Friday, 18 January 2019

Let's Celebrate His Life...Philip Sim !!!

Dear all,

Philip’s Wake will be held at 666 Punggol Drive S821666. Philip's body is expected to arrive in the evening (19/1/19). Cremation will be on Tuesday at Mandai.

With Audrey's permission, we are organizing a get together at the same multi purpose hall (address as above) to celebrate his life. Please come in your cycling jerseys and if possible print out a photo or card to be compiled together in a box for his family.

THEME : Let's Celebrate His Life!

DATE : 20 January 2019, Sunday
VENUE : 666 Punggol Drive S821666
TIME : 9.00 - 10.00 pm

WHAT TO WEAR : Cycling jersey
WHAT TO BRING : A print out photo or a card

The passing of a friend : 18 January 2019

Many people knew Philip Sim through A Taste of Johor which he developed over 2 years. And through Asia Cycling Network, he got to know many Malaysian riders.

What happened to him this evening is sad and shocking though his good friends could see it coming... Philip had a heart attack a few years back while cycling and he wasn't quite himself in our recent AST Ride.

As I have been getting many calls and texts from concerned friends, I thought it necessary to let his friends know what exactly happened to him this evening.

Philip passed away....

Apparently Anna Ong texted him about a night ride in JB. Instead of hearing his voice, she was shocked when a doctor spoke over the phone to her. He had used his phone to call her, asking her who she is. Then, explained that Philip was brought to his 
clinic by a passer by but pronounced dead upon arrival. He died of a heart attack.

Like I always tell him, he is surrounded by a lot of guardian angels. Good samaritan Al Tamil sent him to a nearby clinic. Dr Yogi assisted. Khan on his way back from KL dropped by to verify it was him. Frankie bumped into his family at a food court and is on his way bringing his sister to JB.

As of now, Philip is transfered from the clinic to Mutiara Rini police station. He will soon be taken to the General Hospital before his body will be claimed by his sister.

Rest in Peace, Philip. 

Sunday, 9 December 2018

East Coast Ride (19-31 March 2018), Day 10 : Kuala Besut to Kota Bahru

Run for your life!!!!!@Wat Phothikyan Phutthaktham
Heading for mainland!
Kuala Besut Jetty
One more photo before we say goodbye to Bernie and Suzie
At Nipah with fellow local cyclist 
At Wat Phothikyan Phutthaktham
In 3 shots...dab to the left
...dab to the right...
...Happy Hearts!!!
Side streets of Kota Bahru
Istana Jahar built in 1855 by Sultan Muhammad II of Kelantan for his grandson Long Kundur
Vicinity of Istana Balai Besar
Bank Pitis or money bank, built during the reign of Sultan Muhammad III (1889-1890)
Islamic museum
A very burnt York Fuan trying out the old post box
Tambatan DiRaja
Dab to the right at Tambatan DiRaja
Dab to the left at Tambatan DiRaja
Muhammadi Mosque
Handicraft Village
Handicraft Village, interior
Arnold Cycling Cafe

We were wiser this time! Instead of falling for the tricks of boat operators, we made secret arrangements with their first mate, Nico. Having exchanged contacts with him during their boat trip, out to the island, Claudine had called him the night before, specifically requesting a speedboat to take us back at first light...well if you’d consider 8 am as first light!!!

Nico had willingly agreed to our request. Perhaps our group was large enough for a speedboat or perhaps the boat owners are paid according to the the number of passengers / tickets collected, we’ll never know!

Arriving back at mainland, everyone agreed to another round of T Cafe before returning to Iz Village for our bikes. This time, our car trip is no longer complimentary and with an agreed price of RM10 per car, the service was slightly better....we no longer have to wait for the same car to make 2 trips! Instead, Azuan arrived with his cousin sister in tow!

At Iz Village, we parted ways with Philip who had to return to Singapore to finish his course of study. He was ferried to Jerteh bus terminal by Azuan’s cousin arranged at RM20.

With Philip gone, we were really taking it easy as Kota Bahru was only 60 km away; making stops at rice fields and a Buddhist temple along the way. 

Not surprising, the Theravada doctrines observed widely in Thailand is rubbed off in this area which once shared borders with the Kingdom of Siam. Even the name, Wat Phothikyan Phutthaktham and the architecture adopted Thai’s influences.

More relaxed and with her guards down, Claudine had to backtrack a few kilometers near Nipah to retrieve her sunglasses left at a fruit stall. This gave the waiting group an opportunity to stop and chat with a fellow Kelantanese rider who operates a laundry shop at the next junction!

