Saturday, 31 December 2016

It's the end of the year...

Events that happened in this month of December 2016 :

1. The Sultan of Kelantan, Sultan Muhammad V, was appointed as the country's supreme ruler, the 15th Yang Dipertuan Agong.

2. The invitation to former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir to attend the Agong's installation ceremony was cancelled because the Palace authorities `could not allocate him with a seat'. Rather than letting the Tun be `embarrassed' by being forced to stand (as opposed to other dignitaries who would be seated), they decide it is better to withdraw the invitation.

3. A few days after watching a CGI-enhanced Princess Leia say something about `Hope' in the closing scene of Rogue One (I must say, the CGI image was quite horrible, not the way I remember the young Leia in Episode IV), Carrie Fisher departed this world.

4. My 7-year old grand-nephew, Qhamarull Suhayl bin Suhainizam, lost his life in an automobile accident in Subang Jaya.

5. My second son, Harith Shahiran, completed his studies in Medicine at Hasanuddin University, Makassar, Indonesia.

Happy, sad and indifferent news.

Wishing all my friends and readers a happy and fruitful 2017 ahead. May your days be filled with joy and laughter. May sorrows and hardship take a back seat. May the Almighty grant you patience and perseverance to face all challenges.

Achievement after 6 years of hard work and onward for greater challenges

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

From tip to tip...

If we are to look at the map of Malaysia (both the peninsula and Borneo Island), there are two locations of some note. These points are at the very edges of their respective land mass. While it may seem that they are just another place where land meets sea, their unique geographical positions have made them tourist attractions. I have recently made a visit to both locations.

1. Tip of Borneo (visited on 5 December 2016)

This tip of land is located on the northern-most point of Borneo Island. The actual place-name is Tanjung Simpang Mengayau in the district of Kudat in Sabah. The area is a slight hill with a gentle cliff leading down to water. The actual tip itself is a large slab of bedrock, peeking just above water level which cause incoming waves to break upon impact. It is a quiet and beautiful place.

The tip marks the meeting point between the South China Sea and the Sulu Sea. Looking north, the calm blue sea shows nothing on the horizon. A slight turn of the head to the right and we can see the two large islands of Pulau Balambangan and Pulau Bangi, also within Kudat district.

Loacation map from Google Earth

Capturing a memory of the Tip of Borneo
A beautiful day to sail around the tip

2. Tip of mainland Asia (visited on 17 December 2016)

This tip of land has the local name of Tanjung Piai. It is located in the district of Pontian in Johor state. It's claim to fame is due to its position of being the southern-most point of the whole Eurasia continent. Wow... imagine the scale of things. Theoretically, the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, could walk from Cape St. Vincent (the southwestern-most point in continental Europe, facing the North Atlantic Ocean) and head towards Tanjung Piai (facing the meeting point of Straits of Melaka and Straits of Singapore) without needing to cross any sea.

The area around Tanjung Piai has been designated a national park. In contrast to Tanjung Simpang Mengayau, this area is muddy flatland and mangrove forest. In its own way, it is also a beautiful place. It is a designated Ramsar site, meaning the wetland is of international importance. Looking southwards from this point, the Indonesian island of Karimun is visible on a clear day.

Tanjung Piai is actually not very far from where I live. You may observe that the tip which is nearer was the one I visited later. Now how do I explain that...

Location map from Google Earth

Standing on the edge of a huge land mass
A walk among the mangroves

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Below the wind...

What is it about mountains that make us gaze at them in awe? That drives men and women to leave behind comfort in exchange for pain and agony to climb them. Just because it is there?

Well, for whatever the reason, humans have been fascinated by the view of majestic mountains for a long, long time.

We have just been back from a week-long trip to Sabah where I got to see Mt Kinabalu up close for the first time. I am in no shape to attempt to climb it so enjoying the views from a distance would suffice for now.

There's much to write about but I'll start the initial post with some photographs. Still... no promises if a full-length vacation story would be available soon :-)

Pic taken at dawn just before she hides behind a veil of clouds and mist

One of the very few times when the sky is clear enough to see its full span

This pic captured at a spot along the KK - Kundasang road

Sunset at Kota Kinabalu