English: There, here and over there. Basically, in a sense, to mean restless. A collection of thoughts, musings and ramblings...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Experience Pulau Tiga with Ducati Team

Long overdue post, but finally I managed to recover my pics!

If I were to ever be like stinking rich, one of the very things I would splurge on would be a Harley-Davidson motorbike.

Yup. Surprise, surprise... it is one of my secret fantasies since I was in my early twenties ;-)

I haven't ridden a bike since those days in uni back in Sunway where I used to ride pillion on my (then) other half's kapcai motorbike. So kesian. I, on the other hand, have never actually learnt to ride a motorbike myself (but it is on my list of things to do though! ;-p)

One day out of the blue, I received a message from my former student Chloe, asking me if I wanted to join the Ducati Multistrada trip for Sabahan Bloggers. Ducati, is a name I hear often on Moto GP, so I do know it is a superbike. I have seen a convoy of HOGs travelling through Labuan many times, but never Ducati, so it must be interesting. Plus, the trip goes to Pulau Tiga, one of the places I have been wanting to go, so sure I said yes!

I wish I could have joined in for the entire trip from Kuching, down to Brunei and Labuan and onwards to Kudat and Kundasang... but, I do have other commitments including work, and of course the fabulous candlelight vigil! :-) But, a short trip to Pulau Tiga, is heaven sent.

For those of you who do not know about Pulau Tiga, you should know that it is the location of the first season for the hit reality show series - 'Survivor'. Thus, this island is also nicknamed Survivor Island.

Located just 10km from the shores of Sabah, the best things to do on this island is swimming or snorkeling, go kayaking and diving..... or you may just decide to go roll in the mud. Literally. Because this island is also famous for its therapeutic natural volcanic mud.

As the convoy are arriving via Labuan ferry after spending the night before in Brunei, I agreed to meet up at Kuala Penyu. It has been a while since I drove there all by myself, and maybe if I arrived earlier I could take a look at my dad's beach cabins... but no such luck. I can't remember now why I left late, but I got to Kuala Penyu in good time to have a drink then hear the sound of police sirens announcing the arrival of the bikers.

I can't imagine how tiring it must be to ride the whole way from Kuching to Kuala Penyu, so it probably must be a very welcome break for them too. There seemed to be only a few bikes (maybe 15??) but quite a number of people, perhaps travelling in cars and taking turns to ride. The 10-day expedition through Borneo was led by YBhg Dato' SM Zulkifli SM Amin, Group Chief Operating Officer of the NAZA Group of Companies

A picture speaks a thousand words, so this is my collection of photos from the trip.

In the evening, when we had nothing to do, we just sat around and talked. Some said they are still waiting for the 'off-road' experience that they were promised. I find that bikers get very emotional about the bikes they ride - a huge debate ensued about which bikes are the best, Harley Davidson or Honda?

Help me, Datuk!
Harley! No Honda! Harley!! Honda!!

The next morning, we managed to fit in a few hours of snorkelling, followed by a dip into the volcano mud. How do I describe immersing myself in volcano mud? Like lying in warm, melted chocolate ;-) Well, it was anything BUT chocolatey, but that was the first thought that came to my mind. Hahaha! (Thank you to Dylan Kuan for the excellent photos!)

Dylan was the only one who did not get into the mud. But he got dirty anyway, from being a gentleman and helping me down the slopes :-p hehehe

As I leave the happy riders on their next leg of the journey, I do feel a pang of regret - that I never got the chance to ride and experience Ducati for myself, as I had to return to KK quickly. Thank you Ducati Malaysia for letting me enjoy the time at Pulau Tiga with Team Ducati!

For more updates on Ducati Malaysia, do follow their Twitter account @DucatiMalaysia and also the man behind Naza who made the entire Experience Borneo with Ducati Multistrada possible - @smsfaisal10


Thursday, December 22, 2011

2011: my year... in a nutshell

It is that time of the year when you start looking back over the year that has passed, and think, did I have a great year?

Well, I think mine has been pretty..... AWESOME! If I may say so myself.

Of course, there were the ups.... and there were the downs. The worst thing that happened was my mum's accident. She is much better now, has started cooking again but still complains of dizziness, that she doesn't recognise certain places and that everyone looks just 'beautiful' (well, guess that is a good thing??).

There were other bad things that happened over the course of the year, of course, but it is overshadowed by the good things. And generally, I like to focus on the good things.

One of the best things to happen this year was my 2nd trip to Europe - this time to Norway! Travelling alone has never been a problem for me, in fact I enjoyed it very much! But of course when I was there, I wasn't alone. Instead I get to spend my days with JCI Norway members, which is so cool.. and kind of reminded me of my uni days. Hehehe... And since the best experiences would be the ones that you can't get back home, the most memorable part of this trip was the snow! (Ohhhkay.. I feel like packing my bags to fly all across the globe again...)

The thing about travelling off to foreign countries though, is that you get to see how differently things are handled - is it better? Or worse? But one of the things I envy most about developed countries such as this one is the level of efficient public transportation. Which we are SEVERELY lacking in Malaysia.

Then there was Twestival - raising money for the Sabah Society for the Blind, which was a really great event, of which I got to be involved in as PR and Publicity manager. I got to know about this event, thanks to networks that I have gained from organising the White Ribbon Campaign in 2010, I finally started feeling that I was back, truly back again. You can find more on what happened during the event on the following link: KotaKinabalu.Twestival.

Hmmm....what else?

