Thursday, September 29, 2005

My Adventure of Past Nocturnal Excursions

Any sane person would find venturing into a dark and forbidding jungle at night to be somewhat intimidating. If the truth be told, during the early days of my nocturnal excursions, I had doubts of pursuing this particular endeavor. Honestly, I was scared.

Tales of missing trekkers, hidden by those of the Unseen or rubber- tappers being attacked by wild animals haunted my mind. I was an avid trekker during my school and university days, as my appreciation for nature developed early on, but all of these jaunts were done in broad daylight.

My father, a very superstitious person, never did understand this particular passion of mine. He would usually shake his head in disbelief, wondering how his eldest has chosen such an endeavor as a hobby. My mother, who had tried to dissuade me from the very beginning, could only roll her eyes as she had ran out of words to nag me with. She found out from the onset that it was exasperating to say anything as talking to me would be like talking to a brick wall.

We all have heard tales of mysterious, unexplained incidence encountered by other people. I could not deny that even I had experienced some really weird stuff throughout the years. For example, during a hike up Gunung Jerai in Kedah, my companions and I suddenly came upon a well kept garden, complete with mowed lawn and bubbling brook, when we were cutting through thick foliage moments before. We hastily made a wide detour.

Another time in Gunung Ledang, whilst on night watch, not only was I presented with unexplained balls of light playing in the trees overhead, but just a few metres away where we had designated a solat area, I could make out the 3 figures, clad in the white tudung which the muslim women usually wear during their solat, standing as in prayer. I checked the girls’ tent. They were all asleep.

Fortunately, the green lungs of the Klang Valley are not as intimidating. I have never encountered any unusual situations either in Bukit Gasing, FRIM or Genting. God willing, I will never experience any. It would just spoil the whole Frogging trip, don’t you think? Heh.

Although…. there was this particular incident in Templer’s Park last year. 8 people had gone in and I had made it a habit to constantly check our numbers then and again to ensure there were no stragglers. It would’ve looked pretty bad if I had lost somebody out there. I was getting confused as my count at times were 9. When I counted again it would be 8 again. This went on quite a bit but I kept it to myself. Fortunately, when we exited, everybody was accounted for.

Fortunately, these incidents were rare. It is not advisable to be an uber-superstitious person nor would it be too clever in being a cocky little bugger also. You would only need a healthy respect for Nature and hopefully learn to appreciate her in her fullest glory along the way.

Liverpool's Adventure in Defending Their Crown II

Two blatant fouls in the penalty box by Gallas & Drogba, going unpunished summed up Liverpool’s fortune last night. Although a bit mild in the first half, Liverpool pushed into top gear in the second, to match the “favorites” Chelsea in every department. In the end, a win would have been good but at least we had drawn the match rather than losing it.

Now, if you excuse me, I need to go and buy that Italian referee pair of bloody glasses.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

My Nocturnal Excursion in FRIM

The Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) is the leading forestry research institute of Malaysia, situated in Kepong, just outside Kuala Lumpur. Established in 1929, not only does it carry research in all aspects of forestry and forest products, it also conducts research in ecology and silviculture with the objective of enhancing the knowledge and understanding the ecology and dynamics of the forests and their responses to logging and other anthropogenic activities.

It also has a shit-load of frog, snakes, lizards, insects and small mammals.

So it was last Saturday at 8.30pm, I found myself in FRIM, preparing to lead another group of MNS members into the jungle. I was not scheduled to lead the said trip as I was supposed to return to Sungai Petani for the weekend.

Unfortunately, Trusty Assistant was incapacitated by a nasty virus (which is by the way, blatantly flying around the Klang Valley at the moment), FRIM Frog Lady was tagging some tree in Belum and Venerable Mentor was chasing Siberian tigers in Russia, thus I only had Significant Other-half tagging along.

It so happened that I had postponed my ‘balik kampung’ to early October, which meant I was the only one available and qualified to lead this particular group of 12 into the Engkabang trail of FRIM.

Although it had rained the day before, the heat wave on Saturday did not help the conditions in FRIM. The ground was bone dry. The air was humid.

Although we spotted fewer species of frog as compared to my previous visits, our sightings for the night were favorably diverse. We recorded 7 species, from 3 Anuran Family, one gecko and one lizard.

It was somewhat pretty uneventful for my standards but my participants looked like they enjoyed themselves tremendously.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

My Nocturnal Excursion in Bukit Gasing

The Giant River Frog, Limnonectes
malesianus (Kiew, 1987), in my hands.

The group last Saturday was the largest I had ever taken for Frogging to Bukit Gasing. Ever since I assigned Trusty Assistant to assist me, I’ve included her name as one of the person to contact for our activities.

Before, when I was handling the group alone, all communication went solely through me.

Before, I was able to apologise to people and politely ask them to bugger-off if the number of participants grew too large or my assigned quota was met. Whichever came first.

With Trusty Assistant by my side, both of us had been receiving inquiries from the MNS members. Mainly to a miscommunication between us, she ended up with 13 souls while I, had the privilege to guide-in 12 people. Due to her eagerness, or “semangat yg membara” or whatever you want to call it, she didn’t have the heart to turn any of them away.

My own 12 participants were from the same family (yes, all 12 of them) and to turn one away was to turn them all away.

Thus, we had to split the group up into two. I would take the first group in while Trusty Assistant, after waiting for about 15 minutes proceeded in with hers.

The particular frog which I had committed my “scientific sin” was there, in abundance. The questions floating in my head with regards to this particular frog has yet to be answered as FRIM Frog Lady was away somewhere and I had no one to assist me in the identification.

