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Two years on, and 30,000 kilometers later

Versys 650.

Kawasaki Versys 650 on the KL-Kuala Selangor (LATAR) Expressway, westbound. Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens on D7000 DSLR.

Two years on. 30,000 km traveled. Installed new tires at 16,000 km, which at 30,000 km look like less than one third worn. The drive chain and sprockets are the original OEM and are still good. Have gone on a round-Peninsular Malaysia trip on this bike. As well as many trips out of Kuala Lumpur to Mersing, Kuala Terengganu, Temerloh, Teluk Intan, Penang, Sungai Petani and Hatyai and Phuket in Thailand.

Anak yatim

Pagi tadi saya ke sekolah anak-anak. Dijemput oleh pihak sekolah sebagai wakil PIBG di majlis penyerahan wang bantuan kepada anak yatim dan murid miskin. Dan dua hari dari sekarang ada satu lagi program di sekolah. Majlis khatam Qur’an dan berbuka puasa. Rasa macam wakil rakyat pula sibuknya. Namun abang ipar saya, seorang wakil rakyat, jauh lebih sibuk, berulang alik beberapa kali seminggu dari KL ke Pahang menemui penduduk di serata kawasannya.

Majlis penyampaian bantuan kepada anak yatim dan murid miskin ini ialah yang pertama kali untuk sekolah. Dan bagi diri saya, ini pertama kali saya mengetahui dan sedar rupanya di sekolah ini terdapat ramai anak yatim. 50 orang. Sayu dan hiba mengenangkan anak-anak kecil itu sudah tiada ibu atau bapa atau kedua-duanya. Amat bersyukur kerana saya dan adik-adik mempunyai ibu dan bapa sehinggalah kami semua berdikari. Amat bersyukur kerana anak-anak saya bukan sahaja ada ibu dan bapa tapi juga berkesempatan mendapat belaian kasih sayang Tokki, Tokwan, TokNyan, Atok, Wan dan Moyang mereka. Amat bersyukur kerana dalam masyarakat kita ada insan-insan yang gigih ikhlas menjaga dan memberi pembelaan kepada anak-anak yatim ini.

Jutaan terima kasih saya ucapkan pada AJK Pelaksana terdiri dari para guru yang telah gigih menjayakan majlis itu. Yang telah berusaha menghubungi Yayasan Islam Darul Ehsan. Dan berjaya mendapat kerjasama Yayasan untuk menghulurkan bantuan. Segala penat lelah hilang apabila melihat anak-anak berkenaan riang ceria menerima duit raya dan oleh-oleh. Semuga mereka berjaya dalam hidup ini menjadi anak soleh dan solehah serta menjadi hamba yang dikurniakan keredhaan oleh Tuhan Pencipta Dan Pentadbir Sekalian Alam.

Mungkin ini sebabnya Dia mendorong saya datang ke mesyuarat agong PIBG tempoh hari. Dan mendorong ibu bapa yang hadir menolak saya ke hadapan. Untuk memberi saya peluang menyumbang sedikit masa dan tenaga untuk anak-anak negara. Semuga Dia terima kita kembali sebagai abdi yang diredhai. Aamiin Ya Rabbal Alamiin.

Takluk Jagat

One of the things that I look forward to Sundays are the Takluk Jagat series by Zoy in Berita Minggu, Malaysia’s Sunday paper. Takluk Jagat was a legendary Malay “pendekar” (warrior), perpetually clad in black with a red headband. He was a master in armed and unarmed combats, and equally adept at fighting in spiritual realms. And yet Takluk Jagat was a very humble man, always traveling unarmed and always stopping to help people terrorized and oppressed by local tyrants and their minions. After helping them he consistently declined any sort of reward, apart from accepting some provisions to help him move on to his destination.

I have been following Takluk Jagat’s travels for many years, and since February 2011 started collecting jpeg version of his weekly exploits. As long as I can remember, Takluk Jagat’s mission was to travel to Samudera Pasai, an Islamic sultanate on the shores of northern Sumatera, in what is now part of Indonesia. The Pasai Sultanate reigned for 254 years from year 1267 to 1521. So Takluk Jagat’s story was ancient, and if we assume it to be in the middle of the Pasai Sultanate’s reign, around year 1390s, the story would now be well over 600 years old.

February 2011 unfolded the story of Takluk Jagat witnessing Pendekar Kaisah, a sword warrior clad in white, finishing off four minions of Iblis Tujuh Nyawa, a tyrant said to have seven lives and calling himself the equivalent of Devil With Seven Lives.

i7n_01rePendekar Kaisah then told Takluk Jagat that he had killed Iblis Tujuh Nyawa four times, but the Devil gets stronger after each fight. In the fourth fight Pendekar Kaisah barely made it alive, and he feared that he could not continue much longer, and appealed to Takluk Jagat to continue the war with Iblis Tujuh Nyawa, who now have three lives remaining. True to his nature, Takluk Jagat agreed to postpone his travel to Samudera Pasai and help Pendekar Kaisah.
i7n_11re i7n_24re
In July 2012, after 77 weekly episodes, Takluk Jagat managed to defeat Iblis Tujuh Nyawa, not killing him but rendering him totally paralyzed during an epic battle, and if the Devil could last three days he would recover but become handicapped and weak because all his nerves had been damaged during battle. In the last episode it was revealed that Iblis Tujuh Nyawa was not one person with seven lives, but just seven equally evil brothers, making the lore of one person with seven lives.

Takluk Jagat then sailed the Malacca Straits in a derelict sailboat, towards his destination Samudera Pasai.

Thus a new chapter in Takluk Jagat’s voyage unfolded in July 2012. After sailing  the sea for a long time, Takluk Jagat decided to stop at an unknown island to rest and pick up supplies before continuing his journey. It turned out to be a very long stop, 99 episodes’ long, which only ended in June 2014. That was his story in Jebak Pulau Laga (The Trap of Fight Island).

jpl_33_re jpl_82_reAfter his mission on Pulau Laga, Takluk Jagat continued on towards Samudera Pasai, on a merchant sailing ship. Evil was everywhere, even on a ship in the middle of the ocean. Based on his track record, I believe Takluk Jagat would be on that ship fighting the crooks for many more episodes in the weeks to come 🙂

Every Monday or Tuesday or whatever day until the week’s episode was published, no matter where in the world I was, I would eagerly visit the site chronicling Takluk Jagat’s voyages. Takluk Jagat was traveling from somewhere in South East Asia to Samudera Pasai, whereas yours truly have been known to follow his exploits from faraway places such as Beijing, Qingdao, Changsha, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Busan, Tokyo, Fukuoka, Sendai, Sapporo, Manila, Bangkok, Jakarta, Bandung, Batam, Singapore, Sydney, Perth, Mumbai, Colombo, Muscat, Abu Dhabi, Amman, Istanbul, Paris, Brussels, Rome, Trieste, London, Falmouth, Aberystwyth, Carlisle, Perth (Scotland), Oslo, Rognan and Eatontown (New Jersey).

Uncouth human from uncivilized nowhere

I could not understand what was in the the car driver’s mind.

Searching for a parking space at a large neighborhood shopping center last night, I noticed a car about to reverse. Its rear night lights were on, its white reverse lights were also on. I stopped 2 car lengths from that car. I waited. Strangely, the reverse lights went off. The night lights were still on.

I waited nearly one minute. Nothing. So I moved on looking for another space. After moving scarcely 3 car lengths away from that car, I saw in the rear view mirror the car reversed out of the parking space. Hmmm, maybe the car driver was waiting for me to move on so that I would NOT get the place where he was about to move out from.

In another country that I had just returned from, a blonde lady walking in a parking lot to her car saw my car moving slowly seemingly looking for a parking space. She waved to me and pointed to her car. I got the message. She was about to get into her car and drive away, and offered me to take her place in the parking lot. I waved back, something of a thank you and no, I was just passing through.

We call ourselves gentle people of the east, and yet some of us behave like uncouth people from uncivilized nowhere.

A collection of motorcycling stories

Going through previous posts on this blog, I realized that I had written a few stories about motorcycles here. Thought I should make it easy for myself and visitors to jump to those stories from a single page. Here they are, oldest stories first.

1. On a motorcycling trail

2. 44 days in hospital

3. Adapting to change

4. The engine

5. On the run

6. The tire

7. The Return to Serpentine

8. The bikes

 

Life without a refrigerator

On Sunday nine days ago my home’s Panasonic refrigerator decided to stop working.

The bigger top compartment was no longer cooling the contents. And the ice in the freezer in the lower compartment looked to be slowly melting.

On Monday I took a day off work to look for someone or someplace to repair the fridge. We decided to repair because the fridge was still relatively new, five years old. Our previous two-door fridge, a National, lasted twelve years. So I thought that we should get more time out of the Panasonic fridge before contemplating replacement.

I found that the air conditioner shop at a business center nearby my house also did refrigerator repairs. Went there, and made appointment for the shop’s repairmen to come over the house later in the day. They came, and after half an hour probing the back of the fridge, declared that they would like return later to take the fridge back to the shop for more detailed look. Just before sundown they returned with a small truck and took the fridge away.

That was the start of our life without a refrigerator. Initially it was unthinkable. No more crisp and cool vegetable and fruits. No more cold drinks. No more place to put leftover dinners for later.

