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  • I found the 50km Olympic Men's Race Walk particularly riveting because I was once in a crowd of walkers. Hundreds of people. The Malay Mail Big Walk 1974. The Malay Mail is a newspaper in peninsular Malaysia. We had gone holidaying in West Malaysia.

    Sans any kind of preparation, not even a walk around the block, I showed up for the 22km (13.6702 miles) Walk. I met a Chinese girl around my age and I confided I feared my IC (Identity Card) might somehow drop out of my pocket - I have dropped my IC before - on the way. She kindly held my ID for me.

    Our numbers - squares of white cotton - pinned to our T-shirts, we were on our way. A few miles into the Big Walk I noticed the men - it was mostly men - walked with a peculiar gait. That must be the proper way to walk. I followed suit. (What can I say. I was 15.)

    I noticed nothing else. It was all humans. People all around.

    Back at the starting point again, I looked for my new friend. She was nowhere to be found.

    My folks were most displeased that I had entrusted my IC - DOCUMENT - to a complete stranger. I said nothing. I held on to the friendliness between the girl and me.

    And, of course, to cap it all, the next morning I was unable to move a muscle and had to be massaged by my mother who did not pass up the opportunity to scold another lesson into me.

    A few days later, a letter for me arrived. It was from my new friend. Inside she had enclosed my IC.

    I wrote back, reimbursing and thanking her.

    And then the mailman on his red motorcycle delivered something else to me at Chanderai Lane, Lucky Garden. A document from the newspaper, The Malay Mail, certifying that I, Name and Number So & So, had completed their Big Walk.



    Photo on Global Travel Mate of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building (begun by architect A. C. Norman in 1894 and finished in 1897) in front of Dataran Merdeka, and the Royal Selangor Club, where the Big Walkers gather.
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