Sunday, 18 February 2018

BORNEO ORANGUTANS: Road to Extinction!



"Shhh! Sam said, and both kept quiet. Aaron and Sam kept their eyes fixed. A furry red mammal slowly came out from the undergrowth. It kept itself partially hidden. Sam snatched a bunch of ripe bananas from the backseat, opened his car window, and threw it towards the creature... Sam nodded. "Yep! A female orangutan. She knew the timing of my arrival. The jungle was supposed to be protected. But some tycoon jerk played golf with the authority, gave them a lot of Christmas presents, and the orangutan is now homeless."                       THE EURASIANS Chapter 37 Page 151

In my previous blog posts, I wrote about Borneo: How do we save our environment? and also Borneo: Rape of the environment. In my novel THE EURASIANS, Aaron and Sam was talking about the plight of the orangutans way back in the 1980's. Now we are decades in the new millennium but things haven't change; in fact it's becoming worse!

Oil palm plantation in Borneo
I came across an article, MONGABAY news, quoting a study made by Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany, published in February 2018; according to their study, the most disturbing news is that the island of Borneo lost nearly 150,000 orangutans (pango pygmaeus) between 1999-2015! They also warns that another 45,000 orangutans are doomed by 2050! The main culprits are land clearing for logging and palm oil plantations. Even in intact forests, orangutans are disappearing due to being killed.

And here comes the interesting suggestion; the researchers have called for more effective partnership between the government, industries and local communities to ensure the Borneo orangutans survival! What a joke! Hoping for the governments and the industries? There is a famous Malay proverb that say; like giving a beautiful flower to a monkey!

There is no other way; only the international communities can put pressure on the Borneo governments to stop the environmental destruction. As I said before; the planet earth is like a small room. Eventually everyone inside this room will suffer when one person smoke cigar!





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Thursday, 15 February 2018

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR: GONG XI FAT CHAI

Imago Shopping Mall, Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu)

A shop in Labuan Island

The above pictures showing the people of Borneo getting ready to celebrate Chinese New Year.
WISHING YOU AND YOUR FAMILY A HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS CHINESE NEW YEAR.






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Tuesday, 13 February 2018

HAPPY VALENTINE DAY! From Borneo


William took Susan out for a candlelight dinner that evening. Everyone in the restaurant could see a mismatch. William was well dressed in coat and tie, as if he were handling a BOD meeting, while Susan was in a T-shirt, jeans, sporting shoes, as if she'd just come from a college library. After sipping their last drink, they looked at each other. Both smiled. Susan took out a single beautiful rose from the vase on the table and sniffed it. William watched in amazement. 
THE EURASIANS Chapter 48, Page 212


I was once asked by one of my fans, which chapter is my favorite? I told her; all the chapters! But when I pondered deeply, and be honest to myself; I cannot deny that chapter 48 indeed is one of my favorites. Why? Because everyone of us do experience a romantic situation like what William and Susan are having. So...  HAPPY VALENTINE DAY to everyone and do buy a book for your love ones. By the way, THE EURASIANS is the first English romance-thriller from Borneo. 




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Thursday, 8 February 2018

SUNSET: Benefits of watching

Purple Heron and the Blazing Sunset
Taken from another angle few minutes earlier


I took quite a number of sunset photos around North Borneo also known as Sabah (see Sunset over Borneo and The Sunset Music Festival) but I have to admit to myself; this is the most spectacular among the photos I took. Of course millions of pictures had been taken about sunsets and many, many more are much better than these; but I am happy with these ones. The paradox is; it reminds me of Hollywood movies of fiery hellfire and a dead tree! But yet it is so like paradise! I am not shy to mention a common idiom; A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS!

According to Psychology Today, article posted on July 16, 2014, studies had shown that appreciating natural beauty (e.g. captivated by sunsets) have a number of psychological benefits such as emotional well-being, concern for others and satisfaction with life. I truly agree with this. But I would like to add more; it shows how gracious and merciful is our Creator that watching all these make us human marveled with His creation.





The first English romance-thriller from Borneo
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Monday, 5 February 2018

BORNEO: How do we save our environment?


Unrestricted land clearing
Irresponsible waste disposals



“When I was young, after it rained, my house would be swarmed by millions of frogs, big and small. Ii was like a plague of Egypt. Nowadays, I have to search thoroughly, leaving no stone unturned, just to find a few small frogs…”
“That’s because the government didn’t stop the developer from clearing and filling wetlands. To them, wetlands are wastelands. How many local and endemic species, which might be unique and endangered, will be lost forever…”
“They cut timber as if it were grass, the river polluted, the plains are flooded, and the weather patterns are changing…”
                                                From THE EURASIANS Chapter 49 page 215


Anyway, please refer to my previous blog; Borneo: Rape of the Environment

A visitor from Canada told me that he should have heeded the advice of his friend 10 years ago; coming to Borneo at that time. According to him, it was one of the most beautiful places on earth! He told me this is his first visit to Borneo, while his friend, the second visit. His friend was very disappointed; as the beauty of this place he once admired were scarred. 

