Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Teluk Ketapang Story Part 01: Official Blog Statement

The Michael Jackson tribute will have to wait. He is not going anywhere now that he is dead so the King of Pop can wait for awhile more before I pay tribute to him. Instead, I would like to tell the facts behind the recent drama that happened at Penang National Park.

As to our knowledge, six SEVEN local newspapers have carried the story (two English, four Chinese, one Malay) either electronically, print or both. Only the article written by Guang Ming Daily [PDF] was factual as the reporter was the only one that was around the whole time interviewing the families, the authorities and the victims (that would be us). I don't know where or how the other dailies cooked up their stories. In fact, the one carried by Kwong Wah Yit Poh [PDF] was the worst getting all the facts wrong. More about that later.

All the newspapers got the location wrong. Maybe they didn't know the right location, maybe they were warned by the authorities not to publish the correct location fearing that people will start going there. What's for sure, the location was neither Monkey Beach (Teluk Duyong/Muka Head) nor Pantai Kerachut. If you are a rationale thinking person and you know the location of these two beaches, you would know that they are at two opposite ends of the Penang National Park. To believe the article published in The Star [PDF] that we intended to go to Pantai Kerachut but ended up in Monkey Beach is nothing less than ludicrous. Unless of course the reader is that dense to believe such a story. Unfortunately there are quite a few out there.

At no material time were we lost while we were at the Penang National Park. We were neither doing any research nor opening up new trails there as claimed by the papers. It was a public holiday and we just went hiking for the fun of it. They just assumed we were conducting research since the group comprised mainly of graduate students and researchers. It is as if to say that if a group of dancers were to be hiking in there, they would be expected to dance in the forest. They probably sensationalised the story since this incident involved USM students and this incident happened not too long after the recent foul-up by the Apex university.

I've personally been to both Pantai Kerachut and Teluk Duyong countless of times, close to 20 years now, both in the day and at night. I personally prefer hiking at night since there will be less people compared to daytime and it's more challenging. Both trails are so well established that you cannot get lost even if you tried to. With all the infrastructure at these two locations and the availability of boats and mobile telecommunication networks, you are very much in safe hands.

The reason we are releasing this statement is to help facilitate the many request for answers by our friends and families. This will also help clarify and correct the many inaccuraries in the newspaper reports. We would also like to document this incident so we can look back at it in years to come. Please join us as we relive the events of that fateful day in the following articles:

P/S Due to time constraint, pictures will be added later to the articles.

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