Category Archives: Thriller

Taman Negara , The oldest rain forest of Malaysia

I am recalling some of my memories of travelling  in Jungles. Usually, I regard myself as a xylophile ( someone who loves trees ) and always try to find spots with lots of trees.

I went to a jungle with lots of stories in 2012. The forest is called “ Taman Nagara” which is the biggest national forest of Malaysia. It is estimated to be older than 130 million years and covers 4343  square km. It is believed that there are still endangered species of animals such as Malayan tiger and rare species of birds.

I have to admit that I didn’t go many places there as it was a day trip and I didn’t have enough time to explore the area. I was attending a wedding of my colleagues in a town, Jerantut which is 2 hours drive from the rain forest. So me and my travel partner decided to visit the forest in a short time without proper plan.We drove from Jerantut to Taman Negara and the scenery was very nice along the way.

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Then we arrived at the jetty and met our tour guide Mr lee.

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jetty of Taman Negara

Mr Lee led us to trek, and showed the rain forest. The water was quite shallow that time and lots of birds fluttering around the flowers.

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our tour guide Mr lee

 

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Then we went for the canopy walk. According to the record, it was the longest canopy walk in the world although it was built recently in 1992.

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my friend Raihana, smiling on the canopy walk.

 

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The guide led us for hiking ( I didn’t go for hiking and waited for them at the base of mountain , resting on the bench, luckily I found interesting people , one is a geologist and two are French tourists, they entertained me while my friend was hiking the mountain

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the geologist I met during my trip. He has a lot of knowledge about rain forests and has been in Taman Negara many times.

Then, wee were on the boat again  and visited a village belongs to Orang Asli ( aboriginal people ).The villagers are short, dark and have curly hair. They look more like short people from  Africa, totally different from Orang Asli I found in other places of Malaysia. However, Orang= man, Asli= Origin, so they don’t need to be the same people as different people arrive Malaysia in different places of the country in different time. Our guide Mr Lee said he believes the people are originated from Papua New Guinea.20

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They looked disturbed when we arrived and children were afraid of us. Many of them ran towards their mothers as soon as they found strangers. One kid was so adorable and I asked permission from mom to carry him, but he struggled out of me and I had to return him to his mom. All of them had Tinea infection ( fungal infection ) and their living condition is not very hygiene.

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Most of them were on bare foot as they cant’ afford foot wares. They know how to swim, fish and hunt very well. The guide showed us how to make fire out of two stones and how to shoot arrows.

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the guide showing us how to make fire

But the more interesting part is about the people.

Orang Asli people in Taman Negara still holding their belief strong. They never bury the dead bodies and instead carry them to the deep part of the forest. The spiritual leader called Bomoh arranged the journey and he only allows less than two people to follow him so that they can carry the dead body. When they arrive the secret spot, they hang the dead body on the trees. The place is kept as a secret and only Bomoh , chosen spiritual leader knows how to go there. Actually, like other Orang Asli, they are very attached to the forest and willing to remain as spirits inside forest after their death. After Bomoh has done his ritual, he orders his followers to cross the river for seven times so that spirits will not follow them on the way back to village.  Their belief is once you reach the area of spirits, they can follow you on your way back.

Once they arrive back the village, they observe the nature and behavior of the animals . If the animals seem disturbed or get diseases within seven days of arrival, all villagers pack and leave the village, seeking another spot to settle.

Another ritual which makes me amazed is their marriage. Once man and woman wants to get married, the villagers will lock two of them inside the building ( a house / a hut/ any kind of enclosure ) and lock them from outside for 24 hours. And people are not supposed to disturb the couple. If no one demands to get out before 24 hours ( I have no idea how to do that, they must knock the door or shout from inside ), their courtship means successful. Then after completion of 24 hours, the door will be unlocked and the whole village celebrate the marriage by having a feast.  By the way, as I worked in the town which is two hours away from that village, I know they get married very young. One time, my patient who was in labour was only 12 years old. The marriage was arranged by her parents and her husband looked like he was 40 plus. The girl was crying in pain and we couldn’t even ask her the name of her husband because she simply didn’t know and not bother to know as well. She just asked us to call her mom. Usually, most Orang Asli girls  marry young and have a lot of children up to 12- 16 children. They rarely use contraception and a man can get married easily when the wife dies. The men prefer to marry young girls. Nowadays, the government gives priority towards Orang Asli regarding education and health care. All of them can get free health care and education although some of them are not willing to go to towns.  I have a friend who is an Orang Asli girl and she is a doctor. I hope there will be more educated young people in their population in the future.

