Monday, April 29, 2013

The Lighthouse @ Bukit Melawati

The lighthouse was constructed in 1907 by the British during its ear of colonization of the Malay Peninsula. It is 83 feet in height from the seabed and 27 feet from its base. This is easily the most dominating structure on the hill and Kuala Selangor.

Initially, the lighthouse used the power from a generator but currently it uses current from the grid's main supply. Unfortunately, visitor is not allowed in.

The light beam produced from this lighthouse can extend up to 56km in distance. It rotates and flashes twice with the duration of 15 seconds. This lighthouse has greatly assisted both merchant and fishing ships that sail to this port during the night.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Poisoned Well @ Bukit Melawati

This is a well with cement plaster and round in shape which is located at the edge of the road to Bukit Melawati. This well is said to be poisoned well and it was the place for torturing traitors during the earlier era.

The water of the well is poisoned by the sprinkling of a concoction of various types of poisons such as poisonous saps and fine hairs of the bamboo shoot. In the earlier days, a person found to be guilty of a grave offence would be immersed in the said well and filled with poisonous fluid up to the chin and which would result in the said traitor to undergo extreme agony and eventually die.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Bukit Melawati

Bukit Melawati was the administration centre and stronghold of the Selangor sultanate in the late 18th and early 19th century. Bukit Melawati was the administration centre for the Government of the State of Selangor until 1857 before transferring to Jugra and then Klang.

There is a tram service at the foot of the hill for a fee of RM5 for adults and RM2.50 for children which will bring visitor around the complex. However, I really recommend visitors to walk instead to really appreciate the beauty the fort complex has to offer.

The small miniature lighthouse structure at the foot of the hill. The lighthouse is a iconic structure for this town.

The hill also features a mini amphitheatre and a traditional games museum.  

The once heavily fortified fort stood on the summit. It was built during the reign of Sultan Ibrahim from 1782 to 1826 to fight against the Dutch. Selangor had been sucked into the struggle between the Dutch and the rulers of Johor and Riau.

The fort fell to the Dutch in 1784 who renamed it "Altingsburg Fort" after the Dutch governor-general. But they didn't hold its ground for long. Sultan Ibrahim recaptured the fort in January 1785 in a daring night attack with the aid of warriors from Pahang and mercenaries from Permatang. The Sultan dumped large rocks on the mouth of the Selangor River to foil counter attacks by the Dutch. The victory was significant as it was the first time that a local sultan had been able to retake his fort from a foreign power.

This hill has become a battlefield importance because it had on a number of occasions become a battlefield involving the Dutch and consequently the British.

The view from the top of Bukit Melawati is panoramic. On a clear day, one can see the Malacca Straits and the cargo ships plying through the Straits.

The Chinese nicknamed the hill as "Ma Lau San" which loosely translated as Monkey Hill. This is because the hill is swarmed by several families of Silver-Leafed langur monkeys and Long-tailed Macaques. These animals are born in the wild and may be dangerous if provoked. I am not very comfortable to be around these monkeys as they pretty much outnumber me and I just could not imagine what will happen if I was attacked by them.

In the complex are found various relics of the past, including the protective walls of the fort, the palace ground, a lighthouse, royal graves, seven wells, a flat stone used for beheading offenders, a 100-step ladder, a poisonous well and several cannons pointed at the mouth of the Selangor River. It is thought that the site hides an underground passage used to store treasure.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Bandar Malawati

Bandar Malawati definitely had transformed itself from a sleepy historic town to a modern town. There are basically new and old Bandar Malawati.

The new Bandar Malawati is just about 1km away from the old town. This is where the current bus terminal is situated amidst the neatly arranged shop houses. There are no hotel around this area.

The historical site of Bukit Melawati is at the Bandar Malawati old town.

There are a few cheap hotels around here with the more comfortable De Palma Hotel Kuala Selangor just a few distance down the road.

I notice the old town has more eating places compare to the new town.Definitely an ideal place to rest after exploring the adjacent Bukit Melawati.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Bus Selangor No. 141 to Kuala Selangor

There is only one option to travel from KL to Kuala Selangor with public transportation and that is to take the Selangor Bus No. 141 from Medan Pasar. Currently, the bus stop is not far away from the Central Market at Lebuh Ampang, below the HSBC building.

Selangor bus is owned by Selangor Omni Bus Sdn Bhd and their buses appear to be old from the outside. I would say they operate rather efficiently without waiting for too long (30 minutes) for the next bus to arrive. This is definitely more efficient compare to some of the routes operated by Rapid KL.

The bus interior is fairly clean and comfortable. Definitely better than some of the older Rapid KL buses. It still has a bus conductor inside and surprisingly they are friendly and helpful.

The bus fare from KL to Kuala Selangor is RM 7.30. The journey took approximately 2 hours with multiple stops along the way. It is a long journey but one get to see some towns such as Kepong, Sungai Buloh and Ijok along the way.

The bus stop at Kuala Selangor is located conveniently at the new Bandar Melawati town.

I came here for one sole purpose only, which is to visit the historic Bukit Melawati. It is about 20 minutes walk from the bus station.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Charter Field Town, Sepang

I do not know how many people knew the existence of this cowboy town but I knew this place during my stay at the adjacent Concorde Inn KLIA a couple of years ago.

Back then Charter Field town is basically 2 row of shops with nothing much happening. Now, it is a thriving town although there are still a number of shop lots still vacant.

