Building a rainwater harvesting system in Kampung Jemeri, Kuala Rompin

water for life

I went to Kampung Jemeri last weekend for the Water For Life CSR (Community Social Responsibility) program, which provides Orang Asli with access to uninterrupted water supply. Kampung Jemeri in Kuala Rompin, Pahang is about a 6 hour drive from KL and does not have one of the basic necessities of life – clean water.

kampung jemeri rompin

The entire Orang Asli village has to draw water from a very old pump and when it runs dry, they have to walk half a kilometer to draw water from the well and on days when the water supply was low, they had to make an incredible 5 km trek to reach the nearest river!

community service

Water For Life is a venture of PETRONAS Dagangan Berhad (PDB) and Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) to ensure that the 131 families in Kampung Jemeri has a clean and safe water supply. The second phase involves 40 of us from PDB to help them install a rainwater harvesting system.

rompin pahang

I’ve been to quite a few kampungs in my time but never to one where water is such a scarce resource! Long houses for Ibans in Sarawak is usually built close to rivers to that isn’t a problem. However, the Orang Asli here doesn’t even have a steady supply of that!

water tanks

It was quite a pleasure to help them in this – we were all issued heavy duty gloves and a wristband to indicate which of the 4 large 400 liter water tanks we will be assigned to.

water

The large tanks are installed in sections throughout the main dirt road of the 131 Orang Asli families in Kampung Jemeri to provide easy access to water for all.

rainwater collection

The first one was built at the start of the sprawling village and it takes in water from…

rainwater filtration

….two large rainwater harvesting ponds.

cutting pvc pipe

It is then sent up through a system of 100 meter pipes to the other tanks to allow everyone in the village easy access to water – right at their doorsteps.

task station

I was assigned to the very last water tank and we hefted it all the way to the rear of the village and did all the installation to accept the sequential water from Tank 1-3.

blue team

Blue Team!

water harvesting tanks

Hauling the water tanks into the village.

100m pvc

Since we’re at the last station, we had to first run the PVC pipe to the third water tank to hook up with them. I was surprised to find out that behind the dirt road is primary jungle!

primary jungle

I got quite a few mosquito bites from that but it’s all good fun.

toolbox

We also had a toolbox which contains cutters and all the piping necessities to build the rainwater harvesting system. I assigned myself to hook up the piping to the tank itself…

pipe installation

…and also the last mile where I joined the PVC piping to a steed rod and a pipe with a lot of help.

last mile piping

The box of tools has somehow been taken back to base camp, which is at least 500 meters away, and none of us wanted to make the trek back (which would tell you how far the villagers have to go for water every single time they wanted it – and get it back) so I used a huge stone to bang the steel pipe into the hard packed earth.

zip tie pipe

It worked even better than a hammer! The principle is much like that of piling in construction. I hefted the rock and let it go while another guy from PDB held it steady. In a minute or so, we managed to drive the entire steel rod in to hold the rest of the PVC and pipe!

orang asli hut

Orang Asli hut! It’s barely 1 meter tall.

orang asli family

There’s actually people inside, preparing for lunch. They’re peeling bamboo shoots, which grows in the wild here.

rompin water for life

Managing Director and CEO of Petronas DAGANGAN Berhad, Aminul Rashid Mohd Zamzam with Malaysian Nature Society and the village head of Kampung Jemeri in Kuala Rompin.

candy kids

Handing candy out to the local kids.

kampung jemeri

The entire rainwater system with proper filtering was tested and water flowed smoothly…

petronas water for life

…so all that was needed is to wait for the 4 tanks to fill up.

orang asli feast

The Orang Asli villagers at Kampung Jemeri held a veritable feast for us, with local delicacies like ikan tenggiri masak tempoyak. There’s also a fiery sambal that Dina asked me to try and I immediately got hooked on. I ate a lot of that homemade sambal with ulam (raw vegetables).

group photo

However, the best part of the day was getting dirty and sweaty in helping these less fortunate folks get one of the basic necessities of life – water.

orang asli kids

I’ve gotten a glimpse of how the Orang Asli in Kampung Jemeri lived and I’m glad I was part of the Water For Life initiative to help then get clean access to water.

water for life rompin

It’s a very good feeling, doing community work like this.

Deer Emophant – a trip to the National Elephant Conservation Centre and Deerland Park in Kuala Gandah, Pahang

elephant conservation malaysia

I went on a road trip to Kuala Gandah in Pahang over the long weekend to check out National Elephant Conservation Center. I didn’t even know there was an elephant sanctuary in Malaysia!

We had planned to go to Chiling Falls, but that was nixed due to the closure of the route. Thus, on the night before, the four of us – Suanie, Marco, Joyce and yours truly drove down on one of our impromptu road trips. Well, to be precise, Suanie drove.

