Friday, 28 May 2010

Girls Will Be Girls

So there we were nine damsels all in a row - from right *Dak Ijah, Dak Pe'ah, Dak Izah, Dak Ani, Dak Ji, Miss Twiggy, Dak Mah, Dak Cantik (can't recall the name - she was new)and Dak Rose.

*Dak is the Melaka shortform of "budak" used when referring to people younger or same age as you.

We were gathered in the tuckshop - as school canteens were known then - waiting patiently for the guest of honour to make his appearance.

This was quite an important occasion going by the formal baju kurungs almost everyone was wearing except for the two hostelites who were dressed in the fashion of the time - mini-skirt and short shift - mainly because they had to save their single pair of baju kurung for study period later at the hostel's Bilek Mentala'ah. It was 1968 and short Beatles mop was in. Miss Twiggy even had on her kasut beatle!

On the blackboard was chalked in decorative writing "CLIFF AND SHADOWS"

And I guess that was their music that was played on the school record-player.

Cliff Richard - Congratulations

 We were waiting for this man, Che'gu X ( I'm not sure what his name was. Sorry Che'gu if you happen to be reading this).

The young and dashing Che'gu was one of a pair of trainee Bahasa Melayu teachers who were posted to our school for their practical training after getting their degrees and then doing their education diplomas. Teachers with degrees were not too common then and were viewed as prized items and son-in-law material. This Che'gu was the more popular of the two with the girls perhaps because he looked better than the other and exuded charisma, whereas his colleague, who taught my class, bit with sarcastic humour and tended to disengage the students rather than draw us in to the subject at hand.

Be that as it may, for as long as I was studying at that school there had never been a farewell party held for any teacher except these two. And I suspect that it was only for Che'gu X that it was intended as it was mainly organised by the girls from the classes that he had taught, and I had heard only glowing accounts of his teaching style from them.

Looking again at those pictures....  gosh,  sophisticated minah jogets of the P.Ramlee movies we were indeed not. The one sitting in the chair next to where Che'gu was making his farewell speech was just too shy and had to turn her back away.

But like I said, this Che'gu had a natural charm and a way with words that could blow anyone's defences in his raja lawak fashion. I can't remember at all what he had said but just look at the effect he had in this picture.

Gone are the shyness and the "on best behaviour looks" and out came the shrieks and squeals, 3rd from right left bent over double crying, Dak Rose, Miss Twiggy, Dak Ji and a few others forgetting to close their mouths and Dak Ijah hurriedly getting her handkerchief out...

Hahaha I can't stop smiling looking at those pictures. Girls are girls anywhere anytime - and it is only the best Che'gus that bring out the best in them.

Meanwhile at another place at about the same time, at a gathering of the goody-goody boys with some goody-goody girls, you can see good girls are just that - GOOD girls; and good boys are just..... boys.

In the photo below the girls were exactly in the same position and pose, but the boys had moved and looked more relaxed.

Is this the old "cool" or what?

Well... you may try and spot my hubby :)

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Roots and Leaves

When dad got his transfer order to serve in Singapore he decided that it was time that the girls get acquainted with their roots and mix with real children from the provinces. Not only were my two elder sisters and I packed off to go to school in his hometown Melaka  but we had to live in the school hostel as well. I was a mere eleven year old who had just had her birthday on Christmas Eve and a fortnight later in the new year entered Std 6 at the Durian Daun Girls' School.

This was a quaint school with a grammatically incorrect name. Shouldn't it be Daun Durian, I remember thinking but what surprised me more was that there was only one block of it. The KL school had three blocks and a hall with a stage; my immature mind wasn't too sure whether this was a proper school at all.

The school uniform comprised a green pinafore worn over a white blouse with a green bow-ribbon at the collar and a belt buckled at the waist. As if to confirm my "doubt" over the school,  I noticed that the green wasn't a standard shade but ranged from bright-apple to sombre-jungle and it was apparent that the girls' tailors were given free rein on how to sew the pleats on the skirt section. Some were arranged as in those of convent uniforms, some were box pleats, some side pleats and some simple gathers, and I shall not even mention the multiple styles of the bows or even the collars.

