Nature is simply breathtaking


 Malaysia is home to simply thousands of floral species. Would be amiss not to celebrate the floral bounty of this on my blog.

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Above is the grand Heliconia and next to it, a gorgeous yellow Hibiscus.

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The truth is, I can’t name this white flower above. Tried looking it up, but it was futile.

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A bunch of lovely cream-coloured daises.

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The Bird’s Nest Fern that is easier to find in a garden than in a forest these days.

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A solitary white daisy.

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I believe the yellow orchid is of the Cattleya family but can’t be more specific. The magenta/fuchsia coloured one is a Phalaenopsis hybrid

floral-24.jpg A tri-colour chrysanthemum.

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A muted yellow daisy, after the rain.

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There is something iresistible yet poignant about this solitary pink rose whose petals are rain-drenched.

Protest by Police?


Last night’s drizzle did keep some people away from the planned Anti-ISA vigil at Dataran Merdeka. In fact, I would say just about 300 people turned out.

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It was a peaceful enough walk with most people holding candles. Met some familiar faces, including Uncle Zorro and Black.

But that was not news. What’s interesting is that there were at least 500 cops there, including the FRU drones, the vest-clad tired-looking CID fellas (and a gal) and uniformed policemen.

They commandeered the entire stretch of Jalan Raja from Sultan Abdul Samad building all the way to the Jalan Tun Perak/Tuanku Abdul Rahman junction, filling the closed roads with the trucks.

From 8.30 pm till 9.15pm it was quite a quiet walk without much fuss. Then the cops decided the waiting game is over. And began marching.

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It really looked like a rally by cops. I wonder if THEY got permit. Heh!

At 9.30pm the one truck they brought all the way through to Leboh Pasar, started spraying its chemical-laced water to disperse the truck.

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There were a lot of uuhs and aaahs kinda noises…(like the spartan warriors in 300). They even ran screaming down a backlane. I thought they were beating up people but no…just the sound effects.

It was funny…I tell ya.

Then everyone went home….(dunno if they lived happily ever after).

A Yellow Day to Remember


Indeed it was. There was tremendous police presence, roadblocks everywhere in downtown Kuala Lumpur, and the blue-grey fatigues of the Federal Reserve Unit was a familiar sight everywhere you turn.

At the end of the day, it was just a bunch of Malaysians, who wanted to see their sovereign to raise their plight. But the executive used instruments of law and order to stop them from doing so.

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Welcome back to Birdland


It has been quite a while since pretty pictures graced this blog. Too many things have been happening around us that required some literary blood-letting. So much so, I forgot the simple yet increasingly elusive pleasure afforded by communing with nature…and its inhabitants.

Kampung girl that I am at heart, living in Kuala Lumpur sometimes gets to be too much. It is a view shared by many friends, including Tony who once said he ends up in the jungle pretty often. Me? I am greedy for bird sightings. It’s not easy to see exotic birds these days, so I headed to KL Bird Park.

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Strike a pose, there’s nothing to it. This Cattle Egret perched on a tree branch, one-legged. I suppose if you have wings to fly, it doesn’t really hurt to push your luck, gravity-wise.

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This is a hawk….ostensibly. I know its not a buzzard. Eagles are bigger. It could be a kite too. I’m no bird expert. HELP! Identify this lovely raptor for me. This one got tired of the shutterbugs’ lenses and flew away to hide among some plants.

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This is one hell of a portrait shot of the White Crowned Hornbill. Man…check out the eyelashes. I met this guy at the Malacca Zoo.

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A tranquil, ethereally lovely shot of two Greater Flamingoes in the pond…cooling off the effects of the sweltering sun. This pic was captured at the KL Bird Park. These birds are the most widespread members in the flamingo family.

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Australian White Ibis  feeling right at home on this leafy tree. Found this at Zoo Negara. As its name suggests, this long-beaked birdie is indigenous to south western Australia. One of the classier looking members of the Ibis family.

