Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Murud Series: 1.3 Nepenthe, drink up and let go

Earlier related posts:
 1.1 Get Ready, Lace Up Your Adidas Kampung - My lists of things to bring up to Mt. Murud
 1.2 Google up, the clouds of information are hanging low - useful links for information related to Mt. Murud

1 Raja Raja 19:11a ...."keluarlah dan berdiri di atas gunung itu di hadapan Tuhan".

1.3 Nepenthe, drink up and let go

One of the best thing in climbing up a tropical mount, for me, is the chance of seeing my favourite plant in the world, Nepenthes (kukuanga = in my mother's tongue) (layman term = pitcher plant) in their natural habitat. one of the highlights in ascending any tropical mountains.

i spent years studying pitcher plants. They fascinate me.

The scientific name for this amazing plant originated from old Greek word 'nepenthe', found in their myth to be a strong drug given by Helen to tired, broken sailors on the ship rowing home to Troy. Nepenthe means, to forget of sorrow and pain.

I was desperate for the potion when i replied (mid January) to a certain friend if i was interested in joining her to attend the prayer revival meeting in July at Mt. Murud. I knew i was spiritually drained. i was in pain and in bad need of God's nepenthe, not just to forget my sorrow and pain, but to cast it away, to let it go.

The climb up _what to expect? 
If you're lucky to start climbing at Lepoh Bunga and are moderately active with no major health issue, you'd be able to reach Gedung Haleluyah in 2 hours (or so said the cheeky guides). i did mine at approximately a little over 5 hours. 
from Lepoh Bunga its going uphill all the way until you reach Jambatan Sukacita.

Then,  from Jambatan Sukacita, (bersukacitalah for a while for the wooden plank walkway) its going to be the 'never ending' mud trail. However, from here on, i started to spot pitcher plants hanging near the trail clearings. So, no matter how i detest the mud trail, i got distracted and snapped at those beauties happily with my compact camera.

after the struggle with mud trail, we climbed a very steep 'cliff', (okey, i'm being dramatic here, but it sure look like a cliff), a little while later, (if you're still breathing and walking), the stunted trees will start to appear and before you know it, you reach the peak of Batu Linanit (2250 m a.s.l). take your time here. look around, take pictures, enjoy the pristine mountain air, have a picnic lunch (and a little tips here: if the locals offer you their food, take it. offer them yours too, if you have anything to offer). mingle with the other pilgrims here. 

because its still quite a long way to reach Gedung Haleluyah. From Batu Linanit, its going downhill (more curious pitcher plants, sadly, none that i never seen before. i spotted 7-9 species) N. lowii gosh! they're awfully elegant!

then, the gleam of hope, gleam from zinc roof, assurance of you're almost there. errr.. not yet, dont get too excited, in the sea of greens, your eyes can be manipulative. its a steep downhill to a small patch of God's chosen spot, the holy ground. enter in with reverence. be glad that you survive the coming in journey. 

Lepoh Bunga --(2-3 hrs)--Jambatan Sukacita--(2-3 hrs)--Batu Linanit--(1-2 hrs)-- Gedung Haleluyah

My heart leaped for joy when i first saw the settlement. I love wooden plank bridge and especially homesick because of the crisp mountain air. I am a highlander at heart. I was born and raised in Ranau, home of the highest mountain in South-East Asia. There's this familiar, comfortable feel about this place. It felt like coming home.

Bugger, what if you're very unlucky and have to start hiking from Ba kelalan? welcome to the true experience of jungle trekking friend. It'll be 3 days hike up (with no qualm i said yes, i'd trek from Ba Kelalan up to Gedung Haleluyah if there's no 4WD to take us up to Lepoh Bunga. sound like boasting? No, i know God will never test me more than i can handle. He sent us, the rugged driver)

Ba kelalan ---(1 day)--Pa Rebata--(1 day)--lepoh bunga--(1 day)--Gedung Haleluyah to Mt. Murud

The climb up_what to bring? 
in my backpack:
1. water (500ml)
2. 100 plus (1.5 L)
3. halls candy (2 tubes)
4. goodie bag from the cheery people of TMC
5. chocolate bar
6. milo and foccacia bread  (i didnt realize its in my bag)
7. dry clothes (to change to when i arrive) 
8. bandana
9. raincoat
10. small bag of first aid kit -gauze, ointment, plaster, some pills
11. lighter
12. umbrella
tips: line up the inside of your backpack with plastic to make it super waterproof

things i wish i brought along.
1. anything salty (peanuts!)
2. pen-knife
3. sarong

Did i manage to take a sip of that nepenthe? i realized that, when you're not too focus on yourself, when you start to reach out and try to help others, our own pain subsides. I climbed up with an old woman, Ibu Bulan. I felt her physical pain climbing up, her weak knees, pain on her hip. But, as weak as she was, i drew strength from her. She pleaded God for strength all the way up. She cried when we reached Batu Linanit. She said "Tuhanlah kekuatanku" . That word is the nepenthe i've been seeking.

next: 1.4 cutie pie, i know its hard, but..

