Sunday, January 31, 2010

Taiping Zoo..

We thought we'd bring a little fun to learning about the animal world... hence the main destination for this trip was the zoo. Flemington Hotel is ideal cos it's really near. You can walk to the zoo! The view is great cos you see the whole lake garden when you wake up in the morning... 8)
Taiping
At RM128 with two buffet breakfasts thrown in, it is reasonable. And this hotel food actually tastes quite 'hawkerish'. Simple food but tasty. For our gal, we had to pay an extra RM6.90. Compare this to Ritz Garden in Ipoh which we stayed in 2 weeks ago on our way to Cameron Highlands at RM125, also with 2 breakfasts thrown in, Flemington's a better deal.
Rays of sunlight
Then it was off to the Zoo. We were the first at the entrance I think. And this greeted us soon after we started our walk... bathed in the rays of the sun.
Wild boar,Taping Zoo
This fler's family member was a recent star in the recent attempts to stir up emotions... poor animals...cow and wild boar. Man tussle for influence and they get caught in between. As though being slaughtered for food is not enough...
Taiping Zoo
We were trying to encourage our gal learn and remember the names of the animals and their parts. Good thing there are books and electronic dictionaries which read for you. 8) Other Half even downloaded the animals and their sounds to his Ipod, which our gal had fun listening to the night before. I think my own Mandarin vocab has probably gone up a tiny bit. LOL! Talk about educational tour.
Taiping Zoo
Because we were early, we are able to catch the feeding time. These 'hei xing-xing' (black chimpanzees) get imported fruits as food twice a day! Grapes, oranges, pineapples, bananas, watermelon, carrots... the poor humans don't even eat so well! There was this old chimpanzee which would ask fruits to be thrown to him. Others would just pick it up from the ground. But we noticed that grapes were a favourite. LOL! Even chimpanzees know how to tell the good stuff!
Guided tour,Taiping Zoo
And as we we were about to exit, we notice a big group of foreign workers (could be Vietnamese or Nepalese) and they were so animated and excited just to be in the zoo. Could be their day off and they decided to have a trip to the zoo. Anyway, Daughter wanted to go on the 'train'. She finds it fun... 8) Kids, they're easily excitable.
Taiping Zoo
And got another round of tour.... and discovered that we had covered all the grounds on foot. But the zoo guide was rather boring... he kept saying "Di sebelah kanan ialah ...., di sebelah kiri ialah...." the whole trip. There were no explanations. Would have been nice... At the Night Safari in Singapore, the zoo guide gave a very good description of the animals....
Wild mangosteen tree
Generally worth a visit... not just to bring the kids. It's also nice for us the adults to be awed and reminded of God's other creations which He has given us dominion over. And the beauty (be it raw or refined) that each of these creatures (and plants too) possess... A keeper also told us the slow loris which he was cajoling to eat a banana used to be someone's pet. But because the owner had no license, it was sent to the zoo. The loris was really cute. His 'owner' still visits him once a month at the zoo!
Taiping Zoo
And this... This is still the time... and it'll run out soon, when our gal will turn to us and ask us over the littlest thing that catches her attention and accept in totality what we tell her, share all her world with us... no holds barred. This is still the time when her papa and mummy know everything.... This is reason enough for our spate of cuti-cuti, jalan-jalan.
Taiping Zoo
It was nice to be able to walk around. But be careful at the children's playground as the mats are slippery.... the authorities should look into replacing them. My lil one slipped and fell; burst into tears. Overall, kudos to the Zoo Director and his team...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Weekend Away... Taiping

Have Netbook and broadband will blog... LOL! In Taiping now. Since Son is still away.... next week he goes off to Cambodia.... He seems to be enjoying his SUSOM lots. Been sounding more and more cheerful and chatty each time we talk to him... nice! 8)

This weekend we thought we'd give Taiping a try. Have not been here for a long time. Been maybe 7-8 years. I remember my gal was still in the stroller when we last came.
Taiping Lake Garden
Checked in Flemington Hotel at the Lake Garden... this is the view of the roundabout at night. Place is fully booked this weekend, it seems. It's supposed to be one of the newest hotels. Hotel is okay... but the corridors are kinda stuffy as they switched off the air-con. If I were them, I'd switch them on... give a good impression, fully booked. And their advertisement about wi-fi being available in all rooms; not quite true.
Taiping
So, we came down and had dinner here. Actually we went to the Larut Matang Hawker Centre first but at that hour, most of the stalls had already 'sau-tong'.
Taman Tasik Hawker Centre,Taiping
And yup! Taiping hawker food is generally nice. This is the curry mee, with 'lor' egg. Prices are reasonable too. The herbal tea tasted quite original for a change. LOL!
Taiping,Taman Tasik Hawker Centre
Fried oyster... oyster still too cooked for my liking but it's texture is just nice. Not very sticky and has a nice fragrant smell, appetizing.
Taiping
My memory of Taiping has always been the chee cheong fun and kuih. I've vague memories of my parents bringing us to Taiping for these. Taiping is one of the places my parents took us when we were kids. They'd pack us all in the car and begin the journey early in the morning. And we'd visit as many places as possible in that one day trip... now as l look back, it must have been tiring for dad to drive us around. And cars were not so comfortable those days... neither were the roads. Trips were always a whole day affair... begin before sun up and reach home near midnight... with all of us asleep in the car while he would drive and mum kept him awake.
Restoran Prima Taiping
I wanted another round of chee cheong fun and we ended up in Restoran Prima Taiping but no luck. Chee cheong fun only sold in the morning there. So we settled for popiah instead. Definitely better than any of the popiah that I've had in Alor Setar... hawker centre fare, I mean. Ah Ho's popiah is still way, way better. Home cooked - no fight! 8)
parking meter,Taiping
Saw these parking meters in the lake area. These must be the older type of parking meters. I saw some of the newer 'green' coloured meters in town. Kinda reminded me of Alor Setar, how we've been changing our parking system in the last decade... ticket - meter - coupons - meter.... We fix up the meters, take them down, fix new ones up again, somebody(ies) must be making tonnes of money.... more to come.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Sunny Restaurant @ Chai Leng Park

This was on our way back from CH... these days we tend to be more adventurous in looking for food. After a quick stop to get something from the nearby mall, we drove to this place... with the GPS in the lead. 8) Sure beats manual map reading. And manual maps don't give suggestions.... LOL!
Photobucket
This restaurant is located in Chai Leng Park, Seberang Perai, an area well known for food. It's supposed to serve Taiwanese and local food; fast food style. But I wouldn't rate the service as fast. You've got to look a little harder for the restaurant as their signboard really blends into the surroundings.
Photobucket
This is tumeric fried rice... Other Half had this. Anything tumeric, he usually likes. I found it quite nice also. Funny thing, Other Half asked the waitress to recommend their popular choices and he was given this answer.. everything is the same! LOL! This is a shop with no popular dish! Either that or she didn't understand very much English and the easiest answer was "All same".
Photobucket
I had this... Szechuan Bean Curd & Seafood Rice. I don't know whether it was because I was really famished but this is also not too bad; kinda appetizing in its own way. A little spicy with a slight sweetish and sourish taste.
fried beehoon
Daughter had this.. Taiwan fried beehoon. Unlike Singapore fried beehoon which is dry, this seems a bit more moist. They are quite generous with the prawns and meat which gives the beehoon a rather natural sweetness. A little oily I feel, but okay.
kailan,stewed pork
Also had this for our side order; fried kailan in braised pork. The braised pork makes this dish nice. It was a bit unfortunate that the kailan tasted a little bitter that day.
pork maw,peppercorns
Also, we had their Pork Maw with Peppercorn Soup. Not bad. I noticed a steady stream of patrons as we had our dinner. It seems popular with the local residents which is not surprising given their pricing.

