Saturday, September 09, 2006

Up the mountains

It would have been nice to have taken my wife and children for a trip to Hong Kong to visit the HK Disneyland last month. However my son will miss the trip, since he had to play two international Counter Strike competitions in Singapore over the two weekends that straddle that one week school holidays. Therefore my teenage daughter suggested that we visit Genting Highlands instead.

Genting Highlands is a casino cum holiday resort situated 6,000 feet above sea level and about an hour’s drive from the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur. The weather there is cool all year round – in the 60s - because of its height. The kids and teenagers love going there to play in the indoor and outdoor theme parks. Adults go up the mountains to try their luck in the casino or watch the international shows hosted.

The air was relatively fresh and light when we reach the mountains and one took an instant liking to the cool weather. It has been years since our last visit. While my wife and my daughter went to catch the 9 pm international magic show that night, I visited the casino. The thrills of a flutter no longer arise, one realized after a few hours at the tables. One decided to retire early to the hotel room situated above the casino.

The sofa in the room was not suitable for my meditation pose therefore one had to sit in a simple sitting position. Ha, one did not realize that the immortals came up the mountains too until they started singing their string less tunes.

The next day, my daughter suggested that we ride the Skyway cable cars that cross the slopes of the mountains. So we bought tickets for a round trip. It took eleven minutes to travel the 3.88 km one way trip. While the scenic view is nice, and the ride can be exciting, it may not suit the faint hearted. The cable cars, hung a few hundred feet above the rugged mountain slopes, tend to momentarily suspend and sway in the air whenever they reach one of the many pylons that straddle the distance.

One wonders if the ancients and Neo Daoists ever face a fear of heights whenever they climbed the Huashan, Kun Lun Shan or other mountains to find a quiet retreat for their meditation practice and cultivation. Perhaps by climbing up and down the mountains, they had time to contemplate.

In case readers have not come across it before, contemplation forms part of cultivation.

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