Next Gen Next Gen en Wearing two hats
She wrote a letter to the company's Human Resource department, showed what she could do during the internship, and got hired permanently as a data analyst specialist.

"The opportunity came along while I was writing my research paper, and my course was focused on statistics and research so the transition was really smooth (from a psychology background).

"I was offered a PhD of a different area of psychology, but turned it down and decided to take the chance of working in the video games industry. It was a huge risk, but it felt like a dream I couldn't turn down. Who would turn down the chance of working with the company who made your childhood games?

"I've been playing video games since I was a kid, and my earliest memory was playing Earthworm Jim on MS-DOS. I am currently playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but my favourite all-time games are The Sims and Pokemon," she said.

Her recent projects with Square Enix were Just Cause 3 and Life is Strange (which has an amazing storyline). She has also worked with other franchises such as Hitman, Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, and Sleeping Dogs.

However, she has since moved on to King, which she said is a company that heavily emphasises on being data driven. It also has an impressive team of over 100 people working in data analytics, setting the perfect environment for her to develop and grow her skills further.

"I am currently working on Farm Heroes Saga, Shuffle Cats, and other games which I cannot currently reveal," she said.

Besides being a data specialist, she is also a Culinary Genius, winning the cooking show that is created and produced by Gordon Ramsay.

"I feel so honoured to have my cooking acknowledged by Phil Vickery, a celebrity Michelin-star chef in the UK. The competition was tough against other talented cooks in a fast-paced and stressful environment, but I had so much fun on the day. To receive the title of Culinary Genius is such an amazing feeling!"

What do think made you win the competition?

By putting my heart and soul into cooking, and taking the least obvious and risky route.

What drew you to cooking?

Moving away from Malaysia and living by myself for the first time was the catalyst; no more cheap, tasty and convenient food everywhere. I knew I couldn't survive on instant noodles all the time, so I forced myself to learn and found that I actually enjoy the challenge of cooking and learning new recipes.

Where do you draw inspiration for your dishes and what are some of your best?

From my childhood memories with my grandmother's delicious meals, and trying new dishes when travelling the world. My best dishes are sweet sour crab inspired by my grandmother's recipe, bah kut teh, asam pedas, tandoori chicken, cheesecakes and roast lamb.

How do you include your style into your dishes?

Food styling is something I'm still learning. Although I think most Asian cooking is visually stunning by itself, I prefer making large, hearty and strong seasoned food.

Currently based in London, what do you enjoy most about the city?

Most of my friends in London would think I am mad for saying this, but I absolutely love their infamous weather. After spending most of my life in sweltering heat, I feel like I am living with air-conditioning all the time.

How are Square Enix and King different as well as similar?

Square Enix was mostly an AAA (pronounced "triple A") games company, while King focuses more on casual games with a broad appeal. Therefore, business strategies are different which dictate where resources go.

The people who you work with usually share the same interests, so they have become second family to me.

As with most video games or technology companies, there is sadly still a disproportionately low number of women employees compared to other industries. However, this has improved slightly over the last few years.

What are some important skills and knowledge needed in the video games industry?

Being updated with ongoings in the video games and technology industry, and equipping yourself with a few languages helps (such as Java, C++, SQL and Python). Most importantly, in my opinion, is to be passionate about video games and technology.

What is your advice for those interested to join the video games industry?

Persevere and push yourself! You don't have to come from a technology or science background. There are many disciplines available such as art, marketing, PR, law and HR. Find your fit and show your passion for video games.

What are your personal goals?

To always better myself in the things I'm passionate about – learning never stops!]]>
Next gen Thu, 21 Sep 2017 02:20:05 +0000 Yee Jie Min 484783 at
Destined by design
More well-known as Viinc Yew, he founded his own firm, Viinc Studio Sdn Bhd and is also currently a full-time lecturer at The One Academy. Among his greatest accomplishments include winning "Malaysia Top 10 Outstanding Creative Youth Award" in 2016 and being commended by the Hertfordshire Architecture Association of UK.

"I was a naughty kid. I always got penalised and was nearly expelled from school, but I am lucky to have mentors who influenced me to be who I am today. I believe none of my friends and family would have thought I could be a lecturer today," he mused.

