Monday, December 3, 2007


“Pinch me”, I say and no one can make me believe I will have two crazy adventures in two weeks. Just to weeks ago, I posted my blog on RIVER TSUNAMI – 5 seconds from certain death.

Today, 24 November 2007 is another crazily unusual day. A group of us from the Rotary Club of Bandar Utama had gone in to what is probably one of the furthest Aborigine tribes in Malaysia – the Jehais. In a remote corner on a breathtakingly beautiful lake on the Malaysian – Thailand border, we had driven 6 hours across what in the last part of the journey is no more than a Logging track.

We had made the trip early on the morning of Friday, 23 November 2007 in a convoy of 3 Four-wheel drive vehicles. On that first day itself, we had a few narrow encounters. As we drove on the timber trail, suddenly out of the blue would come these huge timber trucks who would bear down on you. It was a terribly frightening experience, especially on hill-slopes where there was little traction. I was driving the 3rd vehicle and in one instance, I just narrowly avoided hitting one of the logs that was protruding from one of these huge timber “monsters”. What an adventure even before we arrived.

When we finally arrived at our destination, we found about 100 malnourished, totally neglected Aborigines. As we spoke with the Pastor who was helping them out, we found that all past effort to try and help them had failed because they simply lived in another world.

Our mission was to bring some relief to them them and although it was not an easy task, we had a great time with their children – all 40 of them. They were just like any other children, gaily laughing and prancing about. My heart went out to them and as I sang with them, I felt so alive and vibrant. We gave them gifts and had meetings with their leaders. Life is all about giving and so long as there is a big enough heart in us, others will be blessed.

A night out in the Malaysian wild is truly a great experience. The moon was a huge ball of yellow and as its rays reached down to light up our campsite, we could not but help marvel at how God had created nature so wonderfully. We had been warned not to wander too far off from the village because there had been previous encounters with Tigers and also wild elephants.

With such an advisory, we decided that gathering around in the security of our raised open hut was perhaps the best thing to do. Soon enough we started singing songs of old and many of us re-lived many of our childhood days once again. We slept almost at 3-00 am. The hard ground on which we slept was a reminder to us of how blessed we all are in the comfort of our homes.

As dawn broke, I caught a glimpse of dancing rays darting across the skies shielded by a layer of mist. I could not help praising God for giving me such opportunities to encounter the best that nature had to afford. We could not imagine what adventure would await us a little less than an hour later.

We broke camp at 8-30 am and decided to drive to the nearest town of Grik for breakfast. I went on ahead of the other cars as I was tasked with taking a Pastor Henry to Grik. After an hour of driving, Marios, our friend from Nigeria said that he had seen some elephants by the roadside. I decided that I should turn around and bring my Grandson Daniel (who was with me on this trip) to see the elephants.

On that first “pass”, I drove to about 20 feet from the large whitish-grey wild elephant who seemed to be the head of the pack. I wanted to take some nice shots of it. Suddenly without warning, she gave a loud trumpeting cry and came fast towards us. Marios who was seated on the left side screamed to me to step on the gas. That was really frightening but more was to come……..

On the return pass, I also slowed to shoot some pictures and that was when that ‘lead’ elephant got really agitated and she now started to charge at us. That huge elephant almost got to us as everyone in the car shrieked for me to drive off as fast as I can. The elephant ran with us for about 50 meters. We barely escaped from its wild trumpeting charge. As we reached safety some 200 meters down the road, we turned back towards the elephant and it was still trying to come to us.

We had a really narrow escape and as I drove with still trembling hands towards Grik, I knew that this was a really narrow escape and by God’s grace, I had a glimpse of what it was to face death or serious injury just a whisker away. It was a scene I will never forget. It almost rivaled the river Tusnami that I encountered just 2 weeks earlier. God is good!

Ong Hock Siew

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