Thursday, September 27, 2007

Flying RC Helicopters

For quite sometimes I have been noticing a group of adult enjoying themselves flying the Remote Controlled Helicopters in front of the Guthrie Pavillion on the big open field. Initially I only saw them playing either on Saturday or Sunday morning but lately I noticed that sometimes they also will be playing during the weekdays evening before the sunset.

Recently my curiosity was so overwhelming that I took Gondai Jr to get closer to this group to have a first hand look of thier RC Helicopters. I was not so particularly surprised with the Nitro-engine Helis as I have seen them before more than ten years ago. What surprised me the most is how the RC electric Helis has evolved now. The price for a Nitro engine Heli is still very pricey even today starting from RM4K upwards. However, the story is different for the electric RC Helis. The technology of the electric heli has advanced so much and the cost of manufacturing them has also dropped tremendously. Partly I think this is because most manufacturers are now located in China and the cost of production over there is still the cheapest in the world. Before I purchased my first electric Heli some four weeks ago much to the joy of Gondai Jr and bemusement of my other half, I did some research on what RC Heli that I could buy to start with and here is some key findings.

First, I asked myself how many channel do I need to start up with? Well, at present, there are 3 main channel categories in the market:

2-Channel: Basically it is a toy for children, only moving up-down and turning left-right. It's good for Gondai Jr and in fact I bought one for him at RM60.00 Surprisngly, this 'toy' is damn good ! It can actually hover and can stand terrible crashes along the way. In fact until today, this heli is still in good working condition albeit it has crashed so many times.

4-Channel: A good starting point for RC hobbysts, it poses good challenges in flying and is emotionally satisfying for people who is serious in the hobby. It moves up-down, front-back, turn left-right, and tilt left-right, realistically emulate a real helicopter's movement, except it does not do acrobatic stunts, such as flying upside down. I bought the E-Sky Robbins 22 for RM350 and I can only say that it's not that easy flying this heli as advertised. Only after few broken rotor blades that I can actually feel how this thing flies.

In fact only after I practiced with the simulator, I finally got the 'hang of it' (Somehow Gondai Jr likes to say this also) and now alhamdullilah, I can pilot this heli reasonably OK. One thing I do agree with the advertisement is that one can get so much joy and personal satisfaction upon seeing the heli hovering under one's full control. So much so I bought another 4-channel Heli called ESKy Lama for RM250 and this heli is even easier to control.

Both models (Robbins and Lama) are working on same co-axial double main rotors principle, it give us much more control in keeping the helicopter hovering, I needed only minimum efforts in mastering the flying acts. Flying of these two models will make ones to misconveive that flying RC helicopter is an easy task indeed. Also, RC Helis are often considered as toys. Some will call them big boy toys. Well, to some extend maybe but the fact is that it requires a lot of patience and good reflect action before one can actually master to fly it. And of course for total beginners, extra spare blades are something of a must have during the learning process.The 4 channel models mainly is for those who just want to enjoy flying in the shortest possible time, and do not want to spend much time in doing fine-tuning, however, it does not prepare one with the skills necessary to handle the professional grade RC Heli models, like the 6 or 7-channel.

6 or 7-Channel: Capable of doing what 4-channel can and has the ability to perform aecrobatical moves, BUT those additional acts are of no use to beginners and intermediate players, the aecrobatical moves need ultra-high level of skills. Unless one is a highly-skilled expert, 6/7-channel model in a way is a burden for him to enjoy the hobby - it complicates the tuning and control. Nonetheless, after managed to convince my other half on the joy of flying an RC Heli, I secured one 6-channel Heli called E-Sky Honey Bee King II last week for slightly below RM500 for a ready to Fly unit. Well actually, the cost is a bit higher after I upgraded it to a Head Lock Gyro and and a Futaba Radio. However, I am yet to actually fly this heli because I am still on the simulator mode for the 6-Channel control. Insha'allah, I may do my maiden flight on the 6 channel this coming weekend.

There are in fact several RC Stores in KL. However AMCorp Mall in PJ has three stores which sell RC Equipment including Helicopters and also the spare-parts. I came to know about this only by googling 'RC Helicopter Malaysia' and it actually led me to which is a reasonable place to shop for RC Electric Helis.

Certainly the joy of flying an RC Heli is not similar to my other passions such as photography or golf, but it is actually a good past time activity since it can involve the children very much...and other good point is, they are not as pricey as cameras or lenses !!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Blessing of Ramadhan

It's been more than 2 weeks since I posted my last blog. As we are now in the 8th day of Ramadhan, my schedule at home changes a bit to accomodate Tarawih and I simply feel 'lazy' to write at night. However, this morning I feel a bit excited to write because this feeling of sluggishness if not handled properly, could lead me to total state of laziness and may effect my focus at work.

I was informed by Nosh that one of my friend's child was electrocuted and passed away last night. I am not very close to him but I knew him by association with other colleagues of mine and also professionally at work from time to time. I am not also too sure how old is his child but I was told that he lives in Section 13 Shah Alam. May Allah bless the soul of his child and May Allah also bestow upon him patience and perseverence to endure this test, especially in this holy month of Ramadhan.

In ten days, my second daughter will be taking her PMR exam. I am praying to Allah for her success in this exam. I hope she can also get similar result like her elder sister two years ago with straight As.Judging from her trial, insha'allah she can make it. Day before yesterday she told me that she got the highest mark on her English Literature paper. Her teacher in fact asked the class to read what she has written on her test paper. I actually took a peek but don't quite understand what it was all about really..well, least she is quite ok in her English.

My cameras are temporarily put to rest this Ramadhan. I think I also need a break for awhile after taking more than 3000 photos this year. Insha'allah, they will be put to service back this Syawal and I am quite sure they will do a lot of work for me :)

So far, Gondai Jr has been fasting without fail this Ramadhan. He also did not miss any sahur yet. The thing with children which I sometime fail to comprehend is their energy level. I did not see so much different in him fasting or not in terms of his exuberance and also intensity to play or move around. Simply put, he just does his stuff without complaining of tiredness, sleepiness or even hunger. Only on certain days that he did mention of being 'haus sikit' but apart from that, he seems to be oblivious about the fact that he is fasting. As usual, my other half is the busiest of us in Ramadhan preparing the food especially during sahur. She wakes up at about four in the morning and only wakes me up and the children when everything is ready on the table. Being a career woman herself, I really appreciate what she does to the family and I think only Allah can reward her accordingly for such a noble sacrifice!

There is a lot of speculation about internal staff movement within the department. I used to have high interest in this issue particularly after I was selected as one of the talent pool candidates. There was an informal words about me successing the boss and stuff like that when I was following the management course. However, judging from the remarks and the way things went against me lately, I sincerely feel that I am out of the picture for the immediate succession programme. But alhamdullillah, I really don't feel bad about it anymore. I recall vividly remark made by one of my retired bosses that "you will get what is coming to you". Everything is from Allah and we just have to be patient on what comes to me for now, I just want to give my every best to the company irrespective whether I am giving or taking the order...

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Are we Being Independent ?

"Allah memberikan satu misal perbandingan: Seorang hamba abdi yang menjadi milik orang, yang tidak berkuasa melakukan dengan bebasnya sesuatu pun; dan seorang lagi (yang merdeka) yang Kami kurniakan kepadanya pemberian yang baik (harta kekayaan) dari Kami, maka ia pun membelanjakan hartanya dengan bebasnya, samada secara bersembunyi atau berterang-terang; adakah kedua orang itu sama? Segala puji tertentu bagi Allah (dan Allah jualah yang berhak disembah), tetapi kebanyakan mereka (yang musyrik) tidak mengetahui (hakikat tauhid itu)" - An-Nahl 75

The nation is still in the state of celebration. Yes, we celebrated our 50th Independence from the British on 31st August 2007. Everywhere we go will see signs of celebration be it in terms of flags, banners or posters. Few will go even further by dressing themselves up with the national flags. We could also see many cars, buses, lorries and trucks flagging the Jalur Gemilang with pride. Turn on the TV or radio and we will almost be incessantly reminded about how our past leaders fought hard to achieve the independence that we are enjoying at the moment. Yes, in a glance we have indeed become independent and almost everyone could not agree more.

As a person who was born post independence, I could not really feel the suffering of those leaders that have fought for our independence. I am very sure that they have indeed sacrifice a lot for us and I just hope that Allah will reward them accordingly. My late father had often described to me how difficult the life before the independence especially during the Japanese occupation. My late father was in fact one of the lucky ones who survived the torturous life of the Japanese forced labor. As a teenager, he was taken away by the Japanese to help them build the infamous railway lines. According to him, we was a bit fortunate because he was selected to become a cook and hence spared the strenuous and laborious work on the field. My late father also vividly recalled on how his relatives had thought that he had gone forever with the Japanese but soon were very surprised to find out that he was still alive. Well, as a moslem, we beleive that only Allah can take one's life..not a second earlier, not a second later.

To me, independence is really about having a choice. The more choices we have, the more independent we should be. However, we must not forget that the choice that we make will come with the consequences of that choice. What we are now is due to the choice that we made in the past. People may argue that sometime the choice that we made was due to external factors and did not really due to our own judgement or will. Well, to some extend, that might be true. Some of us for instance, started thier lives on a much better condition than others. Some may start thier lives with a lot of struggle and handicaps. But, everyone has to make thier own decision given the conditions they are in with, sometimes in thier lives. I really don't agree with the beleive that one should be responsible not only to his or her own doing but also others. For me, blaming others for our own judgement is very sinful. That's why in Islam, nobody can't take the burden of dosa of someone else. After all, the greatest nikmat that is bestowed upon us from Allah is Iman and our choice must not runaway from this premise. What makes us different from other beings in this world is our freedom of choice. And if we can decide on a given set of choices based on the guidance from Allah and his messenger Muhammad S.A.W, we are actually freed from making a bad choice and that is what a true meaning of independence to me...