Sunday, December 1, 2019

Getaway To Belitung Island Attractions

This is not a paid post. All opinions are solely at my own discretion.


We are back from our trip to Belitung in Indonesia. It was a fabulous stress-free trip which I had longed for, to be away from my silly bosses and crazy friends. I have been yearning to visit places like this which is under developed yet offers the nature's best & exotic surroundings. Most importantly I found a good hotel which allowed us to relax in peace without even the need to step out, just in case it rained everyday like this wet season in Malaysia now. Somehow, the weather at Belitung was kind to us with hot sunny days and wet evenings. 

I hope to share my trip in 2-3 postings in my blog if I don't hibernate and procrastinate again. I wished I am just as hardworking like many blogger friends out there.




We boarded the AA plane which took us just 1 hour 45 minutes to arrive safely at the Tanjung Pandan's airport in Belitung Island. This island is located off the main Sumatera Island and below Singapore.




We stayed at this wonderful Fairfield by Marriot Hotel for 5 days. I could say that it is the best choice of hotels in Belitung for its strategic location which is in-between the small town, airport and main roads leading to the attractions around Belitung Islands. The service is very good by all the staff and it comes with very modern & spacious ambiance with sea frontage. I often chose boutique class hotels with international branding status like Marriot, Hilton or Holiday Inn chains as they often offered very attractive room rates that came with hearty breakfast buffet daily. You can expect good service by the staff too. Here at Fairfield, their staff were so friendly and warm to all the guests including yours truly. They helped to recommend me places to visit and even took me across the hotel to make bookings to rent a car with driver and motorbike to ride by myself.



I liked what I saw when I made bookings for the rooms and found this Deluxe room which I thought looked very comfortable and luxurious with a balcony that overlooks the huge infinity swimming pool. The price is under RM300 a night with complimentary breakfasts included.




My wife was surprised and happy to see the unique layout of our Deluxe room. Here she often relaxed on the deck chair with phone and snacks while watching me swim. I was even more surprised while we had our dinner at the hotel's restaurant and she produced her own Marriot Member's Privilege Card which entitled us to discounts for all our meals. I forgot that she always stayed in Marriot's Hotel chain when she flew to Texas, Pennsylvania and California during her work trips in USA.




The hotel's dining restaurant is very big with high ceiling and overlooks the panoramic view of the pool, gardens and ocean in the backdrop. The daily breakfast buffet was generous and sufficient to feed us well before we start our whole day activities around the island. 



I rented a motorbike for 2 days and fetched my wife to many spots around the coastal stretch of Belitung Island. The feeling was so happy as it made me feel like a teenager again as I do not have the chance to ride back home. Here there's very little traffic around the peaceful island and it is very safe too without any crime or thefts as assured by the local folks. We felt safe and rode for hours under the sun and rain. My wife was singing happily and non stop like a radio! We passed many small villages and the friendly kids often waved to us too.




I was surprised that in this quiet and laid back island, there's a branded outlet store located along the same street of our hotel. We went inside to browse at the many racks that carried branded clothings from Guess, Nike, Burberry, Ralph Lauren and many other authentic brands that were made in Indonesia for export market. They were priced very cheap and I bought a clearance tee shirt from Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) for only RM30.00!! Unbelievably cheap. I also bought a nice pink jacket for my wife for under RM100.





We hired a car with driver to show us around as I did not carry an international driving licence with me. The first spot we visited was this famous Kaolin Lakes which has very unusual blue or turquoise green waters! I heard that the only other places with such similar coloured lakes are found in Iceland.





These lakes are actually mining pools with white sand banks and blue water. Even our driver had no idea how these colours appeared. I guess it must be the minerals that they mined together with the reflections of the blue skies that created different shades of blue water.




We spent less than 30 minutes there as visitors are no longer allowed to get too close to the water as the dredging tractors are still actively mining the many pools of water.



Our driver took us to many places but I will share them in my coming posts. Here, we rode the bike by ourselves the next day to the famous Pantai Tanjung Kelayang to make direct booking for a boat to bring us on island hopping trip the next day.



We posed by the beach at Tanjung Kelayang which has a fantastic pristine clear waters. Far behind us is the Island of Borneo where Kalimantan, Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei are located. My wife was delighted to see such a clear looking ocean with millions of fishes swimming. Stay tuned for my next post to see the beautiful islands, fishes and famous spots like the residence of Ahok the former Governor of Jakarta.




*****




Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Nightmares Of A Landlord

I have been having a stressful week after my tenants moved out from my condo last week. They were a bunch of bachelors male monkeys from China. The mess and damages they left behind is the worst compared to my earlier tenants from Iran, Libya and North Korea. The earlier ones were all neat and tidy tenants unlike this China's troop of wild monkeys. The Libyan couple even re-painted my whole condo unit to sparkling white before handling over the keys! Loved them to the moon & back.

A year ago, there was this China company inside Faber Towers that needed 20 units of fully air-conditioned condo units for their so-called IT staff from China. The property agents hurriedly contacted me right after the North Korean diplomat had returned back to Pyongyang. That IT company only asked for 1 year contract and have since evacuated all the 20 units, to move their operations to another country. No prizes for you to guess what sort of business they were doing.




Horrors!! Look at how they had damaged the cabinet corner where the sink was. The sink had been detached from the thick wooden table top plus pipes broken below with water seeping all below the whole cabinet. I could only guess that someone very heavy like a Thai elephant had playfully sat beside the sink to cause it to crack & break down. Life is not always a bed of roses for the landlords.




I got my handyman to tear out the damaged portion and build a new concrete cabinet with brand new sink and tap. The future tenants can dance A-Go-Go on the concrete slab and it will not break anymore. I had to plan all the repair work in all the rooms & toilets for these handymen and had to hop over to IKEA to buy new cabinet doors. I was so pleased that they have almost very identical design patterns sold at IKEA. That means my old kitchen cabinet doors are still in fashion trends! LOLOL



I really need a break!!!








I have booked Air Asia's new flight destination to Belitung Islands at Indonesia! The earlier return tickets were launched just over 100 ringgit! I was a bit late but still got return tickets at under RM200. 



Next week, I will bring my wife there for a week to destress our heads and check out this unknown & isolated islands where the sea waters are all crystal clear until you could see the tiny hairs on your toe nails. Muahahahaha!



*****



Friday, October 25, 2019

2019 IRONMAN Langkawi

Hola! I am now in Pulau Langkawi again after a long drive here with my wife together with 2 racing bikes in tow. She has been training very hard for the past many months with the famous expert sifus from RC Coaching like Rupert Chen, Edwin Tiang and Fixx. That's besides getting many brotherly advices from one Ironman Aaron Choo who ran over 10 times all over the world. Stay tuned for my interviews with Aaron, Rupert and the gang.



I brought this confident lady to register herself for the IRONMAN 70.3 event which would kick off on Saturday. We posed at the entrance where there's a pretty and colourful Kolam with the IM logo!



My IRON Wife is full of confidence after collecting her goodie bag!




This is a "shiok sendiri" photo of yours truly. I hope to be able to participate in this tough IRONMAN event someday. The whole Langkawi Island is full of participants who have arrived from all corners of the world. If you ever wish to join such sports events, you better get real professional help from RC Coaching as they have the best training schedules in Malaysia including "Torture Camps" to toughen and prepare all the minds of the sports enthusiasts out there. 

I am pleased to receive awesome articles from INK PR Sdn Bhd about the 5 Ladies who are also participants. Please find time to read all these inspiring stories which I greatly salute them all.



5 WOMEN SHARE THEIR SUCCESS STORIES AS WOMEN FOR TRI TAKES ON A SIGNIFICANT MEANING AT IRONMAN MALAYSIA



KUALA LUMPUR / LANGKAWI (21 OCTOBER 2019): Women For Tri has become one of the most successful and profound programme of the IRONMAN Foundation, since taking off in 2015. Aimed to increase female participation at all levels of triathlon, the initiative engages female athletes across all race distances and every athlete ability.

The initiative has become nothing short of amazing, as Women For Tri can be proud of an 18% growth in female participation at the IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 events, which now totals to more than 71,000 female triathletes globally.

“IRONMAN has been championing Women For Tri for many years. We believe that it is an inclusive sport, rather than it being male dominant. Having more women in the sport would truly represent the meaning of ‘Ohana, IRONMAN’s theme this year, and bring the family together,” said CG Lim, Regional Director, Malaysia, IRONMAN Asia.

CG’s biggest mission this year was to show greater support for female athletes through the combined efforts of Women For Tri and the ‘Ohana theme.

