Asian Patent Attorneys Association Council Meeting @ Penang 2014 – Part II

Makan @ Penang

I met up with Dr Khoo and his wife Irene for dinner at Pulau Tikus market. Dr Khoo is born in Penang but now works as a Patent Attorney in Singapore. He recommended this place to me.

While waiting for them to arrive, I started my dinner with apom! It tasted okay.

It started raining heavily.

My first dish – duck kuay teow teng. We don’t have this in KL as far as I know. It’s rather bland though.

There are two shops selling the same thing but one says Established 1983. Guess which one I ordered from?

Finally get to eat Assam Laksa!

It was sweet and not spicy.

I must say this Muar Chi is damn awesome. It’s sold by the stall selling Assam Laksa.

Oh chien (oyster with fried eggs) was good too.

After dinner, Dr Khoo suggested that we have cakes at ChinaHouse at Beach Street.

We parked at this famous mural by a Lithuanian artist. Very rarely you get to be alone with this mural.

The kid with a kite mural has faded.

China House at Beach Street. It’s a very narrow shop but it’s connected with the shop directly behind it.

There’s a Honesty Shop near the courtyard. Nobody mans the place. Just take your product and leave your cash there. I wonder if it works.

In my area, there’s someone who gets his kid to steal newspaper on the news stand wtf.

A huge variety of cakes here.

We ordered 3 cakes. I didn’t like them much cause they were a little bit dry / too much cream.

I ordered gula melaka milk shake. It was nice in the beginning but the sweetness became a little bit unbearable thereafter. I didn’t finish it.

There’s a small bar adjoined to the cafe.

First time seeing this. You can test the wine using this machine. It will keep the wine thereafter so that it doesn’t turn bad- I think.

Gala Night
We celebrated the last night of the conference with a Gala dinner. I never remembered them to be enjoyable but this time round it was quite fun. It was held in Straits Quay. I drove there with some friends while the rest of the participants took the conference bus under the rain. Heh

I sat with my friends from Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Macau, US and my ex colleagues.

This is Manu from Spain. He does my trade mark work in Europe. I met him at San Francisco few years ago and he brought me around SF including the well known gay street, Castro Street. We blended in quiet well there.

Like many other guai lou, he can’t take spicy food. I planted some sambal on his food when he stepped out. His expression was priceless.

Takeshi from Japan and Caroline from Thailand. I met the both of them in Hong Kong back in 2009.

Takeshi is a patent attorney and he works in a firm belonging to his uncle. He said 1st year patent attorneys make USD5000 a month. In Malaysia, they make around RM3000.

(L – R) On from US, Bahari my ex colleague, Caroline and Jonathan from Singapore.

After the Gala Night, we headed to the Hospitality Suite for drinks.

As I was about to head back, some of them wanted to go to Hard Rock for more drinks. Since it’s the last night, I followed them.

I was dead tired by then.

We ended the night at McDonalds. I fit all these people here in my car in one single journey. Heh.

Takeshi was supposed to sleep early to catch his early departure from the hotel at 5am. We managed to convince him to stay for McD. By the time we were done with supper, it was already 4am.

I’m glad that I found a group of friends to hang out with in APAA. The next time I see all of them will be next year in Okinawa, Japan!

Mount Kinabalu

Mount Kinabalu is not an easy climb. It’s mentally and physically challenging. Nevertheless, climbing it is something I want to do before I die. Sam, Kenneth, my wife and I set out for Mount Kinabalu in early August. I did not train for it but my 2 times a week futsal, jogging and rock climbing sessions should suffice.

Kinabalu Park is just 2 hours drive from Kota Kinabalu. My father in law loaned me his car. I love the drive to Kinabalu Park from KK City. It’s very scenic.

Although many people have climbed Mount Kinabalu in the past, it’s not entirely safe. There are cases where climbers lost their way and found dead or not found at all. Our entire trip was filled with the story about Ellie James, a young British girl who was found dead in the summit. She somehow strayed from the path and was found dead few days later not too far from the trails.

Before making our ascend, we stayed in a nice lodge at the Kinabalu Park. We were given 2 rooms with a common toilet, kitchen and a living room with a fireplace and cable TV! And we got upgraded for free!

I am ready!

It’s compulsary to climb with a guide. Our guide cum porter’s name is Rowdy. Some people call him the Kinabalu Dragon. Apparently, he carried a 60kgs person up  the mountain before. Anyway, Rowdy was an awesome guide. He was with us all the time and never rushed or pushed us unnecessarily. There are porters who push or discourages climbers unnecessarily and some to the extend of abandoning the climbers.

Place to weigh about bags for Rowdy to carry. Kenneth weighing himself just in case he needs to be carried.

We took the Timpohon trail up to Laban Rata, the lodging area before heading up the Summit. The trail was fine. Loads of steep steps and rocks.

The only waterfall we saw on the way up

Rowdy and our 16KG bags

There is rest stop every 1KM.

Untreated water is available in every rest stop

Our pre-packed lunch provided by the resort

But as soon as we start moving, I was struck with altitude sickness. I had a piercing headache. I felt like my brain was being tortured slowly. I couldn’t move fast and had to stop a lot. The last steps to Laban Rata was toughest for me. I had to stop ever 10 steps but we made it to the top eventually.

There is also a stretcher in every rest stop. Just in case someone gets into trouble.

Tree started to change as we move further up

We stayed in Gunting Lagadan Hut. It’s a small hut with bunk beds and common toilets. There are no heater or hot water.

Many had resorted to boiling hot water to shower. The only good thing about this hut is that it’s just next to the gate up to the summit.

Laban Rata!

Food is served at the Laban Rata lodge. Surprisingly, food was not bad! I guess I was very hungry.

View from the cafeteria! We’re above the clouds!

We woke up at 2am to ascend the peak. We were ready for bed at around 7pm but most of us couldn’t sleep at such early time. I was already sleeping by 7pm due to my splitting headache. My headache subsided after I took paracetamol and slept.

We missed the Olympics  badminton finals between Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei. Luckily I missed the game otherwise I wouldn’t be able to sleep with disappointment after Chong Wei lost.

Before the hike to summit. Now we all know how the ladies look like in a tudong.

My headache began immediately after I passed the gate to the Summit. It became worst as we moved upwards. But it subsided when Rowdy asked me to take off my headlamp. It was an instant cure! Unfortunately, it came back when the vegetation started to disappear. Halfway through the journey, I started to have stomache. It was terrible. I had already had a big problem controlling my headache.

At some point, I felt like shitting in my pants and continue walking after that! Probably leave my undies there as a gift for archeologists excavating the place 10,000 years later. But I guess I still had some dignity left in me during such desperate time.

The sky was still dark. Rowdy is on the left.

The rope climb starts as soon as the vegetation disappears. It was okay for me since I used to climb outdoors.

I must say that my Adidas Kampung was awesome. It has excellent grip on the rocks. I didn’t even need to hold on to the ropes.

We moved very slowly due to my condition. We had to stop quite frequently and took long rests. Rowdy advised us to go slowly instead of doing it fast. It worked but we were so slow that we were the last to reach the summit!

We couldn’t get there in time to catch the sunrise but what matters is that we reached the summit.

The summit was all rocks. There were patches of vegetation and water puddles here and there. The floor was like broken tiles in various shades of grey. The wind was strong and cold.

The ultimate aim of this hike is to reach Low’s Peak, the highest point of Mount Kinabalu. It’s named after Hugh Low, the first person ever recorded to reach the summit. It’s fine if you don’t reach Low’s Peak. I was told that you are eligible for a coloured certificate if you reach a certain point after the Sayat-sayat checkpoint.

When I reached the point where we could elect to climb Low’s Peak, my headache was getting worst. I gathered all my remaining strength to move on. Within minutes, my wife and I were up on Low’s Peak. We were the last person to be up there.

We took some pictures before we descend from Low’s Peak. It was then my head felt like exploding. I thought I was going to die there!

We were the last people to leave the summit. We left together with the people who were taking care of Sayat-sayat.

View of Low’s Gully from Low’s Peak. Some British soldiers got lost while trekking Low’s Gully. Their ordeal was later made into a movie.

Descending Mount Kinabalu was a torture. It felt like forever. Our thighs, knees and ankles were killing us. We took about 4 hours to hike down! It was a mental torture as the journey down doesn’t seem to end. If I compare this trip and my 8 hours boat trip to Tioman island, the latter was mentally tougher but the former is physically tougher.

Once we reached the bottom, I had to drive back to the city. I almost felt asleep while driving. Zzz

To those who are thinking of climbing, here are some tips:-

1. It’s fine to hike with short pants and slippers to Laban Rata. However, you may risk cutting yourself if you slip and have blisters on your feet.
2. Training for such long hike is recommended. I play futsal twice for 2 hours a week, jog in the weekends and rock climb once a week. But I struggled to get to the top and get down.
3. Bring thick clothing as it’s extremely cold in the summit. A beanie is useful to cover your ears.
4. Adidas kampung helps but normal jogging shoes works. You can get Adidas Kampung at Pekan Nabalu.
5. Bring as much food (e.g. instant noodles) or beverages (e.g. 3 in 1 packets) if you can. It’s expensive up in Laban Rata. A cup of Horlicks costs RM12.80.
6. There is no instant cure for altitude sickness. Descending the mountain seems to be the best cure. Paracetamol may ease your pain but I heard it’s not recommended. Rushing up the mountain may cause or aggravate altitude sickness. Take your time to move up.