Saturday, September 29, 2012

Rotary Fun

G7 Intercity Rotary clubs of District 3300 - Bernam Valley, Bukit Kiara Sunrise,Kelana Jaya, Tropicana , Petaling Jaya and  Pantai Valley came together for the Intercity meeting at the Bukit Kiara Sports Complex. We had a special speaker for this event.  Managing Director ,Jeffrey Saw, of gave the Rotarians and guests many ideas on how to give/donate online.Do check it out as an individual, if you're thinking of raising funds for your pet organisation or connecting people with charities you support  to make online giving easy.

 For this meeting, we came prepared to play too! Dubbed the Rolympics (Rotary Olympics!!), since the fervour of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics are still etched in our minds, we played some games to test our sportive skills. Yes, though the public may know us Rotarians  for our community-based skills in many areas, we do play hard, even if it is keeping a ping pong ball on a spoon held in the mouth and walking backwards to the finishing line!! Enough said, we had a great time; even the challenge of adding sambal to our cocktail drinks contest was out of this world!!

My great fellow Rotarians - they always rise to the occasion:)

Managing Director, Jeffrey Saw of

Need a bullseye? 

Smoking the peace pipe?? Incidentally, our Rotary International theme for 2012/13 is Peace Through Service. Come join us.
Host club, Kelana Jaya and the Presidents of the G7 Intercity Group and the Assistant Governor, Michael Foong presiding.
Humour keeps us alive.
Superb emcee who had us in stitches but we went home in one piece. Thanks, PP Steve Robinson!

Serious and steady! My club, the Rotary Club of Pantai Valley won this game. Hurray!

Take your pick and go mix a cocktail!

The mixologists - we got good marks for taste, presentation, the pitch.and the name - Pantai  Valley Sling  .

Put them all together,  for the cocktail of the century!

You gotta have a man in the team

We cracked up over the remarks by the judges on another team's presentation!

A swan sailing into the sunset with a mess to add to the preparation! The team leader tried his level best to 'sell' his cocktail.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Zhong Yuan festival

It was just luck to have caught these pictures of the Zhong Yuan or Hungry Ghost festival. I was in my hometown,Taiping, Perak for our CHIJ ( Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus) alumni  lunch gathering over a weekend. My friend, PS, a childhood friend had come along too. We found time to browse in the wet market. She was dreaming of the herbs that she could  most certainly purchase to make 'perut ikan', a nyonya dish ( fish stomach with herbs and vegetables). I was only looking for fruits.

A banner saying, 'Perayaan Zhong Yuan' right at the entrance of the market  greeted us . It was lively with some townsfolk setting up tables with all sorts of food to offer to the deceased.

This traditional Chinese festival is celebrated by Chinese in many countries on the 15th night of the seventh lunar month. The Taoists believe that the spirits including those of the ancestors  visit the living 2 weeks before and after the festival. The petty traders offered a variety of food and  lots of paper money to be burned.

When we were young, we were told to limit our outdoor activities as the spirits were out and some bad luck might befall us.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hawksbill turtles calling at Pantai Padang Kemunting, Melaka

I was excited the day had arrived to be a turtle volunteer even for a mere day and a half. Thanks to blogging pal, Ee Lynn for her efforts and sharing. Our short stint at Padang Kemunting was a wonderful experience with the hawksbill turtles, marine treasure of Melaka.

My first experience with turtles was way back in the early 80s. Then the great leatherback turtles were returning to our shores in Trengganu on the East Coast. We had a natural heritage that we should have held so close to our hearts. But poaching, overfishing and pollution etc took its toll. Thankfully, sometime in 2010,a giant turtle made a surprise visit to Rantau Abang. Conservationists dubbed her 'Puteri Rantau Abang'(Princess). We long to see Puteri back to our shores.

Our turtles must be protected. Besides the conservationists doing their bit, we can also do ours following some simple steps:

1. Stop eating or buying turtle eggs in the market
2. Abide by the law. Only licensed collectors are allowed to collect eggs. Report illegal activity.
3. Do not disturb turtles that come up to the beach to nest.
4. Keep the nesting beach quiet and dark.
5. Stop using fishing gears that are detrimental to turtles.
6. Do not pollute the habitats of turtles eg. beaches, rivers and seas.

