Hasher Hardip Singh recounts his five days and four nights lost in the jungle in Templer’s Park while checking out a new trail, but has no recollection of how he lost his clothes.
AT 5.30pm on a Wednesday, Hardip Singh informed his 15-year-old son that he was going for a run in Templer’s Park in Rawang, Selangor.
“I told him, ‘tell your mother to cook rice and vegetables and I will be back in two hours’ time’,” recalled the 51-year-old hasher who lives close to the forest reserve located about a 20-minute drive north of Kuala Lumpur.
Hardip is a hare (in Hash House Harrier terminology, a person who lays the trail). On that day, he was alone in the jungle looking for a new trail for the hashers’ weekend trekking.
The para-legal with an oil and gas company describes himself as a hare who “bulldozes his way through a jungle”.
“I do what other hashers won’t do. For example, I’ll try out a new trail without carrying a compass. Of course, each time I will come back. This time, I did not,” he said.
That day, Hardip ran for about 2km, passing several waterfalls. At the second waterfall he veered off the beaten track to trail blaze.
Around 6.45pm, he could not see any track ahead, so he decided to take a left turn, thinking it would lead him to the park’s carpark. Ten minutes later, he reached a waterfall, which he described as very high.
“It was getting darker and I was worried that I might be lost,” he said. “I had to hold on to trees as I was hiking down a slippery slope as I could not see in the darkness. Then suddenly I let go of my hands and I felt like I was in the air.”
Hardip tumbled down three metres, hitting a piece of wood and injuring his ribs.
Close to 8pm, Hardip realised that he needed to call for help. However, there was no phone signal in the area.
“I hiked a bit and then I sat on a rock and prayed very hard that someone would find me. But I knew that night nobody would be able to find me,” he said.
Five days later, on Sunday morning, Hardip was found naked in an ankle-deep stream by two hashers and two Orang Asli. He did not remember what happened to him on Saturday afternoon as his sugar level was low.
“I can’t remember how I lost my clothes. It must have happened on Saturday as, on Friday, I still had them on. My recollection of Sunday was I felt very cold. I wanted someone to take me out of the water as I could not get out myself,” he said.
On Thursday, four days after he was found, I met Hardip. I’ve been following his story in the newspapers and was curious to know how he survived his five-day-four-night ordeal in the jungle, and whether he was actually “trapped” inside the supernatural world of the Orang Bunian.
On Friday night, according to the hasher, he “saw people around”.
“I saw shadows in the dark jungle. I thought these must be people who had come to rescue me. I shouted for help, but there was nobody at all,” he said.
“Must be Orang Bunian,” I thought. So I asked Hardip whether he thought he had entered another realm.
“I don’t think I met the Orang Bunian. Yes, after I was rescued people did tell me that such things exist and they will stop you from coming out of the jungle.
“There were people who had organised prayers for these things to release me,” he said.
“But I did not feel I was in another world. Of course, at night there were noises coming from the trees. Perhaps they were from insects and small animals.”
In the jungle, the vegetarian survived on “nice, sweet water from the streams”.
“On Thursday and Friday, I was not hungry. It was not normal as I should have been hungry.
“Maybe I did not feel hunger as my energy level was up and all I wanted was to get out of the jungle,” he said, adding that although he had injured his ribs he felt no pain.
The only time he regretted solo trailblazing was on Friday night.
“On the third night, I was beginning to get worried. I prayed hard that if I ever came out of this alive, I would never again enter the jungle alone.”
ONE MAN'S MEAT By Philip Golingai firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: The STAR Online Home News Opinion Monday May 28, 2012