Saturday, 21 November 2009

How Eco Is This?

In recent months, dragonflies have not been at the top of the list of things that are keeping me busy.

In recent months, news of the setting up of an Eco Resort on Pulau Payar Marine Park have been buzzing in Langkawi.

And in recent months, works have commenced to clear up the area where the resort is sited, to refurbish the abandoned geodesic dome structures that had been built there in the 1990s and to get the resort ready for operations.

During these months, my friend, Wendy, and I have been coming up against walls in getting the attention of the relevant authorities to review and revoke the permit to operate this so-called Pulau Payar Eco Resort.

Apart from our article, titled "Langkawi's Jewel In The Crown May Disappear", being published in Malaysiakini - Letters to the Editor, letters and emails to the relevant authorities remain unanswered.

Our efforts thus far have come up to naught.

If anyone wants to know how green the owner(s) profess to run this resort, I am sure they can easily find the information online.

What I would like to write about here is how GREEN AND ECO IT IS NOT !

I am presenting to you evidence that open burning had been the preferred method in use to set fire to the forest floor to burn away and clear the shrubs, bushes and/or undergrowth within the resort grounds.  Now that the forest floor on that hill slope is burned bare and cleared, whenever it rains the water run-off into the sea below that slope will carry with it soil particles, causing siltation or sedimentation in the waters around Pulau Payar.  Add to that, should these people have used any weedkillers, chemicals deadly to marine life would also have been washed into the sea by the rain.


This picture shows an area of burned forest floor around the perimeter of the resort grounds.


In this next picture, smoke is still coming off the ground where it had just been burned and the trunks of the trees are charred black.


This picture is of a palm tree in another area within the resort grounds.  Notice the charred marks on its trunk.


Isn't open burning banned in Malaysia? 

Yes, we all know that enforcement of the ban is sadly lacking.  But among people who should know better not to do it, isn't it a fact then that open burning would be a blatant disregard of this ban?

Is open burning a green and eco practice?  Didn't the owner(s) of the resort claim to follow eco practices for the operations of the resort?  Shouldn't the owner(s) apply these eco practices to the works-in-progress leading up to its operations too?

Is this claim of an eco resort just a farce?  Merely a marketing gimmick? 

Or are they now going to claim that the fire had been accidental?

So... how eco is this resort, really?


Monday, 9 November 2009

Back To Red!

Red is a great colour!  I like red.  It is one of those bright, happy colours.  A splash here and there can brighten up a lot of things, including brightening up your day! 

Red is a strong colour and it can mean many different things.  A red heart to symbolise love.  A red flag to denote impending battle.  Red is anger!  Red is hot!  Red is inspiring!

Red also represent fire and fortune, good luck, prosperity and joy.  Red is associated with strong emotions - energy, courage, passion, aggression, life!  I am sure you can think of many more... red skies, red sun, red roses.

And, of course, red dragonflies!

It is no wonder then that seeing red dragonflies gives me a sense of happiness!  Bright specks of red dotting the green fields and blue skies.  Nature gives us a million happy moments to savour each day!



The Rhodothemis rufa of the family Libellulidae is yet another red dragonfly that is commonly found in Langkawi.  It is, in fact, widespread in tropical Asia.

Although I had thought it to be the Crocothemis servilia, I took photos anyway.  It was only later when I studied the photos closely that I realised it was a different species.  It was a lucky shot.  Lucky me!  The Rhodothemis rufa is distinguished from the red Orthetrum and the Crocothemis servilia by details in their wing venations.  Yes, they look very much alike for three different species.


Rhodothemis rufa




Crocothemis servilia








Orthetrum spp






The wing venations of the dragonflies are like thumbprints for us humans.  The Orthetrum spp has complete antenodal crossvein on its forewings and the Crocothemis servilia has three cell rows throughout the cubital field of its forewings.  The Rhodothemis rufa has two cell rows at some point along the cubital field and incomplete antenodal crossvein.  Although there are a few other details that might differ here and there, the wing venation is the main feature for identification and differentiation of these species.

Red means celebration too.  So, here's to another red dragonfly!



Sunday, 8 November 2009

Dragonfly Musings

I must admit that, of late, I am spending more time on books and not so much on hunting dragonflies in the outdoors.

So, here's an excerpt from one of these books.  A verse from a poem by Lord Alfred Tennyson:


Today I saw the dragonfly
Come from the wells where he did lie.
An inner impulse rent the veil
Of his old husk: from head to tail
Came out clear plates of sapphire mail.
He dried his wings: like gauze they grew;
Thro' crofts and pastures wet with dew
A living flash of light he flew.
- "The Two Voices" (1883), lines 8-15


It tells of a dragonfly nymph coming up from the pond, emerging into a sapphire dragonfly and then, later, flying away...