Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Picnic by Madsiang River, Penampang

We wanted to have a spin-off from Kudat and my previous (the place is so cool it's my backyard and I did it alone) camping at another place, because they've been dying to go somewhere and do something. We suggested camping, but a handful of us couldn't make it, so the boys thought of a picnic by the Madsiang River. 

We agreed to it in a heartbeat. 

Aaron told us that Madsiang River actually flows from Babagon River Penampang, that they are loosely categorized that way. They should flow from the same stream, same hill as well. That particular picnic spot we were at is maybe about 30 minutes from Kota Kinabalu town, and located at the Penampang District, probably about 10 - 15 minutes drive from Dongonggon which I think is a very near haven.

I couldn't find a map online to show you guys, maybe you can email or drop me a message if you'd like to visit this place, and I'll see what I can do :)

We met everyone at 9am at Donggongon. Left for Madsiang at about 9.30am. The morning was SO GLOOMY and cloudy we all felt a little depressed and discouraged at first :( Throughout driving for 15 - 20 minutes after Dongonggon, the drizzles came and gone, but when we finally reached the river, IT WAS ALL SUN! It was so weird, to think that it rained in the morning and even drizzled intermittently, but when we finally laid everything down the sun was shining so bright I felt like hugging the trees and all. Man, were we blessed!

Morris, Angel and I were doing most of the planning, we broke the "items to buy" into groups, 1/4 of which he got for the group (and for future use) and another 2/4 of which Angel and I got instead, while the rest are shared by the rest including Inong, Eddy, Natalie and Kim. He got this adorable barbeque pit, some starters and whatever that was necessary, while Angel and I sunk ourself in mostly into our food choices. 

I didn't really take much photos of the whole picnic and the barbequeing so I borrowed some of @evnglka's and @morrishillarian photos to illustrate them to you guys. They've got amazing photos :)

We got chicken wings, sausages, beef patties, corns, sweet potatoes, wholemeal bread, apples, fizzy drinks, wine and some seasonings. AND ANGEL'S CHICKEN WINGS WERE DIVINE. I have to give it to Angel for not only making an out of the world marination (and soaking it for a day), but also to the boys for grilling and barbequeing them so so so perfectly.

Angel's epic chicken wings. I can even smell, and taste the oregano, rosemary and that perfect mix of seasoning smothered in it. UGH, gets me hungry just thinking about it again. 

@evnglka's epic chicken wings Credit to @evnglka
I love how the boys automatically took charge of the barbequeing while the girls.... did.... our fair share of talking (a lot) and maybe indirectly entertaining them. We offered to help, but it seemed like the boys knew exactly what they wanted to do so we volunteered to be their guinea pigs on the food :D

Credit to @evnglka

L - R: Morris, Inong, Eddy and Aaron.  Credit to @evnglka
Inong brought his iPod dock with its speakers, which I thought was a nice touch and perfect for the picnic :)

Credit to @evnglka
And there was this obedient beautiful black dog that followed us everywhere. Even parked itself next to us (must be the food), but the dog was so adorable and obedient we let it stayed, and we even fed it nicely :) I can't help but feel, mother nature must've told it to protect us and guard us or something, to make sure it didn't rain either. Ahh, me and my dreamy pagan ideas. 

And this was probably my favourite shot of all. Morris took this using just his phone and the dog looked as if it was casually protecting us girls who were busy chattering away. And there were some kind of sadness or loneliness in the dog's face. Maybe following picnic-ers or campers around has become such a daily thing for it that it no longer excites it anymore. 

Doggie, Natalie, Angel and Kim. Credit to @morrishilarian
After much barbequeing, we left the sweet potato heated up among the charcoals and gathered around for Cranium. I was the only who ever played it before, so I taught them how to play and there were SO MUCH LAUGHTER. I can't remember laughing that hard in so so so long. My jaws and abdomen hurt so much, the game felt like a workout.

Made the silliest mistake of all time. Our team had to spell Hogwarts backwards and I love how Eddy started it, with an "S" but silly me, I didn't hear him saying anything so I confidently told them I'd start and *clears throat*, I led out out loud the letter - H. 


Next thing you know, Morris (with the straightest face) was like, uh Jacqkie we should spell it backwards? I wanted to kick myself. Angel disqualified us that round (while still laughing so hysterically -_-). fskfdsflsdfm[wjefks;f. I will never see that word Hogwarts the same again.

Probably the most epic book to describe - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time
I think I died from too much laughing. Aaron was like, "This one is so hard, no need the timer la k." And after probably about 5 minutes of tossing and making weird facial expressions that were absolutely not familiar to any of us, the other boys came into help. After a good 10 minutes, Angel finally got it. Dear God it was so hilarious. 

