Friday, November 26, 2010

Penang Bridge International Marathon 2010

After the 12.3, sights were firmly set on The Penang Bridge International Half Marathon. It was honestly a close to impossible thing if I must be honest. I was a little terrified as 12.3km to 21km was a big jump. To make matters worse, i have been training and running NOMINALLY doing usually 8km at most from the busy roster, never 10 or 12.3 or even close to 21. Hence the fear. This one was an even special feeling as i had close to ZERO encouragement. I’m grateful for everyone close to me and how supportive they are. Not particularly this one. There was a lot of pessimism and doubt.

The typical Malaysian negativity shat on my parade. People telling me things even I haven’t thought of!- ‘’You don’t come from from a sports family’’, ‘’Youre not an athlete to run 21km’’. ‘’The others are seasoned runners, youre not’’, ‘’Youre a pilot, not a runner’’ Basically every piece of (please excuse my French), bullshit from the bag was pulled out...Funny thing is I thought to myself, How hard can it be? I have 2 legs, if others can do it, I surely can. Whats the worse that could happen? Injury? Sprained ankles? walk to the finish? One thing was sure, I don’t EVER want to look back and regret not doing this. Again, you just shut up and get on with it. I got a plane to Penang..

My old friend Chu was running as well together with some friends of his I’ve gotten to meet from the other runs, and some new ones here too. Was really nice of everyone to take me in and make me feel part of the gang. They are really cool people! Had some fun the day before the race. Good food. Nice places. Bunked in Sany’s apartment.
Anyway race morning, woke up at 1.15am. Had to leave for the race course at 2am. Got there at 2.40am..Some warm up and before we knew it, we were away!

Had a pretty easy start at 3AM, ran slow initially. We had thousands running around so it was pretty easy to trip over someone or even block the faster runners. I just kept my pace. 2.7kms passed, got into a flow. Felt ‘lubricated’. As we ran up the ramp entering the Penang Bridge, could see some spectators taking photographs. There was a a water station for every 2 or 3km which helped alot as its easy to feel hot or dehydrated during a run, drank the right amounts for the pitstops and continued. Felt sad to see some folks already at the Medic’s stand with pain. Some guy sat on the road sweating in pain. Its very easy to run too fast or even too slow. Run too fast and try and overtake people and you tire yourself out for the long distance. Run too slow and you start to cool down and legs start to feel heavy and it becomes tougher with cramps etc. So it was about keeping a balance. Knowing your limit and tone things down when it gets painful or tiring. And then things got interesting..

IT STARTED TO DRIZZLE!- Initially i thought it was a light one as we were over the sea...As we neared the middle of the bridge (the slanted poles part), it POURED HEAVY RAIN!!, it was a pretty cool feeling your body doesn’t feel hot anymore, it feels comfortable, but the wet shoes and socks inside makes it feel like your jumping on a wet bed. It makes the leg feel heavier and vision becomes an issue too as the rain kept getting into my eyes and it moves the contact lenses around making vision quite blurry and it burns a little. Plus was starting to get worried my phone(or my mp3 player in this case) wrapped around my armband was wet and there was a risk i’d screw it up. There was no choice. 15kms to go! Pushed on. Stopped at water stations to drink(half water half rain water), the bread stand was nice, bread was soaked in water and become ‘’one’’ with the wooden tables which they were placed on hahaha, so that was a pass. There were also stations where the RedCross people would spray some ‘’aerosol muscle thing’’ on your leg to ease pain or cramps. In my case it helped because the legs began hurting just before half distance where we took a U-turn after the 70% mark of the bridge to head back. Rain got worse. I lost one side of my earphones from all the water that went in. To make things worse, my knees started to hurt. My left cuff and my right knee hurt the most. So started to run with more force on the less painful leg and when it got bad, i switched to the other leg and vice versa. We neared the end of the bridge and this time knees really hurt bad, lower back was irritating as well. The hips felt funny. I knew i had like 6 or 7kms to go so stopped running, brisked walked, then picked up the pace, slow jog, fast jog, run etc. Got out of the bridge into this flyover, another U-turn water station..Ice station!(They put bags of ice around your leg to ease the sore muscles)..With 4km to go..knees were pretty screwed! Saw some guys being treated in closed door ambulance. Pain was at its worse at this point. Both legs were bad. I think i was running with my waist and heels!..And then i saw the sign ‘’Half Marathon 18.3KM’’..I had 2.7ks to go!! By this time we were already running for 2 hrs 35mins. 10 minutes later Chu calls me ‘’Oiii..where are you la??, come on Jon 2 km, all the way man, come on’’. I ran a steady pace and it started to get better for me. Within minutes i saw the road leading up to the finish, the adrenalin built up even more, started running faster and all i could think of was the finish..Turned the corner and in the distance..There it was a giant Yellow Arch(with the word DIGI on it)...counted 1...2...3..Took deeper breaths and ran a sprint as fast as i could go. Felt my thighs vibrate. My cheeks were going up and down hahaha,The pain felt numb at this point. I screamed till i crossed the finish line...And there it was..6.01AM. – My timing was 3hours 1minute!. I finished within the 3.30mins time. I qualified for a medal! Felt such a relief.

