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Abang Polar is main attraction at Pahang National Science Week 2019

Last Update: 02/08/2019

KUANTAN, Aug 2 (Bernama) -- Who would have thought that a kid who was chased by dogs every day on his way to school would end up driving a sled pulled by six ‘huskies’ on a 300 kilometre trip across the Arctic.

Mohd Khairizal Mohd Khalif, 44, who is the first Malaysian to participate in a 300-kilometre Arctic dog sled race called the Fjällräven Polar 2018, is now using his experience to interest children in science.

He said, the week-long expedition from April 3, 2018 allowed him to better understand science for his own 'survival' while in a cold place, which he had never visited before.

“To start a fire I need to use magnesium flint and to know how the human body works in cold conditions so that appropriate action is taken to prevent hypothermia.

“In fact, I was told that the strong odor of huskies is due to the fact that the animals produce natural chemicals to warm themselves in cold areas.  This goes to show how close we are to science in our everyday life,” he said.

Mohd Khairizal, better known as the Abang Polar is the main attraction at the Pahang state level National Science Week 2019 (MSN 2019) themed ‘Moh La Wei Innovative’ programme for two days beginning today, at the Kuantan Municipal Council hall here.

The programme, organised jointly with the Technology Park Malaysia (TPM) Corporation Sdn Bhd was opened by the Pahang Islamic Religious Affairs, Education and Health Committee chairman Datuk Seri Syed Ibrahim Syed Ahmad. Also present was TPM chairman Datuk Abu Samah Bachik.

Mohd Khairizal, a native of Ipoh, Perak, said that besides sharing his scientific knowledge, he hoped his personal experience would set an example for the younger generation to strive, even in matters considered impossible, to achieve success.

“I come from a village and poor family where we used a wood-burning stove in our house and my father was unable to fulfill the promise of a bicycle if I excelled. As a child I started walking late, had speech problems until eight years old.

“In fact, I am also colour-blind and had to forgo my ambition of becoming a pilot after being influenced by Tom Cruise in the movie ‘Top Gun’,” he said.

The father of five children, between the ages of four and 18 years, however, overcame all these  obstacles, and is currently serving with Malaysia Airlines Berhad although not as a pilot.

In fact, he received cheers from the students who were present when sharing the video of him swimming with the sharks. He even admitted having a phobia of water so much so he often refused invitations of friends to go to the swimming pool in his 30s.

“I want them to know that nothing is impossible as long as they dare to try. Don't be overwhelmed by fear. I was scared of dogs because of my childhood experience and had never handled the animal before going to the Arctic, but not anymore.

“I believe we should control the course of our life. Other people can only give guidance,but ultimately it is up to us whether or not we dare to challenge ourself,” he said.

Looking at his busy lifestyle with various activities and adventure, Mohd Khairizal said he did not intend to ‘slow down’ in the near future as there was still much to be learned.




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