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‘Dump old mentality, too’

October 14, 2019 | Environment, Living, People | No Comments

EXT year, all business premises in Klang must be equipped with a 120-litre rubbish bin or risk having their operating licence revoked or their application rejected by the Klang Municipal Council (MPK).

This is the council’s way of clamping down on errant operators who contribute towards illegal dumping of rubbish.

It is also MPK’s move towards having a more systematic rubbish collection in the municipality.

Over the years, the royal town has been plagued with illegal rubbish dumping problems, because irresponsible people threw rubbish by the roadside, back lanes and into drains.

Construction and domestic waste can often be seen on road kerbs and empty plots of land as well as playgrounds and open spaces.

Restaurant owner Ang Chin Teong, who runs restaurants in Bukit Tinggi and Port Klang, supported the ruling.

He added that stray animals could often be seen scavenging through rubbish for food, especially in areas that has food outlets.

“This will also stop stray animals from scavenging through the rubbish and help keep the commercial areas cleaner, ” said Ang, who has placed large rubbish bins of his own outside his two eateries.

Another restaurant owner operating in Jalan Tengku Kelana T. Muthusamy said having proper rubbish bins was important to encourage people to dispose of waste responsibly.

“A majority of shops in my area already have rubbish bins and the area is a lot cleaner as compared to a few years ago, ” he said, adding that people must change their attitude and stop littering.

“There can be 100 rubbish bins placed outside shops, but if people’s mentality does not change, Klang will still be dirty, ” he said.

He lauded the cleaning contractors for working tirelessly to keep Jalan Tengku Kelana clean and rubbish-free.

Resident Mohamed Hussain Mohd Maideen said he noticed the lack of rubbish bins in commercial areas around Klang.

“We often see piles of black rubbish bags on the ground outside the shops.

“Commercial areas in Taman Sri Andalas, Sentosa and near MPK are lacking proper rubbish bins.

“I have also seen people dumping the black bins into the drains, ” he said.

He urged MPK to provide rubbish bins to all houses and commercial lots to standardise rubbish disposal and prevent illegal dumping.

“MPK should look into providing leach bins at hotspots to tackle illegal rubbish dumping, ” he said.

In Petaling Jaya, he said, each house is given a rubbish bin by Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) to keep the city clean.

Taman Klang Jaya Residents Association chairman S. Tilaka said market traders should also be provided with rubbish bins.

“They need to have their own bins to throw rubbish in a responsible manner.

“In my neighbourhood, the market is operated by many foreigners and rubbish is a huge problem here, ” she said, adding that a permanent solution was needed to tackle this problem and urged MPK enforcement officers to carry out their duties more diligently.

Sentosa assemblyman G. Gunaraj was glad MPK was taking a tougher approach regarding rubbish disposal at shops and restaurants.

“Most shops in Klang are not equipped with rubbish bins and the rubbish ends up on the road.

“The owners are at risk of getting slapped with a RM1,000 compound.

“With rubbish bins, it will be easier to monitor if rubbish contractors are doing their jobs as per schedule.

“If the bins are still full, then we can call the contractors, but if littering continues then we know it is not their fault, ” he said.

MPK corporate communications director Norfiza Mahfiz said all business premises were notified about the new ruling.

“We have issued notices to business owners about the regulations for next year’s licence renewals and they all must have a rubbish bin to get it approved, ” she said.

Kumpulan Darul Ehsan (KDEB) Waste Management Sdn Bhd managing director Ramli Mohd Tahir lauded the move as it would keep the area cleaner.

“Traders nowadays simply throw their waste by the roadside and it looks very dirty.

“The bins will make it easier for us to collect rubbish, ” he said.

KDEB Waste Management took over rubbish collection and cleaning operations in the state since July 2016.

-thestar

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A majority of sexual harassment cases in the workplaces go unreported. Research by the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the US found that 99.8% of people who are harassed do not formally report the experience. This finding is common around the world.

One reason is that victims of harassment don’t feel safe or supported enough to report their experience to their superiors, let alone their company management. Victims, overwhelmingly women, are afraid they will be labeled as troublemakers or be victimized for speaking out against a colleague.