Another interesting thing is their belief about spirits. They don’t have religion and they usually worship on spirits. As they live in jungle and live on farming and hunting, the favor of spirit is very important to them. For example, you must pray to spirit of river if you want to have fish, and have to be careful not to piss the spirits of land if you want to harvest. The children have to be careful not to venture at night into jungles as the spirits can make them sick etc. Some Organ Asli do sculpture of spirits out of wood and keep at their house. One time, I went to museum to observe these sculptures. The museum was deserted and to save electricity, the room was poorly lit. I looked at the faces of these spirits and it made me feel scared. I was wondering they might see the spirits , otherwise how can they make sculptures out of imagination.

 

I don’t know whether spirits really exist, but the guides who are educated are also very careful about jungle spirits. My guide told me some tour guides lost their way in Taman Negara although they were not far from the village. They believe it is because the spirits hide the way. And a lot of tourists have tragic events in Taman Negara such as drowning. Let me tell you my experience. We took a package tour organized by a well experienced tourist guide.  We were on the boat and observed lots of beautiful birds from the boat.

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before going for swimming

The tour guide allowed us to swim in the river. I was not a good swimmer, in fact I know very little how to swim. So I decided just to waddle in the shallow water. As I wanted to see the trees, I walked further and further away from the crowed. Although I was walking in the shallow water, suddenly I plunged into a deeper part of water. It really made me scared especially the soil of river bed was not sand and very sticky mud. I tried to call out my friend to help me, I felt like I was drowning. She thought I was joking with her as the river looked shallow to her. But I swear that that time, my legs couldn’t reach the floor of river bed anymore and I was struggling to float. And the current, it was pretty strange that I felt that the current was pushing me further only at that particular spot.  I was drifting away from the crowd. My friend herself doesn’t know how to swim , but she is much taller than me. She waddled and walked towards me and finally her hand griped mine. Then she told me “ how come you look so afraid? The water is very shallow.” I can say that that is the most weird thing I have encountered in my life. After she reached me, I felt the water was not deep anymore. It was at the level of my breasts. Suddenly, I could feel that my legs could stand on the ground. It was extremely creepy.

The interesting part is after I came back from Taman Negara, I had a chat with a colleague about the place, just discussing about jungles in general. She was smiling uneasily and said “ oh, Hnin, my parents would never allow me to go there”. I only thought overprotective parents usually don’t allow daughters to travel far. But she continued that “ do you know that my brother who was a swimming champion died in Taman Negara out of drowning. He was 19 that time. That’s the reason my parents didn’t feel good about the place”

Back to our story, after I had nearly drowning experience, I didn’t feel like staying there at night anymore. I nagged my friend to go back. But she was very keen to stay there and finally I gave in. She booked a night safari tour for us  and we were about to observe nocturnal animals . Around 8 pm, the tour guide came and fetched us to go to the palm plantation area. It was not the deep jungle. But we were at the back of the van without roof. The driver told me to hold a bottle and I thought it was like a water bottle. He told me “ this is the holy water and keep it with you. We usually carry it when we have night tour “. So, I gripped the water bottle tightly with me. We found wild pigs, pythons, fogs and lots of birds already resting on the trees.

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night safari tour

 

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birds nesting on the tree

We spent the night at a cheap motel and I couldn’t sleep well because I had a very unsettled feeling. The next morning, we drove almost 4 hours back to our town, Kuantan.