We were relieved to see this sign as we had to ask for directions to the Centre. TIC started operation in 1990, collaborates with WWF to implement outreach programmes  and do research to protect the decreasing numbers of hawksbill turtles that come to land  along the coast of Melaka and the islands nearby.

In the Audio room, a placard ( in Malay)  by a toy turtle which says, " I promise not to eat, buy and sell turtle eggs.'  All part of the education outreach as  poaching of eggs is still practised.

Volunteers, Mary and Sheela  helping to keep the  hatchery area clean of debris and the fallen leaves from the ketapang trees.

A young volunteer learning, observing.

45 -56 days later  baby turtles will emerge .

Encik Mohamad  explaining the data on the placard :  date  the eggs were laid,  number of eggs in the hatchery, location of  hatchery, place of nesting , licensed collector's name

Hurray! the little ones are ready to be released to the open sea.

Past 3.40 am  on the beach, looking out. A miscommunication occurred, so we missed the hawksbill turtle that had come to do its duty and leave for the open ocean again. Safe journey... Do come back again, dear turtle.

Volunteer Stefan handling the tutrle with care, transferring from the pond to  the bath enclosure. There are 4 other turtles kept for research and rehabilitation. They will be duly tagged,  released by biologists when deemed ready.

It's bathtime, mate! We cleaned the shell (carapace) to remove the  algae  to prevent parasites from breeding.

Swim, swim swim - in the pond at the TIC . Note the green colour of the algae on the shell.

Rapt attention on the turtles.

In his book, Pakcik  Harun, one of the licensed collectors, keeps records of nestings etc. He's  been a custodian for  20 odd years and faithfully patrols the beach.

We came together for the turtles. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Jaunt in Melaka

Sept 1st was a good day to be away. So many things happened just to be away. The main draw was an over night stay in Padang Kemunting to do a wee bit of work with the Turtle Information and Conservation Centre' Melaka.

We car - pooled and Mary was a willing driver, took us safely there and we had good company with Mo too. We came to learn more about the Hawksbill turtles and went home with the promise to do more to save our turtles.

Will post about the turtles soon. In the meantime, do enjoy our jaunt in and around Melaka.

Yummy fish, asam pedas style  for dinner, under a huge tree with melodious keroncong music in the background; kids nearby on bumper cars illuminated  with neon lights. 

Some fisher men were trawling with  nets shaped like a triangle in the coastal waters. Curious, I came up  t examine their catch -  shrimps.
A big, pleasant surprise as we walked past some shop houses along Jalan Datuk Naning, Alor Gajah after  lunch . Looking up, and seeing these nests took me back to my own childhood days. Our shophouse also had many nests like these. Always a hive of activity as the swifts came to make nests ( and its poo markings and droppings too!). The  shop owners  say there is no more activity now as poachers came and  tried to get some to sell  - as bird's nests.  

I wonder. ..  Those invoices, orders, ledgers etc . Too many to recall. All  bundled and stacked . Who needs a computer? ?

One of the owners, 2nd generation  from Bombay, looking after the business. Those were the days...  They used to sell textiles but have branched into furniture, linoleum.  Small town folks are friendly. My friends and I had a lively conversation with them. They even told us that we had missed seeing one of our former national footballer's father, a centanarian who usually patronizes the coffee shop where we had just finished our lunch. Hear this, he's still driving himself around and is  rather fit !

The prize for going out to fish. Under watchful eyes, the man cut the fish  and  took out the entrails.

Beach at Padang Kemunting was lively and not short of pinickers. They were enjoying the sea breeze, set up tents and  families were tucking in their home -prepared food. 

A house opposite where we had drinks before our programme for the turtles began.  Many Malaysian flags were fluttering  as our nation had just celebrated our 55th Merdeka on 31Aug. Happy Merdeka to all Malaysians!

On the way home to KL, the stalls by the roadside  are an attraction. Basketry in the form of food cover, kitchen utility ware, rocking chair, etc . Mo wanted Melaka food specialities to  give away. Cincaluk was on her mind.