Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Sixth Lamp (第六盏灯)

It is not easy to work in multi-national companies these days. Not only that you need to excel in your work, you also need to exhibit your ‘click’ with your boss and you must also show your leadership skills not only in the office; but also outside. I don’t know since when the corporate world has this crazy idea that brings the so-called teambuilding activities to the wilderness…

Oh yes, you need to be able to climb up a 10 feet tall wall, jump from a 30 feet height platform into sea and you must also be able to come out from the middle of a jungle at night!

This is a story of a corporate guy, Gary who had another kind of encounter in Bukit Hijau sometime ago. As I was told, Gary was appointed to participate in a specially designed survival course to ‘test’ his leadership ability.

It was a 3-day course. On the evening of second day, all participants were grouped into five in a team; and there were a total of 5 teams. An army officer was employed to facilitate this exercise. The participants’ task was to get out from the middle of a jungle by whatever means within designated time; as simple as that. Or was it?

First of all, as with night diving exercise, the night jungle tracking exercise has its own dangers and risks; although one may not lost his/her life as swift as being drowned in the water. But then and again, dying slowly and torturing may not be enjoyable either.

Going back to the story, Gary and his members were dropped in the middle of Bukit Hijau around 7pm and they were to return to the camp by 9pm sharp to receive their certificate of achievement.

Time flied, four out of five teams returned on or after 9pm. But Gary’s team was nowhere to be seen. By 12 midnight the organizer panicked and assembled a search team for a men hunt but after a few hours of searching, Gary and the team remained lost. There was nothing anyone can do but to wait until day break.

An official report was lodged and a team of experience rescuer immediately dispatched. After some frantic search, they finally found all 5 persons sat on a boulder beside the Bukit Hijau waterfall on the third day. All of them looked numb and lethargic.

So Gary and the team were sent to the local hospital for treatment and recuperating. And the good old Gary was able to tell his story in the hospital:

“It was getting dark when the instructor dropped us. We followed the instructions to get back to our camp. It wasn’t too difficult at first but just as we approached the water fall area, we saw a headlight ahead of us.

We thought it was the instructor wanted to cut short the exercise as the weather was a little windy and it might rain soon. So we all just followed the lamp but no matter how fast we go, we could not get near the headlamp. Soon we felt so tired and we just dropped down onto the ground, and the lamp seemed to understand our plight; it too stopped about 10 feet in front of us.

So we rose and dropped repeatedly and the lamp was just ahead of us.

We did hear the shout of rescue team calling our names, but for some reasons we couldn’t respond as there was seemingly a magical force locked us in to follow the mysterious lamp… We rested during daytime and we would walk in after sunset until you guys found us.”

According to one of the locals just beside Gary’s sickbed, the waterfall area is pretty much haunted. Many people drowned there, and some people just went missing during jungle hike. Perhaps Gary and his friends just met one of the lost souls who failed to get out of Bukit Hijau and wanted some companions.

Perhaps corporate people are best to play office politics in the office and leave the wilderness alone to the experts because jungles are not a place for games; for lost souls do not enjoy politics…

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