Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Bukit Panchor (Pre-State Park status)

Bukit Panchor, on the southern part of mainland Penang, holds many secrets. There was a report of tigers' tracks found in this forest. There are caves but not the limestone type. There are many exotic plants and fauna in this park.

Not many Penangites visited this place. Today, I am going to share with you some of the interesting things to see - and worth visiting!

The signboard to the park.

The main entrance to the park.

Once inside, you will not miss this beautiful forest trees.

Amenities were well kept - clean and peaceful.

A 100m boardwalk on the "wetland" area of the park.

Presumed to be the Japaneses' tunnel - entrance built with clay.

A gazebo found on the way to the caves. Note the highlighted signboard - a common feature in all forest recreation parks and at the Penang National Park too - EMPTY! It can only be a federal project and so the local authority wouldn't bother about them! What a sheer wastage of public fund!

This praying mantis is a new species for me.

The rare long-horned spider which I have only seen it in Pergau Dam, Kelantan, was also seen here.

It is a wildboar territory. Everywhere, you could see wildboars' prints and wallows like the photo above.

Like rambutan - I haven't got a name for this plant. Anyway, it is common in this park.

Penang State Parks

Today, I read in the paper, that Bukit Panchor and Pulau Jerejak are now designated as state parks.

Ten years ago, I would have been jumping with joy when Bukit Panchor and Pulau Jerejak should be declared state parks. Not today, not now!

The declaration spells more developments - like moving city into the jungle! More developments meant more trees to cut, more infrastructures, more woods to use, more people will be visiting them, more buildings, more 10 percent stories, more wastages and more I don't-know!

Please don't get me wrong. I have not indicated that I am against the state parks. I am only giving my opinion that in Bolehland, "everything also can!" They said, "Build as you like". Contractors 'F' will be laughing to their banks. I am not against them making money but the management of these natural resources will be "build as you please"! "We just want state parks, just like other states"! "We will do anything for 10 percent"! "After all we got the budget"!

And the story goes.....

Bolehland : Now we have state parks!

Contractors : Yes, now I can help build infrastructures at state parks to attract visitors.

Bolehland : Yes, you can build more roads into the forests so that those cannot walk can also visit the forests. You should build bigger information and interpretive buildings. And don't forget to build 5-stars toilets....nevermind about first, that one can "belakang kira"! And don't "BOCOR lagi"....if not Sunny Value will give another multi million bill for repairs again!

Contractors : Ok boss, don't worry about the 10 percent....I will "Kau tim"

Taxpayers: (stratching we have to pay more taxes)

Are you happy that Penang finally got her state parks?

As for me, I am very happy...but with reservation! You?

Let's wait and see the consequences of having state parks vs recreational forests!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Illegal Trees Harvesting at Mengkuang Dam (Part VI)

We heard about illegal logging in our Malaysian's jungles. But at Mengkuang Dam we have another kind. We have illegal bamboo bamboo-ing! Bamboo-ing and tree-ing (sorry no log for logging) at catchment area.

Citizen : Hi illegals why do you chop down our catchment's trees!

Illegals : Who cares! This is not my country!

Citizen : Hi kawan apa pasal potong pokok untuk camping?
Locals : Peduli apa, saya suka hati. Lu apa sibok?

The Conclusion:

Whether you drink the dam's water or not, I think we should take the initiative to comment.....if we are quiet, they will continue to destroy and officials will continue to "tutup satu mata"!

I don't know if I am "sibuk" (busy body) but I think I am doing it for my country. If government officials tried to cover up these stories and called me a "sibuk"...... I would think they are you agree? Make your comments below to show your support on this issue.

Newly cut bamboo waiting to be carried to build more huts.

Look at the destruction caused. I only see this type of destruction in elephants' territories. No sustainable cutting but more of cut-as-you-please!

More cut bamboos lining the path to be taken away.

You can see wood and bamboo lying around the hut waiting for use.

More trees and bamboos lying on the ground - perhaps to feed termites!

Close-up of the mini hut with the building materials!

Along the shoreline, locals made their present felt - destructive camping!!! Chop whatever they want. Destroy just because nobody cares! Who are we to blame????

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Farming in Catchment Area at Mengkuang Dam (Part V)

"Dam expansion to cost RM700m"!
Understandably, much of the money will be used to acquire land from the farmers.
So, we can conclude that all area around the dam SHOULD belongs to the water authority right?
But, in Mengkuang Dam, farmers can carry on with whatever they are doing......spraying weedkillers, pesticides, farming, fruit orchards, rubber tapping and I-don't-know-what!
Below were some of the proof:

It was raining for the past few days. The weeds along the path and to the durian trees were brown. Rainwater will surely washed down into the dam just across this road. The "white" patch behind the green trees was the dam. So, Penangites, you could be drinking weedkillers!

This picture shows a wider perspective. The first picture zoomed in to the left arrow. To the right, you can see brown weeds under the shady durian trees. If this is not weedkiller then must be a battalion of hikers urinating on the grass! Did you pee there?