But how does an interior architect differ from an interior designer? Yew explained that an interior architect can design the interior space as well as the building, while an interior designer plans and designs interior space in a built environment.

He said he loves interior architecture and design as he believes the environment and the cosiness of a space can affect anyone in it.

"A comfortable space can help its users whether it is for work, play or rest to achieve better experience and results. I am excited I am the one who makes this 'magic' happen," he said.

At which point in life did you begin to have an interest in interior architecture?

After graduating from high school, my mum didn't want me to be a chef and so, I was wondering what major I should take. At that time, we were renovating our new house and I got to design my own bedroom; that was how I got into it. I found that it is really fun when I am able to make something different to enhance the space.

Where do you draw inspiration and ideas for your work?

By travelling and reading. I love reading design-related magazines and books, and studying the latest design trends and technologies available. I travel to explore different cultures and lifestyles, and learn details that are designed to fit different needs and make life easier. As an interior architect, I have to design space that can enhance my clients' experience, besides making it beautiful.

What's the biggest challenge you face in your work?

The biggest challenge is having to solve different problems for different people due to different preferences and different methods. Each design cannot be repeated because they are all tailor-made to specific clients. ​

How do you ensure your designs would appeal to your clients?

By understanding that interior design is not only about creating beautiful spaces, it's more about problem-solving with creative and beautiful ideas. Before I get started with a design, I always communicate with my clients to understand their daily lifestyle, habits, needs, preferences and problems encountered.

Give us some tips on interior design.

If you're renovating a house or commercial space and you're looking for a designer, the most important factor is picking a suitable designer. There are many designers out there and all of them have different strengths. Get one who speaks the same language, one who knows what you want and have the similar perspectives as you do.

If you are doing it on your own, a nice set of curtains is really important for the house while for commercial spaces, the right mood is crucial to match the products you are selling.

Tell us about the project you're currently working on.

My team and I are currently developing a few mid-century bungalows into luxurious Nordic homes. It's really interesting to play around with old-meets-new materials. We're also developing a new furniture brand to be launched in Vietnam by year-end.

What kind of places do you usually travel to?

I don't really like tourist spots so I usually ask the locals for recommendations. I research before travelling, from social media to travel guides, to find interesting places to go. I love walking the streets or alleys because that is the best way to experience like a local and learn the culture.

Do you still cook?

Yes, about three to four times a week. I like to try out different recipes. I like a clean diet and I like to make workout meals delicious.]]>
Next gen Tue, 19 Sep 2017 03:23:39 +0000 Ann Yong 483830 at
The transporters
They both started out as colleagues in their previous company dealing with aviation logistics, and later left to start TheLorry together in 2014. As Nadhir put it, "We wanted to disrupt and innovate the logistics industry with technology."

Penetrating a market that was previously – and still very much – traditionally driven proved difficult for the two. Nadhir and Goh trawled and the Yellow Pages for contacts of lorry drivers and contacted over 50, only to have two drivers agree to joining their online platform, which aims to connect customers with available lorry drivers and include prices, booking, live tracking and more. But with the two sole drivers, TheLorry took off and the rest is, as they say, history.

With both your experiences in the airfreight industry previously, did it make it easier to start TheLorry?

Nadhir Ashafiq (NA): There are similarities with the way our company was structured, although TheLorry has more departments. We have a marketing department because we are not only doing business-to-business (B2B) but also business-to-consumer (B2C). With B2C, we would need to get the word out, use social media, create some crazy viral campaigns, and more. That's why we have a marketing department as well as a creative person.

Goh Chee Hau (CH): Coming from an airfreight background, we had a bit of logistics knowledge, but that was more towards the business side of things, not so much on land transportation.

NA: We had zero experience in land transportation. We didn't even know what a one-tonne or three-tonne lorry was when we first started.

What were the hurdles you faced when you first started TheLorry?

