Jul 28, 2008

Do you see dolphins?

It started to rain.


I hung up the phone, ended my conversation with dad. I couldn't recall whether did I tell him about my outing this time -- most probably not, as usual, that's why I was scolded, again, as usual.

He left 3 missed calls while I was kayaking -- erm, 'boat rowing', as what I told dad in the phone. I doubt he'll understand when I said 'Kayak', and then I couldn't find a 'layman's term' of Kayak in Mandarin.

So my 'Great Kayak Expedition' was a 'row-row-row your boat' stuff for him. I never had the chance to really show off my achievement, the only statement I made that carried a slight hope of chance to make him feel proud about me was:

"Hey dad, I rowed the boat in the middle of open sea.."

..but his response never carried any slight tone of feeling proud. He said:

"Oh yeah? So did you see dolphins?"

.. and then the rain started to pour heavily.


"Maneuver system -- launched!" I ordered. Fatma and I rowed at the right side of our kayak, pointing the bow of our kayak toward the tiny Tanjak-shaped island ahead.

I started to notice that Fatma was getting tired since the last 20 minutes. Her row was not as powerful as when we started off our expedition. But I really needed her help to maneuver our kayak as she was the one sitting in the bow, a position where the rows will decide the efficiency of maneuvering a kayak, I guess.

"Attention! Attention! Maneuver system failure!" I put on that silly robotic voice again, playing out my fantasy as if both of us were actually on a spaceship. Fatma first chuckled, and then bursted into a sudden big laugh..

"How many hours have we been kayaking?" She asked, putting down her paddle and rest her arm.

"Less than one hour, and they said it'll take about 7 hours to reach there. Is the information useful, mam?"
Fatma laughed out loudly, "NOT-AT-ALL!", picked up her paddle and follow my pace to row at the right.

"Position locked. Full thrust ahead." The silly robot sounded again. I raised my paddle above my shoulder, stabbed it into the blue deep sea, long stroke, thrusting our kayak moving ahead, "is my part now, you rest, mam."


I saw jaws.

Yes, you heard me right, J-A-W-S, jaws. Brother Fariz and his gang went out 'fishing' and they incredibly brought back more than ten jaws.

Well, up to this moment, if you could imagine the face expression of "WOW THEY CAUGHT JAWS!!", I bet it's supposed to be a big "WOW" with eye popping out and mouth opened wide -- but, unfortunately, maybe the rest of us were busy playing our ultimate fun game 'UNO Spin', we only stopped for about 10 minutes touching the jaws and snapping pictures, perhaps some among us were thinking something about delicious dishes or what not -- but the fact was, it was only a 'so-so' response towards our fishermen's achievement..

I mean, yeah no doubt they caught the jaws, and they were great and I solute them; but I kinda noticed that most of us who entered the island by kayaking non-stop for 26 km DO NOT KNOW HOW TO DIFFERENTIATE EXTRAORDINARY JOB AND CRAZY JOB.

For us, kayak non-stop for 6-8 hours, 14 nautical miles or 26 km in the middle of open sea, is almost equivalent to catch not 1, not 2 but more than 10 jaws -- it's CRAZY JOB but still manageable and achievable;

Winning UNO Spin, is EXTRAORDINARY JOB, respectable and would cause jealousy.


"Fatma, do you notice that every time we sing, our kayak do not move ahead?" I whispered suspiciously.

"......" Fatma suddenly stopped singing "pagi yang gelap".

"... maybe we just shouldn't sing in the middle of the ocean.. I heard about this myth.. they don't like to be disturbed..." I believed I sounded like an old man, wise one.

Wak who paddled on a single-man kayak approached us from behind. Both of us looked at Wak. He looked emotionless with his shade and his determination. Of course, kayaking alone in the middle of the ocean would never be fun.

"Do you think he sings too?" Fatma looked at Wak.

