Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2016: My very first 42k!


To those who want to do their first full marathon (42.195 km), let this piece of writing be a reference for you to prepare yourself. It’s not a professional account but I assure you this is as real as it gets. Statistics reveal that only 1% of the world population has ever done a full marathon so that spells it out for you; if it was easy then everybody would do it.

If I could put my head down I would fall asleep in an instant. Like seriously. #beyondtired

That picture of me was taken right after crossing the finish line, less than 2 minutes before the cut-off time of 7 hours. Talk about cutting it real close. I had successfully crossed 4 checkpoints earlier so missing the course cut-off time would have caused a major disappointment. To think I started this endeavour with a sub-6 hour target! So, what happened?

Let’s start with what I feel I did right.

My fueling strategy worked as planned; carbo loading went on schedule the day before and thus I didn’t have major problems with energy to drive me forward. During the race I burned 2,253 calories whilst I consumed about 1,000 calories throughout race time in the form of 1 banana, 1 energy bar, electrolyte salts, energy gels and isotonic drinks. In the future I would want to fuel up a bit more because I remember feeling incredibly hungry towards the end.

My gear strategy also functioned as planned; apart from my usual running apparel, I used kinesiology tape to support my thighs and knees along with calf compression support. I also prepared sport sunnies, a cap and a long sleeve running tee to protect my skin from the sun. Ironically I brought my earphones but didn’t use them at all. Somehow I felt comfortable listening to the ambient noise, my breathing and even chatter from fellow runners.

My run strategy was plain and simple: to finish the course without any injury within the stipulated cut-off times at every checkpoint. This would relieve me of the pressure to over-perform, keep my pace at ease and my body relaxed. I didn’t know what to expect after crossing the 25 km mark so it was prudent to exercise caution to avoid bonking too early.

So if everything was in place, what went wrong?

Although I strategised my food & fluid intake in the days leading to race day I made a foolish error of eating too much spicy food 48 hours to flag off. The combination of chilli & spices gave me a sore throat which in turn lead me to being feverish. Luckily for me it wasn’t serious and a few pops of paracetamol controlled the spread. But the damage was done…

At the starting pen I made a silly mistake too. I was so overwhelmed by the atmosphere and excitement that I mistook the 6 hr 30 min pacer balloons to be 6:30 min/km speed. Duhhh! I ended up losing a lot of time and momentum in the first 10 km or so before I realised what was happening. Talk about being ignorant…

There’s a well known belief that when you run a full marathon you have to cross that 30 km ‘wall’ in order to have the mental strength and physical drive to finish the course. Well, let’s just say that wall got the better of me. Mentally I was raring to go but physically I was beaten. The culprit was my right knee and later the doctor told me that the ligament was sore & stressed hence why I felt the excruciating pain. It was so unbearable to run that I was forced to alternate between brisk walking and jogging. And it was a long walk-jog indeed (12 km under the blistering hot sun).

So quite simplistically the fundamental reason as to why I didn’t achieve my timing target was because I didn’t train enough. I didn’t acquire the necessary mileage for my body to accustom itself to the stresses from running 42 km. That was why my knee ligament gave way. It was a tough lesson to learn, in the most painful way. And I have no one else to blame but myself. But I have to say that for the right things I did, I did them well. I did not have any blisters, no black toenails, my upper body bore no major soreness, didn’t suffer from any cramps nor sunburn and definitely no chafing.

But you know what? The experience was immeasurable, knowledge acquired was priceless and so much more to learn as I look forward to better myself. Yes you read that right, I would want to do another full marathon!

Looking back at that picture of me, I am certain of one thing: I wouldn’t have finished the last 500 m within the cut-off time if it wasn’t for team support. Team PROTON Runners waited and cheered me on. The best team in the world in my books. Thank you Mr. KE for capturing that moment in time and big thanks to those who gave me the final push 😉

Now let’s plan for the next shall we?

#scklm2016 #fullmarathon #runninggoals #fitlife #fitness #teamprotonrunners #myteamisbetterthanyours #tpr


Hari Raya Wishes From Me and PROTON Design

Hari Raya Wishes From Me and PROTON Design

We’re now at the last weekend of Ramadhan, about 4 days away from the biggest celebration in the Muslim calendar. Indeed the festive spirit is being felt and the usual signs evident all around. This year I’m opting out from the journey balik kampung and staying in the city to celebrate low key in a classic metropolitan style. Every year on the first afternoon of Raya I would usually pay a visit to one of the malls nearby. I would be in full Raya garb so you can imagine the looks I get from the crowd. They must be very confused. Why is this Chinese bloke wearing full baju Melayu gear on the first day of Aidilfitri?! Hehe.

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all readers of this blog, friends, family and business associates a great Eid Mubaraq. Enjoy your long weekend with visits to open houses, rekindling relationships, enjoying the food and for the kids, your duit raya!

