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Family trip in Pangkor Island

LUMUT - It was in the Year 1989. My younger brother was yet to come to the world. I was the only precious child in my family. We lived in Ipoh in that year - my family moved from town to town every two or three years due to my dad's relocation of work. My dad always bring my family to holiday trips. To get to the nearest beach, it was Pangkor Island. I was ten years old at that time. My cousins' families often joined us for the trip whenever they came to visit us in Ipoh. 

I could not recall any five-star hotels in the island. Most of the beaches were dominated by chalets then. In this photo, we stayed at the A-frame chalets. We had always frequented at Sitiawan for yummy seafood. Today, we could have seafood on the island. My cousin said the A-frame chalets were probably located at Teluk Nipah, but today there is no sign of any A-frame chalets there. A look-out view point tower is the only thing found at the roadside of the deserted Teluk Ketapang, just before Teluk Nipah. 

By looking at this picture, there were lush greens around us. And there were a big Pangkor Anchor and Seafood Restaurant near this chalet. My dad wore glasses because he was short-sighted. My mum wore a pair of sunglasses. And my mum and I wore the same pair of penguin shoes. We were like sisters posing the same fashion. The McDonald's pouch on my waist was put to good use, and it was freebie at that time.  We used our floor mat from Thailand whenever we go for beach trips. 

I remember I used to be afraid of swimming. I almost drowned here while swimming at the shallow water. I could not see anything underwater and I swallowed the salty water. My male cousins and my dad were good in swimming, so they often rescued me. I would cry, thinking someone had drowned me. (I could not make out why!) I was a pampered child that I only took swimming lessons after I graduated from my university! Besides swimming, we also had human sand wrapping, sand building, kite flying, and kayaking. It was fun time.  

My mum and I used to stroll on the beach to collect seashells. The beach was quiet during the evening because many holiday makers came for day trips. Most tourists were Malaysians from Perak. There were stalls along the beach, selling batik dresses and kites. My mum bought me a green batik dress and today it is rare to find pretty local-made batik dresses. Since I had one, I had fallen in love with batik dresses.

Today, my family still go to Pangkor Island for holidays. There are five-star hotels, foreign tourists, hornbills and Chinese seafood restaurants on the island itself.  There are boat rides to several islands including Pulau Sembilan and Pangkor Laut. Strolling along the parts of island, is like walking back to the past as there are still remains of old buildings and dry seafood industry. In my recent trip. I just had noticed how beautiful is the blueish green bay sighted from a different angle, and saw the drawings on the Sacred Rock. Although I had been there several times, there are bits of the Island yet to be discovered properly - trek the hill, watch the milky way and cycle around the whole island.

Beautiful Tabur


Tabur West:

Location: Jalan Kolam Air, Kuala Lumpur.
Level of difficulty: 2 out of 5 (not suitable for beginners and those who are afraid of height)
Level of risk: 4 out of 5 (no safety landing if fall)

The hike to Tabur West as in the above pictures was done on 10 December 2011.
Arrived at meet point 530am, last persons arrived at 615am.
Started hike at 640am, arrived at dam view 710am,
2 hours sunrise view and pics.
Left dam view 910am
Arrived at last junction 10am, snapped pics at the Garden of Adam & Eve;
Reached carpark 1030am

Tabur West boasts a a name as Crystal Mountain among travellers. I got to know about it when a tourist asked a nurse who happened to be my friend at a Sunway Medical Centre. However, it has becoming more frequented by hikers and new hikers as well as it is a short hike and close to Klang Valley. Unfortunately new hikers were not aware of the dangers of climbing and requires a proper stamina. There were several cases of death accidents (including 2 doctors) and one injured from a fall (happened to be a frequent hiker that I knew). And more in the last last few years (I wrote this article long time ago, and more accidents again up to date.)  

It requires rock scrambling but need not any training in rock climbing. Just a flexible body with ability to climb independently on rocks. Need right footing, good observation and strength to carry own weight. Few climbers I knew gave up due to afraid of height and the need to scramble between rocks when ascending. Tabur East is best to be attempted first before Tabur West.    

Tabur East:

Location: Jalan P4, Persiaran Bukit Melawati, Kuala Lumpur.
Level of difficulty: 2 out of 5 (not suitable for beginners)
Level of risk: 3 out of 5 (some trail slippery and up & down hiking terrain)

Hiking on 1 Feb 2012 being Federal Territory Day is interesting when you see the KL Streets so quiet and quaint and I can move fast without trouble. I need training prior my 3 days 2 nights hiking, so coincidentally Renee Tan answered my call to join her tp Tabur East. It had been ages I last hiked Tabur East completely, the last was probably 3 years ago. I am happy with a good change here: the signboards at every stops. They make easy identification in case someone took a breather and turned back. The con is that some sections with rope climb has wider gaps now. I wonder how come I can't reach it as compared to last time?

