30 March 2011

to nuke or not to nuke ?

To nuke or not to nuke, that is not the question. The question is, how long the mother earth can still breathe and survive the continuous onslaught by the ever-greedy and ungrateful humankind. The earth core is molten and becoming more and more unstable each passing days. She is starting to disintegrate and weaken. The sorry state of our earth spread like a mild ulcer, sporadically evolves into a tumorous state, malignant at first but waiting for the right time and the right precursor to be transformed into a full blown dreadful cancer. Mankind calls this a disaster. This is a natural phenomenon predestined to the aging mother earth, but we ourselves undoubtedly provide and become the catalyst. Civilization is seriously at stake. Probably it is the time. Probably we are due for another mass extinction and share the fatal fate which many million years ago had happened to the ancient dinosaurs.

Going by the current rate it is quite plausible that we are going to witness the Doomsday sooner than what the disillusioned Nostradamus had predicted earlier. This year alone, mother earth shivered and shaken more frequent than ever. Was that not the sign she wanted to convey to us that she is not well or unhappy? We just have to wait and see....and pray that it wouldn't happen in our lifetime.

Not in the far distance, the powers-that-be in our Bolehland is planning to feed the power-hungry nasi lemak eating nation with the ultimate energy the earth can offer. Someone is going to build a nuclear power plant somewhere in somebody's backyard. Naturally and predictably this has already raised heated debate especially in kopitiam and kedai kopi as nothing has been seriously discussed in Parliament yet - that if everybody has becoming very serious these days.

I am of the opinion that we still do not seriously explore all the other safer options and alternative technologies that are available. Even if there is none out there, I still think we should find and try to come out with one. Having said that yes, uranium and all those millions years half-life elements which can generate almost endless energy are not a child's toy that we cannot simply take it for granted and later toss them around recklessly. As radiation is something that we cannot see with our naked eyes and we need special equipments to do so and not everyone can afford it, even at a very minute dosage but continuous exposure to that elements could transform us into a mutant. A mutant with a super brain power is an added bonus but imagine if we are all transformed into a chimeric monkey or perhaps a retarded new species. A total mayhem.

In fact I strongly believe, even if the radioactive dust from the recent mishap in Fukushima does not have the slightest chance to travel all the way across The South China Sea to our Bolehland, some of our countrymen are already exposed long-long time ago to the similar potent dose. It is very clear because you can see a lot of no-brainer bullshitting around as their brain has long gone or shrunken into a pea size. In fact, as we speak the Philipine which is only a few nautical distant from Sabah is already detecting some level of radiation in their Islands.

Some power-hungry citizen wrote in our local tabloid recently and tried to justify the commissioning of a nuclear power plant in our Bolehland by pointed out that the current nuclear technology is safer (please bear in mind that when they built the Fukushima plants many years ago, they have the same mentality) But do remember that hundred years from now the current technology will become obsolete as well. And the recipient to that obsolete technology is not us but none other than our future generation.

I do really hope we can give some thoughtful consideration on the other natural power-generated elements out there. We have abundance of wind, water, sun, tidal wave and even tones of rubbish which if we cleverly exploit and manage them all probably can easily outshine and outdone the nuclear power plant in term of the power output and possible safety hazard . The best thing is they are all free.

The other alternative that I can think of is to consume less energy probably for example by having a candlelight dinner every single night for every household throughout Bolehland. People of Nasi-lemak-eating nation are known for our romance aren't we?

14 March 2011

Exploring a secret garden hanging in the sky

You don't have to hail King Nebuchadnezzar for a special invitation pass to visit his famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon in order to admire the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, or travel all the way to the lost city of Simeria to feast your eyes with one of the marvels. Quite recently I was tip-offed by a self-confess garden enthusiast that there is one right here in our Bolehland. A beautiful and inspiring garden hanging mystically above the ground.

With that very important piece of information, last weekend my entire clan headed to the location in search for the mysterious spot and with the intention to reveal that hidden treasure. The location was no other than One Utama Shopping Center. Yes, you hear me right, the place fondly known by our shopaholic kakis as OU has been keeping the best hidden secret to the unwary eyes for so many years (I have no prior knowledge on the existence of this secret garden as well).

This place really lives to its name. I mean in term of its secrecy. The location was so secluded and purposely designed to confuse visitors, it took us 45 minutes in a wild-goose chase to finally figure out through all the labyrinths (read=kedai makan, toilet pit-stop etc) to the hidden lift that lead us to this heavenly sanctuary. It is actually on the upper rooftop of the building and can be accessed via one of the lifts on the New Wing of OU (one situated in-front of HSBC bank on the second floor and another one, for excitement sake I let you guy to use your creativity and find it yourself :).

