Wednesday, February 9, 2011
The small forgotten 'two-road' town of Raub is situated in west of Pahang Darul Makmur; between the mountain ranges of Benom and Titiwangsa in Malaysia - about 2 hours drive from the capital of Kuala Lumpur, off the highway, along a 2-lane road, twisting and turning through simple remote villages. The air here is clean, pure and crisp as a result of its 270-odd meter elevation.
Raub became a famous settlement in the early 20th century for its gold mining resource.
It’s colonial past is still evident in the fine old buildings scattered around the town area.
RAGM or the Raub Australian Gold Mine 1889 (later known as the Australian Gold Mining Co, Ltd in 1892) operated the gold mine in Raub until 1961.
This humble town is one of the oldest town in Pahang and old folk’s tale recounts that in the early days, an old man and his two sons discovered gold every time they scooped up the earth in Raub.
Thus, Raub derived its name from the Bahasa Malaysia word, meaning ‘scoop’. People found that for every tray of sand there was a handful (raub) of gold.
Cameron Highlands and Fraser’s Hill are both located within the Raub district; only about an hour away from the town. Malaysia’s National Park, the Taman Negara is just slightly more than an hour away.
Being embraced by greenery and hills all round, the main economic activity of Raub would be agriculture – fruits especially, distributed to the bigger towns in Malaysia. The main crops in Raub are durians, rambutans, limes, mangosteens, duku langsat, passion fruits and bananas.
Most of the buildings in Raub town were built during the pre-World War II era. The Catholic Church of the Annunciation was established back in 1952. The Catholic community here are simple, serene and peace-loving.
With the development of new expressways and the closure of gold mines, the sleepy town of Raub is almost forgotten.
Nevertheless, it is still a home for many. For those who have migrated to dwell in the busy city, Raub remains the root of their being; a place they often return for retreat and renewal. My connection with this humble abode lies with a relative uncle Paul who will almost have journeyed this earth for 95 rich years and still going spiritually strong, hopefully to a century. Over the years, this pilgrim has experienced faith being planted, nurtured, groomed, nourished, challenged, bloom and passed on to the younger generations. Ever so gently, the pilgrim knows that the journey still goes on...until the homecoming...to hold on ever so obediently to the faith as handed down by the earlier generations.
The pace of life in this sleepy town actually reduces one’s distractions from the noises of the world; allowing one to simply contemplate diligently on the Word of God, prayerfully hearing His whispers surrounded by the absolute pureness of His Creation, thus satisfying the heart's longing for God - the restlessness within.
The spiritual fruits of such a pilgrim's journey constantly reminds us that we are all mere humans, carved on the palms of His Hands, made to simply love Him more and others without exception - each day; with complete submission to the will of God. Accepting the rule of God means radically changing one's order of values.
The Kingdom of God could never be bought-in without suffering; the latter, when viewed in a totally new way, through the lenses of the Word of God, will not prevent us from enjoying His love. Riches, power, comfort, good times, pride - gold can hinder one from truly seeking the Kingdom of God.
"In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
(1 Peter 1:6-7, NAB)