At one glance, Rumah Rehat Slim River looks like a charming hippie commune from the flower power days. Only thing missing is a VW Kombi with psychedelic colours.
The cats in the previous picture were looking at me looking up at this tree in the orchard. They must be thinking city people are strange people.
A couple of curious kids came and sat next to me on the grass littered with fallen leaves. Finally, one brave little girl asked: "Why are you looking at the leaves for so long?"
I wanted to explain: "I am looking at the seasons in the sun". Although trees are evergreen here, they do have their seasons where the leaves change colours and the branches bear fruits.
Hard enough getting two battling cats to sit together for a portrait. Even harder to get a goat to walk across frame on cue.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f9, 1/320 sec.
It is not the world's 5th hottest hot springs that is located here or the many natural attractions, even though they are awesome. It is the people.
Every local person I crossed path with, while driving or walking, young or old; smiled or waved at me. All I have to do is look at them.
They know I am a stranger or outsider, for sure. Unlike other touristy places, the people in this kampung are not dependent on visitors or are peddling anything.
Saw this roadside stall at Ulu Slim on a wet evening. It was operated by a makcik trio. One makcik was too shy and declined to be photographed. Below is our conversation translated into English from Malay (for the benefit of international followers).
Me: Is that your house behind, makcik?
They: Yes. And do you know why we are selling food in front of our humble kampung house?
Me: So that you don't have to use that shiny new car (wrapped up) to transport the food elsewhere?
It is such a cool day and I asked the village goat:
"Know any place nearby where I can get a good sup kambing (mutton soup)?"
All I got was a long, blank stare :-) .
*Title inspired by the 2009 movie "The Men Who Stare at Goats" .
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f8, 1/125 sec.
Is easy not to notice the flashing low fuel warning when you are driving on a country road with such breathtaking scenery. I pulled into an unbranded gas station at the kampung.
Petrol pump attendant Ahmad Burhani asked me if I want the fuel in a ketchup bottle, cooking oil bottle or a mineral water bottle. Only RON 95 grade is available and it starts at RM 2 per bottle.
Ahmad, who is autistic, makes a decent and honest living catering to local motorcyclists who find it inconvenient to ride all the way to town just to re-fill. His father buys the fuel for him.
I have been in Slim River town and surrounding areas, on and off, for the past three weeks. I wrongly presumed the town is named after a river that is slim and narrow. It wasn't, it seems.
The river and town were named after the eponymous Captain Slim from the 19th century. The British explorer allegedly discovered the river by accident when he got lost.
There is not much info online, except the same info repeated everywhere as fact, when there are no citations or references.
Two cute siblings whose parents are traders at a Ramadan bazaar in Slim River. When they saw my camera, they happily flashed the V-sign, inviting me to take a snap. How can I say no? Haha.
Cute as it is, few kids know or care about the origin of the peace or victory (V) sign, its original meaning and colourful history.
For Asian kids, this hand gesture became an automatic and spontaneous reaction to a camera.
Its unexpected revival as part of modern-day Asian pop culture is attributed to the Japanese Cuteness Culture known as kawaii.