Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Fat Biawak!

Once again, I now publicly declare myself as a typical  city person. It is not about me not having to see a biawak (Monitor lizard) in my life before. It was about that biawak on that same tree for more than twenty four hours in this such awkward position...

This photo was taken at night, low flash

...until I pressed the panic button ... Silly me. Yes, you will agree with me after reading this... click on please

On this day (Day 1) at 8:00am: 
A tourist staying in a resort took a picture of this biawak hanging in the mid-section of a tree.

Day 1 at 7:00pm:
I was informed by the tourist about this biawak and he told me that the biawak was on the same tree since morning. He was asking about the awkward foreleg. It was motionless. 

Day 1 at 9:15pm:
The biawak was still on that same tree. Two other tourists joined me watching it in the dark. It moved! Yippee! It was moving its head away from my strong torchlight which was shining towards it. Great! it was still alive.

My action taken: 
Informed the manager of the resort to get help from the Wildlife Department.

Day 2 at 11:30am:
Followed up with the manager with a call if the Wildlife Department was contacted. Yes, it was contacted and the Wildlife people suggested to use a long stick to push the biawak off the tree. No one knows what happened next.

Day 3 at 10:00am:
I returned to the resort to check the tree if the biawak was still there. Another manager informed me that the tourists complained to the big boss of the resort that the biawak was still left hanging on the tree on Day 2. The staff went to the tree, had a look and reported that the biawak was happily sitting there. Well, this biawak was not on the tree now and no one knew what happened to it.

Today (Day 3) at 1:30pm:
Over our plates of char koay teow, I asked my pet expert friend, Jeff, if it is normal for a biawak to stay up on a tree for more than twenty four hours. To my surprise, he said "Yes".

And then I saw this coming from Jeff. It was a huge roaring laugh smacked on my face. 

Ok! OK! I have never seen a biawak stayed up on a tree for so long. Unlike Jeff, he has seen biawak doing such in his kampung house. From Jeff's observation, a biawak in his garden would stayed up on the same spot for days, usually to wait for prey, to hide away from predator or being lazy after having a large meal. Then he said, "No wonder my kittens went missing".

I bet the resort staff would laugh at me now... gee... I never said that I am a wildlife expert or a biologist anyway.

Finally, Jeff admitted that a long time ago he had the similar thoughts like me when he saw a biawak in such condition. He was proven by a vet that the biawak he encountered was not dead. The vet set up a video camera and it recorded the biawak moved away after four days.

Jeff corrected me by explaining the actual position of a biawak stuck on a tree. If the biawak's body is on the tree with its head and all the limbs hanging in the air, that would mean the biawak is STUCK for real! For this case as shown on my pictures, this fella was just hanging out.

An unexpected wildlife education for me over a plate of char koay teow. Not bad, huh? Hey, Jeff, I googled for facts related to this experience as you suggested. I cannot find any. Perhaps you can google this for me then.

Gee... I have to spend more time in the "kampung" life now and Damn! I was tricked by a biawak.

Biawak curry, anyone? 

Just kidding-la.

Before I left the resort, I greeted my little darling here, for she will never trick me by hanging out on a tree like this.
A lovely female Colugo 

One more last note, Jeff. Now you know a Colugo is a mammal. We are even...muahaha! But seriously, thank you for the free education, Jeff!

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Can Langkawi Learn From Hulu Langat's Landslide Incident?

The landslide tragedy in Hulu Langat on May 21st 2011 which led to unnecessary death of sixteen people was another consequences of our Malaysian government's lackadaisical attitude and their greed. Since the Highland Towers collapse incident on 11th December 1993 in Ulu Klang, Selangor, Malaysia; hillside developments continue on through out the nation until this day because they had never learned the lesson from the past and they never will.  
The landslide tragedy on Saturday which claimed 16 lives has been blamed on indiscriminate cutting of a hill side behind the orphanage.
I enjoy reading this piece written by Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, a Malaysian politician and a social activist.  
What were his comments?

AS the nation comes to terms with the latest tragedy which claimed 16 lives after a landslide which hit the Madrasah Al-Taqwa Orphanage in Hulu Langat, all factors seem to point to another man-made tragedy, aided by changing weather patterns. 

Geologists believe indiscriminate cutting of a hillside to build the orphanage was the main cause of the landslide.

As expected, whenever a tragedy occurs, there are calls for a thorough probe to find out the actual causes.

Other quarters would claim ignorance of the existence of the problem or try to evade responsibility.

I have stated many times that in anything we do, it is essential for all Malaysians to take heed of one important lesson for humanity -- civilisation could be destroyed if it does not make peace with our environment.

The fact that landslides are a frequent occurrence in the country points to our failure to come to terms with the environment as well as to make the culture of maintenance and safety a way of life.

When landslides occur or buildings collapse, we cannot simply blame Mother Nature. We have to realise that any action which results in the degradation and destruction of our environment will have disastrous consequences.

It is necessary for us to step back, give thought and ask what we need to do to deal with the future and the environmental threats facing life on earth.

In Malaysia, we have experienced flash floods and landslides and yet the lessons of previous disasters have not been learnt or absorbed.

We have heard of numerous investigations and reports made in respect of all the previous tragedies but the question which needs to be answered is what and whether we have learnt from these disasters to avoid future tragedies.

Obviously, we have not.

As trustees of our planet's resources and geo-biological diversity, we have a sacred responsibility to use our natural resources in a manner that ensures conservation.

As trustees, we have to temper our actions with moderation, balance and respect for our environment.

History has an important lesson for humanity and civilisation that disasters can befall us if we do not respect the environment. And no one can deny the importance of the environment with regard to civilisation.

Can something be done to address this fundamental issue? Can we have a new paradigm of development that makes peace with our earth? As political leaders, as community leaders and responsible citizens, we can and must do so for the sake of preventing future disasters.

Thank you, Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye. Very well written. The unethical and ignorance of Malaysia's current political ruling has a lot to be blamed for this.

I am now announcing the indiscriminate hill side cuttings and clearing of forest especially for housing projects and township developments happening on Langkawi currently.

1. Alongside Lebuhraya Langkawi

a) Hill cutting for unknown project

A house is right below

b) Housing project and shoplots

c) Hill cutting and land clearing for possibly housing project

2) On Jalan Padang Gaong
     Suspect will be a house to be built on this hill which is now half-stripped

3) On Jalan Bukit Malut
Hills been stripped away for unknown projects in the vicinity of Bukit Malut. Bukit Malut road is a scenic coastal road overlooking Pulau Dayang Bunting.

Bukit Malut Road

Unfortunately, there are more Bumis here selling their land which are mostly secondary forests to be developed.

Langkawi is now definitely being shaped into Penang Island by our local authorities. The same story and the major cause is the increased of population. However, these idiots failed to recognise what is enough or how much is enough for an island that is so full of biodiversities and yet sensitive to human activities.

If Langkawi is turned into Penang-like, the eco-tourism will start rolling down the hill. That is why tourists flocked to Langkawi for her natural heritage and Penang is not their choice for vacation.

Apart from the impact to eco-tourism and the deterioration of the natural surrounding from the cutting of the hills, the state and federal government will remain ignorant even if lives were lost due to landslides. 

1. Another Portion of Green Lung Vanished

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