Month: March 2013

  • The Blue-throated Bee-eater

    Was walking out of the house to throw away some trash, then I saw a pair of these striking green birds sitting on the lighting pole. I dropped the trash and dashed back in to get the camera. When I came back out, only one was still hanging around. in fact, it was curious in me too.


    It flew from one tree to another, even directly over head me at times. Most of it’s body is green, but had parts of blue and a red head. My internet research later revealed that it was a Blue-throated Bee-eater.


     Nice catch. But I need a better lens and a better tripod!


  • New Hobby in Ametuer Photography

    Since moving into my new place in Taman Equine, Seri Kembangan, I’ve developed a renewed taste for photography. Thus far, I’ve only been posting pictures unto Facebook. But I am only keen of uploading one-picture at a time per-animal as I’m aware that people “check-out” the photos more frequent than here. Blogging would also allow me to share more thoughts of what happened with each shot. Hence, I’m using this blog as an avenue to fuel my new hobby. 

    I used to interested in photography when I was very little. I won’t say I was die-hard for it, but as the only kid with a camera (we are talking the entire secondary school time and the era before digital cameras), it just became second nature to cover events and snap away. Over time, I got better with my shots and realised it wasn’t just about a picture but the story behind the picture. Positioning, lighting, angles and all factored in too, though not as complex as a SLR. Those days, film was costly.. making the need for the limited 36 shots count. 

    I’m rather new at nature photography.. more used to snapping people and sceneries. But after a round with a tarantula and a scorpion inside my own home.. I got slightly obsessed with wanted to snap more of this wildlife around my area.. especially when they present themselves so often.

    We will start the critter blog on events in the 18th March 2013, which proved to be a very busy day for my camera and I. My dad woke me up at 8.15am-ish, something he normally doesn’t do, especially on my off-day when I usually sleep in. He told me to bring the camera along and I knew this should be something interesting. Peeping into the trees, I could hardly make up a figure moving about in my drowsy state. My dad kept saying “There! Can see or not?”. I just aimed the Olympus Pen E-P3 towards the general direction he was referring too and snapped aimlessly. I asked him what it was and he told me it was a gibbon. Something that doesn’t pass by often, but had been making lots of noise in front of the house just a day before. Now it’s just several meters away from my sisters and parents bedroom window. I finally saw a distinct ape figure witch swung gracefully and effortlessly from branch to branch. 

    Failing to get the shot from my sisters room, we re-positioned in my parents bedroom where the creature finally stopped and was feeding off fruits from a parasitic plant latching onto another tree. It was darkish brown and had a white ring around it’s grey face. Very interesting creature. I search on Google later revealed it was a Lar Gibbon. All gibbons are threatened. My dad said seeing one this close to the house is unheard off. Even when he was growing up in Temerloh village, he’s never seen any in the wild.. though he did say my grandfather would rare some with little success (he had a permit by the way).


    The curious gibbon starring back at me from a distance

    I went back to sleep after the gibbon swung off elsewhere. Waking up an hour later, had breakfast, went back to the old house to collect piles of stuff and reaching home again.. a new set of fun begun. The gibbons weren’t the only visitors this busy day. My cat was startled by something outside.. so much his tail went all bushy. It turned out to be a troop of silverleaf monkeys on the prowl in search for food. The settled in a section of forest beside my house for most of the day and evening.

    Silverleaf monkey climbing the tree next to the house.

    Two Mynas nested in a tall dead tree directly in front of the house. Didn’t look quite like the common tiung though. 


     A pleasant surprise came in the form of a black long-tailed bird which visited more than a week before. Then I couldn’t tell what it was as there was not enough colour and features. It had a pale, but clear green beak, black body and a round red ring around it’s eye (next pic is more clear). It search on the Internet revealed that it was a chestnut-bellied malkoha. I saw this  while I was relaxing on the balcony next to my parents bedroom sometime after 5pm. 


    Another perspective of the malkoha. In this picture, it’s red eyes are more striking. 


    More birds started popping up. This one is a type of fly-eater. Greyish and brown. 


    Saw two of these on different trees. It’s a plantain squirrel. This one had a red-tipped tail.   


    The biggest regret of the day was not being able to get a clear shot of this bright feathered bird called the blue-winged green leafbird. It’s colours were beautiful!

      Another shot of the blue-winged green leafbird feeding off the fruits of another parasitic plant. This one was taken in front of the house, beside the carporch. 