So they stay silent.

In Malaysia, activists have long lobbied for a Sexual Harassment Bill to be enacted. Though the government says such an act in on the cards, it is unlikely that it will be tabled in the next parliamentary seating.

“Malaysia is still in the early stages of progress in tackling harassment. Many people are not aware of what harassment really is, and that’s a conversation we need and want to have,” says LeadWomen CEO Dr Marcella Lucas.

“People immediately assume that harassment has to be sexual in nature, but it includes everything from intimidation, discrimination and bullying, to physical and psychological discomfort, all the way up to sexual harassment.”

Hoping to get the conversation going, LeadWomen is organizing a two-day conference titled #ItsNotOK?! on Oct 14 and 15 for senior decision-makers and policymakers of companies. Their aim: To facilitate discussions on creating harassment-free work spaces.

“To tackle workplace harassment, company culture needs an adjustment from the top down. Power dynamics is very much in play when harassment happens. We want to target key decision-makers in companies who can influence and create change,” Lucas explains.

“Oftentimes it’s difficult to draw a specific line when dealing with harassment, for instance the difference between a joke and actual harassment. It’s these shades of grey that we don’t talk about but need to.”

In a 2014 study by the Association of Women Lawyers Malaysia, 31% of lawyers surveyed in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor reported that they have experienced some form of sexual harassment in the course of their employment.

Another survey by YouGov Omnibus found that 36% of Malaysian women and 17% of Malaysian men have experienced sexual harassment, with only about half reporting or telling someone about it.

“In any case of workplace harassment, there is the victim, the perpetrator and the observer. The observer is the key to creating safe work spaces,” Lucas asserts. “We have all been observers of harassment in one way or another. If observers are empowered, it influences the perpetrator and the victim as well.”

This statement was echoed by workplace harassment expert Patti Perez, VP of workplace strategy at the US firm, Emtrain. “Companies must train employees on how to stop workplace harassment. The only wrong answer when it comes to intervening is doing nothing,” says Perez, a speaker at the upcoming conference.

“Employers must drive this point home and encourage bystanders to intervene or object to the act at that moment, or they can report it to the management. The workforce must be educated on how to intervene effectively, in ways that do not increase tensions surrounding the issue,” she stressed.

Perez adds that companies must create a “culture of truth-telling”, so that employees feel safe to report their concerns, speak up for themselves, and speak up on behalf of others.

Women’s rights activist Betty Yeoh from Malaysia’s All Women’s Action Society agrees that not enough has been done to deal with workplace harassment. “There are still gaps in how corporations handle sexual harassment. These gaps need to be identified and rectified,” she says.

“Often, workplaces are more concerned with punishing the perpetrator, but it is crucial to ensure that there are adequate support systems in place for victims too. Ways on how to educate those found to be sexual harassers should also be looked into.”

The It’sNotOK?! conference will see Malaysian and international experts come together to provide participants with a 360° perspective of workplace harassment through the lenses of culture, gender, psychology and the law.

“I hope that through the conference, leaders of corporations will become more aware of the realities of workplace harassment, and are committed to creating a safe, non-toxic, harassment and discrimination-free work spaces,” says Yeoh.

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“No pain, no gain, no complaint” is the motto of 11-year-old Sangeeta Retnakumar. That has led the bubbly, pint-sized girl to not only represent Malaysia in several figure skating tournaments in Asia, but also winning first place in many of them.

Sangeeta first started competing professionally four years ago and today, ranks No.8 in Asia in the world of figure skating, according to the Ice Skating Institute Asia (ISIAsia).

“I like figure skating because there is a sense of freedom when I’m gliding around on the ice. It gives me the opportunity to be creative, express myself and also entertain the people who are watching,” she says.

She adds that while it is fun and exciting participating in all the tournaments, it is also “very challenging and difficult”. Hence, it is fulfilling when she is able to successfully perform an element such as a spin, spiral, jump or footwork.

Sangeeta, who began skating at the age of seven, has been trained in technical skill, speed, consistency and artistry on ice. She is also working on improving her figure skating skills under two coaches – Angeline Chan from Malaysia and Michelle Chak from Hong Kong.

