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Malaysian Raceday! – Cut and paste

Mistakes can lead to new discoveries (take the famous example of the stationery cupboard staple, the Post-It note!) So, my first drawing for #TheRealArtOfRunning (see A Runner’s Coat of Arms) actually took a first incarnation of sketchings of ideas as they came along, starting from the top of the longer side of a sheet of A4.

In the beginning..

In the beginning..

The slogan “Runner’s Creed: Whatever happens, don’t stop!” had the same origins as described in A Runner’s Coat of Arms.

I then pictured events unfolding in a race. There’s the huddling at the start line, represented by running bibs clumped together.

I am represented by “Me”, Bib number A123 (matching the digitally-sketched bib on the left side of the blog’s background), and my partners-in-crime at the start line would be “Them”. It wasn’t meant to symbolise “Me against Them” (nor is the prominence of “Me” meant to signify that I was at the front of the pack!), but it was just simply Me, with my own goals, whatever they may be, in the centre of my mind’s eye; and Them, other personalities (represented by different fonts), each with their own goals; all of us pondering how our individual journeys will unfold upon the sounding of the air-horn.

The race starts, and everyone disperses according to their own pace, in their own thoughts.

What might come as a challenge en route to enlightenment and personal achievement?

I'd love to run in cold weather. Seriously.

I’d love to run in cold weather. Seriously.

Inclement weather. Especially in the tropics – one could battle humidity, high temperatures and scorching heat, torrential rain, thunderstorms – perhaps all within the same race if one is lucky.

What happens mid-race? Probably mostly a lot of silent cursing… well, I sketched out the U-rated ones. “Think of Breakfast” is a favourite. “Panas giler” is a colloquially-spelt Malay expression conveying, with endearing brevity, the sentiment “It’s as hot as hell!” (panas: hot, gil(a): crazy).

Random schrandom argh urgh hmm

Random schrandom argh urgh hmm, nah.

On a whim, I added an image of a shrivelled-up “Me” bib falling from the sky into the chaos of the aches and groans. I added a large cup of water, supposedly representing balm to the torrents of rain and sweat. I drew some balloons, representing the festive atmosphere from amongst the spectators that are a great pick-me-up.

Then I realised that I was not really getting anywhere. It was way too random. I decided to ditch the drawing. I picked up a fresh sheet of A4 to work on something else instead (the something else eventually became A Runner’s Coat of Arms.)

The next morning, the surge of endorphins from publishing A Runner’s Coat of Arms spurred me to think up further ideas for more drawings.

Cutting and pasting is much more fun without Ctrl-X and Ctrl-V!

Cutting and pasting is much more fun without Ctrl-X and Ctrl-V!

That was when I caught sight of my toddler’s Mother’s Day card from arts-and-crafts at daycare, hanging in the corner of the living room. Why, my ditched drawing of random raceday thoughts could be recycled into something else. I just needed a good ol’ pair of scissors, glue, and some coloured paper!

Feeling like a children’s TV series host, I cut up yesterday’s drawing into its component pieces. I cut holes in the suns for ‘light’ to ‘shine’ though. I alternated jagged edges with rounded edges, depending on whether it was around clouds, or lightning, or sunlight. My “Runner’s Creed” ribbon would, of course, be the finish line!

I arranged the cut pieces onto a sheet of coloured paper, feeling rather pleased with myself (not unlike a children’s TV series host).

Something was missing, and I quickly figured out what it was. I drew the quintessential Malaysian post-race celebratory essentials – a cup of ice-cold Milo, and an open packet of nasi lemak. Now all I needed was some glue.

Voila! This is Malaysian Raceday!

Malaysian Raceday!

Malaysian Raceday! Click for hi-res image.


About speedshuffle (75 Articles)
Wen Li is a runner, blogger, mother, educator and artist. She is the Co-Founder and Cartoonist of Malaysia's first comic strip on running, Running Toons ( and is a Compressport Ambassador. Her running story was featured in Marie Claire Malaysia's April 2016 issue alongside several other notable women running bloggers. She runs wherever the road takes her, come scorching sunshine, stifling humidity or relentless rain (and preferably to a Nasi Lemak breakfast!). Apart from pounding the asphalt, she also enjoys hiking and pilates, and is now attempting CrossFit!

2 Comments on Malaysian Raceday! – Cut and paste

  1. Hey Wen Li, didn’t know you drew, pretty awesome arts and craft work there, going back to basics is refreshing. Loved that you played homage to post-race delicacies ala Malaysia! Keep ’em comin’!

    • Thanks, Farah! Haven’t drawn in a while – what with digital art/design taking over the need to pick up a pen! Glad I did this. You bet there’ll be more coming 🙂

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