The good thing is we met a group of tourists who became our friends .

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with our new friends, Tan Richard, Ding and Simone

But the thing I want to tell you is my feelings after the trip. Once I arrived back home, I took out my camera and tried to download the photos into my laptop . The photos were both day time and night time taken. But when I looked into night time photos, I felt very uneasy feeling as if some images were inside my photo. In one photo, I found a woman sitting on the tree. ( I just wish it’s not real and I just wish it’s all my creepy ideas). Finally I shut down my computer and deleted a lot of photos. For weeks, I felt like there was someone with me, especially when I stood in front of mirror. It was very bad until I was afraid to stand in front of mirror. I called my friends and they shared me some prayers.  Finally with the help of prayers, I no longer feel the woman was around me anymore.

Well, if someone ask me “ do you wana visit Taman Negara again?”. My answer is “ No…..”

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cycling in Bagan , Ancient city of Burma

Yesterday, I read a post named “ Silly things I made during my travel “ by a blogger whom I follow.

Then , I was thinking about the silly things I made during my wanderlust years. There are countless number of events  including

Riding a motor bike, unskillfully and had a fall paired with  a fracture of my arm in Thailand,

Going to Komodo national park when I was having period ( Do you know komodo dragons can smell the blood from a few kilometers away and can bite  you straight away as they are forever hungry carnivores. )

Swimming in river of jungle ( Taman Negara ) in Malaysia ( without knowing how to swim ) and almost drowned.

Before you get irritated with my silliness, or should I call it more like stupidity, I would like to write about Amazing Bagan.

Bagan is situated in central part of Burma, standing on the Eastern part of Ayeyarwady River. Bagan Era existed from 107 until 13th century and reined by 55 kings, there are lots of stories behind. For example, there was the time, people left pretty ladies for the human sacrifice at the area of big bird who only wishes to eat beautiful girls.  It makes more sense to think that giant bird cannot be defeated by villages and instead of letting it come to village again and again , runing everything randomly, the villagers decided to choose girls to feed the bird. I was making joke with my best friend that I would not be eaten even if I was born in Bagan that time. Haha. According to the legend, the bird ate 4300 girls until it was killed by a hero. There is a display of the statue of bird as well as the tunnel area where girls used to hide from the bird.

the statue of giant bird
the cave where the bird used to live, the place was transformed into a building with tunnel inside
the entrance of the cave

 

Some pagodas were built by a dedicated hero whose spirit still linger around the pagoda. For example, near Dama Yazaka pagoda, the tourists was taking photos and later he could see the image of a man wearing an ancient attire in his photos. Creepy! Isn’t it?

Damayazaka Pagoda

Some pagodas were built to compensate for the sins of the kings or to show the remorse. For example, King A Laun Si Thu made the mistake of vowing “ I am the most powerful King ever in Bagan” although there are 44 kings previously. He became blind because of his inappropriate statement, punished by the spirits of the previous Kings. To counteract his mistake, he made the statues of 44 Kings in gold and worshipped in the pagoda called “ Kadot Palin “.

Kadot Palin pagoda
Kadot Palin pagoda

Another example is Dhammangyan Gyi pagoda which was built by crule King “ Narya Thu” ruled AD 1163-1165. He killed his father and brother as he wanted to get the power. After the cruel killings, his guilt haunted him and had continuous nightmares. He asked National Counsellor, a monk for the advice to get rid of nightmares. The monk asked him to build the pagoda. To outdo his predecessor, he recruited the best architects from the country and made a statement that “ all the bricks should be strong and should align to adjacent bricks without any gap in between. If a pin can be inserted between two adjacent bricks, the hand of the bricklayer responsible will be chopped off”. The pagoda could withstand the earthquakes even though there is some dark stories behind. ( Bear in mind that, whatever the Kings did, was not reflection of real Buddhism and Buddhism would never allow anyone to kill for any kind of compensation. The building of pagoda cannot compensate for the sins too. It was just a cultural belief of that time )

Dhammanyan Gyi pagoda

Some pagodas have happy stories as they were built by good Kings who ruled the country with rule of Laws and justice.

