Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sudden removal of herb garden heartless, says resident

Sudden removal of herb garden heartless, says resident
Friday, 24 October 2008

We received this email from Rafiz Mohyi Hapipi which he wrote to the Ang Mo Kio-Yio Chu Kang Town Council.
I am writing to express my deepest regret and unhappiness over the sudden destruction of the herb garden surrounding block 819 Yishun Street 81.

I have been a resident of this block and neighbourhod for the past 7 years. This was a peaceful and happy neighbourhood with a good mix of multi-cutural elderly, young adults and children. My two school-going children enjoy the company of Chinese and Indian friends as well as the care and concern of the eldery in the neighbourhood.

Since the day I moved into this neighbourhood, I have seen the elderly here tending to the herb garden that they have worked on for over twenty years. Others who retire later joined in and the herb garden became a regular routine activity that kept the elderly here active and cheerful. At the same time, while they were working on the garden or having their short rests in between, the elderly here lend their watchful eyes over the children. My own children grew up with their friendly smiles and hugs. They learnt the value of multiculturalism through experience away from force-fed curriculum of National Education taught in schools. My own parents who are themselves retirees, although not staying with me, frequented my place and enjoyed the company of people their age here.

The last few days have been traumatic for the elderly here. With much grieve they saw the herb garden that they have put their sweat and soul in for many years being destroyed heartlessly. I saw tears and heard voices of despair as some of the elderly tried to salvage whatever is left from the plants into pots. Some had given up. An elderly Chinese neighbour at the second floor shared with me, “Sudah Dua Puluh Satu Tahun saya jaga ini pokok. Ini bukan pokok bunga tapi semua ini pokok Ubat yang banyak gunanya. Siapa lagi yang tahu? Kita (orang tua) saja yang tahu. Saya sedih. Macam saya nak cakap suruh buang saja semua jadi saya tak nampak. Apa boleh buat? Diorang boleh buat apa diorang suka. Dua puluh satu tahun diorang takda peduli tapi sekarang semua buang.”

“It has been 21 years since I cared for these plants. These are not flowers but all these are herbs that have many uses. Who else would know (about the herbs)? Only us (the aged) would know. I’m sad. I feel like telling them to dispose of everything so that I can’t see (anything left behind - note: some small plant in pots were left behind). What can I do? They can do what they want. For 21 years nobody cared about this area and now every they dispose.”)

I personally share my tears and grieve with them. I find the whole episode appalling. It is an outright contradiction to the messages of Active Aging that have been sloganised over and over.

My own daughter who is only a kindergarten student was upset when she saw the workers grabbed and dumped the plants aside. I personally feel that the actions in this episode is a reflection of heartless and cold-hearted mechanical policies.

Twenty years of effort have been destroyed. The pride of the aged here has been badly hurt. This episode will definitely be part of my memory and the memory of my children as well as the children in this neighbourhood.
Please relay my message to the Town Council Advisor.

Thank You.

In Utmost Unhappiness,
Rafiz Mohyi Hapipi

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hill-cutting blamed for flash floods

Population is the root cause. Hill-cutting is to support the increasing population. Very interesting idea in the news below by former PBA engineer Kam U-Tee.
BTW, who shall we blame? Man for hill-cutting or God for population explosion?What is your comment?
Friday October 24, 2008

GEORGE TOWN: Hill-cutting and development of valleys on the island are the main cause of the recent flash floods in Ayer Itam and its surrounding areas.

Water resources expert Datuk Kam U-Tee said the floods were caused by conversion of the Paya Terubong and Bayan Baru valleys into “concrete aprons that do not retain water.”

“The water immediately flows into the streams causing flash floods even with moderate rainfall.

“Because of hill-cutting activities, the flowing water causes erosion of the slopes which carries mud and silt into the river beds,” said Kam, who was Penang Water Authority general manager for 17 years until he retired in 1990.

Dredging the river is not a permanent solution, he said, adding that the floods could not have been caused by water released from the nearby Air Itam Dam.

“In some countries, developers are required to include retention ponds and underground water tanks to allow release of water more evenly.

“Developers encroaching onto river flood plains, which are natural flood retention features, cause a faster flow but with reduced cross sections,” he said.

Last week, Sungai Air Itam overflowed its banks causing floods in surrounding areas including Air Putih, Hye Keat Estate and Taman Lumba Kuda.

