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Category: Sports

From Stingrays to Sepang

KV just found out 3 of his female uni friends purchased new laptops to replace their spoilt ones just very recently. Which kinda demonstrates that something is quite not right with our fairer sex, since we guys tax our laptops waa-a-a-y more than the other species, yet ours are still working fine. Go figure. Yes, I am gladly, & justifiably, stereotyping! Even met a girl who never thought of the basic need to install an antivirus program, teeheee.

PPPPPIIIIIIIIAAAAAAAAOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW!!!!

Frankly, I have no idea how to construct a Formula One car sound with roman letters, but it sure was mind-blowing!

It all started when Ed the Meche Nerd & I the Meche Stud formed a partnership to participate in UTP’s Formula One Innovative Design Contest. What we had to do was to come up with our own conceptual design of a Formula One car using a design engineering software (CATIA/AutoCAD) & justify our design innovations. So, deciding to go all-out in our creative flair (since Ed is a CATIA maestro, making it a software-design reality would be quite possible) while taking a heck load of liberties with FiA’s rules & regulations, we designed with implementation of some radical concepts such as a covered driver cockpit, lowered engine air intake, oval sidepods, extended rear side bodies that sweep above the rear wheels, a 3-blade 2008-inspired front wing, & we topped it all off with a split rear wing, all in the name of aerodynamics – minimizing drag, increasing downforce, reducing rear turbulence – & more importantly, innovation. Our Formula One concept car was given the name The Stingray.

What Mr. Nerd & Mr. Stud we weren’t prepared for was actually qualifying for the final top 3 teams. Or that we had to present a formal technical presentation in UTP’s Chancellor Hall in the final. Or, even more significant, that the judges who would be evaluating us in the final are Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsports Director), Peter Sauber (Sauber Team Principal), & (are you ready for this) the BMW Sauber F1 drivers themselves, Robert Kubica & Nick Heidfeld.

Kubica & Heidfeld

Robert Kubica & Nick Heidfeld during the autograph session at UTP Complex

Yup, in case you have not read it from the papers, the BMW Sauber F1 team dropped by UTP during the week leading up to Sepang for a Formula One-filled day of activities, coordinated by Petronas Motorsports & UTP. & one of the activities were the presentations by the finalists of the Innovative Design contest.

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Introducing our concept design

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Presenting at the Chancellor’s Hall in front of the crowd & the panel of judges

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Explaining how we tackled the surface pressure analysis factor into our design

We ended up as 2nd place winners. I think we presented well that day (based on feedback, since we had reporters & students coming up to us personally telling how impressed they were with our design & presentation), & the judges were not too hard on us (questions came from Heidfeld & Theissen, who commented that we were being very adventurous, haha). It was an exceptionally humbling experience, being my first technical presentation in front of the mighty BMW Sauber F1 bosses & drivers; yet what an opportunity it was! & me having to orally present in the intimidating Chancellor’s Hall was daunting yet memorable, & surprisingly I was not exactly nervous, so it was a first sign of how beneficial the PCS course was!

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All the winners with (from left) our Rector, Theissen, Sauber, Kubica & Heidfeld

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Supporters, thank you very much!

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Posing with UTP Rector, Datuk Dr. Zainal, & our mock ticket

Wait till you read what we won as prizes each. Sepang F1 Grandstand Diamond Corporate Platform tickets worth RM1950 each, a RM600 BMW Sauber F1 sling bag (ridiculously, & suspiciously, overpriced), & accomodation at Hotel Maya KL with certain meals provided from Thursday to Monday! Pretty awesome for what only started as a little creative afterthought eh?

So on Thursday, off the top 5 winners went on a fully-sponsored KL/Sepang tour trip that was jointly sponsored by ESPN & Petronas. We the UTP design winners were joined in the group by other contest winners from Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan & Indonesia, though their contest was not a design competition, rather a guess-the-champion kinda contest. But just like them, I was taking this trip as a welcomed honeymoon break from UTP life.

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Yawning before departure. Mak cik cleaner not coming along for the ride

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First thing upon reaching KL, check into a 5-star hotel

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With the most bubbly, fantastic, open-minded chaperone you can ever get, Miss Suhana

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This was taken during the 1st night buffet welcome dinner at the hotel, which was impeccable – huge oysters, sushis, sirloin steaks, marshmallows & berries dipped in chocolate fountain, topped off with Haagen-Dasz

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More sponsored goodies!

