Saturday, June 27, 2009

Observer Programme

I just arrived in KL this morning, and I know I'm in KL when the taxi driver can drive as fast as a tuned up car. There were a few screeching turns, which surprises me that the guy didn't care to answer my question about "whether it's OK to drive like this to his taxi." Anyhow...

By 1st of July, I'll be working with WWF-Malaysia in Melaka as a Daily Paid Assistant on the Observer Programme in the Andaman Sea Ecoregion project. Basically, I'm being paid by the day for the work I do over there, which is basically to: i) collect data; ii) get to know the fishermen; and iii) evaluate the data collected to highlight the hotspots for fishery and incidental catch of turtles. First of all, observer programme can be defined as being "responsible for providing the training and support necessary for deploying observers on board fishing vessels in order to collect the fisheries-dependent information essential to achieving the management objectives of the programme" (WikiPedia: Fisheries Observer). This will definitely help me to understand how fishermen react when they see a turtle in one their catch, and at the same time, learn the variety of species by which they caught. My time there will end by 30th of September, and I'm really looking forward to this experience.

In the mean time, I'm going to watch Transformers2 with Kuan, Pian and Ting Ting tomorrow at MidValley. Hehe.. ;D

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

1st day fasting this year...

Yeap, I'll be fasting today as it is the 1st day of Rejab, the seventh month in the Islamic calendar, and also one of the four sacred months as well. So two months from now (in accordance to the Islamic calendar), Ramadan will start.

By then, I'll be fasting on the waters of Malacca Strait.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

What a wonderul world

When I took my shower this morning, I was thinking about how to make my statement in celebrating Father's Day today. As I was thinking, my phone was playing "What a Wonderful World" (I'm using C702, so the phone was built to be spill-proof, meaning a bit of water is still OK). Then I kept thinking about my adventures overseas as I grew up, and how thankful I was to my dad that he gave me that opportunity. I mean if it wasn't for the fact that he got the job with Asian Development Bank (ADB) in the Philippines, I wouldn't know much about being a third culture kid (third culture kid means a kid that grows up a portion of their childhood overseas, like in my case, I'm a Malaysian who grew up in the Philippines and Pakistan). So for this Father's Day, I dedicate to my dad, Abah, the song that really made me realize the hopes and good in this world, What a Wonderful World.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Happy World Sea Turtle Day (16th of June)

Sea turtles, what many would call them as ancient mariners. This marine wonder has been around for more than 200 million years, just among the few who were present with the dinosaurs.However, they are now faced with the biggest threat in their lives, human impact. With issues ranging from egg poaching to infecting diseases, all sea turtles are categorized as endangeredin the IUCN Red List. However, humans also serves as the guardians & protectors to these wonder of the sea, and none can be greater than Dr. Archie Carr. To honour his causes & services to the world, the World Sea Turtle Day was created and is celebrated on his birthday.
Dr. Archie Fairly Carr, Jr.(June 16, 1909 - May 21, 1987) was a renowned sea turtle expert who was the pioneer in sea turtle conservation. A former high school teacher and author, he studied zoology and further his studies in sea turtles. Among his achievements, Archie Carr found and became scientific director of Caribbean Conservation Corporation (a not-for-profit 501(c)(3)
membership organization based in Gainesville, Florida) from 1959 until his death in 1987. In addition, Archie Carr was chairman of MarineTurtle Specialist Group of IUCN's Survival Service Commission for 20 years. His dedication and hard work has result in many of sea turtle experts who were close to him as his children. Any sea turtle research would always involve the work done by Archie Carr directly or indirectly through his students. Among them are myself and one of Malaysia's leading experts in sea turtles, Prof. Chan Eng Heng.

In Malaysia, we are known to have four sea turtle species (common name in English & BM,
scientific name, status in IUCN Red List):

i) Leatherback Turtle, penyu belimbing (Dermochelys coriacea) - Critically Endangered;
ii) Green Turtle, penyu agar(Chelonia mydas) - Endangered;
iii) Hawksbill Turtle, penyukarah (Eretmochelys imbricata) - Critically Endangered; and
iv) Olive Ridley Turtle, penyu lipas (Lepidochelys olivacea) - Vulnerable.

These are reported throughout the coastline of Malaysia from Langkawi all the way south to Johor, and back up north to Kelantan, and more are found on the coast of Sabah and
Sarawak. Among the four species, the green turtle is the most abundant; while the leatherback is near to extinction in Malaysia with only two reported nesting last year. Unfortunately, the sea turtles face the threats from human directly and indirectly. The number one threat would be egg poaching, which is very obvious along the east coasts and a few places that are within the nesting sites for the turtles. In addition to the list of threats, others may include:
i) coastal development, where nesting beaches are adversely affected by the change in scenery;
ii) boat accidents where turtles may get themselves injured or killed from boat propellers;
iii) pollution is an obvious one where water quality can affect the health of the turtles and can pass down into their eggs; and
iv) climate change where warmer temperatures would result in more female turtle hatched, thus leaving many females to be without a male to mate.