Mural painting painted AD1183
Thatbyinnyu Pagoda, the tallest pagoda in Bagan with stunning archaeology

I think I am getting lost in the stories of pagoda which can be very long. Really, Bagan has many stories, many types of buildings built in different Eras. When Myanmar Government ordered the residents to move out of area of ancient buildings, the place became deserted at night. It has been a good decision ever as people can destroy our archaeological value.

bagan

When I visited Bagan in 2014, me and my friend decided to cycle in the ancient city as it will give us access to a small lanes and hidden areas. As it was in February, it was not so hot . However, Bagan is always a bit more hotter than other parts of Burma. We hired battery bike and cycled them to various temples. We cycled across the river banks, near pagodas and remnants of unknown buildings, etc. We felt like we were back in the past, exactly 2500 years ago, lost in all old buildings.

me and my best friend
resting before continuing our cycling
me with archaeological remnants

 

 

beautiful Ayeyarwady river
river bank where you can see life style of people
boats are the main transport for some villagers
Htilogminlo pagoda, AD1218( it was built with the wish to get the throne )
we found people getting on hot air balloon,

 

remnants of building
sunset of Ayeyarwady , taken from Bu Phayar

 

But we didn’t notice the battery bike need to be charged. So in the end, the battery ran out and we were stranded in Middle of Nowhere in Bagan. It was quite far from the town and very deserted. As it was getting dark, I recalled stories my friends told me. There are still lots of spirts around Bagan and they decided to come out at night to have a stroll around pagodas. Some are pretty ladies wearing ancient Attire and they like to hire the horse wheel cart. The drivers of these horse wheel cart are used to the spirits and usually allow them to get on the carriage. Upon getting off, the ladies would offer them gold coins in return of gratitude. Some drivers were freaked out and ran away as soon as they see that sort of girls on the road.

horse wheel cart , transport for Bagan
Sulamuni pagoda where you can see the giant heads in each corner of pagoda, it was meant to protect the pagoda

Back to our story, while we were alone on the highway at twilight, I was more concerned about spirits and ghosts than the robbery. As usual, I am full of imagination and I would not know how to react if the spirits came out and talked to us . So we tried to get a lift from passing vehicles. Unfortunately, the road was rarely used by travelers and for a long time, we couldn’t see anyone. Then some private cars passed by us without offering us any lift. Finally, a motor bike stopped for us and offered one of us a lift to go back to town. It means one of us would be left behind with two bikes without battery. None of us wanted to be left alone. So we declined the offer. Then the biker said “ it is getting dark. I am worried for your safety. I will wait until we get another bike. However, who will take care of the bikes? If the bikes are unattended , someone will steal them. You should call to owner”.

So we desperately tried to contact the owner of the bikes. We were worried we would miss the bus as it was only one hour away from the departure time. We were supposed to go back to Yangon on the same day. Finally, the owners of bikes came to rescue us. They took back the bikes so that we could safely go to the bus station with the gentle men who gave us the lift.

 

Next time, I would charge the bike every 4 hours. Don’t worry.

Note: These photos were taken in 2014 before the earthquake of 2016. So some buildings were damaged due to earthquake and you might not find the original pagodas anymore.

 

Sabah, Malaysia, Island hopping

I went to Sabah for island hopping in 2009 December, but the memory still lingers in my mind as Sabah is a unique place and some extraordinary things happened during my trip . The locations and hotel I stayed might have been altered as I didn’t go back after 2009.

