Making use of the great outdoors | Selangor Times
Issue 118


Making use of the great outdoors
Writer: Sharyn Shufiyan
Published: Fri, 18 Mar 2011

When I first heard of Broga, I thought it was in Spain or Latin America. It didn’t sound local to my ear. Located on the border of Selangor and Negeri Sembilan, it is believed that Broga earned its name from Buragas, a mystical beast that lives in the forest.

I only knew of Broga when I returned from New Zealand in 2008. I had just started work with an environmental organisation, and came across the story of the Broga community opposing the incinerator project. Later I had the opportunity to meet and work with Ong Ju Lin, who had filmed Alice Lives Here, a documentary on the issue which won Best Film at the 2005 Freedom Film Festival.

Broga is famed for the hike up Bukit Lalang. Less than an hour away from Kuala Lumpur, it is a convenient location for a day’s retreat, and the hike is friendly enough for people of various fitness levels. But there is another aspect of Broga that caught my attention.

Recently, a colleague of mine shared stories of facilitating a children’s camp at an adventure site called Outbac Broga. With two girlfriends on tow, I paid Outbac a visit one Saturday afternoon.

“Outbac started eight years ago as a community service. When it first started, it only had a field and public toilets. As it progressed and became popular, more facilities were added,” explained Dr Yap, who manages Outbac.

Previously a lecturer in Singapore, Yap came back to Malaysia after six years to contribute to the community. Outbac’s main target market is young people, from primary schoolchildren to college students. During a brief walkabout of the campsite, we saw groups of college students laughing and shouting words of encouragement as they went through the obstacle courses.

The courses looked like a whole lot of fun – from flying-fox, water and rope obstacles and a 15m climbing wall, to the Leap of Faith, a trapeze-like challenge 7m high up in a tree – but I bet it takes a lot of courage and determination to complete some of these tasks.

“The instructor is very friendly and the activities are exciting. They are mentally and physically challenging, so it’s good training,” said Juliana Rosli, project leader from Orange International College, amidst excited screams as a team member missed the trapeze bar and dangled in mid-air. Another group of students was from the Inti College Business Club.

Sandra, from the organising committee, explained that the trip was to improve the relationships among some of the club members who were new. “It’s good for young people to come together. We learn about teamwork as we help each other to go through the obstacles,” she said.

Outbac is also committed to the environment and the community.

Last year, the campsite hosted a clean-up day at Bukit Lalang with 160 volunteers and collected 100kg worth of rubbish.

“We need to do this since it’s our responsibility as we bring people up there. We plan to do it again this year,” Yap said.Outbac also hosted an open day for the public to use their facilities for free. They had visitors from the nearby towns of Semenyih and Kajang.

Fun activities aside, campsites such as Outbac teach our children and youths essential values such as teamwork, and build mental and physical endurance. Spending time outdoors also gives us a moment to appreciate the gift of nature we too easily neglect.

Exposing children to their natural surroundings at an early age would heighten their appreciation towards nature, and this is important to ensure that the environment continues to be protected and conserved for our children’s future.

Perhaps I am just jaded with a world obsessed with technology, and living in a society where selfworth is measured by material gain, that an initiative such as Outbac is – figuratively and literally – a breath of fresh air. It is only when we make use of our natural environment that we start to appreciate its value and take ownership of our inheritance.

For more information on Outbac Broga, visit


 Selangor Times



Also by Sharyn Shufiyan:

It’s all in the lyrics

WHEN you listen to a song, what is it about that song that would hold your attention for four minutes? 

Syncretism of cultural beliefs

WHEN different groups of people exist in the same environment, integration often takes place. 


The end of the world?

Will love or faith prevail?

WILL love or faith prevail? That is the premise of “Nadirah”, a play written by Alfian Sa’at and directed by Jo Kukathas staged recently at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre.

Pluralism is not a bad thing!

Last month, my partner and I checked out our friends’ ongoing community arts project, Have a Holy-Day! in Brickfields. Like first class busybodies, we hung around for about an hour or so and snapped some pictures as proof that we were there.

Response to the Responses of Suara Cicit Tunku Abdul Rahman

Sharyn Shufiyan takes a detour from talking about current affairs to talking about her current affair. 

The imaginary boundary

Work takes me to Sabah and Sarawak quite often lately, home to two of the longest rivers in Malaysia. 

The universality of fasting

It’s that time of the year again when Muslims test their patience, refrain from worldly desires, and increase their piety.

Displaced by development

Naked or nude?

What is the difference between being naked and being nude? Do they both mean the same thing, to be without clothes, to let it “all hang loose”?

Branding Politics

Raving about Rave

Rave isn’t really my scene but I will enjoy a good night out anytime.

A Thai in our midst

"It was way back in 1956, at a time when the then Malaya was on the verge of gaining independence that the idea of building a sizable Buddhist temple close to the federal capital of Kuala Lumpur was first conceived. The temple was also to reflect the status of Buddhism as one of the major religions in the country, and also serve as a symbol of the long standing close relationship that existed between Thailand and Malaya.”

Reaching new heights

Walking into the concourse of Batu Caves, one is greeted by majestic structures of Hindu deities, temples and swarms of pigeons flapping just inches above your head. Macaques blend into the landscape amongst worshippers and tourists, making their way up the 272 steps to the Temple Cave.

Please flush after use

November 19th was World Toilet Day! What better way to celebrate World Toilet Day than to address our toilet habits?

Aren’t we all dirty minded?

Taking shelter from the rain, I walked into a Chinese coffee shop occupied by uncles playing mahjong. In small towns like Kuang, an outsider stands out like a sore thumb. At one point while I was on the phone, the uncles stopped playing and stared at me. “They thought you are a police,” said Uncle Chong, who came to sit next to me.

Picking on the right hemisphere

I’m the worst early riser, ever. But on that particular Saturday, I was actually looking forward to it. The plan was for us to gather in front of SK Sentul Utama. Walking up to the school, I could see the field marshals wearing cute tentacles on their heads, checking in other enthusiasts and assigning them into groups.

A play of lights

As we turned the corner, bright lights greeted us from a distance. With the dark of the night in the background, shades of red, blue, green and white burst into view. We were entering a neon forest.

Leaving and arriving: The non-place

A Caucasian couple with a toddler on tow walked out of the arrival hall. As the parents’ attention was focused on a row of men holding up name placards, the toddler, lying face down, dragged himself along the marble floor, as if licking it, then got up and mischievously scurried away.











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