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Mar 14, 2016

Please stop cutting more trees and destroying green lungs in Pengkalan Hulu

Dear people in power of Pengkalan Hulu,

Please, will you for once stop thinking of your bank account balance and think about the future you are leaving for the next generation of this town... please stop cutting the trees and destroying the green lungs.

This town is getting more polluted by day and the weather is hot and unbearable compared to how it was 30 years ago when we never even needed a fan in the house.

Aug 31, 2015

Goodbye Kroh...for now.

Money is important. We all know that. But there are some things just not worth the money. Like when you are faced with God's Greatness, are all money in this world worth losing it??  

While economic development of a town is vital for sustenance of its people, sometimes it strips away the very essence of the existence of that place... if we are not careful.

Kroh aka Pengkalan Hulu is no longer what it used to be. Rapid development has stripped away its natural beauty. It has become just like another old town in the outskirts we drive through. Nothing worth stopping for except border attractions. 

Gone are its original charm, serenity, its spirit. Gone are the cherished magical mornings and the cool enchanted evenings.

What is even worse is the natural spirit of its pioneers are lost. The majority of people here now are more strangers and  newcomers to this town who have brought with them their disinterest and ignorance to this town's past. They know only profit and survival. They are not interested in preservation. 

They have no idea how it was say 40 , 50 more so 100 years ago... so they don't really care what really happens to this place as long as they are making their money and living. They have no idea what a blessed place it was once before, how everyone knew everyone else in this town, how people helped each other, how warm was the interaction. Just ask any old Krohite, and they will tell you.  

Well done, developers and certain town planners who only think profit ..well done for having destroyed another God's gift with your shortsightedness and selfishness.  Hope your bungalows, the undertable transactions and bank balance for your children and grandchildren are well worth this fanaa.(destruction).

Chopping down 50 year trees, covering up natural streams, building garish looking buildings, ill-maintained chalets, dirty floating restaurants, many smelly public toilets and a hospital around once a lovely park. 

A lake formed century ago by a Siam king's elephants with river water ONCE clean enough to swim and drink. Our nenek moyangs (@great-grandparents) washed and swam in this lake. Now it stinks with drain water channelled into it. What a total disrespect to God's gift.

It should be a town built for retreat and rest, a tourist attraction, a holiday destination with its many natural attractions, hot springs, caves and natural reserves. Why not make money that way instead trampling all over it with the mundane projects??

Instead Kroh has ended up being bashed up by too fast a commercial development with indiscriminate construction of shophouses and factories, stripping away of its green lungs and water containment areas.. only a person who is not born in this town or not connected to this place can trash this town up for pure selfish business purposes. Kroh has become an eyesore now. The misty mornings are hot instead of freezing cold 40 years ago.

Kroh has become an estranged town. It is sad. But life moves on. Hopefully it will move in a circle. Maybe someday someone with wisdom and foresight will turn things around and restore this town back to its glorious days.

Till then,  Goodbye... old Kroh, rest well. It has been good as long it lasted. Thank you for the gift of beautiful childhood memories. Subhanallah..... it had been wonderful.

Sep 23, 2014

Float festival @ Tasek Takong (Pertandingan Rakit Berhias)

I remember more than 30 years ago when an annual festival used to take place in the Kroh and its Lake Garden. From people wrestling on a greasy pole over the lake to many other activities like football game at the local field where the players will dress up in female getups like sarees, nurses uniform, cheongsam and kebaya, off all the kebaya will get reaped up the most.... funny memories, cherished, unforgettable. 
That spirit of togetherness and fun was there. 

Later , I remember having dangdut artistes firing up the night with their sexy pelvic gyrations until the religious authorities put an end to it thankfully. 

Then for many years things lay quiet.... little events here and there, the lake became quite untouchable because of all the drain water running into it....children stopped swimming in it...
and some days the lake was bare. It was a disheartening sight. 

And finally after many many years, someone saw light and decided it was time to 

This recent event is a movement towards that I believe. To maintain the beauty of the lake and promote the awareness. 

It was a sight to behold. Those floats that night. 
 Except for that few seconds when the VIP platform nearly collapsed... but everything was good that night. 

For once all races, Siamese, Malays, Indians, Chinese, Orang Aslis, Sabahans... 
all mingled without prejudices and that negative vibe. Because it was all new and exciting. 
People just forgot to be biased and instead enjoyed the night. 