Sabah is part of Borneo island and it is close to Philippine. There has been cases of abduction and kidnap to the tourists in some islands of Sabah and there was a crisis of mass kidnapping in Sipadan in 2000, April by the Filipino militants called Abu Sayyaf .Sipadan is the only oceanic island of Malaysia and  a diving paradise . There is limitation of number of visiting people there to prevent the massive disturbance of nature and you cannot enter the island without a valid permit which you have to apply one month ahead of your trip.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2000_Sipadan_kidnappings

It is also regarded as the area where there are a lot of illegal , stateless migrants stay. When we went there, the kidnaps were not happening, but lately, there was abduction of a Chinese millionaire and also an event of decapitation of the victim when the gang could not get the ransom they demanded. But according to my friend, you don’t need to worry about abduction unless you are filthily rich as kidnappers are only interested in wealthy foreigners and local business owners, not ordinary tourists like us.

However, it is an amazing place where you can find various tribes living in harmony. People are super friendly. Girls are pretty and very good in English and karaoke ( according to my experience ). It is the place where there were legends of head hunters. According to the history, Sabah had villages which were ruled by different tribes. When one tribe tried to dominate another tribe, there was always a war. Then they killed  the invaders,  decapitated the captured enemy and kept the head as a trophy. One of the locals told me ” may be it’s impossible to marry if you have never cut the head that time. How can the bride’s father can accept you if he thinks the proposed man has never been a warrior”   They regard the skull as their trophies to show off their bravery. These head hunters are mostly from Kadazan tribe. later, the culture resolved and they became civil to each other. ( most of them converted to Christianity  and some of them worship Islam ).They also have sea gypsies called Bajau who are nomadic and very good in swimming  ( similar to moken or salone  of Burmese people ) . I will write about Kadazan people in another blog.

To see the best part of Sabah, you have to fly to a town called Tawau. Tawau has domestic airport and you can fly there from either capital of Sabah ( Kota Kinabalu ) or capital of  main land Malaysia ( Kuala Lumpur ).Tawau is bordered by Sulu sea to the East and Celebes sea to the South. Our plan in 2009 was to see the island called Sipadan which is regarded as the only oceanic island of Malaysia. It has the most beautiful corals and the rich marine life.

 

Sabah mapSabah map 2

I went there in December and stayed at the floating hotel called Dragon Inn. Mind you,while there are lots of rain fall in Mainland Malaysia ( West Malaysia ) in December, in Borneo region, December is the nice time to visit as there is not much rain.  Dragon Inn was recommended by trip adviser as it has reasonable price and most divers book to stay there.

http://www.dragoninnfloating.com.my/

Here are some photos of Dragon Inn.

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dragon inn semporna

If you ask me what is the most unique thing about staying there, I felt like I was sleeping in the boat as the waves tenderly splash the walls of the room. All the rooms are authentically made of bamboo and wood. I paid 25 us D per night ( more or less the same now after 6 years, amazing )

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the restaurant of dragon inn overlooking the sea
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lovely hotel staff, they are Filipinos and related to each other as aunty and nephew. He knows how to do tap dancing and we were entertained by him

There is the problem with going to Sipadan island because Sipadan island entrance is limited by permit and without permit, you can not go to Sipadan island. We were told by the tour agent that we need at least ten days to arrange permit. We could not wait for it as we have already booked the hotel to go to Sandakan that time.

I was so excited to go to the islands, but we did not want to join with a lot of people. So we arranged to hire the boat only for us . We also found out a lady in late 50 from Mexico. Her name was L…. Everybody knows I am well known for making friends with strangers . I offered her free transport from airport to her inn as she was alone and she was having knee pain. ( I regard helping tourists as a random act of kindness ) So when we said we went to go for island trip, she immediately wanted to join us as it would only cost 100 RM per each for whole day tour. We paid 300 RM to the boat man for one day trip to various island.