"I think he doesn't have a partner to sing with..." Our feeling towards Wak was kinda mixed. We solute him, and at the same time we pitied him.

"Well...." Fatma's turn to act like an old, wise man, "maybe that's why he is moving ahead of us now.."


Burn and Nuar were arguing about the identity of the animal hunted down by our commando fellas.

It's either Kancil (Tragulus javanicus) or Napoh (Tragulus napu), I did not really care. What I really cared was, the 'mutual' agreement that said 'those who's not going to fish later on should 'handle' these poor creatures.

How? CK was appointed to be our 'chef de mission', I believed he'll lead, although he looked more worried and annoyed than anybody else..


Fatma and I fell in silence once in a while during our voyage in the middle of the blues. It was the time for both of us to leave each other alone with our own self reflection and deep thought.

I recalled the question that Nuar asked me in the video interview before we set sail from Tg Sekakap:

"What do you expect to see in Pulau Sibu?"

"I heard it is a beautiful island, but I believe it would be more than beautiful for us who kayak all the way to enter there -- No pain, no gain, kan?" I answered carefully by looking into Wan's video cam.

No pain, no gain. Nicely said, and it seemed so much easier to quote the phrase than to experience it, but I believed that's how it works -- every determination forced our body paddling, every paddle pushed us forward, every thrust of forward got Fatma and I closer to the Tanjak-shaped island, our targeted destination.

By the time I believed my hard work was getting paid-off, I had a weird and not-so-good feeling.

"Fatma, " I broke the silence between us, "... what if...."

".... what?" Fatma's voice sounded a lil bit dopey.

"I mean what if..." I cleared my throat, trying to put my next sentence in a cool and composed way, "what if the Tanjak is NOT the real destination?"

"Hahahaha!!!" Fatma burst into big laugh. I really like her optimism, but this time I heard something pathetic and ironic.

The sky behind us was getting darker, the ocean was getting wavy, swell splashed water into our kayak, and I saw one kayak far in front of us by passed the Tanjak-shaped island, declaring that the Tanjak WAS NOT AT ALL our destination.

It seemed about to rain.

It started to rain, with a slight roar of thunder from far.

I should've worried about Nick'a for getting wet, but I just didn't care.

Snapping pictures of all my fellas trying to dive was more important than anything else -- like snapping pictures of babies learning to walk, or trying to make the first step -- it's always historical enough to keep a record, right?

And the rain made me thought of dolphins. And when I looked far to the horizon, there's an extensive dark cloud approaching us. I smirked. Dad's question flashed in my mind:

"So did you see dolphins?"

"Man!Quick! Picture of Fatma! Look!" somebody woke me up from deep thought. I turned around and saw Fatma was lying on the beach trying to fix her fin. I aimed at her through Nicka's viewfinder, "Don't move, Fatma!"

I smirked. Seeing Dolphin? I think I saw Mermaid, right in front of me!


A sudden thunder stroke right above us. Loud enough to made both Fatma and I doubt about the legality of us to enter the open sea via kayaking. Nature has their set of rules, we understand that, we always respect that, and try not to offend that.

I was terrified, for real. We could see the dark cloud spread over the sky at far right side of us was making heavy downpour. That would possibly approach us sooner or later, and to make thing worse, we're in the middle of open sea, there's very very high chance for us to get stroke by the next thunderbolt.

I prayed and started to paddle fast. Fatma's silence indicated a certain level of worry, I understood. She had been busy withdrawing water out from our kayak -- the swell kept splashed in water and that made our kayak getting heavier and heavier.

"Fatma, let's paddle." I made a long deep stroke of paddle to position our kayak, then synchronized myself to Fatma's pace of paddling.

I looked at the dark cloud far right side of us, hoping it'll just stay over there, or we move faster to stay away from it. But my shoulders and arms were in pain, after almost 3 hours of kayaking like this.

A sudden splash of water rushed on my body and into our kayak. "Argh~~" Fatma moaned, "I think we really just have to carry this amount of water! Because whenever we pour it out, it comes back in.."