His endeavours did not disappoint, and has certainly come to fruition as the 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 Langkawi received an additional 25 slots for the 2020 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Taupo, as part of Women for Tri.

These slots would however, not mean anything without the real-life tales of many Malaysian women whose sacrifice, diligence and sheer determination has helped raise the profile of women in IRONMAN.


IRONLADY is the word for Nursya’s family

Nursya Jusoh will be an unmistakable figure at this year’s race, sporting a full length trisuit, completed with a sports hijab, thanks to her sponsor PURPOSE.

The seasoned IRONMAN campaigner is and has been an inspiration to many Muslim women as she competes in IRONMAN dressed religious attire. But above it all, Nursya remains a true inspiration to her family.    

“I have three kids, and my second son has completed the kids triathlon twice, because of me!” says the 42-year-old housewife with a laugh.

“My husband also did IRONMAN last year because of me. He is my number one fan!”

Nursya, who will be competing in her fourth consecutive IRONMAN, has come full circle since witnessing her first IRONMAN as a spectator in 2014.

“I was so inspired by the spirit of the participants and went back with a desire to do this. I enrolled in swimming lessons, and my husband bought me a bike shortly after. I did my first triathlon in 2015 and signed up for my first IRONMAN in 2016.

“That year itself I signed up for my full IRONMAN in Langkawi, and I be returning there for a fourth time.”

Bonding with women through triathlon

For Patricia Lim, completing the 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 Langkawi relay team event with her girlfriends Diana Hazari and Harum Delima would be to achieve their ultimate friendship goals.

“We have all done the full IRONMAN in Langkawi before and we are familiar with the routes, so this time we just want to go out there and have fun. I want all of us to finish the event with a big smile,” says the bubbly café owner who will be toeing the swim start for the first leg of their relay.

Patricia is grateful that she met both Diana and Harum through this small, yet closely knitted community of female triathletes.

“We met over four years ago, and we have bonded really well ever since. We do not train together because we do different events, but even having a meal together brings us closer.”

“I did my first relay in Port Dickson in 2015 and was inspired by many of the women out there. I now look at the older generation and draw my inspiration from them. Some of them are in their 60s, but they can complete a full IRONMAN in 12 hours. Amazing.”

Striving even harder after accident

Diana Hazari could have allowed a bike accident that happened during her IRONMAN training to deter her from ever touching a bicycle again, let alone competing in another race. Instead, she used that setback as an added motivation to achieve her goal.

“I was training for my first IRONMAN in 2016 but had unfortunately suffered a bike accident during training just weeks before race day. I still participated in the event, but with stitches and a blurry eyesight. I could not perform and did not finish the race,” recalled the housewife.

“I was heartbroken but became more determined to complete a race, so I signed up the following year looking for ‘revenge’. I worked extra hard and was more careful during training. It paid off and I finished my first race in 2017 and become an IRONMAN.”

“It was one of the best moments of my life.”

This year, Diana will compete in the 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 Langkawi relay category, doing the bike lap with memories of 2016 spurring her on to power her team.

Doctor misdiagnosis turns out a revelation

For Patricia and Diana’s teammate, Harum Delima, every IRONMAN race was an amazing lesson in self-discovery, which saw her overcoming obesity.

On her journey to leading a healthier lifestyle and losing weight, she fell in love with running. However, the real estate agent was heartbroken after a misdiagnosis by a doctor on her knee condition. That paved her way into the IRONMAN world.

“I consulted a doctor I had never met before and he said my legs were bad for running based on my X-Ray. I cried for days because I had fell in love with running. I consulted other specialists after that and they said my legs were fine,” recalled Harum.

“I went home with renewed spirits and told my husband I was going to join a triathlon. He wasn’t interested, but the fire in me was so intense, I knew I was going to do it with or without him. He saw my passion and learnt to swim with me. After swimming 1000m non-stop, we were motivated and shopped for a bike.”

Harum’s IRONMAN adventure has taken her to Estonia, Italy and Norway, but she always remembers her IRONMAN Malaysia experience.

“I DNF (Did Not Finish) and told myself I wasn’t going to do another one. But if I had stopped, I would not have achieved all this. Don’t succumb to pressure, move at your own pace.”

Harum will be taking on the last leg of the relay for 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 Langkawi which consists of the 21.1km run.

Inspiration from the female Peninsular peddler

For Amelia Shelton, the demanding work as a dentist was draining both physically and mentally, leaving her little room for any outdoor activity.