Oh, I got to be more active with blogging, nothing feels more official than actually writing a blogpost for Sabahan Bloggers, which required me to try out (read: SUFFER) for X45, an exercise program developed at Core Fitness. Much as I really want to continue and have a hot bikini body... it comes with a price, which I can't afford at the moment ;-p

I also went officially as a Sabahan Blogger to join the Ducati travelling through Borneo, but only on their Pulau Tiga trip. Will write about that... when I manage to get the pics out of the card (I totalled the camera :-p)

It was also during this year that I found myself developing my 'red' personality trait, or the competitive trait. I am usually a 'blue', meaning one that is meticulous, calm and peaceful. Instead, during the year, I find myself participating in competitions and more competitions! The pics below are just some of the competitions I did join

While I won none of those competitions, I did get to win a Mother and Daughter DIY cake decorating session with Boutique Cupcakes :-D It was fun. And YUMMY!! Enough said.

I wouldn't be who I am if I didn't organise at least one major project. This year it was the Love Yourself Programme which involved a large number of activities - from Zumba, to beauty workshop, to online competitions, and photo sessions.... and finally we come to the final product! Btw, please support and buy our calendars! It is only worth RM25 each. The message is that 'everyone deserves to feel beautiful, regardless of age, race, shape and size'. This calendar is also supported by 3 other organisations, namely LEAP, SAWO and PACOS Trust, which I am forever grateful for.

Am I done yet? Nope. Other priceless experiences during the year include:-

1. Being a movie extra for a day
2. Somehow finding myself being connected deeper into the network of feminists / activists with Fiesta Feminista, being sent to conduct a talk on teenage dating to 50 rowdy secondary school students, and being sent to learn from LPPKN how to teach kids about sex and abstinence.... (ok, I thought the abstinence part was pretty crap, especially since the syllabus neglected to include teaching boys about love and respect)
3. Being even more involved in JCI activities, joining in the JCI Malaysia Academy and finding lots of friends
4. Finding my niche and a group of wonderful people as a result of #2 - Fiesta Feminista, which had us doing a fabulous 1 week + of candlelight vigils in support of non-violence against women and children, which is more than I could ever hope for!

5. Adopting through SPCA KK and recognised for my efforts by being invited to be a part of the committee as Head of Education. Woot woot!!

As I get ready to bid adios to 2011, looking back I realise how blessed I have been. Of course there are some things that I really want, but still out of my reach.... but life is good. Life is SO good! :-) And one day I am sure I will get to where I want to be.

In 2012 perhaps?? ;-)

Merry Christmas everyone!!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

KK Candlelight Vigil 2011

If you have missed our Candlelight vigil for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, here is what happened in a nutshell:-

KK Candlelight vigil - version 2 from Sabrina Aripen on Vimeo.

It was so much fun, and I am still amazed at what an incredible event it has become. It's so hard not to fall in love with such a vibrant and passionate group! Miss them all and I can't wait for the next big thing :-)

Sabrina Aripen


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Let's stand together for a good cause!

I woke up with a gasp, heart racing. Yet again I had a dream about my ex, but this time I was running away from him on a busy stretch of road. He was gaining on me and I was shouting at cars to stop and help me, which none did. Why won't they stop and help me??

Such dreams are not uncommon among those who have suffered emotional and physical abuse from their perpetrators and I am reminded of this when I read Shackled By Fear posted on The Star Online. Seems like  we never are really free from fear even though on most days everything is fine.

I had pondered a while on the meaning of the dream and what it meant, and it was a while before a thought struck me. I guess it reflected a lot on how I viewed people and their responses to me when I was desperately seeking help. They just didn't want to be involved, or they would rather just walk away than help. None of their business, they say. It is between the man and wife.

Such problems are just the tip of the iceberg of what truly goes around in our daily lives. We choose not to see, not to help, and it extends to more than just about domestic violence. My story is just a tiny speck of what is really happening, and some are worse. I am considered one of the 'lucky' ones who escaped.

Fueled by the fire sparked by disappointment over the ignorance of people, some I know personally, I organised a fight against violence campaign last year - the global White Ribbon Campaign. This year I had meant to continue with the campaign with a different twist, but due to personal circumstances, I felt like I just didn't have the drive needed to continue a big event.

Then Fiesta Feminista happened, and there was where I met some like-minded people and made the right connections. As a result of a discussion held there, we decided to hold a candlelight vigil every night until 10th December 2011 in conjunction with the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, a worldwide event. 

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is an international campaign originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991. Participants chose the dates, November 25, International Day Against Violence Against Women, and December 10, International Human Rights Day, in order to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a human rights violation. This 16-day period also highlights other significant dates, including November 29, International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, December 1, World AIDS Day, and December 6, the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre

I am happy to say that the response has been tremendous! Especially thanks to those who have helped to initiate and organise this event, and those who are wonderfully committed to come and stand together.

You can't just but help to feel a swelling of pride the way people took notice of our work, told us we were doing a good job, and some even took the opportunity to take pictures with us. Yes, thanks for the love!

And as I stand here at the candlelight vigils, I see now with my own eyes that there ARE people who care. Unlike the speeding cars in my dream. By the 4th night of the vigil, we already needed a new banner. At the end of the 16 days of activism, the banners will be handed over to the Youth-PREP centre for display.

If you are against gender violence, or any types of violence, come join us! We welcome all the support we can get!  We will be having the vigil every night 7-8pm at certain locations around KK until 10th December. Log on to our Facebook event page for updates on where the next candlelight vigil will be. See you there!

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