Felt really good walking into the FINISHER’s stand to collect my medal. DID IT!! The pain was a different story. My phone died and so did the earphones. Good timing. It was unbelievable, I probably finished behind quite alot of people, i was just so grateful i had this chance to do it. Would have been easy to be like the rest and play it safe and not try. I mean hey everyone's got to start somewhere. And We were there, In with a chance. Able to live it and not just daydream. Felt so fulfilled to finally finish my first 21km half marathon in only my 3rd Real race event.

What we do is defined by the boundaries within which we restrict ourselves. A firm reminder that WE CAN DO ANYTHING WE SET OUR MINDS TO. I went for it because I knew I could. The one person you need to believe in most, is yourself. I am so glad i did this. Determined to do even better on my next run!

I appreaciate you taking the time to read this. Thank you very much :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


 4 years ago I started running to be fit enough to fly the plane. It did help to lose weight, was 75kilos but i was not happy as i gave up easily and believe me, it was tough! To maintain a pace let alone go any faster than walking. Have to say a good buddy of mine was an inspiration to me. He ran 20kms and even the full 42 marathon! I had the ambition in me but like many things in life, its easier to dream than to go balls on and do it. 

My first run. June 13th 2010.  Subang Jaya 10k run. It was the first time in my life ive trained for something like that. All along it was brisk walks on the treadmill n burgers afterward but this time I felt pretty determined. 1hr 18mins on my first race. Its a start n was better than expected! Now that was 2 months ago..

Fresh off my second run on the 31st of July. The MensHealth Shape Run. 12.3kilometres nightrun. In scenic Putrajaya. The scenery was sweet! The lights at night. The police cars holding the traffic. Ambulances going past. A stage with some deejays and local celebs, a carnival with lots of stands and interesting bits of things happening. Some music playing, it was like going to a concert.
-Race flagged off at 8pm. Got off to a steady start with alot of guys overtaking me. Its easy to try and run faster and keep up. But its not 2 or 3km, its 12.3. Im not tge fastest guy in the lot. I just did the pace i trained with and the last thing you would want is to start walking half way in the race and start yawning and throw it out tge window. This run though, was much better. Kept tge pace. Speed was ok 9km/h. Made sure i splashed and dashed at every water stand and before i knew it i saw the distance to go at 9km . 5km, 4, 3 etc.. We passed the lighted 'Penang Bridge' of Putrajaya.  Some people on bikes. There were uphills downhills. After a while the body gets to a crusing mode but towards the closing stages the mind becomes an idiot and youre let to believe youre tired, I was really dying to see the start finish straight. Legs were sore. Knees felt pretty wobbly, the sweat starts flowing going into your eyes and even that burns! It starts to get tough to keep earphones on as the sweat keeps slipping it off. Then i saw 3km to go. The longest 2km of my life. Started going pass quite a number of tired peopIe ahead of me.  Finally i turned the corner n recognised the buildings leading up to the finish straight. 

The main straight was in sight. I closed my eyes. and just ran my heart out sprinting to the finish. Its just knuckle down do or die. Dont know how many guys i overtook. The cheering spectators really got it flowing. Screamed past the finish clocked 1hr 31mins. The music really helped haha

I finished behind my group of friends. Those guys n girls were quick! Wouldve been nice to finish closer or ahead but its only the 2nd race. Its not about competing, Its about challenging yourself. And This proves you can do anything you set your mind to. Penang Bridge run November! 

Friday, July 30, 2010


Yes my friends it has been donkeys years since i last blogged! I put it down to being intensely busy and mostly lazy.

Whats been up? Well PLENTY! Life has transformed. My quest in dreaming and chasing dreams continues in my persuit of wisdom and self discovery.

In the past few months not only have I grown as a person but i guess you really discover who you really are and what you've got in you.

Flying, be it my day job continues to amaze me in everyway. A year ago i became a First Officer. 2 bars. 1 year later, i'm chasing my 3rd bar and for a new license, the ATPL(Airline Transport Pilot License). The journey has not been easy. I can tell you that i've not had a perfect flight, though each time i put on my tie heading to work i look at the guy in the mirror and constantly tell myself i am going to be as perfect as perfect can be. It never turns out to be. Theres always that extra mile you find you can do, you improve on knowledge. For knowledge is power in this industry.

Flying isnt all about slapping on a nice uniform, wearing a huge hat with Oakleys and being paid a big salary(not so the Co pilots but you work bloody hard for every cent you earn). And If anyone out there thinks glamour, then clearly you are an ignorant idiot. Theres much more effort and dedication that goes on with this job. Beneathe all that foliage, lies responsibility, passion, precision, hope and above all, the lives of those we carry. Its more of an oath.

Thoughts at 30000ft

-Where am I?
-Am i late am i early?Am i saving fuel or burning more?if im burning more somethings not right, but if im saving lots then it could be the fuel reading is jammed
-If the engine fails, whats the plan?where do i go?left of right?do i have weather? What are suitable diversions?Do i have enough fuel to divert?What height do i descend to?Whats the highest terrain in the area?
-Have i got the latest airfield data?VOLMET(Airborne weather report)?
-If i divert HERE, will we have ground support?
-What was our last clearance and are we sticking to it?
-WHat speed do i descend?can i expect track shortening?am i high?am i low on profile?do i need more drag to slow us down?
-Are my crew and passengers doing alright?is it too cold in the cabin?are they comfortable?

The points from above are just few of the many things that run in the mind of a pilot and lately perfecting all of those is a lot of work. After all, if this is going to be your ricebowl, you might as well be good at it right?

One more area that i've become more accustomed to is the understanding of operating an airline. Each and every member of our team plays a very important part. From the Ramp guys who load and unload luggage/cargo to even the cabin crew. Dont get me started with the dispatchers who do a good job with our documentations and ensuring the logistical challenges of handling over 70 aircraft. They are the unsung heroes. Organising parking bays, cargo loads, movement patterns, aircraft rotations is not an easy task. That does not include delays and technical problems! Sure in the end its the pilot who gets the plane from A to B but the next time you see a baggage handler or even an engineer, think about the work that goes in behind the scenes getting an aircraft airborne. RESPECT!

Then theres the balancing the rest of your life with family, friends and your other goals in life. Its a different challenge altogether and i guess all of this brings you wisdom and for a 22 year old, i sometimes feel like i am 40!

Few months back i decided to become a runner and get mysrlf into a couple of 'marathons'. Its a huge challenge and dare i say it as hard as flying itself as its challenging physically, mentally and a real test to will power. Tomorrow 31st July 2010, i'll be running my second race. 12.3 kms. On my next post,i'll be writing ALL about it. Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 15, 2009


An update,

Well its been a really hectic and busy past month and yes I do realize its been more than a month since I last blogged. October was smooth and had quite a number of interesting flights. Lessons learnt include the PEOPLE factor in aviation as well as coping with your inner self and motivation as well (lets face it, if we are not motivated, we cant do anything)

The rostering problem I had last month surely did not help. It was a mix up. People do their best to do a good job for us as well, but no ones perfect and as a team we back one another. Long story cut short I was put on standby for most of the month. It was a little messed up but a little exciting as you never know if you would get a phone call the next moment telling you that youre gonna fly people to India!

I had a chance to experience a really interesting colleague as well. This one probably more interesting than the rest but a few days later you realise, you don’t really have bright and nice days everyday and necessarily meet the right people and sometimes its up to us to hold on with patience and put our passengers first and work with the rest of the crew to salvage a good day. It’s a thorn amongst the roses. A really ugly one which in the future I’d not want to be like or even close to.