A path on the right of this signboard goes uphill. The signboard reads - No entry to private farm! A private farm in catchment area!!!! How about the conpensation $ paid to acquire the land?

Note the newly planted Dragon Fruits. The slope runs down into the dam. Fertilizer runs down into the dam too. So, Penangites, after drinking weedkillers, now you could get extra fertilizer to make you fertile!

This picture taken on 12th May. It will be fruiting very soon. An unripe mangosteen near the dragon fruits' plot. There are many other fruit trees with caretaker watching over them. If they are in catchment area then there shouldn't be any farmer around, right?

Durian orchard and at the far end are banana plants - all sloping to the dam.

Rubber tapping too. Newly tapped latex at the catchment.

Bales of harden rubber latex waiting to be transported out at catchment area.

Fishing and Rubbish at Mengkuang Dam (Part IV)

When I highlighted the Penang National Park on the dirtiness sometime ago, I was taken to task by some. The park authority tried to take action by calling up the Education Dept. to take discipinary action. Some even commented that since I was good at finding faults, I might as well take over the Superintendent's post! (a kind of sarcastic comment). However, I am glad that Penang National Park at Pantai Kerachut is now VERY CLEAN! (as reported from my friend).
Now, I am out of job....perhaps someone can recommend that I take over the post of water's engineer....but alas....forgot to tell you....I belong to the 2nd grade citizen and in no way I will be eligible.....
Continuing the issue on Mengkuang Dam - Part IV (Fishing and Rubbish)

Mengkuang Dam is well kept. Clean and beautiful too..... ayoyo....surface only mah! People called showroom loh! To show only lah. Cannot see inside one ok? But deep inside do you know? Let me share with you my adventure.....

This was the first extensive anglers' beach. Nice shade and of course rubbish....

This remind me of the rubbish dump! It is a poor sight. Well, I probably could guess that this area is never frequented by who cares!!

No swimming and fishing on hill slope. Of course all angers are obedient lot and they did not swim or fish on hill but they can swim or fish in the dam as there are no such sign near the water! Note the wear and tear of the signboard.

"Hi signboard why are you hiding inside?" "Sorry, I am camera shy lah!"

"Hi man you cannot fish and swim on tree!" says the signboard. "Ok, I will fish and swim at the dam loh! Can park motorcycle here huh?" "Of course can, lu punya bapa punya jalan lah"

Nice picnic area. Also nice place to throw rubbish.

Nice place to fish too. Picture was taken on Saturday around 10 am. There would be more anglers later in the day and on Friday and Sunday. Friday for those from Kedah while Sunday for Penangites - fishing also got shift mah!

More rubbish. Note the remains of a campfire on the bottom right of this picture.

As we went deeper into the forest, the scenario was the same - rubbish! fishing! swimming?

Clean, clear water..but look at the rubbish.

Nice shape to do fishing. Good recreational area. But look at the rubbish!

Styrofoam and plastic bags can be seen.

This is a campsite by the dam. We found a newspaper dated on Friday. We were there on Saturday. So I presumed the anglers had left earlier before we arrived around 1pm. There was a campfire patch on the ground. A big campfire can easily be seen from afar. I wonder whether there is anyone making any rounds. Trees were chopped down to make beds. All these were in catchment area.! I wondered how these guys "cuci" themselves after they "bikin the kueh!" You tell me!

Illegal Immigrants and Illegal Occupants At Mengkuang Dam (Part III)

I once reported hill cutting right at the top of the small hill on the left of the dam to the authority but no action was taken. The cutting actually encroached at least several meters into the catchment's slope. This time I was hesitatant to report. I hope this blog will get to them before our country damaged!

Continuing the issue on Mengkuang Dam - Part III (The Illegals)

An old house acquired by authority but continued to being used by the farmer. Note the hanging clothes . The farmer was behind the drum. This farmer was seen using the steam as toilet when we arrived at the vicinity. The stream flows directly into the dam some 100 m away below.

Crossing a small hill, we met with another shed with a motorcycle.

An illegal occupant at Mengkuang Dam riding a motorcycle (is it illegal too?) at the dam catchment.

There was another turn which we did not take that could led to another "settlement". The latter turn took us to two huts. A man was seen sitting inside the right hut. He started to call out aloud to his friends apparently to "warn" us that he has more people around.

Illegal earthworks near the Myammar's settlement. A pipe was seen diverting water from the stream to the huts.

Illegal rubber tapping at catchment area. ...or is it sanctioned by the authority?

Another half an hour of trekking, we came to another "settlement". There were altogether 3 huts. A crying baby was heard coming from the left hut.

Clothes and towels were hanging near a water drum with flowing piped water in catchment area.

The third hut - much smaller for a person. Bamboos were seen - probably they are planning to expand the "settlement".

This illegal is probably learning English to communicate with the locals. I pity them for living in such a condition.....but my love to my country remain utmost, I have to report this! Sorry whoever you are!

Do we need to expand the dam so that we can accomodate more illegals??