Later I learnt to appreciate this variety of the so-called uniforms, making the school unique in it's interpretation of the word conformance. And in the ensuing weeks I observed that a huge percentage of the school population did not come to school by car or trishaw but walked to school everyday, some from seemingly great distances. And I was one of them.

This primary school was actually the feeder school to the nearby Malacca Girls High School where my two elder sisters had been placed. It was a newish school set up to serve the locality as well as for bright young girls specially picked from the rural areas and given the opportunity to study in an urban school. These kids were also provided places in the school hostel which also took in girls from the neighbouring Malay-medium school Sekolah Tun Teja and the brand new co-ed (mixed boys and girls) lower secondary school. With a teachers training college also in the vicinity, this neighbourhood had a nice studenty atmosphere to it,  the roads each morning and afternoon filled with kids walking to their schools or going home.

Yes, from being driven everyday, this time I had to walk to school. But the distance was almost negligible and it took at most maybe 5-8 minutes, two of those were from negotiating the corridors of MGHS from the hostel before exiting through it's main gate.

One particular quirk of the Durian Daun School was the punishment for being late for Assembly on Monday mornings. There was a huge tree at the front of the school block where late-comers had to wait until the Assembly was over. I had always by then suspected it to be a durian tree that did not bear fruit - hence the name of the school. Anyway I was late on one day and after the assembly, late-comers was asked to stay behind to be issued the punishment.

It was nothing really but a friend who was also new to the school went on and on about it saying what a stupid school it was, and that at her old school in Tampin she never had to do this kind of thing. And that we were never asked our reason for being late in the first place.

The punishment was: to pick up the leaves that had fallen from the huge tree and pile them up - the duty of the school-gardener it was. Well, better than running round the field 10 times I must say, but thinking back it would have been more appropriate to call it Pungut Daun Girls' School, wouldn't it?

But the one thing I liked most studying there apart from the very friendly Melaka girls was that while I had always languished in about no. 15 in Std 4A and 5A in MGS KL, I was consistently FIRST in class Std 6B at Durian Daun! You could say I knew a long time ago how it felt to be a jaguh kampung... (this is not, I repeat NOT, a reference to our badminton team)

Back at the hostel, I was the littlest of all the penghuni - as we were known then. Where at home I had 4 little ones to play and have fun with, here I was like everyone's little sister but who still had to do her own washing and ironing. Everybody had to anyway except for one girl whose dad could afford the RM4 per month dhobi fees, which in fact was my pocket money for the month. This was the balance from the RM20 hostel fees which dad sent! And amazingly it was enough since I have no recollection of either being hungry or deprived whatsoever, only that of  being secure in a wonderful sisterly environment of anak-anak dara sunti, ah moi's and tangkachi's from the outback - and of course basking in the thought that I  was really quite "clever" there...

1965 - The puny one in the centre is me

How I've grown! By 1968 I was a member of the politburo
with Madam President cum Warden -  Bien Mei Nien 
 Me in the back row centre off-right ooops right off-centre

and my multi-racial constituency

I think Dad had made a wise decision plonking us at the hostel where our values of mutual support and togetherness were formed, where I improved tremendously in spoken and written Malay, also picked up some Mandarin, and learnt to appreciate the roots (some very humble) of each of our fellow penghuni asrama.

Form Four he decided it was time I lose my hilly-billyness and move back to KL.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

The Language of Love and Black-and-Whites

I love old black-and-white photos. I have a stash of them, salvaged from an old filing cabinet in my mum's house. Some of them go back 50 years or more and the images are still so clear and well-defined, unlike early colour photographs of the mid-seventies. Somehow the memories that the black-and-whites evoke are also clearer, each event played back as if it took place not that very long ago.

