Monday, 27 December 2010

Save The Langat South Peat Forest!

The following letter was drafted by this here lummox with no science/conservation background, so please send updates, feedback and comments this way before our Chair sends it out to the Press! Also: Please participate in our phone-in campaign -- this is a participatory democracy after all! Let our Selangor MB know that the conservation of forest reserves matter to the constituents!

Critical Need To Protect Kuala Langat South Forest Reserve

The Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) Selangor Branch is dismayed to learn of the Selangor Agricultural Development Corporation (PKPS)’s proposal to convert the remaining peat forest in the Kuala Langat South Forest Reserve to oil palm.

Although PKPS in its proposal reported that the aforementioned Forest Reserve does not have valuable hardwoods and consists mostly of trees from the macaranga genus, independent scientific reports note that the Forest Reserve retains a rich diversity of native species, including important commercial trees and notable timber species such as Kempas (Koompasia malaccensis), Meranti Bakau (Shorea rugosa) and Ramin (Gonystylus bancanus), which is listed in CITES. MNS notes that scientists from UKM doing research in Kuala Langat South found that the forest was extremely rich in species, with a high potential for finding insect and animal species that had never before been recorded from Malaysia and some which were entirely new to science. Scientific expeditions in recent weeks further produced evidence of the presence of sunbears and panthers in the Kuala Langat South Forest Reserve.

In addition, peat forests such as Kuala Langat South provide valuable ecological services, such as maintaining freshwater quality, hydrological integrity, and carbon storage and sequestration. The National Conservation Strategy also notes that the Kuala Langat South Forest Reserve plays an important role in flood mitigation. Local and indigenous communities also depend on peatlands for their livelihood. Any human influence on the Kuala Langat South Forest Reserve, therefore, can affect its form and function.

For the above reasons, we urge the Selangor State Government to conserve the Kuala Langat South Forest Reserve for present and future generations.

Selangor Branch Chair
Malaysian Nature Society


1. Click 'attend' on the FB Event Page

Step 1: Spread the news about this campaign. Tag your friends, email them, RT this info, as many as possible.

Step 2: Get ready on 30th Dec 2010, between 10am – 3pm

Step 3: Pick up phone and call the Selangor MB’s office at 03-5544 7013

Step 4: Ask to speak to MB directly, failing which his PA will do.

Step 5: State your support for the protection and conservation of Langat South. Be courteous and encourage the State Government to do the right thing.

Step 6: Hang up and blog about your experience. FB it. Tweet about it. Spread the news!


Proposed scripts for the tongue-tied and busy – but better to make it personal and from your own perspective.


“My name is ____________. I am a concerned citizen. I would like to voice my objection to the proposal to convert the Kuala Langat South Forest Reserve to oil palm. The peat forest has more value standing than being cut down. Please protect the Langat South forest reserve. Our vote for you in the next General Elections depends on how much importance you put on our environment.”

“My name is ____________ and I am a registered voter. I am disappointed that the Selangor State Government is considering converting the Kuala Langat South Forest Reserve to oil palm. Peat forests have more ecological value than oil palm. Please do not let greed take precedence over common sense. We are counting on you to make the right decision — for the rakyat, for the environment, and for Selangor. We demand an answer.”


“Nama saya ______________ dan saya seorang pengundi. Saya dukacita mendengar khabar bahawa kerajaan negeri Selangor merancang untuk meluluskan kegiatan perladangan kelapa sawit di Hutan Simpan Kuala Langat Selatan. Hutan simpan lebih berharga kepada manusia dan alam sekitar berbanding dengan keuntungan ladang sawit. Mengapa kerajaan negeri Selangor hendak memusnahkan khazanah alam kita, sedangkan pada Pilhanraya Umum yang lepas, parti yang sama berjanji akan memelihara alam sekitar? Sebagai warganegara yang bertanggungjawab terhadap alam sekitar, saya menunggu jawapan daripada Kerajaan Negeri.”

“Nama saya ___________________ dan saya seorang anak jati Selangor. Pada mulanya saya percayai bahawa kerajaan negeri Selangor akan mengotakan janjinya untuk memelihara alam sekitar, tetapi sekarang saya hampa mendapat tahu bahawa ada permohonan untuk menanam kelapa sawit di Hutan Simpan Kuala Langat Selatan. Saya mendesak kerajaan negeri Selangor memelihara dan melindungi Hutan Simpan ini. Kami sudah muak dengan kegiatan penebangan dan pemusnahan hutan simpan. Saya menunggu jawapan daripada Kerajaan Negeri.”


Thank you for your support! Let's create awareness on this -- The Langat South Forest Reserve isn't just "all macaranga"! The well-being of animal and human populations depend on the health of our peat forests too!

Friday, 24 December 2010

A Candlelit, Contemplative Christmas

It is Christmas Eve, and I am sitting here in my office drafting reports in order to avoid the bad weather and festive season-induced traffic congestion. The past week has been one filled with tribulations. I am ready to put the crisis behind me, move on and do better. I will not let recent events break my resolve to rescue and help animals in need, and I have faith that this time around, I will do things right and that I have the support of my friends in places high and low.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Weekly Roundup, In Photos:

Due to the unpredictable weather, I have been going to the SPCA animal shelter a little earlier on weekends in order to be able to bathe and tickwash the dogs before it rains. Once it is no longer warm and sunny enough to bathe the dogs, I clean and disinfect the kennels and shelter to help keep the shelter safe, healthy, and clean for the animals, staff, volunteers and visitors alike. In this photo, the dogs at the back of the office are let out to play and exercise while I clean out their enclosures.

The SPCA cats curl up and tuck their feet in under their bodies to keep warm when it rains. I cleaned out their enclosures and laid out thicker layers of newspaper for added insulation to ensure that the cats remained warm and dry. Adoption rates are quite encouraging, especially when it comes to kittens. I have treated Neko for worms, fleas and other possible health issues and returned her to the SPCA to be put up for adoption. Her adoption prospects look good, especially with the coming Christmas weekend.

My department had a Christmas tea party and gift exchange on 17th Dec, before everyone went off on Christmas vacation. I contributed nacho chips and salsa and root beer floats to the potluck.

Santa left me a present! I must have been on the "Nice" list after all!

I attended KLPAC Orchestra and Choir's "A Candlelight Christmas" on 18th Dec 2010 with Alicia, Lynette, John, Adrian, David and Adam. And what a treat it was!

A year ago, I came to KLPAC in December for Handel's Messiah. It feels good to see the spirit of the season at KLPAC each year, with its brightly-lit and decorated Box Office, its tree-lined park and its welcoming, unpretentious feel.

Young and talented members of the orchestra delighted the guests at the lobby of the KL Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC) with traditional Christmas carols.

I have always preferred chamber music, but the Christmas performance may have just tipped the balance in favour of a full orchestra!

A Candlelight Christmas

Hark the Herald Angels Sing!

A teaser for those who missed the 3-day special.

May the festive season bring justice, compassion, truth, acceptance and mindfulness to this troubled world of ours. May those whose livelihoods depend on humanitarian work understand the true meaning of service. May those who are cruel, corrupt, avaricious and hypocritical beware, for their Judgment Day will come. May all animal abusers face divine justice. May those whose motives are kind and pure and who assist those who are needy and weak find success in all their undertakings.

Wishing all my friends and gentle readers a joyous Christmas and a blessed New Year.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

"Cats of Concern" and other news

My office recently saw an increase in roaming cats, mostly pregnant and nursing queens. Some of these are strays, and some are poorly looked after cats from the neighbouring homes. The latter comprises cats that are not being fed or cared for adequately or are abandoned after they are found to be pregnant, so they have wandered into our office in search of food.

