Wednesday, May 11, 2011

May Day! May Day

River, Pulau Besar
Mirage Island Resort, Pulau Besar
The destination for this year's May Day pilgrimage was Pulau Besar in Johor, another boat ride from Mersing jetty.

Monopoly Deal, Malaysian Immigration
We made full use of the 2-3 hour long queues at Malaysian immigration (they were testing out their new biometric thumbprint scanning systems) to hone our wheeling and dealing skills. Malaysian security spotted us and walkie-talkie-d for back-up, but their SOP didn't provide for action to be taken when faced with Monopoly Deal.

Mirage Island Resort office, Mersing On the Boat to Pulau Besar
A roller coaster ride along windy roads to Mersing and a speedy boat ride later, we were at the bucolic island of Pulau Besar. In Malaysia, this meant charming wooden huts amidst coconut trees with creaky plywood boards so thin you could hear passing conversations while inside the hut and take full advantage of the resident rooster(s) for your morning alarm, and stained but clean sheets and comfortably soft mattresses at Mirage Island Resort,

Hen and Chicks, Mirage Island Resort
hens and chicks just about everywhere - looking for food under the stilted huts, roosting in trees, clucking and cheeping under bushes...

Hibiscus, D'Coconut Island Resort, Pulau Besar
attap huts, bats awake during the day and squabbling amongst coconut palms, hibiscus shrubs (at D'Coconut Island Resort), and

Treehouse, Pulau Besar
a tree house replete with well-used hammocks and swings at Aseania Resort.

Mirage Island Resort, Pulau Besar
The international flags at Mirage's Pirate Bar and lounging young Frenchmen who alternated between beach volleyball and chain-smoking and drinking beer while swimming in the sea, juxtaposed bucolic with backpacker's haven.

Ramly Burger, Mersing
Our bed and board for 3 days and 2 nights included two breakfasts, one lunch and two dinners. We needn't have packed Ramly burgers (beef, special, with cheese please) from Mersing jetty;

Chicken chop, Mirage Island Resort, Pulau Besar Barbecue dinner, Mirage Island Resort, Pulau Besar
Breakfast, Mirage Island Resort, Pulau Besar Lunch, Pulau Besar
the chicken chop at Mirage was fresh (of course) and the lamb at the barbecue was especially excellent; breakfast was decent (bread, toast, pancakes, scrambled egg, sausage on second day, nasi lemak on third day) and lunch was both delicious in a homecooked way and generous (of course, a morning of snorkelling and swimming, and beach frisbee and shell picking does give one a ferocious appetite).

"The Gardener", Mirage Island Resort Luggage Cart, Mirage Island Resort
Service was excellent and unstinting - food was served and plates were cleared in due course, slugs of alcohol were generous, bottled water was given freely, as was tutoring in the art of pool (or i suppose, not ripping the velvet off the pool table).

Fishing off the jetty at Pulau Besar
Fishing off the jetty was easy - the turquoise waters were dark with schools of fish. The issue was hooking the fish of one's choice rather than taking all eager comers.

Red kayak, Pulau Besar
Bobbing about in a red kayak, chatting and drinking potent Long Island Teas was also an option,

Pulau Besar
as was just lazying about on deck chairs with suntan lotion and a good book.

Sadly, the snorkelling was only so-so compared to Pulau Rawa, and past the mosque, to the left of Mirage Island Resort, sea urchins proliferated below fairly shallow waters and sandflies abounded above*.

Releasing laterns, Pulau Besar
If we had been Malaysian, we would have come adequately prepared with paper lanterns to send off in the night wind.

Bang! Phase 10
But we were not and made do with hilarious rounds of Phase 10 and Bang!,

Snacks brought to Pulau Besar
accompanied by all manner of snacks and news of the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Micah on the Beach, Pulau Besar
I had a bit of a wrestle with Micah, and as a consequence inadvertently brought back half the beach, wedged between Jonah and Nahum.

Fishing, Pulau Besar Jetty
Haven't quite got mind round the book yet, but from the little gleaned so far, whadda chum.

Micah was a contemporary of Hosea (Hosea 1:1) and Isaiah (Isaiah 1:1), roughly in 8th century B.C. He prophesised through the reigns of Judean kings Jotham (about 750–735 B.C.), Ahaz (about 735–715 B.C.) and Hezekiah (about 715–687 B.C.). Possibly spoke God's warnings to both Israel until they went into exile in Assyria, and to Judah. In Jeremiah 26:18, the elders of the land observe the influence of Micah's words on Hezekiah (cf Micah 3:12).