And their toilet is very clean too. We had to walk to the back past the kitchen to get to the toilet and the whole area is very clean. This I like! We might go back there for seconds.... 8)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ipad... Wish List

... think I am going to shelf my dream of an IMac and settle for this instead. I currently have a 2-year-old MacBook which is serving me very well and a Touch which I feel is the best PDA I've used so far.

The Touch has provided hours of reading pleasure, and also some occasional games. Currently Scramble is my favourite. Also, the Ipod has been a great tool for me to keep track of my mileage and reminds me often the way I drive affect my fuel consumption. There is also the Period Tracker... 8). A woman's best friend. No need for me to keep going back to the manual calendar. On the same note too the Bill Tracker... helps organize my bill paying.

Oh there are so many other apps that keep me really happy. I haven't gone on to the paying apps simply because I'm still wary about the credit card thingy. But I think it's only a matter of time before I do that cos there are many apps which I think will be useful to me and they're cheap.

Bible reading has also been made easier. There have the Planner as well as the Bible... it makes it so convenient. But there are time when I still slack. I'm enjoying the news that I get from New York Times and BBC. Also Pop Sci... these are really treasure troves and they allow me to read wherever I am. Suffice to say, most of my waiting time is now spent fiddling on my Ipod. Meetings have also become more bearable as a result. 8)

Let's see what else... ah yes! Gym workouts. I carry my personal trainer everywhere. No longer do I need to ask the gym guy how to use the equipment or what exercise I should do... I can always refer to the Ipod and some of the free apps come with video, which reminds me. Video display is simply awesome even on the Ipod. I'd download stuff from TED and watch them on the go. Very inspiring sometimes!

There are plenty of other apps which keep me occupied one way or the other... so if the Ipad will provide me that sort of experience with that sort of ease at home Ipod does for me on the go.... it's going from my wish list to ownership when it's made available here... 8) The 3G connection makes it an attractive replacement for my Netbook for sure. If they had incorporated multi tasking as one of the features, I'd probably be bowled over.... never mind if I have to be reminded of the tampon each time I use it. LOL!

Carrot and Stick...

The gahmen is mulling over the implementation of this carrot and stick thingy... nothing new, except that it hasn't quite worked in the public sector..... part of the reason, uninspiring bosses... lack of ethics among others.

Carrot and stick... from my little world. Let me illustrate this in this little story which I'll just entitle Chronicle of the 3rd & 4th Periods.
Form 4 Wira. 3rd and 4th period of every Monday is set for Sejarah. First week of school... orientation and briefing for the Form Fours. So, no 3rd & 4th periods as the actual classes had not yet started.

By the second week, lessons had begun. Students and teachers did not sense anything amiss as 3rd & 4th periods came and went without the teacher entering. It was after all still the first week of teaching. Maybe there was some confusion still. Maybe the teacher got mixed up....

Third week came... again the same thing. But this time something happened. A small scuffle broke out. Some tables and chairs were flung. Two window panes got broken. Other students sent for SOS.... the discipline teacher came; took the feuding parties to his room. Peace and quiet! But it did not last long. Soon the noise broke into a crescendo again! Students wandered in and out. Another teacher nearby sent the students to call the teacher concern. 4th period came and went! No teacher. Student said the teacher was busy. Convenient!

Fourth week... part of 3rd period was eaten up by some talk. Students were late coming in. But classes soon proceeded. 4th period came, and still the class was teacherless. By now, the students were getting bolder. They wandered in and out of their class as they pleased. A teacher who soon came by and asked the class monitor to call their teacher. 4th period came and went. No teacher! The class had reached the apex of their noise making by then. Thankfully, the bell rang! And they were off for their lab class.
How will the carrot and stick thing work here? What if the said teacher happens to be one of the bosses? Who awards the carrot and stick thing to him? And how do you know such bosses will award the carrot to the right people? How do you know if they will not wield the stick for the right reason? I stirred the carrot in the cauldron with the stick and out came this story....