Monday, August 5, 2013

Murud Series: 1.2 Google Up, the Clouds of Information are Hanging Low

Earlier related post: 
1.1 Get Ready, Lace Up Your Adidas Kampung - My lists of things to bring up to Mt. Murud

1 Raja Raja 19:11a ...."keluarlah dan berdiri di atas gunung itu di hadapan Tuhan"..

1.2   Google Up, the Clouds of Information are Hanging Low

Ya, maybe i should have put this one as the first post for my Murud series.  

But, after reading my first post, aren't you more curious to know what's the hype is this Murud thingy? 

Here are some of (hopefully) helpful links for information about Murud.

A neat website with good info. I'm not sure whose maintaining/administering the site. I called all 4 numbers on their contact list, all numbers are active. The first two picked the phone and a good sports at random people (me) calling them up confirming they're still reachable or not. The last two didn't pick my call. 

Abandoned blogspot. The last post was dated Feb 19th, 2012, pointing to their new website. its a good site to read up past revival meetings. 

Abandoned blogspot. The post was dated March, 27th 2011. If you're interested in knowing culture and people (Lun Bawang) safeguarding Mt. Murud, this is a good place to start. 

Active Blogger (Lun Bawang Lady living in KL, or that's what the blogger's profile revealed). Latest Post was dated March, 08th 2013. This is a wonderfully written blog in a first person's perspective of being a Christian, Lun Bawang and things entail. Reading her posts will give you a glimpse of understanding of this close-knitted tribe.  

Active blogger (Lun Bawang lady living in Kuching). Happen to be a dear friend of mine. :)

There's a lot of blogs/ Youtube posts regarding pelayanan doa gunung murud. Take your time and surf on. Get as much information as needed and pray for God's guidance in deciding to go or not to go. Your ability to discern God's calling will hugely impact the whole experience. 

okey, next question:
How to reach Ba Kelalan? (base point to climb up Mt. Murud) 

2 options : By air or By land

By air
Arrive at Ba Kelalan airport. MAS Wings rural service is the only option here. (Read of my resentment with their poor service here). click on the the link above to check on their available flights. if you're flying in from outside Borneo, pick any city in Sarawak (or Kota Kinabalu in Sabah) as a transit point.

By land (4WD)
few options:
1. Miri -----Ba Kelalan
2. Lawas ----- Ba Kelalan
3. Kota Kinabalu ---- Lawas ---- Ba Kelalan
the options are based on your transit points. 
Example of my route (coming in) Kuching ---(flight)--- Miri---(flight)--Ba Kelalan. (Going out) Ba Kelalan---(4WD)---Lawas---(flight)---Miri---(flight)---Kuching

I dont recommend travelling by land. the road is a logging road, in dry season, it'll be dusty (if you're lucky like me and sat inside the double cab, it's bearable, but, if you sat at the rear part of the truck it'll be another tale to tell) and in wet season, it'll be too muddy.

okey, last question for this chapter.
How to arrange for accommodation and food? 

Pre arrange with the locals, befriend a Lun Bawang. Chances are, they might be related to someone in Ba Kelalan. *wink, wink* Diana arranged everything for us.

We, now have a house (family) in Ba Kelalan. One, according to Ukab, needs no jemputan to come. I half-jokingly texted him.
            me: ok. sy dtg rumah korang p makan after 5 pm
         ukab: datang saja la. x pyh tny dtg sja.  
I might take on that offer. ini orang pantang dijemput. 

But, how about you, unlucky lone ranger? Do contact them at this website. The Lun Bawang are very hospitable people. They will arrange things for you, once you confirmed of coming. (they don't even have the word equivalent to 'thank you', indicating abounding generosity, words are not necessary for its mutually understood). A concept that doesn't make sense to us, who used to get spanked by our mom for not saying 'pounsikou' when receiving/given something. 

next.. 1.3 Nepenthe, drink up and let go

Murud series: 1.1 Get Ready, Lace up Your Adidas Kampung

adidas kampung. pic from my-rainforest-adventures.com

My Murud story will come in 3 installments. This would be the pre-Murud sort of thing, things you need to prepare for the hike, basic information and general info of going and lots of my ramblings, hiking up.

