Tuesday, September 16, 2003

CL5: Cycling

Background:

This is my speech no 5 in the Competent and Leadership manual. I am using the old manual and this assignment is about vocal variety. It is from a personal experience where I went on a cycling trip...

Actual Speech:

Good evening TME, fellow TMs, Honored Guest… Ladies and Gentlemen,

Physical exercise! A scary word! I spend most of my life in front of a computer screen… Physical exercise for me meant moving my fingers at blinding speeds on the keyboard and occasionally stretching my arms to signal to people that I am alive. So, you can imagine the amount of persuading it took to get me to go for a cycling expedition. But now that I have been through it and survived! I can honestly say it was by far one of the highlights of this year.

My earliest memories of cycling were in primary school when I used to cycle my BMX around my house. Now, a BMX is nothing more than a small bike used eXtreme Sport athletes to do cool tricks like cart wheels and cycling on one tire. Unlike those days, my cycling range this time around was expanded 20 km in all directions. We went to Bukit Cahaya, Shah Alam. It was last Sunday and my band was made up of 7 engineers. We started off early enough. The time of departure was 9 am but staying true to the Malaysian way, we only left home at 10…

Bukit Cahaya beckoned and we arrive there in high spirits and song. The sun was shining, the air was crisp and the roads were wide and seem to go on and on. It was exciting looking at the path. It took us less than 10 minutes to choose our steeds of steel and before you knew it we were on the road. It has been ages since I last rode a bike but like someone once said, once you get on it, you would never forget.

It was pleasant enough initially. The road was straight and flat and we took our time to get to the first stop, which was a bird park. I can almost see Bings’s ears pricking. It was big bird park. I never been to that many bird parks before but from where I was standing, this one seem really huge. We had a problem though, we did not bring any bike locks and someone had to stay behind to watch over the steeds. Naturally I volunteered… I was having too much fun cycling. Unlike Bing, I do not have the keen appreciation of featherbrains.

Our next stop was this small animal park. First bunch of animals we met there were a herd of goats. We had a doctor in our team. A PHD holder at that but for a brief moment, he turned into a goat herder. He wanted to get a shot with one of the goats but they were rather shy especially the female ones. I think they were uncomfortable flirting with a guy from a different species. In the end, we had to give up trying because the chief goat - An impressive male with horns bigger than my primary school headmaster was doing this. [Action of a bull].

The next animals on the menu were a pair of bulls. Oh man! I never realized it but I have never seen a bull up close and personal. Boy! Were they HUGE! Even sitting down, those two were about the same size as my car. I tried the red handkerchief trick on them but that did not work. They were very calm oddly all throughout.

On our journey out, this delightful monkey caught our attention. He was an intelligent fellow with soulful eyes. A very good listener… Every woman’s dream primate I would say. This Fabio of the furry kind was amazing. He had all the girls in my group eating out of his hands.

We then headed to a watchtower on the other side of the park. This was challenging! The road was no longer flat. It was very steep at certain places and by the time we got there, my legs could not be felt anymore. On top of the leg-killing ride there, we still had to climb the thing and so we did. Pure determination. I could almost hear the Rocky music playing at the background as I scaled the tower. I huffed and puffed and finally got there only to discover there was nothing to see…. The top of the trees was really dense. It is only then we had another look at the map and realized we were on the wrong tower. The good one was on the other side.

Nonetheless, we cycled on. We came upon a cactus park. It was a dry place with a whole bunch of thorny cactus. I do not know what it is about cactuses and me but ever since I won a cactus during the TM installation night, these cactuses have a thing for me. I cannot pass a cactus without getting pricked! When I came out of there, my whole body was scratched…

Not to mention, by this time dehydration was taking control and we needed water. Most of our water store was dried out. Hallucination was setting in. At one point, I could have sworn that Sharon Stone was doing this at the cactus park [act cactus]. A mirage that disappeared painfully when I tried to hug her and a thousand thorns plunged into me. Ouch!

Things looked bleak. I was hungry, thirsty, painful and bloody and just when the vultures were circling above ready to pounce, we stumbled upon a fruit park and Hallelujah! There were no park attendants. Muahahaaha! Lets just say the cikus were great and the mangos were really good thirst busters!

At the end of it all, we practically saw every part of the park on that day. We even got to the edge of Bukit Cahaya, which was located after the fruit park. Our legs ached, our sexy buttocks fell asleep and most of all our body was screaming in pain and yet I never felt more in tune with life. It made me think… You spend so many Sundays doing nothing and then when you go for something like this, you start to realize how awesome life is. I cannot think of times when you feel more alive than when you are out there in the world living it out and living it large. It’s an amazing feeling. Can you imagine all this from a simple cycling trip?

By, Vijay Balasegaram