This is Jamun, 49, a porter at Mt Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.
That contraption on his back is 35kg. In the time I went up and down Mt Kinabalu he’d already made 2 trips to and from Laban Rata (3273m).
These porters, mostly from the Kadazan/Dusun tribes, they pass you all the time, many in slippers. Every thing you consume, use, enjoy at Laban Rata, they bring up by foot.
Some of their rubber soles, like Jamun’s, are worn out. You catch glimpses as they snake upward, bent over and with eyes on the ground, weaving between the string of relatively clumsy visitors.
This is Inuddin, 26, the guide we engaged.
He is Dusunese, has done the hike more than 200 times, and has a personal best of doing the mountain run in 3 hours 3 min (we took about 17 hours up and down; the fastest record for the Kinabalu race is 2 hrs 37 min).
Inuddin told us about his family, his 5-year old son who is beginning school soon, and his 2-year old daughter.
"Saya kahwin bini bila umur 20 tahun. Saya sudah kawan baik dengan dia sejak Tingkatan 3. Tau tak mengapa kahwin begitu muda? Sebab saya tak mau orang lain kahwin dia, cepat-cepat kahwin. Selalu saya bawa orang naik gunung, perempuan selalu complain lelaki sekarang tak guna…"
More shots of these great people:
These men, women, boys and girls are heroes of the nation in my book. I don’t know if you can read the article, but it says "They represent the strength and courage of the human spirit to do what is necessary to bring pride, honour and respect for the mountain."
I am proud that Malaysia is keeping this really beautiful place well, and people around the world want to visit.
So I hope we will continue to do so – following the thoughtful advice on the signboard, and if possible, helping to preserve the purity of this place by picking up litter you see along the way.
I cannot think of a better name for the mountain that its Chinese one: 神山.
The Dayspring from on high has visited us; To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
I found a doorway to Narnia, and entered in.