Draw Of The Valley

In building the dam and subsequent flooding of the jungle area, 2 Orang Asli villages, comprising 84 families, were relocated and re-settled. They moved from their traditional jungle homes into a colony-like housing area with brick houses and relatively modern amenities.

Going up and down a hill behind the dam, I came upon one of the settlements. It has been more than 10 years since, and some of the houses are a bit worn. Saw only kids playing outside but there was an adult.

I asked him if I can take his picture. He nodded affirmatively. Then he nodded to every question I asked, like as if he was lost in his own world. Maybe it was the satisfaction of the long cigarette draws or blissful daydreaming. As an ex smoker, I understand the feeling.

Wall graffiti aside, there is so much to read silently here. The floor mop is a symbol of different abode and lifestyle. There is a bridging symbol, too. Parts of the rusted and broken metal stair railings were replaced with bamboo from the jungles.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f5, 1/320 sec.

Damn The Dam?

Moving to an opposite view and looking at the shoreline from the edge of the re-aligned road to Fraser’s Hill. In the previous pic, I was on the extreme left, somewhere up on the hills.

No modern dam will be without controversy. Its environmental impact was scrutinised, debated and protested during its planning and construction. Ironically, all eyes now are on its water level and the dire consequence of a water shortage.

To defray some of the ill wind, there is a visitor’s center with a information officer on site, ready to furnish data and answer questions. Few other dams in the country provide this kind of access and technical info to the public.

The upstairs verandah is now locked but you can request for it be unlocked. Go up for a breezy and very calming view.

You may damn the dam and justifiably so. But the reality is insatiable, ever-increasing demand for water from residential, commercial and industrial consumers means the inevitable.

In the near future, even this last natural resource of the state might also fall short. What with Klang Valley growing ever so frantically.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f11, 1/500 sec.

The Sungai Selangor Dam

About 5 km from Kuala Kubu Bharu town (or about 6.5 km from Federal Route 1) is the massive Sungai Selangor Dam. In this lesser seen view from a hill, one can see the brownish dam crest and embankment.

The 110 metre-high rockfill dam was designed to store and regulate a maximum capacity of 235 million cubic metres of water. The crest length or span is 800 metres. One of two water treatment plants is located in Rasa, a town I visited previously.

The dam supplies 60% of Klang Valley’s potable and piped water. Rain over the catchment area should be a good sign. Any severe water level drop (due to a prolonged dry spell) may trigger yet another crisis.

Olympus OM-D, ISO 200, f9, 1/320 sec.

Ampang Pecah

From Kerling, I turned east on Federal Route 1 to head for Kuala Kubu Bharu town. Although KKB is rich in history and its route to the east is geographically significant, the town is known more for its colonial charm and surrounding greenery.

Hipsters flocked there for different reasons, though. The Hainanese bread shop that used to beguile them is now closed. Not to worry: they now lie on the middle of the road for a selfie. They pretend the modern interlocking tiles are ancient cobblestones.

KKB is also a stopover town for those traveling to Fraser’s Hill. Oddly, few visitors wonder about the logical existence or location of an older town.

Indeed, there was a Kuala Kubu without the fancy suffix or hip abbreviation. Tragedy struck the original town in 1883 when a nearby dam broke. It flooded and destroyed the entire town, killing a few dozen residents.

The then British colonial government built a replacement town a few kilometers away and it was named Kuala Kubu Bharu. Duh.

The annihilated town was subsequently renamed Ampang Pecah to mean Broken Dam in Malay.

This landscape was photographed in the Ampang Pecah area. With over a century to heal, it has recovered from site of mass destruction to become a serene and idyllic suburb of KKB. Few outsiders ever step foot here or know about its stormy past.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f11, 1/800 sec.