Anyway, whatever weaknesses and wrongs in the system will be hard to adjust or change.... I've just in the past few weeks watched in fascination at workplace, this huge brouhaha about being forced to pay an exorbitant sum for a farewell. There seemed to be this groundswell about boycotting it one way or the other.... But as expected, as time drew near, mostly meekly dug into their pockets and came out with the money. We're a forgiving lot... LOL!

So, the conclusion of the matter is... there is no need to be a 'good' boss... or a subordinate because all will be forgiven in the end. So crap on.....

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ladies Night

This was on Monday night.. our Methodist Women's (MW) first meeting for the year. New year and a new committee also.
MW Cookies Night
Like Zacheus they stood, while the teacher taught... LOL! Only different was they wanted to know the secret to a good cookie. 8)

Anyway, I was there to lend my support. I've not attended many of their meetings cos it coincided with my lessons with my boy and co the last 5 years. So, this year, I thought I'd try to make it for a few of their meetings since I'm done with him... I've written about it in the church blog here.

Ladies.. I think they are like the backbone of the church. Many of these ladies I've known for many years. And they have contributed a lot and silently. Anyway, it was a nice night out... I was there more for the food and fellowship more than anything.
Cheese Sables
We had a learn-to-bake-cookies session. Ah Ho conducted. I helped to eat.. and so did a few. 8) These are Cheddar Cheese Sables.. Tasty and savoury; what more fresh from the oven.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Notice Boards...

Every year the students get chased to 'do-up' their papan kenyataan (notice board). All classes have their own boards these days. But some how I think we've gone sesat yet again the reason for these boards. It's only been less than a month, and the notice board has taught me a lesson or two about the state of the people whom we entrust the education of our children to... plentifool of lessons for me too.

Start of the year... a flurry of activities. New year, new class.. changes. Enter a class on the first day and we get down to the needful. One that never fails to top the list these days is keceriaan. It is important but I think we're overdoing it.

Curtains; they are a must these days. So, these are distributed and duly hung up... I can never agree to curtains, unless they aircon the classroom. It's way too dusty, hot and humid in the open classroom. And having so much tarred surfaces just don't help. I get flustered just sitting in those classes.... especially when the humid mid-year descends on us. And we'd sweat like horses and the smell..... *go figure*
Notice board
Then the notice boards. The students are told to doll-up the notice boards. Cloths are introduced as bases for the boards. Must look flawless. Yup! Gone are the days where brown or mahjung paper will suffice. Paper bases leave trails of polka dotted holes. Very often laces and ribbons are used as borders and delineation lines. Students cut, write, print, draw stuff and paste them on cardboards, coloured papers.... finally they're staple-gunned to the board.

All that would be well and good except nobody wants to take out those labouriously created 'crafted' masterpieces... so they stay, 'gunned' to the board, from the time they are put up, till the following year... and in some cases, recycled again by the following year's inhabitants of the class, and the year after... until someone comes along and orders it to be removed. But the kids are smart, they do some retouching and pass the work of those by the then ancient 'turun-temurun warisan (art)' as theirs.... The trick is to know how to apply touch-ups. I never knew that notice board pin-ups have such long shelf life. Perhaps we should rename them Deco Board.... Class with the best deco board wins the competition...

All they want apparently is, that these notice boards be showcases...tayang, tunjuk. Who cares about the contents of the notice boards? You can put garbage there and deck it up nicely and accolades will still keep rolling in, provided you hide all those garbage with the right amount of laces and ribbons. You might even earn yourself some prizes.. I supposed their value goes up with age, like paintings from long gone artists (only here it's the long gone seniors)!

