25 September 2017


“In one sentence, describe yourself.”

This could be the simplest question ever at interviews. I have a script for this. I would tell them my full name, my highest qualification, what is my career objective, and simply explain how I could fit into the company based on what I know about them.

When I am all alone, I actually struggle to define myself.

I notice that I always view myself as an extension of somebody else or an organization. Like all I amounted to was just another fragment of a bigger picture. 

“I’m a student of UPM.”
“I joined a club called al-Biruni back then in university.”
“I used to work with this company specializing in environmental monitoring.” 

This is the gross idea. Going several layers deeper, I would behave according to what I belief is expected of me. I do not assert my preferences, always agreeing. I always ridicule my existence to the level of insignificance. 

It’s like when your roommate asks you if he could switch off the lights, and you tell him go ahead even when you have an important submission tomorrow. Oh I could cram this paper tomorrow morning. I don’t want him to feel uncomfortable or feeling that I am unaccommodating. Even small matters like this could trigger a war in my head. 

See? I adjust to my surroundings more than I shape them. 

I do not plan, I always go with the flow. In the long run, I began to wonder if ever I have a personality of my own, preferences of doing things. Like people telling you “I have this principle that I hate liars more than I hate people who procrastinate.” And you wondered how did he mold his conscience to have this notion, when you just don’t have anything that you’re holding onto in your life. 

“I accept and judge them all the same. People do bad things – liars and procrastinators both.” Is what I would tell them, to give out an illusion that I have my own principles as well, when I simply don’t know if I do have that stand.

People could be mad when you crossed the line, but do I myself have that line? Is it a sign of cowardice, that the reason I am so soft spoken and mellowed was because I am afraid to assert my stand that there was no line to cross to start with? But more importantly, do I have anything that I would stand for?

It’s like a meeting, where people would throw in suggestions and justify their opinion by reasoning. I often find it hard to do this, that if my suggestion is indeed accepted, I would offend those who got theirs rejected. Or worse yet, my idea would come under scrutiny and it would destroy me. I ended up not speaking out my mind, and accepted whatever decision that we (they) collectively came out with just to avoid conflict. Yunuss once pointed this out, and it left me speechless.

I come to people’s house just to see that they have a clear idea on what they want to do with their house – a sign that they have a clear idea on what they want to do with their life. Their method of housekeeping, arranging things, interior design. This should be placed here, this should be kept there.
Just who taught you this? How did you come to this conclusion? 

I have no sense of direction, that I believe that everything would turn out okay no matter which road you take. This applies to everything in my life that I could not decide if believing this is bad or good. Oftentimes, being indecisive frustrates people more than it accommodates them. 

“Where do you want to go to eat?”
“I don’t mind.”
“Just give me suggestions. I’m tired of being the one who thinks.”

See? It taught me that being accommodating sometimes actually do more harm than good. I always wait for the final act before I would take action on my own. Wait until the meeting is over, I’m going to meet the chairman and tell him that I have another point that he must consider – just so I won’t have to spark a conflict in the meeting room.

Wait till the lights are off and I’m going to know what to do with this unfinished paper – to apply for a postponement or to wake up very early tomorrow and finish it. 

Like everything in my life is expendable, that there is no real tension, just me keep delaying deadlines, lowering standards and me accommodating everybody’s opinion that nobody would disagree with me because heck, I would agree first with every shit that they come out with no matter how ridiculous.

This lack of discipline, devoid of opinions often threw me in unexpected situations. 

“Hey, could you join me hiking next week? To the highest peak of Titiwangsa ranges?”
“Well, I have no strong reasons to say no..but I have doubts..”
“Then please follow this trip.” 

I ended up joining the trip though I felt like it was a crazy, spur-of-the-moment decision. But just like I said, no matter which road that I took, I always ended up okay. This offers me a reason to feel safe or at least optimistic about my indecisiveness.