Angel and her "Pink Panther" moves
This is the most random part of all. In the middle of us screaming and laughing when playing Cranium, a group of kids and adults came down to the foot of the river. An elder man walked in to the river, stood still inside it, and kids started walking in to the water one by one, and that's when it registered in our head... that it's a live version of a BAPTISM CEREMONY! It was very random, but we were so fascinated by it, we started taking pictures of it. 

The boys were contemplating of dipping into the river, they kept going in, dipped their toes, cooled some drinks and went back. Went back in, dipped their toes (up to their knees) and went back. Did this for a couple of times. We told them they could just dive in but they didn't want to -________-". 

Last Sunday was perfect, I couldn't have asked it any other way. The weather was on our side, the food was good but the company was greater. We continued the day at a beautiful coffee house called Santola Bar, dinner and then karaoke. It was lovely. Reached home at 2am, beyond exhausted. And we're going camping next. 

Remark: PLEASE PLEASE becareful when you're contemplating of swimming by the river. I know it looks absolutely inviting, but rivers can change it's flow and current in a second. A second. So stay aware, and try not going somewhere extremely deep especially when you can't really swim. 

Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Backyard Camping Attempt #1

I've been DYING to camp out since... man, as long as I can remember?

I imagine I'd set up the tent with my friends together, set up whatever fire we needed together, walk/ hike around a little bit, bask under the sun, drink and talk by the river, you know the things you see so much on TV about camping and stuff. It looked so awesome to me. I mean it's not that I never did it, I was a scout, but never really put everything to practice.

Whenever I set on wanting to do the things that I want (especially when it comes to any little or big adventures out there), I would find all my ways to do it, with or without anyone to join me. I know it sounds dangerous and sometimes selfish... but *I think* I'm old enough to know what I want and I also know I have to be responsible for the decisions that I made.

So back to camping, last weekend, while I was looking for some Swiss Army Knives, I was talking to Morris about camping and our enthusiasm on camping shot up sky high! So that weekend I was determined. I told my brother that I want to learn how to set up a tent, I want to learn how to set up the fire, I want to learn how to sleep in the tent, I want to learn how to "make a toilet", I want to learn to do anything he's willing to teach me!

And my brother took the mandate seriously. Shook my hand on it, and told me to wake up early the next day.

The moment there was a bit of sun brushing me that Saturday morning, I immediately jumped from my bed and took the tent and all its equipment from my car and laid it out on the grass like a dog biting its toy waiting for it's master to play with it. I was SO STOKED. 

My brother opened up the parts and started showing me all the necessary parts, explained to me where the camp should be situated at, what should come first, what should come second, I was looking at him and listening to him so diligently, taking mental notes to whatever he said word by word. I was so fascinated by his advises. 

OK, I know I didn't "really" camp at the "woods" but it was an equally new experience to me as anything as the actual thing. So I'll lay down to you the little "tips" that I remembered from my Backyard Camping including the things that I figured would be good to share.

#1 - Get a good tent (preferably a simple set up).

For obvious reasons. Most of us have this fascinating idea of camping out in the wild but we often forget in getting a good one for ourselves. In fact, some of us still don't have even have tents, like I was a couple of months ago. I simply never thought of "camping" as an idea of a weekend activity. Now that I do, I'm so fascinated by the whole thing and I go by all these outdoorsy equipment that I feel like doing outdoorsy stuff every weekend.

I got mine from Giant City Mall for about RM 40. I HAD NO IDEA how to work up a tent before this, but I knew I needed it. So I skimmed through all the tents, I was looking for one that is affordable, good material (Nylon) coloured (I'm still a lady :P) and preferably enough for two. The idea of having a lot of people inside the tent sounds fun, but I was thinking since I've never done it, I should get used to the idea of sleeping inside the tent first.

#2 things to Bring (IMPORTANT, seriously) 
I didn't really took a photo of what exactly I brought out for my backyard camping because.... the house door was probably like 2 metres away and I took that particular information for granted. But don't worry, I kind of remembered what my brother told me what to bring. 

For Self 
- Hiking Shoes 
- Sneakers (if you can't afford hiking shoes) 
- Toiletries 
- Swiss Army Knife (hehehehehe I want one of these) 
- MATCHES / Lighter 
- Candles 
- Strings 
- Cap 
- Sunglasses 
- Cover yourself up in long pants and long shirts at night. I guess it's okay during the day, but to avoid having animals getting into WHEREVER entries there are possible at night while you'r dozing off, you need to cover up. Besides animals entering anywhere, it also slows down any possible injuries, caused by animals or whatever there are out there, and to avoid mosquitoes nibbling you (and Malaria).
- Maybe Mosquito Repellent
- Drinking Waters 
- Some utensils for drinking and eating 
- Torchlight / Headlight 
- Bring all the necessary and you'd be okay.

