Cliff-hanging

So I went on a hike with my colleagues one fine Saturday morning at Bukit Tabur, which I didn’t think would be too difficult a task (I’ve never hiked before, but pfft there’s always a first for everything right?), and since we’re already there we might as well take the route that says ‘extreme’, right? Go hard or go home amirite? Right…?

Nope, nope, nope and nope – is what I should have said to all the above and to the invitation. 

Before that, you know how when people conquer mountains or run marathons they sometimes end up quoting some motivational phrases like ‘it’s not the mountain you conquer but yourself’, etc.? Well, this isn’t one of those stories. In fact, I was about to caption this picture of mine with some realistic jokes like ‘Looking down toward my imminent death’, because before we climbed down, the most difficult part of it all was to not fall down from the top of the cliff while taking pictures. Yea it’s not that difficult to climb up really, even for a hiking newb like me. 

Of course, everything changed when we tried to find our way back down. We got lost. Lost as in, the way down was nowhere to be found and completely covered with thick woods. How can this possibly happen, you ask? Well, there was more than one way to go down, and we were seemingly going down a path different from the one we used to hike up, until there was a dead end. Nevertheless, we tried going back up and down several routes til we reached what looked like an ATV trail. At this point we were all hungry, thirsty and tired; but nobody really complained, and our Vietnamese manager was just throwing out optimistic comments like ‘we’ll get out in 10 more minutes’ (which of course took much longer, but optimism appreciated nonetheless 😂). 

We tried looking for phone signals and only Celcom had the slightest connection. So we called the authorities (wrong move in Malaysia, tbh), went through a whole lot of confusion trying to communicate with them (they were asking us where in the hill are we – I mean…which part of ‘lost’ tells you we know where we are?), gave them our location through Whatsapp when the Celcom connection was strong enough, and got some water from a flowing river nearby while waiting to be rescued. 

It took us about 1 and a half hours to reach the peak, but it took us 5 hours to get out from there. Well it could have been a lot worse, really. We could’ve been stuck overnight (apparently we were totally off-track and it took us 20 minutes on an ATV and another 20 minutes in the fire truck/police car to reach the entrance where our cars were parked), it could’ve rained (which it did, after we got out – thank God), we might not have passed by the flowing river, we could’ve trespassed deep into the woods and be fined RM5,000 per person, we could’ve gotten injured somehow, etc., but neither of these happened, and we came out mostly unscathed and before the sun sets. 

There were a lot to be grateful for. The people I was with was an amazingly optimistic and altruistic bunch, so somehow it didn’t feel like a dreadful experience eventhough it would have easily been so. They were even excited about getting a ride on the fire truck (okay fine, who wouldn’t) and in the police car, and was asking when would the next hike be. Being my pessimistic self, I told myself that it’s enough a hike for the rest of the year at least. A year being a stretch for me. Maybe two years. Or three. With a Celcom sim card.

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Belle

I loved Beauty and the Beast. Belle has always been my favourite Disney princess.

Sidetracking for a bit, I’m not particularly the type that compares things in a category and choose my favourite – for example Coke or Pepsi: Sometimes I prefer Coke, sometime I prefer Pepsi; McDonald’s or Burger King: McDonald’s Spicy Chicken McDeluxe is the bomb but Burger King has a mean French Chicken burger – I don’t get why you absolutely have to choose a winner… why can’t they just co-exist peacefully and you can have variety?

Anyways, same goes to Belle, I didn’t put all the Disney princesses up against each other and chose one (in fact I didn’t even watch some of them when I was a kid). But Belle resonated in me the most. Growing up I was sort of a ‘nerd’ – I liked to read a lot, I loved studying (especially liked memorizing world flags and cities), and I kept to myself often enough to be called ‘quiet’ or ‘reserved’. It shouldn’t have mattered to me so much, but it gets to you when people keep telling you the same thing over and over again.  Belle’s character helped me see that it’s okay to be how I am eventhough others keep telling me that it’s better being outgoing.

Don’t really care what the critics say about the new live action version, the movie was amazing.  Brings back so many nostalgic feelings but at the same time it gives a breath of fresh air when you’re watching with a different perspective and with the extra backstories given about Belle and Adam’s parents. Also, the Beast’s name is Adam, why did nobody care after all this while?

Call me naive, but I loved all the clichés in the story. I loved how Belle is a studious woman, I loved how she sees past his exterior appearance and brings life to him, I loved how they actually spent time together understanding each other instead of ‘happily ever after’ happening at first sight, I loved how she sings “I want more than this provincial life”. That part resonated in me more than anything hahaha.

I have also been replaying the soundtrack “How does a moment last forever” – which I’m so glad that it’s sung by Celine Dion, the original animation soundtrack singer. The lyrics about life and love so articulately yet simply put together in a melody is just perfection.

How does a moment last forever?
How does our happiness endure?
Through the darkest of our troubles
Love is beauty, love is pure
Love pays no mind to desolation
It flows like a river through the soul
Protects, persists, and perseveres
And makes us whole.