Methodological approach sounds like a myth in my life as I always tackle matters with sudden spikes of energy, and when that spike is nonexistent, I could not be bothered. I ended up not finishing what I’ve started because the energy has run out, methodological be damned.

So as an attempt to define myself, I wrote this one down, with one big question in my head. Am I relative to other people, or do I stand as my own? 

I simply could not make up my mind.

19 September 2017

What's The Meaning of Life (2)

The volcano stood proud at almost 4 thousand meters above sea level. The wind is not only merciless in its nature coldness, the Sulphur originated from the active volcano’s crater now has amalgamated with the breeze, making it acidic. 

The three layers of clothing that were protecting me from the cold could not protect my spirit from quavering. Oh my god, this is exactly what I’ve foreseen. Only now the air is not just cold, it’s toxic.
The slope past 3000masl is a barren wasteland. No moss, no grass, no trees. Nothing. 

My heart beat at a fast tempo from the straining hike. I was walking still with my trekking pole in one hand, gloves wrapping both, slowed down nonetheless.

It was so hazy, the light from the headlamp could not penetrate the fog, I couldn’t see where I was stepping on. I would slip once or twice on the loose rocks – mini heart attacks ensue. The air would clear at times, and when the fog strikes back it was so cold, blinding and piercing, you could even smell sulfur in it. 

I could not stop for long, or else the heat produced from my body won’t be enough to offset the coldness of the mountain air. I did not stop to ask if this was the right decision, there was simply no turning back. I felt strangely calm, though sometimes angst of fear panged my chest. 

It was within that time I began to realise that what made all of these worth doing was when I see Tokie climbing perpetually despite everything – EVERYTHING – menstrual pain, lethargy, lack of sleep notwithstanding, as if she had no inhibition to her dreams. Or seeing Asyraf calmly steps on the slope, sometimes guiding Ita with his voice as soft as ever. Or when Afiq sacrifices half of his comfortable sleep for me by letting my legs rest underneath his to preserve my body temperature. Or when Hakim willingly carried the 6-men tent that adds a few extra kilograms to his load so that we could have a shelter to sleep in. 

I was too busy trying to prove myself, to validate myself, my own life and my being that I began to forget that I had drawn and adapted strength from these people to complete my journey. This was not a solo hike – this is not the testimony of my own strength – this is a story of the collective efforts of 10 brave souls who would sacrifice their selves for the team, and inspires me by doing so. They told me I had the mental stamina to pull it through, though it was really them who lend me their endurance. 

What’s the meaning of life?

I remember feeling really close to the people of this land, we shared the same language, the same skin colour, the same belief – it was like staring into a mirror. Though our lives are separated by the Malacca Straits, we are essentially the same. 

Life happens slightly differently here. It’s a land of perpetual coldness, 1500 meters above sea level. The atmosphere always seems dull, the pace always seems slow. There was this brutal realization that this place has a dual quality of being homely, and unapologetically unliveable, just like the homestay where we stayed. It was cozy interior-design-wise, but the cold air was choking and the running water from the tap was icy cold. It was damp all the time, I wonder if they’d ever wash and leave their clothes to dry under the cold ambient. It almost feels illogical that this is their day-to-day reality, yet they lived. 

The morning prayer call from the nearby mosques almost conceals the true extent of the unfriendly coldness of dawn. What reverberated through the dense air was similar to that of home, but it was literally a different air – temperature, chemical composition, humidity and all.

Life is not just a series of events. Life is how we lived with what we believe, with what we made out of ourselves, and with the understanding that people lived differently and that your life is made up of various presence of people who helped shaping it. 

I found the latter on this mountain, in the faces of these friends. Those who suffered the same trials as mine and emerged triumphant. I found the different, various lives that were lived at the foot of Kerinci – from the smiles of them aunts who sold us teh angek in small warungs, the son of the homestay owner who played flipping cards with reckless abandon, the farmer whose cow barn was our pitstop, to the girls who board the back of pickup truck who almost got killed when it maneuvered. 

