Cheang Kum Seng, a MNS Perak member since 1987, has recently published a book titled “Limestone Hills & Caves of the Kinta Valley”. To our good fortune, the prolific photographer has generously donated 600 copies to Malaysian Nature Society with the understanding that sale proceed of 100 copies shall go to MNS Perak branch’s fund.
For a peek at Cheang’s lifetime work, who is better to narrate his story than his son Dr. William Cheang.
“Where else can the limitless landscape match the greatest reach of
the human spirit?”- T.A. Barron
I was born in the Kinta Valley. As a child I’ve roamed and explored most of the hills and caves around this karst region with my brothers and dad. It shaped my life as a scientist and engineer. I am pleased to announce that my dad’s book, almost 10 years in the making, has finally been published. It is a collection of photos taken over a period of 20 years.
My dad is a staunch conservationist, naturalist and master photographer. His photos on the chambers of Gua Tempurung & Gunung Panjang helped save the hills. The NS highway was supposed to go through the Gajah-Tempurung Massif and pass by G.Panjang; and this will be disastrous as the whole cave system G-Tempurung & Cliff Paintings will be completely wiped out for good.
Over the course of this project many have helped and contributed in many ways and on behalf of my father, I would like to extend a huge thanks to all of you (you know who you are). Some have left the caving circle, some have moved on to greater things in life and there are some who have went up to the ‘upper chambers’. Perusing through the pages I hope it will bring back an abundance of caving memories. It did for me..
Progressing through the pages was like moving through the early chapters of my life and brought back nostalgia. Penetration of water caves (pp 96) and the gigantic size of ‘Gergasi’ column in Tempurung (pp 28).An old picture of a cave in Gua Layang-layang where I sat there for countless hours (pp116) thinking about my SPM. Also my ‘love-and-hate’ relationship with hornets (I hate them they love me) The sanskrit (pp 97) writings on the walls of a hidden wang through the Six Mile Tunnel was the last thing I saw before I got knocked out. I was stung by hornets and went through anaphylactic shock. Got knocked out in 10mins flat with only three miserable stings. Future encounters with them got none the better. It is all these little adventures in my early life and running around the country side with my brothers that made us independent. Nothing is really impossible if we set our minds to it and don’t give up. Looking back it has been almost 18 years.
I’m holding my own copy of the coffee-table book and I’m proud of my dad. When you drive along the NS highway on your way home to Ipoh, transversing through the karstic landscape in morning light, ask yourself a question- what’s in those hills and caves. For us, my brothers and I, we found life and adventures! I would like to end this with an excerpt from the book:
“Like layers of silk, Kinta Valley’s limestone hills are a beauteous tribute
to power and patience of Mother Nature”
Dr William Cheang Wai Lum
An excerpt of interview conducted by Maye Yap, the Services HOD of MNS Secretariat.
MY: Can you provide a short synopsis of your recent publications?
CKS: As the book’s writer, S.L. Wong, put it in the book, “Famed for their beauty and exploited in numerous ways, the limestone hills and caves of the Kinta Valley are amazing repositories of the past, both natural as well as human. This publication is a tribute to that rare beauty and a call for responsibility as custodians of our precious heritage”.
MY: How can these publications assist in the conservation and protection of Malaysia’s natural heritage?
CKS: I hope this publication will instill awareness of the immeasurable conservation value of Kinta Valley Hills and its fascinating prehistoric past. This publication illustrates today’s hills and caves but also landscapes that no longer exist. This publication serves as an encouragement to all of us to stand up and protect Malaysia’s natural heritage.
MY: What kind of skills and commitment are required for budding writers interesting to embark on producing nature related publications?
CKS: Passion, passion and lots of patience. In producing this publication, thousands of photographs were taken to unravel the beauty of these cave formations. You will need lots of patience to be able to read and study the formations first and foremost before you are able to capture these fascinating images.
Press review published on Sept 26, 2009.
To read the full story, click this The Star Online link
“Limestone Hills & Caves” book launch event by Cheang Kum Seng on 6th November 2009 at MNS Perak branch level
Please join MNS Perak branch to congratulation Cheang Kum Seng for being awarded with the President’s Award in Nov 29, 2009 for his passion for the limestone hills and caves of Kinta Valley.
Those who would like to purchase this beautiful book can contact MNS Perak Branch or Nature Owlet (Sin Ee at firstname.lastname@example.org). The selling price of this publication is fixed as follows:
MNS member: RM100 per copy
Non-member: RM110 per copy
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