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THE MESSAGE OCTOBER, 2005 NO. 47
THE DR.ABU SAMAH LABAK SERIES -
THE LEE YEW KWONG 2ND EDITION



Couple In car
A JOURNEY UP THE HIGHLANDS
Couple In car

It was a Friday, the eve of some public holidays. There was a stretch of long holidays, and so we left for a holiday. For us folks living in the ever busy, noisy, dusty and now hazy cities, we became escapees. We wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of KL city.

Where to? Genting Highlands will be ideal, some would say. But no, that place is busier than any city especially during weekends and public holidays.


CAMERON HIGHLANDS HERE WE COME


So we drove north to go up the hills. Our destination: Cameron Highlands for a highland retreat.

Years ago, I was at the wheel heading up the hills. But now my daughter, Lisa whom I have brought her there for the holidays when she was only a toddler is now steering her 4-wheeler. My youngest daughter, Dana took over the wheel too when Lisa needed a breather. I sat and relaxed at the back as a passenger. I have time to take in eyeful after eyeful of the countryside. As I looked around this was what I found.

Unlike the meandering roads of yesteryears, the drive along the wide and straight highways was monotonous. Things nearby just streaked by. I saw only mountains in the distance.



BLUE MOUNTAINS OF MALAYA?


I remember there was a song that our master composed called "Blue Mountains of Malaya".

Sorry, Sir if you are still singing that song you have to change it to "White or more accurately Hazy Mountains of Malaysia".

Those days there was only one way up the Cameron Highlands via Tapah. Now, there is another approach road via a little country town called Pulai. The junction turning into Camerons is called Simpang Pulai.



TURNING IN AT SIMPANG PULAI


On reaching Simpang Pulai, our little 4-wheel drive then took the well-beaten road up Camerons Highlands. The road still snakes over hills and descended into valleys. Then it climbs up to the highlands. However, the drive was smooth owing to the better and wider road. There aren't many daredevil bends. We have the windscreens down to breathe in fresh and cool country air.


MASSIVE TRAFFIC JAM IN CAMERON HIGHLANDS

Car Overheated

On reaching Simpang Pulai, our little 4-wheel drive then took the well-beaten road up But, alas! Our dream of getting away from the city turned into a nightmare. Many city folks have similar intention as we do! They too have left the cities and were heading there. My ghosh! What a massive traffic jam up the hills there was!!

We inched our way to the hotel. Hotels were flooded with guests. All came there to rest. But with the influx of people, I doubt that was possible. Food was expensive too.

Fortunately, the weather was just nice and cool. So we just breathed in the free air and enjoyed the comforting cool. There was nothing much to do.



SHOPPING AND MORE SHOPPING


Not exactly that free. Provided you have brought in your money. There was shopping and more shopping to do. There were many local produces for us to pick from till we were spoilt by the so wide choice.


THE PRODUCES OF C.H.


Strawberry Cherries Strawberry Cherries Strawberry Cherries Strawberry Cherries


There are strawberries, little tomatoes that look like cherries, miniature potatoes the size of marbles, purple cauliflowers and cabbages and green veggies of so many varieties. Prices are as high or even higher than the supermarkets and stalls in the lowlands.





CHANGES IN CAMERON HIGHLAND

Tanah Rata, Ringlet, and Brincang are now bustling towns. Shops and buildings including some with many storeys are up now. A few famous hotels even proudly loom high into the sky to beckon guests who are willing to get fried.

Bulldozers have slashed off many hillsides. But with the cool weather, the much-terraced hill slopes are covered back with lush weeds and shrubs to protect them from landslides. Of course, some exposed soil stands vulnerable to the harshness of the elements like the scorching sunshine, mountain winds and torrential rains. Otherwise, there is nothing to fear at all.


R.E.A.R.C.H. IS REACHING OUT

Talking about the environment in Cameron Highlands, it comes to my mind about an old M.E.S. guy. He has done a lot to save the lot. Who is he?

ZULKIFLI THE SECRETARY

None other than Zukifli. Zul is the secretary of R.E.A.C.H., the Cameron Highlands environment protection body. His very active organization reaches out to all the local residents and Malaysians to protect the environment.

You can reach him at R.E. A.C.H. by calling him at email ME to find out his number.

When I was up there I tried to reach Zulkifli to get to know more about his R.E.A.C.H. But Zul is a very active and busy man. When I went up, he had come down to the lowlands. He was managing the hockey team in Kuantan. What a coincidence! However, when I called him Zul was very apologetic about missing our meeting chance.