 

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village of Bajau people
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the first beach we went

The sea is crystal clear and seriously there was no rubbish floating. I was overjoyed and jumped into the sea together with my hand phone in my pocket. The guys near by tried to resuscitate my phone  but the sea water completely destroyed my phone. ( I consoled myself that who needs phone when you have nature! )

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my sister completely enjoyed her juice

Here let me tell you funny thing about L… She is very strong and stoic and weighs around 120 kg. ( I am not telling this to ridicule her, and obviously I am in similar situation as well ). But I have to mention that because you need to know there is no way you can stop her if she wants to do something. While we sat and enjoyed our juice, she walked alone towards the private beach and she was stopped by the guard as the private area was allowed  only for  hotel guests. I don’t know what happened between the guards and  L…. Later, the guards ran towards us and shouted ” Please help, your friend is uncontrollable”. And we were like ” Errr….., she is not our friend, but we traveled together in the same boat. What’s wrong with her?” and one of the guards explained that when they tried to stop her, L… ferociously retorted that every beach should belong to the public and she could not accept that she cannot sit at the private beach. When the guards tried to block her way, she pushed them  ( you can imagine the weight of the guard is not more than 60 kg, they are small people ) and she swore that ” You are like orangutan, rude and primitive”. Nobody could stopped L… and finally they gave up on stopping her. So she could get a chance to sit at private beach while we couldn’t . When she came back, she told us back the whole story which we quietly listened. But one amusing thing what she said is ” You know, I called them primitive and they are like orangutan , but now I am feeling sorry because I like orangutans and orangutans are more intelligent and kinder than these people”. We were amused but afraid that her anger would shift on us  so that we didn’t comment anything

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water village resort at Kapalai island, you can hardly see the land as the island was totally covered by water

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Kapalai island, view from the restaurant
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buffet lunch at Kapalai restaurant, it charges 60 RM per person in 2009, very expensive, but tasty food
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hole inside the restaurant where you can view the sea creatures, excellent idea

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fishy fishy fish

After we had lunch, we went to the another island called Mantabuan island.

 

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sea weeds near Mantabuan island

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The most memorable event of the trip started when L … demanded to do snorkeling at the deep area of sea. And we did not realize that our boat man is just a fisher man and he has no idea which area is suitable for snorkelling. He also didn’t consider whether the area was safe enough to jump in. As a result, he asked us to jump in the water in the middle of the sea.  We were totally naive and trusted him. So L…. gleefully jumped in and she was followed by my sister. The problem was L… realized the current was strong and it was impossible to snorkel plus we couldn’t see any fish when the sea was very deep. L .. started to panic while my sister was quite stable. Then luckily, I was not inside the water and we decided I should stay in boat in view of 1) I can’t swim 2) I need to do something if both of them had problems in water. We were not really scared until L… started to scream at the boat man. The worst thing was she couldn’t climb back inside the boat . My sister was quite considerate and decided to stay in the water although she could climb back inside the boat easily. She thought L.. would be more panic if she was alone in the sea. Then we were sort of helpless and really didn’t know what to do. We asked L … to grip the string which was attached to the boat and followed our boat until the harbor and she refused . Then after  a few minutes, she started to have transient nervous breakdown and shouted ” ok, wait, the rescuers are coming , I can see them” while w couldn’t see any trace of human beings in the middle of the sea.  Finally she agreed to hold the end of boat and the boat man would sail the boat slowly. My sister had to follow together with L .. and we finally arrived at the nearest area where the light house was attached to the small jetty which was deserted. We had to pull L.. inside the boat while my sister had to push her up from the water.  She continuously screamed at the boat man and banged the boat until some wood came out from the boat . We were at first alarmed, but later we developed anger as L.. was not definitely making the situation better although everybody was trying to help her. In the end, my sister got pissed off and told her not to scold the boat man anymore.

We were solemn and still in shock when we left the harbor. We couldn’t talk to each other as L.. was still in bad mood. Later, her nerves became better and she talked to us nicely. Obviously, her anger never directed towards us although she got pissed off very easily with other people.Finally we arrived the most beautiful island of all time, called Sibuan island. It was a very small island and surrounded by lots of beautiful corals.

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Sibuan island, our highlight of the boat trip

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It is a beautiful island but not many tourists visit there and as soon as we arrived, a group of bajau children ran towards the boat and asked us whether we want coconuts. Most of them were half naked and their skin was dark due to continuous sun burn and exposure to sea water.

