In a remarkable display of determination and camaraderie, Ts Kishan Gunesegeran, a Civil Engineering lecturer at INTI International University, recently embarked on a memorable hiking journey. Set against the mesmerising backdrop of Taman Rimba Bukit Kerinchi, the expedition was organised by Zubedy M Sdn Bhd in collaboration with The Society of the Blind in Malaysia (SBM), St John Ambulance, and Malim Gunung Perhutanan Selangor (MGPS).
Kishan, recognised as a malim gunung or mountain man, extended a helping hand to offer support and inspiration to K. Murugan, a visually impaired hiker, guiding him throughout this extraordinary journey.
By teaming up with Murugan from SBM, Kishan experienced the joy of guiding a visually impaired hiker for the first time in his 17-year career. His extensive outdoor experience, substantiated by a Trained Malim Gunung Pertahanan (MGP) certification, was instrumental in ensuring a safe passage for Murugan through the challenging landscape.
Reflecting on the venture, Kishan shared, “Being Murugan’s eyes, ears, and steady support was challenging but rewarding. He could hear and communicate, which was fortunate.”
“My role involved guiding his hands, allowing him to feel the ground, the trail, trees, and roots, boosting his confidence as we traversed, particularly across streams and trails,” he continued.
Despite the blazing sun and soaring temperatures, Kishan’s dedication to ensuring Murugan’s safety and pleasure never wavered. They both encountered distinctive challenges along the trail.
Kishan illustrated, “In standard hikes, we have clear roles and can complete a 1km hike in 15 to 40 minutes. However, this required individual attention to each visually impaired participant, taking around 2 hours and 15 minutes. We communicated between guides via walkie-talkies, maintaining a distance to assist as needed.”
Regardless of the hurdles, Murugan and his friend’s unyielding spirit and resolve were commendable, displaying emotional and mental strength throughout.
Kishan observed, “Their senses were incredibly sharp; they even helped guide me back, accurately questioning our location. I was sincerely stunned and impressed.
Kishan’s enthusiasm for the outdoors aligns with his mission to provide an inclusive and encouraging experience for individuals like Murugan. He emphasised, “Our main goal was to ensure the well-being of our fellow adventurers, maintaining conversation and building a sense of unity from start to end.”
After the journey, Kishan admired Murugan’s emerging confidence, noting, “Murugan is now prepared to face even more daunting mountains, knowing he has the steadfast support of a guide.”
Kishan felt pride in learning that two SBM members were pursuing higher education in their final semesters at local universities.
Besides this uplifting experience, Kishan highlighted the rising popularity of outdoor adventures in Malaysia, remarking, “Groups are increasingly embracing hiking for various reasons, and this is being widely shared on social media.”
He expressed gratitude for a balanced life and stated, “Thanks to a healthy work-life balance at INTI, I can enjoy weekend hikes without work worries.”
This touching tale of unity and aspiration is a beautiful reflection of the profound effects of support, willpower, and friendship. It’s a testament to the power of these virtues in overcoming obstacles and crafting memorable moments.
Kishan and Murugan pausing for a photo opportunity.
Kishan (back, fourth from the left) and his malim gunung comrades celebrating a successful mission.
Everyone cheerfully posing for a photo after completing the adventurous hike.