24 Jun 2015

Pua Kumbu Exhibition at UM.

"The Pua Kumbu To the Iban of Sarawak, the pua kumbu is not just a blanket. It is a sacred ceremonial and ritual textile. The word pua in Iban means 'blanket', kumbu means 'to wrap'. Together, the two words mean a 'grand blanket'. However, the pua kumbu is very seldom used as a sleeping blanket. It is reserved for the times when men and women seek an encounter with the spiritual." (http://www.fascinatingmalaysia.com/unik/pua.html)

Rafia string is used to tie strands together to create pattern before the whole thing is dipped into dye.

After the dye is dried then thread is woven across

Natural materials used to create different dye colours

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2015

23 Jun 2015

Was just feeling totally tired today...no energy and I asked Jo, "Could you please cook today? Feel free to use anything you find in the fridge."I heard the fridge opening and shutting....Several times she ran out to the hall and lay flat on the floor coz her eyes were burning from chopping onions.....I heard the stove going click....and then some time later, walla she served out two dishes with rice. 

I asked Nel, when she would cook me a meal. At first she replied, "She hoped rather, to find a man who could cook." Cheeky answer. But the next day she surprised me with this, baked beef with cheese which was really delicious!

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2015

19 Jun 2015

Focus on the Family

Jo and I attended "Mother and Daughter Connection" by Focus on the Family Malaysia. It was a lovely program that lasted from 8am to 3pm. There were interesting talk sessions and little activities like writing each other letters, "get to know you better"sessions which included answering questions about each other and learning each other's love language. We also had a mini Amazing Race and our team came in first, yay! It was a great bonding session where Jo and I learned more about each other.

A little activity we had to do together....decorate the figure with rose petals and sequence.

Nel and hubby attended Father and Daughter Connection, which was a grand dinner at Tropicana.
I  heard they had great fun, doing stuff like decorating dad with cotton to create fake beard, photo booths, talks and games. At the end of it all, dads presented their daughters with rings (prepared by Focus on the Family). A lovely night.

Though events cause about RM180 per pair,  I highly recommend these great bonding sessions.

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2015


12 Jun 2015

StoryTelling Course with Anak Chintan

Early this year, Jo signed up for Anak Chintan Theatre's program - Living Stories. She really enjoyed each session, and looked forward to Fridays. They played lots of drama games and eventually prepared a story to tell for a Living Story Showcase on the 12th June. Some chose fables, some worked collaboratively, Jo chose to write her own story to present.

Here's the story she wrote and told,

Once upon a time, there was a boy named Darryll. His dream was to fly one day. Wanting to fly so badly, he began to experiment.
First he tried flying out a window with a huge paper kite, taped to his back. Lucky for him, his neighbours had left their trampoline outside and he fell right on it.

On his second attempt, he stood on the very top of his house, with chicken feathers in his hands. He had chased his mother's chickens around the house just to collect feathers. So he stood on top of his roof ready to fly. On the count of 2, the ceiling broke, causing a huge hole. He fell right through and landed on his own bed. That made his parents really mad.

On his third attempt, he lay flat on the floor with  a backpack. On his backpack was attached lots of balloons and birds. As he lay on the round, he was slowly  lifted up into the air, but the birds soon got tired of the burden and pecked all the balloons. So POP!POp! he fell through the same hole in the ceiling and again landed on his bed.
His mum was  very angry when she found all the birds in his room.

Finally his mother decided that she would take him on a holiday to soothe his restless mind. But on the way to Australia, he  grabbed his mum's high heels and smashed the plané's window and clambered out onto the plane's wings. It was very cold and the air pressure was high...Shocked he fell off the wings, down into the deep sea. Luckily for him, there was a beach nearby and he swam to shore.

It so happened there was a guy on the beach who came over to the boy and said, "Wow! YOu're excellent at diving! Would you like to join my daredevil club where we do all sorts of daredevil stunts such as parachuting and jumping from planes?"

The boy was so happy because it involved flying. So he said yes, and lived happily ever.

Photo taken from Anak Chintan's Page

She was pretty sad when the three month course concluded and has asked me to look for similar classes.

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2015

4 Jun 2015

Making Mobiles (Workshop) in Janda Baik

What a lovely day at Janda Baik. We were invited for a children's art workshop conducted by Carolyn J Lau on making mobiles...not mobile phone, but hanging mobiles. We love doing art, but art in the outdoors is best of all.

The workshop was conducted here in Tanahrimba, in a really lovely house. 

Carolyn talking about mobiles. Jo paid close attention, while Nel preferred exploring the area and playing with the lovely Retriever there.

The children on a walk looking for nature items to hang on their mobiles.

Jo decided to make her mobile out of branches found on the walk. At first she found it difficult carving the bark off the branch but soon got very used to it and actually enjoyed it. She thinks she'll love whittling, so would like a whittling knife.