I will leave you with a short video done by PROTON Design, a yearly thing we do to welcome Syawal. Take care, be safe and be happy!

azlano 2.0 > 2010 In Review

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 32,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.

In 2010, there were 39 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 320 posts. There were 33 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 5mb. That’s about 3 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was March 2nd with 533 views. The most popular post that day was Less Than 12 Hours To Go.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for azlano, problem solving, raya wishes, selamat hari raya wishes, and proton saga.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Less Than 12 Hours To Go March 2010


The Proton Saga RED Show Car January 2008


Hari Raya Wishes September 2008


Proton Exora Prestige and Prime April 2009


The Problem Solving Flowchart February 2010

Car Design With A Socialnomic Perspective

Note: This article originally appeared in the thinklab blog. Click HERE to be directed to the site. My personal thanks to the thinklab team for supporting & engaging the design discipline in Malaysia as we push towards globalization through design awareness.

Car design is a very interesting and challenging profession. It involves a multitude of people from diverse disciplines and is always under intense pressure to create the ‘what’s next’ for the world to see. In essence car design today can be also be likened to crystal-balling future trends in the effort to always stay one step ahead of the competitors. That effectively puts it in the same league as some of the more technical fields of work such as forex forecasting, advance engineering and social sciences. It’s worth noting also another rather new field which is becoming more and more intertwined with design; socialnomics. Technically speaking it isn’t that new but relatively it is a field of knowledge that has only started to gain prominence in organizations over the past few years. Erik Qualman (author of the book Socialnomics) states that it is quite simply the art of listening to people around you.

This knowledge in the ‘other facet’ of car design is what will differentiate auto designers of the past with the designers of the future. Honestly speaking, car designers of today can no longer be complacent and delve only in their field exclusively supported by what they learned in college. No, they must evolve.

Allow me to give you two examples from the past 6 months. On 7th January the Ford Motor Company announced they will partner with notable social media companies like Openbreak, Pandora and Stitcher to bring Twitter & internet radio control to their cars. Simply put, users will soon be able to social network directly from the comforts of their car interior (with safety systems engaged of course) using their smartphones. This initiative is a breakthrough for a primarily traditional company like Ford, especially when you take into account the current crisis they are facing. But adapt they must to these up coming technologies and trends to stay one step ahead of their competitors. Subsequently on May 13th, General Motors also announced their intention to partner with Google to implement the latter’s Android OS into their cars. This collaboration would allow users to control in-car systems like navigation, multimedia and telephony via their Android powered smartphones.

So what gives? Why would these stalwarts of the auto industry go on a relatively foreign tangent from their usual self? It is obvious they recognize the need to change from their usual business model and typical mode of operation. This need to change is also known as a tipping point. A point where things or ideals veer off to another seemingly unexpected direction but normally borne out of necessity.

You would ask me now, how does this all relate to DESIGN? It’s pretty straight forward really. Designers also need to evolve in meeting the challenges & needs of social media. Designs need to be tuned towards the complexities of social media where integration is key. This sounds a lot more daunting than it is but in any case shouldn’t be taken lightly. The good news is that most of the young designers today (Gen Y’s especially) are already participating in social networking, thanks to their affinity to this thing called the World Wide Web. All things considered, there are a few key points which I feel must be kept in mind in order to ensure sustenance in this new design agenda:-

Front End Processing is the first thing designers must comprehend & understand. Know what social networking & social media is all about, how it began, where it is today and what holds for it for the future. As more and more of this new technologies are being used by people in cars, there is a need to ensure they are used responsibly and efficiently. Car designers must be able to think in a broader perspective where aesthetics isn’t just enough any more.

Intrinsic Integration is the next bit of skill which will differentiate truly successful designs from the mediocre. In a world where socialnomics is a lifestyle, software & hardware integration will define ease of use and GUIs & HMIs will be the main differentiator which sets designs apart. Components in the car will not only have to talk to each other but also listen in to conversations from the Web and location-based services. Designs must be functional in meeting these needs. Speaking of which…

Location-based Awareness will be the next big thing. Like a killer-app for computer OS’. Once the powers-that-be sort out the logistics and processes required to implement this en-masse I am confident it will become mainstream and be integrated into our everyday lives. For design, specific requirements must be met to ensure the integration is seamless and intuitive.

From what you’ve read I reckon by now you would have noticed that I didn’t specifically delve into normal design ideologies. It is my intention to do so. Let’s be clear, social media is about listening and push information. Design on the other hand is about visual aesthetics and form follow function or function follow form. How can these two specialized fields work together? Actually, they are already deeply rooted together but this is evident more in product design than car design. Having said that, I am confident it will get there very soon.

Allow me to hypothesize; what if we started to sell cars and tie each sale with a contract to a mobile service provider? The customer will not only get a car but also a smartphone which can interact with all his or her social media networks AND the car as well. Mobile number portability will allow seamless transfer of existing number(s) to this new set, should the customer wants to. For the carrier, they will be able to grant greater usage of mobile internet traffic and possibly secure valuable post-paid customers who signs up to data contracts. From here on the possibilities for both the customer and service providers (car & carrier) is almost limitless. Navigation, location-based advertising, social networking, live & instantaneous CRM and B2B + B2C integration are just some of the possibilities.