One picture I love though is one I have absolutely no memory of, and I'm absolutely sure I wasn't even born when it was taken. It's of my mum and dad presumably a few years into their marriage

Since in those days only special events warranted a photo-shoot, I guess this was taken to commemorate some upcoming challenges that they had to face. To me what shows out in this picture mainly is their air of quiet confidence. And the love and togetherness. In fact they were together through thick and thin... and nine children, until dad passed away a year shy of their 50th wedding anniversary.

Is there a secret to the strength of marriages of old - the weddings would most often have been between very young ladies not out of their teens with young men barely out of them. Or was it that they understood better the language of love, as the Sheikh who wrote the article below puts it.

Anyway, thought I'd share the piece.

Salaam Alaikum!
Love has many languages. By this, we mean that there are different ways that people express love and recognize it. Many times, the way that a person expresses love is not the same way that their partner wants to hear it.

Imagine, if you will, two people who are speaking different languages to one another – say, Chinese and Swahili. Even though one of them might be saying ‘I love you’ in her language, the other person simply has no clue that this is a message of love. They are not communicating in the same wavelength.
Many times, a person feels unloved by his or her spouse because the expected language to hear that love never materializes. Yet, if the spouse were asked about his or her feelings, it would become clear that true love does actually exist. It’s just a matter of not communicating the feeling of love properly to the other party.

For example, some people express their love by wanting to spend quality time with their beloved. This is generally more common amongst women. If a wife does not get to spend quality time with her husband, she might feel unloved, even if he is showing his love to her in other ways (by spending his money on her, for example). On the other hand, other people express love by physical acts, such as kissing and sexual activity. This is more common amongst men. When a man regularly approaches his wife, he is showing that he loves her. Yet, the wife is not ‘hearing’ this love because in her vocabulary, love must be expressed in a different language – that of time. Unless and until she sees this aspect, she will find it difficult to understand that her husband loves her.

Another language of love is helping the one whom you love. A wife might show her love for her husband by taking care of his daily needs and household chores. But it is possible that the husband does not hear this love, because he is not tuned into this language! Rather, he might be expecting it in different ways. Therefore, all of the acts of devotion and dedication that the wife shows to her husband are simply ‘tuned out’, like a foreign language, because that is not what he wants to hear to confirm his wife’s love for him.

By understanding the different ways that people show love, each spouse can better appreciate the languages of love that his or her spouse speaks. Many people unknowingly speak more than one language of love – however, until the other partner learns to listen to and recognize that language, all of these beautiful expressions of love will be lost and evaporate into thin air.

In the online seminar, Halal Intimacy: Practical Steps To A Blissful Marriage, we will be discussing the different languages of love in more detail insha Allah.

Jazakum Allah khayr!
Yasir Qadhi


The language of love is not quite black and white...

Monday, 17 May 2010

My Driver Mum

Mum actually passed her driving test when she was heavily pregnant with my immediate younger brother. There was already five of us then so dad could really do with a hand in the chauffering duties. Mum took to driving with gusto going here there and everywhere, sometimes in the big old secondhand Studebaker, sometimes in the newer Renault, ferrying my elder siblings to school, getting the groceries, doing her hair at the salon, etc.   I was usually the chaperon following her around AND the reporter, reporting to dad just how every scrape and scratch on the car came to be. Not that mum wasn't competent, she was indeed, and she knew the roads around KL by heart.

 Mum and Dad and half the pack

Eventually there were altogether nine of us siblings. It was a wonder how we all could fit into the little Renault car for our balik kampung trips. Dad  always chose to make the 3-hour  journey from KL  to Melaka in the cool of the night when we kids were sated and sleepy after dinner. It was fortunate that we were all skinny and so could squeeze into every available space in the car. The three toddlers would be in the laps of mum and my two elder sisters. My two elder brothers occupied the rest of the backseat whilst my younger brother and I either crammed in between them or even settled on the car floor which in a Renault was quite spacious actually.