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With Jacinth & Juliana, our tour group coordinators from Leo Burnett, at the KLCC sky bridge

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At Menara KL with Pearl & Kiddick from Thailand

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The whole group – big hearty thanks to ESPN & Petronas from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia & Taiwan!

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Marching towards Sepang, Qualifying Day

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A wet Race Day: BMW Sauber supporters for the day. Petronas, please ignore the red bags

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Would have very much preferred to join these guys: the prancing horse of Scuderia Ferrari has always been in my heart since I was a kid

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Couldn’t resist a Ferrari polo tee, RM300 hangus. Ed also puchased one though he wasn’t a Ferrari fan at all, damn potong stim for loyal fans like I

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Having corporate platform ticks allows you a free Golf GTi ride from the gate to the grandstands

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With my old Mercedes-Benz Malaysia colleagues, Anida & Liz, at the Mercedes-Benz booth. How I miss them, such delightful colleagues they were during my internship there

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Anida: “Tahun nih got your McLaren SLR kat display!”

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Pictures like these make me feel tall & huge.

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Juliana & Jacinth showing who’s behind all this

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The F1 drivers performing their publicity duties. Apologies to Petronas, Kubica & Heidfeld, for I was cheering for Raikkonen

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The gorgeous M-Benz AMG safety & medic cars. I was drooling at the SL63 AMG, that babe purred like no other

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If cars are not your thing, there are always the local women to oggle at

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But if local women are not your cup of tea, salivate at imported babes then

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The teams setting up at the grid for the formation lap. Thank you Kimi for qualifying P7, for you were directly in front of us! Watching the extremely thorough Ferrari engineers & crew working was an inspirational moment

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1 of the main reasons I was looking forward to, seeing my idol – Michael Schumacher, the only driver who was as mean as the machine he drove. He waved back at us when I joined the crowd in hollering his name. The sore throat was worth it, could have died a happy man that day.

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It’s Kimi Raikkonen! Looking as oblivious-to-the-crowd as ever

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He didn’t even look remotely interested in shaking Najib’s hand, it was quite obvious Kimi did not give a shit

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When the race started, let’s just say…thank God for those ear plugs

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20 V8 engines rumbling together waiting for the red lights to go off, & screaming away towards the first corner…the sound was so unbelievable I could have shat, or shitted…whatever, in my pants. The sound itself was worth the admission price. You have got to hear it LIVE

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Button in his overperforming Brawn GP

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A lying arrogant wanker called Hamilton in his underperforming McLaren

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You would have known by now that the race was later red-flagged because of the rain & looming darkness

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Which led to rather bizarre scenes

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A picture-perfect moment of the BMW Sauber crew packing up in the pits after the race

1 of the disadvantages of watching an actual Grand Prix live is that we totally had no idea what the hell was happening, & amongst the confusion, the rather horrible commentary (or rather, mumbling) over the grandstand speakers did not help. However, putting aside the red flag & the wait & all, the race was a sublime strategic face-off coupled with spellbinding tactical brilliance, with half of the racing done in the pits. Absolutely insane stuff, & it would have been perfect if the race was eventually restarted, but well, we can’t have it all.

After the race, we had free admission to the Jamiroquai after-race concert held at the helipad area just beside the race track. Corporate hospitality was again being blessed upon us as we had a special viewing stage for corporate ticket holders, along with free food & flow of drinks, beer & wine included. Incredibly, not even the constant downpour could dampen the crowd’s spirits, & Jamiroquai was pretty much in their element. Even though their songs sounded pretty much the same,  they certainly brought the funk to Sepang. The muddy grounds were not very kind to my Porsches though.

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View from the corporate stage, Jamiroquai strutting their stuff onstage

Eventually, all good things come to an end, & we discovered that the end of our honeymoon break arrived only too soon on Monday.

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Miss Suhana doing her last jig (hangover from Jamiroquai the night before) before returning to her daily executive responsibilities in UTP

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Departure back to Tronoh. Rats.

& after 5 days of 5-star treatment, I have to start getting used to the idea of not waking up in the morning to a hot shower & buffet breakfast.

Thanks all for the gorgeous pictures, especially to the DSLRs of Cem & Saf!

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The Truckers Slay Them All!

    On the 26th of April (last Saturday), the annual Mercedes-Benz Malaysia Inter-Department Badminton Tournament took place at Menara TM’s Multipurpose Hall. Each participating department team consisted of 2 pairs of men doubles & 1 pair of mix doubles (+ reserves), where each round winner will be determined by the best of 3. Among some of the teams that participated were representatives from Sales & Marketing Passenger Cars Dept, Finance & Controlling Dept, Pekan Assemblying Plant, Commercial Vehicles (MB & Fuso) Dept & students from the Mercedes-Benz Academy Training Centre.

MBCV Team A & B

MB Commercial Vehicles Team A & Team B together, in our Mitsubishi Fuso kit

Team ATC

MB Academy Training Centre

Finance & Controlling Dept.

& the best-dressed award goes to…Finance & Controlling Dept, har har

The trophies at stake

The trophies with the famous star logo

    The day belonged to my team, Slayer (Commercial Vehicles Team A) which beat hot favourites See-Da-Hand (Academy Training Centre, ATC) in the final 2-1 to emerge overall champions. Our 1st men doubles pairing, Gary & Kamarol, did superbly in disposing the 1st pairing from ATC (1 of them was a super-smasher state player by the way) in 3 hard-fought sets, especially in the 1st set which they won only by a mere point. See-Da-Hand leveled the team score when they trounced us in the mix doubles match, before Jason & I took the court in the final decisive 2nd men doubles match. We took the 1st set rather convincingly, before losing the 2nd set meekly. Thankfully we both regained our form, & my partner was really good, so I just had to support him in the 3rd set, to finally land the needed winning point for the team. The Joker (Finance & Controlling Dept.), led by their very own Vice President Ralph Kirshmer, ended up taking 3rd placing.

1st Men Doubles

Our 1st men doubles in action against ATC

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How to play against the pairing of the Vice President & Senior Manager in charge of our company’s finances? You beat them, they cut funds for your gaji. Luckily HR dept. didn’t play…

Huh?

Su Wen got the biggest cheers for cutest & confused look of the day…& that fitting shirt

Me!

Yours truly in action in the final…this time in our MBCV kit

    As the tournament was played in the 21-point format, mistakes proved costly throughout our entire game. I played so “kan-cheong”ly at times that Gary warned me rather menacingly just before the final: “Kevin you better play with your brains ah! You don’t use your brains I straaaangle you ah!”, hahaha. I also seemed to have suffered the 2nd set disease, because I won every 1st set & then lost every 2nd set in every round all the way to the final, which meant every game I played went to rubber sets. What the heck man.

With Ralph

Receiving my trophy from Ralph Kirshmer, V. President of Finance & Controlling Dept

Champions!

With our champion trophies…the truck slayers! Ok, that was lame…

    All in all, it was indeed a spirited experience, filled with laughs especially from the super hyper mix doubles team from Pekan who fumbled their way through their match in the 1st round. The girls who participated certainly liven up things & kept everything less serious. Some of our umpires made us laugh when they got confused, losing count using the unpopular 21-point format. At the end of the day, it was all in good spirit & sportsmanship, & of course, fun.

Arsenal: Shattered Promises…

    Unbelievable. Another season, but the same shit happens. Arsenal’s promising season collapsed towards the end, yet again, & in a manner of weeks, yet again.

    I was 1 of the few fans who always trusted Wenger, no matter what drastic decisions he makes. He has made many in recent seasons. It started with Viera. & when Henry, who will always remain a Highbury (& a brief Emirates) legend, left for Barcelona, I knew it was not the big disaster many made it out to be. Don’t get me wrong, nobody could do what Henry did in Arsenal, but from what I saw last season, the team was so over-reliant on him that players around him suffered when he played poorly, & he was not exactly the most encouraging team-mate on field. I saw his departure as the door finally being opened for Van Persie & the rest of the Gunners to finally breathe.

    It was indeed the right decision. Arsenal’s youthful team played superb football, while Henry is far from his best at Barcelona. It started off in the most promising of ways. Yet again, Wenger chose to not sign any big stars, we all know he has an eye for purchasing unknown gems & turning them into stunning players (Anelka & Henry, among many many other examples). Fabregas is without doubt the most visionary & irreplaceable midfielder in the Premier League, & my personal favourite, Van Persie should be 1st choice in front. Flamini had an outstanding season, & his inclusion in the first-team over Gilberto was justified, while Hleb finally showed spectacular skills we all knew he was capable of; he had a fantastic season. Gallas & Toure formed a formidable understanding at the heart of defence for 3 quarters of the season, Sagna was maturing fast, & the most under-rated player in the team, Clichy, was bombing forward like a hurricane with boundless energy for the entire season. United, Chelsea & Liverpool fans will not agree, but Arsenal played the most impressive football of the season. Look at the way we played against AC Milan at San Siro in the Champions League.

    So what in Wenger’s underpants went wrong for the Gunners?

    The League Cup was never a priority in Wenger’s eyes. Then came the 4-0 drubbing in the FA Cup. Wenger proclaimed it was not their priority for this season as well. But it was the turning point for Arsenal’s flying momentum, as they went through a winless streak in the league since then. Then we drew twice with Liverpool, only to be downed heartbreakingly 4-2 in the 2nd leg of the Champions League quarter-final. Adebayor’s equalizer in the 84th minute was barely celebrated when the penalty from Gerrard arrived. United hammered the final nail in when they undeservingly became 2-1 victors in the Premier League, effectively ending Arsenal’s gallant, promising but shattered season. In the Liverpool 2nd leg match, Arsenal played football worthy of champions in the 1st half, only to collapse in the 2nd half & the final 5 minutes of the match. This was again the case in the Manchester United match. The 1st half was filled with a fantastic display of attacking football from Arsenal, only to be let down by finishing & Song, who was erratic in central defence. We just couldn’t bloody score, & we were punished in the 2nd half. We can complain about the penalty that was never given in the Liverpool 1st leg, but the fact is, we were at fault for our defeats.

    The trouble signs were always there from the beginning. Henry leaving was not 1 of them, it was the perfect opportunity for Van Persie. But this extremely talented forward spent most of the season injured, which was the biggest blow for me. Though I admit Adebayor has scored the more important goals for Arsenal for this season, I’ve never liked his style of play, & he was certainly nowhere near being the Henry-replacement Wenger said he was. Van Persie proved a point when he finally returned from the long injury, when he played like he never left the field at all, only to get another knock. By the time he returned again, it was already too late for Arsenal. Walcott showed glimpses of his true potential in that outstanding run during the Liverpool match & the 2 goals against Birmingham, but he was still taking too long to develop into a true 1st team player. The Gallas & Toure partnership faltered towards the end of the season, & worst, Gallas’s (whose appointment as Captain I never quite agreed) public outbursts was an embarrassment to the club & us fans. Sanderos should have played a bigger role, but he was only allowed limited playing time. The goalkeeper position remained a thorn; both Almunia & cry-baby Lehmann were erratic let-downs. Then came that bizarre bust-up on field between Adebayor & Bendtner. & with the most accurate master of finishers, Eduardo, suffering that horrific injury, it was a crucial & painful blow to the entire club. I still do not know what the eff is happening to Rosicky. Arsenal showed much mental strength, something they never had in the past seasons, in many instances during this season, but yet, lacked the sustaining energy for the most crucial period of all.

    I’m not an expert pundit, nor do I, like Shelby Singh, pretend to be one. Dennis Bergkamp, the greatest Arsenal player of all-time & the scorer of that magical goal against Argentina in the World Cup 98 quarter-final, was the driving reason I became a Gunners fan back then, & for many more years to come, through the ups & downs. But as a fan, I also have to accept the painful frustrations of the past 2 seasons, where Arsenal started with so much promise but faltered towards the end. The side is young & inexperienced, but this excuse has been used too many times. When I titled this “Shattered Promises”, I was not referring to any promises made by Wenger before the season started, I’m talking about how a team so promising ended up in such a heart-braking way. The future looks as bright as always, with Van Persie, Fabregas, Hleb, Walcott, & Clichy, with Diaby & Bendtner waiting for their turns. But the question remains, for this season at least, how a team which played the best, most outstanding & scintillating football of the season actually ended it without any silverware.

    Maybe the players got distracted by fans like this…

    Let’s hope Holland & Spain, the most talented countries never to win anything, will fare better in Euro 2008, just to lift my spirits a little.

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