Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Boat Ride in Kuala Sepetang (aka Part 5)

continued from here

How on earth do you make a three day trip stretch to 5 posts and you're still only on your second day? Easy.

Firstly, make sure that you had your trip more than a year ago.

Secondly, because you have forgotten most of what you did (unless you took notes, which you didn't because your initial plan was to actually complete the write-up as soon as possible), you try recalling what you did by looking back at your photos.

Thirdly, because pictures scream a thousand words than actual thousand words do, you end up posting pictures (after cutting yourself out of it, or putting a black box on your face first - if you're in it) and caption them with not so funny captions that they are sufficient to tell everyone about what you did or how your trip went.

Fourthly, because the posts are loaded with pictures instead of words, when you preview them , they tend to look extra lengthy, and you don't want that because your aim is to actually share your experience with your friends who read them (and everyone knows that some lengthy posts (especially when accompanied by photos) may lead to skipped parts), and therefore you start splitting the posts.

But I digress (a lot)

Kuala Sepetang - A Boat Ride, Lifestyle and Other Things

View of one of the fishing boats at the village

The boat ride

After the mangrove park, we decided that we'd take the boat ride around the Kuala Sepetang area. There are a few different boat rides available, but we decided to take the one hour boat ride that goes down around the riverside past the fishing villages and the mangrove forests.

For those who are interested, Kuala Sepetang is also another place that is steeped in history. This is where the very first railway line was built (to Taiping) in Peninsular Malaysia, back in 1885. These days, Kuala Sepetang is known as a fishing village where boats are more abundant than cars. As we took the boat ride, the guy giving us the tour told us that there was absolutely nothing to do on the fishing village other than house the fishermen and their families. Anything you wanted to do elsewhere, you had had to wait for one of the boat taxis to take you out to the mainland. Just as our boat guy was telling us this, we saw a family, dressed up for the Saturday evening, excitedly waiting for one of the boat taxis to take them so that they could have a day out like anyone else. I'm sure they are pretty happy with their lives (well, they looked happy as the breeze blew at them while waiting), but it makes you realise how terrible people can be the more they have. Take those of us who live in towns, where we complain even about the slightest discomfort that disrupts our busy schedules. Sigh.

Another item of interest mentioned by the boat guy is that due to the isolated nature of the fishing village, practically every single house carries a satellite dish which has over 500 channels from all over the world, which somehow compensates them having nothing much to do (at least that was the impression I got from the boat guy), and the best part - the satellite dish is apparently illegal elsewhere in the country! Other than the fishing village we got to see an eagle and a few monkeys by the mangrove.

After the boat ride, we drove back all the way back to Taiping town in order to grab some dinner. This time we had some Chinese food, which as expected was delicious. The night ended here as we were all very exhausted and ended up sleeping quite early.

Monday, November 28, 2011

JUST ANOTHER RANDOM POST

1. Why is it that some people always manage to say things that rub you the wrong way in almost every conversation you have with them, although deep down inside you kind of know that they don't mean to be mean to you?

2. I recently noticed that some friends at work have started to refer to me as an English walking dictionary/grammar book. It's strange yet fascinating as my 'knowledge' on grammar is basically based on what I usually refer to as 'it sounds right, so I'll use that'

3. Football (or soccer if you're American) is the only thing that unites the Malaysian people. Politics just do the total opposite.

4. I've been using glasses since I was 7, and while deep down inside I was a nerd to the core, I hid it as best as I could by getting non-nerdy glasses, and using contact lenses whenever I went out with friends, although they all knew I was a nerd. I checked my eyes again recently (the yearly one) and now I've decided to embrace my nerdiness with frames that emphasise nerdiness.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

And Then There Was One

They never sent a warning beforehand although they had our e-mail addresses.

One day everything was there, intact, and the next day everything had suddenly disappeared. All those words, all the friends, and all those memories. 

