Tuesday, September 22, 2020

The Keramat gig


Coming in a full circle...

Michelle and I started our archery gig in the Keramat Sports Centre five years ago. We got yelled at, chased away and now, we are back. There were familiar faces, compound bow archers with camouflaged pants, some "hunter-dude wannabe", "super-duper coaches" and some very interesting archery personalities. Mostly amateur archers pursuing their hobby.

Since we have our own range in Subang, our contact with the Keramat club archers were kept to the minimum. Back in the days when we brought a hunting recurve bow to the Keramat range, we get dirty looks and were treated like lepers. Some were actually afraid that an archer who uses just a bow and arrow can shoot better than them. They paid RM900 for a bow sight and much more for all the bells and whistles. We also met some folks who had a rig the price of a small car but were too afraid to compete at tournaments because they don't want to "lose face", which is a typical Asian trait. We also met folks who boast about their "perfect" archery form. The form was too perfect, they got banned from tournaments. But to top it all, there was this Man-Gorilla half-breed who boasted about this range and elite club members. It was so elite, it got closed down because animals were maimed and killed near the premises. This personality is so thick-skinned, he actually shot at Keramat and bolted off when the Rangemaster arrives.

Anyway, we were invited to shoot at the Keramat range by an old friend who is also the club's Rangemaster. Currently, we are helping him out to raise funds to upkeep the target butts and stands. Hopefully, this will be done after we host a small inter-club Barebow tournament for the man.

The Keramat range is a great place to train. As a Barebow archer, I'm glad that the National Archery Association had included the class in their target archery events. Hopefully, when the flu pandemic is over, we can compete there...


 A phone call to an old friend...

I gave a call to my old friend at The Star Media Group. Followed up with him on the wrong picture being used in a story that implicated cyclists on highways.

He regretted that it was a mistake. But I told him no apology was necessary on his part.

Apparently, the online team had used an old picture by doing a search on the company's image repository. 

It turned out that the photo was an unused image from a series of pictures I took back when I wrote about cycling on the Federal Highway bike lane. This was attributed to my personal take on what it was like cycling from home to work.

Many mistakes and some, causing law-suits have arisen from this. 

Why? The person did not perform a fact check and the filing system was done incorrectly. Another good friend of mine who fetched the wrong wire story was sent to the can because of this.

It's all good...

I'm not seeking legal recourse on the matter, but rather let the people who did the mistake to make it good. The picture was replaced with another that actually depicts cyclist on a closed highway.

Far from over...

But, for cyclists, the issue of folks taking it out on highways is still an issue. Some genius from the Malaysian Institute on Road Safety had come out with the idea of issuing licence plates for bicycles. And this was taken all the way up to the Transport Ministry. I think it's silly. Anyway, the onus is on a cyclist to abide by the Law and respect all road users.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Judge, Jury, Executioner...


A Witchhunt...

The Cops posted a statement on their Facebook page. They warned cyclists not to use the highway as their trampling grounds. This is founded as it is an offence to cycle on the Highway under the Road Transport Act. As a matter of fact, the Cops also posted a picture of a cyclist being detained by highway patrolmen in relation to the matter.

And here's where things got really interesting. A friend on mine posted a link to Carsifu.my on a related article. It has a picture of me posing next to a motorcycle and bicycle sign on the Federal Highway. The story made an example of the cyclist on a Highway. But, without verifying facts, they published the story without a caption. To the uninitiated, the traffic offence is indirectly linked to the photo. 

For the record...

The picture was lifted by The Star straight from my Facebook photo album. It was taken more than eight years ago when I cycled to work from my home in Subang Jaya to Section 16 in Petaling Jaya. I used the main road to connect with the bike lane along the Federal Highway. I did not cycle on the runoff on the Highway. Instead, I used the designated bike lane to get to work.

A series of photographs captured above explains the route taken from Subang Jaya to Petaling Jaya via the Federal Highway bike lane. And as a rule of thumb, it is against the Law to cycle on the car lanes along the Highway. You don't have to be a brain surgeon to figure that out. I used the bike lane, not the car lane. So, how is this against the Law?

An axe to grind?

The photo was my personal visual entry on Facebook. Only friends can access the images. The person who published the photo is perhaps no stranger to pictures of me cycling everywhere. 

The question here is "what is their agenda?" Is The Star, being a moral guardian -- saying that it is wrong to stand next to a road sign and take pictures? 

They singled me out to make a point, based on a Facebook statement by the Cops on the dangers of cycling on the Highway and the penalties of doing so if caught.

If I had actually done it on the Highway, then there is no argument. But this was not the case. The people who ran this story actually took the trouble to scour my Facebook album and used the photo without properly verifying the facts. In fact, they published it without my permission. And just so that you know, this image was taken on a tripod and self-timer. I am the rightful owner of the photo.

Why so personal? 

Aren't there any pictures of cyclists actually caught in the act? I won't draw any irrational conclusions. Perhaps it is poor training on the part of the Editor in this case. Any responsible journalist would check for the correct facts before the story makes it to final print. 

Two things are in play. First, they violated my privacy by using the photo without permission. Second, they incriminated me by associating the image to the offence under the Road Transport Act. Was it deliberate? No one knows until some fella has the balls to own up. Till then, we wait and see.

The right thing to do is to contact the owner of the photo and give a reasonable explanation to the public shaming of a cyclist using the Federal Highway bike lane as a means to commute to work...

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Mora: A knife of all seasons...

A chance discovery...

Back in the early 90s, I did plenty of bluewater fishing. One of my requirements was a bait knife. So, while shopping at a local tackle store, I round a Swedish-made knife. It came with a plastic sheath and a finger guard. The price? RM12 a pop. I didn't hesitate to grab the knife. It has some surface pitting, but that didn't really bother me at all.
I took it with me in countless trips to the ocean and it became a loyal companion.
The knife in question was a KJ Eriksson Mora. It's a simple fixed-blade knife with a green plastic handle. It came with a plastic sheath and a PVC belt loop.
The blade length is 3.75" which made it an ideal utility knife for food preparation. As a bait knife, it served its purpose till I settled for a Martiini fillet knife.

Carbon steel

Now, if you ask some knife collectors and "steel snobs" they will scoff at carbon steel. But, if you want something cheap and good, and you know how to maintain it, the Mora is a knife that can be handed down generations.
Carbon steel isn't so bad. But if you don't take care of it, surface rust will set in and damage the knife.
I had some issues when I stored the knife. Atmospheric pollution contributed to some heavy surface corrosion. This was taken care of by polishing the blade with abrasive paper.
Once restored, the Mora is as good as new.
Carbon steel is also very easy to sharpen, but edge retention is not the best.
You have to keep sharpening it after some use. The heavier the usage, the more you will have to work on it. 
But, hey, if you pay RM12 for a Mora, it's part of the chore!

The Mora legacy...

There was a resurgence of the Mora in the mid-2000s when Bushcrafters have heavily promoted the Moras in their social media channel.
It's the "go-for" knife if you want something cheap and reliable. There will be no guilt whacking it.
In the mid-2000s, KJ Eriksson became Morakniv and a new line of Mora utility blades was introduced.
Their market was intended for bushcrafters and purists. Till today, the basic carbon steel mora is still an affordable knife.
With inflation and currency fluctuation, you can purchase a basic carbon steel mora blade for less than RM50 a piece.
And if you take good care of the blade, it will last you a lifetime...