Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bukit Gasing - Hiking (With Photos)

The beginning of the track
So, I have picked up a new hobby this week which is hiking. The reason for the sudden move is to start keeping fit since I have hit my thirties and this is when most of the health issues kick in. I have never really been fit since leaving college albeit some short stints at the gym which never really lasted mostly because it was too mundane for me.

Hiking however has seemed to have tickled my fancy. I am a nature lover and enjoy views of greenery, hills and other elements of nature. Also, I have enjoyed jungle trekking since a young age especially hiking trips during my school days namely up Penang Hill, trekking to Pantai Kerachut and also trekking through Bukit Hijau in Kulim. I am now glad to have discovered Bukit Gasing in PJ which is the only green lung in PJ and is fairly untouched at least on the Selangor border. The hill is situated near section 5, PJ and is as wide as 100 hectares. The hill sits on the border of Selangor and KL. On one side is PJ section 5 to the west and to the east is Pantai Dalam. There are a number of tracks available to suit your fancy but I chose to use a moderate trail which involves some decent amount of hiking.

Here come the steps
The trail is well maintained thanks to the members of Save Bukit Gasing. There is hardly any sight of rubbish and the the trails are well established so you can hardly get lost. The hill is nestled in between housing areas and apartments but once you're in there, you will have a feel of being in an actual jungle. To say that it is a primary forest is not true because it is actually a secondary jungle that originated from rubber plantation. When you're hiking/trekking, you will see a lot of rubber trees that had once served their time.

Most of the people who trek are senior citizens who are often polite wishing you a good morning every time they pass by. I was introduced to Bukit Gasing by a friend who is a PJ local. He hikes with the rest of my friends on the weekends but unfortunately I would not be able to join due to family commitments. I was however so tempted to go that I decided to do it over a weekday before I go to work. The first time I tried the track, I was impressed and completing the whole track was definitely an achievement because I have not been exactly physically active for some time now. I am planning to make this an every other day activity to start keeping fit.

The Canopy
I have attached a link below to the park's website for more reading and a map for the trail. If you are nearby and are looking for something exciting to do over the weekends or to keep fit, I would definitely recommend Bukit Gasing.


Click Here for Bukit Gasing Website

The Flora
My favourite part which is the suspension bridge

One of the signs pointing you to the right path
More Steps

You can barely see the summit 

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Monday, May 21, 2012


Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Bersih 3.0: My Duties Fulfilled

This time around, Bersih was a family event. I went out to fulfill my duty as a responsible citizen together with my wife and sister. We left the little one with my mom and got a friend to drive us right up to Muzium Negara (right up to the police block and as far as we could go with a car). From there we walked with other families and Bersih supporters to Masjid Negara. Along the way, there were bus drivers who provided us with drinking water and cheered us on.

There was already a crowd gathered at Masjid Negara most donning yellow shirts as were my sister and I. My wife was wearing a red cardigan so we made a cheeky pass at her saying she was representing PERKASA. The crowd at the mosque were gathered around taking pictures of the police human shield. We decided to walk further and braved ourselves to walk pass the police to see what’s on the other side. The police did not stop us and we managed to walk right up to the barricades. It was all barbed wired and there was no way in to Dataran Merdeka.

Look at the reflection of the crowd on the building
We also wanted to be where the majority of the people were as the crowd in Masjid Negara wasn’t a large one and we were pretty sure there were more people out for Bersih based on tweets and phone calls from friends who were at Central Market. We decided then to head out to CM and see what’s the situation there. Along the way, we heard some Bersih supporters taunting the police with various insults which I thought was not very nice of them. The supporters should understand that the cops were just doing their jobs and you may never know that they may also be supporting the cause but had no choice but to perform their duties.

As we were walking to CM via the train station, a cabbie waved and put up a “thumbs up” sign for us as he whizzed by in his cab that had a small yellow flag. We stopped by one of the restaurants just outside the train station and business seemed to be booming; all of which were Bersih supporters. So much for business owners saying that Bersih is ruining their business;  I say they should have more Bersih rallies, they would be millionaires in no time.

Another view of the crowd on the marble portion of the building
We finally reached CM and were greeted with a huge crowd there. I would say the size was at least 10,000 and this is a very conservative figure. The crowd was chanting, singing and keeping everyone entertained. The crowd then started to move towards Jalan Tun Perak and we followed. We were all packed like sardines but it was really fun. It was more of a carnival than a protest. Everyone was at their best behaviour and people were smiling at each other, greeting each other; it was truly Malaysian and I was proud to be there.

