Saturday, April 4, 2009

Licuala Palm ( Licuala spinosa)

Walking below the jungle canopy behind my chalet, I checked on my collection of the Licuala Palm.Licualas are important for the locals here because the leaves are used to thatch sleeping mats, sun hats or to wrap food. They are native to Borneo and therefore Bintulu.

Licualas can reach 4 meters high. The leaves are borne from a long stalk. The Licuala stem is very short and mostly hidden in the thick humus rich environment of the tropical rain forest like ours here. They prefer filtered light and do not grow well in a potty environment. I've tried many times to grow them in pots but to utter failure. The best policy would then be to leave them in peace on the jungle floor where they truly belong.

Unripe seeds of the Licuala Palm
Finally what a field day when I saw a Licuala clump ( unfortunately being hit by a fallen tree trunk) with a bunch of unripe Licuala seeds . Guess I'll use them for germination later.

Call to Prayer

The Bintulu mosque, Masjid Daerah Bintulu - circa 1920
Yesterday I went to Masjid Daerah Bintulu to perform my Friday prayers. After that I took pictures of the 'Beduk' which is a big drum made of wood and goatskin. In the good old days, the drum would be sounded five times a day to call Muslim to prayers. Nowadays, people use loudspeakers and microphone to amplify the call to prayers or 'Azan' over the PA system.

Observe the very top picture. On both towers is faintly shown the 'Beduk' which is the same as above. As a young kid I used to climb the tower and hit the 'Beduk' in successive drumming and tempo at the point of 'Azan' to indicate prayer time. It is my fervent hope that this instrument will forever be kept as a historical relic by the Bintulu mosque authority.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Menara Kidurong

Here's another view of the iconic building belonging to the Bintulu Port Authority. Called the 'Menara Kidurong', it is designed in the form of a huge ship. Bintulu Port Authority undertakes the operation of the Bintulu Port through another sister company called the Bintulu Port Sdn Bhd.