CH: The first thing was to build a product. When we wanted to sell TheLorry, we needed lorry drivers. We went out and tried getting lorry drivers in, but it was extremely difficult. We called up about over 50 drivers by going through Yellow Pages and We told them our idea and tried to get them on the platform. Out of the 50 drivers, only two turned up. Basically, most of them didn't believe this could work. They still wanted to continue their traditional ways of doing things.

How did you manage to solve that?

NA: It was difficult for us because the lorry drivers thought of us as middlemen. Prior to us coming into the market, there were already other middlemen who would broker for jobs. Although in essence we are the same, we have the technology to have a more advanced way of doing things.

We may have only managed to convince two lorry drivers, but with those two, it served as a base for our customers. Then, word started to get out that we have jobs, and that we exist in the market. We were also starting to get featured in media, and that's where we sealed the deal. From there, suppliers would come to us to register.

CH: It has a lot to do with brand awareness. We started from zero; nobody knew about us. Now, there are more lorry drivers who know us, but it's still a long, ongoing journey to build brand awareness so that people would think of us first when they want to book a lorry. When lorry drivers see that a lot of people use this platform, they would want to join too.

Do you think operating your company in a more "youthful" way is working in your favour?

NA: Definitely. Our campaigns have done pretty well on social media. We are doing things very differently compared to our competitors. One simple example is that we got a local actor, Shaheizy Sam to endorse our product. I don't think many transport-related products or services would have a celebrity endorse their product. The way we do our copywriting and social media is also more youthful and Generation Y-centric.]]>
Next gen Thu, 14 Sep 2017 09:47:33 +0000 Peony Chin 482233 at
The rise of an educator
Although graduating with a Bachelor of Education, he had always wanted to be a mechanical engineer since he was a kid.

"Believe it or not, my childhood ambition was to be an engineer, but I guess God had bigger plans for me. After SPM, I got an offer to pursue a degree in teaching and my family advised me to enrol in the teaching course, and I had to prioritise my family's suggestion," the 25-year-old said.

Even though he gave up on his ambition, he felt he was able to make a far greater impact with the start of his new endeavour.

Not only taking on the role of a teacher, he took a step forward by involving himself in civil society movements. Recently, he attended a public forum on the Transformasi Nasional 2050 (TN50) and voiced out some issues to the minister among the big crowd which became quite popular on social media.

Last August, Janarthanan voluntarily conducted the World Tamil Internet Conference (WTIC) at Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris where research presentations, seminars and workshops were held in the Tamil language. Tamil specialists and experts from India and Sri Lanka, professors, teachers, researchers and students participated in the conference.

Can you share some of the issues you highlighted in public?

I felt it was a great chance to share my suggestions at TN50. Multicultural is one of the uniqueness of our country and to create unity, all the races should learn to tolerate each other. We should have a clear understanding of all the norms and traditions of all the races in our country. I feel this is important to create a better nation in the world without any discrimination.

Why do you think the profession of a teacher should be made a main career?

This is another request I had discussed at TN50. Doctors encourage their children to become doctors and the same goes with lawyers and engineers, but why aren't teachers allowing their children to become teachers?

Doctors are doing their part serving their patients but the other procedures are done by the medical assistants and nurses. Teachers do all the paperwork for the school's management as well as for the students. This takes away their time to teach the students.

Also, the main role of a teacher should be only to teach the students and not to do so much paperwork at school. The education system should make our career as professional as doctors, lawyers and engineers.

What is the one thing you would change in our country's education system?

Most foreign countries have four or five children being taught by one teacher in their early education but in our country, a teacher maintains 25 children in a class. The government should take the initiative to increase the number of teachers according to the number of children. High quality early education has lasting effects on learning and motivation, which will allow children to get a good amount of learning content.

Where did you find your interest in research to presenting research at conferences, and attending forums and conferences overseas?

My father is my idol. He used to always tell me we have to show something to this world every time. I was also interested in the Tamil language, so I used this teaching tool as my background to show my skills.

Teaching is one of those careers where you learn something new every day, and this is one of the main things that I hope to gain from my career. If you want to be a great educator, you must connect with your pupils and reach out to them on multiple levels.