It was described as among the worst floods in 20 years.

Kam said many did not realise that the dam comprised of less than one quarter of the total Sungai Air Itam catchment area.

Penang plans to introduce several flood-mitigation methods including retention ponds, bunds and higher dam walls.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Truth About Palm Oil

Have you watch the video above? Do you see any misleading information?

According to FOE (Friends of the Earth Europe), quote: Especially the final sentence "sustainably produced since 1917" is clearly misleading - the consumer is likely to take from the term that palm oil is produced without harming the environment in any way. The footage in the advertisement, by hinting that palm oil production does not harm trees or contribute to deforestation, also leads the consumer to use this definition of "sustainably produced".

Roadkills are common in areas near Oil Palm plantation

I have been travelling around Malaysia and these were the observation from the domino effect of the final objective - Oil Palm plantation.

First the highways. In the name of development of infrastructures for the rural areas. Government built them. Then secretly, timber was extracted. Then they planted rubber trees. And just as the price of palm oil escalated, they oil palmed them.

So you see, the council is actually "correct". They are replanting on "sustainable" land (from prevously rubber plantation). However, they didn't tell us that the land was previously rainforested!

Sparcely cultivated oil palm trees could not really sustain wifelife. Perhaps they can sustain the frogs, birds, butterflies and the ants (like whats being depicted in the video). Did the video show any larger animals? Larger wildlife will be of conflict with humans. Elephants destroying plantation. Tigers attacking plantation workers. Tapirs being hit by cars....or what we called "Roadkills".

Roadkills are happening everyday in areas where forests were being cut and in areas where oil palm trees were being planted. Nothing is spare - snakes, animals, reptiles, big and small are all victim of roadkills.

Is Oil Palm plantation sustainable? A gift from nature, a gift for live?

It should be "A gift to dead wildlife and lost of diversity".

Monday, October 06, 2008

Invasion of the predator fish

This blog has been championing the right of wildlife. Wildlife is best left in the wild. But when homospiens play GOD, the biodiversity is turned upside down. This is happening all over the world. Unless it affected us economically, nobody will think a hoot about this issue. Now it is affecting Malaysia. And now some people are waking up to this new menace - the predator fish! Our biodiversity of marine life could be heading for extinction! Welcome to Bolehland!
-------------------read story below-------------------
NST Online
By : Jennifer Gomez and Brenda Lim

An angling enthusiast with a peacock bass. The peacock bass and zebra cichlid (below) are causing havoc with riverine biodiversity in Perak and the Klang Valley. Photo courtesy of NST

KUALA LUMPUR: Local fish in ponds and rivers in Perak and the Klang Valley are in danger of being wiped out due to two highly aggressive predator fishes which are wreaking havoc in the waterways.

Environmentalists have raised the alarm that if the biological invasion by the carnivorous peacock bass and the zebra cichlid (both from the cichlid family) is not checked, it will cause havoc on biodiversity and the livelihood of riverine fishermen.

Where these two predator fish are found, they have moved to the top of the fish chain, even attacking the original "king" of Malaysian predator fish, the toman.

And that is why local fishermen are hauling in fewer toman, haruan, sebarau and udang galah.

These predator fish attack in groups and their prey are known to beach themselves in futile attempts to escape being eaten.

DHI Water and Environment Sdn Bhd environmental consultant Mohd Zambri Mohd Akhir is particularly concerned about the threat posed by the peacock bass.

"Now you can find these fish in Chenderoh, the most downstream dam in Perak. If it enters the other river systems in Malaysia that has unique local species, it is going to cause irreversible damage," warned Zambri.

He said the peacock bass was already robbing riverine fishermen of their livelihood as the problem had been around for nearly a decade.

"Fishermen in Batu Gajah and Tanjung Tualang are already facing this problem as their income has been steadily suffering over the years.

"The supply of udang galah is also greatly reduced, depriving fishermen of a decent income."

The peacock bass is from the Amazon in South America and can grow up to five kilogrammes. It breeds fast and protects its eggs and fry, giving it a high survival rate.

The zebra cichlid from Africa, however, only grows up to palm size, but is known for its notorious feeding habits.

Fisherman Ishanorzaman Jaimit from Kampung Gajah confirmed that there were many peacock bass in the mining ponds and rivers in Perak, but said that they only ate the small fish.