“I was posted to Langkawi as a junior dental officer in 2014, and it was hard being motivated because of my job. Plus, most of my friends would rather chill at home or at the beach on their off days,’ said the Selangor-born.

But a local event in Langkawi in 2017 changed that, because that’s when she came to know a certain Sandra Loh, who accomplished a unique feat of cycling across the four corners of the Malaysian Peninsular with a friend in 2009.

Sandra, a speaker at that event, came over to encourage Amelia afterwards. “The first thing she said was to come cycle with her. She even offered to lend me her bike when I told her I didn’t have one. We cycled across some gorgeous views that weekend and that was the start.

“I saved up and bought my first road bike after and started taking part in any events that involved cycling, swimming or running. All because of Sandra’s motivation.”

Amelia will be competing in her first IRONMAN 70.3 event at Langkawi this year, inspired by her mentor, family, friends and the locals.

“The locals here (in Langkawi) even have songs about IRONMAN! It is one of the biggest events here. People would just stand by the roads and cheer the athletes on. I always thought it was pretty cool, and now I will get to be a part of it”




Amelia Shelton
Attempting her maiden IRONMAN 70.3 event in Langkawi






Nursya Jusoh
Multiple IRONMAN Finisher
Participating in 2019 IRONMAN Malaysia




Patricia Lim
Multiple IRONMAN Finisher
Participating in 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 Langkawi – Team Relay - Swim Event






Diana Hazari
Multiple IRONMAN Finisher
Participating in 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 Langkawi – Team Relay – Bike Event





Harum Delima
Multiple IRONMAN Finisher
Participating in 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 Langkawi – Team Relay – Run Event




About 2019 IRONMAN Malaysia & IRONMAN 70.3 Langkawi
Date       : 26 October 2019
Venue    : Langkawi, Malaysia

About Langkawi :
Located within a cluster of tropical islands that attract visitors the world over, the race will take athletes on a truly Malaysian cultural journey through tropical, hilly and demanding terrain passing traditional kampungs (villages), mangrove clusters and rainforest vistas.

IRONMAN Malaysia has been accorded with :
1.      ATHLETE CHOICE AWARDS - IRONMAN
·       Overall Swim Experience (2018)
·       Best Post-race Celebration (2018, 2017, 2016)
·       Will Attend Next Year (2018, 2017, 2016)

2.      2018 Best Triathlon Races in Asia Awards by AsiaTri.com

The Event Experience :
IRONMAN Malaysia (Full Distance) - Swim 3.8km, Bike 180km, Run 42.2km
The ocean swim starts from the picturesque white sandy beach of Pantai Kok with a two-loop triangle out and back course. A two-loop bike course heads out of Pantai Kok on to a clockwise loop from towards the rolling hills of Datai and the fringes of Kuah Town. Athletes will return from the bike into a unique indoor air conditioned transition at the Mahsuri International Exhibition Center (next to the airport). The 2.5 lap run course will be an amazing scenic run beside the Langkawi International Airport towards the finish line at the stunning Cenang beach.

IRONMAN World Championship Qualifying Race - There are 50 qualifying slots to the 2020 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

IRONMAN 70.3 Langkawi (Half Distance) – Swim 1.9km, Bike 90km, Run 21.1km
The ocean swim starts from the picturesque white sandy beach of Pantai Kok with a triangle out and back course. A one-loop bike course heads out of Pantai Kok on to a clockwise loop from towards the rolling hills of Datai and the fringes of Kuah Town. Athletes will return from the bike into an unique indoor air conditioned transition at the Mahsuri International Exhibition Center (next to the airport).The run course will be an amazing scenic run beside the Langkawi International Airport towards the finish line at the stunning Cenang beach.

IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship Qualifying Race - There are 60 qualifying slots to the 2020 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Taupo, New Zealand.

IRONMAN 70.3 Langkawi will also offer 25 additional qualifying slots for top finishing female athletes to the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship as part of Women for Tri, a programme of the IRONMAN Foundation, to welcome and empower new female triathletes to be a part of the sport's continued growth in high-level competition.