As the day changed into night, and night into day, and day became days, the family more or less adapted to a fridgeless house. I for one, had became more appreciative of ice cubes produced by our overstuffed and overworked small chest freezer.

Come to think of it, when the situation warranted it, we could always adapt. The only difference was that some people could adapt faster than others. And we should always be ready for change. Because in this world of created things, change is the only constant.

When I was living with my grandparents in the 60’s and early 70’s, we had no refrigerator or freezer then. And that was not the only thing we did not have.

We also did not have television, telephone, washing machine, car, motorcycle. Mobile phones were not yet invented. Also not yet invented were personal computers and internet. All were part of so-called current day necessities. And yet our generation and the previous one blossomed intellectually, and went on to invent personal computers, mobile phones and internet for the world.

Back to present. Today was our ninth day without the fridge. Ms Lee at the shop told me on Saturday that two parts needed to be replaced – fan motor and “transformer”. She showed me what the transformer looked like, and it was a power brick (AC power adapter). She was waiting for the power brick to arrive, expected today. And after it did, the fridge would be put into an 8-hour test. Then it would be ready for home, hopefully tomorrow or day after.

After nine days “training”, I guess I could live without a refrigerator, if need be.

The bikes

Two weeks ago my long-time bike, a 1995 Yamaha Virago XV535, quit on me. I was on the way home from office, at night, when I heard a chain-rattling sound inside the engine and at the same time the engine went dead. I was about 200 meters from home. Luckily the street was not uphill, so I was able to paddle the bike home using both legs. I was returning home after a two-day trip to Mersing in a friend’s car, and after Maghrib (early evening) prayers at the office’s mini mosque, I loaded the bike with my overnight bag, laptop computer and more than 7 kilograms of keropok lekor (fish sausage) from Mersing. So it was a sweaty time paddling the heavy bike 200 meters home.

For the next several days, with the bike out of action, I drove to work. Every day was a battle – leaving home in the morning one hour early compared to when I rode the bike, and arriving back home in the evening one hour late. On the road it was a grind in the rivers of traffic, and a constant stress of chasing after the limited parking space at the office.

I talked to myself, and to my other half, that maybe it was time to get another bike. After several days of on-off negotiations, I made the go-ahead decision.

After days browsing the web, reading reviews and forums, I decided on Kawasaki Versys 650. The bike seemed tough enough that in 2010 four Versys 650 made an over 20,000 km overland journey from Kuala Lumpur to London, via Thailand, Laos, China, Central Asia, Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and France. Day-to-day stories here. And I observed that many riders routinely made much shorter journeys on the bike around Malaysia, to Thailand and to Laos.

The bike was called a camel by some riders in Malaysia because the seat was tall like a camel. For many Malaysians who were vertically-challenged, i.e. having not enough height, including me, climbing into the bike’s seat and keeping it from tipping over would be a big challenge.

And what is life without tests and challenge…

So I braved myself, and made an order for the bike. I was lucky. The bike shop where I went to had several units in stock. In less than one week, I was on the road on the camel.

Seen nearby a bike shop in Batu Caves, outside Kuala Lumpur. The guy was tip-toeing the bike!

Yes, definitely tip-toeing…

Once the bike moved, the guy was like any other rider, tip-toeing or not.

Looked OK to me.

The top box also looked nice.

Should I get this Kawasaki Versys 1000 instead?

A display Versys 650 next to two Versys 1000. The 1000 looked to be even taller than the 650. I decided not to push my luck 🙂

My 650, still in wrappers, waiting for Puspakom inspection and after that, registration at JPJ.

The bike being taken to the elevator by En. Aziz, the salesperson.

The bike in the open elevator at ground floor of the shop.

En. Aziz pushing the bike to the service area, to be fitted with battery and filled with engine oil.

Waiting in line.

Fixing the road registration numbers on the windshield.

A customer at the shop’s office.

After a 110-km ride to Dengkil RNR stop on the Elite Expressway, not far from KL International Airport.

Side view. The white blob on the back seat was my rain gear (waterproof rain jacket, trousers, slip-on shoe covers)

A black camel.

Chain drive. In contrast, my Virago used shaft drive like a car.

The rear tire and the exhaust outlet.

At home, first day to office on the new ride.

Seat-less. Installing frame for top box.

At GiviPoint outlet in Kuala Lumpur, I met Izham from Ulu Yam who had just arrived from his other office in Kemaman, Terengganu. This bike was his. By coincidence, he bought the bike from the same shop, from the same salesperson, and taken out the bike on the same day as me! So we were brothers of sorts..

Izham and Bob, owner of the orange Versys.

Izham’s bike, after being fitted with top and side boxes. Ready to venture into the wilderness of Kuala Lumpur…

Looked great.

