Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tanjung Rhu Beach Access Is Now Open

The gate was opened since four days ago and there will still be security guards on that spot. The guard on duty on that day was welcoming. Just tell them your intention of entering the area and then smile...
That day was on a spring tide and the lowest tide for the morning was 0.02m. A perfect tide condition for us to walk on the sand bar to the island opposite Tanjung Rhu Resort.

I love this intertidal walk on Tanjung Rhu simply because each time when I am there, I see different things. On that morning, we were able to witness some local fishermen dragging out the net from the sand bar displaying their harvest.

The man on the left with a knife was stabbing on a stingray. He then dragged the ray aside before slashing its tail off.

A species of stingray family
A species of Leatherjack (family Monacanthidae)
A couple of squid and a ray with chopped off tail
My guests felt sorry for the tiny fishes and started to pick them up to chuck them back into the water
There were other variety of fishes that I couldn't recognise and I have not seen them before. Most of the species of fishes caught were at juvenile size and yet they were taken by the locals. I am sure you will agree with me should we talk about sustainable fishing.
As you leave Tanjung Rhu beach and exit through the barricade, remember to wave your hand to the guard on duty as a gesture of thanks. You will make them feel special. Having to stand there on duty can be boring.


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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Blessed Christmas

It is a blessing having to see them on my Christmas Day

It is like a gift from Santa Claus

A blessed Christmas to all my blog followers and readers

Greetings from Dreamer
Dreaming of Pandora Forest


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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Tanjung Rhu Beach Access Is Now Closed

When the construction of this guard house started sometime this month, I was wondering of its purpose there. It was setup by Tanjung Rhu Resort at the exit junction of the resort. But, why was it built at the exit junction?
Do you notice a group of people on motorbikes? They are the boat operators waiting for the tourists that have made the bookings for boat rides. They have to wait at the gate so that they can bring the tourists in.

The red sign on the Casuarina tree stated very clearly, "This is a private land and access to the beach is granted conditionally and can be revoked at any time". To everyone's surprise especially the local community, the beach access was revoked today and without much notice.

Why?


The gate leading to the one of the most beautiful beaches of Langkawi is now temporary closed to public from December 24th until the issues are resolved. 

I was informed by one of the local boatman that some of the local communities here has encroached into the private property of Tanjung Rhu resort. About a few months ago, a huge number of Casuarina trees were brought down and a certain amount of the area was cleared by these local communities. This area was likely cleared to extend the boat operator counters and to improvise the jetty condition.

Unfortunately, these trees were planted by Tanjung Rhu resort and they were cut by these locals without prior permission from the resort. As such, it is the pay back time for these local communities for their foolish act. Personally, I wasn't pleased at all with the number of trees been cut. It has made that spot exposed to heat and an eye sore to the visitors.

Tanjung Rhu Resort was definitely not pleased with the acts of these local communities and this is the way to show the locals that it is enough.

There was another source which I heard that the land apparently was taken by the Government and the locals thought they have the rights to clear the area. All this while, the jetty for these boat operators are sitting on Tanjung Rhu Resort property. There is a land dispute going on here.

And of course, these locals are not happy at all. Those affected would be the boat operators stationed at Tanjung Rhu jetty, shop owners, stall and restaurant owners. The beach today was awfully quiet.

Access to Tanjung Rhu area is still possible provided bookings were made to authorised boat operators at the jetty. Permission is required at the guard house to enter.

Wow... what a timing to close the access road to this beautiful beach especially when it is the peak season for all on the island.

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Langkawi Recycled Tree House Project

The team will arrive Langkawi tomorrow from Penang. They will be arm with tools like drills, chisel, hammer and nails to show LADA and Khazanah that they can also develop Langkawi... in a tiny meaningful way. All for the good to create environmental awareness and education.

Who is the leader of the pack? Aida! My the other nature kaki. And this time, she is back with a few others for this mission. This project has been toying in Aida's mind for the past couple of years. And it is before year 2011 ends, she and her team of passionate people will make it happen!


Where is the project location?


All the best to the team! I will be there to help if my work here does not get in the way.

Volunteers from all walks of life are welcome to participate. Best if you can bring along or contribute any used or recyclable materials to build this treehouse. Those who are interested to volunteer or contribute, can contact Aida at 019-2831186 or email her at paraglidaholic@gmail.com

To read more, click here


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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Violation from Langkawi Municipal Council (MPLBP)

My task for tonight was to spend some time digging some information about Langkawi's current blueprint which was officially launched last week. For I didn't have the opportunity to attend that launching of the blueprint, a copy was eventually passed to me.  A poster was accompanied with the copy of the blueprint illustrating the draft plan to give Cenang Beach (Pantai Cenang) a new facelift. There were information on getting the draft report, some forms and further details of the draft can be viewed at www.mplbp.gov.my or  www.townplan.gov.my


I chose the first link which is to the website of Langkawi Municipal Council. And what did I find while browsing through?

