Monday, 29 November 2010

Vallaris glabra

I will always remember the fragrant scent of these flowers.

This creeper plant had grown quite luxuriantly over the shed outside my bedroom at home when I was a child.  Whenever it blooms, its fragrant scent would waft into the room through the open windows.  And you would always smell its fragrance if you walk near it... particularly in the evenings.

Growing up, we referred to this plant as "bunga nasi".

It was only in recent years that I came to learn that the correct local name of this plant should be "bunga kerak nasi".

For the longest time, this name never did have any significance to me. 
It never did hit a chord because it was one of the "first smells" in the garden that I knew as a child.  And its name was only a name to start with.

Yet, if you ask most people, they would say that the fragrance is like steamed rice.  Sometimes, even being likened to the scent of the pandanus or "pandan" leaves.

Well, is that any wonder at all?  Isn't it? 

After all, the name "bunga nasi", when translated to the English Language, literally means "rice flower", while "kerak nasi" refers to the burnt rice that's stuck to the bottom of the rice pot if you had overcooked the rice.

And "pandan" leaves are also often placed in the rice pot to make the rice more fragrant.

How apt.

But then, I have also recently learnt that its common or given name in English is actually "Bread Flower".

I wonder why?

Saturday, 13 November 2010

More Pics of the Ceriagrion cerinorubellum


The Ceriagrion cerinorubellum is indeed a colourful and attractive-looking damselfly! matter how you look at it!



Hopefully, one of these days I will get to observe a pair in tandem, or in wheel, and get even more pics!

Anyway, it was in the afternoon on a beautiful day when I spotted these beautiful creatures.  And for some reason, even those man-made structures looked kind of "alright" as they stand tall on this hill in their attempt at grandiosity even as they add a finishing touch to the scenery.



The monstrosity of those towers have been dwarfed by the expanse of the clouds.

I'd say the skies made all the difference!  Wouldn't you agree?



Friday, 12 November 2010

Libellulidae - Tholymis tillarga

The Ghost Dragonfly

I was walking along the path and looking out for dragonflies but not finding any at all. 

So I started thinking, "This seems to be a quiet season for dragonflies...", when I noticed a red marking on the stem of some low shrubs.  What could it be? 

I sneaked closer for a look and as it turns out, this is the highlight of my walk today. 

The Tholymis tillarga when I spotted it today by chance this afternoon.



I started walking in closer very slowly and very quietly, each step as carefully as I can and took a few more photos as I approached it.  This dragonfly did not seem to mind my presence at all.



Once I had taken enough photos, I retraced my steps so as not to disturb it.  Could it be in a deep snooze?  I doubt it.  But I am glad it did not take off.

In previous encounters with this species, the Tholymis tillarga have always been such a relentless flier and would always be zapping up and down over the pond without stopping.  Such energy!  It had always been quite impossible to even try to take a photo of it.

Today, this dragonfly seems to be perched there, just posing for me.

It must be my lucky day. 



Monday, 1 November 2010


It had started raining last night. 

The rain had continued the whole of today too.  It was not a heavy downpour but just a constant drizzle.  And it just rained and rained and rained.

I stood outside on the balcony for a long time this afternoon.  To watch the rain.  To take in lungfuls of fresh air.  To feel the cool air. 

To listen to the rain.

And then I was watching this Common Myna that had taken shelter in the palm tree.



It sat there very still, with its feathers all fluffed up.  The trapped air between its fluffed up feathers provides insulation against the cold and helps keep the bird warm.  And I wondered if he was enjoying the fresh air as much as I did?

When I looked up towards the hills, I could have thought I was up in the highlands!  It was all misty.



There is a quiet and serene beauty to it in its own way.

The forests will definitely be looking fresh and green tomorrow morning.  How many people would actually appreciate the rain for what it can do for Mother Earth? 

I do realise that it could bring floods in many places too.  But a lot of the causes of flooding have been man-made and had been brought on ourselves by our actions.  After all, for every action, there is a consequence.

When forests are cleared of trees, we lose the canopy that had cushioned the impact of the rain on the forest floor.  Instead of drops of rain dripping off the leaves and slowly dripping and seeping into the ground, we now get a deluge of rainwater on the bare earth.  With the forest gone, we no longer have the tree roots that used to hold the soil together.  The rush of water down the exposed hill slopes then results in mud slides and flash floods in the foothills and valleys below.

Add to that, all the rubbish that had been thrown into the drains and streams and rivers and had caused the waterways to clog up, blocking the flow of all that rush of water towards the sea.

So... do you just blame everything on Mother Nature when it rains and it floods?



The Setting Sun


Now that we are way past the September Equinox and moving into the December Solstice, the sun is clearly in a position heading towards the south.

The setting sun can now be seen from my back balcony and no longer from the front as in previous photos I have taken of the sunsets and dusk skies in recent months.  Instead of a building blocking its view, I now have palm trees in my sunset scenery. 


Stuff like this... the position of the sun throughout the year as it moves from Solstice to Solstice... I had first learned about them when I was a kid.  Not at school and not from books but from my father.  He would be telling me about the shadows...

Up till this day, he still observes the shadows cast by the trees by the morning sun or the afternoon sun because that is where the shade is.

And the coolest spot is always under the shade of the tree!