On Deepavali Eve, we found a previously friendly mother cat limping back to the office, dragging her kittens by the feet. Someone had cruelly tied the mother cat's feet and kittens together with rubber bands. The mother cat managed to free her feet but not her kittens. The kittens subsequently died, while the mother cat survived but with a badly injured and infected paw. We are unable to catch the mother cat for treatment as she has since become very skittish and mistrustful of humans.

This caused an outrage among animal-loving colleagues, and I offered to bring the cats to the SPCA for neutering and spaying, 1-2 at a time, provided we can raise the funds.

My initial plans were to pay for the spaying myself. However, I suddenly found myself caring for both a dog (Bravo) and a cat (Ebony) with broken hind limbs and spinal injury brought to me by well-meaning friends. The vet bills have run into the thousands, without even taking into account food and miscellaneous expenses.

Taking into consideration the urgency of the matter (i.e. if we don't get the mother cats spayed immediately, they will start reproducing again) I appealed to the goodwill of the SPCA to assist me in spaying/neutering a predetermined number of cats free of charge, e.g. 10 - 20, to help tide me over the next few months until I can afford to pay the spaying fees again, and to send the Inspectors over to speak to the neighbouring homes that are allowing these cats to breed and roam, and to advise the caregivers to neuter the cats.

And so SPCA Selangor very kindly offered to spay the cats for me as a form of community service under Mission Help. Several of my colleagues helped to set up a Feline Rescue, Neutering and Resettlement Initiative to find durable and humane solutions to the problem of cat overpopulation.

An emotional appeal made by my colleague and buddy, Marvin, for our Feline Rescue, Neutering and Resettlement Initiative.

Tibbs was the first cat to be spayed, dewormed and given a flea bath. She is estimated to be 5- 6 months old.

Tuxedo (age: 7 - 8 months) was spayed in early December. Tuxedo and her baby Sylvester (age: 3 months) have both been treated for worms and fleas.

I will offer to pay for Sylvester's neutering in the event he is adopted before he is old enough to be neutered.

Gangster Mama has since been renamed "JD" by my colleague Vilz (a.k.a. The Stig) and has been treated for worms, fleas and ringworm after she was spayed. She has a sweet, loyal and intelligent personality and enjoys human company.

I have put collars on all the cats but have modified standard collars to make them quick-release in the event the collars are caught on anything. All the cats above have been spayed, dewormed and given flea baths. They have been returned to my office for the time being, as I do not think it is humane to keep previously free-roaming, streetwise cats confined in cages for weeks and months on end. They are still looking for good homes, so if you know of anyone who is looking to adopt a cat, please ask them to contact me.

Office mascots, for now!

Project Second Chance and the Feline Rescue, Neutering and Resettlement Initiative are still short on resources and need contributions in the form of cat food, vitamins, deworming syrup, flea shampoo, ringworm shampoo, wound spray and brightly-coloured cat collars. We also need fosterers in the event I have to be away for a weekend or on a work mission. If you are able to help or know anyone who is able to help, please be so kind as to contact me. All help and forms of support are greatly appreciated.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

9th December 2010: Birthday Week

I turned 32 on the 9th. I often observe my birthday on my own by donating blood and doing something beneficial for a worthy cause, such as purchasing much-needed school supplies and groceries for welfare organisations and outreach groups. That Special Someone observes his birthday by distributing parcels of food to the hardcore poor, and I look forward to doing it with him when we are finally together.

This particular birthday was remarkable only in that I received the greatest, most significant gift in my life: A marriage proposal from That Special Someone. It was not the first time we had discussed marriage, but somehow there was a certain weight to this particular proposal which made it all seem so much more real and meaningful somehow. I was on a 2-day work mission at an Immigration Detention Centre in a remote small town, and had been on Skype with That Special Someone at the material time when he proposed to me at midnight. I don't think I could get any happier than this, but I probably will, when we are finally married. I look forward to a lifetime of environmentally-responsible, socially-just adventures with my Special Someone and days filled with animal care commitments, community service and being loved.