About The IRONMAN Group
As part of Wanda Sports Group, the IRONMAN Group operates a global portfolio of events that includes the IRONMAN® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® 70.3® Triathlon Series, 5150™ Triathlon Series, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series®, IRONKIDS®, ITU World Triathlon Series, premier running events including the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon and The Sun-Herald City2Surf® presented by Westpac, Ultra-Trail® World Tour events including Tarawera Ultra and Ultra-Trail Australia™, mountain bike races including the Absa Cape Epic®, road cycling events, and other multisport races. The IRONMAN Group is the largest operator of mass participation sports in the world and provides more than a million participants annually the benefits of endurance sports through the company’s vast offerings. Since the inception of the iconic IRONMAN® brand and its first event in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines around the world. Beginning as a single race, The IRONMAN Group has grown to become a global sensation with more than 235 events across 55+ countries. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.

About Wanda Sports Group
Wanda Sports Group (Nasdaq: WSG) is a leading global sports events, media and marketing platform with a mission to unite people in sports and enable athletes and fans to live their passions and dreams. Through our businesses, including Infront and The IRONMAN Group, we have significant intellectual property rights, long-term relationships and broad execution capabilities, enabling us to deliver unrivalled sports event experiences, creating access to engaging content and building inclusive communities. We offer a comprehensive array of events, marketing and media services through three primary segments: Mass Participation, Spectator Sports and Digital, Production, Sports Solutions (DPSS). Our full-service platform creates value for our partners and clients as well as other stakeholders in the sports ecosystem, from rights owners, to brands and advertisers, and to fans and athletes.

Headquartered in Beijing, China, Wanda Sports Group has more than 60 offices and 1,600 employees around the world.

For further media information, please contact:
IRONMAN Asia
Peixuan Sng
Manager, Relationship & Marketing
INK PR Sdn Bhd
Ms Aw Li-Ann
+6012 207 8285 | li-ann@ink.net.my





Monday, September 30, 2019

My Visitors From Korea

In April, I visited South Korea for the 2nd time and met up with my long lost buddies from the Point Park College in US. The reunion was a happy one after 2 decades of not seeing each other. Last week, one Korean friend stopped over in our city on his way to Chiengmai for 3 weeks. I invited him and his own friend to stay over at my humble place to experience and taste the Malaysian culture. His friend had just retired from work and decided to spend a month touring Thailand.



I took leave from my office and became their tour guide. I brought them sight seeing and realized KL is quite boring. Here at KLCC, I made them both jump like monkeys!




We went to Batu Caves and my friend protested when he saw the long flight of steep stairs! I forced him up and down with swollen legs. He is such a weakling!





I rewarded them both with fresh coconut water for the hard climb up to Batu Caves. They loved the refreshing juice as they do not have coconut trees in Korea.



I took them to see the Dataran Merdeka and they loved the Moorish architecture of the Sultan Abdul Samad building. It was my first time making a long walk around the whole area. We walked 16,000 steps in one day.




My old friend from Korea is very lucky as he does not need to work all his life. His wife is the President of a bank in South Korea and I believe his own father is a wealthy man. He brought very expensive gifts for me and my wife!



This box contains 50 small bottles of the medicine balls made from the prized Aloes Wood from China. It is meant to be sucked in our mouth until it melts which would take over 1 hour! It is not something sweet or nice like marshmallows. I think it costs around RM500 a box. 



He gave my wife over 100 sachets of the best Snail Masks from Korea which is a popular trend now. The ladies would use them nightly to keep their skin wrinkle free and youthful with all the serum from the snail and collagens that could tighten our sagging skin instantly.



The middle bottle is WINAGE Snail Face Cream! I better use this for my aging face.
I am so thankful to have such a generous friend.


***


Friday, September 13, 2019

Happy Mid Autumn Festival 2019

I would like to wish all my friends and readers from near and as far as the Moon a very Happy Mid Autumn Festival.



Cough! Cough!

The haze is so bad today and there will be a barbeque at my home tonight! OMG! This was planned by a relative many moons ago and she invited a battalion of family members!






Hope everyone will enjoy a good family dinner and admire the full moon (if you could see!)

I know I have been quiet lately. As you know how my boss is and I am doing 2-3 jobs now to survive. I also travelled a bit as usual for short breaks. Tomorrow I will be flying to my hometown for my school's Class of Form 5 reunion. I had to book flights as the highway jam would be expected as it will be our Malaysia Day too.

Happy Holidays Everyone!



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Getaway To Belitung Island Attractions

This is not a paid post. All opinions are solely at my own discretion. We are back from our trip to Belitung in Indonesia. It was a f...