As the slides began to display images of Langkawi, another image appeared after "Pantai Cenang" had got my jaw dropped and I felt my blood started to boil. That image looked very much familiar. An image that was created by ME with MY montage. I was shocked to see this:

Can you see my blog header montage? Also, can you see how the webmaster removed my image description by overwriting with these words, "Appreciate Langkawi's Nature Assests"?

The MPLBP webmaster did not ask for my permission to use that picture. And the worse part was this webmaster did not even bother to put photo credit or put a link to my blog.  This shows the professional level of this webmaster who was hired by a government organisation. 

My pictures may not be the best in comparison to other photographers and this doesn't mean they have the rights to steal my montage. I am not surprise if the rest of the images displaying the landscape of Langkawi could have been taken from someone's website or flicker and the webmaster did the same cheeky way of overwriting the original description.

Without wasting much time, I wrote an email to the web administrator and the head of MPLBP, En Zabudin bin Hat, demanding them to remove my image immediately from their website. I shall see what happens next and how soon they respond.

The webmaster engaged by MPLBP lacks the creativity, demonstrated zero professionalism and the best part was it is representing an important government organisation that supports Langkawi's tourism industry.


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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Turtle's Adventure

A true story written by Paulette Goddu and was sent to me:
"Early morning.....I am sipping my first cup of coffee when  my friend Lynne tells me of an unusual encounter. A small group of men walk along the road and pause at our front gate.They ask Lynne if she would like to buy a turtle for dinner. She does not, but feels compassion for the poor creature. " I wish I had purchased the turtle we could have set it free at our moon party on the beach" ..."it would have been a lovely tribute to Kwan Yin the Goddess of Mercy & Compassion" she says......little did we know this would be the first of many wishes that were to come true that day. A short time later we see the men walking on the road in the opposite direction.They still have the turtle. Now we are eager to buy it. The small group of men ask us if we will eat it.....when we tell them we wish only for her freedom and a safe return to the water they then refuse money. The turtle is a lovely purple gray color with a creamy underbelly. We put her under the shower in our bathroom and cool her off. We add a little salt to a bucket of water and soak some dried shrimp in water for her to eat also a little shredded cabbage. We remember our friend Jeffery who does animal rescue and also Dreamer who is kind and knowledgeable.  We find a large plastic bucket, it is very heavy filled with water and the turtle.  Colin also likes the plan and heaves it into his car and we take her to the moon party with us. There is not much room in the car with all our party supplies and four people but we have made her liberation a priority. After much inspection and discussion and photo taking we leave the turtle in good hands with many assurances from her new expert caretakers. I say goodbye to her and feel oddly touched when I think I detect a reptilian wink. The next day we have good news! She has been set free is a lovely place where the salty ocean co-mingles with fresh water. Now she has the freedom to fulfill her destiny whatever that may be."

That story was after the drama. Where did the turtle go to?


Thank goodness for Jeff who called me before their intention to release it. After a short description of the turtle, I guessed it must be a fresh water turtle and Jeff agreed too. And so, that turtle's freedom was withheld for "further inspection".

After the moon party beach to taste the sand and sea breeze, that turtle spent a night in a bathtub of a lovely maiden's house. On the following day, it was transported again to the river next to a village. ...pssst... thanks Nani

I met up with Jeff and Mandy the next day who got the turtle in a bucket ready to be released. Her freedom was pending until a few photographs and some measurements were taken. I felt its powerful claws when I first picked it up to put it into a bucket. It was massive and that was my first time touching and holding such turtle. The carapace was not hard rock as a tortoise's one. 
Notice the dark median stripe on its carapace? Very likely an adult Malayan Softshell Turtle (Dogania subplana). The length of carapace was about 30cm.


The nose reminded me of a Proboscis Monkey!
Scrambling for its life!


It was back into the bucket so we could carried it next to the river without getting ourselves snap by its powerful jaw.
Ninja Turtle!