Notice boards... they too are an indicator of how we've veered from the real meaning of education... We continue to imbue them with this... nampak elok adalah lebih penting dari isi... actually, it's easier to decorate than to look for stuff that can arouse interest of the viewer.... so we menghias to menyenangkan mata, not mencari maklumat to mencabar minda.
Notice board
Not so very long ago... I remember my teachers telling us to put up interesting articles, news, cartoon strips on the boards.... These days we tell our students to make them pretty.... Vanity, Vanity, Thy name is in all... I tried to do that, and my students got yelled at... *sigh*

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sold by Zana Muhsen

Finished another book and this one also belongs to Thomas. The book is by Zana Muhsen with Andrew Crofts. Andrew Crofts is one of those ghostwriters; professionals who write on behalf those with a good story to tell but can't write it themselves.

Sold is to the tune of Princess by Jean Sasson and Not Without My Daughter by Betty Mahmoody with William Hoffer. I've read both too. These are all books about the raw deal accorded to the fairer sex in the Middle East. While Princess is set in Saudi Arabia and Not Without My Daughter is in Iran, Sold is about the Yemeni life, particularly in the backward villages. To me, such kind of women lead lives of servitude and they are basically housekeeper, maid, labourer and baby machines. These are all traditional patriarchal society where women basically don't have personal freedom or much rights.

I was interested about how life had turned out for both girls, Nadia and Zana. Zana got out of her life in Yemen at the end of the book. So I Googled. Nadia is still in Yemen. Zana remains in UK and subsequently had other children. Nadia would not leave cos she has to leave her children behind. That's the Yemeni law, it seems. One way of breaking in the girls was to make sure they had babies as soon as possible. Maternal instincts would do the rest. They counted on that as why most would not leave if the a choice had to be made. Most of the time, they would resign themselves to their 'fate'. Zana left because she was strong enough to leave her son Marcus behind... and I supposed that in many eyes made her a bad mother.

Both girls were 'sold' by their father as child brides when they were 14 and 15 for 1300 pounds each.

Some critics say Nadia is happy and she should be left where she is. But I think, any woman with opportunity of growing up with the freedom to do what she wants would very likely not trade the kind of life she knows for that of what these 2 girls went through. It's easy to accept your lot in life when you do not know anything better. But if you have experienced the better life, would you want to trade it for something lesser?

So where does that put the Yemeni men? Their women bear the brunt of living in backward villages, drawing water from wells down the hills from their houses, living in houses without electricity, giving birth on dusty floors with no medical care, etc, etc.... while the men work in faraway places for months and sometimes years. Absent father and husband, the women soldier on. For a better life they say.... So, for what it's worth, it just shows the chauvinism in the Middle Eastern menfolks.

A friend of mine once told me that Arab women have a good life as their menfolk pamper them. I don't think I'd like their kind of life... they have no identity. It's the same thing - baby machines, sexual objects minus the slavery. But their men can have many wives... as long as it's kept to the law. Now, can we turn that around and have the women do as the men and the men lead that sort of life women lead? Would they like it?..... and don't go round quoting to me the holy books say so and so.... cos the God I know created Eve from the side of Adam... as equal partners. And not from the leg so that the men can subjugate the woman or from the head for the woman to lord over him..... Equal partners! God's laws become an excuse for misbehaviour.

My 3rd book for the year! LOL! I cannot believe that I am still at it! At this rate I'll surpass last year's holiday read. 8)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Orchid Tropica branch.. fish head curry

Am not sure whether this is a branch of the best fish head curry at Flats Setia... Orkid Tropika Cafe at the flats off Jln Langgar, the one near the Petronas Station.
Orchid Tropica
The name of this new place is Anglicized (Orchid Tropica).. the other one is Nationalized (Orkid Tropika). When I asked the waitress who served us whether they had closed the other one down, they said the old one was still opened. This restaurant is just beside Masjid Zahir. They had these posters hanging around town announcing their opening since last week. We went around searching and only found it 2 days ago. Apparently the signboard had just been put up as I actually looked at this building but there was no indication that it was that restaurant.
Orchid Tropica
Over the weekend, we went round again and this time we saw it. It's this old bungalow next to Comfort Motel that has been renovated into a restaurant. The dining area is divided into 2 sections: air-conditioned and non. There is also a VIP room.