My dear cousin and twins came along with us, and that was nice so I had company throughout the drive and through the day. :) 

Very focused on whittling. 

For lunch, the children had delicious Carbonara, while we adults feasted on Curry chicken and ulam/vegetables spiced up with delicious dried shrimp sambal, all lovingly prepared by Latiffah. Dessert was Lat's moist Lemon Drizzle Cake. She takes orders for her cake, and you can pm her on her facebook page here -->Latiffah LH

A friendly visitor, a very very plump leech, dropped off in the middle of the workshop to visit (it dropped off the friendly Golden Retriever's leg) which distracted the children for a while. 

Jo's mobile, halfway done, made out of branches, bark, recycled tin cans and marbles. 

Another child's hanging mobile. Children had to find the
balancing point before tying parts together with nylon string. We were reminded
 to always start the mobile from the bottom up.

A really lovely and memorable day indeed.

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2015


1 Jun 2015

Herping with MNS

Frogs.....something I used to admire in science books, but would never touch....until one day, when a college friend dared me to catch one to put in my best friend's shirt. I remember standing in a field..a lovely spring picnic day. The frog was there too, hiding amongst some grass. I looked my college friend in the eye and courage soared (coz it was a dare!), and logic flew out of my mind.

I remember grabbing that frog and plonking it straight into my best friend's shirt when she turned to look the other way!

I didn't expect what followed, several minutes of screaming, REAL SCREAMING...SHRIEKING SCREAMING...and a dance wilder than the Macarena. Though the frog had long leaped out...my friend continued screaming...and jumping wildly. I was stunned....and kept trying to pacify her..and thought...NEVER again...would I prank with a frog, let alone hold a frog!

Some years later........I got married and had two kids....and the younger happens to really love frogs, snails and lizards. She's persuaded me numerous times to hold a house gecko in my palm. And each time I've only given her the stern mummy look and warned her to back away with the squirming creature.

Then, somehow MNS Selangor Branch Herp Group trips popped up on my facebook one day.

Herping (according to Wikipedia)- The Act of searching for amphibians or reptiles. 

My family and I signed up for our first ever herping trip, and what do you know, they got me confident enough to hold a frog  and a lizard. During the trip I marveled at the variety of species that we had in our forests, I really began to realize how unique and amazing frogs and lizards are! I learnt they are not squirmy and eeky or slimy as people describe them. They are amazing creatures.
So since then, I've been on three herping trips!

The main person/guide for these trips is Steven Wong.  During my first herping trip I was astounded at how he was able to spot frogs from far distances when all I saw was total darkness and some bushes and grass in the pathway of my flashlight. I've since learnt that the trick is to look for "eye shine" which is reflected back if you've got flashlight on your head between your eyes. Still I'm not yet good at spotting frogs, but am always mesmerized by tiny glints of light which I've learnt are reflection from spiders' eyes.  wow. :)

I'm also amazed at how Steven is able to identify all the herps we've seen so far and show us specific features/characteristics of these herps....and rattle off their scientific names like....Limnonectes laticeps when the closest scientific name I can say is something like spaghetti bolognaise.....???

What my kids love about Steven's trips, is his enthusiasm and patience with kids. He takes time to answer almost all their questions, teach them how to spot herps, to the point where even Nel who was fearful of frogs like me, now actually enjoys watching/studying/photographing them and holding them gently in her palm.

To cut a long story short, I highly recommend MNS's herping trips with Steven. They are very reasonably priced, and cheaper if you're a Malaysian Nature Society member. Trips usually begin at about 730pm and last till about 1130pm. I can't remember all the names I've learnt, but my kids and I have sure learnt a lot about herps, more than we'll ever learn from books. 
Summary of Herp Trips...names of species copied from MNS Herp Group where Steven updates after every trip.

Herping Trip 1 -Bukit Kiara 

3 Snakes
Oriantal Whip Snake (Ahaetulla prasina) x2
Common Wolf Snake (Lycodon capucinus)

6 species of Lizards
Marbled Bent-Toed Gecko (Cyrtodactylus quadrivirgatus)
Spotted House Gecko (Gekko monarchus)
Forest Gecko (Gekko smithii)
Common House Gecko (Hemidactylus fernatus)
Garden Fence Lizard (Calotes versicolor)
Green Crested Lizard (Bronchocella cristatella)
7 species of Frogs
Common Grass Frog (Fejervarya limnocharis)
Lesser Stream Toad ( Ingerophrynus parvus )
Dark-sided Chorus Frog ( Microhyla heymonsi )
Tanah Rata Frog (Limnonectes nitidius)
Rhinocerous Frog (Limnonectes plicatellus)
Four-Linned Tree Frog (Polypedates leucomystax)
White Lipped Frog ( Hydrophylax labialis )

