Since my last post, I have been very busy with so many things.
Babysitting my grandkids, teaching more than 300 kids how to play the ukulele, exploring
the ancient cities of the Three Kingdom period and even earlier, the modern capital of Hubei
Province ...Wuhan, and other cities...well, the activities go on.
Just as me and D2 returned, we were again off to Malacca for a four day retreat.
So, ok...back to the story of Mt Ophir and what really happened in 1974. That expedition was special in more ways than one.
Firstly, the group of friends who suggested that trip were all young, working adults, all men.
None had any mountaineering experience. Basically, they were all greenhorns about the outdoors. But they wanted very much to climb their 1st mountain. As a group of close friends I could not refuse their plea for me to lead them there. But I did have my doubts about their fitness level and other things, though all were in reasonably good health. By 1974, Mt Ophir was
already attracting quite a few expeditions every school holiday period. Many were from Singapore and Malaysia as well.
So, in anticipation of a more crowded climb during the holiday period, I proposed that we climb during the CHINESE NEW YEAR holiday, knowing full well that no one will be mad enough to do any climbing at that time. Then we can have the whole route and mountain to ourselves. Everyone agreed with my suggestion and so it was set.
We made physical preparations for the climb, went on some training treks to MacRitchie, Mandai and Bt Timah Hill., and some HDB blocks for stair-climbing.
I have never missed celebrating CNY with my family, relatives and friends. This would be a first for me as well as for the others. It was a small party consisting of just 5 of us. There was WP Sim our car driver, A Loo, Chin HK, C Lim and your truly.
Before the trip, all of us met at my home for packing and checking of provisions and other stuff. On the day of the journey we drove all the way to Tangkak Park / Reservoir office and informed the staff on duty about our climb. They were truly surprised!
After a short discussion with us mainly to ascertain that at least one of us was familiar with Gunung Ledang ( Mt Ophir ) and all its do's and don'ts.....we bade them farewell and were on our way....to a truly never to be forgotten experience in a lifetime.
" NEVER TO BE FORGOTTEN ? "..... Absolutely!!! How come? Why? What happened?
A number of things that can never be explained occured during the actual climb and also post-trip. BUT.....the most INCREDIBLE AND MOST ASTOUNDING THING WAS....HOW I MET THE LEGENDARY PRINCESS OF GUNUNG LEDANG, FACE TO FACE, just a short distance before the very summit of Mt Ophir.
We were on a very narrow path, with crooked trees and plants around us, I was leading the party and was just about to go round a right bend outcrop of rock when ....out of the blue...I came face to face with another human coming down my way. At first glance, it was a lady...a graceful-looking old woman of about 80+ years old, Malay-looking, carrying a basket in her hand. Inside the basket, I remember seeing some fragrant flowers and eggs. Her hair was tucked nicely and white. She was dressed in traditional Malay dress. I imagined she must have been a very pretty lady in her youth.
She stopped as she saw me. I halted dead in my tracks, facing her., not knowing, not realising at that point in time who she was, what she was and what was she doing there nearly 4,000 over feet up in the cold of G ledang near the summit.
Then she started to speak to me !
And I replied.....we spoke in Malay.
What she asked me and told me and what and how I replied to her and much, much more..... 100% TRUE, unbelievable stuff.....will be revealed in coming posts.
Anyone reading this thinking it is fiction can have this assurance from me....IT REALLY HAPPENED ! On my deathbed, if you ask me to swear on any holy book that this took place..I would, even if it is with my last breath. I cannot deny it as it actually happened.
ps: I have some photos of the trip but they must be in my storeroom somewhere.
Once I can locate them....I'll put them up.
For the continuation of this story, go to the same titled post on 21 Sept 2008, Blog Archives.