PART 1 - THE IDEA
Remember the family Taiping holidays back in 2010? It was an unforgettable gathering and still remain a memorable one today. We thought it is about time, since it is school holidays, that we have another one and the idea was intially floated during Thaqif’s birthday party at 3Residen in November.
No doubt that family gathering event or activity is one of the best ways to nurture strong family bonds, develop understanding, respect and tolerance among its members, both young and old, normal and special ones. Furthermore, in December 2011, we lost 2 uncles and we hope 2012 we can have a happier December family holiday.
Taking into considerations all important factors including cost, benefit, time, age group, health conditions, safety, security, logistics, new experience and weather/season, we came up with 2 options ie either a homestay in Melaka or a bungalow in Fraser’s Hill.
We discovered Melaka was full for December and the nearest good homestay was way out of town and we thought it could be a bit crowded during the school holidays. We wanted a quiet and enjoyable time together without having to worry about the crowd and traffic jams. So we decided for Fraser’s Hill because most of the family members have never been there (although it is not too far away) and December would be a fantastic time to enjoy the cool, wet and fresh highland air.
We tested our luck on Sime Darby’s Whittington bungalow but it was closed due to safety reasons (landslide) and fortunately the other public bungalows were available for the period ie 21 – 23 December 2012 (not too bad for a relatively last minute plan like this one, probably people were expecting the Mayan doomsday on 21/12/12??). Everybody immediately agreed to a 3D2N family gathering at Fraser’s Hill.
The bungalows in Fraser’s Hill are either privately owned by individuals or organization or managed by a company call Highlands Resthouse Holdings Sdn Bhd, details can be found in their website www.hrhbungalows.com. We decided for a 4 bedroom bungalow named Raub (aka Kindersley), located along Jalan Lady Guillemard... private and it comes with a nice lawn, perfect for a family gathering... so we thought! The only problem is cooking is not allowed in these bungalows.
PART 2 - THE PREPARATION
As in the past, a good preparation is necessary to ensure the gathering is smooth, fun and perfect...it just good common sense practise.
We drafted and proposed the 3D2N program, filling it up with activities and programs to maximise the fun as well as the individual and group potentials, capping it up with some learning for everyone (either new knowledge or values). We really had to plan to fully utilise the time, otherwise it will be boring and waste of precious time.
We were the main organizer, with Pak Ngah in charge of food, Min, Bak and Jae were given specific tasks (drinks, telematches and games) to make sure everyone plays their part. There is a total of 16 adults and 11 children in the group.
We also hope that on the actual day, there is not too much rain that can cause landslide that will prevent us from reaching the peak and that the weather will be cool, wet and fresh.
While busy with planning & preparing, we were also occupied with Thaqif’s school selection process as well as delivery of goods for Dini ini Egypt, since 2 of our friends are planning to visit Egypt in December.
There’s a lot of discussions going on through the whatsapp (which really helped), lots of shopping to do (prizes, gifts, props), food to decide (can be hard to get food in Fraser’s Hill for a big group so we decided to cater), things to bring (pillows, blanket, towel, PS2), some documents to bring along (race questions, program book, map & elevation) and of course service the car.
We had to pack the prizes into a hamper one night and it brought fond memories of our younger days when we both used to work in a Chinese shop packing hampers by the walkway in SS2, PJ. After sometime, I was entrusted to do hamper delivery apart from packing...not too bad and perhaps some sort of promotion I guess. It was part of the learning process and part of growing up in a real world.
The excitement was building up nicely...everybody was really into it and looking forward to the family gathering. You can see better when talking to the kids....they were just so excited and can’t wait to go.
Bob’s, Min’s, Bak’s and Jae’s families were all ready to go and were making all the necessary preparations. Ira later informed us that she and her mom would like to join too....which is great. Parents have also confirmed that they will join the event....which makes it even more meaningful.
Part 3 – The Recee
While we were busy scouting for suitable secondary school for Thaqif around the Peninsula, we took the opportunity to include a recee to Fraser’s Hill, in order to prepare for another unforgettable event (although we’ve been there before not too long ago, our memories require some updates and some matters require confirmation).
We were on our way to Kelantan in early December when we decided to go up Fraser’s Hill for the recee via Ulu Yam and Batang Kali (the actual route we plan to take). It was a rainy day when we reached the peak and the car was giving problems with its gear system. We managed to park it safely at Shahzan Inn before we called for assistance and a replacement car, which came at around 10 AM the next morning. We put up a night at the hotel and used the time to draw up the program. We planned to have an explorace for the journey from KL to FH and flora & fauna photo scavenger hunt around the golf course in FH....some learning while exercising and having fun.
The next day, after receiving a replacement car, we visited the Raub bungalow (met Uncle Lim, the nice elderly caretaker but not at all impressed with the arrogant receptionist at the main office in Pekan bungalow), checked out food stalls and headed down to Tg Malim for a special rendang ayam kampung lunch at Andri the wooden restaurant....which was packed as usual!
After a satisfying meal as usual, we continued our journey to Chenderong Balai (for a school review, wonderful place with canals, flowing fresh water, vast paddy fields and mountain background) through Bidor then onwards to Kuala Kangsar via Tapah and onwards to Lenggong (we stopped for solat & food), passing through Gerik (almost hit by a trailer on the East – West highway after it was coming downhill on the climbing lane in a dark & rainy night; I had to wear sun glass to polarise the yellow and red vehicle lights), reaching Jeli, Tanah Merah and finally Kuala Krai at 11:00 PM.
Thaqif and Amin attended school interview at Al Kauthar, Peringat the next day, after which we headed to KB for lunch then to Kg Dewan Besar for a visit then back to Krai, did some shopping for some rations and went back to KL the next morning.