Long before Facebook was shoved in my face by a close friend back in September 2007 in which I rather reluctantly embraced it, I belonged to a similar social networking group called Friendster, where I was reunited with a few old friends, some who go back way into the crazy days of pig-tailed childhood (one of them, at least - my hair was always kept short as a child) Such good times. A little later into the social networking bandwagon, they came out with a feature known as Friendster Blogs. As I only had a miserable and erratic dial up connection back then (2005), knowledge about what the internet had to offer was rather limited, so I had no idea that Blogger (then known as Blogspot? - apparently not) even existed. 

I had lots of stories to tell back then, and Friendster Blogs provided the perfect avenue for it. I typed out and posted my very first post at exactly 10:22 pm on April 11, 2005, which told one of the many silly stories I had shelved up in my mind. That blog led a rather active albeit private life until April of 2008, when I decided to revert my 2 and a half readers from there to this blog, which by then already had a life of it's own. It led a rather quiet life after that, especially since Facebook gained popularity and Friendster took a backseat, although I did visit it occasionally.

A few months ago, they revamped the whole of Friendster from a social networking site to a site that caters to games. I don't have anything against games, but did they have to delete everything? I don't care too much about the profile itself, but the blog was something I truly cared about. It had a story of my late grandfather, some old stories from the mad days of university life to some stories when I first started working and a whole lot of idiotic observations on life (Due to the 2.5 readers there, I was prone to even more silliness there than I am here, plus I was also younger back then. Duh!)

It saddens me that all those stories I wrote back then are now in an online graveyard somewhere, and how I was not able to rescue them on time. While I have not exactly forgotten the incidents or the stories, recreating them is just not possible.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tell Me Why I Don't Like Boys

First of all, they are confusing, because they are probably a confused lot themselves. And due to their tendency to be confusing, they end up causing a whole lot of confusion!

Juvenile as it seems, and unlikely as it is to have a thirty-something lamenting about something like this, here I am.

P.S: Nope, this is not one of those girls vs boys posts, I just had the need to let this out due to some personal reasons and I had nowhere else to put it.

PPS: Title of the post modified from the lyrics to the song "I don't like Mondays" by Boomtown Rats.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve

continued from here:
http://raconteuresquescribblings.blogspot.com/2011/11/getaway-to-wettest-town-in-malaysia.html

Kuala Sepetang Mangrove Park

aka Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve

After the jaunt in the museum, where we took a few *illegal photos (see part 3), we drove on towards the mangrove forest, missing the entrance several times before we finally found it - yes, even with the GPS because we had the wrong name - don't ask. Entry was free, and so was parking. Again!

The forest reserve is an educational park of sorts, peppered with signboards indicating the different flora (and fauna - but fauna are a bit harder to spot) you could find around you, a platform you could walk on so that the mud didn't damage your footwear, but unless you have enough foresight to think of mosquitoes, without bug repellent, you'd be contributing to a free blood festival for said mosquitoes. You can also choose to stay there overnight if that is your thing - there are chalets there which you can rent, and I think they are pretty cheap.

Besides being a place where you'd gain knowledge on mangrove forests and their usefulness in protecting our inland from erosion, you'd also see people jogging there - in fact, there was one particularly loud jogger running around - you could hear his footsteps on the boardwalk before you saw him, so you could get ready to make way for him to pass you. In the time it took us to cover the whole area, he had jogged past us at least three times. 


One of the many signboards
This tree predates the country's independence. So do my parents, actually. But still....
The platform/boardwalk

*we tried to blend in with the exhibits, and then realised that the museum had cameras all around watching our every move. It's a wonder that no one kicked us out.

To be continued....

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Operasi Payung

Umbrellas doing a waltz of their own
There is a place where government officials carrying colourful umbrellas would waltz around to offer to walk petrified looking students stuck in the rain (one official per student) to their examination centres. No, I have not watched any musicals in awhile, but come on, what else are you supposed to imagine when you hear the words 'Operasi Payung' (Operation Umbrella?) on an otherwise mundane Monday?

