Sunday, October 31, 2010

Impressionistic monsoon

Title: Monsoon is back.

Early this Sunday morning I went about taking photograph of the light pink flushes of the Ceylon ironwood tree ( Mesua ferrea) (see inset at left) . It was fine weather throughout the morning and I had a field day taking more pictures of plants that abounded in the farm. Since our arrival here less than a week ago I have found that the weather in Bintulu is mostly rainy during the day time. This is not common because when compared to Kuching, Bintulu mainly experiences rain at night whereas in Kuching it rains mainly during late afternoons, say from 3-4 p.m. almost daily. By afternoon time it dawned upon me that the weather pattern isn't unusual after all. It's the return of the seasonal winds and rains. I was fortunate to have my Sony Cyber-shot camera handy and with a little bit of imagination I tried to capture an impressionistic rendition of the monsoon rains as it arrived by the farm today . I think the picture on top is a beautiful rendition of the monsoon in digital medium.
Leaves of the oil palm and mango trees blown wet by the sudden gusts of wind . The terminal spike of tiny red pagoda flowers swayed vigorously as seen at the bottom left side of the pix above. In the background the skies download tons of rain.

Despite the gathering force of the winds and heavy rains hitting on the rooftop, I decided to take more shots of the monsoon outside as it drenched the light ochre flushes of the mango leaves. Within less than half an hour the stream that meanders by the verandah was in spate. To my mind the monsoon season is here and as speculated would last till February next year until of course the global warming phenomena worldwide alters significantly this annual climatic schedule. Any significant differences from previous years will be experienced as the months go by. And knowing how the weather has been playing havoc throughout the world recently I'm ready for any surprises this year for Sarawak. For whatever it is, I always welcome the monsoon rains because it brings so much renewed rhythm and variety in the lives of wildlife and plants at our eco-farm in Bintulu.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ingenieers Just Wanna Have Fun

This traffic junction serves road users from three directions - Bintangor, Sibu and the Pan- Borneo Highway. It is eerily quiet for most part of the day and night.

The planner has too much time at hand and enthusiastically ends up making a very complicated design with traffic lights, traffic islands, safety markers, line drawings etc. when a simple roundabout could have served the purpose better with minimum cost and maintenance.

Danger seems to lurk at every corner.
This traffic junction gets Daisy and Inul's "Hav Paws Will Travell Award" for the " MOST INCREDIBLY COMPLICATED TRAFFIC PLANNING IN SARAWAK''.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Daisy comes to Saratok town

Daisy joy riding around Saratok town.

On Monday ( 25th Oct), we were back on the road again. Daisy and Inul joined us for the 11 hours-long journey. As usual Daisy made the trip into a sleeping marathon. Inul was a bit panicky for the first hour of the journey but soon got calmed down by Daisy's continual grooming and assurance. At one point when Daisy could't stand Inul's cries she screamed at her and when Inul knew of her Mama's anger, she remained quiet for the rest of the journey. On this journey Inul preferred to stay at the back seat ( see inset). We left Kuching at 8.30 am and arrived Bintulu

at 7.00 pm. Throughout the journey the skies were cloudy and not a single drop of rain fell on us. Towards the middle of the journey we decided to check out the small town of Saratok, a seven kilometer diversion from the main Pan Borneo Highway. Daisy had lots of photo taking sessions while driving around town albeit sitting on the dashboard ( see top picture)

Sitting on the dashboard and having a clear view of the road, Daisy was perplexed to see the line drawings on the road surface as we came nearer to Sibu. "Fospa, which way shall we go? " she asked. With a right turn to Sibu or left to Bintangor? Bintangor is the new name for a town of little prospects. It is for this reason that many enterprising men from Bintangor made it big in Bintulu. " Who would like to work in a town of animals?" asked Daisy. The Sarawak state administration changed the name 'Binatang' town to " Bintangor" a couple of years ago for a good reason. In the local Malay dialect 'Binatang' means animal while " Bintangor" refers to a local tree which people claim to have properties for the cure of aids. Now imagine if you are to tell the next soul that you are a ' Binatang' man or woman originally. "Ok, you don't have to tell me you're wild lady! I'm as wild as can be', meowed Daisy.

