Yup, we took a week preparing our equipment for this race. We were also told that the Hill would be more 'improved' like the "Little England". Millions of Ringgit have been spent to re-create to its original state. We were assured. It came out in the Press too.
But sadly, all these Bulls were misleading. Pure misguided rubbish. It did not look like the Fraser's Hill of the 60s, 70s, and even the 80s. (the 90s were already showing signs of rot)
The 'other' road was still closed. People from Raub and the East Coast still have to do a big turn via KL and KKB to go up to FH. Many old 'England' bungalows are still closed. There is still a single public toilet (the ONE and ONLY) in town. Just why can't they put up ,say, two to three more around the golf course? Due to traffic control, it became a one way street at the main town but then, some old folks need to make a drive detour about 4 Miles (your choice...or walk uphill for 300 meters) to take a leak? It was raining too! Fuck!
Then the NOISE! If we cannot stand the noisy big bikers, noisy mat rempits, (Yes, they like birds too..of the two-legged kinds of course) noisy 'wroom' from modified cars, kids shouting & bike honking, just how can the birds take it? Moreover, almost 3 years of knocking, banging, painting, cutting & grinding distractions due to the construction, thus causing dust and more dust. I tell you, the birds are gone.
I received an SMS last nite that the Malaysian team managed to record only 70 types of birds out of 120 in this Hill. Such a poor performance. The only foreigners were from Singapore and Thailand. What happened to the International crowd from UK, Australia, NZ, Canada, Japan,South Africa, France, Holland.......? Aww! Please do not tell me it is the A(H1N1) crap again!
Another thing. Please, those 'arches' announcing the trails are just sheer waste of money. An informative board, properly maintained, is good enough for us nature seekers. I sincerely hope that they do not light up the arches at night! Ha!Ha! Hey, this is a Forest Reserve!
Doing up Puncak Inn from zero 'star' to 3 'star' is another waste of funds. Do we need that? It looked so 'posh' that I was 'frightened' to go inside! They have also 'kicked' out all the little warungs' formally located on the verandah.
Back to the Birds. I checked with many fellow birders later. Almost none managed to shoot great pictures of da birds. Me too. I was trying very hard to Video (in HD) them but were distracted by noises. It was also too smoggy and hazy thus preventing sunlight from illuminating the subjects. The video footage were of poor colors too.
The photo above is a picture of a Woodpecker. It is called the 'Greater Yellownape'. This cute chappie was 'ketuking, ketuking, on the tree bark. After adjusting my DIY parabolic dish microphone, I managed to record his pecking sounds. It is also on the video below. Cute!
Please see my HD Video here for this Bird Race. See and feel the "Sights and Sounds"
Dear Authorities, please, please cut out the "Little England" crap. The old Fraser's Hill is gone. England left us in 1957, if you have forgotten. 52 years ago! Your renovations does not even let us remember what Fraser's Hill was, 20 years ago! Such waste of funds. You should really be ashamed of yourselves.
In closing, let me quote a declaration on the entry form at the 2003 Race. ".........to encourage birdwatching as a healthy and academic outdoor activity, to create awareness among both Malaysiana and foreigners of the rich avifauna in Fraser's Hill and to protect Fraser's Hill as a bird sanctuary in Malaysia........."
Are we heading towards that direction at all? Are the birds still there?Really?
By the way, I am personally not new to this Hill. I still remember 'The Tavern', the 'James Bond' minibus driver, the 'Sri Berkat' food, the Red Cross Bungalow, The Steakhouse, The Gap.
Now, that WAS Fraser's Hill.