Friday, September 30, 2011


That was rather fun. I've got a bunch of photos from Mulu National Park (even though I missed the slow loris sighting T_T during the night walk) which includes some really saucy pictures =p This is when I realize the shutterbug in me only crawls out when I'm in holiday mode. I seldom, if ever, take out my camera enthusiastically to capture things when I'm on work field trips. Especially when I'm solo. Ah well.

It was fun to be in human contact and talking to people I know (the students and my supervisor) in Mulu. Of course the 'holiday' felt too short, but I guess that's just how it always is. No man is an island, and humans evolved as communities rather than solos anyway. That being said, I enjoy my solo time.

During my stop-by days in KK before going to and returning from Mulu, I adopted a new thing to do - watch movies solo (with student price, RM5/show - the perks of a PhD student). I have watched 3 movies in my two days there: Johnny English, Apollo 18, The Sorcerer & the White Snake. I'd do that again!
Till I transfer them pictures and snap out of holiday mode.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Nights in the Woods

Then came a brilliant idea, when parts of the weather station equipment delivery was delayed. To take 'soil carbon dioxide (CO2) respiration' readings both in the hottest time (day, about 9 am - 1 pm) and when the sun goes down (coolest). If I was honest, it'd be about 3-5am daily, but I am also human. So.. the itinerary:

7.30 am : Cook, eat, prepare for trip, boil water and store in thermos for bath after trip (because electricity would be cut off at about 12, I can't boil water when I'm back)
8.30/9 am: Set out for 1 h 15 minute hike to site (after signing in at booth)
~10 am : Start CO2 readings, maintain reading site/trail
~1145 am : head back
~1230 pm: Back in Mesilau

IN BETWEEN: Try to rest, read, unwind, dry stuff and prepare for night trip, which consists of about the same itinerary, except that it starts about 6 pm and ends at ~10 pm. Going into the jungle at night alone.. Meh.

Why day time and night time readings? Because when it's hot, the soil may release significantly more CO2 than when it's cool. AND BECAUSE THE JOURNAL ARTICLE SAYS SO. Whew.

Thank God for Jesus, or I'd have freaked out in the jungle from the first time on.

Tomorrow's the beginning of a break - not really, but, yeah. To KK for a night, Miri for a night, then Mulu for 4 nights. Alright world, goodnight. Sheesh, I haven't packed.

Missing home? You bet.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mesilau, A Different Time Zone



Here I am, 5.47 AM and still awake, typing this post to commemorate the oddities of working alone here in Mesilau, Mt. Kinabalu. Why so early? Because I never slept last night. Why? Because of a malfunctioning generator ('gen-set') that cuts power off from 12-5 PM daily, blanketing the entire Nature Resort with darkness and disability. Rather than working in the dark, I now sleep during those wretched hours so that I may in some way maximize daylight 'power-ful' hours, very much like how countries adjust their clocks for 'daylight saving' during winter. I've traveled much this year; probably flied more frequently than I ever have, albeit often to the same place.

Next, I shall compile a list of my travelogues for 2011 thus far (complete with dates) to examine the frequency and intensity of it all. Okay, back to making extra (to make up for mysteriously missing) litter bags.

Oh, and I hit the bridge of my nose with a metal chair frame. It's swollen. I can still disguise it as a mosquito bite for now... maybe until it turns purple. There will be visitors possibly sharing my lodge today. Man, what timing.

Come on guys, Hari Raya's over. Can someone fix the generator now so I could live back on Malaysian time? Please?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Eve of Un-Reality

Here I am, sitting at the Reception area of Mesilau Nature Resort - yet another night of stealing using free wi-fi, having to brave the cold of night both to have internet access and then return to the comforts of home. Tomorrow, I fly for KL, my home. Some people would say it's 'back to the real world', but I don't agree. Most of the things in a city is really way more than what we need especially in the areas of comfort and convenience. The real world is when I'm here in Mesilau, 'surviving' with minimal facilities/amenities and little else. Still alive and healthy, no? It's not that I have lack here, it is that I (or we) have an overwhelming surplus of luxury in cities.

