Sunday, 17 June 2012

Jasminum sambac

After months of tlc, the jasmine plant, Jasminum sambac,  has finally decided to show its first blooms!
It's been over a week since it started flowering and there are still several new blooms each day! 
I have been taking the time to smell these flowers each morning.
Totally love it!

Friday, 8 June 2012

The Little Beauties In A Neglected Park

The Lagenda Park is actually quite a nice place for a walk or a jog or to just enjoy a few hours of nature. 

Lots of trees, particularly the spectacular raintrees, lots of birds and squirrels and dragonflies, lots of lotus plants, and lots more!  And there's even a little stretch of beach out there that's actually quite clean.  It may come as a surprise to you but this beach is actually cleaned up in the morning!  These are some of the reasons why I think this place is great!

But the park seems to be in such a state of neglect that it is quite SHOCKING!!!  In truth, the flora and fauna at the park is thriving quite well but the man-made structures are deteriorating.

This park was officially opened in 1996.  As this is one of the 'landmarks' on the tourist map, it is quite unbelievable that it would be left like this!  Some of the gazebos, a few structures, and mostly the light fixtures and toilet facilities are broken and in disrepair.  There are broken water wheels and bits of rubbish floating in some of the ponds, filled with what looks like murky, stagnant water!  What kind of an impression does it give of the park management or of the relevant authorities?

Such a shame!

I have visited this park on many occasions over the years.  For a morning run through the park, for a walk just to enjoy the outdoors on a beautiful day, for nature photography, for 'wildlife' watch and to observe dragonflies. 

Year after year, the state of the park keeps going down, down, down, downhill.

It is not that the park is abandoned.  The park grounds is not exactly small.  Granted, the layout and features of the park requires a lot of manpower for its upkeep.  There are security guards patrolling the area regularly on their motorbikes, more so towards the evening to ensure there isn't anyone loitering around after 7pm.  And then there is the landscaping crew at work most of the time.

I have often observed the handful of staff, probably contracted "landscaping crew", rake fallen leaves and rubbish on the grounds and pack them into rubbish bags. 

Sometimes, they would just be weeding . 

A lot of weeding.....

And sometimes, other staff would be cutting grass and the grass cuttings packed into rubbish bags as well.  Such that there is always this huge pile of bulging rubbish bags amassing outside the side entrance.  Then, from time to time, there'd be open burning in their attempt to get rid of all these rubbish.

When I see the park abuzz with all those activities, I can't help thinking that perhaps the maintenance budget is insufficient and valuable resources are being channelled to the wrong areas.  Those leaves are going to fall every day, throughout the day and night.  Each time there is a breeze rustling through the trees, more leaves will fall.  And each time it rains.....

But fallen leaves are all part of the natural surroundings.  If the leaf litter get to decompose on the ground, the process would be recycling nutrients back into the earth.  These leaves are not rubbish!  Whenever there are local visitors to the park, especially picnickers, there would be rubbish strewn everywhere!  Plastic bags and cups, styrofoam packs and cups and other non-biodegradable stuff.  Those are the real rubbish!

Imagine the amount of time and effort put into raking those leaves each day, every day!  It must seem like such a pointless, Herculean task to the people carrying out these jobs!  And I am also thinking, they must be spending thousands of ringgits purchasing all those rubbish bags and raking those leaves!  When will they even think about trying to reduce the use of these plastic bags?  What if these grass cuttings and leaves are mulched?  And composting is practiced?  What if they spend the money on maintaining the facilities instead? 

It seems that over time, more and more and bigger landmarks keep popping up in the Langkawi landscape - Marble Square, Book Village, Eagle Square, Infinity Bridge and the upcoming, massive Tower of Langkawi.  The amount spent on building these 'monuments' are astounding!  The trouble is that a few years down the line, these very same people who approved and lauded these project will then lament on the exorbitant cost of maintaining these structures and leave it to rot. 

But these same key people would have also gotten some money in their pockets by then so why would they care?

The estimated cost for building the 135-metre Tower of Langkawi is a whopping RM10 million.  At the very least!  What all these landmarks are is more concrete structures to destroy and mar the natural beauty of Langkawi. 

If there isn't going to be a budget for ongoing maintenance and upkeep in the long term, why spend the money to build it in the first place?

Will there be an end to this?

Just imagine if a fraction of that money is channelled towards the upkeep for these parks, instead of building another white elephant!  What a huge, huge difference it would make to these places!

I see the beauty of Lagenda Park in nature's little gems........

And in just a few hours, you would be feeling sated with the positive energies of nature!

These are the jewels of Langkawi.
Will these nature's gems be conserved and protected?

Why build more concrete structures that would just end up being eyesores?

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Snakes Again..... In The Mangroves!

Had a kayak trip in the mangroves again today and spotted the mangrove viper, Trimeresurus purpureomaculatus, which really is nothing much to shout about as these vipers are spotted quite regularly.  Didn't manage to get a great pic, but..... here it is anyway.

The second snake I spotted was of much more interest to me as this is the first time I have come across a tiny snake such as this!  Here in the mangroves, I mean.

I would estimate this little snake to be between 25 cm to 30 cm in length and it was not quite as thick as my little finger.  Also, it did not have any markings on it. 

Judging from the shape of its head.....  quite certainly a pit viper, I would think?

Anyway, I did get quite close to this snake to get this pic even though I know that vipers are venomous and can be dangerous but simply because it was such a tiny snake.

Probably a juvenile mangrove viper?

One of the uniformly brown colour variety?

Could anyone help confirm the id?

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Kitty Is Looking Great!

Well..... he is certainly good looking!

And looking good!