NEW FARMING TECHNIQUES
Harvester Cylinder
I remember, the farms those days were open farms all exposed to the elements and all bare to the sky. Nowadays, they are covered with sheets to form green houses within which the vegetable beds and flowerpots lie. It looks like farming there had undergone a great change for protecting the produces from the forces of nature. But, are the produces still as natural, I wonder?

On the day of our descent the uphill side of the macadam was still jammed. People continued to go up there to breathe in the fresh cool air.

Almost all the cars, buses, vans, four-wheel-drives, SUVs and MPVs stopped at the stalls and the shops. There, the visitors emptied their purses and wallets to grab whatever farm produces that attract.

The journey up Cameron Highlands is better than ascending Genting Highlands where most people carry purses and wallets stashed with cash come down with empty pockets and empty hands.
Tossing Salad in Wooden 

Bowl
At least after a visit up Cameron Highlands you have something in the pots and something cooking in your woks and pans!






NEAR EPIDEMIC IN BENTONG


The October 7th 1955 issue of the M.E.S.SAGE reported that, "many townspeople have been going to the hospital for inoculations against the dreaded disease "typhoid".

Doctor holding Chart

Then there was an advice to students saying, "If you have fever or severe headache or stomachache, you should go to the hospital at once."




A grass-green whip snake was caught by Shamsuddin and put on display in the office. Shamsuddin was bitten by the snake but he was alright! (I think we local people called it the "green bamboo snake".)

Well, I am sure Mr. Miles taught Shamsuddin how to catch snakes. Remember how our mentor shocked us when he caught snakes and played with them !!.

Later a slow loris was captured and kept as a mini zoo specimen. Then the following notice appeared:


WANTED: FOOD FOR THE SLOW LORIS AND THE SNAKES!

What did they eat? Small creatures such as frogs, lizards, insects etc. So a few of us went on a wild witch hunt to capture the necessary critters for their lunch. We scoured the niches and the nooks of our houses; and combed the hedges and the bushes to secure their food supply dead and alive. Though the caged creatures were petted and fed, but they did not seem to be happy. All the while they tried to find the slightest chance to escape, if any.




Microscope Focusing

A rudimentary science experiment on common salt was carried out in the makeshift laboratory at the end of the new block. Students were so excited.




Palm Tree Swaying Palm Tree Swaying Palm Tree Swaying Palm Tree Swaying Palm Tree Swaying Palm Tree Swaying

Harbans Singh gave an eye-witness account of an accident. He saw a coconut tree fell crashing down on a house in Ketari. A man in his sarong sleeping in the house suffered serious injuries. He was sent to the hospital by the passing O.C.P.D. a Mat Salleh in those days, see!

(Story personally reconfirmed by Harbans on 7.9.05 after a lapse of half a century)





There was a report on the top or fastest typists in the typewriting class. Alas, I came out last!

NAME
WORDS PER MINUTE
Typewriter HI WONG YENG KEE
42
Typewriter HI SUBRAMANIAM (deceased)
40
Typewriter HI THION PANG HUAT
39
Typewriter HI YIP FOOK KHIM
38
Typewriter HI LEE SAI KAN
38
Typewriter HI MOHAMMED SIMIN (the late)
38
Typewriter HI POON CHUN WAH
38
Typewriter HI CHOOI WAI MING (demised)
37
Typewriter HI CHEONG AH MOI
37
Typewriter HI CHAN SUY SANG
35

Oh my, I'm so shy!






A NATIONAL SERVICE CAMP VISIT


Many of our youngsters are now continually drafted into national service. Camps have mushroomed everywhere. One camp recently built is in Chamang.

About 7 km from Bentong town the camp is found. It is sited on a flat valley all surrounded by greenery. A lake, probably a disused mining pool, presents a picturesque scenery.

Girl Sitting On Brick Wall

One day we drove in to visit a junior relation. She is Mariko Lam my eldest granddaughter, as my eldest daughter is her mom.

As Sunday was a visiting day many parents, grandfathers and grandmothers, uncles, aunties, brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces have come visiting. Fortunately there were two sheds raised for receiving guests. Tables and chairs were laid out for all to sit down.

We met our blossoming granddaughter, Mariko. She was so happy to be in the camp. She said she had a lot of interesting activities there. She looked toughened up and ready for all outdoor activities. Of course the 3-month course of national service disturbed her studies. But she benefited from her experiences of mixing with others from near and far! Syabas, Khidmat Negara!!