For some strange reason, the rainy season (yes, although it does rain most of the time, there ARE periods with even more rain than usual, especially around the east coast where it floods like crazy) always seems to coincide with the SPM (equivalent to O-levels) examination so much so that at one point while I was still in school the government decided to tackle the problem by shifting the school year from January to December so that the exam season was just slightly ahead of the rainy season. That didn't work either as the rainy season seemed to have a mind of it's own and shifted to once again coincide with the exams. Finally, after a few years, the government threw in their towels in disgust and changed the school year back to January.

On Monday morning, while I was listening to the news on the radio, the newsreader announced that the exams had started, Monday being the first day and all, and how the Education Department had decided to use "Operasi Payung" (literally translated to Operation: Umbrella(!!!)) in order to help kids stranded in floods to sit for their respective papers. Now, although the newsreader said that this meant that the students would be directed to different centres to sit for their exams in case their original exam centre was flooded or their path to said centre was blocked, my imagination (as can be seen in the first paragraph of this post) had a whole different idea.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Getaway To The Wettest Town in Malaysia (Part 3: Matang Museum)

Continued from The Wettest Town Part 2

(Note: This trip happened waaaaay back in July 2010 - no kidding, but I had forgotten to continue with the write-up for so long for so may different reasons. A friend's recent trip to Taiping reminded me of the place and here is the continuation - scheduled post)

By the time we got back down to sea level after another stomach churning ride down the hill by land rover (and going down is scarier by far, I think), it was almost time for lunch. We headed out to Taiping town to our hotel to chuck our stuff, and freshen up just to head out again for lunch. This time, we picked a Thai restaurant recommended by the GPS. The food was OK, but extremely hot - good for the taste buds (mine), not too good for the digestive system (my sister's)

We drove out of Taiping after that heading towards a town called Kuala Sepetang because it was recommended by the caretaker of the bungalow up at Maxwell Hill. Kuala Sepetang was once also known as Port Weld. On the way, we stopped at the Kota Ngah Ibrahim Matang Museum

The Kota Ngah Ibrahim Matang Museum

The Matang Museum
A cannon right outside the museum
Perak is a state with lots of history. If anyone was dilligent enough to browse through the history books I read back in school, a lot of the stories originated in Perak, from the finding of tin ore there, some local skirmishes between Chinese groups to the Pangkor Treaty which eventually led to the colonisation of the state. There also has been some interesting pre-historic findings in Perak, such as the Perak Man (although that was in a different district from where we were)

Entry into the museum is free, and there is ample parking outside as well. Also free! (I'm not used to free parking, so I found this fascinating) There weren't many people there at that time, but a few of the museum's personnel were doing some work outside. The museum basically consists of the history during the tin mining era of Perak, as well as the many things the building was used for. Outside, on the other hand, they were working on a (then) recent archeological find.

The building was once Ngah Ibrahim's home, until he was exiled to Seychelles, and buried in Singapore when he died. A few years ago, his remains were brought back to Perak and he was reburied near his home.


How tin was discovered! Apparently, a pet elephant named Larut got stuck in some mud, and when he got unstuck, they found some tin ore stuck on his leg amongst the muddy mess.
Inside the museum. You've got to take your shoes off here before proceeding upstairs
A scene from the trial of the murder of J.W.W Birch, held in this very building which served as a court in it's day after being Ngah Ibrahim's house and before it was turned into a teacher's training college
Among other things the house was used for before being turned into a museum:
  • Matang College (A teacher's training college)
  • A primary school
  • Headquarters of the Japanese Army
  • Primary school (until taken over by the museum)
 To be continued in Kuala Sepetang....

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Up, Up and Away

Someone got stuck in the passenger *lift the other day. Despite the 'unfortunateness' of the incident, he was rather fortunate because he had a walkie-talkie with him and could therefore call for help. Yes, the glass is always half-full, probably because it wasn't me in there, stuck in between floors in a dark and stuffy cube - alone.

I've always been worried about using that particular passenger lift due to it's uncanny ability to trap unsuspecting users time and again - sometimes right after it's been serviced. Give me the stairs anytime - plus there's always the promise of nice looking legs with the stairs. The passenger lift  gives the vibes of something lonely and desperate which will decide to force it's company on you whether ypu like it or not, until one of the maintenance guys set you free. I had a dream about it last night. (Edit: Last night was actually Tuesday - I wrote this on notepad during lunch and managed to post it up only today - Saturday)

For some strange reason, a few friends and I were on a backpacking adventure trip/competition, and the second last leg of the competition involved getting into the lift and surviving the ride without throwing up once the doors finally opened and chucked you out into the final leg. Although I've never experienced a lift lurching as you see your life pass you by, my dream self had an almost real feel of it. The lights dimmed, the sound magnified, and the whole team screamed although we knew it was just simulated and we were not really falling to our deaths. After what felt like forever it did throw us out. What a thing to dream about.

*British English. Besides, passenger lift sounds better than passenger elevator ;)

Saturday, November 05, 2011

LOST BUT NOT FOUND

My mom is a semi-firm believer in the art of fengshui, and she also happens to care way too much about her already grown up kids. When we ask her about it, she says she'll always be our mom no matter how old we get, so that was that. Due to her caring way too much attitude,  a few years ago, she got me a monkey on a horse bronze statue, a small one similar to size of a tightly balled up fist of a 5'3" female - something which fengshui believers believe will help improve our career prospects.
The Monkey on a Horse

Now, while I'm not much of a believer in anything at all - except maybe for science, I took the statue and duly placed it on my work desk. However, as time went by and I changed office, I ended up putting it and locking it inside my desk drawer.

Prior to this, I've had a few things missing from my work desk, from packets of emergency food supply such as the 3-in 1 sachets of cereal or coffee. I brushed it off as co-workers being a hungry lot who thought that since I left it on top of my desk it was theirs for the taking and didn't bother to ask because I wasn't there (I noticed things would go missing over the weekend - I once put an expired sachet of cereal on my desk, just to see what happens. That too went missing and so did a bottle of hand sanitiser)

The other day,  I was looking for my penknife, which I was certain I had put into the drawer and locked it, but I couldn't seem to find it at all, which was when I decided that I'd empty out the whole drawer and search for it. And that was when I noticed that it wasn't only my penknife which had decided to go walkabout, but so did the monkey on a horse statue, a silver-ish ring like item, and a gift from Japan a colleague had given me (the bag was still there, but the gift in it was missing)

I used to think that me losing items was always because I was careless and had misplaced them - like the time I lost this certain gadget which I had to use to detect the flow of something work related, or even if it was only my penknife that had gone missing, but after finding out that quite a number of things had actually gone missing, I'm inclined to believe that we might have a thief in our midst (the office doesn't have a lock, unfortunately) who can somehow open a locked drawer (the lock is not in perfect condition, either), or a toyol of some sort.

I'm in a dilemma of sorts now. I've discussed this with the section supervisor, who says he can't recall any of his personal items being flicked, but he once had a rather expensive piece of equipment vanish right under his nose. The box was still there, and in perfect condition, but the equipment itself was missing. I don't know if I should report this to my boss, or just suck it up and empty my drawers of anything personal (maybe I could put in a poisonous scorpion in there as well)

Edit: I didn't care about the food going missing at all... But I do draw the line at personal stuff (and expensive ones at that) as well as work equipment going missing. 

Thursday, November 03, 2011

NICE TO MEET YOU?

So, you meet someone in person for the very first time, and instead of going for the tried and tested (but incorrigible) "Nice to meet you", you can now compliment their socks while you shake hands with them. On condition that you can actually see their socks.

An excellent ice-breaker if I may say so myself. ;)