We started hike at 830am, and bumped a group of Malay guys who came to hike Tabur East for first time. Renee Tan and her two friends were being friendly with them so eight of us hiked together. I forgotten to bring insect repellent as Tabur East has lots of mossies. But surprisingly it wasn't much. After 30 mins at Tongkat Ali, one of the Malay guys stopped to rest. Two guys and I went ahead. I started to feel tired after 1 hour and took break. Three of us completed the hike in 1.5 hours and we felt a flight of breeze blowing strongly against us. We took shots and 30 mins later, Renee, Sophia and two Malay guys arrived at 10.30am. The last Malay guy KO at Tongkat Ali cos his weight pulled down his strength due to steep hike in first 30 mins. 

On way back at 30th minute, I heard strong blow of leaves like a symphony. It was awesome as if Nature was greeting me, "How are you? We are happy to see you here!". Watch my video that I uploaded below.

Instead of turning back to same trail when descending, I took a left turn downhill after the long rope climb descend. There were durian and mangosteen plantation, and then toward the end of the trail, there was a wooden house. The trail down is pretty slippery with pebbles on hot day, or mud if raining the night before.

Tabur Far East:

Location: Behind Kemensah Zoo, Kuala Lumpur.
Level of difficulty: 3 out of 5 (not suitable for beginners)
Level of risk: 3 out of 5 (most of the trail is slippery and narrow terrain)

The frontier of exploring the Tabur, starting with the mysterious Tabur East of East is finally revealed. The trail is narrow and steep once reaching near the quartz rocks, with about three or four rounds of mini rock climb using man-made ropes and hands. I would say it is easier than Tabur East, being only take below two hours to reach summit. (but not easy task to set the roping, Thank you to whoever set it!). After this place has reached many hikers' knowledge (due to posting on Facebook?) few years ago, the rope being the key to entry of this place has been removed. 

Beginning of this trail there were junctions, all under the trees. The value of this place, as few hikers came to recce, one would not expect encountering small leeches and dangerous points but worth for big, round mosses and fungi. The danger is minimised if with careful and strong footing (not suitable for beginner). In this trip, I tripped once into fallen trail, landing myself to old thorny plants. 

Being the least visited place, I would love to come again as secret getaway, as there are good shades of trees, flora and fauna. 

One can attempt this hike if the ropes are still intact. Without ropes, the hike is not possible to reach to the peak.

Last but not least, all hikes to Tabur Hills are best to be attempted during very early morning before the burning sun is out at ten o'clock. I have attempted Tabur East at night before, but it was very humid to climb and I am not good with night view. I prayed that Tabur Hill will continue to be preserved well, because when there are too many hikers at Tabur Hill its rock gravity could not be support the weight, The nature has its own limits. Respect its timing to recover and there are plenty of places to hike should you find Tabur Hills too crowded. I had been in a time when Tabur Hills were in risk of being cut off to solve water crisis, but it was saved when UNESCO gazetted it as reserved forest. There was a time Tabur Hills were in risk of defacation in grafittis by irreponsible hikers. There was a time Tabur Hills to be closed due to its location near private housing area. I had even seen leftover of small fire burning (done the night before for sunrise view?).    

There was could there is. We will not know the future of Tabur Hills unless it is well taken care by the public and Forestry Department. The instill of interest in the beauty of the dam sometimes be overtaken by the "I concquered Tabur" but we have not conquered ourselves to continue preserving the environment everywhere we go - home, neighbourhood, parties, offices and countries we visited.

With many cases of death and injured accidents in Tabur hills, the Forestry Department has implemented a law that hiking Tabur Hill requires a permit from Forestry Department. Permit application can be made in any of their office stated during office hours 8.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday walk-in only. They fee for each hiker is RM5.00. If anyone found in accidents and the authority are alerted, there would be an issue to send their rescue teams and helicopter. Prevention is better than cure.

PT Grande : a uniquely different cafe

I left Ipoh for work in Kay El ten years ago, and now saw Ipoh a potbelly of young blood cafes. I remember in my schooldays in Ipoh, few cafes existed in the shroud like Beacon Point. The new cafes are now in a spillage of chic look and serve a mélange of food and desserts. Ipoh folks - comprise of 70% Chinese - has traditionally crowd the restaurants and hawkers' stalls. With the growing number of tourists to Ipoh, the food industry is good. So why not try cafe? PT Grande was spotted behind Ipoh Garden Plaza and I had my dinner there one night.