For the Group
- TRASH BAG if you plan to trash the place, forget about camping. You're in it for the wrong reason. 
- Food (wholemeal bread/ junkies/ canned food [they're the easiest to heat up with the fire]) 
- Portable radio/ speaker! People often take entertainment for granted. It would be good to have a bit of a background music to your surrounding, but if natural is a way to go, then by all means! No harm bringing everything! :) 

For the Tent 
- Sleeping Bag 
- Blankets / cover ups / bedrunner 
- Blow up pillows or whatever neck rests

#3 Open field, open field 
This was relatively new to me, eventhough this is a pretty obvious understanding, but you should set up your tents preferably in an open field meaning better with no trees or branches jutting down. There was a tree right next to where I set up my tent the other day so............. THAT WAS NOT ADVISABLE.

#4 Set up your tent(s) during the day

"Let's do it early in the morning so that we can see things clearly". "What things do we need to see clearly?" "Urm, EVERYTHING *raises eyebrows*". My brother's words were bible because he has done this so many times that was involving Mercy Malaysia; so when he told me to set it up in the morning so that we "can see everything clearly", I knew it was not only logical but obviously the smarter reason.

#5 Toilet 
"Make" your toilet somewhere of course further from everyone else, but also, best where when you'd have to run, you already know en route to the tents. And by making it, it means dig a hole.

#6 Start a fire 
Fire is not EXACTLY  a necessity when it comes to camping. But it is excellent acting as a light, a heater and even so as to scare animals away. In some woods, animals are easily threatened by the fire and will move away upon seeing one. Remember about bringing canned food / food to camping I mentioned earlier. Yeah, you can basically tie up the canned food or even whatever caught of the day was o.O, and heat it up with the fire. And supposed it gets cold, fire will be perfect. 

My brother used candles to warm the logs up and eventually burn them up. You can just use matches or lighter either way as well. If there was one good tip my brother told me (which was relatively new to me as well) was, always pick up logs that are only on the ground. Do not pull any from the trees. Inviting, and dangerous.

And the most important thing of all, eliminate fire / all kinds of smoke before you sleep. You don't want to burn yourself........

Okay that's it. I think I covered most areas, and dragged my sister along. We went into my tent at about 10pm, was busy mesagging when suddenly brother popped out of nowhere telling me he's going to confiscate our phones because "THERE ARE NO LINES IN THE WILD". Whoosh, my brother was so serious. Mum was so worried for my backyard camping attempt, she kept asking me whether I was okay -______________- The door was less than 10 steps, I can even see her room lights -____________-".


Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Saturday, September 01, 2012


The loneliest time I've ever been in my life was in 2006, when I just moved to KL from KK. I chose the Master Bedroom in the hostel, which I presumed would help me a little better with mingling with the other two roomates, since you know there'll be two. 

I stepped into the room, and met both of which were Architecture Students, of Chinese race.The first girl that greeted me was from Penang and another was from Kelantan. The first girl, greeted me with a very, what I would call it a 'necessary' smile, the other just nodded at me. It didn't felt like they were REALLY excited to see me, maybe because they've been welcoming different girls every now and then now, I mean who could blame them, the tenants change so frequent. So instead of thinking about it so much, I allowed more time for unpacking trying to avoid whatever communication I had to do with them. 

I was young, in a new place, and I was awkward but I was determined to fix our estranged introduction to friendship.

The first lady moved out the next month though. And the second moved out the following month. And I can't even remember their names now, I remembered coming back from school early just to catch them so that I can "accidentally stumbled upon them" and ask about their day. I was really trying to be friendly. I don't know why. I was a curious kid, everything was new and they could probably be my first few friends. Could.

But it seemed to me, we could never really form a friendship like they do with their friends. I can't just join them for lunch, in fact, I've never even seen them anywhere in college so I dealt with a lot of things alone,  they were always out, and by the time I knew it they were already moving out. I was alone, and the room felt like just another Master Bedroom with one inhabitant, me.

I was the loneliest at that time. My assignments were my friends, I preferred staying back real late, and I began to hang out with all the peoples who were just so different from me. Again, I was awkward. I was determined to believe, that I was the strange one, and I needed the fixing. 

And then, came KY. 

She was a very timid (but tall) lady from Perak. She too was Chinese, she spoke very little English, and there were ripple of grammar mistakes coming out from her mouth (the first I noticed). As little confident as she had with her English, she tried. I broke the ice on her first day and, I asked her what subject she took, and she told me 'Mass Comm'. 