When they said one coconut cost two RM ( 0.5 US D), our boat man was angry and shushed them . Our boat man said the price is ridiculous and they should only ask us normal price which is one RM per each coconut. I told the boat man that it is ok for us to pay 2 RM because we have to pay 4 RM for one coconut at the city. Why can’t they ask the tiny benefit for the coconut which they have to get by climbing the trees? Bajau children are not that friendly, but even under the frowning eye brows, they look adorable. They usually help parents by fishing and planting ubi ( sweet potato) and corns which are their main diet.

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isn’t he adorable? asking us to buy his coconuts.

After we drank coconut water, we were about to snorkel. But I was very curious to go inside the deep water ( even after the event of near death experience ) although I didn’t know how to. I was dead sure the corals would be exotic. Then I found the brother of the above bajau child who was around 18 year old. Like other bajau, he looked very small . I asked him ” Adik, ( younger brother ), can you hold my hand and swim towards the beautiful coral?”. He looked at me and hesitantly said ” yeah… but you know I have to charge you and it would be pricey”. I was afraid he would ask me like 50 Rm, but he told me he could do the job with 10 Rm if I was willing to pay him. I excitedly said ” yes, why not?” and he walked towards his house ( a hut ) and came back with googles in his hand.  He told me to wear the googles. I asked him ” can you save me if I get drown?” and he said ” i don’t know”. ( very encouraging )

Anyway, I was already set my mind to give it a go. Then he led me in the water and we swam towards the coral. Well, I was simply floating and he was…. my God, I don’t know how to explain it. He was walking in the sea, I had never seen that kind of thing in my life before. The way he moved inside the sea with grace and smoothness completely blew my mind. He kept on pointing towards  various sea creatures and my eyes were darting here and there. I saw green, purple, pink , red color corals I had never seen before. And the fish, swarms of fish brushed various parts of my body. It was like a dream . I was so happy. Whenever I thought of that event, I want to weep with joys because I am grateful. The nature is amazing.

We were very happy at the Sibuan island and came back home with joys and peace. Later, we found out L…. wanted to stay in our hotel so that she could follow all our future trips. We hid in our room as we were so afraid she would join our trip again. We couldn’t take anymore drama although we were fond of her. Then when we went to the restaurant to have our dinner, our friends, the Filipino boy informed us that L.. came to the restaurant, but spotted  a big rat which  came out from the kitchen and it gave her a nervous break down. She got angry, scolded all the workers at the restaurant including the chef for lack of hygiene and also threatened them to sue. Finally, she refused to eat her lunch although it was already prepared by the chef. The chef apologized her and let her go out without any charges. The story gave us a crack and a bit of relief because L .. didn’t come back to find us again.( most probably fed up with rat infested restaurant )

Whenever we talk about Sabah, we can’t help talking about L…. who is sort of entertaining despite she has anger issue and mood swings. We fondly talk about her till now. May be we will meet her again in some part of the world.

Brian-Tracy-about-people

Thanks for reading.

 

Hninn

 

 

 

 

My experience with hitchhikers

hitch hiker

Since I became obsessed with doing random acts of kindness , I have been doing small little but meaningful things for complete strangers . It ranges from giving coins or small change to people who need that urgently to pay for their parking ticket;  to giving couch to tourists or students who want to visit to my town from other countries.

 

One of the random act I do is giving a ride to people who need a lift. Sometimes, they are obvious tourists , carrying backpacks  on their back. Sometimes, they are the elderly who were walking  slowly under the hot sun on the road. The elderly are always my favorite because I know how much it is hard for them to walk especially with their aging knees with arthritis. One time, I picked up two old ladies and they looked so frail and exhausted. They asked me to stop them at the nearby park, but later they changed their mind and asked me whether I could drive them to a town which is 50 km from my place. I had to decline politely with heavy heart. But they were really sweet and profusely thanked me when they got out of my car.