'PT' stands for pasta and taste sensation. 'Grande' is an Italian word meaning "great" or "fantastic." The menu was in an array of the appetizer, main dish, side dish, desserts and beverages. PT Grande's specialty is pasta and western food. You can make a special request of dishes not listed in the menu, provided that it is pre-ordered at least one week.

The interior of the cafe is designed to cater for events. I sat at the last dining table near the entrance, and saw the chefs' kitchen separated by glass panes. I thought it was a normal cafe but what impressed me was their emphasis on quality of food. I ordered ink squid pasta with prawns and a teapot of fairy green tea. When my order arrived, they were served with decorations in high quality plate, cutleries and the teapot set. Rest assured, it is a healthy dining.

The black spaghetti was pretty sizeable and has creamy ink squid taste.  Three fiery red, big prawns in cracking shells were fresh. The fairy green tea was served in lightweight teapot, and my hands felt comfortable to hold the cup full of hot tea. My family each ordered their salmon and chicken set. Both were nicely decorated and their taste were classic - not too strong but tasty. If you want a little stronger ala Malaysian style, you may request in your order. Soft music was turned on while we were dining. The atmosphere was quiet that I could read and write there.  They have a delectable of cakes with fresh ingredients to appeal your appetite.

PT Grande is new - it started its business in October 2014. You can book the place for parties and functions. PT Grande fits up to about 30 people. Catering is available but collection is direct from the shop.  The location is good, that you could consider it for birthday parties and department lunch.

Mother's Day is coming. This is a place to bring your mum for a uniquely different dining experience! Check out their the Facebook Page for Mother's Day menu and updates of their special food and desserts!

PT Grande
No. 37, Lorong Taman Ipoh 1, 31400 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.
Tel No: +605-5454 688
GPS 4.608153,101.118743
Business Hours: 11am – 9pm daily
Facebook page:

We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) Campaigns Me!

Oh this is new note! Thanks to the hands for writing it. I wished I could write longer.

A post at requested me to spread about their campaign and 100 diverse Young Adults books would be given to twenty lucky winners in the United States of America! Yeah, pretty a lot for generous campaign because they are celebrating an anniversary! 

It started when I came across a writing contest for LGBT, minorities and people with disabilities. It grabbed me a special attention because I am a person with hearing impairment. I visited their blog at and came to know that they publish stories strictly written by a diverse people. They are the LGBT, minorities and special people with disabilities that we often misunderstood. Jumping into a bandwagon, I believe the publisher is doing a favour despite the opposition by other writers not in their category. Diverse race, background and disabilities often the subject for shut out and unheard.  How many of us including I, understood the minorities and special people? We raced to top and we forget them who are climbing behind because we expect them to follow the normal standards and rules. The arrogance of looking down at  LGBT, minorities and special people  is swallowed by ignorance and perfectionism.

Once I made a visit to a centre for special children- most of them with down syndrome. When I helped them in their craftwork; some were not appreciating my effort, some banging themselves repetitively. After watching a movie about children with autism and down syndrome, I gained a precious knowledge that they are slow learners and tend to react negatively any effort that downgrade their work. I learnt to encourage any imperfection and to be patient with them.

They have good stuff to learn from on life. I had visited the refugees and aboriginal people and I could not comprehend their life ups and downs. What if you and I were in their shoes? So, I hope to be the lucky winner to win and read their books! (The closing date is 10 April 2015.) 

They also have a short story writing contest for target readers of 8 to 12 years old, available for submission from now till 8th May 2015. For more details, see

The WNDB Walter Dean Myers Award for Young Adult is looking to reward young adult stories for teenagers aged 13 to 18 years old. The submission must be a diverse work written by a diverse author. The work also must be published in USA for the first time in year 2015. 

All the best in your creative writing.

Flying man from Asia to Europe

My heart fluttered. Deja-vu. Mind doodled back 18 years ago. He was a friendly, athletic guy when I met him at a Conference in Sitiawan. Then we connect as pen friends.
We lost each other for 17 years until I accidentally bumped with him in Facebook. Thanks to Facebook! Richard has metamorphosized into a huge European body size as opposed to physique Asian size. Richard has travelled to 30 countries as part of his job.

He was smoking alone at a section away from crowd when I arrived at Chilli's. I walked towards him nervously. As he got up to greet me, I barely recognised who he was. I was late, yet he warmly greeted me.