Short of 5 km to Diamond Hotel, our stay for the night, we stopped for lunch at Nasi Kerabu Panji. They were packing up when we arrived but happily dished out the most delicious nasi kerabu ever! Packed with roasted coconuts, it was truly a memorable meal.

That afternoon, we checked out Kota Bahru’s Guan Thye Hin bike shop. A well stocked shop, we spent hours shopping and bargaining for items. Out of goodwill, the proprietor finally released a pair of full fingered gloves and a bracket to both Claudine and Jenny at great discounts.

The shop owner did not charge KC for the ball bearings but instead allowed him free use of the workshop
New ball bearings, old ball bearings and missing ball bearings

As all the haggling were commencing, KC was tinkering away at the repair corner, replacing his crushed hub bearings. Unassisted, as the bike mechanic was off for the day, KC deftly fixed the problem while we wandered off midway through bargaining, to fulfill York Fuan’s desire for Milo kepal.

Milo Kepal
When we were done, we did a short tour of Kota Bahru, touching down on Siti Khadijah’s market, the palace and riverside before finally settling down at Dataran Cheng Ho for dinner. During dinner, we met a slightly drunk Caucasian man who talked too much for our comforts. Claiming he had to stay an extra day in Kota Bahru as he had missed his train, we politely took our leave, hoping the night will not see him too drunk to board his next train out!

It seems Mr DIY had become our favourite haunt since the trip began. Stopping by at yet another store, Jenny bought her replacement bungee cord that had got itself entangled in her cogs a few days earlier.

Mr DIY was not the "IT" shop after all. That night, out on his own, VT discovered a more happening place to shop...Eco RM 2 shop, any item for RM 2!!!

Photo courtesy :


Sunday, 18 November 2018

East Coast Ride (19-31 March 2018), Day 9 : Pulau Perhentian

In 3 shots...Dab to the right!
Dab to the left??? candid!!!
At our first stop
Climb over
Go under!
Do limbo rock!
It's a jungle out there
Running water
Wait...need to capture this on camera!
Walk the plank
First trail done, Hurray!!!
The start of second trail
"Hands on"
"Bumper to bumper"
"Help, I am stuck!"
...."so am I !!!"
Ecstasy when we finished the second trail!
Beautiful waters
In 3 shots....ONE...
Third Trail...hold on tight
Where's the rest of the bridge
Waist deep
...and we're back!

There are several hiking trails in Pulau Perhentian Besar. As we were not too sure on our physical abilities and the difficulty ratings given by our friendly receptionist, we decided on an intermediate trail which took us across the south west tip of the island. Thereon, we were offered the options to either hail a boat taxi or embark on another set of trail to get back.

Beginning from our resort after sorting out our own breakfasts, we followed yesterday’s route to the beach. Past Coral View Resort, up the concrete stairs, past the massage center and back down, the red marker leading to the trail was not easy to spot. After a few stumbles and enquiries, we finally began our ascend.

Initially gradual, we soon started on steep inclines. The fitter ones like KC, was ahead while Jenny had soon passed her little bag to Mr Lim for safekeeping. As we ascent higher and higher, she became closer and closer to God, calling out HIS name in repeated intervals of “Oh my God!”

Meanwhile, once an avid hiker, Claudine knew to take small steps to avoid strain. She had also stopped her chatter to control her heart rate and breathing. But a noise behind her was breaking her concentration. Almost like a vocal person about to reach an orgasm, Philip was expressing himself earnestly! His breathing was coming in guttural rasps!!!

Did we think it was over?

Where the route flattened out, we made our first stop. Smirking and thinking it was the end of the climb, it was not! There was more to come!! But what came first before anything else were the blood thirsty mosquitoes!!! They managed to sink their proboscis into our skin despite the gushing streams of sweat flowing to the ground!

Fleeing the mosquitoes, we practically dashed through the trail. But our hopes of finishing the hike was dashed when we saw another set of inclines. This time it was tougher than before, requiring some hand support.

When the descend came, we had to climb over fallen trees and sometimes do a limbo rock! Later, the trail turned wet with water pipes and a spring running alongside it.

On flats again, the trail suddenly disappeared...washed away by the pools of water! To the unfamiliar eye, there were two possible routes but all the ex scouts insisted on the right fork which led us out to a clearing with long grass. Beyond was the beach and some chalets!

Yippee??? NOT!!!!

"Don't go into the long grass" The Lost World, Jurassic Park

We still have to make our way through the waist long grass and the only possible passage was to follow the flow of the water! Everyone tried to side step the water initially. Stepping on the narrow banks with legs wide apart, those with height challenges soon found their legs stretched apart like a gymnast about to make a split!

Then, Claudine felt her legs slide in the mud. Wider and wider, her legs went in separate directions. As she tried to bring them back together, she lost her balance and gave way to gravity, suffering a small graze to her knee!

Back to civilization, our thrills were short lived when we made our way through the backyard of a resort, the stagnant stream behind it was black and stank of refuse! The beach out front was not too pleasing to the eye either!

Still early, we decided to embark on the next trail. No one listened to Jenny’s pleas to hail a boat taxi though we all offered to negotiate the price for her. Unfortunately, she was too intimidated to be on her own and sucked up to the following challenges!

Walking on the beach to the end of the strip, we turned into the next trail which runs past a diving school. We knew we were in for a tough ride when the makeshift signboard at the trail head read “ENJOY”! Such sarcasm coupled by earlier ratings from our receptionist harboured foreboding thoughts in us.

Did we heed the thoughts??? NO!!!!

We went head on into it and were immediately arrested by an almost vertical climb. With backsides coming up close to faces, our hands started groping...not indecently BUT to keep one’s balance! Even photo snapping came to an abrupt stop!!!

Thankfully, even though the trail is a lot tougher and steeper than the earlier one, we soon found ourselves emerging out to another strip of beach. The pristine settings was too good to resist. Quickly, we jumped into the waters.

Unknowingly, there are some codes as to where we could actually swim! Certain strips as at The Barat’s, dead corals filled the waters making it an unsafe swimming ground. Likewise, boat routes are dangerous zones and boats anchored near the shores are good indications of red flag areas.

We soon learnt this as we were asked to move further and further away from where a few boats were anchored. Not necessarily a bad thing as we soon came near to a group of diving students and discovered some beautiful marine life so close to shore!

When we had had enough of the sun, sea and fishes, we went on our third league. This took us past a few resorts, notably Tuna Bay, a family owned resort with 3 other property arms in Johor. It’s owner, Gan Hong Lee has visions to expand his hotel flagship to other states as well.

Following the concrete bridge that hugged the cliffs we soon came to a dead end. The rest of it had collapsed, battered by the waves.

We were left with a choice of climbing over boulders or wading in thigh high water. We tried both! None of it was easy and our journey was long! Whenever a boat passes through, we were rocked by big waves.

At one point, the waters became waist deep for the vertically challenged. To escape the waters, we decided to squeeze our way through a gap between 2 giant boulders.

Claudine had just passed through the gap when she heard a splash. Turning around, Philip lay face down in the waters. Thankfully, he was still conscious and managed to raise his head.

His next words made her blood curdled. “My leg is stuck,” he exclaimed. Grimacing in pain, he started to growl when others tried to help him up. “Nooooo!!! Leave me alone!” he went.

When Philip finally managed to ease himself back up, he was not in a happy mood. He was bleeding on the shin. Thank goodness this is not shark infested waters or he would have made shark bait!

There was still some distance to go. Even when we spotted “The End”, it was slow to come by.

Back on land, it was as if we’ve had had enough of each other! Bernie and Suzie sat down for lunch at the first restaurant they spotted. They must be ravenous after an intensive one and half hour workout. KC, Mr Lim, VT and Claudine tried the Thai food. It wasn’t good and wasn’t bad but pricey. Unsatisfied, VT and Claudine adjourned to Barat’s own kitchen to join Philip and York Fuan who had just returned from her dive. Meanwhile, Jenny preferred to wash up and reminisce over lunch by the beach!

That afternoon, while the rest of the team continued their decaying lifestyles of food, beer and naps, Bernie and Suzie hit the beach once again. Bernie was even captured on photo, swimming all the way to the pontoon in the middle of the sea! This naturally explains his huge appetite over dinner when we all met again at the cosy, open air dining area of Barat’s!

Photo courtesy :
1. Suzie
2. Philip
3. KC


Activities on the Island

1. Diving package : RM400 for 3 dives

2.Hiking Trail : FREE!!!!!

  • Walk from The Barat to Perhentian Island Resort
  • Start first trail, end up B First Chalet
  • Walk towards Flora Bay Resort and begin second trail
  • Emerge on Teluk KK, walk towards Tuna Bay and Cozy
  • Use rickety bridge till it ends in the sea, track on water to get back!