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This blogspot is a medium to share my thoughts and adventures apart from promoting my books. Below are the books which have been written or authored and published by myself.


"Berpetualang ke Aceh: Mencari Diri dan Erti".

ISBN 983-42031-0-1, Jun 2006


"Berpetualang ke Aceh: Membela Syiar yang Asal"

ISBN 983-42031-1-x, May 2007


"Berpetualang ke Aceh: Sirih Pulang ke Gagang?"

ISBN 978-983-42031-2-2, November 2007


It is interesting to note that while these books were written in Malay it has gained enough attention to merit being part of the collections of the American Library of Congress and National Library of Australia. Look here and here.


While the first three books were published by my own company, the fourth titled "Rumah Azan" was published in April 2009 by a company called Karnadya with the help of the Malaysian national literary body Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. It features beautiful pictures along with stories behind selected mosques which could be related to the history of Islam and the Malays alongside the formation of the Malaysian nation. Look at the article A collaboration of old collegemates - the book "Rumah Azan".


My fifth book "Ahlul Bait (Family) of Rasulullah SAW and Malay Sultanates", an English translation and adaptation of the Malay book "Ahlul Bait (Keluarga) Rasulullah SAW dan Kesultanan Melayu" authored by Hj Muzaffar Mohamad and Tun Suzana Othman was published early 2010. Look here... My 5th book is out! Ahlul Bait (Family) of Rasulullah SAW and the Malay Sultanates... . For more information check out my Malay blogspot CATATAN SI MERAH SILU.



Like my fourth book "Rumah Azan", the sixth book "Kereta Api Menuju Destinasi" is also a coffee-table book which is published by the company Karnadya with the cooperation of Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (the main Malay literary body in Malaysia). Coming out January 2011 it features pictures and stories on the adventure travelling by train to all of Peninsular Malaysia along with the interesting places which could be reached this way.


My seventh book "Jejak keluarga Yakin : Satu sketsa sejarah" in turn is a coffee-table book which is written, editted, designed and has pictures taken by me. Coming out of the factory October 2011, this book which combines family history with history of places such as Singapura, Johor, Batu Pahat, Muar and in fact the history of the island of Java and England has been reviewed with me interviewed live in the program Selamat Pagi Malaysia at RTM1. Look at the article Siaran langsung ulasan buku "Jejak keluarga Yakin : Satu sketsa sejarah" dan temu ramah di Selamat Pagi Malaysia. Some selected contents have been featured in Sneak peek "Jejak keluarga Yakin : Satu sketsa sejarah".


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The "Berpetualang ke Aceh" series of novels could be obtained in e-book form. Enter http://www.e-sentral.com/, click general novel and go to page 4. You can also type the word "Aceh" at the search box. Or click straight Book 1, Book 2 and Book 3.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A quick trip up Gunung Ledang...

Greetings dear readers. In my last posting here From Segamat to Muar, a stop around the village of Tenang made yesterday, I did mention that stories regarding what happened after leaving Tenang and entering the district of Muar would be posted for the blogspot CATATAN SI MERAH SILU . Well I already did one last night followed by another one today and would add one more. But first I think I should post stories on a quick trip up Gunung Ledang and a look at the town of Tangkak today.
Now, the Johor trip which covers the main 8 districts of Muar, Batu Pahat, Pontian, Johor Bahru, Kota Tinggi, Mersing, Kluang and Segamat is practically closed when I returned to Muar. But I haven't visited the famous Gunung Ledang also known as Mount Ophir for more than a year, perhaps two years! After all, it is situated within the district of Muar and just about 50km away from the town of Muar... And as it is some 10km or so from Tangkak, the closest entry point into the North-South Highway and thus on the way to Kuala Lumpur too, I thought I might as well pay a visit and then share the pictures with you dear readers...
Oh... Now I remember, someone told me Tangkak is now a separate district from Muar. So I did a quick check on the Net and sure, Tangkak now has its own District council. So perhaps visits to Tangkak and Gunung Ledang are after all needed to complete the Johor trip. Here goes...

7th January 2008, after resting for a few days in Muar, it's time to return to Kuala Lumpur. If I remember correctly, the day was a Monday. Express buses to KL from Muar do head for Tangkak but turn away just a few kilometres shy to enter the North-South highway.

Gunung Ledang on the other hand is some 15km further north-east towards Segamat. I weighted my options. I could go to Gunung Ledang and then to Segamat where I could always take the train to KL and I like taking the train. But I then I also haven't stopped in Tangkak for a while. There could be a bus service from there to Melaka and from Melaka, I can choose various ways of going back to KL. So I opted for the Muar to Segamat non-express bus which made a stop in Tangkak but only went down at the junction to Gunung Ledang....