I don't know about you, but EVERYONE thinks people in Mass Comm are 'cool and glamorous', some call it the field the easy way out, there's nothing scientific about it, nothing too information heavy. We are "supposed" to be able to talk in public like it's innate or something, and that we are supposed to be spontaneous and relaxed with whatever situations. We're supposed to be tacky with our words, cool with people and basically, like the life of a party. We're just suppose to be "cool". While I don't have problems with all that plastered on my head, I wish people would know the amount of reading and credibility we go through to say half of the things we said, to convey half the things we are supposed to. I for one, spend a lot on reading, and listening to people, I picked up a moderator like attitude, and I learn a lot of basic interactions, I analysed, learned, and I think I became a social scientist. I don't know about other field, but having people to think you have ABSOLUTELY no problems with all kinds of people and social situations can be really intimidating at times.

And it is not true, do you know the amount of work that goes through in editing and writing, advertising and promotions? Every cent needs justification and the competition in this industry is insane, you either drown yourself by the waves or be a hundred times more creative. And creative, is NOT a walk in a park. Creativity is a subjective study of the people. And we never leave at 5pm.

Because KY (my new housemate) was NOTHING a "Mass Comm" kid was, she couldn't even really looked me in the eyes the first time I talked to her, and she was always so calculative with her words. I saw a very low confident awkward kid. And maybe I saw the first semester me.

And it was true, her first semester was a flunk. She was in culture shock, couldn't adapt to the whole 'college' lifestyle and because everything was in English, she was kind of shy to try either. She failed some subjects.   

Me being me, feeling like I could do something about the situation, eventually walked into the situation. I  had to be subtle, she would be scared of drastic helps. I started giving her all my previous books, told her she didn't have to pay a single cent for any of it, even asked her if she ever wanted to have lunch with me, and even gave all the examples of my previous works to her. Maybe it was me "trying" that made her realise there was someone there who didn't want her to fail anymore. And I didn't, I am sure her parents have paid so much for it, I tried to help her wherever way possible. Go out of my way to help her with some of the things that she was unsure of. I was determined. I never had a good lead when I first reached KL by my housemates, and I wanted to break that "bad lead" chain to my other housemates. I wanted to assist this new girl.

Like her, I moved from a small town to the big city. While I too had trouble adapting, I had one effective thing that pulled me back to earth and it's my family. Mum would call me everyday. Every, single day. Incept me with things like prayers, tell me about all the negative things that were happening around her, like a pre-warning, and I know it is only right to be a good daughter, be a good person and try harder in everything. 

What I'm really trying to say is, everyone, everyone of us needs interaction. May it be human, or with the nature, we strive on interaction, we move on interactions and we hang onto interaction because it is what makes us and living in the world feel real. We need people to tell people that they're loved, we need people to tell us they're there, we need people to tell us that we'd be okay, we even needed plants and human nature to tell us that they can help us as a source of food, as a source of happiness. No one is an island. Or no one should be an island at least. 

I thought about interactions mainly because I just met this dude who has a bit of a speech problem. I was talking to my friends about how little by little, just maybe, JUST MAYBE, he could slowly fix his speech impairment after much practice with other people, and WE can be the "other" people. While I'm not particularly sure about how he got the stuttering, how huge his other "social circle" is, brother told me for a fact, it is actually very common among kids and it can be fixed. And now that he crossed my path, maybe I should talk more with him, give a bit of interaction, a little bit of confidence. I mean IT IS caused by muscle movements controlled by the Brain.

So people, I'm not suggesting you to talk to every single person, in fact don't do that. You want quality conversations. You want to ask people what makes them happy, what makes them sad, what makes them cringe, or what makes them passionate. Interact with people who've crossed your paths, let them influence you, let you influence them. And even if you want to interact with everyone, let it be in any form. A smile, a nod, a handshake, a tap, a hug. I'm trying to meet new people, do new things, interact with both nature and people myself, now that I'm back in KK, most of my close friends are either settling down or working far from KK. So I'm trying to catch myself. Meet new people, do new things, learn new things, constantly say yes to everything. Just interacting with everything and anything.

Interaction. There's about 7 billion people in the world, and we are different, we are meant to be explored and discovered, we are meant to help other people, we are meant to be in this world.

If all these form of interaction doesn't "really" make you happy, think about making other people happy. Your mum might rather you go out and play sports with other people, rather than keeping it to yourself in the room. Your friends might rather you comment on their Facebook Photos rather than getting an SMS from you. Or your pets might want you to talk to them once in a while, instead of just, feeding them.

Interact. You'd be surprised at the wonders it can make you feel :) 

Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.