Place looked nice enough when we arrived. At this time of the year, it's nice to be able to sit in the air-condition. There were already a few tables filled up by the time we arrived and before our food came, more people were coming in.

Things looked good up till that point. Then the chaos began. I could see that the waitresses were inexperienced as they were making multiple trips just to bring out the rice for each table; which could have been done in just one trip.

Then the service... as it got warmer, some of those sitting outside started to move in. Confusion reigned after that as food also started to go sesat. I could see that the workers were getting flustered. Tables which had not yet been served the fish head curry suddenly found rice sitting on their tables. Tables with dishes being served had no rice on their tables. Then it got even more comical.... dishes of veg, fish head curry started to lose their way and ended up on the wrong tables.
Photobucket
Even we ended up with a fish which we did not order. But we were too hungry to kick up a fuss and just ate it. Verdict... the curry is very normal. Felt like there was a lot of ajinomoto in it. And it definitely did not taste like the original.
Orchid Tropica
The taugeh with salted fish was very oily. When I scrapped those from the bottom of the plate, taugehs were dripping oil. The omelette had not much taste. Can't even smell the onion in it. So, if it's fish head curry cooked the Orkid Tropika Cafe style you want, it's still best to go back to the flats.
fly
One of the rare times a fly would stay still long enough for me to focus and take a pic. Plus the place was cool enough to slow this one down, I supposed. Anyway, the power of 'brand name' was at work when we were there by the looks of the crowd but there can only be one cook which can cook fish head curry the Orkid Tropika way. And that cook is still at the flats.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday School...

One week of blogging about my last weekend has been kind of nostalgic... and it fortunately provided a distraction from the crap at school. Today we have Saturday school; to replace the extended CNY break. I would of course prefer not to replace... 8)

Boss is retiring soon... But how endearing can a boss be when the teaching staff is made up 80% ladies but the other 20% gets a new toilet? The lady teachers have a greater need where toilets are concerned. Then we have this Oreo biscuit advert being replayed at work everyday... probably will not be missed by most. Anyway, the students were not allowed to leave the assembly area this morning till they paid their RM1 dues to show their appreciation to their retiring Ayahanda.... kesian! (Update 28/1 - 50 sen were returned to the kids, somebody finally remembered that they had only announced that amount earlier!)

Today my gal went to school with a small pail and a cloth. They had a gotong-royong to clean their classroom. But she was happy to do it. Even kinda eager.. that's the difference between small and big kids. She came home and was full of stories about how they went barefooted, how the bomba came and sprayed their classroom floors... she said it was lots of fun. And when we took her to the bookshop at night, she asked whether she could buy some mints for her class teacher. I asked why and she said the teacher seems to be clearing her throat very often. They want to give when they like a teacher.....

Back in my school... time was also set aside to clean the classrooms. One of the things we worked on was the notice board. But unlike the above, these older kids are shouted at and told how uncreative their boards are. My students were even told that they cannot put up the board the way they want it. Every article must be glued on another cardboard or coloured paper before being put up. Even in things like this, we try to control. I wonder whether we are trying to churn out robots. Things are forced and we don't make an effort to make the students understand why they need to do it themselves... it's hard sometimes... and I guess we'll have to go by discretion too but forcing the better classes???

Notice board serves to give notice, information.... we serve information which turns stale and remains stale for the rest of the year. That's what we do these days... mementingkan keceriaan without considering functionality. You know, I even have teacher's tables with skirts all around it. And lo! When you sit at the table, the skirt makes your legs really hot cos there is no movement of air under the table... and it stays there unwashed in this dusty and humid weather.... geli. Brain matter obviously not at work when the skirts were suggested. And the feminization process seems to be taking place a lot at schools these days. Too many teachers of the fairer sex and too many of the opposite of the too few left in the profession who actually care enough.

Looking good on the outside.... some of the more discerning students are beginning to voice that up too. We don't pay attention to details that should matter.... we spend much of our resources and energy on the look-good-outside stuff.

The tragedy of the Chung Ling students (this is an account from one of the team members) highlights that. No safety measures, a teacher who cannot swim being put in charge of a water sport (he was there cos he was one of the younger teachers; "bully-able", I guess)... Same goes for the bridge collapse tragedy; big donation but lack of so many things in the process of construction (again things which cannot be tayang-ed). Notice how we're reading about more tragedies involving schools on a greater frequency now... the incompetence of our policies and corruption are now slowly moving closer home. Just like all those roofs and buildings which are starting to collapse around the country.... Too much focus on keceriaan, seen as being the biggest, tallest, etc, etc, all quantifiable by sight or sound, we've failed to impressed on a whole generation the underlying qualities that build a successful nation - integrity, persistence, doing things for the right reasons....

Anyway, this is one of the few Saturday classes we'll be having for the year. We can't seem to stick to the prescribed hols.... cos we seem to be prescribing more hols for the already prescribed hols...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Flowers... Cameron Highlands

I'll let the pics talk... flowers. 8) One can be really bowled over by their beauty... This is at the private farms, made possible by an old friend...
Chrysenthum,Cameron Highlands
John and Chris' (Forum Mamasan) farm. And they specialize only in one type of flower - chrysanthemums! We were fortunate cos this is not your usual touristy farm. And we had the boss and his wife to show us around.... 8)
Chrysenthum,Cameron Highlands
I never knew that they were so many types of chrysanthemums... and that Amsterdam is the place to go for all the newest breeds.
Chrysenthum,Cameron Highlands
These are still under experimentation... really beautiful! Never seen a green chrysanthemum with such fine petals.
Chrysenthum,Cameron Highlands
A tour round the farm... areas which are awaiting replanting.
Chrysenthum,Cameron Highlands
The nursery... more than meets the eyes. I learned that there were many different types of chrysanthemums just under this one roof!
Chrysenthum,Cameron Highlands
We learned a lot about flower farming... From here, John drove us to his friend's orchid farm.
orchids,Cameron Highlands
With the proprietor whom we discovered also had a penchant for photography. 8) With so many beautiful flowers around, how not to.
orchids,Cameron Highlands
The slipper orchids caught my attention... it's supposed to look like a slipper but I see faces in these orchids. This looks like a squirrel... a chipmunk, maybe. 8)
orchids,Cameron Highlands
Liono???
orchids,Cameron Highlands
Yosemite Sam and his missus???
orchids,Cameron Highlands
This reminds me of one of those flying chipmunks.... Halloween!
orchids,Cameron Highlands
Bugs bunny??
orchids,Cameron Highlands
This is the road leading up to the farm. Notice the old Land Rover? There are many such Land Rovers all over Cameron Highlands with CH plastered at the doors. They are probably the old JKR, TNB, Police Land Rovers which have found their way here. They're handy for the terrain but pollute the environment!
orchids,Cameron Highlands
Back to the road... it was perhaps one of the scarier rides we've had. But because we were in competent hands (John was driving), it didn't feel so bad. Other Half said, it beats the Roller Coaster rides. Most of the time, it was only wide enough for one car to pass (ngam-ngam only). In some places, it was quite bumpy and when you look to other side, it's a sheer drop. But I am more convinced that I should consider getting a 4WD after this trip too!
Orchid Farm,Cameron Highlands
This was a point of conversation... pokok duit-duit. We used to put it in our books and wait for them to grow anak-anak. There were of course many other types of orchids, many of which I had not seen before. Thanks to Chris and John for it... and oh ya! I came back with 2 orchid plants too...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Walk Down Memory Lane.. Cameron Highlands

Fond memories.. these are what we're left with with the passing of time. And sometimes, if we're fortunate enough, we are reminded of them. And one of the things I did immediately we arrived home was to look at my old photos... I was searching for the remnants of my connection to the place that I had just spent my weekend.
MYF Camp,Ringlet
This pic is 27 years old! Ringlet... Chris (Yoke Leen) and John were kind enough to take us to their friend's orchid farm. We passed by Ringlet and Ah Chye's Bungalow. After 27 years, it's still there! But it was still recognizable from the road. 8) The above pic was my first MYF Camp back in 1983!...