Alas, the smell of the fresh water river was irresistible for our turtle friend here. It scrambled very quickly trotting on the soil, nosed in first and then dived into FREEDOM!
Jeff releasing the turtle
Nosed in - Dive...
MERDEKA! (means freedom)


A Malayan softshell turtle (Dogania subplana) is a freshwater turtle which can be found in clear, rocky and shallow streams with sandy bottom. It loves aquatic snails, prawns and crabs as its meals. Be caution when handling softshell turtles for they have powerful jaws that can inflict damage. 

After the whole drama, we met up with Colin who related the similar story and I want to add on a little bits of their conversation with the locals. I giggled over how these ladies managed to obtain the turtle's freedom using their best Malay language. Colin described one of them was saying, "Merdeka, merdeka.." to those local men in order to set the turtle free without having to pay a single cent. Well done, ladies!

Wildlife conservation works best in a team or with a team. Thank you to all involved in this softshell turtle rescue and saving it from the cooking pot. We hope we got the turtle to a better place and good luck in its next adventure!

References:
1. Field Guide to the Reptiles of South East Asia by Indraneil Das
2. Photographic Guide to Snakes, Reptiles of Peninsula Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand by   
    Merel J.Cox

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Monday, October 3, 2011

Cutie of the Day

A Cutie's wonder...
She is much cuter than a kitty. Wish I can hold her and I can't, for she will scream


Wrapped around by the warm and furry skin of her parent
For now, this little gentle creature is secure and content
She is clinging on with comfort
And she will be independent
To leave the comfort
To survive on her own

As she pops her head out 
Wondering if I am also wondering 
What the future holds for her
Wondering her future will be promising
Wondering the compensation she will be getting
With the removal of her immense precious habitat 
the lowland rainforest
A place in which she calls home.

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Friday, September 30, 2011

Langkawi's Khazanah

Khazanah in Islam means "Treasure". 

Langkawi's greatest khazanah will be her geological monuments and alongside with her richness of flora and fauna. As for the fauna, I will zoom into the bird life here. The island boasts herself of having more than two hundred species of birds inclusive the migratory ones. I dare say that one of Langkawi's khazanah will be the Great Hornbills (Buceros bicornis). 

Great Hornbills can also be found on Peninsula Malaysia and what is so "khazanah" about them? My argument will be, to get a good and near glimpse of them on Peninsula Malaysia is not as easy as on Langkawi. On Peninsula Malaysia, you probably need to travel a fair bit to see Great Hornbills. And possibly, you will consider yourself lucky if you manage to spot a Great Hornbill flies  into the forest or perch on a tree from a far distance. 

The road built on Gunung Raya has provided an easy access for all to enjoy watching these amazing birds that form monogamous pairs. Easy accessibility to the top of this hill encouraged eco-tourism activities such as bird watching or simply by driving or walking up on the road to admire the wonders of her rainforest. Therefore, the "khazanah" will be $$$ from tourists for coming to Langkawi to see the Great Hornbills.

File picture
Easy access on this hill has invited one of the dangers to Langkawi's khazanah. What will that be?


I took my friend, who is also a tourist, up on Gunung Raya to spot for the Great Hornbills yesterday morning. We spent quite a long time looking for them until we gave up and decided to head down. On our descend from the hill, we were fortunate to spot a pair perched on a huge canopy tree. We were very excited to see them finally!

Then came along a pakcik (our local term for male elder) on his motorbike. I recognised this pakcik because he frequents up Gunung Raya. We chatted for awhile and I took the opportunity to ask him about the poor sightings of Great Hornbills on this hill lately. His shocking story came to us. 

About two weeks ago, he witnessed some locals shot down three male Great Hornbills and slaughtered them. The pakcik called the Perhilitan (Wildlife Department) but there were no one to pick up his call. It was probably lunch time, according to the pakcik. I gave him the mobile numbers of Perhilitan rangers and so he can contact them directly should such incident happens again. 

The poachers must have closely monitored the activities on the hill and have timed their modus operandi perfectly without being caught. The hornbills that were shot down usually ended up in the cooking pot and I am not sure if the meat possessed any medicinal values. 

Poaching of wildlife is one of the greatest threat not only to Langkawi's biodiversity and as well as to the eco-tourism sector. Eco-tourism happens to contribute the highest revenue to Langkawi, largely due to the duty free and UNESCO Geopark status.

My tourist friend was shocked and saddened with such news. 

Reference:

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Down-to-Earth Door Gift

We often notice a lot of banners will be put up whenever there are events or public announcements. Much funds were used up for such and where do banners ended up to in the end?

The landfill, of course. While some of the banners will be used as sitting mats for camping or picnicking. As for myself, if I love that event so much that the banner itself will be sitting comfortably in my living room as interior decoration. Like this one here below:

While the genius ones will convert such banners into more practical use? Such as?


