Saturday, March 27, 2010

New Blog.

I've moved on to a new blog. The story of the Gunung Irau was completed in my flickr photos. I've not been posting on that recently too.

But the good news is - I've started a new blog "Lost in Chinese / Found in Translation". :) Check it out and drop some comments. Thanks!


Saturday, January 31, 2009

Gunung Irau #2 - The Climb Begins.

Gila Man, a reader asked if I've trouble getting my engine started as it has been quite some time since I last posted. Well, yes and no. It is true I've not posted anything new in this blog but I've been quite active in my flickr site where I've chronicle almost the whole of the Mount Irau climb. Well I understand that some of you may not go there and may not want to take the time to go through all my pictures (more than 3,000 of them and adding more every week) to find what you want to read.

So I thought I'll make it easy and guide you to the photos and the accompanying text that describe the journey in my flickr site. However, I've no intention to duplicate everything into this blog as that takes time and you can view the photos in even bigger view should you so desire. After all, my writings these days are more of a photo essay than an actual blog anyway. I thought this best and apologize if you think otherwise but please indulge me, will ya? :)) Here is the link again to my latest photos

But to go directly to the second part of the Mount Irau climb, click on this link - Gunung Irau#16 - Ready to Go!

Or just click on the first picture to take you through the journey. Below are just some of the photos to whet your appetite or for you to decide if you want to follow the journey. Remember there are more photos and text if you follow the link to my flickr site. Enjoy the trip.

Ready to Go!

The Hills of Irau.

A Leisurely Beginning.

The Real Journey Begins.

To be continued...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Gunung Irau #1 - Up The Highest Road In Malaysia.

This is my climb up Gunung Irau. Together with one of my working colleague, we joined a group of 18 young adults to scale up this mountain which rose 2110 meters or 6923 feet above sea level and is the ninth highest hill in peninsula Malaysia. I document the whole journey is an photo essay form and all the pictures have been uploaded to my flick site

8.24 a.m. – I drove with Andrew to Heritage Hotel in Tanah Rata to meet up with the rest of the team who drove up from KL through the night. There were a total of 20 in the group including the two of us.

8.56 a.m. – We checked into this apartment where the group will be staying for the night.

9.32 a.m. – After checking in and packing for the climb, the group were raring to go despite the lack of sleep.

9.36 a.m. – Everyone put their best foot forward in a show of faith. We may be different but our shoes are all the same. And these RM5.00 shoes are the best money can buy for trekking in tropical jungle.

9.36 a.m. – My shoes are cleaner than your shoes. But not for long. Clean shoes and clean legs. Both will be very dirty before the day is done.

9.56 a.m. – Two vans drove us up the highest road in Malaysia. So narrow that it is a really tight squeeze. You have to horn at every sharp turn not to end up in a nasty crash.

9.59 a.m. – We passed by the Boh Sungei Palas plantation on our way up. The rolls of light green tea plants are a sight to behold.

10.01 a.m. – Rolling hills of green tea leaves in irregular undulating rolls following the contours of the hill – lovely.

10.01 a.m. – The tea plants reaching up to the sky. Not an inch of ground are wasted. They are grown right to the road's edges and up to the top of hills.

10.03 a.m. – We drove up to the cloud line and above. The driver wonder if there is more road ahead. We told him he will know the end when he reached it. Actually, we were not so sure but we had to say something to keep him going.

10.16 a.m. – Soon enough, we did reach the end. A locked gate with a “trespasser will be shot” greeted us. Not someplace we wanted so go so we parked by the side and alighted from the vehicles.

10.17 a.m. – Just beyond the locked gate is a blast of inviting bright yellow blooms that contrasted greatly with the forbidding barrier. One is man-made and the other is nature after all. The irony is not lost to us.

10.17 a.m. – We stretched our legs and took photos…

Of this imposing telecommunication tower.

10.17 a.m. – Last minute preparation before we tackle the unknown. Unlike the lowland jungle, there are no leeches or mosquitoes, just mud and mud everywhere.

10.18 a.m. – Before we did that, we were going to scale this watch tower to view the world from above. We are now on top of Gunung Brinchang and up in the tower, the world are spread below our feet.