As someone who doesn't get so much exposure to sea turtle conservation, what can one person do? As there is still hope, there are ways which the public can help. First of all, it would be to find out more information about sea turtles and education others in order to raise the awareness. Of course, one way is to show support to such causes like Universiti Malaysia Terengganu's Turtle Research &Rehabilitation Group volunteering programme in Pulau Redang and their adoption schemes. Another would be the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) Malaysia's online petition to support ban on commercialization of sea turtle eggs at

On this 16th of June, let us all remember the ancient mariners that have embraced in our seas and beaches that have been a symbol of our national heritage. Until then, I bid you all a Happy World Sea Turtle Day.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Man arrested for smuggling 1,000 sea turtle hatchlings

As usual, I went for my morning jog and I would buy the papers afterwards. As usual, I would buy the News Strait Times and The Star newsparpers. Today was different and for the first time, I bought KOSMO! Ahad, another local newspaper that is written in Bahasa Malaysia. What caught my attention was a picture of handful of green sea turtle hatchlings with the heading reading out "Luggage secretly containing a thousand sea turtles". I couldn't believe what the KOSMO! had reported that I to confirm the story from their source, which is Bernama (also known as the Malaysian National News Agency). The online article had a short summary of the full length story (Lelaki ditahan dengan 1,000 anak penyu). Unfortunately, Bernama did not published the article in english, so I've done the liberty of translating the article from KOSMO! Ahad. I've also attached the original prinout of the story at the very bottom of this post.

Now we can add another human activity that threatens the sea turtles in Malaysia: sea turtle hatchling smuggling. 


"Man arrested for smuggling 1,000 sea turtle hatchlings"

CHENNAI - Chennai Customs officials arrested an Indian that often travels to Malaysia and

 Singapore for illegally smuggling 1,000 sea turtle hatchlings and 25 ornament fishes transit via Singapore.

Chennai Customs officials arrested Abdul Wahab, 35, from Kolathur (South India) when he arrived at Anna International Airport with the smuggled items on 4th June.

"We intercept the passenger in the Green Channel lane because the suspect carried banned goods.

"The passenger arrived from Singpaore and we examined his luggage to f

ind 25 live ornament fish found in polythene bags filled with water and oxygen together along with 1,000 sea turtle hatchlings that were placed in four red plastic baskets," said R. Periasami, Public Relations Officer of Chennai Customs, Anna International Airport.

He also said the ornament fishes and the sea turtle hatchlings are worth a total of RM 6,700 (US $1,900).

When contacted by Bernama, he said the suspect might have been paid by the syndicate that carries out the smuggling activities from one country to another.

Importing ornament fish and live sea turtles requires permit from Directer General Foreign Trade(DGFT)  and Department of Animal Quarantine.

The smuggled sea turtle hatchlings and ornament fishes will b

e transported back to Singapore.

Meanwhile in Kuala Lumpur, Chief Executive Officer of World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) Malaysia, Datuk Dr. Dionysius S.K. Sharkma, when contacted by Kosmo! Ahad did not ruled out the possibility of a syndicate involved with the incubation of the sea turtles eggs before being smuggled out of the country.

He said that although smuggling sea turtles out of Malaysia are difficult, the sea turtle eggs can be taken away to be hatched.

“Usually each nest will have about 100 sea turtle eggs, so when someone smuggles a thousand sea turtle hatchlings, this would require about 10 to 15 nests,” he said.

At Turtle and Marine Ecosystem Centre (TUMEC) in Terengganu, Abdul Razak Latun said that the sea turtle hatchlings may have originated from Tioman island or Johor territorial waters.

He also did not rule out the possibility that the syndicate made Singapore as its transit point to smuggle sea turtle hatchlings from other neighboring countries.

He said those who trade in sea turtles can arrested under Fisheries Act 1985. If guilty, they can be charged with RM 20,000 (US $5,600) fine or two years imprisonment or both. 

Front Page Cover

Inside Story (page 3)
Inside Story (page 3)

FIGURE: Showing the path of the sea turtles smuggled from Malaysia to Chennai, India via Singapore.
Figure: Showing the path of the sea turtles smuggled from Malaysia to Chennai, India via Singapore.

Our duet...

I know I know. This video's been out for years Jimmy, why lah I only post it up now? Well, I guess ya can say I'm quite late in knowing the non-English songs in Malaysia. I just can't stop daydreaming of singing this song with Berry. Hehe.. ;D

Friday, June 5, 2009

27, and I'm closing to my 30s...

I have to admit, last night was the most romantic night I have ever been with Berry. From the moment when I saw walking out of her house until the time I look deeply into her eyes as I confessed to her, she really made my 27th birthday truly special. Up till now, Berry has been the only girl who made my palm sweat as I was nervously talking to her for the first time. I really should have gone for her after coming back from UKM back in 2005. Then again, I can't deny the strings of fate that has been set forth upon me by Allah. Anyway, Berry, thanks for starting my 27th year on earth with the romantic touch you have done upon me. I know I have confessed my love to thee, but I don't expect any decision anytime soon. Take as much time as you want because I love you, and I do want to be there for you when you need me the most. You are the other half that I have been praying hard for, and the bestest friend that I could ever ask for.

Anyway, other than the romantic evening, well I told everyone in Facebook that I will have the Technology Free Day, which is basically me not having to use anything that involves technology, and in this case, I focus on electricity. Well not all of it did I avoid using, but as long I stay away from my laptop and my mobile phone, that's good enough for me to achieve my targets. So the whole day I went for some jungle walk, which I stumble upon a good place for a paintball game, and also a place to have ATV (All Terrain Vehicle, ya know the bike with four wheels) adventure. Afterwards, I did my aikido meditation by the waterfalls. I managed to do so even with the noise coming from the kids playing there as well. I am truly amazed with the numbers of text sms, phone calls, emails, and messages left on my Facebook wall from my loved ones and awesome buddies to greet on my birthday. This is truly a good day, and I thank everyone who wished me on my birthday. Especially to Berry, the gal who just know how to make my life interesting out of boredom. Hehe.

Enjoy the video.. ;)