Wednesday, June 19, 2013


The story began with another title yesterday. Today it takes another caption excited by what had passed within the last twenty hour hours. We left home at 7.45 am on Tuesday morning 18th June 2013 in our trusted KBE 57 Estima vehicle for the half way journey along the East West Highway to the project site at Banding Lake. Both of us took the back seats, glad that we are not the only two passengers in the vehicle and more especially I am not at the steering wheel. Two of our office staff accompanied us and they got the privilege  to drive. That two and half hour drive covering two hundred kilometer plus gave respite to the tired eyes due to lack of sleep the previous night. That was the exciting start. A weekday drive along the highway again saw less traffic too.

The right topic for a story augers excitement, polishing as well as encouraging us to tell a complete story rather than a part of it. I would have focused on what transpired at the lake- side had I not noticed that it was a full day adventure for us. Having arrived at the lake side of Banding, half way to Kota Bharu on the East West Highway, my wife, the two staff members plus others of the project management team left on two boats for the journey upstream. 
That left me wondering what to do for the next five to six hours before the party returned. You wouldn't like to idle the time away. Your computer was at hand but it needed to be charged and only then become friendly. That was an alternative for other discoveries. I spied several huts across the lake and decided to make way toward the spot. No less than five minutes later I was at the lakeside and excited with what I saw. What better than allowing you to share the scene as I discovered as per picture below.

There was the wooden planks forming a pathway to the 'sanctuary' of wooden huts just several steps away. Braving the swaying less you mistakenly took a wrong step and cooled yourself in the lake, I stepped on the floating pathway and the feet carried me to the huts at the end of it. Maybe there is a table and chair plus a cup of hot coffee available here. It would be good to take a quiet break here before you find other restful site. 

That's when the excitement started. I discovered the owner had several rooms, all resting on the empty drums floating on the lake. I asked to look at one and decided to occupy the one at the end of the path. Electricity, wifi and air  conditioning come with the rental. Further there are stocks of fresh water fish available for sale and you could take your choice and asked the lady at the counter to prepare  your lunch. Here was an entrepreneur who makes the best that are available from the lake and its surrounding garnered by the community especially the 'orang asli'. I was to learned more.

Clean, spacious with a bathroom attached and buoyed by the wakes of waves that came with the passing boats, the room added to the excitement of the day. It was an experience not expected then. I could have a restful day. My computer came out of its bag and I started to enjoy the quiet moment by putting force words and expressions. 

You would notice that there were several wooden and fibre glass boats moored alongside the gangway or wooden footpath. These were for rentals and fishing trips to other parts of the lake. I spied a house boat anchored near the landing with its cargo of sorts. On closer look and from information made known it was ready to unload its cargo of rattan gathered from the forest around the lakes. It would no doubt have taken time, energy and hardship to reap that special harvest of quality and precious item. Here I was witnessing raw rattan of good quality being ready for sale to the better bidder.  Rattan of the 'manao' species are hard to come by and here there are in large quantity and of varied sizes too. Rattan furniture makers would surely welcome them.   

The owner intimidated to me that he had spent no less than RM10,000.00 to buy them and transported to site. Imagine the selling price soon to be conducted.

  The house boat as seen from the room at the end of the pathway.

  Now we notice its precious cargo

Several bundles have been uploaded and even when I left the site five hours later the workers were still transferring them from the house boat. It is a large quantity.

      Cut and bundled into the exact size, these 1 1/2 in diameter rattan would make good quality furniture

another variety

almost ready to be carted to its next destination

       The lakes naturally supply fresh water fish and you would get the best quality if you come at the right time. If late all would be carted away by buyers that come regularly to purchase from the native fishermen.

This picture indicates that food is supplied here, cooked at your choice of menu. 

In fact I had my lunch here and at the same time shared the experience of learning about the place with another visitor who was on the way back to Kuala Lumpur after making a stop from Kota Bharu. Charles Cheang was excited too to discover this unknown site and the richness of Belum. I am sure he would make a return visit. Thank you Cheang for the lunch.   

