Cameron Highlands, The Fading Charms of Malaysia

I am Malaysian, but I have not been to Cameron Highlands until last weekend. However, to be fair, I was never one of those with the travel bug. I am like an old soul that simply feeling comfortable waking up from my own bed, drinking the same tasteless plain water while watching the sunrise from my apartment balcony.

The talk on Cameron Highlands trip started when the senior colleague of mine has suggested for us to watch the sunrise from the high altitude of Gunung Brinchang in Mossy Forrest. That simply triggers my interest. I have always dedicated myself to work, but recently, I have been feeling like I am missing some things in life. I will be 40 years old in two years and I never care to go to places. Maybe it is high time for me to be bitten by the travel bug myself.

For convenience, my friend and I drove to Cameron Highlands from Penang. We took the exit from Simpang Pulai. While climbing up the mountains, I experienced the same ear blockage when you are taking off in an aeroplane. I was started to feel uncomfortable. However, what I find more unpleasant than the pain in my ears is the scenery that sets upon us.

As we were driving higher to the top, we were presented by the aggressive sight of hundreds of greenhouse plastic blankets. Unlike myself, my friend who was travelling with me is more than familiar with Cameron Highlands. She told me she used to enjoy visiting Cameron Highlands until it becomes too warm. She suspected the uncontrolled erection of greenhouses on the highlands is one of the major causes, other than unnecessary constructions.

Cameron Highlands is located in Pahang state, but some part of its mountains is crossing the border of Perak state. These mountains were first discovered by a geologist, William Cameron in 1885 after been decommissioned by the then British Colonial government to map out the border of Pahang-Perak. In honouring the contribution of William Cameron, the mountains were later named after him.

The tourism prospect of the Cameron Highlands was first identified by Sir Hugh Low, the Resident of Perak in 1887, but nothing much has been done to develop the areas until in 1925. Though, it was entirely for a different reason altogether.

After researching the areas, the agricultural team finds that the hill areas of Cameron Highlands are suitable for growing fruits, vegetables, coffee and especially, tea. Ironically, Cameron Highlands is mostly known and visited today because of the tea, and its plantations.

With no doubt, Cameron Highlands has tremendous tourism potentials. From its beautiful, mystical forests to its charming tea hills, it is hard not to fell in love with its landscape. My friends and I were simply hypnotized by watching the clouds move at the top of Gunung Brinchang.

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It is important for the local government to understand the historical significance of the Cameron Highlands and its tourism prospect for Malaysia. Send a team to review Cameron Highlands, control the building of the greenhouses, upgrade their facilities and restore the glory of its nature to its once was.

Sarini Azizan is a Ph.D. student of Accounting in Australian National University, Australia. Her research explores the theory of source credibility in corporate financial information communication.

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