There is also increasing demand for the peacock bass. Fishermen get RM5 per kg for it, while the middlemen sell it for RM6.50 per kg.

The peacock bass is not usually available in restaurants but it is known to make it to the dinner tables of fishermen and anglers who catch it.

Vincent Chin, owner of the Malaysian Fishing Net website, however, insists that the peacock bass is a real threat.

"It was brought into the country as an aquarium fish more than 10 years ago. It is a real nuisance because it feeds on local fish. They are vicious and attack like a pack of wolves," he said.

Another riverine fisherman, Muhammad Isa, said the zebra cichlid, nicknamed ikan belang for its distinctive stripes, was a bigger threat.

"The zebra cichlid is a bigger threat to the local species than the peacock bass," he said.

"In rivers and ponds in my area, the peacock bass is noted for eating only the perimpin (freshwater version of the ikan bilis).

"The zebra cichlid, however, eats most fry. Even if we haul in these zebra cichlids, we do not eat them."


PREDATOR FISH: 'It got into rivers by accident'
NST Online

KUALA LUMPUR: How did the peacock bass get into our waters?

Nik Mohd Rahimi, who manages Fly Fishing and Lure Casting Centre in Taman Pertanian Bukit Cahaya in Shah Alam, said that it got into the Perak waterways by accident.

"Some breeders were keeping it in a pond, and one rainy season, the pond overflowed, and that's how it got into the river system."

Nik Mohd said there was once a demand for the peacock bass as an aquarium fish, but owners soon found them troublesome to be kept as pets.

"It would eat the whole time, resulting in a lot of waste. After some time, the owners got fed up of having to clean the aquarium all the time and just dumped them into the waterways, increasing their numbers in the rivers."

He said although the fish has yet to make its way to Malaysian dinner tables in a big way, anglers and diners in Batu Gajah were creating a demand for it.

"You can get it in Batu Gajah for RM5 to RM7 per kg," he said.

Nik Mohd said he did not like the taste of the fish when he first ate it in 2001 but had since developed an immense liking for it.

"About 10 years ago, when we first caught it, it was a few hours later before we took it to a restaurant to get it cooked.

"It was horrible because the flesh turns pinkish if you don't cook it immediately. However, the kids just loved it deep-fried and with soy sauce on it."

He said the bigger ones were best eaten steamed, but advised not to eat the skin as it had a very strong smell.

"The flesh is juicy and tender, like the cod fish. The bones and head are usually used as stock for Chinese herbal soups," Nik Mohd said..

In South America, it is a delicacy, where the fish is grilled with salt wrapped in banana leaf.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Perhilitan Confiscates Animals And Leather Bags

Does anyone know where do the confiscated wildlife final destination?
I have a dream that the wildlife will be sold back to the poacher.
Raids were always acted on ACTING ON TIP-OFF.
Imagine the wildlife species were found IN the WILDLIFE park. This is the place where Wildlife officers have easy access.
I have a dream that the custodians couldn't care about wildlife species.
And I have a dream they just pocketed...... (its only my dream ok).
Well, as a concerned public, you should do you part to provide more TIP-OFF on any illegal wildlife activities....SMS this number 019-3564194 and demand to know where the final destination of seized wildlife.
October 03, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 3 (Bernama) -- The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) seized several wildlife species and leather bags in three operations on Monday and yesterday.

The department's law and enforcement divison chief, Dr E. Sivanathan said, the first raid was on a wildlife park in Perak on Monday.

Acting on a tip-off, seven members from the wildlife crime unit rushed to the park and seized an eagle-owl, five owls, a python and three cobras which were placed in several cages, he said.

"The park has no licence to breed or display the animals, which are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972," he told reporters at the Perhilitan office, here today.

In the second operation held on the same day, the Perhilitan enforcement unit at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) prevented an imported consignment from entering the country.

"We seized nine bags made from Yak leather from France. Yaks are an endangered species," he said.

He said further investigations would be conducted to identify those involved.

Meanwhile, Perhilitan had also confiscated a sack filled with 24 pythons from a man in an oil palm plantation around Tangkak in Johor, yesterday.

"The pythons are believed to be for sale in the black market," he said.

The suspect, however, managed to escape, he added.

Members of the public with information on crimes related to protected animals could contact Perhilitan or send a text message to 019-3564194.