A Hike in FRIM (deeper into the jungle)

22 09 2009

The Forest Research INstitute of Malaysia (FRIM) with it’s established hiking and mountain bike trails has been a fovourite place for me since I discovered it some years ago. It is visited by many who live in the Klang Valley who wish to escape the concrete jungle without having to drive too far away from the city itself.  So over the long holidays I planned another hiking trip with a friend of mine from Australia. You could say he is an avid hiker.

We started the day with some breakfast of toast, butter and jam, two out three of which were homemade. Before we left for the hike, I had Dennis promise to teachme how to make the excellent bread he made. Were arrived at FRIM’s gates at about 8.05 A.M by which time we could see some joggers leaving FRIM for home or a well earned breakfast.  This is my first trip to FRIM with Dennis and he promised to take me to the reservoir deep inside this park. Normally I would head for the parking areas nearby the main offices and the staff canteen, but this time around Dennis guided me to drive up to the end of the Rover trail and parked my car there.

The first part was actually a walk up to the water treatment plant at the end of a rather steep but sealed road. That’s “tarred” to those who didn;t know what a sealed road is.  I have been up here many times on previous hiking and even on my mountain bike trips. The last part of this road makes a sharp 180 degree turn before the gates of the water treatment plant.  The oath tothe reservoir starts where this sharp bend. But in the past I remember there being a sign forbidding “unauthorised” people form venturing up the path. Dennis, being Australian, said he doesn;t read signs in Malay. But I said it was also in English. Well, like I said, he’s Australian. There are some pretty wierd animals on that continent. Hahahaha!

Clacker valve

The trail actually follows an old cast iron pipeline that channels water from the reservoir to the processing plant.  Along the way we could see exposed parts of the pipeline where the soil has eroded. At various intervals along the pipeline we could see many types of valves which are part of the delivery system. One of them is pictured above. According to Dennis, it’s called a clecker valve. He had rightly pointed out that this valve is placed at the highest point where a pipeline has to climb up a slope before running downhill again.  The only motive force deliverung water from the reservoir to the plant is gravity. These valves lets air into the pipe to allow the water to run downhill smoothly.  I imagine this would prevent high pressures from building up in the pipe downstream which might  damage the pipe. According to Dennis, these valve are also equipped with a metallic ball valve which closes the orifice when there is too much water rushing downhill form the upstream supply. The clacking noise of the valve opening and closing is what gave the valve it’s name. Not bad for an Aussie farmboy! I’m impressed.

reservoiroverflowIt took us about 45 minutes to an hour to cover the 3 kilometres to water catchment area where the small reservoir was situated. The was nobody else there but us. Still there were signs that there that had been others here recently. The heavy rainfall of late has also filed up the reservoir to the brim. Water can be seem to overflow the lowest part of the dam walls. The area was very green with lush vegetation. The rain had also made the banks of the reservoirs very muddy and slippery. This made trekking quite  tricky.

Water intake

Here is a picture Dennis took of me standing on the water intake for this small reservoir. Below me would be where the pipe starts it’s long journey downhill to the plant. Just behind me and out of view is a wheel which opens and closes an overflow valve which at the time was closed or nearly so. If you needed to “relive” yourself (as i did) in an area like this, make sure you know where the water intake is and do it at a point below the intake. Otherwise you would pollute the water!

lush greenery

lush greenery 1Above are some picture I took with my phone camera. Yeah I did not bring along my DSLR again but instantly regretted it when I entered the trail. It presents great photographic oppurtunities. I promised myself I would come back up here with a proper camera soon.

Nasty bamboo

Curious as to where all this water came from, Dennis and I tried to get up to it’s source. At one point we had to climb up above the level of the reservoir itself. Holding on to trees for support and handle hold is quitenormal when you are hiking up a slope. But one must really watch out which tree one is going to use. I made a mistake of reaching out to this nasty looking bamboo and it “reached” backout at me….with it’s thorns! No nice.

We gave up after a few minutes and decided to make our way back to the car.  The walk down was quite pleasant but on the way we met this unfortunate lost soul.

lost soul

Lost sole … lost soul get it? hahahaha! Nevermind.  The hike took up the whole of the morning and made me quite hungry. Mind you although this is the first time I am hiking in a long time, it nowhere near the longest nor hardest hike I’ve done. But I am also nowhere near my healthiest. This hike is meant to be a starter to my “road to recovery”.


Texting Tragedy – A Welsh safety message

9 09 2009

So how many of you out there have been in situation as depicted in the video which I posted in my last article? Gives a new meaning to the word “close call” huh? hahaha! Just the other day I was driving home when a police patrol car was driving quite erratically in front of me. As I overtook  I looked at the driver hoping to get his attention, but hos attention was on another driver who was driving on the slow lane whislt talking on his mobile phone. Apparently that dirver had veered into the path of the police car which in turn veered into the overtaking lane which I was in. Needless to say the driver was pulled over as I pulled away.

While the video in my last posting depicted some very hairy situations we can get ourselves into, they were what we all tend to call, “close shaves”. Even the rear ender was probably not a fatal accident. But if you still think ” I am a safe driver and can handle this phone call” just watch this next video. I don’t think you would want to be in tis situation . . . . ever.

It was produced in Wales and is to date one of the goriest road safety video ever made for national television. But in a world of information overload, it’s probably the only way to get some messages across.

Drive . . . Just Drive.

3 09 2009

How many of us can actually say that we have not made or answered a  phone call whilst driving a vehicle? I am definitely guilty of doing so myself. In fact I am quite able to compose an sms from behind the wheel of a moving car. I thought  I was good until I saw a few motorcyclist sending messages from their phones whilst riding their machines! If you’ve been driving in Malaysia long enough then you would know what a hands-free motorcycle phone kit looks like.

So far I have been lucky not to have crashed my vehicle while doing so but time and luck is not always on my side.  Then a few weeks ago my friend sent me a few community message videos aimed at driving safety with an emphasis on driver distraction. I really opened my eye as I have been in one of these situation before.

Think back, have you been in a similiar situation before?

Zee Avi

1 09 2009

Is she our next superstar? Earlier this evening my sister told me about this young girl from Miri in Sarawak who had put up her video on youtube for all to see. Apparently she has been noticed by those in the music industry. Catch one of her very first songs here.

She sounds ao much like Norah Jones, another one of my favourite singers. Does anybody know when she recorded this song and where she is right now? Here she is agian with  another one of her songs – Honey Bee.

A search on wikipedia reveals that she is now an up and coming recording artiste in the United States and currently on a tour. All the best Zee. I guess you’re another one of those promising talent that Malaysia has missed….again.