The Borneo environment is facing deterioration at alarming rates. Iconic species of wildlife such as the orangutans and pygmy elephants are facing extinction. Scientists are warning that these animals population are dwindling fast. Just recently, the pygmy rhino of Borneo had been officially declared extinct! Unrestricted land clearings in the name of development were a norm nowadays. Water are polluted not only by the oil palm plantations but by irresponsible waste disposal (plastic especially) made by ordinary citizens. 

How long will this last?


Remember; these problems we now face in Borneo are also the problems of the international communities. Planet earth is like a small room packed with people; humid and hot. Then one person at the remote corner started to smoke cigar. Very soon all the people inside this room will suffocate if this one person is not stop from smoking. The same thing with our precious planet; it is a collective responsibility of everybody to ensure the Borneo governments toe the line and not simply do as they please. 

Plastics chocking our ecology
How do we stop or reduce the threat to our environment? One way I can think of is by visiting this island in droves. The more visitors or tourists come to Borneo, the more the governments are compelled to be more responsible and sensible towards their environment. Who knows, they will come to their senses and start seeing the ecology of Borneo as assets worth protecting. After all, it was the tourists who alerted the international media about a destructive development happening on the fragile island of Sipadan; an underwater paradise in Borneo way back in 2006. After the highlight was made, the government put a stop to that project. If it were the locals who made noise, the government will simply ignore them.




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Thursday, 1 February 2018

SUPER BLUE ECLIPSED MOON: Three in One Special!

Super Blue Moon viewed from Kota Belud

I had to write about this again; because it is a unique happening and none of us will ever witnessed it in the next few generations to come. So bear with me this same story. Watching the big moon itself is already mind boggling. Just imagine; there is a celestial object circling earth less than 200,000 miles away from earth!

Beginning of the Eclipse


For days the social medias were abuzz with people talking about this phenomenon. Sure they do because the next opportunity that comes; well! We will not be around to witness it again! Indeed we are the luckiest people when we are able to witness this happening on January 31, 2018. It was reported that millions all over the world watched this wonderful work of God.

This rare cosmic event; a combination of super moon, blue moon and a lunar eclipse only happen in every 152 year! So the last time it happened was in 1866. Super moon is when the moon is closest to the earth; blue moon is when two full moons appeared on the same month while a lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes within the earth shadow or umbra.

When I googled for information regarding the part of the moon across North Borneo, it was mentioned the moon will rise 73 degrees east rising at 6.32pm, immediately I thought of the moon appearing from behind Mount Kinabalu. So the best location to see this would be in my friend’s place at De Hobbit Homestay at Kota Belud; about 60 kilometers from Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu) city center. 

I wasted no time, took my camera and rushed to this place. I arrived there at almost 5.30pm and scanned the horizon. It was getting dark, and the view was so magnificent. I waited but only at 7.10pm did I manage to see the rising moon. Disappointingly, the moon appeared further east from the mountain; therefore I couldn’t get the picture of the moon and Kinabalu. Anyway, it was still a wonderful moment to witness. 

Almost Total Eclipse of the Moon





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Thursday, 4 January 2018

HEAVEN AND EARTH: Watching the Supermoon from Borneo

picture taken at night

this one taken at dawn



In 2017 right until today, many people in Borneo are whipped with excitements because of the moon. Why not? The reason is because of the supermoon (scientifically known as perigee syzygy). According to Wikipedia, Supermoon is defined as a full moon or a new moon that approximately coincides with the closest distance that the Moon reaches the Earth in its elliptic orbit, resulting in a larger-than-usual apparent size of the lunar disk as seen from the earth.

Many took snapshots of the moon as it appeared full; and many of those pictures were beautiful. I took one near my home (above). According to Malay proverb bulan (moon) is associated to cantik (beautiful); Cantik Macam Bulan (as beautiful as the moon). 

The heaven will be offering us a number of interesting phenomenons this January of 2018. Among them are:
January 2, 2018                 First full moon of the year (also supermoon)
January 3 & 4, 2018          Quadrantids Meteor showers
January 31, 2018               Full moon and a super blue moon (also a lunar eclipse)


Blue moon is the second full moon in the same month. Because blue moon is an unusual phenomenon that colloquially, it is also used to refer to a rare event. The best places to see these things are on high places with clear weather and the least amount of light pollution. One such place is at Bukit Bongol, Kampong Pirasan at Kota Belud.  





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