One minor flaw though, the food stalls- stale food, bad food, uncooked food, expensive food-some people ended up with food poisoning. 

The burger stall though was first class, the two malay boys who served a mean salad, well cooked meats and buns spread with PLANTA margerine (unlike the inferior margerine you get at local stalls) and yet selling it @RM2.50. They did good. 

And it was a great night. 

Hope it is a beginning of a wonderful journey. 

WELL DONE to the organisers and local authorities!

Sep 22, 2014

Feb 25, 2014

Tasik Takong, Pengkalan Hulu, Perak- Boats

This lake was said to come about 100 years ago when King Reman's hundred over elephants took their dips in a small river that used to run through it from Tasek. Pengkalan Hulu aka Kroh used to be under the Thai ruling until the British dragged the border stone past Air Panas and declared a new borderline to keep the Klian Intan Tin Mine for themselves. The main tin mine exists today even after the cable cars are long gone. Rahman Hydraulic Tin Mine is the major miner. Coming back to Tasik Takong, there is new attraction to this lake, a positive one. Boats...swan boats ... and cycle operated boats.

 It is a nice change considering all the garish buildings coming up around the lake... the natural beauty is on the way of being overshadowed. What brought the local authorities to build a hospital near a lake, beats the logic out of it. Now if they had built a park, a recreational facility ... maybe.

Well, let's hope this boating experience will urge everyone to keep the lake clean and appreciated at the least so that the future generation will come to see what pride we took in preserving this naturally gifted hilltown and its beauty for them..

The boats are priced at RM10 for half hourly open from 11am to 7pm.

Jan 9, 2014

Best Places to Stay in Pengkalan Hulu

Whether it is a lake side chalet, a hot spring chalet, a decent enough hotel for a small town or homestay.. or even camp out under the skies.. !

Jan 2, 2014

Air Panas, Pengkalan Hulu

It was after a heavy downpour today, we decided on the way back from our weekly Sunday tea at the local nasi kandar to revisit Kolam Air Panas.

The chalets under Chalet Air Panas were again open for business after a brief closure for maintenance.

It felt good to soak your cold feet in bubbling sulphuric water after rain.

The new channels built around provided ample sitting space..

More chalets in the design of old kampung houses adds choice..

Nice landscaping efforts..

25 years ago, i remember there were 3 main hot spring wells.. and 2 roughly built cement pools for boys and girls.

Now remains two wells, well cordoned off for safety and more pool area provided.

The dewan makan (hall) completes facilities for seminars or workshops.

The river running in the background where we used to jump in between dunks in the hot water. Nice place for weekend seminar or retreat.

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Dec 25, 2013

Restoran Terapung, Taman Tasik Pengkalan Hulu

By the banks of that century old lake formed by stomping elephants that belonged to a Siamese king, now sits a restaurant..that almost floats on it.

It is a Malay restaurant and opens in the evenings late into the nights..

..all tinged in green.. and you know not why.

Hey, even your satay may look green..

And that mee basah.. is really not that bad.

Sit a while and the place grows on you..

Call it rustic charm..the open air..the old tree that grows through planks ..

Or that lazy sunset over the hills.. if you are in time for it..

Or the dark waters you know that lurks below the wooden planks..occasional tortoise, pythons and iguanas taking a peek at you.. welcome to Restoran Terapung, Taman Tasik Pengkalan Hulu.

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Nov 14, 2013

Gerai Masakan Melayu-Warisan Selera, Jalan Air Panas

I absolutely heart Malay food, not the tomyam kacukan but the authentic kampung cooking. The deliciously fragrant herbs like serai, bunga kantan, daun kesum, daun kunyit..etc and drenched in thick coconut milk. I love the lemaks, the rendangs, the masak merah and the grilled stuffed fish in banana leaves. I love the pucuk paku, the ikan keli, the sweet sour pineapples, the pungent belacan and ikan gets me drooling each time.

And right in the middle of Pengkalan Hulu town, i discovered a really gem of a food stall at the medan food court. The first stall on the right as you enter via the bakery entrance. I believe it is called Warisan Selera.

On weekdays and especially Fridays, the place will be crowded with government servants of all levels and the rest of the town. Their selection of dishes are awesome. You practically can get whatever you crave for. But you have to be early. You gotta be there by 12 to get to the prime selection. Food will disappear very fast.

Pricing is very competitive but for food using such fresh ingredients and that rich, you will willingly pay premium price anytime