The green lady of Langkawi, Puan Zuraidah or Kak Zu, have read about making banners into something else. 

The synergy between Kak Zu and Kelab Amal Wanita Langkawi has result to this little practical product. Some members from the club did the sewing and on a good day, this little product was dropped at my doorstep.  
A shopping bag made from an old banner


The neat and secured seams. Durable indeed! It is washable and will not disintegrate after washing unlike those reusable shopping bag made from Non-Woven Polypropylene. The banner bag definitely weighs heavier. A heavier bag for a heavy duty use.

The banner shopping bag is definitely more lasting than the ordinary reusable shopping bag made from Non-Woven Polypropylene (picture above). 

Kak Zu managed to obtain the used banners from the Langkawi council and only a limited number of such bags were produced. The volunteers from Kelab Amal Wanita did a brilliant job and may they will continue to produce such "super shopping bags".

Kak Zu, thank you ya... for this pretty door gift. 

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Datai Forest of Langkawi Soon Be A Goner

"I will not be coming back to Datai resort anymore", said a returned Datai guest who was on her second stay a month ago. Her first experience in Datai Resort was ten years back and she found the place absolutely tranquil, balanced with nature.

She told me that on her second visit this time, she saw that there were more villas as compared to ten years ago. After witnessing the start of new development in Datai Resort, she was disgusted with the upcoming of fourteen villas and cutting of trees in the forest to accommodate another massive project by the Khazanah group.

I shared the same sentiments with her.

The Datai rainforest is unique because of its lush greenery on Malaysia's oldest land formation  which is the Machinchang Range.
Image taken from www.smarttravelasia.com
Tourists have asked me if there are any protection to this rainforest since Langkawi is a UNESCO's Geopark site?

My answer will always be Yes and No. I will leave my comments out from this post for now. 


I just want to post khazanah's evil Teluk Datai development plan on Machinchang in expense of her rainforest and our public's fund.
Overall khazanah's development plan


Hillside along the road


Hillside along the Datai Road, more bungalow villas


Development next to Andaman Resort, Shangrila will be the next one coming


ppsssttt... from the grapevine, these new villas will be equipped with modernized and computerised toilets. The bowl cover will be lifted up on it's own. Wow! no wonder these villas will cost more than couple of million ringgits each!


Development of 14 luxurious villas, the first stage, have started





 Wish I can throw a grenade on this one

A part of rainforest been sliced open

How conservation on Langkawi is possible when an island like this is perceived as underdeveloped by some of the influential businessmen and politicians? I understand that development is inevitable especially when it comes to eco-tourism, there must be a balance between development and conservation of the natural heritage. How much can one take and retain? How much development is considered as enough when Langkawi's attraction is her natural beauty, wildlife and her biodiversity? These greedy people just don't get it! They are breaking the rice bowl of the island.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pandora Forest Wishes...

Dear Bloggers/Followers/Readers:

SAVE OUR RAINFOREST 
AND NOT THE LAST TREE STANDING

"Only after the last tree has been cut down
Only after the last river has been poisoned
Only after the last fish has been caught
Only then you will find that
Money cannot be eaten"
- a Prophecy of the Cree Native American Tribe


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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Good Old Temurun Waterfall

It has been raining for almost twenty four hours now. Drizzled, rained, stopped for awhile, rained, drizzled and over again. I simply love days like this because such days do not come often. 

A rainy day as such will perform magical and special effects on one of my favorite waterfall  which is accessible by the public. 
Temurun Waterfall at its BEST this afternoon
How is Temurun Waterfall like in the dry season?

Pictures taken in March 2010. Month of March is still the dry season

In March 2010, contractors invaded this waterfall by constructing these ugly dams


Temurun Waterfall last year (22 August 2010):




Today at Temurun Waterfall
Lots of water!!
WOW!


Monstrous water coming down! Do not underestimate the power of water
I had to do this very quickly. I was drenched by standing in front of the water for less than 10 seconds to take this picture. The tremendous wind it generated was so cool!
Dare to swim in this pool, anyone?
Temurun Watefall as seen from Datai Road


Temurun at its best and certainly the best time to visit. I observed that this waterfall area is at its cleanest during the fasting month. Better come soon to enjoy this waterfall before the festive season begins next week. When those picnickers return and so the rubbish as well.

Langkawi gets more sunny hot days than rainy days like this. I wonder why people get gloomy, upset and moaning over such wonderful day. 

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