In the last 2 nights I've not been sleeping to finish up some work before I leave the place. Glad I did it, otherwise I'd not be writing this post right now - would probably be working/packing. I slept ~3-5 hours daily in the daytime instead. Ah, thinking about going home to my own bed makes me swoon. No more crappy polyurethane foam mattresses that were never really made to love your back.

I still see my leaves every time I close my eyes.

Here's tribute to the slippers that have accompanied me from Genesis of my research life - From Cameron Highlands (even into Gunung Irau trail!) to Mt. Kinabalu, not to mention Gombak, FRIM, and some other ecosystems in-between.
"Well done, my good and faithful servant"

Here I'd like to show you what incessant working can do in one day. Here are the 'Before' photos, zero.

An overview
The 'look left to the kitchen door' view
The study table.
Why so many mini black plastic bags? For sample storage of course.
For your info, that's my dining table, dressed in newspaper and completed with a wonderful adornment of black-bagged samples. Trust me, it's there below my samples. Where have I been eating? Sometimes that little top left space, others at the top right space in the picture. Sometimes I also stand outside at the veranda with my bowl of dinner. The study table works too.

Samples along the wall..
More samples leading to the entrance..
Samples on one of the said polyurethane mattresses. I used that as a big 'table' to store samples because the cold floor would cause the stuff inside the plastic bags to become wet from condensation, however dry you have prepared them before.

-Pussy cat side track-
This reminds me of yesterday, when I caught a naughty little pussy cat looking extremely guilty on that mattress. It knew it wasn't supposed to be there. It knocked over my baked beans in the kitchen later on -_-

The day before that, the same cat tried to hop in through my kitchen window, which I often leave open slightly for ventilation. There I was fussing in the kitchen when I heard its usual 'meows' outside. Then I heard a 'thud' at the window. I looked and saw that the cat stood on the window frame before jumping off, shying from me. That thud was a failed attempt of breaking in - the cat must've hit the wooden window frame (ouch).

I managed to pat the pussy once while I was having my lunch sitting at the veranda. It ran away after that. Pfft.

Upstairs! Welcome to the Drying Room

Awww.. Sweet lovely Jasmine leaning against the wall.. *melt*

Back downstairs to my study table

Ready? TRANSFORM! A day later.

Yeah I know you're gonna say the dining table's still a mess. Didn't wanna put the fruits in the bag so early ya know, they may go bad a lil too quickly. Blame ethylene build up.

Drying Room
Where'd it all go!? Check out my cool towel, by the way.

Spotted at one corner of the towel, mama bird (chicken?) tweets along happily (with 2 quavers) as her two lil chicks follow her tail feathers.

So really, where'd the mess go?

There ya go, all packed in boxes at the landing beside the staircase. This is my corner, keep out.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mental Invasion

Watching 'The Rite' alone at night has caused me to ponder much. Here, finally a conclusion to my thoughts.

Lucifer's Lament

Glorious was he in his days of splendor,
created flawless; God’s most choicest wonder.
Even light he tamed, the substance he bore,
Now, tempter he’s named, forever at war

How far he has fallen,
but how did he fall?
The breadth of all heaven,
due his unholy call.

Through clouds and sky, earth and air,
was he hurled out for his unholy dare,
whatever became the substance he bore?
It shone too brightly, creating a door

An imposing door, ardently locked,
but his light blinded himself, he waivered, perhaps a mild little shock?

Pride became him, with key of sin he unlocked,
The unspeakable darkness, desires, fancies and whims
But what is hidden must be exposed,
Thence what was lost was never again found

Oh fallen angel, woe becomes you,
in falling momentum still you tug his heel,
his name is man, the son of the Holy,
though sinner like you, he was redeemed, made worthy

Cry foul, unfair! What unjust treatment!
the bearer of light, swallow scales of contempt!?
Says He, “Forget this not, you tempted him first,
sin was born you, so terrible, the worst”.

The one who bore light, burns endlessly bright,
no longer with glory, but fury and fright,
Fallen, yet falling, he continues to lurk,
tempting the unwary to unholy berserk

Now he counts his days till judgement,
“What number have come my way, ahhh.. indulgent”.