Monday, 20 April 2009

What's that I smell in the air?

I used to drive to Kuantan during a job assignment every week for 1.5 months and I always drive at night. When I get to this particular stretch, I always get the eerie feeling because of limited visual, like in one of those horror movies where there's always white haze appearing prior to the ghost's grand entrance...haha.

At first I thought it was because of the haze. There was even a sign "Jalan Berkabus Di Hadapan". Then one day, my car air conditioner went kaput on me, so I had to drive with my window down. When I came to that stretch, ewwwww....the smell of smoke and smog. That got me curious, and since I am a trained Quality Lead Auditor, I began my investigation.

What I found out was, its actually smoke emitted by a factory hidden somewhere amongst the palm oil plantation. Some would say the smoke is a by product of palm oil processing. Even if that is true, there must be a rule written somewhere limiting the amount of smoke that you can release to the air.

Thus, as fate would have it, I had a 'Kementerian Teknologi dan Alam Sekitar' senior officer as a diving student. So on the drive to Pulau Redang, I presented my case. Its unhygienic, bad for the 'penduduk setempat' and with the haze limiting visual on the highway, it also affects road safety. As with the case of the sharks, this case is being investigated. Finally, some action.

Location: the new East Coast Highway (Lebuhraya Pantai Timur) KL-Kuantan
From KL, its on the right side of the highway

Sunday, 19 April 2009

My word of wisdom

I was reading a motivational book, a gift from a friend on 'making friends'. One simple rule that I think everyone knows is "do onto others what you want others to do onto you". This seemingly simple equation is very straight forward. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out.

However, this simple equation is the most overlooked rule. People expect other people to treat them with respect and dignity. When they don't get it, they get irritated. But what if they treat other people like shit? Using the equation, its only right for people to treat him or her like shit too. But there are such self centred morons who expect respect no matter how bad they treat others.

Us Asians are famously known to have a much higher tolerance level than others, so we learn to accommodate these morons. Because of this, the morons think that they could get away with anything, and they get bolder and bolder by the day. So its safe to say that the root cause of it is actually us. We let them get away with all these.

However, we Asians, despite having a much higher tolerance level, we are less forgiving once that level has been breached. Once someone crosses that line, he or she may never be forgiven. Even if forgiven, but not forgotten. When not forgotten...things would never be the same again.

"When there is no respect, there is nothing left but hate."...KAZ

Friday, 17 April 2009

Something forgotten my rush to post this article, titled 'Senseless Killings', I had forgotten to acknowledge and give due credit to the source of the photographs that I had uploaded. It was CaTz that actually reminded me about it today. Being a photographer myself, this is unethical (even though she has given them at will). So I would like to thank Ryzah, a good friend, for the pictures and email.

An update: a complain was lodged with the respective ministry through a friend working somewhere up there. Within days, a team of officers were there including the Ketua Pengarah (KP) to investigate. Its a toxicating cocktail of jurisdiction, indigenous people, livelihood etc etc. For example, federal has no jurisdiction over Sabah state Taman Laut and that this case was never highlighted before. The KP was shocked to see the pictures. Even if things came out in the papers, we cant just assume the authorities are aware of it.

Well, lets hope that something good comes out from this. If the KP cant do anything, then there is definitely no hope left for our marine life...a very sad episode for future generations.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Awww Shucks

Today I went to see the specialist. She was concerned with the numbness in my leg and also the fact that the pain killer (200 mg of the strong stuff) has no effect what so ever on me. So, in 2 weeks time, I have to do an MRI. The radiographer said it would take 1 hour to finish. Sishh what am I supposed to do in there? Oh ya, I also get a higher dose of that pain killer (morphine like effect)...about 500mg. Yippeee

What is an MRI? Click here to read

My Fears

I had always had this back ache problem that keeps on recurring every now and again. Long hours of standing, sitting or even sleeping in a wrong position would trigger a back pain. Normally, the pain would subside after 2-3 days rest. However, recently it didn't go away. After about 3 weeks of enduring the continuous and ever increasing pain, I went to see a chiropractor. It was a first time for me. After examination which includes x-rays of my spine, the doctor said that there is an indication of a prolapsed disc.

The treatment was more of preventive rather than corrective. My back bone would never be the same again. I then went to get a second opinion from an Orthopedic Specialist friend at a government hospital. Same thing. I was prescribed with a strong dose of painkiller (slightly lower than morphine) and told to do exercises.

About 2 days ago, I started feeling numbness in my right leg. Not a good sign indeed. Today I have an appointment to see the specialist friend again.

What goes on in my head now is understandably fear....the fear of the inability to do the things I love...the fear of of losing the ones I love...the fear of being a cripple. Though not to sound over dramatic, the possibility is there.

As I look through the window of life of a potentially crippled person, I find that I get easily irritated by people around me that has tons and tons of complains about the mishaps that has happened in their lives. Hello...I have much bigger problems here that may affect the way I live in the future...and you are talking about your stress to me? Maybe its because I don't look sick, or because of my built, that people, including the ones I hold very dear to me, didn't even ask me how I am feeling inside. I needed someone to talk to...but there was just no one who would listen. They were too busy thinking about what pisses them off, about their past lives....mostly about how THEY feel.

I am feeling like a lost diver running out of air at 30m depth, without anyone in sight. I was looking for a buddy that would extend to me his or her alternate air source (the spare regulator that every diver carries), but there was none. Its a very uneasy feeling, much worst if you have to face it alone. But no matter what, I have to survive this, just long enough to make sure that my boys would grow up be a better man than what their father was.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Senseless Killing

I cant believe it...I mean I knew about it quite sometime back. Back then, some of the divers who witnessed this butchery actually made some 'noise'. It came out in the papers, with them promising to do some investigative reporting and come out with the answers from the relevant authorities. But at the end of the day, it all died in dead as the sharks themselves.

What am I rambling on here, you may ask? At a 'M' island, neighboring to
Sipadan island and a few other exotic places, dead sharks, killed or rather butchered by the dozens elsewhere, were processed. The following is an extract from an eyewitness email to me...

" I obviously don't know the name of this place..only that it is in M**** island and it is just at the opposite of Big John home stay. Apparently, they brought in these sharks a few times a week.. sometimes 20 - 40 at a time....

Anyway, they say it was from the international waters but have a look at their boats...secara logiknya, bot kecik macam tu mana la for deepsea fishing kan? "

How can this be? The M* island is one of the popular place for divers to stay, who come from all over the world to make a pilgrimage to Sipadan (no resort on Sipadan), a world heritage site. After years of battling for Sipadan at the international level, and finally winning the case, we just had to display these scenes to our international visitors?

I cant think of a reason for these senseless killings. No matter where they caught them, we must stop these killings if we were to preserve marine life for our sons & daughters. Some would argue that its the local indigenous people's way of getting an income. Maybe true...but the relevant agencies must educate them, or get them involved in a fish rearing project. They could even get them more involved in the local tourism industry, as done elsewhere in the world.

The other question that comes to my mind is the levy that every diver has to pay when diving off
Sipadan. Why hasn't that translated into better things for the visitors? Nothing fancy...just repair the jetty and the toilets, or maybe some huts when divers rest while doing their surface intervals. I had once seen a Mat Salleh who's leg got caught when the jetty's plank flooring gave way. Lastly...I leave you with a photographic evidence why I think its nauseating.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Diver, Diver are you ok?

Its always a pleasure to teach...I didn't know I had that interest until I became a PADI scuba instructor. There is a fine line between 'teaching' and 'nagging' though....teaching is the objective, and nagging is a method perhaps? Haha. But no matter how you conduct the course, fun is a compulsory by-product and safety is the rule of the day.

I am known as one who follow the book, no shortcuts...and I have lost a few potential students because of this. Never mind if they don't value their lives, but I DO. This is worst if they want to be certified Divemasters...they'll be looking after other people's lives. Cant have that on my conscience.

Recently, I had the pleasure to teach my two friends who were taking the EFR (Emergency First Responder) and Rescue Diver certification. One of them had a true life experience of witnessing a diver running out of air at 22m during a sunset dive. Both of them are avid divers and based on their natural instinct of helping out others, they decided to pay me to 'torture' them...haha. What a great job I have. So I would like to share with you some of their 'action' photos....

During EFR Training

During Rescue Diver Training
(photos courtesy of Ryzah)

Mind over matter....pushing the limits

Gently does it

Rescue Breathing

Chest Compressions

Recovery Position


Graduation night...The one in the orange tshirt is my Advance Open Water student, Swee Lian. Don't let the small size fool you, she has the courage of a warrior. Congrats to her too for achieving the AOWD certification level and for conquering her fears of the deep.

Congratulations to the both of them for taking the time and money to learn new skills on how to save someone else's live. They have earned their right to be called Rescue Divers. The next time you hear someone utter this phrase...Diver, diver are you OK?, then you know that he or she belongs to this special group of people.
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