Monday, August 30, 2021


Ahhh, but this Gate was not the pearly gates 

with St. Peter checking his book, or laptop as he seems to have embraced technology. For this "Tian Men" I just needed a USD35 or 26 GPB ticket and a strong pair of legs. "Tian Men" means Heaven Gate's Mountain.

It did look like we had reached the doorway to heaven with the morning rays shinning through. Got the goosebumps, it was hard not to imagine the Almighty awaiting us.

Reaching "Heaven" needed sacrifices. We endured the 99 twists and turns uphill in a bus. In Mandarin, the number "9" sounds like "jiu" which means everlasting.  

After this exhilarating ride by which I was ready to vomit, we faced the 999 steps to Heaven's Gate. The 999 steps gave me the heebie jeebies. "Shall I take the escalators or will I join the others climbing to the top?" 

"Sassy JAM, you can do it," Above pix shows the 12 warriors all pumped up to start the 999 steps.

So began our slow ascent as we hyper-ventilated, rested, hung on to the rails 

and climbed. 

At mid-way, the down view showed how far we had progressed.

I was the last one πŸ’ͺto enter Heaven's Gates. Everyone gave me my deserving applause πŸ‘! 
It was  cold and 

misty in "heaven." Our walk along the glass corridors was surreal.

By the time the sun shone through,

 it was time to go downnnn.... the 99 bends. 
Like an anaconda, the route down was endless, the corners were  treacherously sharp, some even at right angles. But the skilled Chinese bus drivers swung and turned the bus for extra thrills, and probably to give us our money's worth for this roller coaster ride. They chuckled  and winked as we screamed, slid in our seats (no safety belts). 
We entered Heaven's Gate Mountain and returned. 
Now, we will have to try harder to get to "Real Heaven."

Malaysia's Independence Day, August 31 1957

Sunday, August 22, 2021



The HUNGRY GHOST FESTIVAL is upon us again. I remember when we were kids, my mum will insist we be home before 7pm, in case we accidently "bump" or annoy a hungry ghost. She did not believe in this Taoist/Buddhist festival but she probably felt "it was better to err on the side of caution." But, it appears they may not come this year cos' of quarantine measures!
This tradition is followed as a respect to the spirits of the dead. It is celebrated on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month (today). It is believed that the Gates of Hell are opened and the spirits are officially given permission TO VISIT THE MORTAL WORLD for ONE MONTH. During this time, the GHOSTS wander alongside us, the living. 

Hence, offerings are made - food, cigarettes clothes

and of course money in the form of HELL NOTES. It gets very smoky on this night as many different offerings are burnt at the front and back of houses to appease the deceased. This pix shows leftover unburnt hell notes scattered by the wind in the back lanes.

Everything that is used in the human world 


burnt for them to receive and thus make their after-life more comfortable - like a pair of paper sneakers

 to make walking (or hopping as Chinese ghost HOP, NEVER walk!) This festival is taken seriously in Malaysia as this "Hungry Ghost" hopped in for his Covid-19 vaccination with mask and face shield! 
With technology, even paper hand phones, iPad devices and

Covid-19 vaccines are offered for the hungry ghosts! Paper credit cards are also burnt so they can "buy" what they desire.  We are all EXTRA CAREFUL during this month!

On a different note and away from ghosts, this enchanting photo of MOTHER and her DAUGHTER carried in a plastic bag was taken in 1987 by Hungarian photographer Attila Manek in Budapest.

Thirty-three (33) YEARS LATER , a still lovely mother and grown-up daughter did a similar post in the same market place minus the plastic bag 🀣 .

The recreation was possible as the photographer is the husband of the lady (Marty) in the photo and the father of the young lady (Enika). 

Wednesday, August 18, 2021


      Our 6th day (in 2019) started with great excitement as we were going to walk across the highest and longest glass-bottom bridge in the Guinness Book of World Records.