With everyone  asleep, 3 hours wasn't that long. Dad would drive the whole way without stopping - there were no refreshment or toilet breaks. Those days when the Federal trunk roads were single-lane, driving at night was easier than in daylight because you could see the headlights of oncoming vehicles, and this was especially useful round a bend when you could see the lightbeams approaching before the vehicle, so I was told.

The drive back to KL however was usually during the day after lunch at the grandparents'. As usual we children would be dozing and by the time we passed Seremban dad himself would be tired and sleepy. On one ocassion, mum offered to take over the wheel while dad took a snooze. And that was to be the last time mum ever drove outside KL.

Just before the dreaded Mantin Pass, a car from the opposite direction came into her path while it was overtaking round a bend . She swerved hard to the left, and went off the road onto a levelled bit of the hillside. In her panic mum kept on going but dad awoke just in time to turn the steering-wheel back towards the road and pulled the handbrake. It would probably have overturned had it not been for dad's quick reflexes in preventing the car going up the hillslope.

Here's a picture taken after the accident - the car didn't look too damaged but it couldn't be driven after that. There's mum, and my eldest brother who with a white nappy in hand, had the job of warning traffic about our stalled car,  and me peering into the car to locate my missing flip-flops. This was just before we were to be driven home by some people from dad's office I think.

When dad was transferred to Singapore a few years later there were no longer such trips back to Melaka because the girls were packed off to go to school in the Sleepy Hollow itself. And that will be another story for another day, I promise.

Anyway yesterday we marked mum's 83rd birthday which actually was on the 13th of May with some makan-makan which she herself organised and hosted. Despite her age and problems in the knees, she is still a sprightly lady with a can-do attitude that we marvel at and sometimes worry about, especially when she decides to get into the car and drive herself to the market or to whoever's house. But one thing we are sure of is she'll never drive herself back to Melaka.

 For all the May-borns, "Allah Selamatkan Kamu...."

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Remembering School

Would you like to know how many schools I attended thoughout the 13 years of schooling? I'll tell you anyway - they were two primary schools, two secondary schools, and one for Form 6 (pre-university). That makes five altogether when others might go to two or at most three. And that is why I have no significant feelings of attachment for any of those schools although I thoroughly enjoyed my time in all of them.

I loved to go to school. Somehow those days the brain was like a sponge, absorbing everything the teachers dished out, though that didn't  mean that recall wasn't a problem during exams. I didn't like exams especially public ones where you had to sit at a desk in a huge hall with a huge clock up on stage and bored invigilators sitting in front, day-dreaming. But I was OK at sports and  I had lots of fun representing the schools in athletics and netball except for in Form 6 in a boys' school, where football and rugby reigned.

At the first primary school, the Jr. Methodist Girls School, the pupils were mainly children from middle-class families who get ferried to and from school in cars. Some who lived nearby either walked it or hired trishaws for transport and I used to envy my friends who got to ride those trishaws everyday. For my sister and I, either my father or my mother would do the ferrying as we lived about 3  km or so away by road but only about half the distance walking. Which was via a shortcut the last maybe 80 metres of which was a path on a hillslope, of course accessible only on foot.

There was a day when dad couldn't pick us up after school and mum was in confinement yet again, so we were instructed to walk home together. Me and one of my bestfriends Ai Gaik, being teacher's helpers at the time had to help carry our class teacher Mrs. Lam's books to her car after school and so I wasn't present at the rendezvous point to meet my sister at the agreed time. Sis then set off for home by herself.

When I told Ai Gaik that I had to walk home alone, she offered me a ride in her hired trishaw. I was elated for I had never ever ridden in a trishaw before. It was such a joy to feel the wind in your face and so much fun to be jolted by every bump in the road as the old apek pedalled towards my friends house which was along my walking route. Having enjoyed the ride and being halfway there already, I practically skippety-skipped the rest of the way home, not knowing that back at home there was a commotion brewing when sis arrived without me in tow. Mum alerted dad at the office and when I reached home it was to to a very relieved mum asking me all sorts of questions.  An anxious dad arrived some time later when I was wolfing down my lunch and wondering what the fuss was all about. After a futile search dad was about ready to call the police I guess.

