Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Recently I was 'transported' into a labyrinth, out of my own will. Realizing that the entourage was gamed on going deeper, I had to stage an act. An act that will force them to turn back before I became hysterical. The labyrinth was actually the world's biggest and deepest, abandoned old tin mine of Sg. Lembing (closed for more than 20 years ago) and the entourage consisted of my family (hubby, sons and I), lead by a family friend who is a local, well versed in finding his way through the old catacombs. He used to enter the mine when he was small, sending his dad, meals, as the miners were known to work long hours without coming out.

Initially I was made to believe that we were only going to tour the external grounds only. Little did I know that the friend was equipped with several torches to bring us as deep as 300 meters in wards. Upon reaching the site, he showed us the two main entrances. It was impossible to enter them as both path-ways were blocked by collapsed tunnel roofs. I gave a sigh of relief as I had no plans for old mine exploration! Good, I thought, we would only admire the place from outside. Then, he brought us to the side of the hill and showed us another entrance. Only this time, he went in and beckoned us to follow. Don't worry, he's just showing us a few meters in, I thought. As we enter I could feel a gush of cold air flowing outwards. This cold air phenomenon was actually due to air holes dug from the top surface of the hill downwards to ventilate the mine.

It was pitch dark inside but the torches managed to light the place and made our passage manageable. Twice, he made us switch off our lights and savor the true darkness. We couldn't even see our hands placed in front of our faces! Many parts of the ground that we tread were muddy due to dripping water from the roof. Instantly, my wild mind thought "what if the soggy soil above suddenly gave way and collapsed?" Oh no I thought! We'll be in the news papers tomorrow! A family of four trapped in an old mine! As we pursue the tunnel deeper, I kept questioning myself, "Why are we doing this? Why are we endangering ourselves? Why are we being stupid?" Ironically, my hubby and two sons were unperturbed. They followed our guide like seasoned archaeologists looking for lost artifacts and there I was trembling, wishing I hadn't followed them.

Then, we reached a junction of 4 tunnels. Oh good, an exit I, I hoped. But heck no! The exploration was only half-way, it seemed! Since we were already there, he had to show us through each tunnel, at least a few meters in. This was when I started 'whining' and asking hubby to signal his friend to end the tour. However , hubby shushed me up, telling me not to worry. I sensed that he was afraid that he might offend the friend, who was in a zealous mood to show us around.

As we got deeper, the grounds became more precarious. There was numerous excavation holes made by illegal excavators of recent times, here and there. Some were extremely deep, that when a stone was dropped, it took quite sometime to reach the bottom of the pit. Still in a jittery state, I had to yell at Maman who, in sheer eagerness, went much too close to the edge. I can't bear the thought of the unstable ground giving way. At one point, we entered a high-roofed area, almost like a huge cave. Here, we could see various excavation spots on the high ceiling with makeshift dwellings. Through the dim-lit space, I could see that the path ahead was worse. In fact, I believe that we had to walk on a ledge or something! Enough! I had to act now!

When they started to proceed further, I stood still, not wanting to budge an inch. I acted as though I was going to cry hysterically. Hubby knew then that I was adamant to end the expedition. He told the friend-guide of my fright. The guy reassured that he was about to turn anyway after showing some mining artifacts. It was when he said this that made me retain my composure, " Don't worry, many tourists come here. 60 at a time. Only today, there's none." Phew!

Undeniably, I was the most zestful on the returning path. Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel was my most coveted proverb that day!. Breathing fresh air again, I made another secret vow of not returning back, ever! My hubby and sons? Oh, they came out feeling like Harrison Ford in scenes from Raiders of The Lost Ark, though they pilfered no precious stones. Not even a tiny speck of tine ore! So tell me, would you guys go on a similar exploration? WOULD YOU?

*To Pang5 and Boogey, abang Yusof tanya kabo awok bedua. Dia tanya bila awok nok ke sana lagi? Kawe cabo awok bawok anok bini masok lombong!


ifos said...

tak aci! nk ikut!!

Queen Of The House said...