There. I could not decipher the meaning of life per se, as it is irrelevant to try to define something of a whole immense range of meanings and definitions, but it was through a different perspective somewhere thousands few kilometers away from home I could see how my life was a gift and this journey was another proof that I was lucky to be living it.

I was lucky to have those friends on the mountain. 

When I reached the top, all that I could see was the 10 of us standing side by side, thinking if this is the last time we would do this. Or that if this friendship would survive the test of time. I could never imagine scaling the mountains alone without even a single soul with me along the way, or standing on the top all by myself.
As I breathed the Sulphur-laden air on the mountain, I could never really adequately express my gratitude for this gift. I have a life worth celebrating, and Lord, I am on a volcano to celebrate it.

10 September 2017

Petualangan Kerinci (Volume 4 - End)

Azan subuh mengejutkan kami. Hari ini kami akan kembali ke Padang.Yeay!!

Lepas subuh, kami yang kepenatan tidur kembali, Hakim dan Acap je yang keluar mengopi. Rezeki pagi ni murah, sebab dapat bergambar sehingga ke mercu puncak Kerinci di Tugu Macan. 

 Ni taichi ke silat ni? Belakang tu nampak puncak Kerinci siap ada asap lagi y'all!

Urat-urat kaki pagi ni semua rasa tegang, nak naik tangga dari bawah lepas ambil wuduk pun kena perlahan-lahan haha

Keheningan pagi Isnin kami dipecahkan oleh suara guru besar sekolah berucap sewaktu perhimpunan dari pembesar suara di sekolah berhampiran. Oh terlupa, hari ini hari Isnin. Rasa nostalgik mendengar ucapan guru besar. Adegan sekolah dari filem-filem Indonesia bermain di minda. 

Lepas breakfast, kami keluar ke kedai berdekatan nak minum teh angek. Semua nampaknya dah jadi ketagihan teh selepas 5 hari bertualang di sini haha

Kami kemas beg semua. Seperti biasa. (urgh hypertension dah tengok beg. Asyik2 kena kemas, asyik2 kena kemas

Lepas beg semua dinaikkan ke atas van, kami pun bergerak semula menuju Padang.

Perjalanan seperti hari pertama ketibaan kami, jalannya kadang bikin melambung. Elsa Pitaloka masih bermain di dalam playlist. Cuma entah kenapa hari ni ada kelonggaran, supir mainkan lagu-lagu pilihan kami. Barulah ada lagu akak Mariah Carey, lagu-lagu kumpulan Exists. Lega sikit telinga guwe. 

Semuanya lancar tapi waktu hampir tengahari, perjalanan kami tersekat. Jalan yang basah kerana hujan menyebabkan sebuah lori tergelincir, dan di sebelahnya sebuah lagi lori patah gandar. Tiada jalan lain, ini satunya jalan menghubungkan kami ke Padang. 

 Inilah punca kesesakannya. Macet! 
 Tak dapat tolong dapat wefie jadilah hehuu

Ada antara kami turun nak bergambar, saya malas nak turun duduk je dalam van penaddd. Dahlah berhenti tepi semak, bukak pintu van je terus masuk semak huhuhu

Untuk mengisi masa terluang, sementara menunggu jalan clear, siapa tah suggest main game Pembunuh. First round je kita dah kena jadi pembunuh ciss haku dahlah tak pandai berlakon watak jahat hewhew (serangan mata innocent). Tapi game kami sempat seround je sebelum trafik bergerak semula.  

Bermain game pembunuh. Tengok muka jahat kita. Nampaks ngat tak reti berlakon watak jahat

Kami berhenti makan nasik padang (ramai dah jemu menghadap nasik padang) dan solat. Perjalanan diteruskan lagi sampai malam kami berhenti untuk dinner (nasik padang lagi!) dan tiba di Padang lebih kurang pukul 12. Kami check in ke hotel backpackers yang tandasnya di luar bilik, kena berkongsi. Saya expect macam dorm, tapi macam bilik hotel biasa. Selesa. 