The end of Form 3 was something we looked forward to for we'd be 'promoted' to the MYF... promotion to the big league. That meant we finally could rub shoulders with the bigger bros and sis. It was a big deal to us... 8)

Being kiddoes, it was naturally an exciting time. I remember Ah Bau and the small bamboo 'table'. Each group at the camp was supposed to build something with four legs and it had to be sturdy. The engineer in him came up with a small stool.. which he claimed could take the weight of a man; and it really could. It was the sturdiest structure. There were groups whose structures collapsed as the judges tested their durability. But we didn't win cos ours wasn't to specification. And also the talent time... creative use of pots, pans, glasses, chopsticks; can't remember what other kitchen utensils were used as musical instruments apart from the guitar and I remembered being wowed by the beauty of the music that we actually produced.

The girls would stay in the bungalow above. The boys stayed in the lower one and we'd have all our sessions in the boys' bungalow. Somehow, as I write this, I am taken back to the nights, shivering and walking up to our dormitory after the night sessions. My sis was supposed to go but didn't cos that was the year the STPM questions bocor.

And it was also the first time I went and did some serious hiking... And boy! It was not really kid's play. We scaled Gunung Beremban! It was a long and ardous hike but one that really reminded me of how the boys made sure everyone of us made it up.
MYF Camp,Gunung Beremban,1985
This I think was the 2nd time up Gunung Beremban in 1985. We had a sketch competition up there. We started the hike at 0700 and it took about 4-5 hours to reach the summit as we had to cut our own path. There weren't that many hiking trails like now back then. We had some fun up there - jungle survival skills, games on the way up, sketches.

MYF Camps were fun. Not only did they challenge us to reflect on our faiths but creativity and fun were always encouraged. Many of us always felt that the week long camp was never quite enough!
MYF,Camp,SK Convent,1985
This is that 1985 Camp at SK Convent at Tanah Rata... over 100 of us! 25 years have passed! Our MYF camps used to draw in over 100 campers ! Camps were always held in December.
MYF Camp,1985,Cameron Highlands
This was after my SPM... It was especially poignant cos a few of us left for further studies overseas after that. Where are we all now? Different parts of the country and world... in various fields. But because of the close ties that we forged through such camps and also the MYF weekly meets, many of us still share that sort of familiarity. And I think I've spoken to everyone of them at least once in the last 12 months. Yoke Leen (our guide for the day) is also one such friend. For this particular camp, Dr. David Burfield was the speaker.
SK Convent,Tanah Rata
This is SK Convent now. I went back there with Other Half during our recent trip last weekend and we walked the grounds outside the church. The hall where we had our sessions is now a kindergarten, the caretaker told us. We couldn't walk the corridors of the school as it is now fenced and locked up! The church meets upstairs now. And this SK Convent admits male students, always had! When I compared the photos, I noticed that the old bougainvillea is still there! If only it talks, I'm sure it has lots to tell.

MYF Camps... they played a role in shaping our characters. We were challenged to rise above ourselves, to honour God in all that we do. And in my own experience, I've learned that if we put God first in our lives, all other things will fall into their places too! It's people like Keng Neo, Hui Ching (Mrs. Tan), Kay Bin, Chick Seng, Ms Teoh, Mrs. Tay, Ching Mooi and so many others who came after them, who shared a big part of their lives with us... they were good influence in our growing up years. And it was something that demanded a lot of sacrifices on their part. I'm (Other Half too) blessed and indebted...

It's been almost 30 years... at that time when you'd think that time would stop for you. It doesn't! Now I'm left looking back into those days when everything was an adventure, and I'm humbled by the blessings come my way!