My bike, being fitted with top box rack and side box frames.

Done. I got myself only a top box. The side boxes could come later when needed. The important thing was that the side frames were ready.

My venerable 1995 Virago XV535 at home, awaiting a transport to a bike shop for repairs.

Pushing the Virago up the wooden ramp to the small truck.

Safely on the truck.

Strapping the harness, to prevent the bike from tipping over on the truck’s bed while in transit.

The Virago on the way to see the doctor. Get well soon.

Macro (close-up) pictures – part 2

A DSLR camera, a 50mm lens, a set of compatible-mount low cost extension rings and a light source were all that I needed to capture several very satisfying close-up pictures.

I started this one year ago in January 2011 with lens reversal ring method – here. Now’s the time for a sequel, using extension rings…

Click on the pictures for bigger and more detailed images.

Nikkor AF 50mm f/1.8D lens with Size 1 Extension Ring

Nikkor AF 50mm f/1.8D lens with Size 1 Extension Ring.

Nikkor AF 50mm f/1.8D lens with Size 1 Extension Ring

Nikkor AF 50mm f/1.8D lens with Size 1 Extension Ring.

The 50mm lens attached to the extension tube

The 50mm lens attached to the extension tube.

Lens and extension ring mated, ready to go

Lens and extension ring mated, ready to go.

DSLR with standard 50mm lens fitted with extension tube, ready for some close up photography

DSLR with standard 50mm lens fitted with extension tube, ready for some close up photography.

Close up of Nivea Lip Care lip balm

Close up of Nivea Lip Care lip balm, one of the many things in my travel waist pouch.

Close up of my CMOY headphone amplifier's Op-Amp IC, resistors, capacitors and voltage splitter IC

Close up of my CMOY headphone amplifier's Texas Instruments Burr-Brown dual-channel Op-Amp IC, resistors, capacitors and voltage splitter IC.

Keyboard buttons on my well-used BlackBerry phone.

Keyboard buttons on my well-used BlackBerry phone.

Nikon logo on 50mm f/1.8 lens cap.

Nikon logo on 50mm f/1.8 lens cap.

The lens cap logo, with slightly different light angle.

The lens cap logo, with slightly different light angle.

"Ni" on the Nikon lens cap. This was taken using the same 50mm f/1.8 lens, but with a longer Size 2 extension ring.

"Ni" on the Nikon lens cap. This was taken using the same 50mm f/1.8 lens, but with a longer Size 2 extension ring.

Full spelling of the camera maker's product name. Using the longer Size 2 extension ring, I was able to bring the lens nearer to the object, hence obtaining higher magnification and more details.

Full spelling of the camera maker's product name. Using the longer Size 2 extension ring, I was able to bring the lens nearer to the object, hence obtaining higher magnification and more details.

Three cherry blossoms on a currency note. The actual size of the flowers on the note was very small, and the yellow rings were nearly invisible under normal house lighting.

Three cherry blossoms on a currency note. The actual size of the flowers on the note was very small, and the yellow rings were nearly invisible under normal room lighting.

A solitary cherry blossom on another part of the currency note. Lots of details were picked up by the combination of 50mm lens and the Size 2 extension ring.

A solitary cherry blossom on another part of the currency note. Lots of details were picked up by the combination of 50mm lens and the Size 2 extension ring.

Malaysia's new year 2012 version of the 20 sen coin. Golden color.

Malaysia's new year 2012 version of the 20 sen coin. Golden color.

Back of Malaysia's year 2012 version of the 20 sen coin.

Back of Malaysia's year 2012 version of the 20 sen coin.

Part of Malaysia's year 2012 new 10 sen coin. Silver color.

Part of Malaysia's year 2012 new 10 sen coin. Silver color.

Another part of Malaysia's year 2012 new 10 sen coin.

Another part of Malaysia's year 2012 new 10 sen coin.

My light source for the above pictures - an Alpine Design camp light, with a single huge white LED, powered by three AA-size batteries.

My light source for the above pictures - an Alpine Design camp light, with a single huge white LED, powered by three AA-size batteries.

My light source for the above pictures - an Alpine Design camp light, with the single huge white LED turned on providing a beam of bright white light.

The Alpine Design camp light, with the single huge white LED turned on, providing a beam of bright white light for my close-up pictures.

Good decision….

Good decision 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image from http://cigarettefilter.info/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/danger-of-cigarette.jpg

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Watching the weather

I’m closely watching the weather forecasts for the Japanese cities of Oyama, Sendai and Sapporo.

Oyama

Oyama, Japan 25-29 January 2012

Sendai

Sendai, Japan 25-29 January 2012

Sapporo

Sapporo, Japan 25-29 January 2012