To be continued...

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Tortoise Got Me Started - :Part II

I believe we will find what we are looking for. When we know what we are looking for, they will appear before us as if mysteriously. We will see what were always there but only notice now because we open our eyes to them. Many of us do have eyes that do not see. I look for Beauty that day and see what I find in the same place that dozens of people pass by every day.

I saw this beautiful water plant that beckoned to me and could not resist going down into the water edge; squat, stoodd, bended, contorted myself under the hot sun until I saw the angle that I wanted to capture.

I saw this plant that that formed a beautiful arc with the flower buds exploding from the joints in the stem standing upright facing the sun. From which delicate white flowers are already in bloom.

The paper thin delicate white petals floating like tiny pieces of ultra thin cotton clothes that fluttered and waved to the whispering winds. It was poetry in motion. The dance reflected in the gently flowing water.

They were not alone in their dances. Dozens of white flowers were along dancing along on top of Broad green leaves above the water. In that moment, I forgot the intensity of the sun. I forgot everything.

When we keep an eye open for Beauty, she will appear. There is nothing magical about it. For she shy away those who has no regards for her. And smile on those appreciates her for what she is.

She Walks In Beauty by Lord Byron
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Tortoise Got Me Started - :Part I

I had wanted to return to my blog for some time but somehow found it difficult to get restarted. One thing after another distracted me. I wanted to write for those who miss my blog and for some, that is our only meaningful mean of communication. But I kept putting it off. I need a kick-start. In the meantime, I've become quite active in my flickr site - If you have enjoyed the photos I took, please drop in there for a visit and drop some comments while you're at it. Finally, today I forced myself to write again and it is all because of a tortoise. Read further to find out how a tortoise got me started again...

To toughen up for the Gunung Irau climb (which will be my next blog, already partially written out in flickr), I took up jogging in this park behind my house and have continued since then. On my way back late last evening after the sun had almost completely sank below the tree lines, I came across what I thought was a small coconut in the middle of the concrete jogging track…

Nearing it, I discovered that it was a tortoise with its head and all limbs tightly tucked in. Some naughty boys must have caught it from the river, played with it and left it there. It must have been severely traumatized because it showed no sign of life…

I took it to the muddy bank and carefully placed it down in the shallow so that it sat on the mud. I waited for 10 minutes but there was still no sign of life. It was completely dark by now and I have to go. I told myself I will come back early next morning to check on it.

Just to know that it is still alive and took some shots from the place where I left it to mark the crossing of our paths. I overslept and it was about 11.00 am before I reached the bank but was happy to find that the tortoise was no longer there. It lives

The intense Malaysian sun was too high up to take good pictures and they did not switch the fountain on but I said “what the heck, I’m already here” so I took these shots anyway for me to post it up in flickr to share with my new friends there. So this post is actually written for flickr and modified for this blog. It used to be the other way round. I upload pictures into flickr so that I can easily transfer it to my blog. Whichever, it was a tortoise that made it happened.

I now jog here once or twice a week. Usually, I will jog for 20 to 25 minutes for almost a complete round of the lake and spend the rest of the hour listening to music while reflecting on life. This are time I'm beginning to enjoy, time spend completely with myself dwelling on old memories. A little sadness won't hurt anyone, I think.

In life and taking photos, I tried to see the beauty in ordinary things for I do believe that we have to be happy with what we have, rather than desperately seeking for what we have not. But I know it is not easy sometimes…

I see Beauty as a perception and it is not universal. Thus I tried to appreciate others’ appreciation of Beauty besides my own. I don’t succeed all the time.

But whether we do or not is not important. We are all unique in our own individual way and have our own special preference and taste. What is important is that we must learn not only to tolerate others’ preferences and decisions but also to accept that we have to respect others' choices if we want them to respect ours.

And we should not be so arrogant as to think that our appreciation of Beauty is the correct one. For indeed, “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” and we all see Beauty in different ways.

In the words of John Keats in his epic poem, Endymion he said -

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.

And there are few things in Life whose Beauty is as universal as the flowers. Which is why I took so many pictures of them. Our life is not completely futile when we can still appreciate Beauty. So I spend a lot of time these days trying to capture and share them with my friends.