I am not the macho type.
I do not go to the gym to pump iron or lift weights. I have a couple of dumbbells at home, but hardly use them, so they sit there in my room true to their name, like dumbbells.
For more than five years when I was a member at Clark Hatch Mont Kiara, I swam at the tea-cup sized pool. Typical Penangite, I tried to talk them into charging me half the normal price as I do not use the machines and equipments at all, but they would not budge.
Recently I quit Clark Hatch as they came out with a rather foolish way to save cost. I figured that limiting someone who swims and later uses the sauna to only two towels hardly make sense and definitely unhygienic. That was a little too much, even if you are not from Penang.
Basically I keep fit by swimming, callisthenics (exercise routines that use your own body weight like push-ups, chinning, squatting, etc) and fast walking. And after completing two rounds of fast walking at the TTDI Park, my habit is to ‘punish’ my feet at the reflexology track. It is one of those peculiar things we humans do, like eating chilly, finding joy through pain ... Nuts!
There were about twenty five children roller-skating at the flat cemented surface neighbouring to the reflexology track, with an odd one out, a Caucasian woman probably in her 40s. There was a coach, checking if they were doing it right. It wasn’t me alone; most of the onlookers were focussing on the lady. She was more afraid than the kids, perhaps as we aged we worry more, we are less agile, and we are taller so the floor definite looks further too, and if we do fall, it will be a real thump!
For whatever reason, it is more agonizing to learn these things when we are no longer a child. But she was unwavering, pulling herself up, her face switching from a joyous grin, to fear, to joy, to fear again... as she tread from one side to the other.
It was hard, I could read it in her face but the lady was committed. It is never too late to learn, perhaps she missed the chance when she was small, like we all do at one thing or the other. But, give up we must not. We may have to put in a little more hard work, but it will be worth it.
I feel connected to this lady, “And, behold, with every hardship comes ease: verily, with every hardship comes ease!” (Quran 94: 5-6) and thank her in silence for reminding me of a few things I have missed learning when I was a child, and yet to take any action....sigh...
“Ma...Pen Na Le Pare Ma! Ma ... look..look!"
A boy of about ten years of age calling out to his mother to turn back and look at his achievement in making one of those twist with an abrupt stop with the roller-skates. Obviously Tamilian. He has skinny legs, thighs floating in his well ironed dark blue pantaloon. His hair was combed flat with a clear parting line at the left like those goody boys I met when I was in my primary school aeons ago. He wore a nerdy pair of almost Gandhi-like glasses to complete his geeky look. His watch was big for his wrist, white with some colourful patterns on it.
His mom looks trendy, had a good figure, wearing a cool looking pair of dark glasses and holding a branded hand-bag in her left hand. She did justice to the tight green blouse and black figure hugging pants too. The shoes were a little off, but that could be excused as she needed to be practical when walking at the park. She was pleased with her son, giving him a thumb up. He was happy, he was full of pride.
I was happy with both of them. Not only because she did justice to the figure hugging pants and tight green blouse but more so because I know they are many of our Indian brothers and sisters especially the Tamilians who are not as lucky as they are. Many of whom are as poor or worst of than my family was when I was a child. That was in the seventies.
But the NEP helped my family and scores of Bumiputras to get out of poverty. However the NEP somehow missed the Indian poor in a BIG way. It’s unfortunate that we see the Indian socioeconomic problem as an Indian one and not a Malaysian one. Nay... it is larger than that too; poverty is a problem to be solved by humanity.
I feel connected to the mom and child pair. I feel connected to our poor Indian brothers and sisters too, as I too have tasted poverty. I wish we have another NEP that makes sure all who are poor is not left out. I wish that the Zakat (alms) contribution in this country is distributed to the non-Muslims too, as the Quran says,
“Alms are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer the (funds); for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to Truth); for those in bondage and in debt; in the cause of Allah. And for the wayfarer: (thus is it) ordained by Allah, and Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom.” (Quran 9:60)...
Zakat is not only for the Muslims.
And finally, Six.
The reflexology track...
My right hand searched for the headphones in my right khaki pocket, then my left hand slide into the left one for the PDA phone. I love these khaki pants with those two huge extra pockets at the sides. They can house a decent size book, and not to mention my dental floss pack, thumb-drive, hand-phone, highlighter and pen, loose ringgits and coins, an apple or pear or even a couple of pisang montel and a 500ml water bottle. You ladies have handbags; we guys have pockets. Even if we do look stupid with bulging pockets on both sides, we really do not see it as an issue.... so just live with it!
Plugged in the headphones, took out the pointer and clicked on the Today Menu, then Windows Media and chose ‘The Sound of Yellow Stone’, soothing music with natural sounds. I usually do this to add background music to the already peaceful mood at the park. It also helps ease the pain. As I gently placed my foot one at a time forward, I try to feel the sweetness of pain as my body weight forced them onto the stones. The reflexology master who designed the track knew his trade, he pace the trail, warming you up first with starting easy, slowly introducing sharper stones and three quarter way through torture your feet to the max and then gradually sort of warm you down at the end. So, at some parts the small rocks were flat and rounded and at other parts sharp and jutting upwards almost 2 inches high at its worst.
I usually break my reflexology course six times with ten push-ups each. Sometimes eight times, with ten push-ups each, it all depends on how tired I am after the walk. But, that Saturday I stop at seven times ten. As I was about finishing the seventh set, a group of about seven teenagers, boys and girls sang the birthday song at the pondok near to the track. They were a multi-ethnic grouping.
I feel connected to them. I grew up like them. In fact, I feel connected to you too. No matter what colour you are or what language you speak, as the Quran says,
“And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colours: verily in that are Signs for those who know”. (Quran 30:22)
Happy Reading the Quran!