I smiled. I appreciated her sense of humor, and I realized that I just needed to focus on the challenges in from of me. Just right before I switched my focus from the rough sea to my paddle, I suddenly saw something came out from the surface of the sea.

I was stunned. It was not a wave or a swell, it was grey in color and it moved swiftly.

I'm not sure, but in the weather condition and mental-challenging situation like this, I don't want to bother Fatma.


Everybody's high spirit was boosted mainly due to the joy ride on NAVY's 700HP 'Hurricane'. I am really really thankful to have the NAVY commandos participating in throughout our 4 days 3 nights expedition. It was them who made the extraordinary expedition became a fantastic great extraordinary one.

The sky was clear, the weather was lovely, the sea was calm, and the troop was so much ready to set sail for another kayaking cruise from Pulau Sibu back to Tanjung Leman, mainland.

"We are going back to the middle of the sea again," I thought to myself when we gathered to say a prayer for a safe cruise, and I peeped at Min, Zana, Eja and Fatma, the four ladies who were reciting their prayers sincerely.

These 4 ladies were going to complete their mission by kayaking back to mainland after 6 hours of kayaking into here 3 days ago. They, especially Fatma, taught me that it's the faith and will power that make us achieve something we thought is impossible.

We were told that on our way back we would be 'attacked' by the NAVY commandos with the Hurricane. It was awesome for me to fantasize the story line of 'Pirates of the Carribean' or kind of that. However, our sail was calm and peaceful and definitely funnier with the plot of the attack from the Hurricane pirates.

"Maneuver system -- launched!" I ordered, seeing the Hurricane pirates had finally given up attacking our kayak. Fatma and I paddled at the right side, aiming Tg. Leman ahead of us, while keeping an eye to the Hurricane and his next victim.

Suddenly, from the surface of the calm blue sea, something moved out and in. It's grey in color, and it moved swiftly.

"Fatma, did you see that?" I asked, I needed her to confirm.

"See what?" I almost could see Fatma giggling at the Hurricane far ahead. She did not notice the it.

"Something appeared from the surface, just now.." I said it calmly, because this was the 2nd time saw it.

"What was that?" Fatma's still giggling.

The sky was clear, the weather was lovely, the sea was calm, and the Hurricane was attacking CK and Zana.


"LAND!!!!!!" I yielded desperately and happily, jumping down from our kayak and hopped on the sand, kissing the solid, sandy land we landed on.

We reached our destination -- Pulau Sibu, the beautiful island everybody was looking for 6 hours ago. Fariz and Min, CK and Zana, Burn and Eja, Azman and Razif, all of us arrived almost at the same time. While the guys were jumping up and down in the water of Pulau Sibu and the ladies were hugging and congratulating each other happily, I bent on my knee looking at the island.

"What do you expect to see in Pulau Sibu?" the question Nuar asked in the video interview. I smiled and I laughed.

Who cares? I don't care it's beautiful or not, I don't care what I will see on this island, I don't care what would be the experience like during my days on this island, I don't care who I'll be living with -- I truly don't care..

Because I know I was going to enjoy whatever would come.

It's the process that matters, not destination, right? And it is another run of ultimate experience ahead of me, to be happened on this island, and it's going to be a process that opens my eye -- it's the process, that always matters.

Right, Dolphin?


"It was a dolphin! A dolphin!" I shouted out happily. Fatma was surprised to hear this yet to felt pity to missed it.

I smiled. Yes it was a dolphin -- the dolphin, I recognized him.

People say dolphin brings good luck. I agree. The storm left us when he appeared in front of my eye during my sail entering Pulau Sibu.

But not many people know about this, that dolphin not only brings good luck, dolphin cheers as well.

He cheered on me and Fatma during the storm, and promised something more worth waiting awaited ahead.

... and as he brought away the downpour, he told me he wanted to be remembered whenever it rains. I smiled.