From the junction, it's about 2km walk to the foot of Gunung Ledang. I can handle that... At least I still got enough energy to go although I'm still quite tired from the 2 weeks or so travelling around Johor...


There... This resort marks the foot of Gunung Ledang...


Beside it is a stream clear and good enough for a nice dip but why dip here when there's much better places to go inside the jungle...


The point marking the entry to the wilderness. The cafetaria on the left is the last place you can buy food and drinks before going any further... To the left lies the rangers' office. Under the current regulations, everyone must register and get a permit before they could climb up the mountain. But I'm not about to make a climb, am I? Hehe! :]


On the wall next to the cafetaria are some information on climbing Gunung Ledang. At 1276 metres high (about 4,187 feet or so) it might no be the tallest mountain around. I know for sure that Fraser's Hill in Pahang and Bukit (the hill of) Larut are both higher by at least 100 metres and I've been on top of both.

Still it is the highest mountain in Johor and that is already enough reason to climb. But Gunung Ledang is much more well-known because of the legends surrounding it.... One of it is that the mountain is the ancient Mount Ophir said to have been mentioned in some Biblical accounts... The mountain where King Solomon hid his gold or something... And talking about legends, I'm proud to say that Gunung Ledang is higher by tens of metres than Gunung Jerai, another legendary mountain, the highest in Kedah.

Most Malaysians, Malays in particular however know Gunung Ledang because of the legendary mythical princess, Puteri Gunung Ledang who is said to reside on top until this day. Here, let me copy and paste Wikipedia's take on the mountain... Hmm, have to edit the format a bit for better reading here...

The Legend revolves around a princess that allegedly lived on Mount Ophir in Johor, Malaysia. The Sultan had heard of her beauty and wanted to marry her but she set seven impossible conditions for him. The conditions were:

A golden bridge for her to walk to Malacca from the mountain,
A silver bridge for her to return from Malacca to the mountain,
Seven jars of virgin's tears,
Seven bowls of betel nut juice,
Seven trays filled with hearts of germs,
Seven trays filled with hearts of mosquitoes, and
A bowl of the blood of the Sultan's young son.

Some versions of the legend say that the Sultan was not able to fulfill any of these requests, while others say that he was able to fulfill the first six requests (thus causing the ruin of the Malacca Sultanate) but could not fulfill the final request which would have required him to kill his son. The point of the story is that the Sultan was either too proud or too blind to realise that the conditions were the Puteri's way of turning his proposal down.
Some say that remnants of the gold and silver bridge still exist, but have been reclaimed by the forest.
Further legend has it that the princess eventually married one Nakhoda Ragam, a hero whose name unfailingly struck terror into the hearts of those who had dared to oppose him. However, this hero was later to die at the hands of his princess-wife. Ragam was fond of tickling the Princess’s ribs. One day, in an uncontrollable burst of anger, the Princess stabbed her husband in the breast with a needle she was handling. Thereafter, the Princess returned to Mount Ophir and vowed never to set her eyes on another man. Ragam’s boat, not long after, was crushed during a storm and legend has it that the debris of the wreck was transformed into the present six islands off Malacca. It was claimed that the boat’s kitchen became Pulau Hanyut, the cake-tray Pulau Nangka, the water-jar Pulau Undan, the incense-burner Pulau Serimbun, the hen-coop Pulau Burong, and the honeymoon cabin of Ragam and the Princess became Pulau Besar.

Ancient history points to the mountain being the site of rich gold deposits, luring traders from as far as Greece and China. In the 14th Century, the Chinese seafarers plying the Straits of Melaka called it ‘Kim Sua’ meaning the ‘Golden Mountain’. The mountain was named ‘Gunung Ledang’, which means ‘mount from afar’, during the period of the Majapahit empire.


Anyway, it's time to walk into the jungle... At the lower points the path is clear as it is often frequented by tourists...

As we get deeper, the surrounding is not as clear...


This big boulder marks a camping area. Casual visitors hardly go above this point...


As we go further on, the path starts to get difficult. I would say, out of 10 who comes, perhaps 7 would turn away upon seeing steps like this. Then again you can't blame them... Most came to take a dip bringing family, children and old folks along. There's enough spots down there good enough for a satisfying dip. No need to get rigorous or act the macho man...


Still, once you've conquered you apprehension at climbing such steps, you learn that it is not really steep climbing all the way...


At times the way is smooth, at times you do have to climb as after all you are walking up a mountain. Just remember that!


Ah... At last, the best waterfall within reach for those who dare to take the distance but don't have the time to climb all the way up the mountain is in sight...


Then again you can't enjoy it's total majesty before being grilled a bit...


Half the majesty is already within sight. But still one have to climb further or the effort is wasted...