The competitive figure skater that Sangeeta admires most is former (Winter) Olympic champion Yuna Kim, 28, from South Korea.

“Her facial expressions are great, and her programme – including her jumps, spins and other elements – are just so powerful. I hope to be like her one day,” she enthuses.

“My goal (currently) is to qualify for the Winter Olympics and win,” Sangeeta adds, the passion in her eyes evident.

She also aims to represent Malaysia in figure skating at the SEA Games and ISU Junior Grand Prix.

Although she still has a few more years to prepare since the youngest age for contestants is 16 for the Winter Olympics and SEA Games, and 13 for the ISU Junior Grand Prix, she admits that it is no easy task.

“There are many talented figure skaters in Malaysia and in the world. And there is only one spot (for figure skating) for Malaysia in the Winter Olympics,” she says.

A factor that Sangeeta and her family agree upon that helps increase a skater’s chances of winning is “more time on the ice”.

“According to Sunway Pyramid Ice’s head coach Harry Janto Leo from Indonesia, who is also ISIAsia’s president, one needs to skate at least 30 hours per week,” says Sangeeta’s father, Retnakumar Annamalai, 41.

“In Russia, a skating student spends six hours on the ice per day because they have a specialised school for skating,” adds Gayateri Hariskrishnan, 39, Sangeeta’s mother.

“That’s why it is easy for skaters from the United States, Canada and Russia to have many gold medallists. They prepare from a very young age.

“Besides having specialised skating schools, in certain regular schools, they also incorporate skating into the physical education curriculum,” Retnakumar says, adding that they hope to eventually send their daughter to Russia to study at the skating school, even though that would involve costs and perhaps uprooting the family.

When asked why she selected skating over other more popular sports in Malaysia such as badminton or squash, Sangeeta replies: “Because I don’t like to ‘fight’ against an opponent to win. I believe that I’m my own best competition and I want to succeed in being the best me.”

She went on to explain that even though there are other contestants in skating tournaments, judging is by a point system so consistency, progress and improvement are important.

Balancing act

So how does Sangeeta juggle school and training for competitions?

“It’s all in the schedule – follow it and it will be okay!” says Sangeeta, who goes to SK Pusat Bandar Puchong 2, Selangor.

Sangeeta, whose favorite subjects are Science and Art, adds that usually she will go for tournaments that take place during the school holidays so that it doesn’t disrupt her studies.

It takes roughly two months for her to prepare for a skating tournament and she usually has practice three to four times a week, usually spending the whole day after school at the rink.

Her skating achievements have been recognised by her school and she was recently awarded the Tokoh Harapan Kokurikulum (Most Promising Student Icon in Co-Curriculum Activities) in 2018.

Currently, Sangeeta is preparing for Skate Hong Kong 2019, which will take place in November.

Besides training hard and spending more time on the ice, Sangeeta believes that having the love and support of parents who believe in her and are willing to sacrifice to help her achieve her goals is instrumental to her success as a professional figure skater.

“It is like Walt Disney’s saying: ‘All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them’,” says Gayateri.

“But it is not always easy and there are many sacrifices involved,” Retnakumar adds.

This includes ferrying Sangeeta around for classes on weekdays and waking up at 4.30am on weekends to bring her for classes that start at 6am, as she has to be there an hour earlier to warm up.

Figure skating is also an expensive sport. As a skater progresses, she has to put in more hours and more costs are involved.

“But it is her passion and we wish to see her succeed,” her parents say in unison.

Sangeeta’s lifelong goal is dependent on her winning in the Winter Olympics.

“I hope to start an ice skating school here in Malaysia, and to eventually coach too,” she says.

Sangeeta with her coach Angeline Chan at Skate Malaysia 2017. – Gayateri Harikrishnan
Sangeeta won first place in the Freestyle event at Skate Malaysia 2018.
Sangeeta wins five gold medals in Skate Malaysia 2019. – Gayateri Harikrishnan
Sangeeta (top right) with her parents and younger siblings. – Gayateri Harikrishnan

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40 hari tinggal dalam kereta

August 26, 2019 | People | No Comments

“ADA perkara yang mereka kata sehingga membuatkan saya kecil hati. Jadi lebih baik saya keluar daripada rumah kerana tidak mahu susahkan mereka.”

Demikian luahan seorang wanita yang tinggal di dalam Perodua Kancil di Taman Suria, Pendamar, Pelabuhan Klang.

Wanita berusia 51 tahun yang enggan namanya disiarkan berkata, dia mengambil keputusan tinggal di dalam kereta selepas berkecil hati dengan anak serta menantunya sejak 40 hari lalu.

“Saya nak keluar dari kawasan itu, namun kereta saya tidak boleh bergerak membuatkan saya terpaksa tinggal di dalam kereta selama 40 hari sebelum dibantu oleh Lembaga Zakat Selangor (LZS).

“Memang saya ada niat nak pergi rumah anak yang lain, namun belum tentu mereka terima saya. Mesej ucapan Aidilfitri saya pun tidak dibalas,” katanya ketika dihubungi Harian Metro.

Katanya, dia berterima kasih kepada penduduk yang menghantar makanan sepanjang berada di dalam Perodua Kancil miliknya itu.

“Penduduk ada tawarkan untuk tinggal bersama mereka tetapi saya enggan sebab tidak mahu susahkan mereka. Jadi mereka menghubungi LZS untuk bantu saya.

“Saya juga berterima kasih kepada LZS yang sewakan rumah untuk saya. InsyaAllah, ketika ini saya sedang mencari kerja dan mahu membuka gerai masakan jika diberi peluang,” katanya.

Sementara itu, Ketua Operasi Agihan LZS Daerah Klang, Mohd Shahril Ritin berkata, pihaknya bergegas ke lokasi parkir di pangsapuri itu selepas mendapat maklumat pada 19 Ogos lalu.

“Kebetulan terdapat sebuah rumah sewa di kawasan berdekatan. Kami terus sewa rumah itu dengan membantu membayar wang pendahuluan serta bulanan.

“Selain itu, wanita terbabit turut menerima bantuan kecemasan zakat sebanyak RM500 bagi memulakan hidup.

“Kami turut menyediakan bantuan makanan selain membantu membaiki kenderaannya bagi memudahkan dia keluar mencari kerja nanti,” katanya.

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A work by a Malaysian author has won a Hugo Award, widely considered to be the premier award for science fiction.

If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again, by Zen Cho, received the Hugo Award for Best Novelette at a ceremony during the 77th World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) in Dublin, Ireland, on Aug 18.

This award is given to the best science fiction or fantasy story of between 7,500 and 17,500 words published in the prior calendar year.

Also nominated in this category were works by Tina Connolly, Daryl Gregory, Brooke Bolander, Naomi Kritzer and Simone Heller.

“I’m thrilled. It was unexpected – I was pleased to be nominated because I was attending Worldcon this year anyway, and I was keen to go to the Hugo Losers party hosted each year by George R.R. Martin. But I had my bets about who would win and it wasn’t me!” Cho said, when contacted via Facebook.

According to Cho, the story was written after she had struggled with a very challenging writing project that had left her feeling like a failure.

“It’s about how life is about more than success and failure, but also how it’s important that you don’t give up on the things you really want. It feels like a reward from the universe to have the story recognised in this way – a balm for many years of effort and rejection!” Cho said.

Born and raised in Selangor, Cho, 33, is currently based in Britain, where she works as a lawyer.

She is the author of two novels, Sorcerer To The Crown (2015) and its sequel, The True Queen (2019). She edited the anthology Cyberpunk Malaysia (2015).

Her first published work, the anthology Spirits Abroad, was a joint winner of the IAFA William L. Crawford Fantasy Award in 2015 (with Stephanie Feldman). Sorcerer To The Crown also won the 2016 British Fantasy Award for Best Newcomer.

The Hugo Awards are a set of literary awards voted on by members of the current World Science Fiction Convention and presented annually by the World Science Fiction Society for the best science fiction or fantasy works of the previous year.

