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. 


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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
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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