Sunday, May 25, 2014

Conquering Mount Angsi... A 1st-time hiker's experience!

Mount Angsi (824m), 3rd highest peak in Negeri Sembilan, is considered a relatively easy mountain to climb among seasoned hikers.

See location map of Mount Angsi

I come to know of this mountain from a secondary school friend Bob who organizes outdoor sports activities with other like-minded peers. 

Already a regular amateur jogger and cyclist, I want to step out from my comfort zone and try something different! Hiking is something new to me. Out of curiosity, I agreed to go for the hiking trip! 

We rented a 15-seater van and set off from Lavender MRT station at 5 a.m. on a Sat morning. It was a 4-hr drive before reaching the destination for breakfast at 9 a.m.

After some admin, we started the climb around 11 a.m.

This gang consists of working executives. A friend's parents in their 60-ish joined us too.

The path is filled with exposed roots with gradual and steep slopes. 
As some steps are huge, it will be good to use glove-covered hands to cling on those thick hanging branches for support. The walking stick quietly aids in balancing too.

In between muddy and rooty paths, we need to cross some streams too.
You can skillfully leap between the rocks without getting your feet wet or take off your shoes and stroll in the clear and cooling stream.

The journey gets increasingly challenging as time passes. 

After two hours, the 60-ish couple decided to abort mission. I think it is a smart move as it is really not easy for them. Nevertheless, the gang commended them for their "garang" effort thus far!

Halfway through the hike, we met different groups descending. 
With a tinge of expectation in times of desperation, we asked how long will the journey be before reaching the summit. 

"About 30 mins…", they replied. 

30 minutes seems like eternity. 

At that time, my water supply has run out; only two sips of water left. And some dry bread and mini swiss rolls which I do not dare to eat as they will increase my thirst for water! 

Neither do I dare to take too long a rest as irritating sweat bees will swarm over intermittently.
The only way to get rid of them is to KEEP ON MOVING…

Along the way, the fellow hikers and I lost one another.

A mentally and physically exhausted body under the hot sun. I really feel like fainting! 

Mustering every ounce of leftover energy, I cried out a short prayer "God, help...! Give me strength."

Thankfully, some 20 mins later, a fellow hiker Chai Lee appeared. 
I asked for water. Not only she did selflessly fed me with it, she also offered milo packs!

Water and milo have never taste soooo good!!! 

With some rest and much-needed hydration, I continued the journey.

Along the way, both Chai Lee and I met up with a group of locals and start to ask, "How long to go up?"

The response this round… "45 mins!"

Huh? Isn't 30 mins over? You mean it takes another 45 mins to ascend?

In our groaning, there is a shared determination among fellow hikers. We have come so far. We do not want to make it a wasted trip by just giving up!
As a result, we decided to WALK ON!

Near the summit, you are greeted with massive sandy boulders which you have to hoist yourself up with hanging ropes.

An alternative… Use leg power and "wriggle" yourself up the narrow gaps.

After endless walk… we finally caught the long-awaited summit view… 
A "City" view on the left and a mountainous view on the right.

Honestly speaking, the view may not be that breathtaking but it is THE CLIMB that took my breath away! 

After resting at the summit for some time, we decided to make our way down.

The descent is said to be about 2-3 hrs but we took longer than expected.

At 7-plus, the sky was already dark and we found ourselves navigating in the forest using torch light! On two occasions, we lost one another. 
Left with no torchlight, no hp connectivity, no guide in direction, fears crept in… 

"Would I be able to make it back to Singapore?"

"Would I be spending the night ALONE in the FOREST?"

I cried out again… "God, help me!"

The fellow hikers and I found one another and decided to STICK together.
We went a wrong track twice and took detours in the dark.

It was around 9 p.m. when we reached the base and 10-plus before the last couple returned. 

What an ADVENTURE for a 1st-time hiker!!! 

Throughout the journey, I witnessed many of my friends suffering profuse bleeding from leeches' bites, scratches by protruding branches and falls from slips.

As for me, the takeaway injuries are only 7 mosquito bites and a light bruise from a slippery fall. Secretly, the "masochistic" me yearns for a leech bite to sum up a true hiking experience! *Punch me* :)  

There are many things that I have learnt from this hiking trip!

The important basics stay true…

Min. 3 litres of water (2 litres for ascent and 1 litre for descent)
- Some milo packs help!
- Energy bars and sweets
Trust me… They will give you the NEEDED ENERGY to go on!!!

- Good ankle-high hiking shoes (I bought Columbia Women's Helvatia Mid Waterproof for $120; no regrets!)
- Thick cushioned socks
- Light top
- Sweat pant (to protect your feet from leeches and mosquito bites, scratches from protruding roots/ sharp rocks/ muddy paths/ sandy boulders)
- Slippers for change after climb 

- Torchlight (comes in handy in case you cannot make it to the base before night falls)
- Gloves (there are branches with pricky spikes)
- Walking stick with rubberized ferrule 

Move in groups of at least 2-3 people (to cheer one another on)
- MP3 with songs and podcasts to lighten up your journey

Before the trip, I read up about the unfamiliar Mount Angsi from travelers' blog.
It benefited me in one way or another.

After going through this adventure, I hope my little contribution helps...