     Rounding off the day with a picture of a cute asian red-cheeked squirrel taken at the side of the house. The tree it was on is within the house compounds and my parents have always mistaken them for chipmunks (can’t be as chipmunks have striped backs). They made a chirping sound, quite like birds. They were in distress as the silverleaf monkeys were near by.

    Will probably post more pictures in days to come or whenever something interesting pops up. Will also try to identify it’s species as that will be more informative and fun.



  • Cha Cha

    I‘ve never talked about my “first daughter” before, not a posting on this blog nor have I posted pictures on Facebook. Now she’s gone .. but it’s not too late to finally honour her existence. 


    First glance at a hostile Mummy Cat.. which turned friendly after I offered her food.

    The kittens just days old

    Cha Cha with a proud Mummy Cat

    Cha Cha come to us under extraordinary circumstance. In June 2012, my mom heard faint kitten mewing sounds in her bathroom towards the ceiling. Curious, I took a ladder and went up and true enough, there was an adult sized cat near a small ray of light coming from my parent’s bathroom. The cat, obviously a mother, was VERY hostile and hissed every time I poked my head up the ceiling. But a cat is a cat.  After I poured some cat food (Royal Canine) into a small transparent takeaway bowl.. true enough, the hostile mommy cat turned into a gentle kitty cat, mewing and begging for food. When I got a good look at her body, I was struck by her beauty.. the pattern.. the bushy tail.. and most of all (for the purpose of this tale) her very soft fur. She had three kittens in that small ceiling compartment. We cut a hole from the bathroom for direct access and feeding. So we gave Mummy Cat food and water everyday and she in turn would give nourishment to the kittens. Yes, I had to clean up her crap too. 


    Left: Just a month old and early signs of bonding with daddy. Right: Lunch time with.from mom. 

    From the beginning, among the 3 kittens, I’ve noticed the gentle white one with a long tail and decided if we were to keep any of them, it will be that one. We struggled to come up with a name for her at first, but while raising all of them until an age we can give them away, we named the brother (whom we also decided to keep) Bo Bo, after its short bowtie like tail, hence, naming the sister Cha Cha (Bobo Chacha, get it?). Reason for keeping them was because our first Son, Elphar, had just passed away and we felt that Remy needed company. However, after a month or two, Mummy Cat’s heat/noise was too much for us to bear and we decided to give her and Tan Tan (the 3rd sibling which was not that nice to look at) away to SPCA for adoption.. under the most regrettable circumstances as I was very fond of her. She also didn’t get along at all with Remy which was another reason for us deciding that two adult cats in the same hous simply can’t get along. 

    Bo Bo had a charming personality and was a people person.. and quite a licker. He would be licking Cha Cha for up to an hour.. quite sick.. but that’s how he showed his affection. He would also lick my fingers and on one occasion, licked my face which I immensely enjoyed! Unfortunately on 9th September 2012, Bo Bo was left unsupervised, strayed out of the house and into the jaws of my neighbours dog. It was a very saddening thing to have happened. 



    So we were left with Cha Cha. She was not a very socialable cat.. and by that I mean she’s not the type that will go up to your leg rubbing it, nor is she the type that mews for food. The only thing she does respond too in the cutest way was when you walked up to her and called her name in her face .. “Cha Cha~”, she will respond in a “mew” which almost sounded guilty but so cute it melts hearts. She was VERY adventurous and it seemed like nothing is too high nor too narrow nor too dangerous for her to take on. We thought Remy was very daredevil, but she was WAY more. But it was a point of concern for me as I didn’t want her to get killed like her brother. She has a long tail, quite like Remy’s which was gingerish with a tab of black. The rest of her body was as white as snow, except the head with had a small patch of ginger. Her fur, just like her mother’s was as soft as wool.. quite different from all the cats we have.. she probably was double coated. Truly comfortable to lie ones head on. Compared to Remy, she was much smaller.. in fact the three kittens we took on a month and a half later caught up to her in size. She was miniature to say the least. Comparing pictures, she didn’t grow very much beyond 4 months old. Most kittens respond to strokes, but she prefers a still, motionless hand. So just putting your hand parallel on her soft body is enough to make her purr.. and she oddly stops purring when the stroking takes place. Hence, she wasn’t a very physical or touchy cat with humans. But she did inherit something from her lick-crazy-brother.. often seeking out Remy and giving him a nice love bite below his neck. Her body was long and I liked putting my leg on her (in a non-abusive way of course) which at times she seemed to enjoy. Like Remy, she doesn’t really like me carrying her (what a shame), so when I do.. she’ll let out a cute-faint squeal.. but otherwise held a very cool, confident and care free personality. I’d sometimes call her Kitten-Cat, cause that’s what she really is.. too small to be a cat, but too big to be a kitten. My Kitten Cat. 


    The adventurous Cha Cha. After Bo Bo strayed off and got killed, we were more cautious with her and tied her on leash and allowed her to roam the garden. You will find her anywhere, no matter how narrow or high. A very curious cat, which eventually got her killed. 

    We moved to this new house on 31st January 2013. This new residence is surrounded by forest and featured too many dangers, from a pack of a dozen wild dogs, to eagles, owls, poisonous snakes and the list goes on. I didn’t want any of my cats roaming around freely due to these dangers hence locked them indoors. My new place featured a tree and opening in the middle – something which bothered me as I was sure Cha Cha would climb that as she climbs the tree in my former house’s garden. But this proved not to be the case and I rested easy over time. Still, the cats got frustrated and clearly wanted out. We constructed a netted enclosure on one side of the house so that the cats get at least get a feel of the outdoors and nature.

    The most affected cat would be Remy. Cha Cha was his favourite friend. Saddens me to think that he has lost yet another best buddy. Prior to that Bobo was his favourite and before that Elphar. 

    Despite our efforts, on 8th March 2013, Cha Cha somehow managed to escape out of the house three times, suspected through an opening in a window. I spotted her at noon out in the forest, so happened to be looking in that direction when a flash of white moved around the bushes. I dashed out and managed to bring her home safely then. Little did I know the words I murmured to her will bear so much meaning now.. things like “I love you cat”.. “Can’t let anything happen to you”.. “you’re daddy’s pretty girl”.. and just admiring how soft her fur was as I threw her over my shoulder, the only cat in my household which allows me too like a rag. I enjoy carrying her on her back, facing upwards. She tolerates it for a minute and then goes into what I call a “rolling fish” motion. Just part of our love-hate thing.

    I went out to work right after that and met my parents in Monash as they came to pay fees around 3.30pm. They told me Cha Cha ran out of the house again around 2.00pm. Initially, I wasn’t too concerned, knowing she would come back. But came 10.20pm when I got home from my night classes, I found out she still wasn’t home. It was then when I got really worried. We tried searching for her till past midnight, forgoing my dinner. But it was dark and we were surrounded by forest. It was truly like finding a needle in a haystack.. worse yet, she doesn’t respond to us.. so calling her name was of no use. My mom was speculating that she’s gone. Killed by something in the forest as it was not possible for her to be out for so long. I went to sleep at 1.30am, worried sick but knew there was nothing more I could do about it. 

    At 8.30am plus, I was woken up by my frantic mom informing me that she found Cha Cha. Initially I was relieved, but later found out that she was dead. She was found along the fence, just 5 meters away from where my bed would be.. but at the other side of the room wall. My mom suspects that she came back 2-3 hours ago as the body was still soft (though her legs were stiff). Her body was wet, cold, had mud at parts and some leafs were in her mouth. The only wound I found on her was a puncture on her sides followed by a hairline cut. It’s unclear what killed her as we can’t tell if her bones were fractured, but it was clear something killed her.. possibly bitten by a poisonous snake just a few hours before finding her. Sigh, stupid cat… I don’t know why she had to stubbornly get out of the house all the time….

    I was devastated, despite accepting her fate before hitting the sack. Not sure if I’m glad finding her body, which at least give us closure.. or if I preferred living with the fact if we didn’t find her that she could still be alive somewhere out. Not like anything will change. We undid her collar, removed her tag and cat-flap magnet key, dug an unmarked grave behind the house and layed her to rest. 

    Last picture of Cha Cha alive.. not very glam

    I will miss her prettiness and soft fur forever. 

    Cha Cha’s collar she had since birth. Unlike the other cats, she was able to keep her collar until she died. The red went well with her snowy white body. It’s buried together with her now, though I removed the tag which has my number on it and the cat-flap magnet. 


  • Back to Uni … A Third Time

    Im back in Monash to start an attempt on my third piece of paper.


    I enrolled in the Master of International Business program. Just doing it part-time with one subject per semester.. just to lessen the stress as I’m still working. All part of a more sinister plan though.. best not to mention here. This sem I signed up for a subject called Cross Cultural Management Communication, MGX5640. Should prove interesting. 

    Hope studies will go smoothly. It has been more than three full years since I’ve been away from studying. Being gone that long, it makes your hands itchy to want to try it again and live a student life. So here I am, hopefully all will be done by mid-next year. 

    I wonder if posting my student ID would lead my Monash account to a security breach…. hmm.


March 2013
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