Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Singapore's 1st Gunong Tahan Expedition, part 2

At the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station we assembled for a proper send off by a party of well-wishes from our supporters, family and friends. The date was 12th April 1969. We took the night train. All our expedition gear was loaded on board our bunks on the Malayan Railway train which will take us to the rustic town of Jerantut, Pahang. Each of us was carrying between 40 to 50 lbs of personal and group items all packed into a single haversack. Everyone had an assigned role and different responsibilities.
We had taken the chosen 6 student climbers on repeated hill climbs at Bt Timah Hill and on long, endurance hikes in Mandai, Jurong and elsewhere. Taught them all the camping and outdoor skills necessary for jungle and mountain expedition. In the end we felt they were ready for the big challenge confronting us.
Twang Peck EE, Balbir Singh and myself ,being members of the very respected TTC YLTCC, came with rock-solid outdoor experience and background. The only slight uncertainty was Tng Kim Guan. Although he was physically a strong chap, had an easy-going personality and a sportsman, he was not moulded and trained like the 3 of us.
Still we had vowed to work as a team and everyone got along extremely well.
To cover the expedition we had at least 2 cameras. One was mine and I was the official photographer besides another. Most of the photos were from my camera as the other valuable rolls of films were accidentally submerged on the return journey during a river crossing by the other member.It was no easy task to keep the camera handy, yet safe and dry, throughout the expedition. Traversing in deep, humid jungle with many deep river crossings, posed great difficulties.
Top - From Jerantut train station, a chartered old rickety bus took us to this place...Ferry point at Kuala Tembeling...where we boarded 2 chartered motorised launch for the up river journey to Kuala Tahan . Left to Right: Tham Han Chew, Louis Hwang, T Jesudasen, Balbir Singh[ Asst Leader] and Tng Kim Guan posing at the jetty...assigned boat 2.
Centre - Boarding the launch. The person walking towards the left is myself.
Bottom - Each launch carried 5 of us. The 5 of us in boat number 1....Twang Peck Ee[ Leader] Francis Lee, Tan Yam Tee, Tan Yeow Huat and Dick Yip [ Asst Leader ].

[ story will continue in part 3 ]

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