And guess who will be tasked with designing the interfaces, graphics, haptic responses, gadgets and accessories to power all that? Make sense now doesn’t it? 😉

Over A Month With The Google Phone (Nexus One)

It’s been a solid few weeks now since I’ve used the Nexus One as my primary communication device. Thus far I’ve brought it around Malaysia and roamed over to Europe with it too. Pretty soon I could be testing the unit over in North America as well.

Truth be told it is a very convenient device to use everyday. Android works quite seamlessly & intuitively as it switches between service providers, WiFi networks and data services. Signal reception, however, isn’t impressive. That’s a common trait of concealed antennas I guess. But ten folds better than the E90 for sure.

Communication capabilities are top notch here but you need to have data services active all the time. It’s true what they say, the Google phone really shines when it’s connected to the Web. Right now I use this unit extensively (almost religiously in some aspects!) for emails; both corporate & web based, social networking (Facebook, Twitter), location services (Gowalla, Foursquare), instant messaging (Gtalk, Fring) and blogging (WordPress). The beauty of open source platforms is the huge library of apps available to users. Obviously Android doesn’t have as many as Apple’s App Store but it’s getting there and the latest reports it is gaining market share at a phenomenal speed. I also use my Nexus One for creative photography (Photoshop, fxCamera) and multimedia too (Zimly, Music Junk) so I can indulge in my hobby & interests wherever I am. I can also attest that news gathering (push news?) is greatly enhanced by the many Widgets you can download which ticker the most up-to-date data/information to your personalized screen. Remember, you can personalize 5 home screens to match your lifestyle where all your shortcuts, Widgets and links are displayed for quick access.

In spite of the sluggish, lesser-than-expected sales success and over hyped marketing leading to the soon-to-happen revamp of the Google Phone business model (from web based sales & support to service provider linked) I stand firmly in my opinion that this is one of the better phones available in the market. It has very unique features (like built-in voice recognition/search for almost EVERYTHING) and exceptionally well built too. I feel people are hesitant to get one primarily because of the lack of support & subsidy from carriers. A worthy alternative if I may recommend is the HTC Desire which is basically the same phone and will be launched in Malaysia soon. I had a look at a unit today and personally I find it’s a little less refined than the Nexus One (sounds biased I know!).

So if you’re in the market for a new integrated communications device, do your benchmarking well and have a feel before committing. I am more than pleased with the Nexus One but that doesn’t mean the other offerings (HTC Desire, iPhone 4G, Motorola Droid) are not as good. It comes to what you want from technology, brand and quality. Choose well and it’ll last you a good few years.

My Long Absence

Dear readers,
Firstly allow me to apologize for not updating this blog as regularly as before. It has happened but I think this is one of the longer ‘silent modes’ where I’ve not been updating really meaningful entries (by meaningful I mean those relating to design and cars). I also know there are a lot of you out there who want to hear about the going on’s with Proton Design…

A lot has happened during the run up to Geneva and even more so after that big event. Even now, a good 2 months after, I’m still reeling from the effect of ‘managing’ that trip. Having said that I am content with what we have achieved and the thought of what’s coming is certainly very exciting indeed.

Work aside, the past 2 months have given me a new perspective on life and how we all have full control on how to make it the best it can be. Really. This realization has lead me to review my priorities and aggregate what’s important vs what’s not. So far things are falling into place but the reality is that it will take time.

On a lighter note, I was reading an interview the other day about whether captains of companies (CEOs, MDs) should gravitate themselves to social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. Very interesting indeed as it illustrates the importance of participating in what will inevitably be the future of communication, marketing & sales. Captains of industries take heed or else it will be your undoing! On my part, I need to also put my online presence into perspective and review the amount of actual time & material I generate. Honestly, there have been comments by certain quarters that I’ve been overzealous in in writing, especially on material concerning Proton. You know, comments such as that make me think twice about the term ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘digital age’. In essence there is nothing to stop the flow of information in the Web but whether people understand that is another story. Earlier I wrote about how companies should embrace social networking and proliferate it to their advantage; the thing is how many are actually willing to do that. More importantly do they even want to understand it? Therefore, I think you can tell now how these reflections have inhibited my writings of late. It’s such a fine line which I’m treading. Sometimes it doesn’t seem worth it.

So, rather than bore you with my rants I’d better sign off for now! Actually I have many things to share; on my first month using the Android powered Google Nexus One (awesome!), on my upcoming contribution to Thinklab’s blog and future seminars, on my recent invitation to be a panel member for the Malaysian design education syllabus review, my thoughts on design & brand association, my views on social networking vis-a-vis corporate work cultures, and many more topics that come my way every single day.

Catch me if you can.