With pulsating heartbeats and iron-cast determination, 14 Keppelites hailed from the Group’s various business units set out on a thrilling trekking adventure to Malaysia’s Taman Negara National Park from 12 – 14 May 2017. Touted as the world’s oldest deciduous rainforest and embodying more than 130 million years of history, the National Park presented participants with both challenges and enchantment.
Organised by the Keppelite Recreation Club (KRC) and led by its former President Mr Hoe Eng Hock, and current Executive Secretary Mr Oh Kheng Huat, KRC members conquered the inner jungles of this tropical rainforest alongside fast flowing rivers and a rich repository of more than 400 species of endemic flora and fauna.
After a routine safety briefing, the team began their quest with an eight-hour-long car rally from Singapore to the base camp of Taman Negara. Setting out bright and early the next morning, Keppelites took on the trek proper by first crossing a 530-metre long and 40-metre high canopy walkway which is also the world’s longest. Enthralled by the magnificent view of the rainforest from above, the team then sped upstream Tempeling River to reach Kuala Keniam after one and half hours where a 9-km trek awaits.
While trekking through steep and slippery terrains with 20-kg backpacks is already no mean feat, the expedition was made more challenging by the continuous ascending and descending of steep slopes sputtered with fallen branches and dense vines.
Despite escalating fatigue, the team soldiered on, encouraging each other along the way and displaying true acts of camaraderie. Dinner was held over a campfire at Gua Kepayang Besar, a sprawling cavern used as an occasional shelter for elephant herds. Drained but excited, the team spent the night a limestone cave with native mates such as bats and porcupine!
Success had never been sweeter after another 6-hour trek the following day when the team was warmly received by the Orang Asli tribe, Malaysia’s oldest aboriginal inhabitants.
Over the course of this memorable three-day expedition, Keppelites bonded over conquering the most arduous of tasks, from pulling/burning leeches off one another, to taking turns carrying the loads for those who needed help. The trek also provided an opportunity for the trekkers to learn about the importance of teamwork, uniting them with a sense of belonging anchored by our Can-Do! spirit.
Ms Sharon Kim, first-timer participant and Administrative Assistant (Quality Assurance) from Keppel FELS shared,“ this trip is one of the most memorable experiences in my life. I am grateful to KRC for this wonderful opportunity which allowed me to be embraced by the lushness of the rainforest, calmed by the stillness of the dense jungle and soothed by sounds of the river. I would also like to thank my team mates who helped me brave through the harsh and unexpected conditions to complete this trek. I could never have done it on my own.”
Exhausted but in great spirits was Lim Tow Fok, President of KRC, who enthused, “through outdoor activities such as this, KRC hopes to inspire our members to unleash their inner strength and realise how much potential they have. I am very encouraged by our Keppelites’ perseverance and helpfulness displayed throughout the journey. Truly as OneKeppel, we can conquer even the most insurmountable.”