I was quite intrigued to find an emophant in the elephant conservatory.

What is an emophant?

emo elephant
Emophant is emo.

The elephants in this sanctuary are all rescued from the wild – from poachers of their prized tusks. Thus, you can see that all of them don’t have tasks. This place saves elephants but sometimes, quite a few die coz they’re beyond salvation after running into illegal poachers wielding sharp instruments for cutting off their lucrative tusks.

I heard this from one of the rangers in the park. There are actually quite a lot of deaths before they could be saved but what they’re doing is admirable.

emophant

Naturally, after a nasty experience of being cornered by men with the intent on separating them from their appendages, the wild pachyderms takes a while to recover.

elephant conservation pahang

Some are more resilient, and it’s good to feel the sensitive elephant’s trunk around your hands – they can be fed peanuts or sugar cane (all sold at the premises).

snacks

Others, like the emophant, takes a while to recover and it’s a little sad to see that poor huge beast standing by itself in the corner. :x

emophant destroy
Emophant smash!

I have to say that I’m no saint though, I felt really sorry for the emophant but given a chance to try out elephant meat, I would. I don’t see why dead carcasses cannot be butchered and sold with profits going to the care of the ones that are alive (they’re dead anyway).

I’m no stranger to eating dogs – I’ve done so twice, once in Hanoi (where there’s an entire street dedicated to it) and once in Korea. I’ve also eaten a huge rat in China. I do like exotic game meat and I’ll try everything once.

No point in bashing me for it, there’s plenty of that on my YouTube video of the dog meat trade – just do what you feel is right and you’re good. I don’t get pressured not to eat certain stuff, my personal stance is that while education about brutality is good and all, it’s really a personal choice – cows are sacred to the Hindus, yet people all around eat steaks with abandon and on the secular side of things, there’s horrendous egg farms for chickens but yet a lot of people eat eggs.

I do not judge and my policy is simple – education for the future generation and personal choice. Getting your panties all in a twist about it is kinda like the War on Drugs – pointless. It benefits some people (keeps the DEA and the likes in their jobs) and afford a holier-than-thou podium for people who wants be in the limelight but ultimately the mantra of “When the demand drops, the supply would too” is a slippery slope.

I have already quit that particular chapter in my life and I can piss as clean as a whistle now. I don’t want any part of it anymore, but that’s just my choice. I won’t look at you askance if you enjoy a toke or two on the weekends.

elephant conservation kuala gandah

Anyway, back on the subject of elephants – I heard you can also take a bath with them beside a nearby stream. It sounds like a fun thing to do, but it seems like the place has become a tad commercialized according to Suanie – it used to be quite rustic, but that is the way of the world.

The next stop on our trip was Deerland Park.

champagne

I found a really cute cat that really made my day. She looks a lot like Champagne (a cat I had when I was in my early teens – would cuddle her for hours each night and she drinks from the same glass of milk as I do, something which horrifies my parents).

cat

The cat is very affectionate and I picked it up and walked with it for a bit. I like the warmth and the soft purr of a feline in my arms. I’m a sucker for cats like this. :)

ferret

There are a lot of other animals in Deerland Park, like this ferret. I thought this was a hilarious pose (geddit?).

However, the main thing to see there are the deer. It looks a lot like goats to me, especially this Satanic looking specimen:

satanic deer

You get a bowl of carrots and other mixed vegetables and you can feed them. It’s fun!

I reckon the bigger ones were getting really aggressive and snagging all the food so the trick is to take multiple carrots with both hands and make sure the smaller deer are fed while ensuring the larger ones gets distracted.

It’s fun to feel their lips and it’s remarkable how they can sense what to bite and what not to, like the elephants.

red ants

I did get bitten by a couple of red ants though. It turns out there’s a nest of the nasty little things nearby.

python

Deerland Park is also where I took a photo with a very huge python. I’ve been to the Snake Temple in Penang and I found it apt that I kissed and was blessed by this snake before the Chinese Year of the Snake. :D

I like snakes. I used to own a ball python. I’ve also eaten snake before, including a cobra that I haven’t posted yet.

There’s a story about epicureans who managed to eat a phoenix in a story by master storyteller Jeffrey Archers. I highly recommend that book, bought it in London one of my trips there.

deerland

It’s a fun place to go to and just a short drive away from KL – both places are listed in Google Maps. I really liked the emophant – entrance fee to the National Elephant Conservation Center is free (donations are encouraged) and Deerland Park cost RM 28 for the four of us. It’s a good find and a fun place to spend a couple of hours during the long weekend.

feeding deer

There’s actually nothing much to do in both places, just a chance to pet and see the animals that makes up the name of the places. I guess that’s the appeal of the place, plus I haven’t been to both places before and I have been wanting to take a road trip for a while. :)

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