Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Visit to Anfield

One of the highlights of our recent UK trip was definitely the visit to Anfield, the home of the Liverpool football club.  Despite being an Arsenal fan (!), its hard not to be moved by the rich history and heritage of LFC.  My friend Siva and his wife kindly treated us to a tour of the stadium :)


Outside the impressive entrance to the Museum and Tour Centre

At the main stand of the stadium, with the Kop visible at the back

The team dressing room - imagine the words of the famous managers that used to echo around here :)

Sitting in Rafa's spot, now occupied by Roy Hodgson

The tin in front definitely reserved for Fergie when he comes visiting!

The famous sign that visiting teams see when they come out to the pitch

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


In 12 years of driving, I've had my fair share of breakdowns, but they are often few and far in between.

But in a period of 4 months this year, I had three car breakdowns, which should count as a record of some sort.

The first was in April, when my car battery went dead near a friend's house in Serdang.  AAM, which was usually fast and reliable, came after 4 hours.

Then our rental car suffered a snapped fan belt somewhere in Donegal, Ireland during our recent UK trip.  It was a surreal experience, being towed back to Belfast on the night England played their most dire World Cup match ever (no prizes for guessing which one :) )

Last Saturday seemed like the usual, albeit slightly packed weekend.  Fetched the wife to see a lawyer, then a doctor (!).  Met an old friend at Sunway Pyramid.  Then down to KL Pavilion to meet my classmate to discuss a class assignment.  This was followed by a productive trip to PC Fair at KLCC :)

I decided to go back via the Maju Expressway, exiting at Putrajaya then heading towards the Nusaputra Interchange.  About 2 km from the interchange, I suddenly heard a pop.  Then I felt the car wobble.  Then the dreaded klunk klunk sound.  I had blown out my left rear tyre.

No problem, I thought.  I called my wife to let her know I had a puncture. Took out the spare tyre and the jack.  Getting the car jacked up was easy enough, but trying to take off the wheel nuts was another matter.  As I put both feet on the wheel brace to turn the nuts, self doubt began to creep in.  They were not even budging, let alone turn!

10 minutes later and drenched in sweat, I weighed my options.  My phone battery had died, so I couldn't call anyone.  Suddenly I felt alone and isolated, despite the vehicles zooming past me.

For some reason, I thought running back home via the Nusaputra Interchange was the best option and set out.  But a short distance later, a car stopped and the guy asked me where I was going.  After explaining matters, he offered to change the tyre for me.  Halleluiah!  But then came another twist.  After loosening three of the nuts, the last one just wouldn't budge.  The guy took out a walkie talkie and explained that he was speaking to someone at the Putrajaya toll, about 3 km away.  Then he said help was on the way and I should stay put in the car.

And so I waited.  And waited.

Finally, I decided help wasn't coming.  The thought of trying to wave someone down never crossed my mind.  I just thought Malaysians would be too suspicious to stop.

So I ran to the Putrajaya toll.  I knew they had a PLUS Ronda that can help.  An old man met me at the toll office, and agreed to send the PLUS Ronda, but warned that it could take a while.  I ran back to the car.

As I waited in the car for PLUS Ronda to come, I suddenly realized that its been a long while since I really had nothing to do.  I mean really nothing.  Nothing to read, nothing to watch, no one to call, nothing to surf.  Just me and nothing.

As I sat there taking in this unfamiliar sensation, I realized its been a long while since I prayed without any distractions.  And so as the words tumbled out, my thoughts began to gain exceptional clarity.

PLUS Ronda came 45 minutes later, and two nice gentlemen worked together to undo the stubborn nut.

As I sat in my living room after some food and a cold drink later, I reflected on the experience in the car.  To be helpless before the Lord and without any distractions is indeed a rare experience, and something that we seldom voluntarily create for ourselves.

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