To reach these multiple levels, I took a step and did research. I feel as a teacher I should be involved in this world and upgrade my teaching skills. I found that attending conferences help me gain new ideas that can be applied to the education system in the future.

In your opinion, what makes a great teacher?

For most teachers, their greatest reward is seeing students thrive and succeed. A great teacher should love educating students, and one of the principal goals many teachers set for themselves is to be the best educator they can be.

There are different styles and characteristics of students that teachers handle every day. A great teacher should continue trying to reach out to each of their students, and they should exercise patience to ensure a disinterested student would still learn.

Role model: His father.
Favourite subject: Science.
Phobia: Fear of water (hydrophobia).]]>
Next gen Tue, 12 Sep 2017 09:51:40 +0000 Helis Halan 481351 at
One tough cookie
"It was a really tough match against The UIA Stallions; everyone put in 110 per cent effort. We even got into a small fight with our opponents and one of our players lost a tooth. But when the game ended, we were all shaking hands and cracking jokes; that is the beauty of rugby," he recalled.

The well-toned and muscular 27-year-old has always played the Second Row position, even till today. He says it is because with his height, physique and strength – and his coach would agree – he is best suited for the position.

Danial graduated in International Hotel Management and is currently working as a marketing executive with Yayasan Patriot Negara Malaysia (YPNM), a non-governmen-tal organisation established in 2013.

What is it about rugby that captured your interest?

Rugby is a men's game. It's a tough sport that involves a lot of body contact. As rugby players do not wear protective gear, we also get injured easily when we hit our opponents.

What kind of training do you and your team undergo?

We have light and heavy team training sessions. Light training would be Rugby Touch and heavier training would include Rugby Drill, Formation and Tactical.

Do rugby players undergo body building training and eat a special diet?

Yes. Aside from training with the team, I also work out at the gym five days a week and maintain a diet that's high in protein. We also eat a lot of white meat.

Does rugby practice interfere with your job?

Over the years, I have learnt to compartmentalise personal and work life. I have no problems doing heavy training on weekends.

How does your background in hotel management apply to your present job?
What benefits me most in my current job is customer relations as I am required to meet and interact with people.

What does YPNM do to inculcate and enhance the spirit of patriotism?

At YPNM, we try to inspire the spirit of patriotism among all Malaysians, especially Gen Y and I noticed that, in general, Gen Y seems lacking in patriotism.

We work with schools and colleges and one of our success stories is a recent collaboration with Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) to encourage and inspire patriotism as a course subject.

We are also involved with events that help boost the idea of patriotism such as Piala Patriot (a futsal tournament). We had over 10,000 participants aged 15 to 45, who come from all the various states.

With rugby and your job, how do you find time for family and are you married?

I will always have time for my family. No matter whether it's day or night, I will be there when they need me. I'm currently single… and looking.]]>
Next gen Thu, 07 Sep 2017 05:33:14 +0000 Chen Mei Fung 479305 at
Nissan unveils new electric car in bid to drive off competition
The second–generation Nissan Leaf has a potential range of 400 kilometres (250 miles) between charges, compared with 250 kilometres for its previous version.

It also boasts semi–autonomous driving capabilities such as keeping the vehicle automatically in one lane on the motorway or parking without human intervention.

Hiroto Saikawa, president and chief executive officer of Nissan, said in a statement that the new vehicle "strengthens" the firm's "leadership" in the electric car sector.

Nissan was an innovator in the sector seven years ago when it unveiled its first Leaf — which has sold 280,000 units — but has since had to contend with fierce competition from General Motors and Tesla among others.

Faced with tighter global environmental regulations, most carmakers are investing heavily in the electric car sector, sparking a ferocious race to create the next green vehicle.

The new car will be available next month in Japan, followed by the United States, Canada and Japan in January 2018.

The price tag in Japan will be 3.15 million yen (around $29,000). — APF]]>
Next gen Wed, 06 Sep 2017 06:53:34 +0000 theSundaily 478808 at
Transposing Borneo into film
Transitioning from the trippy, sci-fi Dream Cradle, to the political The Silent Riot, and the cultural Big Stories Bongkud-Namaus of last year, Sabah's Nadira Ilana is increasingly cementing herself as a force to be reckoned in the Malaysian Indie film and documentary scene.

