Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Taman Negara - Day 2 - Rapid Shooting & Visit to Kg Orang Asal

We were supposed to meet Pak Lah again for the next activity at 4 PM. Firdaus had to leave due to some other matters but he assured that all have been taken care of. We bid farewell to Firdaus.It was a bit cloudy but the rain cloud seemed to have moved to a different direction, towards Mount Tahan which means the upstream of Lata Berkoh! There goes our hope…. At 4 PM, we again gathered at the lobby (although some were finding it very hard to wake up), for a lift down to the river jetty. When we arrived, as usual, Pak Lah is already waiting (he always bring a red Ocean Pack bag with him). We are going for a rapid shooting activity. We hopped on the 12 seater boat and headed upstream Sg Tembeling….a different gentleman by the name of Jamal was piloting the boat with Pak Lah sitting in front of the boat. In a way it gives more confidence to people like us having 2 experienced people on board...and not knowing how bad is the rapid shooting going to be. Sg Tembeling forms the eastern border of TNP.

Boat Ride at Sg Tembeling

Ready for the rapids

The strong rapids

As the boat sped upstream, you can’t help but keep admiring the skills of the boatman in negotiating the rapids…some rapids have very strong current with this water level, some rapids are long and some rapids are short, some rapids are in the form of a bend …..but whatever rapids, the boat moved through them without much problem…smooth and safe, better with a 12 seater boat but of course our adrenalin was pumping hard when we see new rapid approaching in front of us…’ll get wet in this activity. 30 minutes later and after shooting 7 rapids, we came to the last rapid known as Jeram Dedari, after which the boat will make a turn and stop a very nice beach for a visit to the orang Asli/orang Asal village on its banks. Further upstream, the boat could not negotiate the rapid further…you could see from afar that the rapid is on a climbing trend.

We disembarked the boat and walked up the river bank to the orang Asli/Asal settlement. These are from the Batek tribe, one of the tribes in Peninsula Malaysia but the main and only tribe in TNP. We met a few of the family members headed by a leader called Bemban (his name came from river Bemban, a place where he was born), a nice gentleman, probably in his 50s and able to talk and understand Bahasa Malaysia. Bemban knows Pak Lah very well and he has high respect for Pak Lah too….they were friends since younger days!!

Kg Dedari, orang asal batik

House built by foreign film producer when they were filming the place

During our stay there, we learnt how to make fire from rotan and wood plus dried palm leaves and bamboo skin….less than 2 minutes, you’ll get a fire! We also learnt how they make their blowpipe….looks simple but it comes with lots of technicalities & knowledge such as the use and selection of a suitable type of bamboo (buluh semeliang which has ‘ruas’ of more than 1 meter), use of bamboo silencers on the blowpipe, use of tree as natural glue, use of animal skin to make its dart, use of poison (getah Ipoh), use of Pulai tree’s root (strong light weight material) and many more….Bemban would have been a PhD doctor with his survival skill, his knowledge of the jungle and maintaining the sustainability of the jungle ecosystem. But his life is here in the jungle where PhD doesn’t really matter. We also learnt about their belief system and according to Pak Lah, they believe in God, Heaven and Hell, but their God can appear in the form of trees or stones or anything in the jungle….and that is why they treat the jungle very well…taking only what they need and not what they want. If a child dies, they will bury the body in the ground but if an adult dies, they will normally place the corpse on a tree and let the animals consume the dead…I didn’t know that earlier.

Bemban showing off his skill

Process of making fire

Demonstration by Bemban

Pak Lah explaining about the Batik Tribe

New and interesting knowledge acquired


Adik the sharp blower!

Bemban's hut

[Info from] - Bronze aged artefacts have been recovered from Tembeling valley, between the Sungai Yong and Sungai Sepia. Archaeologist consider this to be one of the richest prehistoric sites in the country. The latest findings is at Gua Bewah and Gua Taat which is believed dating back to the Neolithic Age (400 BC).

After spending 1 hour at the site and trying our blow piping skills and dropping some food for the orang Asli kids, we headed downstream back to Kuala Tahan through the rapids again….but going downstream is not as bad as heading upstream. We reached Kuala Tahan jetty at about 6:30 PM and had our dinner (nasi goreng and mee goreng basah) at one of the floating restaurants there. Once back at the resort, everyone wasted no time to refresh and relax. Some went straight to bed after solat and some went to have more dinner at the café (nasi goreng ayam or roti canai or hokkien mee with nicely fried delicious spring rolls). At 10.30 PM, everyone was deep in sleep. What a hectic day it was!

Back to Kuala Tahan

Tea at the floating restaurant

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