Monday, August 9, 2010


Kite Flying at Marina Barrage was a success! Everyone had fun!
It has been a looong time since I last fly a kite! And I enjoy reliving my childhood days... Haha! :)

Some simple kite flying tips...
1. Find an unobstructed spot to fly
So that your string will not entangle with the neighbours' easily

2. Invest in better kites!
So that they can withstand the strong wind

3. Get string extension (preferably the roller kind)
So that the kites can easily fly higher & further!
Have a good time flying your layang-layang! (kite in Malay lang)

Monday, July 26, 2010


It was a beautiful Wed morning!
After an early rest the night before, I was all ready for work!

Due to the peak hour traffic, Dhoby Ghaut MRT station was very crowded as usual.
As I happily got into the cabin, I felt a kick on my sandal.

Lo and behold...

A guy accidentally kicked my sandal away!
It did not fly and land on the platform. But, before our very eyes, saw it slip through the platform gap and drop into the seemingly "bottomless pit"!!!

Three seconds later, the train door closed.

"O man...!!!" I muttered under my breath, and not wanting to make a scene.

What am I going to do next?

I can't possibly stagger my way to the office!
Think! Think! Think!... Think quick on my feet!
An idea came!
I gracefully bended forward, reached out for my surviving sandal and slipped it gently into my bag.

A while later, the lift door opened....

All right Joanne... 1, 2, 3... Here goes...

I walked nonchalantly... on the cold, hard ground. I walked fast, trying to keep pace with the fast-moving crowd while hoping not to bump into anyone familiar.
Traffic was "sardine-packed" and most people were looking up ahead rather than staring at the ground!

Thank God my black pants was also long enough to conceal my naked feet!

A 3-min walk seems like eternity... I finally reached 7-11 and bought a pair of $2.90 slippers before continuing my journey to the office.

Phew! What a morning!

But I was determined not to let it spoil my day. Thankfully, the day turned out to be a highly productive day one!

For the 1st time, I appreciate the warning signal...
"Please mind the platform gap... Ti Ti Ti Ti..."

"I have never... walked in CBD,
felt the cold ground beneath my feet...
but under noooo choice,
I receive the faith to walk bare-fooooo-ted..."

Monday, June 7, 2010

My Church, My Family!

As I stepped into Jared & Jerb’s place for camp meeting on Sat, the hearty chat among the leaders simply lifted my spirit.

Shing’s encouraging smile gave a boost too!

Shortly, the lot went for lunch while I stayed back to update some changes in the camp program.

It was nice to work in the study room while listening to CHC’s “Reign” album.

Track 6 “Out of My Hands” is especially ministering during the time when I need it the most!

The truth is… My new work as a Personal Banker has been weighing my heart.

Well… Colleagues are nice and the environment is like a family.

The problem is… there are many new financial technicalities and market mechanisms that I need to grasp quickly. I have my helpless moments when customers are right in front of me, asking some product questions but the two-week old me can’t offer that immediate help and my colleagues are all on their hand phones, entertaining to different enquiries from customers!

Having said that, I guess I am my biggest obstacle!

If you do not know, I am quite a perfectionist and demand a lot from myself. To avoid that unnecessary stress... Perhaps, I should just take one step at a time and learn to R~E~L~A~X…

Coming back… When I was touched by the song, Jerb happened to come out from her room and gave a warm & loving “Hi Joanne!”

Caught unaware, I quickly rolled back my tear, hoping that the sharp Jerb will not spot anything. But I doubt so as my sniffle seems to give me away.

I went into the study room and continued with the editing.

A while later, bubbly Amber reached. She popped into the room and let out a chirpy “Hi!” and as usual, almost narrated her day’s happening but decided to change target after catching “DND” signals from me. Hee…

And there was Innocent Jerb in her room, trying to get ready for service when Amber conveniently knocked on closed door (I wouldn't do this… :p), candidly said “Hi” and spontaneously greeted Baby J as well! After which, she went on rattling her “Rapture” story… That’s our Amber!

What about me? In the room with my eyes fixed on the screen, trying to put the pieces together…. What a familiar sight isn’t it? Haha…

Shortly, the group returned from lunch and meeting started with some serious talk from Jared about changes in camp. Not long later… Our discussion deviated to some funny jokes and we gotta discipline ourselves to be back on track once again…

Joker Joseph then arrived and brought the atmosphere to another high with his forever-direct and exaggerating jokes!

See how diverse our personalities are... But yet, one of the strengths in ET zone is our UNITY!

We go through thick & thin together and share our lives like a family!

I like what Pastor Phil Pringle meant… The church is not built on one man or one woman alone but by you and I whose love & unity CEMENT this house together.

Even when the church is going through a rough patch recently, the members continue to unite our hearts, gather in the weekly services, praise and worship God, serve Him & people, out from a GENUINE HEART.

I can’t help but to think of Pastor Kong and the immense pressure he is facing.

All he wants is to love God and add value to people’s lives… but there are many adversaries.

Here is a man who has always been very strict with himself, physically and spiritually. Just take a look at his Before & After physique! And sense his conviction to make up a even a day of fast when he needed to end his long fast earlier.

My heart goes out for my beloved pastor!

If you have seen his toil, you simply can’t bring yourself to utter anything bad about him.

I love Pastor Kong, I love CHC, I love ET zone!

Come join us with an OPEN MIND and you will understand what I mean.

A caution... We are NOT PERFECT people (putting hand on heart). We are just in the progress of learning how to work things out...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Cough! Cough!

I have been having a persistent cough for the past one week...
The uncontrollable coughing has been sending "tremors" in the office *Pai Seh*
Needa total healing!!! Help!!!