Monday, May 25, 2009

Battle Ground: Kuang 2009

“I ran from one cover to another, weaving through the maze of jungle undergrowth, trying to find a good firing position to storm the enemy as projectiles whizzed through the hot, tropical air. My squad mates halted as they sighted the enemy and opened fire, pinning down a number of hostiles beside a pair of water barrels who in turn returned the favor. From the side of a wall, I peered out, spying upon one member of the enemy crew sheltering behind a lone tree trunk, a portion of his back exposed. I took aim and canted, “Hasta la vista, baby,” as I discharged my ammunition on my unsuspecting foe…” ;)

Sounds like war? Well close to it! In fact it’s actually our 2nd Trail Trackers Paintball Challenge held at Mud Trekkers in the sleepy town of Kuang, Selangor. :) Gathering a total of 28 people in the wee hours of a Sunday morning, we travelled by convoy to our battle zone after having our breakfast at our regular eating joint, Devi’s Corner in TTDI. The trip there was not without hiccups though. For one, there were a few people that were unable to find their way to the meeting venue (I mean who doesn’t know Devi’s Corner???? ;)) and another, there were a number of people who couldn’t quite reach that bright window in the darkness to bring themselves back into consciousness, preferring the respite of slumber instead. That is also not to mention a series of people who had promised to come for the event and failed to show up for a host of reasons ranging from genuine sounding ones like “I have to take care of my nephew because his mom is away” to the eternally annoying “I can’t make it because I have ‘something’ to do,” (which leaves one to wonder what exactly the ‘something’ really is that can ‘do’ on a Sunday morning, hmm… :p). As a result, a few tempers were frayed this fine morning but then again I took most of it in stride. :p After all, aren’t we gonna let loose of it all at the end of the muzzle later? ;) We arrived at Mudtrekkers Paintball Range a little bit after 9:00am in the morning after a few wrong turns, our convoy of 7 cars taking a tour around the small little town of Kuang to the puzzlement of the locals.
Reporting in at Mudtrekkers, Kuang

If we’ve thought we were the only group here to blast each other to kingdom come, we’re definitely mistaken as group after group of people started showing up at the place to do the exact same thing. Apparently the ‘sport’ of paintball is really catching in with the Malaysian population. ;) After paying off our dues, suiting up and arming ourselves, we all gathered for a briefing that was conducted by one of the members of the venue.
This guy looks like he likes his job! I mean who doesn't? ;)

Although having gone through the drill for half a dozen times already, I still paid my attention (well most of it ;)) to the usual safety instructions standard to the game that is:-
a) Always keep your mask on when in the battlefield
b) Always keep your barrel sock over the muzzle of your marker whenever play is over
c) Always keep your marker’s safety plug depressed whenever not in play

Gathering for the briefing
Listening intently for some paintball 'wisdom'...

At this point, it is interesting to note that the ‘gun’ we are issued to blast each other isn’t referred to as a ‘gun’ per se, rather it is a ‘marker’ or more accurately, a ‘paint marker’. ;) All paintball enthusiasts emphasize on this piece of fact although its use can hardly be distinguished from the ‘real thing’. And some more serious people do actually bring this ‘realism’ up a few notches, purchasing ‘markers’ that look like M16s, AK-47s or heavy machine guns on top of wearing overalls that looked more military issue than the average weekend warrior garb we were all wearing.
One of the 'heavy artillery', man it'll pack a mean punch!

With the meeting dispensed with, it is time to dish out some PAIN(T) as we were marched off to our first battlefield, the jungle. Dividing into two teams, both of us positioned on opposite ends of the field. The objective is simple, blast as many of the opponent’s team before time runs out. On the mark of the marshal, our opposing teams converged, exchanging fire as the distance between us closed.
On the attack, paintballers shelter behind the 'safe zone'

Here, our very own TT commando, Dennis, attempted to win himself the Medal of Honor by infiltrating behind enemy lines to ‘take out’ some of the enemy’s leadership. He succeeded in neutralizing two before he was shot in the back! :) Questions were asked later as to who actually shot our commando as he crouched behind a bush busy firing rounds of paintball before he got clipped, but in the fog of war I guess ‘friendly fire’ cannot be discounted entirely. ;) I did managed to get two, giving George a fashion uplift by splattering him with gobs of orange paint on his otherwise drab navy blue jacket and clipping this suspicious looking guy with a bandanna on his head by the bushes. ;)
Well, it's not George but he was almost in the same position... ;)

A call to lay covering fire finally done me in, a missile striking me in the visor just as I broke cover to spray the enemy position with projectiles. My ‘life’ spent, I raised my arms and walked to the ‘safe zone’ which was literally a hut in the middle of the battlefield covered with protective netting to watch the rest of the battle unfold. A few minutes later it was all over, the marshal blowing the whistle and our warriors ordered to march into the ‘safe zone’ to rest and reload as we yielded the battlefield to another group. We watched as this group battled, the adrenaline in our blood peaked as the blare of automatic fire from a laser gun-like marker filled the air.
A short break but it doesn't mean you can't be fashionable!