Hard to believe it? Well does it really matters? I don't care whether you believe it, I saw the dolphin, did you?



Ps.. I enjoy 'split-screen' writing style, but I don't enjoy the fact that it makes me think lots more than ordinary story-telling style. This is my 2nd attempt of writing in 'split-screened' way like this after 'thnks fr th mmrs'. Some readers like it (thank you.. :">) but some found it very damn much confusing. Whatever it is, let me know what you feel about this post -- well i know it's the longest post I've ever written in my blog (due to the fact that the packed activities and high level of sweetness of the memories..)... and let me know as well if you failed to finish readign it.. hehe..

Enjoy (rereading)!

Jul 13, 2008

A Robot named Wasabi Koma

Remember those cartoons featuring the robotic knights (like POWER RANGERS) with different strengths and they can eventually combine into ONE giant robot to fight the giant monster?

By the end of the Shah Alam Xciting Race yesterday, I sort of see this analogy between a Robot wand my team -- Wasabi Koma. .. -- Well, OK, MINUS the 'Robotic knights with different strengths' part.

I don't know how would my teammate think about this, but I really saw a ROBOT was rushing around throughout the whole race course -- A robot that composed by 4 members (NO, I DO NOT say we're robotic knights here..) namely Fariz, Zana, Coco, and myself; a robot that functioned well and did not have any major hiccups, a robot that enjoyed the race course passionately, a robot named Wasabi Koma, a robot that finally ranked the 6th out of other 34 teams in the same category.

How Wasabi Koma robot worked?

AbangFariz, first of all, is the soul and the master mind of the robot. Experienced, composed, strong and steady. If you manage to recall the robotic cartoons I mentioned earlier, Fariz is the knight in RED colour, who always sit in the heart of the giant robot, in charge of the main control of the whole operation towards the mission.

Next, Zana. The knight in PINK or YELLOW because of the feminine factor, but that doesn't mean she is relatively weak. Zana, I would say, is the eye and the brain of the Wasabi Koma robot. Clever, fine-hearted and sharp-eyed, when you need accuracy and precision to be done, she's the one to be called. Elastic striking, paintball shooting, sodoku, quiz, weaving... she'll handle them like eating nuts!

.. Chop. Back to the robotic knights or rangers cartoons, you should have noticed that besides some smart and steady and reliable characters in the team, there must also have 1 or 2 troublesome but aggressive character who always lost their way and lost their cool, and always be scolded by their team leader... -- Here come Coco and I..

Coco and I are like the arms and legs of the robot, which, I think, we couldn't function efficiently without Fariz and Zana -- Hey, wake up! How could your arms and legs function if your brain and your heart do not tell them what to hold and where to go? Considering that both of us are the youngest (hey, I am!) and 'supposed to be' the most energetic duo in the team, we always run and swim and climb and ... erm..catch ikan belacak , as quick as we could. If you still accept us as knights or rangers here, I'd say both of us maybe the rangers in BLUE or GREEN or BLACK colour.

Although there were, due to my reckless and brainless action, several incidents that had been quite frustrating (like running around Shah Alam Garden like a headless fly and causing Fariz and Zana shouted like hell...) or even ALMOST ended up like a disaster (like jumping off from a kayak and ALMOST capsizing it and then get Fariz drowned in Shah Alam Lake.... huhu..*phew*..), I still hope that nobody among our team would think that there's a big tail on the Wasabi Koma robot's body, because --

-- the official statistic proved that Wasabi Koma performed so efficiently at almost every task, and we lost our race time only because we're playing the game decently and we raced with sportsmanship.

Again, thousand thanks and thousand sorry, and as well thousand KUDOS to WASABI KOMA, for making the 6th place and raising our teammate-ship to another level! Love u lah!

p/s: Coco has a very descriptive and detailed story on the race, in his newly created blog. Drop by there and leave messages to him!