Friday, June 29, 2012

A Wild and Thrilling Time at Jerangkang

By Shahril Khairi, Diploma in Business Management, Year 1

Being a polytechnic student can be stressful and living in a city makes us fail to remember how beautiful nature can be. So you can imagine how glad I was to have the opportunity to unwind and soak in some amazing scenary recently. The NYP Adventure Club (ADC) gave me and about 70 members the opportunity to experience nature, and thrilling water activities at Jerangkang Waterfall at Pahang, Malaysia, during our term break from 18 to 21 June.


The tranquillity and serenity of Jerangkang Waterfall makes it an ideal place for rejuvenation. To me, this experience can’t be replicated in Singapore.

There are two things that made this trip so significant- experiencing outdoor camping in Malaysia for the first time, and bonding with each other.

Here are the highlights of the expedition.

We had a bumpy lorry ride (an hour’s worth) from the village of Kampung Gelugor to our campsite in Jerangkang. Along the way, we sang songs, cracked jokes and enjoyed the morning scenery.


Our camping skills were put to the test when we were pitching the Basha (a waterproof canvass sheet with loops at the perimeter) for our shelter. Luckily, it did not rain throughout our entire trip.

We were taught how to collect fresh water from the river. The water was cold, refreshing and clean.


For most of us, this was our first time experiencing cliff jumping. The height might seem low but when you are perched at cliff, it was a different story. Most of us overcame our fear of heights and enjoyed the sensation of jumping into the water. 

We took proper safety precautions when jumping.  For example, we had to ensure there were no boulders around, and we avoided jumping too close to the wall of the cliff. We also tried to land into the water at a vertical angle. This minimises impact with the water and puts less stress on body parts.


This was one of the rare opportunities we had where we slid into the waterfall on 2 floats. It is very thrilling yet exciting. Although this may look scary, we made sure that safety was still a priority. We wore helmets, and held on securely to ropes that were tied to the floats.

In fact, before any activity starts, we would analyse the risks via a procedure called Risk Analysis Management (RAM), which includes Physical, Mental, Social and Financial risks. We also look at the People, Environment, Equipment and Procedure factors to ensure that everything we do is as safe as possible.


Usually during camps, we would expect Maggie noodles for our breakfast, lunch and dinner, but not in ADC. ADC believes we deserve good food since we exhaust our energy with strenuous activities. So for breakfast, we actually had yummy pancakes.
 
Most of us agree that this “morning dip” was one of the most memorable moments in the expedition since the water was extremely cold and it helped to keep us awake throughout the day.


To get to the Jerangkang Waterfall, we had to trek up the steep and humid terrain for 2 hours. Communication and teamwork were important since we were moving a group and in an unfamiliar environment.

After enjoying the waterfall, we headed back to the base camp by river tracing. This involves moving from one point to another by swimming, or climbing the boulders along the river.


We tried more cliff jumping along the way. Basically, there were lots of cliffs to jump from.

Fire making was another survival skill we learnt.  This was very new to everyone and we had fun trying to start fires. It turned out to be such a handy skill! We used 5 things to start a fire - lighter, dried leaves, thin wooden twigs, medium sized sticks and large sticks.

First, we dug a hole and removed anything around the hole. Then, we poked a stick in the centre of the hole and placed the twigs and leaves around it. We then lit it from the edge and blew at the flames. One of the participants even called himself “Dragon” because he could make a fire bigger by blowing at it.


We also share the campsite with very interesting creepy crawlies. The insects there were so much bigger, faster and more dangerous compared to the ones found at home. I call them commando insects!


Before heading back to Singapore, we stopped by the roadside to eat some yummy durians.

Here’s a group photo we took in front of a mosque at Kampung Gelugor. It
was near the road that led to the waterfall.

In conclusion, the trip had been awesome. Most of us would agree that we learnt useful new skills and great values such as teamwork and communication. We also built our character by testing our leadership skills, and got to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

We also learnt that experience is the best teacher because through experience, we can truly understand, feel and see everything for ourselves. Indeed it was a very beneficial and fun expedition.

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Shahril Khairi is a Year 1 student from Business Management who loves music, history, other cultures, writing and travelling. Some say “Active” is his middle name because he enjoys adventures and keeping fit. He loves eating and judging food and has a strong interest in The Art of War and strategy games even though he enjoys peace. He is a guy who enjoys the bright side of life.

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