In between, our members shared war stories as Wei Han decided to do some ‘minor’ redecoration with the furniture. :p
The bench decided to 'surrender' under Wei Han's weight, much to Andy's amusement

Once the other group had finished their round, it was time for ours. Returning to the same battlefield,
Preparing for the next round, Aurelius's team discuss strategy

I was made to leave a few minutes later, a round of paintball from Henry’s marker striking me between the knuckles of my right hand ending my sortie as I was firing from a trench. Henry went on to clip two more of my members before our commando, Dennis, returned to ambush them by again hitting them in the rear, taking out 3 members in a go. Their curly haired ‘general’, Aurelius, was blasted away by my Cos Playing cousin in a precision head shot, crippling them by severing their command and control! :)
Casualties of War: Hubert decides to get his hair 'chromed'
Andy looks a bit dazed after a head shot ;)

The session in the jungle over with, it was time to move to a more ‘urban’ setting. Consisting of brick walls, aluminum sheet shelters, water barrels, simple huts inclusive of a rusted car and even the hull of a tank(!), the urban setting offers a different challenge compared to war in the jungle. Here the movements of the opposing team are more obvious with no grass or bushes to mask the advance. The wide open area also offers various avenues of attack and one couldn’t be too sure if the enemy had outflanked you and strike you from the direction least expected! But first, it was time to watch the pros play. Wielding markers that range from M16 replicas and sniper rifles, the pros let loose on one another, the now familiar blare of automatic discharge ringing in our ears.
One of the 'pros' with a mean looking gun... er marker...

Those with less fancy equipment still managed to blast off rapid rounds with fancy fingerwork, as index and middle finger happily dance over the trigger. Once the big boys had their fun it was now our turn. Despite the lack of ‘heavy weaponary’ it was still no less exciting as my team took shelter behind a shack to be assaulted by Aurelius’s team. Fusillades of paintball pellets broke overhead as the ‘enemy’ shelled my position, its contents splattering over me as it ricocheted off the surface of a wooden cupboard behind me. The game abruptly ended when a member of Aurelius’s group ‘touched’ our home base, rendering it ‘conquered’.
Well, in reality no one is gonna pose for you when they get to shoot at you instead!

As the afternoon sun crested over the cloudless sky, we again marched into our final battle, this time a reenactment of our earlier battle in the jungle except in an urban setting. Pellets running low, we tried to conserve our ammunition thinking to allow Aurelius’s group to finish theirs before we moved in. To my dismay, my marker jammed! I could only watch in helpless silence as my team mates were pelted with crossfire from entrenched positions, until a member of my team graciously offered her marker to me. ;) Filling up her marker with the contents of mine, I went forward, watching as Dennis was sent out of commission by George in an apparent kamikaze strike. ;) George in turn was hit later, opening up the chance for me to outflank Aurelius’s team which by now had holed up in the same aluminum hut I had hidden in the previous game. Crouching behind one brick wall, I opened fire, peppering the hut with pellets. And then something strange happened. As I looked to the corner of the water barrel I was sheltering in, I noticed the point of a muzzle peeping out, pointing towards the opposite direction. “The enemy!” I thought, and he was hiding RIGHT BEHIND the same barrel I was! I extended out my paintball marker right over that hovering muzzle and blasted the guy to Timbuktu! :p :) Cries of “I surrender! I surrender!” heralded Vit Ping’s emergence from behind the water barrel. I struck the inhabitants of the hut next.
More 'lagak' pictures :)

Still oblivious to my presence, I rained pellets at two unsuspecting opponents aiming away at my team mates beyond, landing a couple of hits on a guy in the shoulder. Too bad, because in this last game it was no less than a ‘head shot’ before you are rendered ‘dead’. A long burst of discharged gas told me that I had run out of ammo and without anything else to do, I decided to ‘surrender’ instead. ;) The game ended soon after as other markers registered empty. Returning our masks and markers, we head back to the relative shelter of another ‘safe zone’ where we gathered about to take a few group photos.
My team!

Tummies rumbling, it was now time to participate in another TT tradition: our after event banquet! :) With Chris, who had unexpectedly showed up (but did not participate to play the game), leading the way, we went to Sungai Buloh town to have our afternoon meal which consisted of a version of asam fish, marmite pork ribs, braised tofu and some vegetables.
Lunch in Sungai Buloh
Mmmmm, yummy :)
Dennis doing the 'sailormoon'? That shot from George must have messed his marbles!

Bellies full, it was finally time to head home. As the sun sets over the sleepy town of Kuang, Monday beckons, and with that another day back in the mud filled trenches of mundane work… ;)

Aurelius couldn't bear with the adolation while I was being mugged!