23 March 2010

It is Spring at National Botanical Park

It was only 32km and 30 minute drive from my house but it took me slightly more than 20 years to come back to that beautiful place since the last time I'd been there. It was during my 'teropong iman' time we visited that place doing countless field works learning on the diversity of our fauna and flora . Since then that place had change a lot not only in his name but also its surrounding landscape. When it was first opened in 1986, this place was known as Taman Pertanian Bkt Cerakah, then somebody changed it to Taman Pertanian Bukit Cahaya Seri Alam and now to make it sounds more trendy, it is officially known as Taman Botani Negara.

Something never change though. It was my feeling and liking toward that place. I am in my domain again. The air was fresher and my spirit was uplifted by the lush green scenery of splendid tropical rainforest that surround the area. From my observation the park management had effortlessly trying very hard to preserve its natural beauty. Even though there were many development took place in and around the park, once we enter the park the feeling of being isolated from the outside world started to kick in. Blissfully serene.

Unlike many other parks or other tourist attraction in the Klang Valley, the entrance fee to this park is very acceptable and affordable. It seems inflation has not yet attracted to this place and greed has not yet smeared this tourist spot. For adult (above 12) it was RM3.00 and kids (4-11yrs) RM1.00. Quite a bargain isn't it.

You can spend one whole day in this park with the whole family. There are many new attractions too. The ever popular four season house didn't let me down with its temperate setting. It is Spring now. For a nominal fee (similar to the entrance fee) you don't have to go to temperate countries to experience the four seasons but you can experience how the four seasons look like or how the temperature is inside this house. My kids really enjoyed this experience. Two of my boys never had this experience before as they were born here in our blazing Bolehland. So I promised them to come again to the place during the Winter.

Other attraction was a paddy field, cocoa trees, oil palm, rubber trees, coffee, coconut and other fruit trees. And there were many gardens in this park which were the Spice Garden, Ornamental Garden, Orchid Garden, Cactus Garden, Bamboo Garden and Mushroom Garden. There were mini zoo too with range of animals that rival our Zoo negara.

The park also provided mountain bikes (for a fee) to those who has good stamina and want to explore the park by themselves. Upon persuasion by my kids, I rented 4 bikes and tackled the hilly path with exhaustion. It took only 30 minutes for me to surrender. People like me who has already passed my prime were best to take a free shuttle bus for a 15 minutes joy ride around the park. The latest attraction to the park was Skytrex adventure, but I didn't go there as my energy had by this time drained out.

The outing was an enjoyable one for everybody. I will definitely go there again with my family and sample more exciting thing, the one that we missed during this visit.

The setting, vegetation, other props and temperature (13 degree Celsius) in this four season house looks very real and so cool.

These canoes lying idle in a small lake full of lotus I assumed can be rented, but I didn't see any counter nearby for that purpose that day.

I've just realized that day that all my kids had no live experience with paddy field before in their entire life. So they were quite fascinated with the fields and their surrounding and excited to have their first opportunity.

Close to the paddy field there was this ancient tools used in the past (and probably still used in the present day as well in some remote paddy-growing region) to process paddy put on display. Notice the floor to this exhibition hut really need some attention by this park maintenance team.

My kid trying to balance himself and walk with cautious while crossing this hanging bridge.

Thess deers are part of the many animals you can find in that park. There are porcupines, horses, many kinds of birds (one particular cockatoo here is quite noisy and very talkative), peacocks etc. Monkeys roam freely in this jungle.

The park provides shuttle service FOC for the visitors to go around the park. The shuttle will stop to drop and pick up visitors from many designated stops.

This weird looking cage is a place where you can find four peacocks inside it. The look really resembles a bacteriophage T4 .

I've seen typical photos of this spot printed somewhere but couldn't figure out where. Now I know the place (If my memory served me right, originally this spot was a pond). This is my last photo I managed to capture as my camera battery went kaput. This never happened to me before as I always checked my camera battery status or always bring extra battery or making sure the camera is fully charged.

20 March 2010

Taming the dragon

I thought when I spotted some peculiar thorny plants blooming their scaly flowers on one misty morning near my office, it was a clear sign that the legendary mighty celestial dragons would descend from their sacred altar and breath fire to dissipate the sinful disciples and lead the warriors to claim the final glory. Alas, it was however a charming dragon of the opposite sex which landed not within my deepest slumber but right in front of my face.

Many people by now would have known and believed that dragon is a powerful mystical creature that once roam our ancient time. Some ruled the sky kingdom, many lived deep in the sea abysses guarded by captain shrimps and crab generals while few roamed the earth dwelling within the helpless servants waiting to be slain by the Knight in shining armor.

How close resemblance this God-created wonderful plant to that behemoth ancient creature is not a pure coincidence. Dragon fruit presents many magical wonders to the humankind. That plants however distracted me and took away my concentration. Not to put the blame solely to that innocent plant, I missed my important appointment (it was my 10 o'clock tea break by the way) because I spent too much time taking photo and mesmerized by this beautiful being.

The plants ipso facto look very odd and out of place though. First of all, despite all the princess-style pampering by their caretaker it took almost 4 years for the plants to bloom their first flower and forever to bear the fruits. Second - aesthetically and in principle you don't grow an arid plant under a shade and shower them with plenty of water until the soil become a swamp.

This odd practice happened because, to put it simply somebody doesn't put the right thing in the right place. To make thing worst, many increasingly becoming Jack of all trades. Imagine one day to our horror my playing ground lost its elasticity and not bouncy anymore because the ground are by then will be dominated by these hard-scale dragons, oily Jatropha ,fibrous kenaf and sweet-smelled gaharu.

I hope the dragon is listening. The fruits finally dehiscence and abort.

Juvenile dragon just resurrected to become a young fearless warrior. O Dragon, do not err and stray from ill-beaten path as the ungrateful demons await in the dark to pound upon you. Summon us to fight...summon our brothers from Camelot to raise their sword and slay the monsters from the East and from the West.

Little servants want to hear the dragons roar. But the dragons who sit high it their altar still whispering in silence. Even little hobbits won't tremble.

My hand tremble. Not in fear but in anticipation. I want to see fiery breath coming from your mouth burning our desire. Ancient mountain await your flight.

The dragon stirs once more displaying her behemoth power and enchanting beauty, but alas black sorcerers powerful spells are moving fast to cloud the dragon goodwill. We, the servant and the guardian angel of mystical God-send marvel await your command!

18 March 2010

It's full house again

The first quarter of the year is almost gone. Time move too fast and shifting smoothly unnoticed to the untrained eyes each remaining days. The popular axiom of time can fly is almost true, for mortal being like us can only match the warp-speed of time only in our dream. Many love to dream and prefer to remain in those paradoxical domain as long as possible, denying the reality of life. Dream becomes the safest haven to procrastinate for some and fail to acknowledge the fact that time waits for no man.

For me these past few primordial months had been quite a hectic phase of life, trying to reconfigure the next course of my divine journey and set my next epic life voyage on the right track. Numerous brainstorming sessions and past-midnight mind-bending exercise lately had burdened the tiny little organ in my head. Too much pressure and lateral squeezing searching for elusive ideas had reduced that special organ into a pea-size object. The brain however, undaunted by sheer exhaustion rebound and sprung back to its normal size after some heavy indulgence with nasi lemak and teh tarik the next morning.

At the same time, all of a sudden and out from no where, school holiday came knocking on the door sooner than I'd expected. I feel as if it was yesterday I sent my eldest son to his college and yet now the college had sent him back home to spend his ample time overindulged himself in some of the forbidden activities that were considered a taboo while in the college. Playstation is one of them. In a way though, it is good for him to let some steam off after spending few months in his smelly dormitory - just like my brain when it constipated.

It is this time of the year, we as a parent feel very contented and happy to see the house is full again with cheerfull souls and lively spirits. The constant shouting and laughter among the siblings merely add more color to the environment. The only problem however is to decide how to make their time spent more productive and less routine each days, while at the same time not to eliminate the element of fun. Some activities did not go according to plan and some had to be re-planned.

One thing I am quite sure of, as long as the kids are well-fed and I don't forget to pay the ASTRO subscription, they won't complain very much.

07 March 2010

Smoke on the water, license to grill

Despite the blazing heat these past weeks and a thought on whether the rain was going to put off the fire for challenging the wrath of the raging sun, we still decided to have our annual firework ritual - BBQuing. Having checked the published API (Air pollution index) in my area earlier, it was very comforting to know that our annual fire ritual won't contribute much in causing harm to the environment.

Air pollution index was considered good (below the 50 mark) , except in Keropoklekorland (which slightly surpassed the green mark) . This confirmed my long suspicion that my native folks had been ignoring the sorry-state of our planet and kept burning our fossil fuels excessively (in Kerteh) for the past millennium. Even wang ehsan could not possibly stop this catastrophic cause to the mother earth.