A typical street scene in Sibu.

Recently the Foochow Chinese in this town had an emotional debate on the need to change the name of Sibu town to another name yet to be decided. The main reason was that the word " Sibu " when pronounced in Chinese means 'the witch', thus bearing ill luck. Why now? Long before the Chinese migrated to Sibu from China in the early 1900's, the Ibans and other natives have always called the place as 'Sibau' after a local fruit prevalent in the locality. When the British colonized Malaya and Sarawak, they prefered to pronounce and write local names to accomodate their linguistic idosyncracies. Recall 'Pulau Pinang' was pronounced 'Penang' due to the clumsy British tongue. Closer at home, there's a place in Bintulu called 'Sebezau' prounced beautifully in the local Bintulu Melanau dialect but got written on the maps and official letters as " Sebiew" or " Sibiyu" following the English pronounciation and have remained ever since . I think you can cook more examples of other place names, just add on the list. So how should Daisy be called? DAZY? DIZZY? "Can't even try, I'm no Britsh" meowed Daisy.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Images of Kuching Today

Delicious mangoes

Deep purple eggplant fruits.

Going bananas over bananas

Fruits at the Satok Sunday market.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A child of the universe

A Child of the Universe

As a child of the universe
she prizes the happiness of youth
an adult knowing herself
human rights she wrestles hard
in battles of darkness and fear
poverty, injustice, isolation, sickness
and grateful for the living
the greatness to become
of a mind matter-of-factly, no more
of a mind with matters-of-the -spirit, behold
a mind with matters-of-love, joy to her
to live as a child should be
in the nourishing knowledge
of tiny footprints she leaves behind
marvels in the landscape
rising castles of harmony
of wealth more than money

a greener earth

a prosperous world, may be

Kuching, 21.10.10

P.S. Ina, you will recall in future that this poem is dedicated to you.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Images of Kuching Today

A river cruise boat is seen berthing at the Kuching Waterfront area.

A towering mature ' Angsana' tree ( Pterocarpus indicus) at the Sarawak Tourism Complex compound nearby the Kuching Waterfront area.

,A yellow hybrid of the Hibiscus rosa-sinensis flower (' Bunga Raya' in Malay) on sale at the Satok Sunday market.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Empty glass,empty talk?

In Kuching still and enjoying the distant sunset over my garden. This morning I decided to create a blog to journalise my re-opening of interest in philosophy. I've been interested in philosophy since my student days at the University of Pulau Pinang in 1972. Over the many years of working and waking life, I've not consistently turn back to its pages. From now onwards I think I would like to jot down some insights I had before and presently about philosophy. Today is the re-start of this continuing adventure in my life. I find that in this age of the Internet I can now easily find information about the subject which were not available during the university days of the library and books. Where do I begin?

Scarcity in economy is an important quality in Chinese brush painting. With the minimum of strokes you must be able to achieve the essence of the subject. Have I achieved the above in one minute attempt?

In my mind which I carry everywhere I go especially the software called knowledge. As one quote which automatically comes to mind defines :-

"Knowledge is of two kinds; you know the subject yourself or you know where to get information upon it".

Meaning in the first instance you are an 'expert' and in the second instance you are a 'life-long learner'. The new blog entitled " Philosophy - a Sarawak Edition" will be written from a life-long learning perspective. Thus anybody at any age anywhere can join in the fun. Comments are welcome.
Now having drawn the glass on the table what do you see? I gathered this quotation ages ago and somewhere pops out of my brain cells just now:~

A philosopher is a person who looks at an empty glass with a smile.
...oops like a Taoist would say, when you look at an empty vessel what is useful is the void from which water pours to satisfy your thirst. Knowledge will be nothing if it is not useful.

So now carry on smiling. Hopefully you can find some enjoyment as I do in yearning to learn about philosophy.