Hot weather spell. I need a coconut water! Hell, there is no thirst quenching drinks in their menu. I was reluctant to order meal. Richard's tummy filled with lunch earlier. Amidst awkwardness, he ordered an appetizer and spaghetti. I took his share of food and ordered mine.

Within minutes, he poured his exciting life that got me hooked for hours. The chicken in almond skin salad laid on my table. Gradually, I was in good mood to eat. What else a huge sized men who had eaten half of his life could lure me into?

Despite of his glamourous work life, he comes from a humble beginning. He hailed from Teluk Intan, a small town that boasts its homemade dried prawn chee cheong fun and heong piah biscuits. After SPM, he wanted to study law but his mother disapproved his ambition.

Richard joined a Tour Agency as tour agent. "When I arrived in Kuala Lumpur, I only had fifty ringgit in my pocket. Life was tough. I worked very late everyday and persevered with bullies by senior colleagues. In this industry, you got to start at young age."

Today, Richard's hard work paid off and he enjoys his life travelling while working. Despite his mobility, he follows the current updates in Malaysia and spends time catching up with friends.

Our facebook profile screened that we have a mutual friend, Kasturi Patto the Member of Parliament in Batu Kawan, Penang. He loves politics and Kasturi was my classmate. As part of his job, he mingles with foreigners.

"I learnt so much from intermingle during my travels." he said while reflecting back his past.

Richard is a good guy who does bad guy sports too- riding a big bike. Has big love for watches when we passed by watch shops. His wrist sported a Tag Heur watch. It reminded me of the clock tower in Teluk Intan.

At the end of our jolly walk at near a cafe, we parted our ways and exchanged goodbye. Air of gentleness swept us.

Top 7 Multipurpose Items for Health & Healing

I often bring essential items for hiking and camping trips where there is lack of facilities. The essential items I bring is multipurpose so I do not have to carry heavier than necessary. I bought and used them during and after my hiking and camping for 5 years and this has gotten me into discovering the power of the little things. 

1) Salt
Salt is often quoted in the bible; and is placed its importance in our lifestyle. Matthew 5:13 quoted “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot."

Little did I know that salt has many useful purpose and has been the most important thing in my house. Besides for adding taste in cooking and cleaning vegetables, salt is used to kill any leech sucking on my skin. It is also my skin scrub to heal leech bites whenever the bites are itchy. 

Salt also gives energy. Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS) and salty food is often a remedy for those experiencing hyperthermia and hypothermia. Salty solid food stays longer in the body than salty liquid.

Sea salt is another type that is organic. Sea salt is widely used for skin scrub for whitening. Talking about whitening, I have a friend with a nice set of teeth who uses salt to brush her teeth since young. Indeed it is true, organic salt can whiten our teeth.     

2) Lime / Lemon
Lime or lemon is used as dishwasher. Lime/ Lemon makes good drink for dehydration.   

I discovered from a website that lime/lemon can be used to make isotonic drink when mixed with salt.  Just add 4 limes and a pinch of salt into 1 Litre of water. Add more to taste, if you wish. I used this method to make an additional isotonic drink when my 1.5L 100 Plus is finished.

Lime is also used to soothe sore throat by gargling the mix of lime, salt and sugar in warm water.  

3) Banana
Banana is a high potassium food. Not only it gives substantive energy but also contains tumor necrosis factor (TNF) which has the ability to combat cancer cells, according to a Japanese scientific research. The more dark patches it has, the higher is its immunity enhancement quality.

Banana has amazing contents as follows:-
  • contains tryptophan that improves the mood for depression 
  • contains Vitamin B6 --> improves mood from PMS and calms nervous system
  • high in iron --> helps anemia
  • high in potassium yet low in salt --> reduces risk of blood pressure and stroke, boosts brain power, and relieves stress
  • high in fibre --> helps constipation
  • have a natural antacid --> relieves heartburn and intestinal disorders
  • high in sugar -->helps body to recover energy after workout
  • its inside banana skin serves as natural medicine to kill warts and relieves irritation and swelling from mosquito bites (not sure how true, yet to try)

4) Apple Cider Vinegar
I drinks apple cider vinegar on occasional basis to clean out toxins, and sometimes to give taste to pasta. I often bring it to make pasta for camping.

Once I had problem dealing with ticks in my house, and I got a tip from my dad to spray apple cider vinegar to rid of ticks. It works. 

As I was searching more about apple cider vinegar online, it indeed has more to this. It shines our hair and heals burns and wounds.

5) Aloe Vera
I had sunburn from an island trip in 2004, and I used rose hip oil and aloe vera gel to heal my sunburned skin. Although healed, my skin became more sensitive and the UV rays in the sun is getting stronger. Aloe vera has cooling properties. Since then I began to purchase aloe vera gel for hiking and camping trip.

