29 Nov 2011

Kuala Gula and matang mangrove - Study of Mangroves

My children and I love hands on, experiential learning. One that we enjoyed tremendously was about Caves, where we  made our own speleothems, created our own cave art out of pounded soil, learnt about bats by building a robotic bat and actually observing them while  Caving at Gua Tempurung. That whole thing was totally memorable, and we will probably visit that topic again.

This time we decided on studying swamps. I've not really recorded our studies except for this entry Book study on Swamp  where my children squabbled! heh heh..  Well, so our study actually began by several visits to different mangroves in K Selangor, Setiawan and P Ketam. Then we borrowed several books and bought a video about mangroves (Magic Schoolbus), where we learnt about why mangroves were important, and what  the habitat consist of, and the different species of trees found in mangroves.

To complete the study we decided on a field trip, and for that we decided to head towards Kuala Gula Bird Sanctuary which is "made up of different wetlands consisting of rivers, mangrove islands, mudflats, estuaries and fringes of mangrove forests along the coast,"(Mangroves of Kuala Gula).  We went on a really lovely boat ride watching birds and just enjoying the serenity of the place. We did not see as many migratory birds as what we saw at Kapar Power Station, but we saw a great variety of birds! I've never seen so many different species of King Fishers in my life! and the amazing amount of Kites, Egrets, Herons, Lesser Adjutant and migratory birds of course.

The following day we visited the Matang Mangrove Forest and Mr. Chuah's Carcoal Factory where we just recapped all we've learnt. Some pictures

Getting on the boat at K Gula

Egrets sitting on floating fish farms

fisherman checking on shrimp nets (I'm sure you know, was messing around with photoshop on this one. Water is clean but not as blue as this.)

Brahminy Kite collecting twigs
Fish Farm

King Fisher-Pic taken by @Lim Puay Aun
Since we were there, we decided to pop by the Chinese Fishing Village, where we saw how dried prawns and belacan was made.

(Colored) Dried shrimp and salted fish

Making Belacan out of dried shrimp and salt
Visit to Mr. Chuah's Charcoal Factory in Kuala Sepetang, where we learnt about how mangrove trees are used in charcoal making.

Trying a hand at debarking a tree
entering the kiln

Wood is steamed in the kiln. You can see where the steam escapes the kiln

Wood is stood on stones to allow thorough and equal steaming on all sides of the wood
After a long process of steaming and drying approximately 32 days in total, this is how the wood looks. If you turn it up, you'll see gleaming, shining charcoal

Read to be weighed, chopped and packed.

 Matang Mangrove Forest -Largest Mangrove Forest in Malaysia

new root growing

Rhizophora seedling

roots growing already
Just for fun, my kids looked for a shallow area where they planted the seedlings they found

And so with this we conclude our study of mangroves. On to the next habitat...

19 Nov 2011

Turtle underwater

Have not painted turtles for a while, although I really wanted to.  Was just looking for an underwater turtle picture to paint. So happened a friend, Steven Teo, posted some pictures of turtles which he captured on his camera, while diving. Walla..I loved his pictures, and he was very kind in allowing me to download his shots, and thus the painting today.

Since this is the first time I've ever tried anything underwater, it was difficult for me. I'm still learning how to manipulate the watercolour to make the ocean look natural. In the end I think I overlapped too many colours and water was a little messy. Well, this is only the first attempt, and I will be trying it several times more and hopefully get better at the art of painting underwater scenes.
Here's the painting in Original Colour. My DD decided that her mermaid would love to ride this turtle. LOL :) I'm sure her idea  (and my painting) was inspired by Prof Chan Eng Heng's storybook Little Turtle Messenger, a book my children really love and have read over and over again. :)
I used Photoshop to Edit the pic to create a brighter version

14 Nov 2011

Some recent sketches

The Tale Monger

Sometimes in life's journey, unknowingly, we either become the monger in the middle or the victim of one. How sad when friendships are destroyed by it. This picture depicts how the monger manages to control the emotions of 2 different people causing them to fight and quarrel with each other.

This is the state of my storeroom. I just never have energy to begin cleaning it, and never know when to start. I know I will soon have to clean it up or I'll never be able to find anything.

9 Nov 2011


Pictures from recent trip to Remote Village again. (First and foremost, I'm really thankful and grateful for a few kind angels who donated items for this trip. We were able to bless the villagers with food/clothing items because of you. I'm thankful, the villagers are blessed because of you.)

Warming herself over the fire after working in the rain.

Baby with hole in heart
looking shyly at us (we visited to provide them with rice/milk powder)

To the city folk, this might look beautiful and lovely. To the inhabitants of this house, it is dark and cold. A lady lives here with her aging father and sister who suffers from mental disorder. None of them work, food is scarce.

This lady's very hardworking. Here she is with her harvest of tapioca. Still because this village is far from town, she can hardly make a living out of this.

Child drinking straight from tap. In the past, this might've been good. Water was fresh and clean. However, development in areas nearby have turned their water into muddy water, browner than teh tarik.
A mother of many children lives here. Funny how many of the men are reluctant to work, and are instead hooked on alcohol. Thus mothers have to work on farms whenever they can, and they earn about 20RM (USD5) a day...and usually about 200RM - 300RM a month.

children wet from swimming in the murky stream. Here trying to shoot a bird. They're very good with their sling shots.

We provided these children with food. Notice how this child, has not eaten the given food, but has instead kept it preciously, in his shirt, to be taken home and shared with parents and sibblings.

Even cats there share the heat from the firewood.

This goat....err.....was running away from Jo. end of story.

Many of the children there have skin problems and flue particularly in rainy season. Medication much needed.
Showing us the path to their homes
My dd helping carry rice to give. Food was very kindly and generously donated by some friends (I call them angels)

Providing breakfast to these children

4 Nov 2011

What Jo said today

Over dinner..
Jo: Mum, you know when I'm grown up, and a lady and all.... you know, when I can buy my own house and drive my own car and all..you know?  Well..I decided mum, when I'm grown up, I won't buy my own house, so I won't have to pay for this and that and this. I'll live with my mummy (she says mummy, with  a sweet baby voice) and I'll drive your car mum.

Me: Oh really..live in my house and drive my car. Hmmm....then, who pays for everything then?

Jo: (after pausing a little) Well mum, I'll work, and every month I'll give you ALL my money. Money comes, I give mummy. Money comes, I give mummy (she continues using her hand gestures to demonstrate giving) and you can do all the hard work of paying this and that and this. All I want is to be close to my mummy, and I'll look after you when you're old. I'll give you water, feed you, make milo and ribena for you.

(sweet wasn't she? haha...)


Jo: Mum, I'd like to do lots and lots of workbooks today. I want to study hard, so when I grow up, I can go to university and then rule the city.

Me: What does it mean to rule the city?

Jo: Well..paying for lots of things?
Me: Well..not just that, it means running the schools, the road system, listening to people's needs and complains etc etc.

JO: wow...that's difficult job. Mum, I think I'd like to be like the queen or king, and everyone will have to feed me cherries and grapes, like pharoah.

something I posted on FB:
I was standing in the lobby of KLCC amongst very grandly dressed people, waiting for the Vienna Boy's Choir, when this wild child with messy hair, ran from the glass window towards me shouting "Oh gosh, I discovered I have a fear of heights." As she continued running in circles, talking to herself loudly, I discovered that she was wearing black, dirty, outdoor spiderman slippers! I was tempted to pretend that this child was not my own, but decided in the end to pray "Oh, God, please let us in the concert hall." Well, they let us in. Good concert. :)

3 Nov 2011

Reading turn to Squabbling. (Studying Swamps)

Since we're a rather outdoor family, we've been to several swamps already, but never really "studied" the topic through books. So I decided, perhaps it's time we learnt a little more about it. Thus I borrowed this book from the library "Mangroves: The Forgotten Forest between Land and Sea" by Michael Mastaller. 

We began the study by drawing a simple diagram of a swamp, of where swamps are generally found, which is between sea and land. Then we went on to study about the general architecture of mangrove trees focusing on 3 types, Lumnitzera, Xylocarpus, Rhizophora. Then we went on to study roots and finally animals that live in the swamp. 

I began the study excitedly, imagining a lovely time learning and bonding with my children. In my mind, we were going to be a happy family, studying books with great delight and joyous faces, as portrayed in pictures which depict children happily sitting around a reading parent, like this picture below.... 

Alas for me, it didn't turn out as expected, and barely 20 minutes passed, and we began to look more like this.

My children started squabbling. "Mum, she's blocking my view!"  "Mum, she poked me with her legs again, she did it on purpose!" "Mum, she doesn't want to lend me the eraser!" ""Mum, etc etc etc..."

After a while....and several attempts to resolve issues, this mum (muo) gave up.

I left the room and threatened "If YOU DO NOT STOP Squabbling, I shall hereby punish you with 20 pages of MATH!"  The quarrels subsided for 1 minute and then resumed.

Suddenly I had a stroke of genius and suggested instea
"Since you both choose to squabble while I was teaching, this is END of session. You shall both now learn all facts by heart. You shall learn the 3 names of trees, yes, Lumnitzera, Xylocarpus, Rhizophora,  however it is pronounced!!! And...if you BOTH get it, you will be rewarded. if NOT!.....!!"

This was followed by howls and protest from my older girl. "But Mum, I'll never be able to teach Jo these words, it's impossible, difficult..."

Already irritated (I know, not very patient was I), I replied  "If you choose not to do this, you may opt for the easier way out. Come up and redeem a paddle smack on your bottoms for quarreling, and you're off the hook."

This promptly helped them decided that learning the names of the trees was a better option. As I sat upstairs, I heard the older teaching the younger. At times, I heard "familiar threats" coming from her...and *ahem* made mental notes not to repeat those phrases myself. hehe..

Well...after more squabbling and threats from the older as she taught the younger, gradually, I heard them both chanting and singing (lyrics mostly consisting of the words Lumnitzera, Xylocarpus, Rhizophora) haha..., and then there was laughter as they got it. Finally, they rushed excitedly to eaves-dropping-mum upstairs  and passed my quiz with flying colours.

Huh..... So that was it today. :)

Before I end here, as we were studying roots, we came across this picture and we read "Strong roots..to survive in adverse conditions" My mind clicked and I said to my children, that's how we need to be, like these roots, strong, clinging deep and tightly to the ground. We need to be strongly grounded in the Word of God, that we will be able to survive no matter how life's wind and storms blow.

(For Part 2, when we visited several places to continue our study of mangrove -click HERE)

2 Nov 2011

Gamelan Workshop

We had the privilege of attending a Gamelan workshop  today. I guess, it's one of the perks of working as a music lecturer. Because the room is small, they only allowed a small group of students. So a few of us attended, and I must say, we had an interesting session. Even my girls told me "Mum, I learnt so much today!" They learnt about the names of the various instruments, they read gamelan notation, and best of all, they got to rehearse and play as an ensemble.

When it was time to play "proper" music..at some point it sounded like chaos... but as one of the mums put it, lovely chaos. :)

The hanging instruments are Gong (the larger ones) and Kempul. The instrument on the ground is the Bonang

The instrument here is the Saron, and in the background is the  Kenong

Drums (Kendhang)
Teacher guiding

Jo on Saron
Dd on Bonang

Rehearsing together in a group

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...