Dec 14, 2012

Gunung Pulai from Singapore Again

With a dormant blog like this, I do not expect to receive many comments or emails from readers, if at all. Therefore you can imagine my surprise when one reader Timothy emailed me a photo (above) of a mountain taken in Choa Chu Kang from his iPhone. The familiar plateau towering and basking in the background sunset, it is our old friend I have blogged about in the past (here, here and here).

I could not help sharing Timothy's stunning photo of Gunung Pulai at sunset. The image is evocative, it reminds us before there was a delineated boundary between Singapore and Malaysia, our tiny island was separated from the Johor hinterland by the Singapore Strait (Selat Singapura). On a clear day today just as in the past, Gunung Pulai appears right at our doorstep. You need not go very high up like Timothy. In fact I had caught a glimpse of the mountain from inside the MRT cabin. I now wonder what was in the mind of the early settlers when they too caught a glimpse of the mountain from elevated ground. Did they have the impression this was on the island?

With his permission, I share two more photos from Timothy taken from a digital camera. They show Gunung Pulai under two different atmospheric conditions - one sunny, the other gloomy. The first shows a slightly hazy view but at least the mountain is still visible. In the second view, however, the mountain has disappeared!

Courtesy of Timothy Tan

Courtesy of Timothy Tan


Pat said...

I first noticed Gunung Pulai back in 2004/05, after the demolition of several blocks of flats left an unobstructed line-of-sight to the northwest. At that time, I didn't know its identity & therefore simply called it "Mount Mysterious".

From my vantage point (near Pandan Reservoir), I guessed the mountain must be located 30-40km away, somewhere in Johor state. My nickname for the mountain alludes to the fact that it is visible on infrequent & unpredictable occasions.

Interestingly, it's not always possible to see Gunung Pulai on otherwise seemingly haze-free days. Based on its description, I suppose that's because it disappears & blends "into the clouds". And magically enough, on certain clear nights, I can discern the steady red lights of the Malaysian telecoms towers situated on the left peak.

The above blog-post inspired me to take a 2nd look at my old photos of Gunung Pulai. 8 years ago, I could see the entire width of the mountain. However ever since 2009/10, my view of the mountain has literally been broken into half (... come to think of it, Brokeback Mountain does sound quite apt) -- the right half of the Gunung Pulai is now blocked off by the much nearer mountain of newly-built 40-storey HDB flats.

Here are some of my photos: Collation (2005, 2011, 2012), 22 Oct 2012 (when the 2 telecoms towers on the left peak could be seen).

And upon looking at my photos of the mountain named after the Pulai tree, I realize that the graceful Casuarina trees over at Chinese Garden/Jurong Lake have been artificially de-topped, mangled & shortened over time.

Unknown said...

Below link were the mountains and hills of johor which could be seen on clear days when i stayed at serangoon area last time

Anonymous said...

Thank for sharing the beautiful photos. Just to point out - Singapore and Malaysia are separated by the Straits of Johor. Not the Straits of Singapore.

Anonymous said...

You can see Gunung pulai on a clear day from orchard area if you are high up enough.