Now being a mum to five myself I can imagine what must have gone through mum and dad's minds at the time. Who knows... I could have been hit by a car or bus or lorry, or kidnapped for ransom (not likely for a child of a govenment servant), or got lost on the way home, or got chased and bitten by a dog, or followed a paedo home.... I was only in Std. Three.

However that was to be the first and only time we had to walk home after school but in my childhood I fondly remembered it as the first time I had ridden in a  trishaw.

The school percussion band 
me standing in the centre 4th row, 
Ai Gaik on the extreme right

Monday, 10 May 2010

Fives and Mums

"Sssorryy, where are we going, who's birthday is it today?"

"We are going to Sheesh Mahal lah Bapak... I belanja... and it's nobody's birthday" says Muni who loves that restaurant because of their Palak Paneer (a blend of sauteed spinach, shallots, garlic and chillies topped with Indian cottage cheese). It's really very good.

"Then why are we going?"

"Don't you know, it's Mothers' Day?"

"Owh, Mother's Day..." ...duh and it's already half-past eight in the evening.

Aah never mind, whatever commercialised day has never been a big day in this household; Mothers' Day, Fathers' Day, Children's Day, Wives Day, Husbands' Day, Spoiled Cats' Day, etc. etc.

But this weekend was New-Cupboards Day. We took delivery of three spanking new wardrobes to replace the old furniture that had gone rickety with age and overload. As per hubby's liking, ours has mirrors in the sliding doors "to give the illusion of space" he says. Yeah yeah and it reflects the bed. His taste has not changed much over the years, I must say.

The children's have more shelves for not only their clothes but their books, gadgetries and memorablia as well. We all know how young adults accumulate cheap junk which all purportedly has sentimental value. But there's nothing like a new cupboard to prod them into re-organising their belongings.

So it was a 5S weekend for us. Those in government and GLC's are likely to be familiar with this Japanese concept.

"5S" stands for five (5) Japanese words that start with the letter 'S': Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, and Shitsuke.

Seiri - Sort and Discard
Eliminate All unneeded items.

Seiton - Arrange and Order / Sanitize
Arrange all items that are left.

Seiso - Clean and Inspect / Shine
Clean all areas.

Seiketsu - Standardize and Improve
Maintain the first 3S

Shitsuke - Believe and Self-Disclipline
Believe that the 5S are important

It means that in a maidless household, everyone is a janitor! Actually this thing is a no-brainer, trust the Japs to package it and sell it like it is their heretofore unrevealed secret to management success.

And what started out with cupboards, extended to 5S operations of the back store-room because we had to put one of the old cupboards in there. As a result, we have a spanking tidy store-room due in no small measure to the elbow grease of a fifty-something who loves mirrors on wardrobes and for whom Mothers' Day doesn't ring a bell....

.... in conjunction of which I wish to share something from a book which I had forgotten I have until FB friend Shahieda mentioned it recently - "You Can Be The Happiest Woman In The World" by Dr A'id al-Qarni

5 YES's and 5 NO's  that I have selected from the book:

YES! to your beautiful smile that sends a message of warmth and friendliness to others

YES! to your kind words that establish (permissible) friendship and dispel rancour

YES! to honouring one's parents, upholding the ties of kinship, honouring neighbours and caring for orphans

YES! to acceptable charity that brings happiness to the poor and feeds the hungry

YES! to reading useful, interesting and beneficial books

NO! to wasting time in trivial pursuits, and love of revenge and futile arguments

NO! to neglecting physical hygiene and cleanliness in the house

NO! to thinking of past calamities and dwelling on past mistakes

NO! to giving priority to money and accumulation of wealth over one's health, happiness, sleep and peace of mind

NO! to forgetting the Hereafter and neglecting to strive for it.

OK am off  to 5S my dressing-table...


