In yesterday’s STAR newspaper, I read a letter in the editorial section written by this person about Fraser’s Hill. Well – I thought it’d be a great article to write on, since Fraser’s Hill has always been my first love.
My first visit to this Hill Station was in 1988. I was about 23 then. I went there with my loyal travel buddy and uncle, Johnny Yap – now probably braving the floods in Japan.
How do I describe Fraser’s Hill? It was love at first sight. Cool throughout the day, bloody cold in the night. Not much traffic up there because not many people will take a liking to Fraser’s Hill. Anyway – it looks like a little sleepy English hamlet. Cottages reminiscent of the British colonial rule dot the landscape. Yes – picturesque cottages complete with chimneys and fireplace!
Lush greenery, cool fresh air and if you have been there with me in 1988 – you would love the fantastic food they serve there. Most of the residents within the township are Chinese of Hainanese descent. The Hainanese are known to be wonderful cooks. I loved the chicken chop, desserts and wonderful pudding which I still can recall in my mind’s eye.
In the 90’s, I’d go there once every three months to get away from the crazy world of advertising. My favourite accommodation would be Jerantut House – situated right at the peak and fronting the magnificent jungle. The caretaker then, Mrs Tan was a fantastic cook. She’d go out to the garden, pluck some fresh vegetables and it’ll end up on the dinner table. I miss the place. Way back then you could rent a room (they had four rooms per cottage) for only RM90 per room night. In year 2000, the Pahang State Government decided to have a go at running the place and it was a great failure. Total disaster I would say.
In the day, I would take long walks around the countryside. The birds (and I mean the feathery ones) that you can chance upon here are usually migratory birds. They are a sight to behold! The wildflowers you find are so dainty and pretty! Wow! In the night – I’d take a nice cool walk along the road leading to the town proper and I assure you – the scenery, the dim lights lit on old English lampposts and the cool air add an air of romance.
And if I told you that I did all that alone by myself or with my uncle (yucks!) I would be lying through my teeth. My uncle has lost count the number of femme fatales that I have brought there. That, however, is another story. The only crazy thing I did with Uncle Johnny was bathing in cold water, wear shorts and walk outside immediately. Mad dogs & Englishmen? Nope – crazy young Malaysians doing crazy things!
During the late 90s, my preferred place to sojourn was Johore house. Owned by the Johor State Government, it has a wonderful vista of two very well maintained gardens. So if you sit out there, you would be amazed at the birds, insects and other things flying about you. In 10 minutes, with the deafening silence and peaceful surroundings, you’d be snoring away.
The caretakers, Mr & Mrs Sham are a wonderful couple. Mrs Sham is a great cook too. Her Lemon Quiche is to die for. Her scones are marvellous. Talking about scones – the Olde Smokehouse in Fraser’s Hill serves the best scones I have ever tasted. And the most expensive too. A set of scones and a cup of hot steaming Devonshire tea would set you back by RM14.00 excluding tax & service charge. Anyway – it was worth it.
I used to have many photographs of myself and errr…my friends taken over the years but sadly, I can’t find them anymore. Here is one which I pilfered from my uncle.
Look at that bloated tummy of mine. Probably filled with scones. Hahaha.
In mid-2000, having taken a liking to the subtle art of drifting, Fraser’s Hill was alive with the sounds of turbo & superchargers racing up and down the road, taking sharp hairpin corners in power-drift mode.
Looking at these photos give me both a happy and sad feel. Somehow, we just have to move on in life.
I haven’t been back to Fraser’s Hill for nearly a year now. The “letters to the editor” writer says that everything has changed in Fraser’s Hill. Sigh – I hope they don’t change much. Some things are meant to be as they are. Development doesn’t necessary mean a good thing.