Posts tagged medical

Reaching out, touching lives

Just last weekend, we spend a day among the Temuan tribe in the rain forest of Pahang with the CSR team from Sanofi-Aventis. The day started with our quick drive up the Karak highway to a little sleepy village called Sang Lee. The primary economy of this little village is heavily centered on its durian orchards. It does boast a charming little watering hole by the interesting name of Kedai Runchit dan Sayor Choy Hing (review here) that specializes in old town goodness coffee and curry wild boar noodles. As the crowd is much larger than what they were used to, the Sanofi staff had to improvise and started to help out, dishing out noodles, putting condiments and little saucers of chilies — and it looks like many of them are capable of running a noodle stall too!

With our fill, it’s no surprise that we don’t tell our passengers how rough the journey can be. I know many KL-lites complain about our pot-holed city roads but those are silky smooth compared to where we’re going! And the main rule when going off-road? Tread lightly. In all circumstances, respect the terrain and respect the ground you’re going on. Trying to bull your way anywhere gets you into trouble… or your vehicle with problems. We also never travel alone which means that the buddy system helps to get you out of trouble too! Then again, I serve a miracle-producing God and the same God that can part the red sea, can easily dry up a 4×4 trail. On Friday evening, a text message came mentioning torrential downpour and an impassable road. Well, we still go in faith. The news wasn’t so good the next morning while we’re having our wild boar breakfast but still we went. Have faith!

Well, watdidya know? The trail was bone-dry!!

{continue to read on for more…} Read More

Off-road prepping

{edit: should have been published yesterday morning — got stuck in draft mode}

Like I blogged earlier about 4×4 adventuring for a cause, there’s still a lot of preparation behind the scenes. While as a group, we’ve gone in faith that the Good Lord will never fail us (never did), there are some basic things that will always prove handy when you’re going into the bush. This trip is no different even though the road is one of the more challenging trails. I also carry my spare tire in the truck tray. It makes it easier to get out when you’re stuck in deep ruts or knee deep mud. Not necessarily for use when you have a flat or shredded tire but it can fill up a deep hole or rut you’ve managed to slide into.

Things I always have in my truck when going off the tarmac are listed below. Some may sound silly but you never know if it comes in handy.
1. Hi-lift jack. While a winch helps, this jack will save your ass.
2. Tow-cables (steel). I normally carry two along with a nylon strap for use on trees.
3. Chain saw. Some obstacles require trees. Include extra pre-mixed fuel.
4. Extra fuel and lubricants. Running off-road is not your Sunday afternoon drive.
5. Extra floor mats. Not because you want to keep your car clean, they help on muddy ground.
6. Flashlights. It gets pretty dark in the jungles. I bring 3.
7. Long handle shovel, hand-shovel and fold-able spade. Getting stuck is no fun
8. 2×4 inch wood beams. You never know.
9. In-car phone charger. You may need to call for help!
10. Leather gloves.
11. Leatherman wave tool.
12. Water container. 5 Liters. Engines do overheat.
13. Canvas tarp.
14. GPS units with extra batteries.

Get a 4×4 adventure and help someone

While there are off-road enthusiasts and aficionados who love nothing more than a challenging trail, I prefer to do some good in the process. Besides, you’ll going to end up with some vehicle damage anyways — kind of guaranteed except that they vary in terms of severity. Most of the time, their cosmetic, scratches, scuffs and the like but you might get some dings or dents in under body panels. It can always get worse like shredding your tires or breaking a suspension. Why do it if it’s not for the welfare of some poor, neglected and needy folks? These are our orang asli, the indigenous peoples of Malaysia. The original inhabitants of the land, they’ve been marginalized and mostly displaced and they need our help!

This August 28, 2010, Sanofi-Aventis, that big pharmaceutical firm is bringing doctors and pharmacists into the interior jungles of Pahang. It’s going to be quite a challenging track with foot deep mud, river crossings and 30 degree ascents and descents. Obviously they’ll be needing vehicles so if you have a 4×4, do drop me a note. If you have a virgin 4×4 that you’ve never put that lever/dial into 4×4 Low mode, give me a call. Stock 4x4s can manage this trail although it’s strongly recommended that you have either all-terrain (AT) or mud-terrain (MT) tires. The stock highway tires (HT) are not so suitable for the thick mud.

That said, like good photography, equipment only gets you so far. It’s the person behind the camera or the wheel that matters. On a similar trail like this, we had 9 vehicles from the Land Rover owner’s club of Malaysia that had two vehicle breakdowns and two parts where we needed to extract them. You wouldn’t think a short-wheel base Defender 90 would get stuck would you?

If August 28, 2010 is not a good date for you, you can always drop me a line and I’ll see what other upcoming trips we have that you can help out or participate in. There’s one early in December for sure. I typically go several times a year; usually to the interiors in Pahang around the Bentong-Raub area. The tracks are fairly narrow (single-lane) and range from easy to challenging. They are not extreme trails nor do they qualify for rain-forest challenge kind of difficulty. Any decent stock 4×4 with low-range gear, limited-slip differentials and all-terrain tires can make it.

p.s. Did I mention you get to sample some excellent wild boar curry noodles and durians too?

Surgery, Pet care and all that

Quite surprised to find a professionally run veterinary hospital in Brickfields. My labrador retriever accidentally swallowed two metal washers about an inch and a half in diameter. She’s recovering well from the surgery…