PEOPLE factor. Its about being humble and willing to work together. Being the boss means guiding a team not being authoritative and condemn inferiorities. WHO cares how much money you make?!- we are all going to make the same eventually anyway. People will make mistakes and that’s how they will learn. Everyone has a right to an opinion the least we could do is to respect and advise should the need arise and not condemn a younger counterpart. Simplicity and humbleness. Being in the military doesn’t make anyone a god. Respect is earned and not given. I could go on and on. But deep inside I am really glad I met this one. Thought me the kind of leader and captain I would never want to be. Things like this affect your confidence but invariably you get over it become even stronger. There are some positives to it and its all a learning curve.

I got to fly to Dhaka, Bangladesh this month and what an interesting flight we had. A great captain, good bunch of girls working with us and a new experience. Its just like any other flight but it’s the longest I’ve been on a plane(technically). More than 4 hours across time zones and the weather was cool as well. Our route took us toward the northern side of peninsula Malaysia into Penang, Langkawi and then towards the north toward Thailand, Yangon and into Bangladesh. There was even a point where there was no radio signal! Got to experience the busy Bangla Airspace as well as different airlines going on and about. As we descended toward Dhaka, you could see mountains, hills, some of the terrain, cars, buildings. There is something about visiting different countries. The buildings are always different and it gives you this vibe ‘’holy crap this is cool!’’. The runway is long and the air traffic controller is somewhat interesting. Found his accent funny. I flew back to Malaysia and it was a sunset departure. Took a picture. Its just beautiful climbing through clouds when you reach this bed-like cloud base and all you can see is the sun shining upon it. Theres this glow and immediately it reminds you of how beautiful this world is. The captain was a cool dude as well. He runs marathons and flies the Airbus A330 as well! Great sharing knowledge and learning all the time. Good flight.

Been on good form lately and been working on my fitness as well at the pool and back at the gym as well. The aim as always is to learn as much as I can, to work harder and making every flight safer, more efficient, profitable and above all working with the team to make it a better experience for our guests and for the Airline. Will blog soon.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Base check.

Been a busy and pretty hectic past few weeks of September and what do you know, its already October! Its eye opening, its brain popping, its turbulence packed and my all time favorite- MIND BLASTING!

I had my base check about 3 weeks ago and there is a lot to say on that but I prefer to tone it down a little, right, the BASE CHECK.


Its simply an exam us commercial pilots take once every 6 months to revalidate our license and to re-hone our skills in the airplane. Only, we don’t do it ina real airplane, we do it in a simulator. A ‘box’ which houses an actual aircraft cockpit and its mounted on hydraulic jacks which move about all the axis a drunk man can imagine. It has air conditioning like the actual aircraft, it has sound, it has images projected infront of the windscreen and it tilts left right up and down.

Its pretty similar to how I first started my career at Airasia, but only this time it was with higher expectations and a slightly modified programme. It was split into 2 days, the LOFT(Line orientated flight training) and CofT(Certificate of test). LOFT is slightly different than that lovely club down at Heritage row, we don’t go there to sip on cocktails and look at good looking men, but instead we practice an actual passenger flight with a few failures thrown to us. Oh, and we simulate these conditions at foreign airspace, in Taipei. THE OBJECTIVE?-To see how we, the crew perform these procedures. So here it is. THE LOFT.

1- Practise actual take off, aircrafts rolling down the runway, we take off and we encounter windshear(Dangerous wind blowing down, up, right, left everywhere) after take off. Our job, put maximum power on the engines and maneuver out of the storm into ‘stable’ air.
2- We then climb to our cruising altitude n are told to maintain a lower altitude simulating busy air traffic control with dense traffic and practice avoiding a mid-air collision with another aircraft.
3- We lose a few vital systems on the aircraft and are expected to carry out procedures
4- We solve that problem and then another one comes in, 1 of the engines are about to fail. Procedural event, decision making and eventually diverting to land at the nearest airport
5- It is found that the aircraft is above our max landing weight and we cant dump fuel so therefore having to perform an overweight landing and the alternate airport, Kaohshiung.
6- We land in Kaohshiung and after landing the main landing gear fails and aircraft collapses on the runway drifting towards the bushes next to the airport. The objective is to see how we initiate a passenger evacuation.