Were there any bats? Now THAT would have compounded the unnerving experience. I doubt if mine excavating or exploring is something for me, but I'm sure your boys (and man) had a great time. Maybe I would have feigned an urgent need to go to the toilet to get out of it (yeah, and risk being called a spoilsport, a lame being, a scaredy cat, whatever) .... takut eh masuk dalam gua gelap macam tu!

ikelah said...

tau dah you'll be full of tricks... bila takut... miss cerita about the footsteps! hehehe

last sunday was a special day. that was why we went for the thrilling excursion. :)

we missed the three of you and I guess you could imagined how aliah would have reacted.

I just got back from ipoh, a 4d3n trip for a workshop at ish.

selamat berpuasa and salam pada kak sarah.

hiyoshi said...

Hey, this isn't right. All my life, I've been taught that it's dangerous to play in abandoned mines. And here we have not one, but THREE adults (and two young men, I think) leisurely strolling about in utter darkness!

Ku Keng said...


I am always awed by this mine. I had several friends whose fathers worked there and they told many amazing stories of the place.

Finally the mine left many sad stories. Workers not paid. Not well compensated. All because of the last owners, 2 brothers from Kedah, who rigged the company (though public listed) and left the shareholders also with nothing at all.

This place should be preserved as a mining museum.

red said...

that's an exciting trip you people had.

mas might wear her adidas and run aimlessly into the catacomb while i'm squatting by the walls to macro a cave spider.

dith said...

Fi- Frankly speaking, no love lost, hehe

QOTH- another similarity here? I see that we are good at feigning things when in dire straits, :))

Ikelah- yes! Belom masuk bab hantu jin lagi!

Yoshi- That's what I get for marrying someone who finds pleasure in such outings.That's why I had to feign the act!

Keng- You're right about the sad fate of the miners. But what I heard is that the last white manager mismanaged the place.

One of the security officers in charge of the museum was a former miner there. A big poster of him and his mining mates was on the wall.

The big flood 4 yrs ago, had Sg Lembing under water and the people there was marooned for a few days! Imagine all the mine tunnels filled with water! Scary!

Red- Nope, we can't have Mas stomping her Adidas away in the tunnels. She might bring the whole house down! Hehe. And I bet you'll be sweating in the dark, looking for the cave spider coz I saw none! (thru my untrained eye, i.e.)

pycnogenol said...

DITH - Now you must tell us of the hantu and jin...and yes, whose footsteps were those?

Jangan risau...semua hantu, jin dan iblis sudah di rantai kuat-kuat sepanjang bulan Ramadhan ni. Ini lah masa terbaik nak mengata dan mengumpat tentang mereka!! ;)

Count Byron said...

DITH.. selamat berpuasa. May you have a great Month full of blessings and forgiveness from Him and only Him. May you be very happy.

simah said...

would love to join the adventure...bunyi mcm best ajer akak (scary as well hehehe)...

so next time u all nak masuk mana pulak?

salam ramadhan to u n ikelah n family...:0)

P5 said...

uishhh... i thot ikelah was just kelentong-ing when he said you guys went down the mine. but if abg yusof is kind enough to bring me down there... no problem. danial should be okay. mikhail bit afraid of the dark. amira also should not pose a problem. intan said no problem for as long after raya.

so, aok cabo kosong aje ke, atau berisi? heh heh heh...

btw, kalau aok orang terperangkap dalam lombong tu, tok sah risau. boogey, red dgn kawe akan gali sampai jumpa - lens nikon 80-200mm dan kawan-kawannya sekali.

so better make sure you're attached to the camera bag! :p

JoKontan said...

Kak Roza,

Oghang jantan nii kenkadang tok gheti bahser..

Your truly included !


(Bila agoknya time kitaorang nok masok loemboang niii.)

Boogey said...

Kome anok beranok jenis lasok la mane takut masuk lombong Sg lembing tu. Deme tu orang Kolumpo. Memang la lalu terowong Genting Sempah tu pun dah kecut perut ni kan pulok lombong Sg lembing.

maklang said...


selamat berpuasa...

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