Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Deforestation in our Backyard

I made this video to highlight the deforestation activities which are going on in Anjung Indah,Balik Pulau,Penang(along Tun Sardon Road).Much damage has been done,and I hope the Penang Government will take immediate action soon.

See it for yourself and be free to comment on what you think should be done.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Quest for the Missing Link

Northern hills- CONQUERED, Eastern hills-CONQUERED, Central hills...That remained a question mark. It was one of the last bastions where we had never set our hiking shoes upon. The largest hinterland on the island that we missed out in our tireless endeavour to hike every hill in Penang. Scrolling through the maps, this frontier land seemed equally elusive and exciting. The perfect cowboy country for any nature lover. And so we set, into this hinterland, a land of mysteries and stories untold, expecting adventure and some fun.

It began an early Saturday morning after breakfast. Dad and I, fully equipped with all our ‘’hiking gear’’ started our journey by heading to Anjung Indah, Balik Pulau on our Red Perdana. The mountain air was so refreshing and invigorated our spirits with new energy and zeal for the hike. As we bade farewell to civilization we were greeted by the pitiful sight of a forest being choked by the unscrupulous activities of man.”HUTAN SIMPAN KEKAL BUKIT RELAU” read the sign,gleaming in bright yellow, only to be surrounded by the sight of rotting logs and fresh tree stumps. Shatters the heart of any nature lover who sees it. Alas, the fate of the forest is sealed. A pitiful death in the hands of man.

Environmental concerns aside, our hike proceeded on through the thickets of Bukit Relau forest reserve, mainly on gentle hill ridges and occasional steep descents. To my surprise there is a large patch of Seraya(Shorea Curtisii) trees with their gleaming silver and golden leaves flourishing in the middle of what is now Penang’s main farmland country. Even after 100 years of agriculture in the area, there still remain virgin pockets of nature, tucked away in small valleys and hill tops.

After almost an hour through this biodiversity hotspot, we finally came to a place not many in Penang would know. Tucked away between the ridges of Bukit Penara to the east and lush verdant hills to the south was a valley, a valley of farms, right in the heart of Penang. I’ll call it Umm al-Farms, Mother of Farms. And there we were, in Umm al-Farms, seemingly awestruck by the sheer beauty of the topography in the area. Bukit Penara with its towering transmittion station rising gently in front of us and below were lush Bunga Kantan farms, a must have ingredient for the well known Penang Laksa. Looking up the steep trail to Bukit Penara, I wondered if ever by the slightest chance there would be a link,a link that took us from Balik Pulau to the northernmost town of Penang, Teluk Bahang. The thought itself brought a surge of adrenalin and my mind started going wild, pondering what such a trek would be like.

Soon, the sun’s scorching rays were just too unbearable for us and we decided to call it a day, ending our hike by following a motorbike track down to Paya Terubong.
Going down the hill, the thought kept coming back to mind. Where would the missing link be? The missing link to Teluk Bahang. I promised myself I’ll be back very soon in search of it. And so the quest for the missing link continues...