Sunday, 9 May 2010

Cheatle Anyone?

I haven't a clue what he's rambling about, but I dedicate this to all bug lovers like him...

I mean Beatle lovers

FAITI LAARR WEI - I need the lyrics translation


Thursday, 6 May 2010

The B.G.s

I had always preferred them over The Bugs

Music Playlist at

.... I mean - The Beatles

The Tracks:
# Don't Forget To Remember Me
# I Started a Joke
# Words
# I've Gotta Get a Message to You
# To Love Somebody
# In The Morning (Original 1965)
# Massachusetts
# First of May
# How Can You Mend a Broken Heart
# Melody fair
# Our Love
# Emotions
# Love You Inside Out
# Stayin' Alive ( 1977 )
# Night Fever


Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Monday, 3 May 2010


My little friend Azizali Baidaulet is 6 years old today.

He is the son of our Kazakh friends Yerlan and Zhanara Baidaulet who live in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Azizali has a baby brother or sister who is still in his mummy's tummy.

As of now he is enjoying his mum's and dad's full attention but he is never pampered or spoilt.

Azizali is a very cute-looking, well-mannered child, highly intelligent, who totally charmed us with his shy smiles and warm hugs.

He comes from well-known families of engineers from both his mummy and daddy's side. I guess it is not surprising that he loves to tinker with Lego bricks, taking on those meant for older children without much fuss.

His assemblies take up pride of place on the living-room shelf above the TV.

He enjoys his remote-controlled cars just as much too.

Azizali attends the Turkish International Nur Orda School in Astana where he learns English besides the other subjects.

Here he is being fetched from school on a frigid and blustery evening after mummy and totya had spent an afternoon having fun without him.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AZIZALI. Totya and Dadya miss you very much and hope to be able to come and see you again real soon.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Kinabalu - The Lowdown

"In the action lies the intention" quoted our Tuesday-nights ustaz.

It was a on holiday prior to this one that triggered the intention - a majestic view of the Kinabalu right in our path as we drove home from the Poring Hot Springs. Muni went "nak panjat, nak panjat".

But without a doubt it was my late brother-in-law who had inspired us with 3 successful climbs to his credit.

Taken in 2004

Last November, our son Amin who is based in Kota Kinabalu caught us by surprise by telephoning us from the summit.

Suitably incited, hubby promptly instructed him to make bookings for 5 people, including me (gulp), for March or April.

 Fact is (from Amin's e-mail):

"sekarang compulsory for climbers to spend 3 days 2 nights for the climb (previously boleh buat 2d1n to cut costs).

day 1 - registration. payment. check in. dinner at Kinabalu Park HQ. stay overnight
day 2 - start climbing to Laban Rata checkpoint (the base-camp I referred to)
day 3 - 3am start ascending to the summit. after sunrise start descending

meals provided
day 1 - dinner (buffet)
day 2 - breakfast (buffet), tapau for the climb (tuna and cheese sandwich, 2 boiled eggs, fried chicken, popia + 1 can 100plus + 500ml mineral water), buffet dinner at Laban Rata
day 3 - supper (before the summit climb), breakfast (before 10 am, after reaching summit) - both at laban rata, lunch at Park HQ

Effective sep 2008, only Sutera Harbour Resorts  has the 'privilege' to run the accomodation for Kinabalu climbers"
For all the above, the total charge was RM500++ per person payable upon booking.

As the day of the trip approached and became more likely, we bought our air-tickets and made bookings for hotel-rooms for the final night in Kota Kinabalu. Because of work commitments (of those who still have to work), this trip cannot be an extended holiday.

Return tickets cost RM430.50 per person (including checked-in baggage)
Hotel rooms were RM82.50 per person (twin-sharing at the Shangri-La)

(Let's see... so far that comes to about RM1,013 per person.)

We also started training our legs on hilly terrain like Broga, Tabur, and the Kiara.

I got lazy in icy Kazakhstan but the steep staircases in the villa helped maintain what little muscles I had developed.