Sepanjang hari ni hidung gatal je, bila hembus hidung penuh dengan warna-warna hitam debu gunung berapi dengan darah yang masih basah. Wuuu betapa kejamnya kamu terhadap saya Hayati Kerinci

Walaupun penat, Acap dan Hakim ajak berjalan-jalan di sekitar hotel kami. Iwan dan Daus dan gigirls je yang tinggal di hotel.

 Menikmati jagung bakar pedas di Jambatan Siti Nurbaya

Kami berjalan di atas Jambatan Sitti Nurbaya yang merentangi Sungai Batang Arau, menikmati jagung bakar pedas. Menariknya, gerai kecil jagung di jambatan ini ada tertera dalam Google Maps.
Sepanjang makan, banyak kami bercerita dengan Andika. Especially berkenaan aktiviti-aktiviti outdoor dan gunung-ganang di Indonesia. Tapi boleh pulak denai torlupo (tibaah acah speaking Minang) nak tanya pasal misteri Gunung Kerinci. ralat betul. 

Balik hotel je, tidur nyenyak. Yeay esok balik Malaysia! Tazabar nya rasa. Rindu nasik lemak. Rindu keropok lekor. Rindu cuaca tropika #acah2 hahaha

Esoknya lepas subuh kami keluar breakfast sambil berjalan. Andika tunjukkan gudang Belanda yang kini sudah kosong, bangunannya nampak usang tak berjaga. Melalui kawasan pelabuhan dan bot-bot persiaran. Kawasan ni nampaknya ramai orang Cina, ada tokong, rumah keagamaan etc etc tapi nama tokongnya nama Melayu like wudd aneh sekali. Rumah Duka Himpunan Tjinta Teman nama tokong dekat situ. 

 Gudang tinggalan Belanda

Akhirnya waktu sarapan merasa jugak kami minum avocado coklat pagi tu.

Kami sempat juga ke Muzium Adityawarman, sebuah muzium menempatkan khazanah Minangkabau. Dekat situ kebetulan ada sekumpulan makcik berbaju basiba Minang tengah bergambar, apa lagi, kami photoshoot lah sekali. Excited lah dapat bergambar dengan model baju tradisional Minang lol

 5 tanda Rukun Islam bersama tante-tante berbusana basiba Minangkabau (kebetulan kami ramai pakai merah lol)

 Muzium Adityawarman. Hakim bergambar di muzium nenek moyang beliau hewhew

Lepas balik hotel kemas barang semua, van sudah menunggu membawa kami ke bandara Padang.
Sampai di airport, reunion semula dengan Naufal and family. Flight kami pukul 3:50 petang balik semula ke klia2. 

Begitulah akhirnya sebuah kisah petualangan di negara jiran. (Camtuh ending antiklimaks haha!)
Waktu dekat bandara, nampak gunung Marapi dan Singgalang yang jauh lebih rendah dari Kerinci. Terus rasa haish tak percaya. Aku berjaya mendaki Kerinci wehh. 

Setelah lapan bulan planning, akhirnya. 

Misteri Kerinci

Lepas balik, saya cari-cari pasal misteri Gunung Kerinci. Rupanya nama Tugu Yudha tempat kami berhenti rehat sebelum ke puncak tu bukan saja-saja diberi nama Yudha. Yudha tu ada kaitan kenapa Andika cemas waktu kabut tebal melanda semasa kami mendaki. 

Yudha Sentika seorang anak muda berusia 17 tahun ketika beliau mendaki Gunung Kerinci pada tanggal 23 Jun 1990 bersama 6 orang lagi teman-temannya. Sewaktu mereka dalam perjalanan turun, kabut tebal sedang melanda. Rakan-rakan Yudha kehilangan jejak Yudha kerana jarak penglihatan yang sangat terhad, menyangkakan Yudha telah terlebih dahulu sampai ke khemah.