That was what was presented before my eyes. Imagine the richness of the site and the products that would come from the lakes and the forest surrounding that never met our eyes. I am sure the right entrepreneur would gain excess to all the wealth available but hard works await. A half day exposure unexpectedly gives so much. A longer stay would surely give more secrets.

That is not over with the excitement of the day because our journey has yet to find its end. When the party from the visitation of the site came back, we moved on to Ipoh via the town of Grik, Lenggong and on to the North South Highway near Kuala Kangsar. We had hoped to catch the ETS train from Ipoh Railway Station at 7.00 pm but missed it by a few minutes.The drive to Ipoh along excellent road takes you less than two hours.

We could have climbed on board before the train left the station but without valid ticket we would be surcharged. The next scheduled departure at 9.00 pm took us to Kuala Lumpur Central arriving at 11.30 pm. Only a 2 1/2 hour ride in comfort and mind you at a very reasonable price. Just show your IC and you would get the correct discount. For the normal RM 35.00 ticket senior citizen pays RM17.00 while my wife being a retired government officer got her ticket for RM19.00 only. The Kuala Lumpur Central and Ipoh  departures are the only current electric transport train sector between two cities in the country. Hopefully 2015 would see linkages from Johore Baharu to Padang Besar when the dual tracks are completed. The train traveled at more than 120 km/hr  faster than the permitted speed of our motor cars on the road.

Bob and Zul, our officers had to return to the project site for the continuing visit and meeting the next day. We left them at the Railway Station not after a good dinner at an Ipoh Restaurant. On arrival at Kuala Lumpur we had Idzfan to collect us for the next sector of our journey to home in Putrajaya. A good shut eye for the night would be a blessing.

That's the excitement of the day while of course adding spice to life and knowledge and wisdom in between. Writing this has also been a good exercise in participation.

Monday, June 17, 2013


Sunday 16th June passed quietly, though a small group maybe managed to usher that special day declared as a federal holiday in USA since 1972 by Richard Nixon. It's not home grown and therefore the lukewarm participation. Farther we have many celebrations and holidays throughout the year and additions only added to tightening of the belts. Mother's Day celebrated last month and recognized in USA since 9 may 1914. Therefore both are of US origin. Naturally the business sector took upon themselves to promote both Mother's and Father's Day. Valentine's Day has assured florist foremost to reap good business and following that efforts are made toward the parental celebrations. 

Parents would of course be grateful to their siblings who remember them and especially recollect years that they grew with all the sacrifice afforded. Certainly parents who brought up their children pre -Merdeka had little to fall back on except determination. Those that manage to raise children post Malaysia are a happier lot with advantages at their sides. 

The romantics, grateful and thoughtful persons would take upon themselves to appreciate the chance to say 'hello' and 'terima kasih' to their dads and mums which otherwise would be done only during Hari Raya or other celebrations . 

Sadly the elders amongst us would not have a chance to offer thank and sincere appreciations since for sure many of our fathers and mothers have departed. Only memories and 'doa' accompany our thoughts of them.  

Four gentlemen and fathers too at a tobacco stall of a Pasar Minggu helping themselves to the choicest  of quality tobacco and 'daun rokok'. One has a 'rokok daun' clipped to his lips and imagine them smoking away after they left the stall appreciating fresh quality tobacco. Yes fathers have their moments of happiness with the friends.  

I have known him as Che Gu Mat. A former teacher and an octogenarian who still cycled to the kampong Mosque for the daily prayers. Che Gu Mat wouldn't understand our fanciness  for father's day because he already appreciates the goodness of live and the often visitation of his family to their birth place.

Six young people together with a fatherly figure observing the going-on and appreciating that one day they too  will become fathers with all the responsibilities.


They of course will appreciate what both parents have given them

While these fathers surely receive their dues from their children, they themselves continue to record appreciation to both their parents.

In moment like this we look back at the sacrifices of our soldiers and security personnel who gave their best and fell during serving the nations, leaving young children especially who had hardly known the affections of their fathers.  More so the fond remembrance and affection would be felt when such a day as father's day come by.