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And this biggie mouthie is aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa White Pelican. Big fella, can weigh up to 10 kg and is found from Europe to Asia, and Africa. Can cause a racket.

That’s all folks, for now at least. Keep on drooling : )

Welcome to Birdland….


Viewing the world through camera lenses alters your perception in more ways than you know. I made this happy discovery quite a while ago, and this fuelled my love affair ever since. I have certainly started paying more attention to the little things around me in the recent years.

Malaysia is one of the biodiversity capitals of the world, so it certainly is home to many many bird species. I’d like to share some pictures of birds i found in my surroundings, and hopefully, you readers can help me name some of them. Here we go….

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This bird was on a tree in front of Rumah Universiti, University Malaya in KL. It turned around a few seconds later n I got a closer shot….below.

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Interesting bird. Could this be of the magpie family? I have not seen its like since. But hey, I live in Kuala Lumpur and I’m very lucky to see anything other than crows, pigeons, mynahs and house sparrows.

The one below is one I would have missed if it did not move. It was pretty small and heartbreakingly beautiful. See for yourself.

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The above pic is also of the same type of bird (CAN SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT SPECIES?) that I took at dusk at the Lake Gardens in Seremban. I think they may be bulbuls. Could be Olive Winged Bulbul or Yellow Vented Bulbul.

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This pristine white confection of a bird is smaller than half my palm. This dainty little thing is a Java Sparrow, and I saw it not in the wild but at the kiddy zoo at Zoo Negara.

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This pair found while walking at the KL Lake Gardens. Couldn’t get a better picture because I couldn’t get any closer and my hands were shaking. Looks like something of the sparrow family but I’m not ornithologist so enlighten me please.

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This is a common bird that is lovely to look at. The Black-naped Oriole. I used to see it often in neighbourhoods with lots of trees and of course parks. Seen it near my house as a matter of fact, but these birds always stay far enough away to make it difficult for amateur old me to photograph.

I do have a collection of bird pictures from my forays around towns, villages and jungles. I’ll post more of them when I can. Meanwhile, enjoy yourselves ogling these winged darlings.

This site has some info of local birds that helped me a little.

Eye Candy


Things are getting busier at school, pretty impossible to post some thoughtful stuff for some time now. But I’m back and with some pictures from the old collection.view

The theme is Marine this time, well largely anyway. This is from a visit to Aquaria in KLCC last year. I must say it is freaking expensive and for RM28 (non-Malaysians pay more) I thought the offered fare was kinda disappointing. I had an eyeful of some huge Arapaimas(and more) at Zoo Negara for a fraction of the price.

Here are some pics from the the two visits. Enjoy, folks!

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This is a busy lionfish, refused to stay still and strike a pose for moi! Hence the blur effect : (

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Nice view through the circular glass, granted. But the picture below was kinda warmer I thought.

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See what I mean? Looks wholesome doesn’t it?

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What’s a visit to Aquaria without a shot of good ol’ Sharky Shark. Thanks to the late Peter Benchley’s seminal work and Steven Spielberg’s larger than life representation on celluloid, Sharky has got a bad rep for decades now. But lemme tell you this. Far more people died in the hands of a certain Texan hick of a president than in the jaws of these efficient predators.

Nautilus

This is a Nautilus. Until I visited Aquaria, I had always thought that Nautilus is the name of Captain Nemo’s ship and that’s it. You know Captain Nemo right? Ok, I don’t need to explain further. Now I know Nautilus is actually a cephalopod. Add that to the knowledge that author Jules Verne (whose creation was the Nautilus and Captain Nemo, among others) was an ardent naturalist who often displayed his attention to scientific accuracy in his novels. It makes complete sense to me now.

So yes, I did learn something new. And I got acquainted with the cute guy below. Check him out, basking in his reptilian glory.