On the day itself we drove to the airport and parked the car there for the duration of the trip. The parking fees eventually came to RM130.00 from Friday morning through Monday afternoon.

Amin had to cancel his climb as he was on compulsory tagging protocol (i.e side-kicking a senior medical officer at the OB/GYN). So we made our own way to the Kinabalu Park HQ in Kundasang.

We had to take a taxi from the airport to Inanam - this is where the terminal for long-distance buses and taxis is located. Only from there can we get transportation to the Park.

However if we had used a travel agent for this trip, then all the ground arrangements would have been included I suppose. But going on our own is all part of the adventure and we decided to take a taxi to Kundasang.

Where we had lunch at Inanam
Restoran Wan Malaysia, hehe
as per the signboard

Taxi-fare to Inanam - RM10.00 per person

 Taxi-fare to Kundasang - RM50.00 per person

Melaram in a cramped Wira

 on the 90 minute journey to the Kinabalu Park

Arriving at the Kinabalu Park there are other payments to be made:

RM3.00 per person for entry at the gate (Foreigners get charged RM10.00)
RM100.00 for a guide (RM85.00 for up to 3 persons and RM100.00 for up to 6) which works out to RM25.00 per person
Rm5.00 per person for the transportation to and from Timpohon Gate - the trail start

 We took Amin's advice and bought studded RM6.90 "kasut getah" similar to the ones normally worn by porters who daily trek up and down the mountain fully laden with supplies.

They are indeed very good - comfortable and non-slip on stone slabs and even pebbles. Also bought cheap rain-coats, caps, waist-pouches, head-lamps, batteries which all came to about RM50.00 per person.

In total, the amount  forked out prior to the climb was about RM1156.00 per person.

There have been complaints about the cost to climb Mount Kinabalu being now out of reach of school or college students without sponsorship - at RM1,000 this looks to be true. Syirah should count herself lucky.

The Rock Hostel where we spent the night

To limber up for the next day's climb,  we followed the Pandanus jungle trail  up about 600metres to a look-out point.

The next morning, at the start of the real trail
Selamat Mendaki

The trail at the lower elevations are 
mainly steps cut into the dirt track

changing to stone slabs at about 4 km 
where it also begins to get really steep

and then just granite from Laban Rata at 6km

to the summit

 The trek down was easier for me who was properly rested, but hard on hubby whose hamstrings decided not to co-operate. Even Muni had to have a couple of Ponstans for pain in her thighs. The tongkats we bought at RM10.00 each before the descent turned out to be really helpful. One guy had to use two because of pain in both of his ankles.

A magnificent buffet lunch awaited us back at HQ.

As it happened to be Amin's off-day, he fetched us from the Park and drove us to our hotel in Kota Kinabalu, thus relieving us of possibly RM60.00 each for taxi-fares.

I find that Kinabalu is much easier to do than Bukit Tabur whose sheer perpendicularity gave us the fear factor to contend with when we tackled it last year. For Kinabalu though you need to be reasonably fit to make it to Laban Rata at least, otherwise you might decide to turn back even before the first kilometre as has been known to happen, according to our guide, John.

Along the way, in view of our ages we were given encouragement by fellow climbers young and old, advised to take it slow by those who were descending, and were even given the thumbs-up by one of the guides who had to wait for a youngish group of very frequent resters.
All in all, for me this little adventure is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, somewhere along the trek upwards came the realisation that The Almighty has indeed designed us for a certain level of physical endurance and mental strength - only that oftentimes we tend not to believe we have it in ourselves. That said, I might add a disclaimer that this is not to be misconstrued as a request for any trials and tribulations from the Tester (pandai takut).

So tallying up the final costs including the tongkats and pro-rating the  parking fees at the Low-Cost terminal in KLIA, if my calculation is right, the total costs came to RM1205.00 per person, and this is the budget  package :)

Many climbers have written accounts of their climbs,   here (a series of 3) and here  are the more interesting and funny ones.