Part of a new generation of Malaysian storytellers and film-makers, dubbed the Next New Wave, Nadira's Big Stories is arguably her biggest achievement in the international arena, as the grand, yet modest screening garnered 1,000 attendees in the Bongkud-Namaus village.

"Everyone was filled with this genuine joy from watching the films because it was about their friends and family," Nadira claims before continuing, "Hands down, it was the best day of my life."

You were recently part of Big Stories, Small Towns, an Australian documentary project spanning several Asia-Pacific countries. What was the experience like?

Initially I'll have to admit that I was very awkward, due to being more of a fiction than a documentary film-maker, my horrible Bahasa Malaysia, and although I had grown up in Sabah and am of mixed Dusun heritage, it was the first time I'd been to a village where everyone spoke Dusun.

We had to coordinate a village with limited phone connection, with Ranau being a three-hour drive away from Kota Kinabalu, which is every production manager's nightmare. Being naive at the time, we thought everything could be covered within three months in time for Kaamatan, but so many things happened in between, including the earthquake in June.

The Bongkud-Namaus shorts were a clear departure from the political nature of The Silent Riot. Are you experimenting, or is this an indicator that you are growing beyond producing only one "genre"?

Each film is about peeling away the layers of my own identity. After The Silent Riot and Lastik, I had satiated my interest in Sabah's political history and moved on to questions about my Dusun heritage.

As a landscape film-maker, I'm drawn to how the geography, history and culture of a place forms stories, and this requires that I become a better listener.

After spending a year with Bongkud-Namaus villagers, you ended up with 14 short documentary pieces. How many didn't make the final cut, as it felt like you (and the villagers) had more to say?

We lost one story that we were developing at the beginning because the film-maker had to go back to university to continue his studies; a great story about his elderly grandmother that looked after a reclusive daughter in her 40s.

This was a fascinating project to develop even though we couldn't make it, because our community film-makers were in their early 20s to 60s, and each generation had a totally different perspective on one story. Kind of like Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon, but in real life.

Is that a generally hard thing you face as a film-maker; editing out elements that are just as good in favour of others?

Editing is instinctual. By the time I get to post-production, my more basic rules are to separate the "nice-to-knows" from the "need-to-knows" and to work backwards from your favourite images.

I watch for rhythm, energy and whether there's room visually and in the story to breathe. I'm not extremely sentimental about what gets taken out; the objective is to create a seamless finished product because that's what people see at the end of the day.

Before studying Fine Arts in Queensland University of Technology, did you always know this is what you wanted to do?

I knew I wanted to study film-making when I was 16 because it was a combination of all my passions at the time; writing, photography, acting and music. I didn't think I was going to be a film-maker or director with absolute certainty.

What was your childhood like that led to you to being so opinionated over a multitude of topics?

I read a lot, and my parents always instilled a sense of justice in me. Maybe it had something to do with watching a lot of superhero cartoons as a kid, but every film-maker and artiste should have something to say. Even when we're entertaining, we should do it with the human condition in mind. I don't think there is any other way to be.

In an interview with Borneo Art Collective, you said "If Malaysia wants to find itself again, it's gonna have to do so through Borneo". Can you elaborate further?

It's simple. Without Sabah and Sarawak, there would be no Malaysia. If we want to realise the dream of Malaysia as our forefathers intended in 1963, an inclusive Malaysian narrative is long overdue and we can't just have West Malaysians tell all our stories for us. That's what diversity really means. East Malaysians aren't minorities, we are half of this country's stories.]]>
Next gen Tue, 05 Sep 2017 04:19:24 +0000 Mark Mathen Victor 478302 at
Uptown girl
Japanese multinational automotive manufacturer, Toyota hosted a race called the Toyota Gazoo, and signed Venice and eight other celebrities to be their brand ambassadors. They have been training for almost two months for the one-year event, and the first race was held earlier this month.

Besides this, Venice is running her own creative agency that focuses on talent engagement. They also help talents on branding strategies as well as artiste management. Her agency also has the connections to bring international artistes down. Their main forte is talent management, branding strategies, and content creation.