 Designed by Israeli architect Haim Dotan, the sky bridge in the WuLingYuan Forest National Park opened in 2016. It closed 13 days after for upgrading! It was designed to hold 800 people at any one time, but saw crowds of 80,000 per day.        

   Exiting from the cable car, the glass bridge was indeed exceedingly impressive. A "WOW" moment of the cliff-hugging mountains and sky. The bridge is 1,411 feet (430 metres) strung between two mountain peaks. 

The skywalk hangs above the ZhangJia Jie grand canyon at 984 feet, 300 metres.    

 The walkway is just large slabs of  transparent 3-layered tempered glass panels. Thank God, we did not have any fashionista with high heels trying to "wobble" across that day! 
SLOW SOFT steps to test the glass panels first! We were given cloth shoes to wear over our sneakers.
 I saw no shenanigans on the bridge. You know the ones on youtube where people are dragged screaming and begging for their lives across the bridge. Closest to that was a family who gingerly clung to the rails and crossed on the tiled instead of glass panels.
But, most were doing amazing acrobatic acts on the centre panels, 

"pretend" sky diving, 
and welfies galore.
Our Malaysian group was not going to be "usurped" by the China nationals so we had 
our "menfie" 

and "womenfie." Yeah, Malaysia Boleh!

   Such gravity-defying mega structures however do not come without accidents. In early 2019, there was one death as a tourist flew off a glass slide after rains made the glass bridge extra slippery. Six others were also injured on the same glass bridge in Guangxi. 

This is the view after crossing the mega structure. Newton's third law of motion says "what goes up must come down." Actually this is a derived version for the layman. Issac Newton actually said, "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." So, began our trek down from the sky starting with the "bullet" elevator ride.

These pictures were taken at ground zero when we finally reach descent after 2 1/2 hours of walking. We were those "ants" earlier in the morning. 
It was already almost mid-day. 
Final steps and onto the bus for a Korean lunch in China. 

Monday, August 9, 2021


 Avatar remains as one of my favourite movies.

I am bias. Much of the movie is in shades of blue including the Na’vi. Since blue is the colour I will always choose over all others, how can I not love this movie. This scene of the floating mountains in Pandorawas inspired by the massive quartz sandstone pillars in ZhangJiaJie National Forest  Park, Hunan, China.  Thus, when I was told there was a trip to "Pandora" in 2019, I was one ecstatic girl. Our flight was at 6.10pm, I was in the airport at 9am, 

with my packed egg sandwiches and my hooty pouch! I am a simple girl - I like blue, I like birds, I am happy! It did not matter I had a 9-hour wait, I was gonna see "Pandora."
The trip started with a long trek to  the Muzium tomb of the Han family and by the time we arrived at the Yu An Academy in Hunan Uni in Changsa, we had walked 12.7 km. Our laoshi (teacher) believes in keeping his group fit, and walking 18,000 steps is just a "walk in the park." Amen!
It was only on Days 4 and 5 that I got to see the floating mountains.
It was not just a joy trip, we practised qigong too. 
We reached YuanJiaJie Scenic area on a gloomy drizzling morning and wow, it was crowded. 

 We stepped into the Guinness World Records highest and fastest Bailong elevator. Since everyone wanted to face the mountain view, tiny me squeezed to the front and knelt down. 
 A mere 2 minutes of breathless view as we followed the needle-like karst monsters from bottom to top. 

We walked 13.44 km, 19,175 steps from morning to dusk 
just taking in the "dragons" 
rising and disappearing into mists. 

The rains came and I untangled my purple rain coat. Savvy K said I looked like Barney, the purple dinosaur. She was just envious she had to stay home!
This is the "one thousand metre" cliff. Karst mountains form when hard sandstone structures are pushed up. Weathering, water erosion and collapse of the surroundings produce the vertical faces. Just when I thought I had seen the best platform ranges, 
the next corner brought an even better view. The trail was crowded. 
We didn't complain as our 20 plus member group 
contributed to the jam.
The Five Fingers Peak of Huangshizhai.