Sewaktu mereka tiba ke khemah, mereka mendapati Yudha belum juga pulang. Pencarian Yudha sehingga ke hari ini tidak membuahkan hasil. Yudha lenyap tanpa sebarang berita. 

Tugu Yudha dijadikan sebuah memorial untuk Yudha, Seorang Sahabat Yang Tidak Pernah Kembali.

Malah, dari tahun 1983 sehingga sekarang, sudah terdapat 8 orang yang meninggal dunia atau hilang tidak ditemui di Gunung Kerinci. Barangkali mengetahui bahaya kabut yang tebal, Andika sama sekali enggan kami berpisah, risau kami bertemu nasib seperti Yudha. 

Sehari sebelum kami mendaki Kerinci pada 18 Ogos 2017, seorang pelajar sekolah jatuh dan cedera parah di Shelter 3, juga dalam perjalanan turun. 


Sesuatu yang tak terduga, ialah tarikh yang kami pilih. Beberapa peristiwa terdekat menjadikan petualangan kami lebih bermakna. Kami datang ke Indonesia sehari selepas hari kemerdekaan mereka, dan kami pulang semula seminggu sebelum hari kemerdekaan Malaysia.

Di puncak Kerinci, sewaktu bendera 2 negara serumpun berkibar suatu perasaan persaudaraan terbit di dalam hati. Bahasa, kulit dan raut wajah kami serupa, kita semua bersaudara. Petualangan ini mengajar kami (Or at least, for me hewhew) ertinya menjadi duta kecil negara. Ketika kami turun dan mendapat akses internet, barulah kami mendapat perkhabaran tentang isu bendera negara Indonesia yang dicetak terbalik ketika Sukan SEA. 

Saya percaya, sewaktu kami bertukar khabar, saling memberi semangat ketika mendaki Kerinci sesama pendaki dari Indonesia, kami sebenarnya menghulur salam perdamaian dan persaudaraan dari seluruh warga Malaysia. Moga kemesraan yang terjalin saat kami mendaki dapat memberikan keyakinan kepada warga Indonesia bahawa apapun terjadi, kita tetap bersaudara selamanya. 

 1- Lupa habis nak bukak banner Kerinci dekat puncak! Sayang je penat-penat bawak banner naik atas huhuhu
       2. Air Milo kotak dia tak seumpph Malaysia! Ke lidah kita lain hahaha. Dah terkurang feeling air kemenangan
3-      3. Guwe enggak pernah mahu kembali lagi! Btw, orang Minang tak sebut guwe lo mas ni semua hahaha
4. Sampai rumah je, terus timbang berat. Ya ampun, berat guwe 110kg! Gimanaan ini sih! Cemana berat tiga angka lepas mendaki ni huuu. Lagi pelik lepas turun gunung berat tak turun-turun. *sedapkan hati - ini semua lemak dah tukar jadi muscle ni * 

5.  FYI kami ambil insurans perjalanan takaful KIMB untuk ke Indonesia ni, walaupun dia tak cover hiking tapi dia cover perjalanan. Kalau nak tanya lanjut boleh komen di bawah
So itulah saja teman-teman cerita edisi untuk Petualangan Kerinci. Pengajaran yang saya dapat ialah, untuk menjayakan sesuatu misi, planning itu sangat penting. Program kami kali ni berjaya kerana perancangan dan disiplin sejak dari tahun lepas setiap bulan mengumpul duit. Alhamdulillah, ternyata segalanya kini menjadi kenyataan. Keren!

Untuk teman-teman Petualangan Kerinci, saya dengan rendah diri memohon maaf andai terlanjur bahasa atau perbuatan, tiadalah langsung terdetik niat untuk menyakiti melainkan untuk bercandat bercanda mengeratkan hubungan hewhewhew. Terima kasih atas segalanya (next petualangan kita ke mana ini dong? hehe)

Sekian saja. Bertemu lagi kita dalam edisi outdoor seterusnya. Renung-renungkan dan selamat beramal!

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