Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Father-Son outing to the Jungle

As a father with 6 children, it's always special to have a one-on-one time with a son or daughter. This usually happens more frequently when they are still young and more physically dependent on you. However when it happens when they are in their latter teenage years where they often hang out more with their teenage friends, it becomes and even more special and memorable experience. The trip with Shuan to the Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak state on Borneo Island was such an experience for me. When Shuan brought along some text books to study, I was reminded  of a previous experience , that this would be part of the package when they are already in college! Guess for Shuan, all the study pays off as reflected in his academic performance and scholarships won.

Flying in to our destination and viewing the vast jungles and rivers below us was exhilarating!

As the plane landed with our feet on the ground, there was great anticipation.

There was still a 20 min vehicle ride deeper into the forest from the airport with other adventurous passengers.

After checking into our place of accommodation, we went to report to the Ranger's office to pay our entrance fee, get maps and more information to join the next group led by a guide to the Mulu caves.

It is very helpful to have a guide who can point specifics in our hiking trail through the forest to the caves.

For example, I would not have been able to film this interesting insect that was well camouflaged.

Soon we got closer to the hills where the caves are.

We would first visit the Langs Cave and later the Deer Cave

Here is the entrance to Langs cave

Checking out interesting information about the cave

We follow the guide through narrow tunnels into the cave...

... to find that it could be quite wide and spacious further inside the cave!

Here is an explanation of how these caves were created through time

Now off to the next cave

We can see the application of the power of time in this video that created these caves

Wow, isn't that a silhouette of Abraham Lincoln in the cave opening?

One of the spectacular event visiting the caves is to see the bats flying out of the cave in the evening. We did try to wait for this moment but time was against us to witness it so here is one captured by a third party on video.

It has been a truly awesome adventure exploring these caves!

Soon it was time to head back to our camp

... and we chose to stay in a place worthy of our hero....

with an evening of entertainment with cultural dances as we enjoyed our buffet dinner

Next day, it's time for river boat rides!

With more cave explorations too...

... until we bade farewell to the wonderful place from the air on our way home.

I believe my son and I would remember our adventure here together for a long long time to come!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Shocking news of a sudden death of an 18 year old!

The news quickly spread to the Church members in KL branch that Camilia Cross, daughter of Alan and Cora cross had died of a car accident in which she was just a pedestrian who was knocked down by another young woman driving! The driver took Camilia to a nearby clinic, spoke to Camilia's mom Cora as the doctor arranged for an ambulance to bring her to the hospital. Camilia underwent surgery at the hospital for apparent internal injuries but never recovered and passed away the following afternoon. Camilia had just turned 18 in February, a little child that grew up in the Church primary and youth program in which Geok Lee had been her teacher.

It's sad to lose any young woman or man. My mind flashed back quickly to the past sad experiences of other friends who lost their child and to my surprise it was always due to an automobile accident! The first was Alan Tay who was driving just near his home in Old Klang Road. Read about it here. Then just this year, my old mission companion lost his son Alton Yung, just 17 years of age, driving in Florida USA where they live. Read about it here and see the video created in his remembrance.

In Camilia's case, she wasn't even driving and was just an innocent victim by the roadside in a nearby surburb near her home, hit by another young woman driver. No details were yet known about what actually happened except that the driver did take Camilia to the clinic as there were no other witnesses in contact.

To have the Wake at the apartment was challenging at first as the building management were concerned that a Christian type event might not be conducive in an apartment occupied also by Muslims, related Alan the father. However one Muslim resident said, go ahead as it's the Muslim fasting month, a month of patience and tolerance and a group of Muslims actually came to pay their respects at the Wake held at the ground floor of the apartment building. The following photos were taken at apartment building where Camilia lays for visitors from near and far. She will be moved to the Church the next day for a funeral service.

Some youth of the Church at the Wake who had gathered together, many of whom were childhood friends with Camilia.

On Sunday 22nd Aug 2010, Camilia's casket was brought to the Church in KL for a special funeral service at 2pm attended by many friends and family members.

We heard from Young Women speakers Eriene Oh, Merille Yong and Janice Bacay who spoke beautifully and set the right spirit for the service that was in Loving Memory of Camilia Maria Cross. (18th February 1992 - 19th August 2010)

The Young Women sang a choir number entitled, "Because I Have Been Given Much"

We later heard from Melody, Camilia's older sister, who shared an Euglogy of her sister. Susie How spoke next, a senior member of the KL branch who knows the Cross family well, and shared the fundamentals of the Gospel of Love & Hope with the large congregation of friends and family members. The Funeral Service closed with the final words from President Scott Sanders.

Soon it was time to head out to the burial site at Sungei Buloh where the grave was dedicated with a prayer by President Graham Doxey. Many came to participate in the throwing of soil to the grave before Camilia would be permanently buried in the ground and the placement of flowers and candles on her grave site. The following photos depict the scene at the burial site :

From The Cross Family with love : Alan, Cora, Melody & Shaan :

Thank youfor all who are here
Thank you for the flowers that you sent
Thank you for those who brought food
Thank you for all the time that was shared
Thank you for the love and support to the Family
Thank you for all the prayers that was said
Thank you for having Camilia as part of your lives