Irresistible call of the jungle

TWENTY mass communication students from Taylor’s College joined 10 of their counterparts from Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) for a three-day, two-night trip to Tasik Bera, in Pahang, recently.  

Sponsored by Shell Malaysia, the trip was quite an experience for many of the students who were used to city life. 

Said Irene Ng of Taylor’s College: “There was no air-condition, no attached bathroom, no comfortably laid-out mattress and certainly no home-cooked food. However, I was excited because the trip gave me the chance to not only spend a few nights with the Semelai people but also to make friends with UiTM students.” 

Apart from un activities like kayaking and swimming in the lake, as well as a motor boat ride, each student had to undergo a “solo night” in which they were required to be by themselves in the forest in the middle of the night with no torchlight or means of communicating with their peers.  

The students were taken to specific spots by an experienced Semelai guide and left there for 40-minutes.  

“I tried to savour the sounds made by the creatures in the jungle but I was terribly disturbed by the mosquitoes. We were there for 40 minutes but every minute seemed like an hour. It was an incredible experience,” said Ng. 

The students were also shown how oil is extracted from the keruing tree and how trees store water. 

Dinner time was just as educational. Said Ng: “We had an extraordinary barbecue. During the jungle-trekking, a guide collected banana leaves to wrap the fish we were served that night. We learnt how the Semelai creatively use their surroundings to create a scrumptious barbecue. What made the dinner even more special was the presence of Tok Batin, the head of the Semelai people.” 

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