First awarded in 1953, they are named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories.

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The ‘Special Remark’ section of a food delivery order can be a delightful place.In the past, customers have made cheeky requests from food delivery riders, some of which were actually fulfilled from time to time.

Take, for example, when local YouTuber AnimaJinx asked for “a handsome guy”… and McDelivery delivered: 

And that one time this guy asked McDonald’s to give him “the most chilli sauce in Malaysia” and they sent an entire plastic bag full of chilli sauce packets:

While most of these amusing encounters are of the “layan je” variety, the latest delivery story to have gone viral shows a McDelivery rider who went above and beyond to fulfill a sick customer’s request

In the “Special Instructions” section of his order (below), Twitter user @amirulizarin wrote, “Hello bro, if you don’t mind please help me buy some Panadol. I’ll pay you later. Thanks.”

To his surprise, he was touched to find that the rider actually read his remark and had included a packet of Panadol along with his order.

The heartwarming encounter was widely shared on Twitter, where it has already amassed close to 29k retweets and messages of praise from Malaysians:

It may be a simple gesture, but this story certainly gives us the fuzzies. We appreciate you, abang and kakak riders!

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Heineken 0.0 strictly for non-Muslims

July 15, 2019 | Lifestyle, People | No Comments

The newly launched Heineken 0.0 is non-halal and strictly for the consumption of non-Muslims aged 21 and above, according to Heineken Malaysia Berhad.

The company released a statement, clarifying that all Heineken 0.0 products are only available at the non-halal zone of supermarkets and convenience stores with clear signages indicating that the product is strictly for non-Muslims only.

“In addition, for stores without designated non-halal areas, we are placing clear signages to inform consumers that Heineken 0.0 is strictly for non-Muslims aged 21 and above,” the company said yesterday.

The company said all their marketing materials and press advertisements carry visible disclaimers that Heineken 0.0 is strictly for non-Muslims aged 21 and above only.

It also said the purpose for introducing Heineken 0.0 in Malaysia is to provide a choice for non-Muslim consumers who enjoy the taste of beer but not necessarily the effects of alcohol.

“Meanwhile, the ‘Now You Can’ tagline refers to the various new occasions that Heineken 0.0 allows non-Muslim consumers to enjoy a beer, including at lunch, during work meetings, after gym and when one needs to drive.”

“As a responsible and progressive brewer, Heineken Malaysia is committed to advocating responsible consumption and we believe Heineken 0.0 has an important role to play in this regard,” the company said.

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Like most Malaysian children in middle income families back in the 1980s, Ganesh Asirvatham, 40, “was weaned on a steady diet of Scrabble and Monopoly”. When he was 11, he entered the YMCA youth championship’s competitive Scrabble and finished third.

After tasting victory, he was “hooked” on this word game. In fact, his passion for Scrabble drove him to excel in it. Currently, he is the world’s No.1 Scrabble player, according to the World English Language Scrabble Players Association (Wespa).

Ganesh said: “I had no idea (then) that there was competitive Scrabble in Malaysia and even a World Scrabble Championship.”

After he was introduced to the competitive Scrabble scene, there was no turning back.

Ganesh, who hails from Klang, Selangor, was an English language lecturer for 10 years before he joined the corporate sector. He now works as a senior manager of learning and development for Standard Chartered Global Business Services in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur.

He represents Malaysia in international Scrabble competitions. He was the World Scrabble Championship 2007 second runner-up and the former Guinness World Record holder in 2007 for the most Scrabble opponents played simultaneously by one challenger.

The record took place on Nov 7, 2007, in Mumbai, India. Ganesh played against 25 people, and won 21 out of 25 games. He was funded by the Malaysian Scrabble Association.

{2nd LEAD pic} Ganesh (left) playing against his opponent Ayorinde Saidu of Nigeria, in the 2018 Alchemist Cup held in Penang, and emerged the winner. — NATHANAEL ELIJAH KUMAR

Playing with words

In his teens, he was the top junior player in the country from 13 until 19. He said: “Given my propensity to play really fast and that I was built like a large vehicle (weighing 130kg at one time, though he is now down to 80kg), I was assigned the moniker Ganesh Express by the late StarTwo Scrabble columnist Leonard Wong.”