Pretty similar to the LOFT but with more failure and with more raw flying into play. As the autopilot and autothrust fails. Basically flying a modern commercial aircraft based on those backup gauges you see and with engine failures. Landing with one engine inoperative and aborted landing with 1 engine. The objective is to check the skill of the pilot in handling and flying an aircraft in all conditions as well as getting it back on ground safely.

The most important thing to take out of this is making it SAFER for the passengers whose lives we strive to carry and protect.

I can tell you none of those 2 sessions were EASY, but it went well. Going into it was a sense of nervousness and anxiety. Plus it was my first base check. Got positive feedback and learnt even more about flying. The captain told me ‘’a pilots job is a never ending learning curve, its huge responsibility and way different from any other job, its one that commands respect and peoples lives are in your hands’’ And that flying is the safest mode of transport.

Its more than a dream come true, its a responsibility and its gotten spiritual now(dont laugh). Making your lives safer in the skies.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Monday- KUL-Hong Kong-KUL

Its been a long time coming and finally its here, The airport is known to be busy AND with some strong winds on approach. Pretty scenic with quite a bit of terrain and a bustling city beneathe those mountains also sorrounded by sea. It will be amazing to sense the atmosphere there especially it being the home base of Cathay Pacific and to see all the big guns and their aircrafts. The terminal building is simply huge and it’s a work of art really.
I last went to Hong Kong as a passanger on MAS A330, so this will be a childhood dream-come-true as i get to pilot the A320 there.

Departing 7AM initially towards the eastern side and there after treking north being alongside Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh before heading into chinese airspace thru Haikou. Hopefully our guests turn out ok with no delays and air traffic being kind to us and with good weather. The aim as always is to get there as smoothly as possible and ON TIME. I am very much looking forward to tomorrows flight. (And to see an A380)

Monday, August 31, 2009


During the cruise today it dawned on me the significance and meaning of MERDEKA. Even as a child, merdeka was one of those special days I’d be looking forward to. I went to a government school and patriotism was high above anything else. It was a moral value. Then it just brought back many memories of how we go about celebrating and embracing this spirit of patriotism.

NEGARAKU - I think its absolutely paramount for every government in the world to instill a spirit and sense of Patriotism to all of its people starting as early as Kindergarden. This will be with them through out their lives and ultimately be passed down to the children of tomorrow. Its also a pure form of motivation no matter what race or beliefs you may have.

THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE HOME- The world as we know it is a beautiful place. With many nations, countries across civilization and culture. At the end of the day, I think nothing beats your own country. This place continues to amaze me. For instance we have our own culture, our own thing going on. We are one of the very few nations whose people speak more than 3 languages. English, Bahasa Malaysia and a native language. Be it Bahasa Melayu, Tamil, Hindi, Cantonese, Mandarin etc. We hold strong to our roots.

ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL- This is one of my favorites and its actually the best part of being Malaysian. We celebrate everything. Eid Mubarak(Hari Raya) is not only celebrated by Muslims, but also by those of other faiths. Its always amazing to go to an open house let alone try different foods of gastronomic proportions! Chinese New Year, regardless of being Chinese, you get angpow! Deepavali or Diwali. The festival of lights always tends to bring many people together in a cultural fusion of lights, food and style. And it doesn’t stop there, when each of these occasions are public holidays we not only celebrate our respective culture, but we celebrate a NATION with one common BELIEVE. We are Malaysian.

I applaud and support the Prime Minister's concept of ONE Malaysia. I think its been instilled in us for all our lives. As long as there is respect, courtesy, tolerance, understanding and compromise. This will bridge differences and encourage open communication and a free flow of exchanging ideas which I believe will take us to greater heights to do more, aim higher and who knows!-The sky is the limit.

RESPECT to our leaders, people in service and our teachers. Our Athletes who have done us proud and who strived to make a name for not themselves, but for theyre families and for our country.

Last but not least, I would like to wish everyone a Happy Independence day. H1N1 might have scaled it down abit but patriotism is in the heart of every Malaysian. Ask not what your country can do for you, but rather; ask what YOU can do for your country. ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL.