Monday, May 26, 2008

It's Never Too Late To Dream

It is no mean feat by any measure, journeying alone some 9,000 kilometres on a bicycle across international borders, and banking on the kindness of strangers along the way.

What makes it even more awe-inspiring is the fact that the spunky rider is not your average young man but a 66 year-old retiree, albeit a courageous one.

Former teacher Mohamed Adnan Osman of Petaling Jaya leaves today for Beijing, planning to arrive within 80 days, in time for the opening of the Olympics.

His solo trek is expected to take him though Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima in Thailand, onwards to Vientianne in Laos and Hanoi in Vietnam, and crossing into China at the border town of Dong Dang, from where he estimates one and a half months of cycling to reach Beijing.

Some people probably see nothing extraordinary in what Adnan is trying to achieve. I can almost hear them pooh-poohing, "What's so great about spending 80 days on a bicycle from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when many others have done more perilous things, like scaling the Everest or crossing the Sahara or the Gobi alone on foot? "

Well and true. But how many of us (the ones well past retirement age, I mean) actually leave the comfort of our home and hearth to take up a similar challenge just to achieve a dream?

In our youth we harboured many dreams. We may have achieved some but many others got derailed for a variety of reasons; got married too young, had children too soon, earned just enough to raise a growing family, too busy climbing the corporate ladder to succumb to such 'frivolity', the list goes on.

By the time we have the time (and the means), decades would have passed, our youth would be gone, our vitality and zest diminished. Complacency sets in and those dreams no longer loom large in our lives.

We are content just to potter in the garden, join fellow retirees in tai-chi classes and morning walks, play with the grandchildren, go for religious classes, perhap do our bit for charity when the occasion calls for it.

But, those dreams did not disappear. They just lie low, coming up for air every now and then to nudge our subconscious and set us on the road of wishful thinking, and of rue and regret.

That is why I admire Mohamed Adnan. He listens to his inner voice to hit the road before it is too late. Good luck and God bless, pak, may you have a wonderful and safe journey.

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