At 16, Lady Luck smiled on him as his family moved close to the home of the then Malaysian national Scrabble champion Raja Fuadin Abdullah who took him under his wing and became his mentor.

Ganesh was already one of the competitors in Asia who represented Malaysian in the first ever World Scrabble Championship in Australia, at the age of 20.

He graduated with a degree in Linguistics from Universiti Putra Malaysia in Serdang, Selangor, in 2003.

“In 2005, I managed to break into the top 10 at the World Champs in London. And in 2007, I made it into the final of World Champs in Mumbai. That was the peak of my Scrabble-playing career as I also managed to get a Guinness World Record for most number of opponents played simultaneously,” he said.

“While at my zenith, I retired in 2008 to focus on other things in life,” he said. He has done solo backpacking through South-East Asia and India. In 2009, he worked in Somalia as an English language teacher and did his Masters in Linguistics before moving to the corporate sector. He’s also had a blast learning French.

Ganesh receiving a prize as winner of the Alchemist Cup 2018 from Michael Tang, the organiser. — NATHANAEL ELIJAH KUMAR

Ganesh said that while he loves being in Human Resources, he keeps in touch with the world of Scrabble.

His love for Scrabble has never waned. He puts in a lot of effort to be where he is at.

“At my peak, I used to play at least 20 hours a week, either with another person or with the computer but more time was spent in word study. It’s absolutely crucial to be certain of the words that are valid, and this sureness only comes with hours of intense memorisation and the use of specialised software to help recall,” he said.

However, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to repeat that phase of his life. “Memorising is a painful process which requires many lonesome hours being focused,” he said.

In 2017, Ganesh resumed playing in competitions.He said: “I wanted to see if I still had what it took to compete with the best and, to that end, I put in a lot of work to get back to my best. It helped that I really hadn’t forgotten the words that I had learnt almost a decade ago, so the effort wasn’t as onerous as I had expected.”

At the end of last year, he took part in a tournament in Penang where 30 of the world’s top players competed.

“I managed to be the overall champion and this secured my ranking as world No.1,” he said.

This year, Ganesh will be representing Malaysia in the World English Language Scrabble Players Association in Goa, India, from Oct 16-20 and will go head-to-head with Nigel Richards, one of the finest players the Scrabble world has ever seen. Richards is currently ranked the world’s No.2 Scrabble player, according to Wespa rankings.

Said Ganesh: “We’ll be playing the best of 20 games to see who’s the better player. This will take place in Genting Highlands on Aug 24 and 25.”

This year, Ganesh will be representing Malaysia in the World English Language Scrabble Players Association in Goa, India, from Oct 16 – 20 and will have a head-to-head with Nigel Richards, currently ranked the world’s No.2 Scrabble player. — ART CHEN / The Star

Coaching young talents

Ganesh is pleased to have the opportunity to work with so many talented children in Malaysia and to see them find pleasure in playing and competing. As a Scrabble coach, he helps young players to develop their gameplay, and shares his experience on how to be a world-class player.

The youth Scrabble scene in Malaysia is exciting and highly competitive, he said. There are events for junior players almost every month. In fact, this year Malaysia is host of the 2019 World Youth Scrabble Championship from Nov 29 – Oct 1.

However, he laments that “it’s a tragedy that Scrabble is not seen as a cool sport”.

“It’s a highly accessible game. You just need to have a love for words and you can get started. It’s game of spatial reasoning, strategy and probability which makes it suitable for all ages as you outwit someone with your stronger word knowledge,” he said. Ganesh confessed: “I often get told that I should play with someone’s aunt or uncle or even someone’s grandmother who apparently has a killer vocabulary and is able to lay waste to opponents at will.”

Competitive Scrabble, he explained, is an exotic kettle of fish.

“The words that we use and the choices that we make are driven by sheer memorisation and the ability to make rapid-fire mathematical and statistical calculations on the go. The ‘mahjonggy’ feel of Scrabble as you rattle the bag in search of the right combination of letters can be subtly addictive,” he said.

