Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Two Days to Nation's 50th Year

This year marks 50 years of Malaysia's independence. The national day parade will be at the same venue as when this country first celebrated its independence from British rule.

Back then it was just Selangor Club/Padang and the Sultan Abdul Samad building. There were no high rise yet. 50 years down, I bring you the view from the 43rd floor of my office looking down at the full-dress rehearsal that's happening not too far away.

Here's a zoom to the 'Padang'. The words "Lagu Rakyat" (Citizen's Song) are coordinated and created by people using different colored banners. Something like how the 'pixels' of a computer monitor displays words and images.

More of the parade that I can see... the rest are blocked by buildings in between.

One of the reasons why I bought the camera to the office... to take photos of the fly-past by the MiG-29s and SU-30s. Unfortunately there was a major power outage around town and by the time I managed to get into my office building, the SU-30s had already done their stuff and gone. The MiG-29 squadron came by again later for a starburst-like display but they were pretty much higher for this maneuver so this is all I could get.

Shot a bit more of city sights for the benefit of my blog friends overseas.

The Kuala Lumpur Railway Station which was built at the end of the 19th century (1892) began its operation in the year 1909. This railway station was built to replace the existing old station situated on this site. The architecture design of this building incorporates many domes, arches and pillars which reflect the influence of the Moorish architecture. The building was designed by the Public Works Department of India during the British Colonial period. It is the oldest railway station in West Malaysia and was the hub of the railway services which serve Peninsular Malaysia running north to Bangkok, Thailand and south to Singapore.

If you trace the elevated track seen just beyond the Railway Station, that leads to the new transportation hub, KL Sentral.

A look towards the western side from my office; You might be able to see Moggie waving from his pad ;-)

** Pics courtesy of Ladyhawk's mighty Canon G7, coupled with an Optika 2x teleconverter.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Freezing Water at 34 °Celsius

The freezing point for water is 0°C (32°F) but how do you get it to freeze at 34°C? For this instance, a Canon G7 set at a shutter-speed of 1/2500 sec, aperture F4.0 did the trick. Add a little sunshine for effect ;-)

Friday, August 24, 2007

One early morning

The view from my car one morning enroute to the office, when the first rays of the sun lights up the city. Its a treat to see the buildings turning gold from the top down.

Moments like these last but a few seconds, but recorded forever on a Nokia E-70.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Eco-friendly lighting

Do you know what this is? You might have already guessed it from the title.

This is a Lighting Bug or better known as a Firefly, nocturnal members of the family Lampyridae.

Did you know that it is actually a beetle? Okay, now you know what it is but do you know how it produces the luminescence? Fireflies have dedicated light organs that are located under their abdomens. The insects take in oxygen and, inside special cells, combine it with a substance called luciferin to produce light with almost no heat. No batteries, no LED or bulbs! Imagine that. A safe way to produce lighting at no expense to the environment.

Firefly light is usually intermittent, and flashes in patterns that are unique to each species. There are over 2,000 species. Each blinking pattern is an optical signal that helps fireflies find potential mates.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Semai of Ulu Geroh

The settlement of the indigenous Semai community at Ulu Geroh. The carpet grass makes this look like part of the Shire.

Some houses are still made from bamboo for the walls and flooring. The bamboo is split and "flatten" to give it a bigger surface area. It gets pretty cold here at night and the gaps from the bamboo walls gives lots of ventilation. Walking on raised bamboo flooring takes getting used to as the floor sags when you put your weight on it. However, it won't break unless one is grossly overweight!

The Semai are friendly and mostly camera shy. Most attempts to shoot them had them covering their faces or some just simply ran off! To get the pictures, shoot fast and from afar before they realize it.

No Deuter, Karrimor or Tatonka backpacks for them. Almost everything is carried with the rattan basket with simple shoulder straps.

It is the durian fruiting season now and the locals are doing brisk business gathering the fruits to sell. Oh, the durians here are absolutely yummy!

To check for a good fruit, use the nose and shake it a bit. Not too sure why the shake tho. This guys is probably doing a last minute check to ensure only the good ones make it for sale.

These look like middleman buying up the stock to be re-sold at the nearby towns.

I hope this fler don't use his catapult on the birds and other wildlife.

You can spot him a mile off with his big smile. One of the 3 Semai guides with Green Badge and the friendliest person around. One never ceases to be amazed with his keen eyesight and knowledge of the surroundings. He'll show you stuff that you would just pass over even if you had looked for it.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Rape of Sungai Pulai

Dear Friends,

Mother nature again stands threatened by man's push for development. The estuary of Sg. Pulai in south Johor is in danger of proposed development which can only be termed as destructive with the intended set-up of petrochemical and maritime industries. I am not against development but why develop at the expense of our heritage? They can set up the industries elsewhere so why put it in a place where it will destroy an ecosystem of mangroves and the surrounding marine-life?

A proposed development plan which involve the clearing of 2255 acres (913 ha) of mangroves at Sungai Pulai (near the Ramsar Site) for petrochemical and maritime industries has its EIA open for public reviewing.

The types of industries proposed are shocking. They include the manufacturing of industrial gases, synthetic resins, paints, varnishes, petro refinery, shipbulding and repair, chemical incinerator and harzadous waste, fertilizers and pesticides, rubber remilling and latex processing etc.

This is the intended rape of Sungai Pulai.

I appeal to you to spare a few minutes to sign the petition to save the seahorses and a heritage that can never be recovered:

"We do not inherit the earth but borrow it from our children".
Let us leave them the heritage they deserve.

My previous post on the Save Our Seahorses programme: