Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Angsana tree

A row of mature angsana trees ( Pterocarpus indicus) or 'pokok sena' in Malay with their dense crown of leaves provide much shade against the afternoon sun. This picture I took at the Taman Temasya, Tanjung Batu , Bintulu. No respectable landscaper in Malaysia will fail to incorporate this plant species in the design of soft landscape to public parks, roadsides, golf courses, schools and institutions of higher learning ,open spaces and city green lungs.  Angsana trees was a hit in the hey days of town landscaping in Malaysia in the 80's. They are easily propagated from their branches, can withstand rough handling and grows in most soils . Their blanket of flowers are very fragrant though short lived. Its special appeal is in its ability to be grown as an instant tree where the need to achieve immediate results were critical in the greening campaign of the 80's. Today while landscapers prefer to introduce new flowering tree species ( and forgetting the angsana as a result) they remain after these years strong and standing stately as ever.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Barbequed sting ray

At the Ramadan Bazaar located at Bintulu Esplanade I saw these portions of the sting ray fish being barbequed. I have been a fish eater throughout my life and these appetising slices left me sliving. Like a swash buckling samurai I drew out RM 5 from my wallet to capture a portion.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Decorative Ketupat wrappings

We are three quarter way through the fasting month of Ramadan and already the 'ketupat' decorative wrappings are on sale at the local 'tamu' or jungle produce market. These decorative pieces are displayed on the walls of  Muslim homes during the 'Hari Raya Puasa' festival,marking the end of the month-long fasting season.   Wait a minute, did I say jungle? Oh ya in their free time while waiting for customers the traders at the 'tamu' weave colourful strips of glossy papers to make these decorative 'ketupat' wrappings and sell them as seasonal items beside their routine sales of jungle produce items like vegetables, fruits,cakes or riverine fishes.  The real 'ketupat' wrappings are made from young coconut leaves. They are filled with glutinous rice to be boiled and served with 'satay' or taken with curry  to welcome the' Hari Raya Puasa' festival soon.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Plastic Flowers will do

These artificial flowers overflow into the sidewalk.  Made from plastic these flowers will find their way to households,cars, offices,restaurants etc, for their lasting appeal and low maintenance value.  Freshness aside. The display technique I think is eye catching though it tends to crowd the sidewalk.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Blind man show

With a microphone on one hand and his left hand playing the keyboard, this blind man entertains the passers by crowd at the Esplanade . His repertoire consists primarily Iban melodies with a limited song list of Malay songs. He moves location daily and today he is entertaining the Ramadan shopping crowd at the Bintulu Esplanade. He sits next to the trolley which carry his show hardware consisting of the car battery, small PA system, keyboard,chair and donation box.

Ramadan shopping hard hit by inflation

The Ramadan Bazaar at the Bintulu Esplanade looked quiet and few customers are patronizing the food stalls nowadays.  It is the sign of inflationary times.  With the increase of petrol price and thus the means to travel and shop and the across the board increase in the ceiling prices of all goods, gone are the days of 'cheap' price. The people in Bintulu are learning quickly to avoid shopping unnecessarily , mindful of more hard times ahead. It is only the middle of Ramadan and today's crowd is not even half of the bazaar's opening day crowd.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Timber Industrial Zone

From where I am staying, every drive to Bintulu town means passing the Kemena Bridge.  Here's a view of the Kemena Timber Industrial area taken from the Kemena Bridge facing down river.This timber based industrial zone produces plywood, veneer, sawn timber, briguet,medium density fibre board,furniture etc for export. It was developed about 20 years ago to utilise fully the timber resources available in Bintulu's rich forests hinterland.

Yellow Bamboo Uprooted

After the heavy thunderstorm and strong winds that hit our farm last night, I woke up this morning to a complete surprise at nature's fury. The yellow bamboo clump about 15 meters high was uprooted by the strong winds. Today we started to cut the fallen bamboo stems and clear the debris. One oil palm tree was damaged because the bamboo clump toppled on it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Blooming Eugenias

Driving along Tanjung Batu Coastal road this morning I saw a long line of eugenias ( Eugenia polyantha) bursting in white flowers. The flowers are small but grouped in large clusters giving the effect of a consuming white blanket of flowers over the small yet compact crown.

Eugenias are considered a small tree for landscaping purposes thereby making it a potential candidate for small residential roads or even sub-arterial roads like the one below. Eugenias have only recently being used as a landscaping tree in Bintulu probably to my knowledge in the early nineties. When planted very closely together, they assume a thick wall thus appropriate for buffering or screening purposes. It is a versatile tree too because it can be pruned heavily and 'bonsaied', meaning it can be used as a topiary plant to create as many and as varied shapes and sizes the gardener or landscaper wishes.
Another feature that is worth noting of this handsome tree is its young leaves which show a transition of colours as they mature, from light yellow to orange to red and bronze. The tree is evergreen. Yet when they produce young leaves, they give the 'autumn look' in an otherwise hot, tropical and humid Bintulu.

Most Unique Building in Bintulu

This corporate building is owned by the Bintulu Port Authority. Located some 25 kilometers from Bintulu town, it is the tallest building within the vicinity of Kidurong Industrial Area.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ferry comes, Ferry goes

A husband and wife conversation.

O Gosh, people are already in their station. We are late. Watch the ramp. OK ,my Love.

Ferry comes, ferry goes. Within ten minutes we'll arrive Bintulu town. Just sit and stand still.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Fresh Pineapple for juicing

This afternoon I bought four of these beautiful pinapples ( Ananas cosmosus) at the 'tamu' or local jungle produce market. The Malay word for pineapple is 'nenas'. One fruit like the above costs RM 1-2 only, each one weighing between 1-2kilos. I bought them to make fresh juice to break my fast today.

Flowers keep falling on my head

It's springtime for these tabebuiea trees or sometimes known as trumpet trees on account of their trumpet-like flowers. In the above picture the flowers are pink and therefore called Tabebuiea rosea.  Below it's the white flower variety and referred to as Tabebuiea alba.
Location: Open space at Medan Jaya, Bintulu.

Orange Fungi

I found these two orangish fungal objects this morning at the farm. It's web-like 'fruiting body' or spore producing structures are very attractive to flies. I am at a lost regarding its scientific name.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Home called PALACE

Here I am Queen. I have a  special place called " Daisy Palace". The place to lie back, raise my legs up in the clouds, dreams the impossible and proud to be a mother.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Poor Pipit

The 'pipit' ( Cheshnut Munia) is a very common bird in Bintulu. They have pale blue bill and cheshnut coloured feathers. Feeding on grass seeds, they fly in flocks and produce rather loud continuous echoes of 'pit,pit,' from which derived their name 'PIPIT'( Malay word)
Poor pipit is prey to cats. Here Einstein a Bintulu born cat, seems reluctant to release his priced catch of the day when talked to.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Crossing River by Ferry

Early this morning when picking up my worker I stopped by the jetty where people from Kampung Jepak take a ferry boat to reach Bintulu town which is just across the Kemena River as seen below.
The ferry boat being a small rivercraft only takes passengers on motorbikes. No fees are charged. By courtesy of the Government. Time taken: about 7.30 am. The sun is about to rise in the East.
Here comes the ferry.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Brisk sales at Ramadan Bazaar

My wife decided not to cook this evening and instead we went to Bintulu town shopping for ready made dishes for breaking of fast.  From the stall above we bought Sarawak laksa, an assortment of cakes and fried mee.
The Ramadan Bazaar stalls located at Medan Jaya ( opposite Sing Kwong supermarket) are enjoying brisk sales from customers of various ethnic origin and the sight of them freely mixing and enjoying the different tastes and cuisines of the Muslim community augurs well for social integration here.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Enter the Scorpion

This morning I met an intruder entering the front door.
The Black Scorpion!
Ready to attack.
In a deadly pose.
The menacing upright back posture.

BBQ Fish for Breaking Fast

You can be spoilt for choices for your breaking fast menu at the Bintulu Esplanade where a temporary Ramadan Bazaar has been set up. Today I opted for barbequed fish. The above are 'terubuk' fishes which are very popular when smoked or salted. To my knowledge, in Kuching the salted terubuk eggs can fetch to as much as RM 300 per kilo.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Dutch Tuber in Bintulu.

The above are young tapioca leaves just harvested at my farm this morning. Tapioca ( Manihot Esculenta Crantz )are a worthwhile plant to have in our immediate vicinty. They belong to the family of Euphorbiaceae. From its roots we get tubers that can be boiled and eaten with honey, sugar or meat including fish. They are alternative to eating rice or bread. The young leaves are plucked from its soft woody stems as salad or prepared with coconut milk as vegetables. In Bintulu these leaves are sold at the tamu or local jungle produce market at very reasonable price. For example the quantity above could be sold at RM 1 and would be enough for two or three persons eating. Locally tapioca is called 'ubi kayu' or 'ubi Belanda'. 'Belanda' means Dutch in Malay. The later name suggests that tapioca was indeed brought by the Europeans to this region from where it originated i.e. Tropical America.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Ramadan Bazaar

With the coming of Ramadan, the fasting month, the Muslim community in Bintulu like elsewhere will shop for food,drinks and many other items at the Ramadan bazaar that seem to sprout like mushrooms. They are nowadays joined by other communities of different faiths to taste the various foods and cakes especially prepared for those taking the fast. In this way the Ramadan has an interesting social function.
This year the fasting starts on the 1st of September and will normally lasts a month. Besides the culinary aspect, the month is welcomed  by all Muslims to renew their faith, clean up their souls ( by special nightly prayers besides the usual five daily prayers, doing good deeds, have good thoughts, ask God's forgiveness for minor sins whether known or unknown, etc)
The two pictures above are taken at a Ramadan Bazaar located at Medan Raya car parking area, in front of Sing Kwong Supermarket. Time: 5.30 pm.