Sunday, February 19, 2012

Phenomenally Pahang

Hey ya'll 

As you may have surmised from my previous post, I just got back from Pahang, and if you're wondering why the chronicles weren't presented chronologically, well... I was so overwhelmed with Keric's molt that I just had to write about it first. You know what they say; when inspired, write! Because you won't know when that inspiration will come again!!! Anyway, treasure hunting with the familia in Pahang was rather fun, I must admit, and despite my suffering from a severe lack of sleep, mum's usual amount of incessant nagginess, and dad's inexplicable stubborness (shhh! Don't tell them I said that!!!) we actually managed to come out on top and win first place!!! Not too bad eh? On a separate note, however, I did not allow my parents to drag me half-way across the country just to take part in a treasure hunting competition, indeed I must admit that my agreeableness to taking part in such a fiasco in the first place was my significantly high hopes of bagging multiple insect specimens in the rainforests of Pahang (you may recall my previous post). As it turned out, it rained most of the trip, and although I did not manage to find as many insects as I might have liked, the excursion into the forest and later to Lake Chini was very well worth it. 

Some views of Lake Chini
I must say that the natural beauty and wonder of the place really did an impression on me, though I can't help but wonder if the only reason Lake Chini has remained so pristine and positively crawling with wildlife is that it still remains relatively unknown and out of the way. Indeed, the only people I met on my little sojourn to the supposed "Lake resort" were National Service trainees on their day off! Indeed, upon learning of the purpose of my visit, a very nice young lady recounted a story of how she was "attacked" early that morning by a blue cicada! Sadly, it was no longer in its supposed spot when she brought me to "see" it but I daresay we had a great time chatting with her friends, who seemed very interested to hear what I had to tell them about many of the insects I knew about. I suppose it must have dispelled some of their fears, but not all as was evident when I discovered three very large and robust female nephila spiders hanging from their enormous webs on the tree. A male was lurking nearby, too, and one might almost mistake him for a baby, or a spider of a different species altogether on account of his diminutive size! 

This particular spider was really as large as my palm! I would have caught it for better photographs and closer study but I had run out of containers for the day, and my spares were back at the resort, some one and a half hour's drive away.
I decided to treat myself to a boat ride then, and was quite delighted to learn that we would be visiting a nearby "Orang Asal" village. For the unfamiliar reader, the "Orang Asal" are the native aborigines of Malaysia. It was here that my trip took a rather unpleasant tone for a pair of foreign tourists told me off, upon my getting into the same boat as they, for catching cicadas. The young lady warned me in no uncertain terms that I was not to catch a single insect upon visiting the native village as it would be disrespectful to them and their culture. Needless to say, I was quite taken aback by this presumptive behavior but I neglected to say anything. I was significantly incensed however, to the point that I actually confronted the pair, when we reached the village. As our boat drifted languidly among the marshes, we happen to chance upon a young aborigine lady taking her bath by the riverside. As any gentleman might have done, I averted my eyes. 

However imagine, if you may, the audacity of the foreign couple. Instead of similarly lowering their gaze and giving the poor woman some privacy to at least protect for modesty and then scamper for cover, they instead brought out their fancy cameras and pointed those lenses in her direction. click, click, click they went as the lady lowered herself into the water until her neck and screamed at them to go away! Meanwhile the boatman paddled as fast as he could. Why, I simply could not stand it anymore I tapped the foreign man on his shoulder and told him most curtly, but as politely as I could manage that I found the two of them simply hypocritical and disgusting! Imagine that they would have an issue with me pinching a cicada or two from the forest because it was supposedly disrespectful to the natives, when they themselves had gone to the extent of  humiliating and objectifying a young lady simply because they have come to portray her through a particular mindset. Well I told them that they should very well review their own sense of ethics, before taking the orientalist stand and judging and questioning mine! Now, I'm pretty sure there would have been an issue about this but the boatman, being of that community himself, pretty much squared his chest and gave them a piercing look that broke no argument. Suffice to say I enjoyed the rest of my boat ride and the foreign couple gave us no further problems that day.  

At the jetty of the "Orang Asal" village
The day then ended with a quick trip to the beach, which was another 2 hours drive from Lake Chini, and even though I was not dressed to take a swim (the ocean was quite rough, and there were jellyfish warning signs up anyway) I did spend a good time digging through the sand for crabs. And there were many! I found one, for example, that made a quick getaway not by scuttling but by hopping briskly so that it would be carried forward a few feet each time by the strong winds. 

One such "hopping crustacean"

Chilling by the beach
Anyway, the insects that have been spreading since Genting should have dried out sufficiently by now, so stay tuned for those. In the meantime, Summer Holidays are almost over so good luck to all of you who are going back to college/uni, and to those of you new and returning students whom I will be teaching next week, I certainly hope we will have an amazing year ahead of us!!!


No comments: