Thursday, June 05, 2008

Beautiful Tioman


As promised, here is my long overdued post on the Tioman Island trip :)

I was there for 6 days covering the SAS Tioman International Eco Challenge 2008, the first time such an event being held at the island and I was the lucky one assigned to cover the event for Majalah 3.

It was my first time at the island and I was amazed by its beautiful clear water, white sandy beaches...a different sight from my previous trip to another island last year.


This time around my assignment involved more than the usual 4-5 people. TV3's sports programme, Scoreboard, also sent their crew to cover the event. We worked together throughout which required planning and coordination to be able to get the best visuals. So there were 7 of us..2 journalists, 2 cameramen, 2 technicians and a pilot-cum-logistics coordinator.

By the time we reached the island, it was about 5pm. To the horror of us Maxis users, there was no coverage at the island. We each got ourselves an Xpax starter pack. Phew!

Being a city girl, I couldn't help but enjoy the soft sandy beach. Even during interviews, while I had a pen on one hand, the other was playing with sand. The picture above was taken on our second day in Tioman. The whole day was spent going around the race route to get a clearer picture of the race the next day.

We stopped by the TAT Turtle Sanctuary where we met with a tiny turtle named Jo. She was born without eyeballs (eyeball-less?), making it impossible for her to survive in the wild. She couldn't even move towards the sea when she came out of the nest 2 years ago.

So what the kind people at the sanctuary did was to keep her in a basin and handfeed it every single day.

We began our shoot that evening with the introduction on one of our main characters - a UiTM student and an Eco Challenge first timer. The picture below shows our interview session.

Where's the camera you say? Well, it was about 30 feet away from us and the result is as what you see in the story...it shows depth and defocus of his bike. Check out the video again ;)



The race day started with a bang, literally. The crown prince of Pahang, Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, flagged off the participants.

The first day of the race was hectic and the tension level way high. Thus, the lack of pictures. I don't think I should get into detail on that. Fast forward to the 2nd day..

The participants canoed about 20 km around the island. The waves didn't make it any easier for them either. If you watched the story you may notice my main character giving up, while the other characters - the husband and wife - did very well. That's how much experience helps in events like this.

At one of the stops, the army health team gave free health and dental services to the locals. This is the 'side' event inconjunction with the Eco Challenge.

The guy in yellow is main guy who had this whole event happen, Lt Kol (R) Bustaman. He helped organize the whole trip for us too.

That night he invited the TV3 crew for dinner onboard a navy ship, KD Mahawangsa. After a whole day of shoot, we were starved. Good thing the navy serve some of the best food around ;)

The dinner invitation came from the Commanding Officer of KD Mahawangsa himself. Also at the dinner were the army doctors and the organizers, that are mostly retired army officers.

While we were having dinner at the upper deck, there was a navy karaoke session going on at the lower deck. There was pressure from every possible angle for me to sing a song.

No matter how much I declined, I just couldn't let the whole ship down. So I brave myself to go on the huge stage and entertain the hundreds on navy personnel with my awful singing. The only female song that I know from their list was Candy's Akan Ku Tunggu. The rest were rock songs which were impossible for me to sing.

To divert the attention from my singing, I invited them to dance for me. Not just one guy accepted my invitation...

...but 3 guys danced for me! Hehehe.. As Yoda would say - cool people, they are :D

In the end, although my pitch was everywhere and I didn't hit the right notes, at least I did my part to lift the spirits of the brave men onboard.

The last day of the race was relatively a short one. While one cameraman covered the starting, we were on standby in the middle.

We were on top of this huge rock overlooking the beautiful Tioman. Here the cameraman and technician attempted to shoot an album cover.

Shortly, we were joined by the other press.

And not long after that the contestants came running pass us. Lucky thing we managed to shoot them in time..hehe..

The first team crossed the finish line just over an hour after flag off, while the last team just under 3 hours.

That night was the gala dinner where the Sultan of Pahang gave out the prizes to the winners.

The husband and wife that I personalized went home with RM8,000 as the 1st runner up. Although the student didn't win, his experience was enough to give juice to the story..hehe!

All in all, it was a fun trip although stressful at some point. But the story turned out quite good. I was told by the organizer, the crown prince of Pahang acknowledge the good job done. Woohoo!

The M3 team were concerned that our ratings would be affected by the AF finals but it didn't! In fact, the rating was quite high for this particular episode. Another plus point...Alhamdulillah...

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