Subaru Palm Challenge Unearths ‘Malaysia Boleh’ Spirit

spc02“If you can conceive it and believe it, you will achieve it!”

This sums up Prem Kumar Arumugam’s philosophy in emerging the last Malaysian standing at the recent “MediaCorp Radio Subaru Impreza Challenge – The Regional Face-off” in Singapore, after an impressive 33:02 hours.

Prem, a 33-year-old Credit Control Executive from DHL Express, along with nine other Malaysians represented the nation at the regional level for the first time, and competed against participants from Singapore, Hong Kong, Philippines and Thailand.

The competition kicked-off on November 8 under the scorching afternoon sun, whereby contestants struggled to emerge the last man or woman standing. They withstood the blistering sun, heavy rain, aching limbs and sacrificed sleep – all in an effort to drive home the grand prize, a brand new Subaru Impreza S-GT.


From the onset, the competition seemed to favour the Singaporeans as this was their 7th year organising this competition, and many of the local participants were returning contestants. However, this did not deter the “Malaysia Boleh!” spirit, and in fact made each of them strive even harder.

“We were first-timers there and didn’t know what to expect, so of course we were at a disadvantage. But I think my background in sports helped because I was able to focus my mind and energy into the competition,” added Prem, who has previously represented DHL Express in a World Cup Qualifying Match in Germany in 2006, competing against four other in-house teams from around the world.


The regional face-off required contestants to place their right palm on a Subaru Impreza without moving it – even while sleeping! They were allocated 5-minute breaks every 6 hours, during which time they could refresh themselves, eat or drink and then resume the next leg of the competition. It was a true test of physical and mental endurance.

When asked how he prepared for the competition, Prem said that he kept physically fit by running everyday, which he has always been doing. As for mental preparation, he tried to relax and focus on the competition.

“I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to last longer. My heart wanted to carry on but my mind was tired, and I couldn’t go on. Probably because I did not have enough rest prior to the competition due to my hectic schedule,” said Prem.

“I was pretty confident that I would emerge the last Malaysian standing, because I really felt that I could do this. As for being the overall champion, perhaps after a few more tries,” said Prem, adding that he would definitely take part next year if Subaru were to organise this competition again.

The “MediaCorp Radio Subaru Impreza Challenge – The Regional Face-off” kicked-off on November 8, with 10 finalists from Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Hong Kong converging in Singapore to compete against the locals to win the coveted prize. The ten Malaysians qualified after a similar challenge was held in Kuala Lumpur on 25 October 2008, at Pavilion Shopping Centre.

Prem’s advice to those interested in taking part in these competitions is to be serious and go in with the intention of winning. However, he quickly added that it wasn’t the cash that motivated him.

“It’s not about the money – that is just a bonus. It’s about having a chance to do something for your country,” he concluded with evident pride.