreaming!

Last thing I learnt : What goes up, will eventually come down, if you manage to get up there in the first place! One Hill Ride indeed! :P

Read Chia's account from founding member's viewpoint.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Knights of the Round Tummies?

What do you get when you put the jellied legs of over 500 mountain-bike-junkies-cum-Penang-foodies in a jar? The Penang Mountain Bike Jam-boree!!! :P

This annual event is organised by fellow bikers up North. KOTRT is their name, and eating and riding is their game! KOTRT stands for Knights of the Round Table, but they're better known as Knights of the Round Tummies. Comes as no surprise then that their tagline should be : "Eat to Ride, Ride to Eat". Hey, any foodie can identify with that.

But DO NOT be FOOLED by the grins, the smiles and the pot bellies that some of the KOTRTes bear. Behind that easy-going Penangite is a hard-core creature unleashed when it hits the mind-boggling trails of Penang! How else were they able to spend countless of creature-hours marking out each year's trails with gusto, and devise their evil event titles year after year as a sign of warning of what lies ahead...

2002 Jamboree - "1 Hill Ride" - Yeah right! Too late when you realise how friggin' high, steep and looonnnnnngggggggg that hill is!
2003 Jamboree - "Expect the Unexpected" - after the first year's harrowing experience, we've learnt to take their titles seriously....this was the year the relentless Penang rain added extra obstacles like landslides and mudpools. Fun!
2004 Jamboree - "See u Dare" - The year we discovered how much corn is fed in the Penang diet! I dun dare think about rit.
2005 Jamboree - "Ready for more?" - At first, the title seemed harmless enough, til you realise their checkpoints were named something along the lines of "Want some more?"..... "Some More"......."No More"....Can't take it no more!! The organisers were so proud in revealing to us their special corny concoction! I personally thought it was brilliant! hee hee

In the next few blogs, I will present to you the quadrilogy entitled "Fellowship of the Wheel"!

For starters, check out the KOTRT website

Other rides organised by KOTRT attended by us silly Singaporeans...

23 - 25 February 2001 - KOTRT Annual Ride, Pos Mensun, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
Beykha's Nightmare Account
Karxc's Ride Account

15 - 16 March 2003 - Kuala Mu, Malaysia
About this ride

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Orang Kenit, the 70s allien?

It's nice to know that SPH keeps a folder on UFOs and Aliens. Managed to sneak into their library at Kim Seng road when I was doing research on my short film and dug out this article about UFOs written in Malay.

I didn't get the whole article translated, but the gist of it was that the Malay author associated alien and alien sightings with miniature humanoids sightings in Malaysia. These little men are known as the "orang kenit" to the Malays. It was reported that 50% of the time, the mini humans are accompanied by an object resembling a flying saucer.

Not knowing where to start looking (since my Malay is reduced to ordering a meal of teh tarik and cheeze prata with egg), Siva gave me some leads.

Ufology : Two Generations; One Mission: Overview of Sightings in South East
Special Interview with, Ahmad Jamaludin
By SPI Mathwizard, Ong Yen Chin


Very informative. If you scroll down to the section entitled, "The Mystery of Miniature Humanoids in Malaysia", you will find corroborative evidence of the sightings of children back in the 70s (see me blog below). The common denominators :-

- Time : 1970s (see, told ya it was a cool decade)

- Country : Malaysia (and Singapore, now that I've interviewed a Singapore witness)

- Anatomy : 3 - 6 inches tall

- Vehicle : sometimes sighted together with their mini UFOs as big as soup plate or car tire

- Witnesses : Children (wonder why that is? if I were a puny alien, would I want to approach a oversized, disbelieving adult who will probably crush me like a cockroach? Or if I were an adult, would I risk being ridiculed by disclosing that I've seen a creature looking like an alien, even if I really did see it with me own 2 eyes?)

There is a theory that aliens look generally the same in overall humanoid form, but vary in size and features, kinda like I don't look anything close to my fellow human mates in Africa. Quite apart from physical appearance, the ones that abduct are known to be generally unfriendly to our race, whereas some other species (if I can call them that) have more beneficial intentions. In fact, I've heard that some have integrated into society with a mission to prevent us humans from destroying ourselves!

And so, the familiar theory of distinguishing alien type according to geographical sightings goes :-

America : the Greys

Latin America : animal-like occupants

Europe : tall human occupants

South East Asia (notably Malaysia) : Orang Kenit?

Found out there's another creature called the "Orang Pendek" or "shortman" sighted in the Sumatran jungles. Me should really brush up on me berhasa! Check out the following article :-

In Search of Orang-pendek
By Richard Freeman

Something that the SPI website said struck a familiar chord :

"General public in this region has little interest, if at all, regarding UFOs, and they usually will not report their sightings to anyone, out of fear of being ridiculed.

Some even regard UFOs as manifestations of the Devil or other form of spirits.

Paranormal research in South East Asia is still lacking behind our western counterpart, and sadly although many people are interested in paranormal, they are just looking forward for the fear factors, e.g. the thrill that they get from ghost tours and trespassing into private properties "looking for ghosts", instead of serious scientific research. Interest in ghostly phenomena, especially among youngsters in Singapore, is much more intense than interest in other mysteries like UFOlogy and Cryptozoology.

SPI recognizes this problem and we want to work with other researchers to promote serious research into the unknown. One way of doing this is to educate the public that other non-ghostly phenomena are still very much alive in our region."

So, assuming aliens were to exist and live in the same huge earth that we live in, I think the only way we will get any kind of serious interest in this topic from the local public is if you hear this sorta news reported in our papers :-

"Alien came to me with winning 4D numbers!"
"Alien shares AIDS cure with humans"
"Alien attack causes damage in Tsunami proportion!"
"My Prime Minister is an Alien."

So, bottom line - no human benefit, no human interest.