The second would be more on the personal lesson learnt (spiritually). Or if we can use the word, personal divine encountering here (ya, it sounds too boogey) ;)

The last post would be the story of my experience in Ba Kelalan and Lawas (i have this idea of writing up about those white birds dancing in the distance, or, well maybe, i'll ended up writing about buffaloes or a little bit of all those mentioned). ya, i have no idea what to write. but, basically, that's the rough ideas.

I've just drafted the main points for introductory post, i'll type it out tomorrow. Need to sleep on the contents. Posting this up, so i have the motivation to get it done.

Edit: Decided to write a shorter, numerous posts. I hate long post and I want each post to glory in its own elements. 

1 Raja Raja 19:11a ...."keluarlah dan berdiri di atas gunung itu di hadapan Tuhan"...

1.1 Get Ready, Lace Up Your Adidas Kampung

Lydia's List of Essentials for Murud Trip
1. Adidas kampung
tips: get a size larger than your usual shoes, make sure you get the spiked one. because everybody with good sense will use this sturdy rubber shoes, up there, there'll be hundreds of look alike pairs. Put your personal 'sign' on your shoes to avoid mistaken identity.
2. Torch light
tips: get a headlamp, its light and easy to carry.

3. flip flop/ selipar jepun
tips: get the flashiest, one of a kind type of flip flop. make sure its sturdy, lightweight and waterproof. 

4. warm clothes
tips: jacket/ sweater/ thermal clothes. the temperature up there vary from 8-18C.

5. sleeping bag
tips: get a good one appropriating the temperature. you will sleep better with a good sleeping bag.

6. sarong 
tips: bring two. one for bathing. the other for changing into dry clothes after bathing (if, indeed you're brave enough to bath!) and other purposes. 

7. cash. ya, you never know what you can do with your cash up there.

Not Essential but Very Good To Have for Murud Trip
1. Mat. i brought my underused yoga  mat and it was really useful as a mat to sit on in the church and as a sleeping mat put under my sleeping bag.
2. snow cap. i brought my hand-crochet beanie and it helped me to sleep soundly at night
3. scarf. i didnt bring scarf and i was envious of them who have the sense to bring along a scarf
4. camera. or travel with shutterbugs.
5. note book. i leave mine at Ba Kelalan and its a bad decision.
6. socks. bring lots of it. i brought 6 pairs!
7. wet tissue. super useful for personal hygiene.  
8. hot water flask. i brought my KFC tumbler and i am glad i hoisted it up the mount.  

If you have a safe place to leave some of your belongings at Ba Kelalan. Do leave your handphone or other electronic gadgets there. No cell reception up the mount. and you don't need too much distractions from outside world when you set an appointment with God. right? 

next.... 1.2 Google up, the clouds of information are hanging low. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Midnight Club by James Patterson

pic from goodreads.com
I was at my foster family's house last night, having dinner (iftar) and stayed there until 10 pm. I stayed until late, because i felt sorry for not being with them for Raya. While chatting, the TV was airing TV3 Buletin Utama* (absolutely not my main worthy to mention newsfeed) (the TV at home  conked out since earlier this year, and i'm too broke to afford a new one).

The main story on BU TV3 was the Beverly Hills (KK) shooting.

What is happening in our country nowadays? is this a new emergence of organised and violent crime in Malaysia?. Read the typical, the Malaysian Insider's cover story here. Read, what Idris Jala has to say on this matter here, and this very interesting commentary on how's all these crazy happenings affecting our country, financially speaking.

So, the fiction i read in The Midnight Club might be realer than i thought it could be. Forget New York city, even small, (highly infested by illegal aliens) city like KK also can be featured as the new range, killing field, execution style street-shooting.

I just hope, the head of our country's men in blue heeds the article written by Mr. Benjamin here. Sorely, we need a dedicated men in the force (maybe, akin to Stefanovitch and Parker in my book read, minus the street law enforcement, of course). As of now, our men are too preoccupied doing other things, enforcing laughable matters. 

satirical: and its sad. pic from themalaysianinsider.com

This week, we will celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Let us celebrate the festive season as Malaysians,  focusing on our common ground, drawing strength from shared values and traditions. We are (despite all those hocus pocus) still a peace loving nation. Selamat Hari Raya, Happy Holiday.