A look down from the steps. Got the idea how high, dangerous (and exciting too) the waterfall is?


At last a signboard saying you have arrived at Kolam Puteri, literally translated as the Princess' Pool.. No prizes for guessing which princess is meant...

At this juncture, you could say you have climbed up to 1,000 feet from the sea level. Then again there's still more than 3,000 feet to go in height before you can reach the mountain top and the actual distance to be covered is much much more and the steps (no more concrete ones after this) more gruelling as you have to go up and down a few segregated hills that form the body of Gunung Ledang...



There, the pool itself. Here is a place you should take a dip at...


But I just can't help aiming at what better pools available up there. After all, I've been up this way quite a few times... It's just I haven't been here for over a year or so...


I climbed just a bit further up. Too bad the way is blocked by fences with signboards giving out warning saying the area above Kolam Puteri is off-limits. And I'm just too tired trying to make my way through/up/around the wire fences... Not with the big rucksack on my back and the kind of sandals I'm wearing then. Not with the tiredness of having travelled across Johor for more 2 two weeks still on, not when the clock is past 5pm and I'm in the jungle alone.

Not that I'm afraid to be stuck. After all, I've been there and done that... I've experienced getting lost alone without any camping equipment or food ration for 19 hours on the way down from the almost 5,000 feet high Gunung Nuang in Selangor about 4 years ago. I was lost inside the jungles of Gunung Ledang with a friend about 20 years ago and then I was about 3 times much deeper inside than this. We managed to get out by 8pm... That was then. Now I have an appointment to honour in KL on Wednesday...

Whatever, I had a nice dip at Kolam Puteri... With nobody else around, I could do what I enjoy most, skinny dipping that is, hehe! :]


Afterwards, I checked out this gate next to Kolam Puteri... I can't remember if it existed the last time I was here about a year ago. What is for sure, the authorities have decided to fence the area... And the gate is locked...


The notice says, all activities climbing up the mountain at all routes are stopped temporarily. So the gate closed up the main route up the mountain. There are other routes albeit not as smooth and clear cut. But as the notice says activities at ALL ROUTES are closed...

Then I learnt, this prohibition has been in place for more than 3 months. It seems some climbers went missing and their whereabouts are still unknown till today... Not that it hasn't happened before. In fact it has happened many times, sometimes at the cost of lives! After all Gunung Ledang is notorious for the amount of people lost in it's wilderness, many say it happens because of the mysterious mythical creatures inhabiting it.

Whatever, I was actually considering spending the night at Gunung Ledang, perhaps at the foot. But after going down, I changed my mind. Let's see what's in Tangkak. The story will come next...

5 comments:

ketualanun said...

nampaknya gunung ophir masih lagi di ditutup. khabarnya dari bulan may 2007 lagi ditutup.

Forest said...

Masih orang hilang di Gunung Ledang!

2008/05/20
NST online
6 missing in Gunung Ledang

TANGKAK: Six friends are believed to have lost their way and are stranded in Gunung Ledang here since Saturday.

Lee Meng Joo, 22, and his five friends were supposed to stay at the Gunung Ledang Resort but there were no available rooms so they decided to hike up the mountain instead.

They climbed up Gunung Ledang without rations and equipment and were supposed to return on Wesak Day.

Lee's uncle, Eng Hoo Lim, 64, said his nephew and his friends stayed at his house and went up the mountain at 8am on Saturday.

"I did not want them to go as the weather was bad but they were adamant," he said, adding that when they did not return, he informed the authorities.

The Tangkak Fire and Rescue Department, the General Operation Force, police, Gunung Ledang Resort rangers and villagers have mounted a search operation for the six.

Albert Yam said...

Have the 6 people lost in Gunong Ledang found?

eM said...

As Salam..Tuan MS..memang benar.laluan ke puncak gunung telah ditutup sehingga sekarang. Khabarnya oleh sebab tanah runtuh semasa peristiwa banjir besar tahun 2006 kalau saya tak silap.Saya sempat melihat kesan runtuhan tersebut. keduanya sebab dikhabarkan baginda sultan johor ingin membina sebuah istana di situ. Pernah membuat pendakian kepuncak melalui pos tentera dan pemancar. lebih kurang 20 minit. Di atas terdapat batu bersurat. tapi gambarnya sudah hilang dari simpanan. Jika tuan MS berpeluang sila la naik ke puncak..memang menarik.mungkin ada perkara yang boleh dirungkai oleh tuan disana.

Radzi Sapiee said...

Wassalam. Insyaallah. Sini ada gambar batu bersuratnya...

http://merahsilu.blogspot.com/2011/10/ke-puncak-gunung-ledang-bersama-isteri.html