“Why” it was there and “How” it came to be would continue to be an enigma until, FRIM Frog Lady return.

Adding to this conundrum, I found that the increase in number for this “mystery” frog had resulted in the “decrease” in sighting of the ever so popular Giant River Frog, Limnonectes malesianus (Kiew, 1987), which was thriving well previously.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Your Adventure in Searching for a Lost Cat

Please help. I've lost my kitty. If you have any information on the culprits who had taken her, please call ASAP.

Thank you.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Liverpool's Adventure in Defending Their Crown

Luis Garcia
He drinks Sangria
He came from Barca
To bring us joy
He’s five foot seven
He’s football heaven
Oh, please don’t take my Luis away
(One of the best song heard on the Kop terrace, sung to the tune of ‘You are my sunshine’)

Mr. I-think-I’ll-just-pop-into-this-penalty-box-and-score, did it again last night. Practically non-existent in the last few matches, he’s making it a habit to just arrive out of nowhere and score important goals for the team. Also, Encik Tiang Lampu TNB, finally showing glimpses of why Senor Benitez brought him to Liverpool, he held the ball up well and played it down for the other lads.

It was such a relief when Mr. Konrad Plautz whistled for time as I wouldn’t think my sofa could have withstood any more of my continuous jumping.

There are three things which Liverpool do best. Produce attacking excellence, deliver sheer defensive defiance & defend like there’s no tomorrow and inducing coronary failure in me.

Last night, they did all three.

So a 2-1 win over European Champions League debutants, Real Betis, provides the prefect catalyst for Liverpool to defend their crown.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

My Adventure of Committing Scientific Sin

In biological science, correct and precise information is required to ensure that the most carnal scientific sin does not occur. Vague and incorrect information with little or no evidence or failure to provide an exhaustive scientific study is sometimes more dangerous than no information at all.

I had an earful this morning from one of my biologist contacts. I had made the carnal sin of not providing enough evidence and basing my identification on assumptions. I had wrongfully identified a frog species before and had sent the information in to a certain publication. Yesterday, I had inquired with biologist friend on the identity of a frog whilst providing a vague description.

As an auditor, my approach in conducting audit fieldwork would be something similar as in field biology.  Data collection is crucial to ensure that sufficient evidence is obtained before a conclusion is made and an audit finding is presented to the auditees.

As such, biologist friend has told me off and advised that in order to obtain solid information, I will need  a voucher specimen, properly fixed and preserved, and maintained/stored in a well-curated herpetological collection in a public institution (such as FRIM), with all the accompanying catalog details (locality, date, microhabitat/behavioral notes), this is the critical underpinning of scientific herpetology, and the basis from which all other aspects of the science (conservation, evolution, etc.) follows.

I stand corrected and will ensure that from now on, such faus pax shall never occur again.

Friday, September 09, 2005

My Adventures Update

Yahoo Group Name

I appreciate everyone’s feedback in my efforts to find a suitable name for the Yahoo Group. Although most of the names which were provided were… interesting and unique, I had decided on a simple name for it. OngOngGedekGedekGedek is such a B#*ch for one to be typing, when one is in a hurry.

As such, I had named the Group, katakmns, Mr. Originality I am not.

Hit & Run

The cheek of it! The culprit, a week ago, had filed a report with Traffic Bandaraya that someone had rammed his car. The identify of the culprit is finally revealed, however Traiffic need some time to investigate the matter due to the contrasting reports from both parties.

Culprit claimed that he was hit by an unknown vehicle, in which he couldn’t identify what type of car it was, in an incident which took place late in the evening.

Culprit is so full of shit, as according to Lawyer friend, her car was hit in the morning and she has witnesses to prove it.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

My Adventure Down Under


Just over 200 years ago, Captain Arthur Phillip brought his fleet of 10 square-rigged sailing ships to anchor in the peaceful little bay that was to become known as Sydney Cove. With his ships, dubbed the 1st Fleet, his crew, farm stock, a handful of settlers, an array of marines and the prisoners in their charge, Phillip established the farthest flung outpost of the British Empire.

And just over 4 days ago, Hurnain Hamid brought about $350 AD, one quite empty backpack as well as his trusty laptop, and had set his foot on Australian soil for the very first time in his life. Yet, he was not alone, as the Company had sponsored 36 other souls for the trip.

“Down-under”. The term was derived from the first settlers and they had proclaimed it such. Australia, was the closest to hell that they could ever be. However, it was anything but.

A charming town of western influence it was hard to believe that this was the site of penal colony, with a total of 568 male and 191 female convicts with 13 children, 206 marines with 26 wives and 13 children, and 20 officials that had made the voyage of the 1st Fleet.

A city of historical wonder, this was the place where Australia had started. It was a place to see, and people to meet. With his feet as his preferred transport, Hurnain Hamid had toured the city of Sydney. Most of the time he had walked. At times he had taken the Monorail/Train and twice he had taken the taxi. With a population of nearly 3.9 million people, he had noticed that the city was surprisingly calmer than the chaotic conditions of Kuala Lumpur.

His escapade had taken him to the Rocks, (where the first settlements had been established), Darling Harbour, Circular Quay, Historical Museum, Sydney Aquarium and the Zoo.

His visit to the Zoo had a meaningful quality to it as there he had witnessed a real-life Red Panda in the flesh. He always had a soft spot for Red Pandas. Also at the zoo, his first encounter of the South American Eye-Lash Pit Viper, deemed to be the most beautiful species of pit viper in the world, was equally memorable.

On the 4th day, when the time came for him to return home, he had promised himself that he must return to this beautiful city, sometime in the future.