I can assure you the visit was worth all the sweating and some UV-exposure spending quality time with family. This is the type of place you want to bring your homesick mother or mother-in-law who longed for a serene and lush kampung surrounding. This roof-top garden of 30,000 sq ft. boasts 500 species of rare Tropical and Temperate plants. Admission is free and it open only on the weekend from 10 a.m to 7 p.m. Don't forget to bring along your camera and some sunscreen lotion too.

The garden is divided into many themes. You can get a brochure and a pamphlet at the entrance. This will guide you for a brisk walk through this marvelous garden. I don't want to write all my wonderful experience in this garden as it will spoil your excitement and this garden is supposed to be secret in the first place.

One cautionary remark though, if you want to bring your partner to this blissful and serene place, make sure your partner posses the same plant fetish as you are and doesn't mind exposing him/herself to the sweet smell of nature because you will be spending hours sweating and mesmerized by this natural wonder. Shopping is not advisable to be carried out on the same day.

As this secret garden is also an experimental garden, you will probably see some new plant species introduced to this garden in the future.

Right after the entrance, you will see this small cactus hill exhibiting some arid and semi-arid collection of the world.

My exploration team congregated in fascination and awestruck by some of the plant collection in the garden. Children can be a good candidate for this natural exploration as this garden will promote awareness and the appreciation of plants.

These peculiar plants (far left), Madagascar tree arum are one of the accent plants in this garden. They lead our eyes straight to this spot when we enter this section of the garden. In the background is the weeping willow - the leaves hang freely and move gently by the wind.

Big pergolas and patios provide shade from the raging sun. They provide a perfect place for city dwellers to unwind during weekends.

A cereal crop from Africa, Sorghum sp. can also be seen wilting in the garden waiting to be harvested.

This yellow passion (Pacciflora flavicarpa) fruit hanging down from a pergola among other climbers and vines. This fragrant fruit is used for juice extract and rich in vitamins. There are also purple passion fruits in the garden.

This particular plant, Jatropha podagrica (pokok jarak) shares similar family with the rubber tree (Euphorbiaceae) blooms beautiful flowers. Their sibling, Jatropha curcas is commercially planted for it promising biofuel production.

I didn't capture the name of this beautiful inflorescent, but it can easily become a focal point to any garden landscape.

Multitude array of colors from this cacti make a very pleasant subject to the eyes.

This brightly colored Heliconia lines the garden entrance.

This bizarre flower of a Brazillian Dutchman's pipe (Aristolochia gigantea) that shades the pergolas and patios looks very beautiful. But the smell is not that friendly and gives quite a strong scent to the nostril. My little explorers said the smell resembles rotten fish. (erratum : my life partner cum a full-fledged-botanist pointed out my mistake and gave the correct name for this flower - thanks darling)

My exploration team was very happy and looking forward to visit this roof-top hideout again in the future.

10 March 2011

Chasing the rainbow

A beautiful and brightly colored confocal micrograph of leaf midvein from a native rubber species (Amazon collection).
Naturally, lignified cells give higher excitation (auto fluorescent)
Cross section, 20x magnification, unstained, Blue & Yellow filter.

Of late I think I have seen too many rainbows. The rainbows however were not the regular one which normally appear and show-off their glorious colors accompanying the mid afternoon shower. The usual streak of colorful lines in the sky will surely make our day but these abnormal rainbows work the opposite way. They were distorted and monotonous. Whether it was an illusion that lead my eyes to play trick on me or perhaps I was becoming deeply disillusioned by all the insanity created by the lunatics that believed they are immortal. There is no way to tell and no plausible answer to the question. Those are the same lunatics that believed there are gold pots at the foot of the rainbow.

These whole madness somehow had rendered my brain to temporarily idle and at the same time drained out all my creativity. It was not the first time and it won't be the last one either. Fertile ideas got stuck and frozen dead in between my brain cells, unable to thaw themselves and flow flawlessly out as usual. A month of blog hiatus is a testament to this.

Relatively speaking though, I can consider myself quite lucky as my state of mind has not yet reach the level of brain-dead zombie army which is now widespread not only in my own playground but also in the entire Bolehland. Brain drain is not that bad as we can always rejuvenate and re-energize the exhausted cells. Brain-dead on the other hand is a serious malady of a catastrophic level to the whole human kind as the immortal zombies could not and would not think properly. As the brain is dead, they will make decision based purely on instinct sans good judgment.

At the moment I can only presume that my life is going to be more and more interesting from now on. I am accepting the fact that we have to co-exist and reliant to each other. But still there are many who don't want to understand that our life can sometime becomes very superficial. If we think we are smart, look good, rich, powerful etc. there are many many others that are far better than us. The theory of relativity doesn't apply to some immortals especially the zombie army.

I may see many more anomalies in the rainbow but I am preparing myself with a pair of polarized spectacles to pleased my own eyes. At the same time, I will just let all the zombies to continue believing there are actually gold pots at the foot of the rainbow.

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