 

One time, I was driving back from my hospital on the highway. My hospital is 50 km from my house and it is really tiring to drive 100 km per day, although I am getting used to it after two years. I saw a couple standing beside the highway and waving towards the passing cars . No one stopped for them. Usually, I pick up tourists and the elderly and I was not sure whether I should stopped my car for them at that time. However, for unknown reason, I convinced myself to give a helping hand. The man looked belligerent and rough. He was tall and thin, wearing the stained pants and the short sleeved shirts. I could see the shirt was torn here and there. He walked towards the car in long strides and his hand was inside his pocket. I could guess there was something inside the pocket as it was full , but couldn’t figure out what would be it. The lady who was assumed to be his wife followed him slowly behind and she looked weary and tired. The man bent down and looked inside the car and asked me whether I could drop them at the bus station. I said ” Ok” and that time, I was a bit worried, but it was too late to refuse and their destination was close to my house. He asked the lady to sit in front beside me. To tell the truth, I had a vision that what would I do if he took out knife from his pocket and asked me to go somewhere else. I couldn’t be able to do anything as the lady might restrain me.

 

The lady was thin and she had weather beaten skin and freckles. She told me ”
I have been waiting for two hours on this road for the bus. Unfortunately, today, buses didn’t come. I am pregnant and very tired because of the heat”, rubbing her small belly. Then only, I noticed she was pregnant. The feeling of tenderness crept inside me and I felt sincerely sorry for her. Imagine if they had to walk, it must be at least another 15 km to walk. They didn’t utter anything on the way and although their destination was after my house, I decided to send them until the bus station where they wanted to go. They were surprised for my offer, but gladly accepted it. I dropped them just in front of bus station and they were smiling . The lady said ” thank you ” softly and when I drove off, they were still standing there waving at me . I felt very happy on that day.

 

Yesterday, I was driving back and saw a man , holding the motorbike helmet in his hand. He was in his late 30 and looked neat and tidy. I stopped the car and he hurriedly got inside my car. I asked him ” where do you want to go?” and he told me a place which I was not familiar with . However, I told him to remind me once he arrived his destination as he assured me it was just on the same road ahead. Then he questioned me many questions continuously. He asked me ” where are you from?”. ” how many  years have you bee here ?”. He said he noticed I am not local as I can’t speak Malay with local accent. He then told me the reason he is going to the place is because he wants to see the doctor for his eyes. He then poked me at my arm and told me ” please look at my eyes now as you are the doctor” while I was trying to focus on my road. I was quite annoyed. I told him I couldn’t look at his eyes as I was driving. He then carried on his conversation and said ” do you know that I am still single?”. I didn’t pay attention although quite irritated with his self claimed statement.

 

Then he told me ” Are you living with your husband here ?” . I thought of saying ” yes’ just to avoid further question . But instead, my anger overtook my senses and told him ” can you please stop asking me many questions? I don’t like answering. He became quiet for a while. I was worried what would he do next. But he told me I should send him to his destination although it was not on my way. I told him I should drop him on the high way as I needed to turn right and his destination was on the same road further. Then he tried to persuade me like ” why can’t you drive further for only 2 km ? Then you need to turn in the small lane on your left.”. At that point, I am already at my maximum level of tolerance. I told him ” No, I can’t send, I am late for my own appointment” I was also worried he would ask me to drive him to remote, isolated area and do something to me. It is because the area he asked  is isolated and not many people live there.  As he realized he couldn’t push me anymore, he allowed me to drop him on the high way.

 

It was an emotional roller coaster for me as I felt frightened and worried for 40 minutes when he was inside my car. My maid scolded me that I shouldn’t be a busy body and I shouldn’t try to help unknown people. I told my friend about the event with the introduction ” dear, I am going to tell you what happened to me yesterday. But you can’t scold me ” and she said she would not scold me. But at the end of the story, she got angry and told me ” hey, now I feel like scolding you “. hehehe

 

I know it’s my mistake. May be giving a lift will not be concluded in my random act of kindness anymore because I need to be kind to myself first.

 

'You are now entering Samville. Samville needs a ride.'
‘You are now entering Samville. Samville needs a ride.’

awkward hitchhiker sign