Tuesday, November 30, 2021


          One of my favourite places to visit is Bali. I find joy and peace in her beaches, culture, simple life styles and kind people. Sure, I can see they have challenges like the rest of us, but they seem to have attain some inner peace which eludes the rest of us. Perhaps it is their strong belief in their religion where about about 90% of the population practise Hinduism. 

     Every morning, the women will make offerings in a tray containing little plates weaved from coconut palms and filled with fragrant chopped screw-pine leaves and colourful balsam flower petals together with lighted joss sticks.

The offerings can be bought in the markets with the palm leave plates already filled with flowers or the items can be bought separately and put together later.
This little girl has already learnt the art of making the plates by cutting and shaping the palm leaves with the large blade. She is so young yet she has learnt how to handle the blade so carefully and expertly. When there is a need, kids grow up so quickly. Looking at her, I realise how protected city kids are with our kid-safe knives. 
In the markets, the ladies arrange the many different coloured flower petals in the palm leaf trays for sale which are quickly bought for the morning offerings.
The offerings can be placed in specific prayer areas,
by the roads just next to their shop lots, homesor at the entrance of their shops.
These offerings are carried out without fail every morning and the streets are lined with palm leaf trays, flower petals and joss sticks.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021


When I first moved into my present home, I had a narrow stretch of back yard and NO MONKEYS.  I decided on a pumpkin patch as I had bought half a pumpkin from Tesco for RM4 only. With pumpkin seeds and no idea of what to plant, the seeds were just thrown in and amazingly a pumpkin strip sprouted. 

 Only leaves on the pumpkin plants Pumpkin flowers bloomed.I never expected baby pumpkins, I was simply quite happy with the bright flowers. I never expected baby pumpkins, I was simply quite happy with the bright flowers.  But, they grew and grew ....
BIGGER and BIGGER clinging to the fence like speckled canon balls.
This pumpkin fence looked like Jack and the Beanstalk. Six pumpkins grew to full size, the remaining flowers or baby pumpkins dropped off with the rains. 
I gave them to my father-in-law, sister-in-law, neighbours and friends. I made pumpkin dessert, pumpkin soup and stir fries. Both Gismo Man and Savvy K were really excited with the pumpkin strip, but after eating the glorious fruit for weeks, they got quite depressed.

Thus, I cleared away the pumpkin plants and started a different set of greens.
Brinjal or egg plants,
bitter gourds 
and four angle beans.
Gizmo Man seeing my enthusiasm in gardening, gave me an assortment of gardening tools for our wedding anniversary. I was thinking of something a little bit more romantic. Gismo Man bought seeds for peas, capsicum, carrots and salad, stuff which I think were not suitable for this 30 - 35 C weather. 
As soon as the beans and gourds sprouted, the pests flew in. Gismo Man suggested using ginger, chilli or turmeric as natural pesticides (something he read but had NO intention of helping out). The chilli made my hands all hot, the turmeric stained them yellow and I got a back ache bent over pounding ginger juice. 
Does anyone know simpler-to-make natural fertilisers?

I shouldn't have complained as I did get to eat my own produce. But, the salad leaves were bitter and the okra (ladies fingers) so fibrous, Savvy K chewed until the rubber bands in her braces snapped. 

Pea, salad, chillie and tomato seedlings.

Now for some Covid-19 SOPs
Hmmm, the four people we had were delicious!

Tuesday, November 16, 2021


Binoculars UP, Cameras  READY, SHOOT the RAPTORS.
This is an annual scenario every March, even Covid-19 2021 could not halt this event. The pandemic may have put human traffic at a stop but the BIRDS carried on. Bird watches worldwide gather at the west coast of Malaysia for the RAPTOR WATCH. 
The place -  Cape Rachado Lighthouse or Tanjung Tuan in Port Dickson. 
The performers - Migratory BIRDS OF PREY. 
It is a huge event and families including us stay overnight so we can be at the site early in the morning to witness the event. 
At the approximate calculated time, the flock of raptors fly in from the sea. It is like watching military planes fly in formation for an air raid. Initially the birds are like "raisins" in the sky,
 then as they approach inland, one can make out different species.
All types of birding scopes are set up by the Malaysian Bird Society. Many point out to sea to catch the hundreds of raptors zooming in. They are "illegal immigrants" from Indonesia and Australia without passports or visas!
The raptors fly thousands of miles leaving the winter days in Australia to return to their breeding grounds by Spring in the Northern hemisphere. As they cross the oceans, they use up much of their energy in flight.
They then take advantage of the hot air land currents in Tanjung Tuan to glide. 

This gives them their much needed rest before they continue their homeward bound journey. It is an awesome sight as the raptors circle low overhead for hours.

Looking forward to Raptor Watch 2022. Rain or shine, Covid-19 or whatever comes, the RAPTORS will return in March as faithfully as the sun rises in the East. 
We will go together Mr. Yip Soon Nam and shoot them Raptors 😎.

Sunday, November 7, 2021


I am sure everyone gets the "spirit is willing but the body is weak" kind of days. I seem to miss my 6am dawn "drills" quite often now. Thus, I have been doing the "sauna walks" in the evening. Even at sunset, I get all sticky as the temperatures are still around the 30s with high humidity.  

On these sweaty walks, I get to take pictures in better light and here are some of our psychedelic homes. 

Our plants are evergreens, in bloom all day and night and throughout the year. 

After seven months of online learning, it was back to school in November.
 It is a common fact that Singapore enforces strict rules and regulations to maintain order. The government seems to even have their wildlife follow pandemic SOPs.