For those who play competitive Scrabble, he said: “We go to sleep dreaming of big plays and recondite words that will elicit gasps of amazement. Across the board, relationships are paused as literal carnage ensues with words that have been played to excoriate an opponent. No quarter is given and none is asked.”He reckoned that there is nothing quite like the feeling of pummelling your opponent while they are helpless to defend and attempt to make a comeback of their own.

He likes to think that “competitive Scrabble is not for the faint of heart. Only the ruthless should attempt it”.

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Lim Hung picked up his first Rubik’s Cube in April 2016 and managed to solve it within two weeks after getting some tips on YouTube. That marked the start of the 11-year-old’s interest and achievements in the world of speed cubing.

Today, he is ranked first in Asia for speedcubing (the 3x3x3 cube) with feet, with an average time of 24.86 seconds.

In fact, he achieved that just last week at the Medan Farewell 2019 speedcubing competition in Indonesia. His new record also means he is now ranked second in the world, according to the World Cube Association.

“I still can’t believe that I made it! I didn’t expect much because I would then get nervous. I just went to the competition and tried my best,” shares Lim, a private school student.

His mother, who has been very supportive of him all this while, couldn’t be more proud.

“I’m very happy for him as he’s been practising very hard to achieve this dream. I am glad to see that his dedication has finally paid off,” says Joyce Peh.

Lim took part in his first local competition – the INTI International University Open – in October 2016 but did not win anything.

That did not deter him one bit and he continued to practice diligently. In fact, he even started to cube with his feet.

A year later, he entered the New Zealand Nationals 2017, his first overseas competition. There, he got his first podium, or win, obtaining third place for completing the 3x3x3 cube in the shortest time with feet.

“Cubing with the feet is tiring if you’re not used to it. I started to do that in 2017. At first, I just did it for fun, but over time, I got faster. Then in New Zealand, I podiumed third place and that’s when I got more motivated to do it,” says Lim when we meet up recently.

A year later, he took part in the Tangkak Perkasa 2018 competition and won his first local award, earning his first national record for the 3x3x3 with feet at 26.77s in the single-solve category. (Single-solve is the best time achieved in one attempt.)

Then at the 2018 WCA (World Cube Association) Asian Championship in Taiwan, Lim received his first continental award, getting the gold medal in the Asia category and the Overall category for the 3x3x3 with feet.

On Sept 28 last year, Lim was officially listed in the Malaysia Book Of Records for achieving the Fastest Rubik’s Cube Solved With Feet at 29.352s.

On Sept 28 last year, Lim was officially listed in the Malaysia Book Of Records for achieving the Fastest Rubik’s Cube Solved With Feet at 29.352s.

Practice makes perfect
Lim practices from half an hour to three hours a day, depending on his homework and whether he has other activities on. An avid swimmer, Lim, whose favorite subjects are Math and Science, is also into computer games.

Peh, 43, lets Lim handle his own schedule.

“I pretty much leave it to him, on one condition – that he finishes his homework first. But he is OK, he can manage his own time. Solving the cube requires memorizing a lot of steps. But he manages to do it and I’m happy for him,” says Peh.

At the WCA Asian Championship 2018 in Taiwan where he received a gold medal in the Asia category and the Overall category for the 3x3x3 with feet.

Later this month (July 11-14), Lim will take part in the WCA World Championship 2019 in Melbourne, where he hopes to be named world champion.

“That’s my next target, I guess. But I don’t want to give myself too much pressure or else I’ll mess it up during the competition. I will just try my best. At the same time, I’ll spend a bit more time to explore my interests in other events.

“Hopefully, I can be an all-rounded cuber in future,” says the former student of Beaconhouse Sri Inai International School, Petaling Jaya.

“There is a difference between doing good at home and doing good at a competition because at home, there’s no pressure, it’s just you and the cube and the timer.

“But in competitions, it takes hard work because it takes you a long time to get over your nerves.”

So how does he calm his nerves? “Breathe. I just breathe,” says Lim, matter-of-factly.

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