Saturday, April 30, 2011

My Darlings Of Langkawi

These are the little treats that made my day on a hard day's work...
Giant Squirrel (Ratufa Bicolor)

What was this Giant Squirrel doing?


It was stunned when I shot it with my camera and so it dropped the fruit that it was eating.  Observe the pose of its little hands. Later, it ignored me. I learnt later that it was feeding on the fruits of a notorious poisonous Rengas tree. Do not touch any of the tree's opened fruits or the sap unless you want to be a Puff Daddy.
Fruits of a Rengas Tree

My other darlings... the quiet ones
Colugo female with her baby


... my shy ones, the Dusky Leaf Monkeys (Trachypithecus obscurus)




Taking a break in between feeding time
... last but not least, this is one of my favourite creepy crawly 


Doria's Spiny Spider (Gasteracantha doriae) Simon 1877


Thank you my Darlings... as you are all perfect and it is much better than a mug of beer after a hard day's work!

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Fate of One Thousand Young Trees

Wake up, Starwood! Your "babies" are now struggling to survive in this terrible hot weather and possibly in the suicidal mode.

The Mother Earth may be grateful in your quests to make the planet a greener place for the homosapiens to live in. However, She may not be pleased too. 

Why?

Bukit Hantu, Langkawi. Earth day on 22nd April 2011. 1000 saplings were planted on the dry open land by staffs the Starwood hotels and resorts. Wonderful efforts to recognise Earth Day!

But, what's next?

A recent check in Bukit Hantu revealed that the saplings planted were withering and the soil condition was hard dry. 
 Very dry soil
Leaves drying out. Can you see those tiny white spots next to the lake? Those are the flags

Another eye sore was those white flags with the drawings tied to tens of poles and tags standing among the saplings. It is cool to be flamboyant once in a while, however, who will clear all these white flags when they became rubbish later?


Bendera berkibar-kibar... a sign of 1Malaysia Boleh...

With the current dry spell, these young saplings are in desperate need of TLC (Tender Loving Care). When young trees are kept in polybags, there are usually well watered and fertilised in control environment ie. away from the direct sun exposure. During that period, these saplings became so comfortable that they developed root balls. When these saplings got to be planted on different grounds, they lacked the full capability of absorbing water from its surrounding soil. 

From a botanist's or a horticulturist's point of view, when saplings are in full sun, strict watering plan must be followed and not just leaving them to Mother Nature to do the rest. SOS needed for these young trees!

Four hundred young trees were planted on the same site almost two years ago for the World Environment Day. And yet, what happened to those young trees? Haven't we learned from the past?

Like most "greening" programs, it is sad to see so much funds wasted. 

Links:


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Friday, April 22, 2011

A Perfect Daily Ritual - Earth Day

Peeping through the window of my concrete wall
Where the sunlight creeps through the gap of the solid wall
Watching the greeneries and the daily perfect ritual for me
Would be greeting the trees of life that stand tall in front of me
These big trees may be our awe and admiration
However, even a small and shy plant like this also desires our attention
Do you think that we are the only ones that perform the perfect ritual?
Go see how a happy bird greets the day by flapping its wing to do its perfect ritual  
Standing amidst the rainforest,
It is a gentle reminder for us that no matter how big and smart we think we are, 
In fact, what a tiny wee speck of creatures crawling on Earth we are...
Do you think life is full of waste?
Yes, sometimes because we are the ones that produced that whole lot of waste
Go watch a dung beetle
Isn't it delightful to see it happily rolls the shit 
and helps to keep the surrounding neat?
Do you think our life is complex?
Yes, at times. 
Go stare and wonder at the web of life 
That interconnects with the entire network of our Earth's living force
Which one is more complex?
From this moment and till the day I die
I want to savour all these moments
Even if my spirit is soaring high in the sky
I still want to savour all these moments

HAPPY EARTH DAY today and everyday to my fellow readers and blog followers!

I love this bit taken from James Cameron's Avatar: An Activist Survival Guide written by Maria Wilhelm and Dirk Mathison:

"The armies of greed lay waste to the Earth and all its creatures. In our hunger for energy-for more and more-we've devastated our planet. We're neck-deep in festering industrial muck, in a trash heap of ever-expanding waste and decay. Overpopulation, overdevelopment, nuclear terrorism, environmental warfare, radiation leakage from power plants and waste dumps, toxic runoff, air pollution, deforestation, global warming, ozone depletion, loss of biodiversity through extinction... our once blue-green and beauteous Earth is now a terminal cesspool - an oozing wound cut deep into the face of the universe. Dollar for dollor (Ringgit for Ringgit), we've bought our extinction." - Avatar, An Activist Survival Guide book

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Rain, Rain Come Again

I love the rain!

It is a therapeutic effect for me when the island goes through a period of distinct dry spell. I will also speak for the other small wildlife especially the insects, frogs and spiders that will be rejoicing for the coming of the rain. 

The driest month of the year will always be February. In the month of March 2011, Langkawi received a higher rainfall as compared to the previous year. The best moment for this year's rain so far was two weeks ago when it rained constantly for three days! Yopppeeee! During those three days, I was on board a ship which was anchored somewhere off Pulau Tuba when that area was hit with strong wind and massive rainfall. The wind and rain did slow down at some point before their peak performance continued. It was an endurance rain!