Tanah Rata Frog

Steven our guide showing our children a snake. It was great excitement for the kids....First time holding and learning about the Oriental Whip Snake. Kids were dressed in rain coats coz it was raining...and rain meant lots of herps!!  :)

Common Wolf Snake 

Oriental Whip Snake (We've seen this snake a few times in the wild, but to actually feel it and learn more about it was a unique experience.)
Herping Trip 2 - Ampang Reservoir
1. Corrugated Frog - Limonectes khasianus
2. Malayan Horned Frog - Megophrys nasuta
3. Butler's Chorus Frog - Microhyla butleri
4. Common Grass Frog - Feyervarya limnocharis
5. Common Malayan Toad - Duttaphrynus melanostictus
6. Glandular Frog - Hylarana glandulosa
7. Giant River Frog - Limonectes blythii
8. Spotted Litter Frog - Leptobrachium hendriksoni
9. Black-eyed Litter Frog - Leptobrachium nigrops
10. White Lipped Frog - Chalcorana laticeps
11. Green Paddy Frog/Common Greenback - Hylarana erythrea 
12. Four Linned Tree Frog - Polypedates leucomystax

1. Marbled Gecko - Cyrtodactylus quadrivirgatus
2. Garden Fence Lizard - Calotes versicolor
3. Spiny Tailed Gecko - Hemidactylus fernatus
4. Great Anglehead Lizard (Juvenile) - Gonocephalus grandis
5. Bell's Anglehead Liazrd - Gonocephalus bellii
6. Spotted Forest Skink - Sphenomorphus scotophilus 

1. Painted Bronzeback - Dendrelaphis pictus
Corrugated Frog - This frog has a unique call...and I"m glad I'm able to recognize its sound now! :)

Spot the Frog??? 

Malayan Horned Frog - To me this was like spotting a jewel. So unique...so rare. First time ever seeing this species!

We spotted quite a few White lipped Frog around this reservoir. This one looks like it's singing "Somewhere out there...beneath the pale moonlight......" By the way, the walk around the reservoir with a chorus of frogs singing in the background, as we walked under moonlit and starlit skies....was refreshing...and totally lovely.

White lipped Frogs making babies....

Black Eyed Litter Frog. This cute little fella actually walks more than hop. 

Black Eyed Littler Frog starring at my camera

Painted Bronzeback - I think this snake is venemous,  so none of us touched it, except for Steven...the snake charmer. We loved its bluish tones. After observing for a while, Steven placed it back where he found it.

Herping trip  3 ~  FRIM
Nine Frogs:
1. Lesser Stream Toad - Ingerophrynus parvus
2. Rufous-sided Sticky Frog - Kalophrynus pleurostigma
3. Dark-sided Chorus Frog - Microhyla heymonsi
4. Manthey's Chorus Frog - Microhyla mantheyi (got away)
5. White-lipped Frog - Chacorana labialis
6. Spotted Litter Frog - Leptobrachium hendriksoni
7. Common Grass Frog - Feyervarja limnocharis
8. Occidozyga laevis - Common Puddle Frog
9. Corrugated Frog - Limnonectes khasianus
Six Lizards:
1. Many-lined Sun Skink - Eutrophis multifaciata (got away)
3. Bell's Anglehead Lizard - Gonocephalus belli (Juvenile)
4. Great Anglehead Lizard - Gonocephalus grandis
5. Horsfield's Flying Gecko - Ptychozoon horsfieldii
6. Earless Lizard - Aphaniotis fusca
One Snake:
Reticulated Python - Malayopython reticulatus
~Lesser Stream Toad - 
Rufous Sided Sticky Frog. 
These were really sticky, feels like play dough. The red one is not injured, just has its feet stucked on the inside.

Spotted Litter Frog. This time we got a good view of its beautiful red eyes.

The purplish round patch behind the frog's eye is the typanum. From Wikipedia "The tympanum is an external hearing structure in animals such as frogs, toads, insects, and mammals. In frogs and toads, it is located just behind the eye. It does not actually process sound waves; it simply transmits them to the amphibian'sinner ear, which is protected from water and other foreign objects."

Bells Angle Head Lizard. 
Reticulated Python. I've held several snakes at petting zoos, but they've always felt...sluggish...lazy. This fella was wild. But as soon as it was tamed, it let us hold him. But we were reminded to be always gentle and let it glide as if we were branches of a tree. I won't forget the feeling as it wrapped itself tightly around my wrist and slithered its head near to mine....was a little too close for comfort. BUt oh the strength of the python....it was quite hard to uncoil this fella. Also the iridescent colours on its scales are quite hypnotizing and beautiful!

Ya, so to join a herping trip, watch out for announcements on their facebook page here --> MNS Herp Group

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2015

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