There is one incident when my friend dropped a boiling water that scalded his skin to second degree.  Although he has washed his scalded skin with running water, it was painful. Then I came to learn that aloe vera has healing properties cos of its cooling agent.

Aloe vera is also used for recovering sand flies bite. It is natural and does not have side effects, apply it onto itchy bites as often you can especially during the day. However, for faster results on top on this, you need to apply alcohol and Bactroban on first application and then just Bactroban every night.   

6) Lemongrass
I use lemongrass (or known as "serai" in Malay language) to try a recipe, and then a friend told me to add it in the honey drink for a nice aroma. Eventually I use it to give crunchy taste for fried rice. Since I like its aromatic smell and its pungent taste, I use it as garnish for soups and vegetables.

Malays use lemongrass in cooking cockles. Not only for seeping out the seafood smell, but also cleans out the toxins in cockles.

Lemongrass is a herb from grass family. Lemongrass should be kept in an air tight container and placed in a dark, cool and dry place and can be kept for up to 2 years.

In my case, I kept them in the fridge. When it dries up, it turns crunchy but it can still be eaten. It releases an essential oil called citral that gives a distinct lemon flavor when cut or crushed. Citral is said to kill cancer cells according to a research.

A research about the benefits of lemongrass:-
  • contains citral that has strong anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties --> prevents acne outbreak and keeps skin healthy
  • high in folic acid, vitamin B5, B6 and B1 --> improves the mood, gives deep sleep and helps insomnia, stress and nervous disorder; reduces blood pressure
  • contains anti-oxidant minerals, vitamins, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc-->  reduces fever, relieves cough and colds; relieves symptoms of headaches and body-aches
  • flushes out toxins, uric acid, excess fats and cholesterol from the body --> improves liver, spleen, pancreas and kidney 
  • high in fibre --> improves digestion and helps constipation 
  • also known as citronella, used as mild insect repellent
  • A recent study by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the department of Science and technology ( DOST ) claims that every 100g of edible tanglad when boiled can contain up to 24.205 micrograms of beta-carotene the anti-oxidant that scientists believe can help prevent cancer. Another DOST study shows that lemon grass oil has the potential as a tropical eye medication against keratomycosis, an inflammation of cornea often associated with burning or blurring of vision.

7) Honey
I often get sore throat and cough.  A doctor recommended me to take honey+tea+lemon to relieve cough with phlegm, and it worked! Honey moisturizes throat and it helps to soothe sore throat.

Honey helps to boost energy and immune system. It also:-
  • contains antioxidant --> improves digestion
  • contains carcinogen preventing and anti-tumour properties
  • contains anti-bacterial properties --> as antiseptic; heals yeast infection, athlete's foot and arthritis pain
  • absorbs moisture from air --> heals wounds, cuts and burns
  • contains anti-microbial properties --> soothes sore throat and kills bacteria that causes the infection
  • contains mix of natural sugar such as fructose --> relieves hangover
8) I would like to add garlic and ginger into the list, its many benefits I have yet to test out other than to give taste, relieve stomach cramps and refresh bad breath.

Sunrise, Sunset & Moon around the Earth (still collecting)

Malaysia's great spots....

Sunset at 6.35pm Dec 26, 2013 when coming down from Bukit Mas, Sarawak.
1/2500s f6.3 iso400 300mm. (Photo Courtesy from Chua Limbang.)

Sunset viewed from Mt Yellow summit, Perak Malaysia on February 2012

Sunset at Pasir Bogak, Pangkor Island Malaysia. 7.30pm 19 December 2013.

Sunset at Pantai Jeram

Sunset at Sekinchan, 28 May 2011.

Sunrise. In most Malaysian mountains, sunrise view depends on the weather. If there is rain the night before, it is likely to witness sunrise clearly in the morning from the summit of mountains at 1000 asl and above; otherwise it is blocked by mist. Baha campsite at Stong Park, Kelantan has good spot to view its egg yolk sunrise. Another spot is Panorama Hill, Sg Lembing.

Moon. In my lifetime, I have seen a great big moon at Mt Yellow summit and one somewhere along the road from Rawang to Kuala Lumpur.

Any sunrise, sunset or moon pictures to share, kindly email me with details.

Other countries....

Sunrise viewed from West Coast Oahu, Hawaii in December 2012.
(Photo courtesy from Per-Magnus Skoogh)

 Sunrise view from Mt Agung lower peak, Bali Indonesia on 31 August 2009.
(Photo taken by Michael Lim)