Yes I went up Stong ….. again. It’s really funny that at one point in time I was the last person you would expect jumping all around excited for an expedition paradoxically especially since I am active in an outfit like Saff where more than half of the programs are outdoor-based.
You can’t blame me lah – I had a very traumatic two and a half years in the green uniform. The only reason that I was enthusiastic back then in moving as a recce specialist was purely because as part of the recce team one moves earlier than the main body and has the liberty of moving at one’s own pace only to make sure to meet the D-hour. So I was not exactly “enthu” in that respect – it’s simply adaptive Darwinism.
And even Ledang with Saff and all that – if it weren’t to mentor or facilitate the participants, I would not have even wanted to set foot in such places.
I guess it must have been the last Trainers Camp. When Ust Haniff shared in his tazkirah as to how a jungle or mountain setting is one of the best place for reflection of The Intelligent Architect. About not having fear or sadness as the Qur’an as prescribed – la khaufun a’laihim wa la hum yahzanun. Though this are the kind of things that you have already known but for some reason the appreciation for nature and Allah’s greatness in it really struck deeply then.
This particular trip was more spiritual than the rest. It awakens a childlike demeanor internally of like a child seeking to grasp the hand of his mother. The early mornings were special – though it was cold yet you tend to feel His Presence and Protection. The summit wasn’t as special as Belumut or Ledang but I felt it was the journey up to that summit that was more valuable. This life of ours is too fragile and is in itself a journey – with obstacles and challenges to overcome. Yet, there is also a summit, an end. And after that end, there is a story to be told in His Presence. I hope I would have had a good story then – a life story of service, devotion and humility – not one of pride and self-ratification.
I wish also here to dispel any notion that woman are weak and are never meant for such rigorous activities. Or worse, need the help of men to carry their bags or do certain task – simply because of physical limitations.
Let’s not forget that the ritual of Sa’i between Safa and Marwa was in dedication to Hajar who ran from one hill to the other in search for water for her infant child, Ismael. Let’s remember that when the Prophet (saw) and Abu Bakar (ra) did their Hijra – it was Asma (rha) the daughter of Abu Bakar whom would bring food and water to the pair in the Cave of Thaur which was of a substantial height and distance.
In the most recent context – the last trip to Ledang with the Young Minds Club (YMC) girls where it was a downpour throughout the ascend and descend between the base camp and summit, the girls unexpectedly rallied together and supported one another that totally surprised me. Had to say that when I first saw the girls I thought that they would literally suffer in the entire trip – but they proofed me wrong and even exhibited explicitly great teamwork and for once I was happy to be wrong. I didn’t hear anything but motivations for one another taking turn when the other is tired. They were even exchanging bags to help with the extra load of tents and other equipments. It’s a point to note also that that was the rain to a precursor to the last major flood in Malaysia – so it was no gentle rain and weather. Yet, the girls emerged with distinction!
There is a latent potential in all of us and unless we are constantly pampered with safety nets and so on – one would never find that latency.
While it is psychologically natural for man to play the hunter and alpha character (and perhaps because of the ego calling hence more pressing), yet it is far more worthwhile to allow woman to find their own strength – one that does not merely come from the physical domain but more of the intangible mental domain which is far more overreaching.