Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Birdhouse Site

The road to Kuala Pilah is currently being upgraded. The Bukit Putus stretch (just after Seremban towards Kuala Pilah) has been a bane to regular users. It is a winding and twisting road with sharp and blind corners.

During my younger days when we went back for the school holidays from Kuala Lumpur we took the ‘Union’ bus (which has now become the ‘United’ bus) The bus would creak and groan when negotiating the sharp corners.This was much to the delight of the youngsters in the bus.On one occasion two of them got out of their seats and stood in the middle of the bus.They followed the swing of the bus cornering at each bend with much laughter, much to the consternation of the older folks. The only consolation were the ravines below which were not as steep or as deep as that of the old Karak -Temerloh road at the Genting Highlands stretch.

The Karak Highway is heaven-sent. Its construction followed along the valley.The Thai-Italian consortium that did the task had a brilliant way of doing it. They did away from cutting along the higher and winding hill slopes but rather utilizing the flat valley surface.

I used to ply from Bandar Pusat Jengka in Pahang, where I was stationed in the mid-seventies to Kuala Lumpur on most week-ends. I literarily saw the progress of the highway from day one. It was confusing initially because the old road ran along both the higher hill areas and the lower ground areas. While under construction the highway appeared below us and at other stretches there were bridges above us and we were then wondering where it would all lead to.

The ride at the Karak Highway is now smooth and pleasant That’s what is envisaged for this stretch of the Kuala Pilah highway, I would think. It would start about 10 km after Paroi utilizing the valley concept away from the old winding road and ends just before the Ulu Bendul Recreation Area. From a visual assessment the current status I would imagine is 80% complete.

Upon reaching Kuala Pilah one has to turn left towards Bahau and enters into Pelangai about 6 km away. The birdhouse will be at Juasseh Tengah, just a stone’s throw after the PLKN (National Service) complex along the Pelangai -Pasir Ambor road.

There is a Juasseh Ulu which is further up along the road, and there is the town of Juasseh which is just before Bahau. There is Juasseh Hilir, a bit off the town of Juasseh in the interior (which can be accessed along a side road from Kuala Pilah through Dioh) There is also Juasseh Kapitan towards the south which is accessed through a network of sideroads adjacent to the Bahau road. Juasseh Tengah (tengah means centre) as the name suggests is in the centre of all the confusion.

From the roadside, one could follow an access road to the land for a distance of about 200 metres, ascending slightly until the highest point is reached.It has been levelled where it was envisaged once, a bungalow was to be built as a week-end retreat. The surrounding land area was planned for a durian and petai plantation which is on hold but may yet be a reality after the birdhouse.

Our birdhouse consultant, Mr Tee had advised after seeing the land that we should exploit the high ground as it makes it easier for the birds. “The birdhouse should be at the highest point”, he repeatedly reminded Jordie, my partner.

The birds should be able to fly in and fly out without much difficulty or obstacles or big trees in the way.“You must give priority to the business” he said. The birdhouse at the hill top takes priority now. Silently and surely the message is clear - there goes the ‘dream bungalow amidst the greenery’ for the time being!

The site is fairly secluded which physically is expected of a birdhouse. It should be away from neighbours.We have to be fair as at certain times of the day there will be the duress calls of cracklings and shreikings natural to the birds but bothersome to humans.

I just often wonder how much neighbours have to put up with in cases where a birdhouse occupies one lot out of a row of shophouses. It seemed the local authorities in some of the towns are in the process of formulating some regulations over this.

We do not anticipate any problems over this as the nearest house is about 300 metres away. So it is ok, I gather.

We have to think of a another site for the ‘dream bungalow amidst the greenery’ though but it is not pressing, not at the moment!