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This reminded me of Malaysian musician Amir Yusoff. No, this is not how he looks, Amir is a hunk of a guy, with some mean dreadlocks, a mean voice and he’s a dab hand at playing the guitar too. Just that its a well known fact that the guy keeps two pet iguanas. About 2 to three years ago, I met him and asked about his reptilian pets. He said he still had them and they were fine.

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This was taken at Zoo Negara. Couldn’t at first determine whether its a tortoise or turtle. I do believe now that its a tortoise. I’ve never seen a tortoise like this though. It looks like its shell was stepped on by an elephant and its bent and twisted all over. Seriously though, I would appreciate it if any of you could enlighten me on the name of this species.

Arapaima gigas

This is one of the largest, if not THE largest species of freshwater fish in the world, the Arapaima Gigas. The few that I saw at the freshwater aquarium at Zoo Negara. This species is native to the wild and rich Amazon river that snakes through Peru and Brazil in South America.

A source of income for poor Peruvian fishermen, the Arapaima or Pirarucu as it is known in South Americawas hunted down in earnest until it figured in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It moves rather gently and seems a docile fish, but it measured almost 10-feet-long so, if I am in the vicinity of these giants, I’d steer clear. A whip of that giant tail could floor you easy. Remember, that stingray that killed Steve Irwin was a docile creature too.

The thing is, many of us humans forget that the most gentle of creatures can turn dangerous if it senses a threat. Hell, try taking a kitten away from its mom. I used to have claw marks from such encounters. 

The Allure of Water


In the past few years as an amateur shutterbug, I have amassed a significant number of photos that I think deserve some online airing finally. Here I share some pictures that are not just beautiful on their own, but are powerful mnemonic triggers for me. They are not all taken at the same time, nor are they travelogue stuff. The only common denominator here is that all pictures here have something to do with water. I start with….

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A view from the hill. Waves crashing into the rocks just after Teluk Nipah, on the western coast of Pangkor Island.

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This was just before the hilly stretch above. The view drom the densely forested hill is breathtaking. They say that the rainforest of Pangkor could be as old as 4 million years. I am suitably humbled.

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Waves crashing onto the beach in Teluk Nipah. I noticed the comparatively steep gradient of the beach. But the repetitive cadence of frothy waters swirling onto the beach regularly is to me a curiously soothing experience. Nothing like nature to soothe one’s nerves.

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For the life of me, I can’t remember where is the geographical location of this picture above. The sky darkened and I could feel the first moist droplets of rain as I hurriedly took this picture during a pitstop at a petrol kiosk up north. Only after I downloaded the pictures did I see this gem. What looks like mangrove swamp here was just a flooded secondary forest.

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 View from the lighthouse in Tanjung Tuan, Malacca. The turquoise water and the delightful complement to the green hill made me take this picture. Tanjung Tuan maybe in Malacca, but for us, it is just the far end of Port Dickson. The lighthouse sits on a forest reserve that draws a lot of nature enthusiasts. Come April every year, this hill fills up with birdwatchers gathering for the annual Raptor Watch, armed with cameras and binoculars to catch the migratory birds flying south.

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Another picture I snapped without thinking and went home to discover a mood shot. This was a cloudy afternoon view of the Semenyih dam in Selangor. Always had this fascination with dams. The drive here is a scenic one. You’d be surprised to find lovely rural charms and natural beauty of Malaysia’s rainforests, barely an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur.

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Finally, this unique sight I nailed my interest. At a fishing village near Jalan Pantai, Port Dickson, I found these fish tails nailed to the wall. There was no one around except for a sleeping fat cat, so I couldn’t ask more about the types of fish nailed here. Would have made for interesting chat, this one. I’m going back someday…

Going off the expressway has no PLUS-side


Heh! Many Malaysian road users have become quite manja since the North South Expressway came into being. Road travel is made convenient, linking the major cities and towns throughout the Peninsular, from Bukit Kayu Hitam to Johor Baru.