The crowd kept on moving and converging with other groups such as Himpunan Hijau. The whole group could have swelled to at least 100,000 looking at the pictures. That day, I will not hesitate to believe that there were no less than 200,000 people which is one of the best turnouts for Bersih. It was good to see people from all walks of life. I knew for a fact there, that people have wised up and are out there to see a change.

Once we were in Tun Perak, it was very much a standstill. We were not really moving. My wife, sister and I decided to stand in the shade for a while so we moved to the open space near Mesjid Jamek. As we were taking a break, The crowd started to move and we decided to follow until suddenly we heard shots. One cannot forget that noise if they have been to other rallies. Yes, it was tear gas. We then quickly took shelter at an ATM booth next to the mosque but our eyes were still burning from the gas. It was then I saw how united we were. As we entered the booth, a few Chinese guys (I have to mention the ethnicity to make a point) started giving out salt to everyone and everyone else were sharing water. In that small time frame as well, parents of a young boy were covering his face so that he does not get stung by the gas. The kid asks his mom, “siapa yang tembak gas”? to which the mother replies “Orang jahat” , the boy asks “siapa orang jahat” and the mom says “Siapa lagi; Polis la… siapa lagi lebih jahat dari polis?” which brought a light moment in the booth amidst the flying tear gas canisters.

Unit Amal PAS - They did a good job for crowd control
The situation was getting worse, the gas started to creep in closer and we could even feel it in the booth. I remember on twitter, there was an update from the star online saying only two round of tear gas was fired. BOLLOCKS, I say… Utter BOLLOCKS! If each round were hundred canisters then yeah, it would be two rounds. The light strike force was on a roll! As the FRU were firing their welcome guns, someone came into the booth and urged us to come into the mosque. That was a touching moment right there. The Muslims opened the mosque to non Muslims and urged us to stay in there. That is a scene that will forever be in my memory. That for me was the epitome of unity. That was when I saw the brethren amongst us. Everybody was helping each other! The people had united.

Whilst in the mosque, we could see the FRU spraying the crowd with chemical laced water and tear gas was being used at every corner. The wind wasn’t on our side as well as the gas crept its way to the crowd in the mosque. There was no place to hide. Even when we covered our faces, we could still feel the sting. I would really like our home minister to have a whiff of the gas. Please experience it for yourself to feel the sting in your eyes. It was not once, not twice but several times to the extent, I felt like telling the FRU to go ahead and bring it on.

My heart at that time went out to the old folks and the young children who were out there. Even the youth like us were feeling the pain of the gas, imagine the young children and the elderly? Although it was nice to see people bringing their family but they should have at least left the kids at home. You know from the past that the government does not give two hoots about its people, so why risk it?

After being gassed!
We started to learn from that time that the FRU started to react because some of the protesters broke the barrier and later we also came to learn it was Azmin and his boys. I was really pissed because who are these politicians to dictate what should go on. I may be pro-opposition but this is ridiculous. Another thing which annoyed me is the fact that Datuk Ambiga was with DSAI and Azmin. I strongly believe, she should have gone separately and not be associated with the opposition because this will give more ammo to BN to put a spin on the matter saying that Bersih is to topple them.

And this is me
Although there was a breach, I still do not believe the police should have reacted in that way. This was not minimal force. I say this because, when we tried to leave, possible exits were blocked by the police. We kept being chased back to where we were by the police. It was as though we were being punished for being there.

All said and done, I believe people have now come to realise their rights and that is why they came out that day. I daresay that BN’s days are numbered. 200,000 or even 100,000 is a huge amount of people. Also from the videos on FB, twitter and YouTube, even the fence sitters would have already decided that it is time for a change.

After being tear gassed that many times, I do not think I will ever vote BN because this is what I get as a tax payer and this is what I get when I come out to show my dissatisfaction. I know that the rakyat will never have a voice under the current government. We will be silenced by tear gas and chemical laced water. This is their gift to you, dear citizens of this nation. Right now, I leave it to you to be the judge. Vote wisely. Most importantly, please register yourself as a voter.

Sekian. salam Bersih!

Note: My wife said she was disappointed that we did not really meet people and make friends. I said we would probably not have the time to make friends at any rally. The point to note was that every time there is such rally, it makes you believe that there is still hope for this nation because people have decided to make a stand and the spirit of unity helps you to keep believing.