When the weather calmed down, we walked on the deck and saw lots of terns flying around the ship hunting for those small fishes nearby. It was interesting to watch them fighting the rain and wind just to hunt, "Cari makan"-ma...

We were lucky to spot a tern at a very close range...click below for more pictures...

As the rain and the wind got heavier, we moved into the saloon. Peering through the window, a young tern was exhausted and decided to perched on the gunwale. It was there for more than 20 minutes and of course, allowing us to click our cameras away.

A young Onychoprion genus closed its eyes from the rain drops

This young Onychoprion genus opened its eyes as it sensed some audience

Apart from the therapeutic effect, the rain also sparked life to other flora. And this flora is one of my favorites...

A LIMESTONE FLORA
White Slipper Orchid (Paphiopedilum Niveum)

The blossom of Paphiopedilum Niveum usually starts slightly later of the year. However, this one here I have found a week ago has blossomed. Yeah!

After the three victorious rainy days, the dry spell has taken control again. The temperature reached between 38C-40C, so so hot and sunny. As such, I am going back to my teenage years of humming the song to welcome the rain..

Rain, Rain Come Again
Never ever
Go Away...

... and of course, this part "Never ever Go Away..." never happens. I just hate the dry spell.
After the rain - Love those clouds on my favorite mountain, Gunung Raya

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Friday, April 8, 2011

Tang's Thoughts On Plastic Bags

The "NO PLASTIC BAGS" fever was on the island recently and coincidentally, I stumbled upon one of my birdwatching mates who shared his amazing drawings to us via Facebook.

These are two of his tons of amusing and entertaining cartoons that he drew. 
Err... this method would probably work for guys only, Tang?

Click below for the second picture. 


Do you see that small symbol "TTH"? Yup, that is his initial and copyright. Tang Tuck Hong is his name and he is also an enthusiast birder. Tang is a volunteer and facilitator for Birdwatching course conducted by the Malaysian Nature Society Selangor Bird Group. 

I met Tang about about four years ago in Fraser's Hills on a birdwatching course and that was where he demonstrated to us on how to sketch birds on our notebook. 

Man, I love your creative drawings! You reminded me of my much younger years when I was drawing cartoons. However, I was much better in drawing stick figures!

Thank you so much for allowing to share your pictures in my blog. You are my cartoonist idol!

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Journey of A Thousand Food Containers Begins With A Single Step

Wet, wet, wet. Langkawi had an unusual weather pattern for the month of March 2011 as the month ended with three days of rain. The island needed the rain as I believe this would be a compensation of a very dry spell in year 2010.

Rain or shine, the show must goes on as this little girl in the picture demonstrated how to jiggle in the rain.

What was the turn up like on 30th March 2011?


When Mandy and I arrived at the Tapak Ramadhan in Kuah town, a bus from Kolej Kommuniti was parked there and lots of people were taking shelter from the rain under two huge canopies. The sound system was setup with the radio deejay from Langkawi FM making announcements before the event was officiated by Kak Zuraidah and Dario of ToptoTop.

 Kak Zuraidah with a lady who came all the way from Singapore for this event
Kak Zuraidah, the woman who made this happened and Dario (right) from ToptoTop

Dario gave a short briefing to everyone with a message about plastics should be eliminated, blah... blah... and Kak Zuraidah delivered her message in Bahasa Malaysia. A quick short briefing was followed by giving out cloth bags which were sponsored.
Dario showing a handful of cloth bags to be given away while Kak Zuraidah looked on

The march to the pasar malam after a group photo!

The "gung ho" team
Do you notice a tiffin carrier clamped in her arms?

Some of the participants came unprepared and they "bungkus" (take away) the food bought from the stalls wrapped with those new small and medium plastic bags before tucking them away into those pink cloth bag. Oh well... I guess this kind of event must be done more regularly so that they will eventually get the point.  

This picture below is my highlight:
Amongst the crowd, this lady was spotted carrying an old fashioned rattan basket (my grandma used to have) with the food stuff in the used containers. She is Mandy!

Kak Zuraidah has given me an update that the Langkawi Town Council has suggested to do this similar gathering once a month starting with the pasar malam in Kuah town. Apart from the individuals who practice "Reduce or No Plastics", there are four companies which are doing so: 
1) FOS shop in Langkawi Fair - no plastics given on every Saturday
2) Barkath (book shop) - no plastics given DAILY
3) Wildlife Park - Same as Barkath
4) Petronas Station in Telaga Harbor Park - on every Saturday 

Kak Zuraidah said this in her email to me, "Switzerland took 20 years but with Penang in the lead, I am sure Langkawi will take less than that."

Well, Kak Zuraidah, I totally agree with you on that. One reason being that Langkawi is a lot more smaller than Switzerland. 

Congratulations Kak Zuraidah! Once again, thank you so much for making this event happened. I hope this does not stop here. With regular gathering such as once a month will be a good start in getting the Langkawians to create a clean island. And of course, the love for nature.

To end my post here, please watch this. I love those stick figures cartoon!



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