I had to go up North for some business cum long-delayed visit. Was doing the robot-like thing in getting on to the PLUS North South Expressway at Jalan Duta. After taking my toll ticket, I drove on with dread, knowing it to be a long, boring trudge with the inevitable pitstops.

Something snapped when I was passing the Sungai Buloh rest area. Damn! I must get off this road….and that I did in Rawang. Drove through Rawang town with its own little traffic jams (bottleneck-type largely) and headed towards Kuala Kubu Bahru.

Thought I’d pull up for a chicken rice before continuing. Then I saw this sign

Try To Eat

Er…Doesn’t exactly inspire you, does it, when you go to and eatery and it say TRY TO EAT? The sign raised more questions, so I drove a little further and had chapati and dhal at a Indian eatery.

Sun is already high in the sky….and it was sweltering. Aiyoh! Air-conditioning and Joe Satriani at full blast made the next half an hour or so kinda tolerable.

Batang Kali, Serendah, Kuala Kubu Baru…all quaint scenic towns that you miss if you had taken the highway. Then I saw this.

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Some diehard Ipoh guy must have done this. Ok…So I had to say it. Ipoh Mali! Tara Sombong Punya. But why laa vandalise a road sign? Is Ipoh Mali a suburb of Ipoh? @#$$#

More sights are to baffle and befuddle me. I give you some of them here.

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I was going through the state and federal roads. I expected to see kapchai, cars, cows, goats people, lots of trees, and yes busses too. But this many buses in one place? Duh! There must be more than a hundred there, in differing degree of desrepair or should I say someday, DisReput?

Driving on, sights were pretty normal, for a country side. Kuala Kubu Baru Kerling, Kalumpang, Tanjung Malim, Ulu Bernam passed me by, provoking chuckles with some off kilter signs.

This showed that the double tracking project by KTM all the way to Ipoh, is very much alive and in progress.

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Oh! I had to make a little detour in Kuala Kubu Baru to take a snap of this. KKB Komuter Station is almost ready. Good for the locals, I thought.

 Driving along Tanjung Malim district took me through some oil palm plantations. This stopped my car. Bat Village. Dracula’s retirement estate.

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And then I saw this sign below, and chuckle became a guffaw!! Hahahah!

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Umno is recruiting bats now? Election time must be really happening. Wait a minute. Bats are nocturnal right? So would they extend voting hours to accomodate Kg Kelawar residents? All kinda wicked thoughts occured to me as I hit the accelerator.

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This was nearer to Kampar, in Perak. Certainly eye-catching sign. Didn’t stop to try the Haji-Naik-Moto less food, as I was short of time. Stopped for a quick lunch in Gopeng before going back on the PLUS Expressway. Yeah! I chickened out.

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The pic above shows a a man in his lepak maut moment on Gurney Drive in Penang. Envy the guy, he knows how to chill.

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Here, off Gurney Drive, three species of God’s creation look for the same thing…..fish.

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The sight of an Ang Mo/Gwei Lo/Mat Salleh eating rice with his fingers was something I could not resist capturing. But that is what I like about these travellers. They absorb the local experience the whole way. This pair was snapped having a banana leaf vegetarian meal at a Chulia Street Indian restaurant in Penang. (Note to self: Masuk Kandang Kambing Jangan Mengaum).

I save the bad noose for last. My camera did a humpty dumpty and is now in coma…Sigh…

Not too long ago…


The current gloomy weather, the roaring thunder and white-hot lightning that accompanies pouring rain makes it easy to forget that not too long ago, we used to have glorious glorious sun, and breathtaking sunsets.

 Here’s a picture that reminded me of just how magnificent the colours of dusk really are.

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This was a chance shot of a passing ship that was rapidly disappearing into dusky oblivion. Taken from Tanjung Harapan, near Northport, in Port Klang with my trusty little Sony Cybershot. Had to use a tripod and this was a timed shot. My hands were not steady enough.