Cellphone Ringing

On another Sunday, I was again there. You know what happened? A long distance call came through Mariko's mobile from the USA. It was from her mother, my eldest daughter who was traveling there. Wow! We are baffled to know how advanced telecommunication technology is now. That little hand held gadget can also communicate from an out-of-town area Chamang with someone in the US! So the mother and daughter had a long chitchat. Thanks to the mobile phone. Salute to that most efficient handheld gadget!




NEWS FROM THE ROOF OF THE WORLD


Email Yellow Note

I sent Nasahari MESSAGE No. 43. As soon as he received it, he e-mailed me. Subject: Greetings from the Roof of the world. Just imagine our newsletter has gone up so high, almost reaching Mount Everest. Nasahari is our Mesian who now lives and thrives in Citwan, Nepal.

Nasahari was from the first mile Tras Road. He studied in M.E.S till 1968, then in Tutorial College P.J. Later he attended and graduated from the Oberoi Hotel School, New Delhi, majoring in hotel management and catering sciences.

Thenceforward, Nasahari began an illustrious career in hospitality in numerous renowned hotels, resorts and even palaces in many different countries.

I guess he would have rubbed shoulders with many celebrities and royalties. Have you an interesting story about any celebrity or royalty, Nasahari?

With his knowledge and enriched by experiences in so many countries, he now teaches people about hospitality in College Balkumari.

Great guy, Nasahari. We wish you the best of luck and longevity.

Nasahari has put forward a great proposal to bind our fraternity in greater prosperity and security. He has proposed the formation of a Mesian company. Business? To open a restaurant of international reputation.


Read his proposal in our next edition.


A GANG OF FOUR CALL ON OUR MENTOR


One Saturday afternoon when I called on our mentor I met a gang of four. It was a group of youngsters made up of Sara, Alex, Pang and Hasri. They have come around to visit our mentor.

The four are a loquacious lot. They talked and talked non-stop. They grumbled about the local haze and mentioned how houses in Gaza were razed. Seemingly, they blamed the haze for chasing them from the city to find an escapade in Bentong.



The four cracked their craniums with some little board games to keep their restless spirit in check. They babbled and laughed at the jokes they cracked. They solved riddles and rolled off tongue twisters. The revelers seemed to enjoy the visit very much indeed. They even dabbled in politics and cackled in economics. Gosh! They are a knowledgeable and well-informed lot.



Plant Growing In Pot Plant Growing In Pot Plant Growing In Pot Plant Growing In Pot Plant Growing In Pot


HOT: There are many leafy plants that Mr. Miles nurtures a lot in pots. What I mentioned in the last number were the plants in old pots. Probably these are the ones waiting to be transplanted or to be repotted. My apologies for not mentioning the flourishing lot.





LAUGHTERS FROM READERS


Fong Tee: Which is nearer, the sun or Denmark?

Mr. Rajendran: The sun, of course.

Fong Tee: Why?

Mr. Rajendran: Because we can see the sun, but we can't see Denmark.


- Yip Fook Khim. -


Jaganathan: Father, congratulate me. I have been made half back on the football team.

Father: I see by your report card, you're all the back in your studies.






Birthday Cake Green

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO


No.
NAME
BIRTHDAY
1
ABDUL HALIM HJ. OTHTMAN
OCT 1
2
BARBARA RED LAPSLEY
OCT 1
3
OW WAI KING
OCT 4
4
LIM PAK HENG
OCT 8
5
CHEW TEE KAN
OCT 9
6
LIM SWEE CHOO
OCT 9
7
TAN SOON SENG
OCT 9
8
LEONG KAH WAH
OCT 10
9
CHAN SEE YUEN
OCT 12
10
WONG YENG KEE
OCT 15
11
CHAN KAM SWEE
OCT 16
12
RICHARD LOW QOOI TEE
OCT 17
13
ABU SAMAK LABAK
OCT 24
14
HILDA PONMU (MRS. CHOONG)
OCT 25
15
SONNY LAM PHAT CHEE
OCT 26
16
S.SATHASILVAM
OCT 31




We just need more sponsors.
RM100 for helping to bring out an edition.
More to continue a series.



Written, edited, produced and distributed by Chan Suy Sang.



MANY THANKS TO DR. ABU SAMAH WHO STILL LEADS THE SERIES.
THANK YOU LEE YEW KWONG FOR SPONSORING A 2ND EDITION.


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