Need quite a few more passes at the prophet, not sure if this book is a compilation of his preaching or a structured whole, but for now:

Micah 1:2-4 The LORD is coming in judgement.
Micah 1:5 God's people have sunk so low that it is as if even God's holy temple has become a high place for the worship of idols.
Micah 1:7 People's infidelity like that of a prostitute.
Micah 1:8-9 Yet God/the prophet mourns over coming judgement.
Micah 1:10-16 Wordplay pronounces imminent disaster on the whole land.

Micah 2:1 The people are so evil, they are even plotting evilness in bed.
Micah 2:2 The powerful covet and seize their neighbour's inheritance (cf. Exodus 20:17).
Micah 2:3-5 Therefore the LORD will take away their inheritance.

Micah 2:6-7 The people reject the prophetic warning, presuming on God's blessing without caring about God's word.

Micah 2:8-9 They deny rest to others and make war with their neighbours.
Micah 2:10 Therefore the LORD will deny them rest.

Micah 2:11 The people are happy to be led by false prophets.
Micah 2:12-13 The LORD/a king will lead the remnant (to battle?).

Micah 3:1-3 Israel's leaders are so cruel to their own people, they are like cannibals.
Micah 3:4 Therefore, the LORD will not allow them any hope of repentance.

Micah 3:5 The profit-driven pronouncements of self-seeking prophets lead the people astray.
Micah 3:6-7 Therefore, the LORD will blind them.
Micah 3:8 But Micah's warnings are divinely-powered and true.

Micah 3:9-11 The leaders, priests and prophets are corrupt yet presume that God will not bring disaster on them.
Micah 3:12 Therefore, because of them, the LORD will bring disaster on Jerusalem.

Micah 4:1-5 But in latter days, the LORD will establish his house in Jerusalem. And in contrast to the corruption that came before, it will be a place where God's law will be taught and there will be rest.
Micah 4:6-8 Hmmm, lame as image of God's people under his judgement? The LORD as shepherd gathers them.
Micah 4:9-5:1 First, exile to Babylon (apparently this wasn't even on their Ministry of Defence's scenario planning axis). This was God's punishment of his people, and not his lack of power over other nations. And this was so that God would then rescue his people and judge the other nations.

Micah 5:2-6 The promised ruler/saviour shall come from Bethlehem Ephrathah, and shall be divine(?). He will be the shepherd and give them rest (all that God has promised so far in Micah). He will rule over all the earth (like God!).
-> no wonder Jesus chided the Jewish teachers in his day for not reading scripture!

Micah 5:7-9 The people may be scattered amongst the nations (due to exile), but there they will destroy the nations.
Micah 5:10-15 At that time, the LORD will destroy their idol crutches.

Micah 6 The people are on trial: the LORD reminds the people of his past faithfulness and their covenantal relationship. The people were told what was expected from them - not to earn God's favour but to respond to his grace by loving him and loving neighbour. But the evidence is brought to show that they violated the covenant. The sentence is pronounced.

Micah 7:1-7 The current situation already shows signs that the sentence is in effect.
Micah 7:8-10 Yet Micah trusts that the LORD will rescue them in their repentance (which from Micah 5:10-15, the LORD himself will bring about?).
Micah 7:11-13 The remnant will come out of the nations to Jerusalem, which shall be the only place of safety on the earth.
Micah 7:14-20 Reprise of Moses & Miriam's Exodic Hit Song - reminder that God had the power and desire to rescue his people, looking forward to the new exodus


In Your Bag: Pulau Besar Weekender Pack

*these were particularly nasty despite incessant spraying with insect repellant (both DEET-laden and DEET-free). We washed and Stingose-d them then kept the bites sterile with large plasters from the Pirate Bar. Ultra-kiasu treatment back in Singapore consisted of:
- Enhancin (anti-biotic, co-amoxiclav 625mg)
- Dhasolone (steroid, prednisolone BP 5mg)
- Xyzal (third-generation anti-histamine, levocetrizine dihydrochloride 5mg)
- Gentriderm cream (bactericidal, antifungal, antibiotic, corticosteroid)

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