She is basically multi-tasking every day – keeping up with the latest trends and writing about her lifestyle.

Why did you want to start a blog?

I started when I was 15 years old, and back in high school it was more like a trend when you would just follow what your friends do.

I did not see myself as a professional blogger, I was just doing it for the fun of it. I would blog about my lifestyle, random thoughts or my outings with friends.

So, it was like a platform for me to talk about my life. I did not see it coming that it will be my career.

Back in college, how did you cope with assignments and work?

My lecturers were very understanding. Sometimes when I travel, they would allow me to hand in my assignments a week earlier than the deadline, and I had very good classmates as well.

If I had to attend events after class, I would do my make-up in the car on the way there. One day, I was on the airplane coming back to Malaysia from joining a beauty pageant in South Korea, and I had exams in another two days so I studied on the flight. Although work can be hectic, university was my main priority.

Who has been your inspiration?

There are so many people that I can't even name them all. My family, of course, my mum, team mates and friends in the same industry. Most of them are entrepreneurs and successful women. There are many who inspire me.

Is there any competition?

A lot, definitely. I think in life, there is this quote "If you want something, you have to make sacrifices. You can't have everything" and in my career, I have sacrificed a lot. I don't have much time with my friends; that is one thing. I have a very hectic schedule and sometimes, I don't get enough sleep because of stress.

Talking about competition among my peers, I compete with myself. If you want to compete, there are so many people you can compete with; it's a never ending cycle.

As we get older, we have new people coming into the industry and there will always be new and upcoming people, so always remember to compete with yourself and improve.

Which countries do you enjoy travelling to?

I'm a very city girl, but sometimes when I get too stressed out with work, I feel like going to suburb kind of areas. But so far, I enjoyed New York and Japan. I especially loved Japan because of the food, culture and environment.

What's your advice to the younger generation?

Work hard and believe in your dreams. Know what you are doing, have a goal in your life and work hard towards it. It cannot all be just a dream.]]>
Next gen Tue, 29 Aug 2017 05:44:27 +0000 Nur Shahirah Mohd 476068 at
Fit the Bil
"When I was around 11, I wrote a few songs in Malay. Those were probably the first songs I wrote on the piano. I wrote some prior to those, but unfortunately, I don't remember them any more because I lost my original lyric book," the lass said sheepishly.

The first song that made her mark in the Malaysia music scene was a cutesy song called The Beach, which she wrote in Bahasa Malaysia, English, and French. Little did she know she would be signed to Yuna Room Records, a label owned by home-grown international musician Yuna Zarai.

"The thought of doing music this way never occurred to me. She (Yuna) contacted me and offered me a contract, and gave me a month to think about it. I followed my gut feeling and called back two weeks later, and told her that I wanted to do it," she said.

The idea of putting her music out publicly was so far-fetched for her that she only began to show her compositions to other people in her mid-teens. In fact, even extended family and friends were kept in the dark about her musical talent!

Firstly, how did that shy girl got signed to one of Malaysia's most enviable labels?
I was performing at a friend's brother's wedding. Yuna's manager was there, but at that time, they had someone else signed to them. It was a year before they contacted me, and the rest is history.

I was a really private person; and I honestly never thought of doing music, apart from the few small restaurant gigs that I had done. It was a scary step to take because I need to expose myself and let go of my privacy – and I was worried about my family and friends getting picked on my internet trolls and stuff like that. But it was a risk that I must take.

Was that the biggest struggle?
Definitely. There is always feedback when you put something out and expose yourself this way, which can be a good thing.

Unfortunately, sometimes it is just a lot of personal attacks – attacks on family and friends, on the way I dress, or the way I sing, and so on.

For example, I posted a picture on Instagram of a yoga class I participated in, then someone commented something like "do you know it's against Islam to do yoga?" It's just stupid things like these.

People outside of the public eye already get comments like these, what more when one's in it. Thankfully, however, I have not gotten a lot of those.

Do you see yourself doing singing-songwriting for life?
That's a good question; I don't know. I go in and out of it – I really want to give it my 100%, but sometimes I still have doubts of whether I can do it. I have doubts about it being my career, but I try to think of music as something that I do as I pursue other things.

What are you currently working on?
I'm currently working on my new album. It carries the kind of sound that I have been wanting to do from the very beginning.

When I first started out with my EP, I was unsure of what I wanted and was only feeling out this music thing. The music I had on SoundCloud was acoustic, folksy and cutesy.

This album is completely different. The songs have simple sounds, yet are deeper, with darker lyrics. It is more electronic, than acoustic.]]>
Next gen Thu, 24 Aug 2017 03:22:32 +0000 Joyce Ang 474456 at
Navigating the edges of human endurance
"My family, especially my parents, have supported me all the way, in sports and in studies. They willingly send me to training every day, all the way from Subang to Putrajaya," Tan claims, before proceeding to repeatedly make it clear throughout the interview that he would not be where he is without his family.

Revealing that his streak of competitiveness does not end nor begin at sports, Tan wears the streak of 8As he attained for his IGCSE as proudly as he holds the achievements in the more physically-driven facet of his life, with both being emblematic of his drive to excel.

Bolstered by his family's support, under the tutelage of Tri-Amateur Triathlon Club's Team M3X coaches, as well as financial and moral support from Putrajaya Perdana Berhad (PPB) in organising training, camps, races and triathlon events, the 18-year-old recently made his 29th SEA Games debut as the youngest Malaysian sportsman in the triathlon category held on Aug 21.

Can you briefly explain what triathlons are, and what exactly you were required to do at the 29th SEA Games triathlon?

Triathlons are a series of three different sports – swimming, bicycling, and running – done non-stop in a single event. Swimming is conducted in open-water, with various distances in triathlons, but in general, it's the shortest out of the three.

On the bike, it's an all-out cycling race. Triathlons are unique because the style is different from the three sports individually.

For SEA Games, I did the standard distance, which is 1.5km of swimming, 40km of bicycling, and 10km of running.

Is there a reason you've chosen to be a triathlete over a swimmer, cyclist or marathon runner?

I'm not good at them individually, but when it's done together, I can pull it off quite well.

For me, as a swimmer and a runner, I might as well kill three birds with one stone and do everything together. I've also been in merentas desa (cross country running). I wasn't the best but it was a good experience.

As triathlons are both physically and emotionally draining, how do you keep yourself sane throughout any triathlon?

To keep sane, for me, it's the opposite – consistently training and participating in triathlons sustains my sanity. If I stopped training for one week, I would go insane, because I have nothing to do at home. When I'm sick or injured, it's really, really boring, because there's nothing to do.

How do you prepare yourself mentally?

My coach taught me a technique, where I spend the week before a race just simulating the race day in my mind. Like anticipating who will be with me while biking, what might not work, where we will "break away" from "drafting" – a method of racing behind one another to reduce drag. So it's mentally preparing myself every night, especially if it's an important race.

How much of your time is dedicated towards training, recovery, and leisure?

I spend most of the day training, every day, almost non-stop, with one rest day, which I still end up doing something like jogging.

So, really, there is almost no rest in a sense. In terms of leisure, there is more time on the weekends, as the coach's schedule gives room for activities like dinner with the family.

What is the diet for a triathlete like?

We carbo-load – maximising energy through carbohydrates – a week before, basically eating like an athlete; half portion carbohydrates, a quarter protein, and a quarter vegetables or fruits. It's really important, and I learned the importance of nutrition the hard way.

If I don't keep myself properly hydrated or following a good diet, my performance will drop. For instance, when I was part of a training camp in Taiwan, there wasn't good nutrition – living off hamburgers, fried rice – and before the end of the first week, our performance declined.

If you could go back in time, would you do anything differently, be it for sports, studies or personal life?
I don't have many regrets. In terms of studies, I wish I had worked harder when it came to balancing sports and studies, especially when I was 16 years old.

As for the mistakes I made when it came to sports, I can live with it because mistakes are a part of learning.]]>
Next gen Tue, 22 Aug 2017 06:28:21 +0000 Mark Mathen Victor 473615 at