I started the fire just after the Asar prayer and waited for the full corum to arrive as planned. The sky however had different idea and retaliated by pouring heavy shower and gruesome thunders as if discontented with me - This happened the very minute fire started to engulf the charcoal briquettes. I had to switch to my plan C, which was to shoulder and move the whole BBQ set up under the porch. This act was a bit tricky and you you can imagine how hard it was to juggle the burning charcoals while controlling my balance (and anxiety) at the same time. If you want to know what my plan A and B were - Plan A was to cancel our firework ritual and dumped all foods to slowly cooked in a microwave oven, while my plan B was to just go and have our nice gathering at any fast food restaurant nearby. Luckily, the porch did give ample space and enough cover from the heavy rain for us to proceed with our original plan.

After many calls and numerous 'still on my way' response from my colleagues, the corum had finally managed to arrived safely to my house. We had not done this gathering with a full membership from our regular 'makan-makan, kecek-kecek' members for quite some time now. Last year was a busy year for everybody and I was not well myself. The fiery sun and thundery rain turned out to do some wonders to our small gathering it seemed.

Thank you everybody!

This special charcoal briquettes was proclaimed to be environmental friendly. While it was quite obvious this charcoal somehow managed to defy the law of physics (smokeless) it somehow gave our barbecued food a special taste as well. Especially toward the end of its lifespan.

Thirty years of friendship was strengthen with a sacred peace accord by gathering around this smokeless BBQ and inhaling the special aroma from burning foods.

A league of fairer sex was making themselves busy with arranging the menu while at the same time catching some tips among others on how to keep their body slim and yet adorable after passing their 40th milestone.

Some never had enough with smoke. The smoke was not however came from the smokeless charcoals (I have to point this out of course) but from the burning fish or lamb parts due to our negligence looking after the fire. Our deep indulgence over talking and catching up with each other caused the burning foods later became the charcoal themselves.

The air was a bit clearer as opposed to the previous one as our chief BBQ officers has by this time taking charge looking and controlling the fire. Yours truly was nowhere seen in these photos as I was too busy helping myself with the vast amount of foods and having to come out with a plan on how to finish BBQuing our food and our sacred ritual before the clock strike twelve in the midnight.

This was how irresistibly good and photogenic the chickens looked like when yours truly at ground zero and took the helm of controlling the command center.

This was the last photo known to exist before these poor squid and some of the lambs transformed themselves into an inedible but combustible matter.

04 March 2010

Consistently inconsistent

As I strolled peacefully under the scanty shade of wintering rubber trees, trying to evade the stinging heat of blasting sun my brain has finally started to thaw and melted from its frozen state - that little wonderful thing reside in my head succumbed for the past two weeks. It was not the global warming or the climate change that constipated my mind, but the inconsistent surge of wind that consistently bantering key positions up the bouncy ladder which caused a freak internal unrest.

As if cast by an evil spell, everything move in a very slow motion. Time is the only thing that move in tandem with hope and leave no trace behind. How I wish to run like a long distance runner and race against time but alas the beast inside had consistently biting hard and determine to leave it curse mark as a permanent scar. For the time being taming the beast is the utmost priority.

Global warming however is a real thing and temperature globally is consistently rising up. Animals such as spectacled bear in Peru and Australian hill frogs that live in cooler habitat are now leaving the warm lowland and migrating fast up the colder mountain. Ironically, another omnivorous white collared rice-eating species is consistently fighting hard among themselves for a very limited place of hot seats up the pinnacle. Sooner or later, the seat will be on fire.

I've been periodically checking the thermometer inside my house and it had consistently shown a steady 30 degree Celsius for the past two weeks. Once the reading outside was an astonishing 45 degree C. Better be careful, as you could boil your eggs in that temperature. Even occasional dry wind that blow from the West did not seem to calm the raging sun. It seems that the weather is forever changing. Who can predict humanity's report card would be in the next 20, 40 or 60 years from now looking at the current state of our sick planet?

Life exist on this planet as a result of a natural greenhouse phenomenon occurring in our atmosphere. It is a kind of protective blanket that regulate the temperature of our earth. Despite being less-abundant, their present are becoming more significant each days. The main culprit to this is no less that human activities itself. But this rice-eating species is not the only being to shoulder the blame alone. The methane from cow dung is also one of a green house gas and a slight mishap will cause another major environmental holocaust. I hope our folks in Kuala Brang can help the nation and play a major role in reducing this potent element.

To address the issue, lets not talk about greening our earth by planting more trees. People who live up in the sky or penthouse will not like the idea. Focusing on our daily diet, in my humble opinion can also help us tackling this pressing issue. Eating more beef will make sure the cow population is under good control. The downside for this however, beef consumption will make us to fart consistently and fart has component that contributes to greenhouse gases! So whenever you feel that sensational urge, please hold as long as possible dude...if you manage to do that, do it consistently please!
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