The small township mostly serve as a transit point or resting spot for taxi drivers and visitors as it is merely 5 minute drive from the KLIA.

 There are many restaurants and eating places here. This is actually a good news for the those who stay at the nearby Concorde Inn KLIA

It is like a self sustaining town as there are mini market, car workshop, laundry shop, Caltex petrol station and etc here.

Interestingly, the Zone opened a duty free outlet here. This is as good as it get to get a cheaper chocolate, cigarettes, time piece and liquor without going overseas.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Takara Tomy Convoy Masterpiece MP-10

Optimus Prime (Convoy in Japan) is the leader of the Autobot and towards the end of 2011, Takara Tomy had decided to come out with another Masterpiece line, the MP-10 which is said to be the perfect model of its predecessor.

It has a beautiful and neat packaging. Exactly the same size as the MP-09 Rodimus Convoy and MP13 Soundwave. I manage to get hold of it for RM600 back then. The price has ballooned to RM800 now.

The package includes Optimus Prime itself with trailer, energon axe, ion blaster rifle, Roller, Spike Witwicky and The Autobot Matrix of Leadership.

This is one awesome figure and it couldn't get any better than this. It is very G1 accurate and definitely feels like it just came out from the TV set.

It came also with his bio card. Optimus is almost perfect in every sense except for his speed and fire blast.He has no known weakness except for his compassion for other sentient beings.

Optimus Prime transforms into a Kenworth K100 cab over truck. The MP-10 is more flush compare to its predecessor and even comes with a side mirror. However, the floodlight is not painted which somehow affect the overall appearance of the cab. I had seen the Hasbro version and their version has the flood light painted and it did make a lot of difference, especially in it aesthetic look.

The ion blaster within the trailer can be positioned on top of the trailer to give Optimus alternate mode a little fire power. However, this type of setting never appears in any of the animation series.

This is the size of Optimus alternate mode compare to Rodimus RV vehicle. Obviously, Optimus is slightly longer due to its trailer.

Spike Witwicky can fit into the cab which somehow make the cab more functional. It is a shame though that Spike won't be able to fit into Rodimus cab.

Optimus transforms to an awesome looking robot. However, his eyes are kind of dull without the light blue colour as appear in the animation series. Somehow, the Hasbro version make the figure more lively with the introduction of the light blue coloured eyes. That little details actually made a huge impact on the figure in my opinion.

The figure is very articulate and is ideal for display. The figure is mostly plastic but it definitely feel more solid if compared to the fragile Rodimus Prime MP-09.

There is a storage bay for his ion blaster at his back. I am a bit disappointed when there is no jet pack when Sideswipe (MP-12) was released to go with Optimus. I wonder if the designer had overlook this detail it was featured in one of the episode in Season One where Optimus borrowed the jet pack from Sideswipe in order to stop the Decepticons space ship from leaving planet Earth.

The energon axe is a cool weapon but it can only fit into Optimus right arm. It was only used briefly in one of the duel with Megatron at a hydro dam.

Within his chest is the mystic talisman, the Autobot Matrix of Leadership. Even the way his chest is opening up is accurate although without the light effect to enhance the Matrix.

The Matrix is made of metal and definitely a sight to behold based on the details and paint job. Unfortunately, it is only good display as it is not capable of been hold by both Optimus hand to mimic the action of opening the Matrix.

Before passing away in The Transformers: The Movie, Optimus spoke of a prophecy that one day, "The Chosen One" would rise from the ranks of the Autobots and use the power of the Matrix to light their darkest hour.

During their darkest hour, the Chosen One who could open the Matrix proved to be Hot Rod and was reformatted by its power to Rodimus Prime.

When Optimus transforms, his cab disconnect to become a sentient robot and his trailer opens to reveal a combat deck.

The combat deck also serves as an radio antenna for battlefield communication between Autobots.

Spike Witwicky figure can be positioned in various locations within the combat deck. He could virtually manned the whole combat deck.

I remember Optimus has this pose from one of the animation episode before his trailer been blasted by Megatron.

The combat deck can be converted into repair bay for Optimus although this is never been shown in the animation series. The trailer also acts as a storage bay for his weapon.

Another cool thing about the trailer is that Rodimus Prime can fit in and use the repair bay as well. The overhead crane can only reach up to the chest part for both of the figures.

The combat deck includes "Roller", a mobile scout buggy meant to scout behind enemy lines. When Roller is deployed, Optimus can hear what Roller sees and hears.

The trailer also can fit other Masterpiece series such as Lambor (MP12), Red Alert (MP-14), Prowl (MP-17) and Smokescreen (MP-18).

Roller has a few gimmicks in this Masterpiece series. It can carries Spike, Optimus Ion Blaster and even the trailer. Other than scouting, I can't recall Roller performs any other roles in the animation series.

MP-10 size has been streamlined to MP-09 and the subsequent Masterpiece line.There are hardly any difference in term of quality between the Takara Tomy and Hasbro Masterpiece except for a few minor paint job.

In my opinion, Takara Tomy Masterpiece MP-10 has a better packaging and bio card whereas Hasbro on the other hand has better paint job on his eyes and floodlights which really make a huge difference. The Roller in the Hasbro version  has an odd blue colour but I guess it won't really matter much. With a price tag of RM599, I'm sure the Hasbro version will be a better alternative for the cost conscious fan out there.