Friday, July 3, 2015

FAMILY CHILL OUT - PN NORZAKIAH & FAMILY

They actually came all the way from Trengganu for a wedding in Hulu Langat but decided for an extended stay just to chill out with family and friends. And that they did. Wedding aside they had their fair share of fun with horse rides and bamboo rafting.








Sunday, June 21, 2015

PJ HASH GAWAI RUN 2015

13 JUNE 2015 : PJ HASH had their GAWAI RUN 2015 at Uluhati. A 7 to 8 km jungle trek had earlier been identified by their trailblazers a few weeks earlier, beginning and ending at Uluhati. About 100 runners turned up, we were told. The run began at about 4.30 with the last ones coming in just before sunset. I don't think the idea was to really compete against one another but more to enjoy the environment and the friendship of the gathering.

GAWAI is the harvest festival of the Borneo tribal community and it usually takes place in May/June each year. PJ Hash have a notable number of East Malaysians, so the run in May/June is called the GAWAI Run. The occasion is also used to show case their Borneo culture either in the form of food or dances. So we were lucky enough this time around to have a whole range of East Malaysian food from the various tribes as well as to see traditional dances.

For those unfamiliar, the Hash House was began by the expatriate community some time in the 60's or 70's. I don't think it began earlier than that because they would have been easy targets for the Communist Terrorists lurking in the jungles then. So it was an occasion of togetherness outside their regular meeting places at the same time getting to know more of the country, by what else but, running through it. Over the years the community expanded to include locals as well. Obviously the idea must be quite novel. Over time the idea spread to Hong Kong, India and many other old British Colonial outposts. So every now and then the Pak Cik's (Uncles) and Ah Soh's (Aunties) will be surprised by a long column of white men and women, muddied, huffing and puffing, sweating copiously from the dense and humid tropical heat, suddenly emerging from their vegetable patch or in between the rows of rubber trees. "Ahh, not to worry, a bunch of crazy Mat Sallehs again". (Malaysian version of Mad Dogs and Englishmen). "Must be their cure for acute home-sickness..Poor thing"

Anyway. We did not run with them. We just enjoyed their fabulous food and the show. Thank you PJ Hash for gracing us.
SWISS CONTINGENT MARKING THEIR PRESENCE
 
GETTING INTO THE RIGHT MIND FRAME - JUST DON'T FALL ASLEEP, YOU MIGHT MISS THE RUN

SOMEONE FOUND HIS PRIVATE CORNER - I THINK THIS ONE IS FROM THE USA JUDGING FROM THE ACCENT.




Setting up the accommodation and stage for the night. For a moment the above scenes looked like that of a jousting tournament.



ALL EXCITED AND RARING TO GO


OFF THEY GO

FAIR SARONG-CLAD MAIDEN (SORRY, YOUTH?) WELCOMING THE RUNNERS BACK

ASAM LAKSA? FOR REFRESHMENTS AFTER THE RUN
COMMUNAL FOOD PREPARATION



COOKING PASUA - CHICKEN IN BAMBOO

OUTDOOR COOKING

BORNEO FOOD GALORE, ALSO INDONESIAN




PUTTING SOME CULTURE INTO THE NIGHT
AND SOME LEVITY, THEIR VERSION OF THE HARD TIMES DURING THE JAPANESE OCCUPATION OF BORNEO
AND SOME LIVE MUSIC
We think it was great.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

CIMB FOUNDATION - GIVING RURAL SCHOOL CHILDREN A CHANCE

JUNE 7 TO JUNE 10 : 20 children from 10 schools in Kedah, Perlis and Langkawi spent 4 days 3 nights at Uluhati learning about the environment, catching up on their English skills and generally having lots of fun. The program was sponsored by CIMB FOUNDATION as one of their corporate social responsibility activity and was managed jointly by Ekoknights, an environmental NGO and ULUHATI. As usual Ekoknights did all the environmental bit whilst Uluhati focused on the outdoor activities.

The children were around 10 to 11 years old coming mainly from rural families. It was therefore quite common to hear them talking about helping their parents in the padi fields after school hours and having to manage between school work and farm chores. We have seen many children come and go at Uluhati, most of them from Selangor as well as children of the expatriate community and foreigners. I guess this is the first them we had a big group of children from rural Malaysia and they struck me deep inside. After the initial shyness and tiredness (long bus journey from up north) they demonstrated that they were of different mettle altogether. Weak English aside, they demonstrated an impressive level of confidence, alertness, intelligence and overall street-wise attitude which placed them well ahead of their city counter-parts. I guess when they had to learn to handle responsibilities and play an active part in the family economics at an early age they grew up faster.

For me they were simply amazingly great kids. It filled me with fresh hope in the future generation of this country, yet filled me with a tinge of sadness. How many more of these high potential children are out there in the country-side growing up unnoticed and not developed to their fullest potential. After a while the free spirit in these children will slowly lose its confidence and luster and resign itself to its fate. In the end the nation loses out on the great things these children could have done if only given a chance.

So I think it is a great thing what CIMB Foundation did and I understand this is an ongoing program. Many more corporates should emulate this for there is really potential out there in the country-side. But what follows afterwards? Is there a way to really identify the high potentials and nurture them by way of scholarships or other special closely monitored programs which a give these potential a chance to bloom. So I hope more corporates would follow suit as I am sure everyone will agree that the strength of any social group, be it a family, a community or a company, or the country even, lies not in its shinny towers, but in the quality of its people. So well done CIMB Foundation.

Just to demonstrate a point - horse riding. Within slightly over a hour I managed to teach 20 children not only to stay seated on the saddle but to trot and in many cases to canter as well. On the average it was 5 minutes per child. This was a for me a personal record. Not one showed any fear, only eagerness for more. So we did another round the next day.


ICE BREAKING
CAMPSITE
CAMP-BED IN TENTS - 2 IN A TENT

ULUHATI VOLLEYBALL












MEMORIES WITH MARY

PUAN SHARIFAH ALIA HANDING OUT THE CERTS




Salam children. As I said, I expect to hear great things from some of you in years to come.

Pak Din