Due to the fact that I was on work mission, I was unable to go to the Vihara or carry out any charitable activities on my birthday, and decided to postpone my plans to another day. In retrospect, it was fortuitous that things turned out the way they did, because something happened to someone who was in grave need and is deserving of help, and my contribution was able to help him in some way.

But karma has a funny way of coming back to you, and two days later I received an email from a friend who had been abroad and who had read of my animal rescue efforts. She managed to obtain my bank account number from a mutual friend and made a donation to me for Project Second Chance, and her contribution happened to be in the same amount that I had given to the individual in need of help earlier. What a strange instance of quid pro quo -- I had helped someone who had lost everything, and in return someone else provided help for the animals under my care. I may be destined never to be rich (not because I am bad at managing my finances, but because I give so much away), but I don't think the Divine Being intended me to be poor either. And so I am assured afresh that no matter how little I have, there will always, always be enough to share.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Weekly Roundup, In Photos:

A little sleepyhead at the SPCA -- It was a slow day for adoptions.

My friend Fiza bottle-feeding Puppy after the latter woke up.

This little kitten was crying for her Mama at the SPCA. I brought her home after I had finished my animal care duties for the day and have since treated her for worms, fleas and eye infection. I have named my fostered kitten "Neko" on account of her oriental eyes.

Someone's pet frogs being boarded at the SPCA Bungalow for the week.

Lulu sulking in a box after we removed the rotten old couch.

There isn't any glamour in being an animal rescuer! Your car seats are lined with bin bags and you drive around with pet carriers, an animal First Aid Kit, and pouches of pet food to bait frightened and hungry animals with.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

MNS Volunteer Appreciation Weekend

International Volunteer Day is observed annually on December 5, with the objective of promoting and encouraging volunteerism and as a way of thanking volunteers for their contributions to society.

Why volunteer? As a volunteer with several organisations, I am frequently called upon to speak to youths and new volunteers. Faith groups, youth groups and special interest groups have their own reasons for promoting and advocating volunteer work, but what would impel individuals to invest their time, energy and resources in public interest work that would bring them very few, if any, tangible returns? My arguments in support of volunteering are as follows:
1. Volunteers perform a valuable community service that has economic worth. I have always believed that if governments and public bodies had to pay wages for the service that is rendered by volunteers, the economy could very possibly collapse overnight.
2. Volunteering exposes volunteers to a wide range of experiences, people and situations that they would not usually encounter in their daily work. These experiences help us develop our capacity to cope with crises, difficult and frustrating situations, and learn how to manage time, people and (often very limited) resources to the best of our ability. It also helps develop perseverance, commitment and resilience, qualities that would stand one in good stead in life.
3. Volunteering empowers you to be the difference you want to see.

This year, the Malaysian Nature Society (Selangor Branch) decided to hold a Volunteer Appreciation Weekend at our Environmental Interpretative Centre in Sepang for some of our longest-serving and most active volunteers. Being the biggest branch in the country with a membership of over 2,000 members, Selangor Branch is blessed with a pool of committed, diligent, resourceful and big-hearted volunteers. The Committee therefore decided to invite around 50-60 of our key volunteers for a weekend of camaraderie in the great outdoors.

Our Environmental Interpretative Centre was established on 9th April 2009 with the purpose of monitoring and creating awareness on the conservation of mangroves and river systems.

Volunteers exploring indigenous crafts at the Centre. Note the clever use of natural lighting and ventilation in the building.

At the rate of time we were taking to solve the Mah Meri courtship/matrimonial puzzles, we'd all end up single and celibate.

I organised a Green Living Word Scramble Hunt as an ice-breaking activity. Each volunteer was paired up with volunteers from other Special Interest Groups and sent to search for word clues hidden all over the ladies' hostel.

My fellow volunteers gathered around as I recorded and tabulated the results of the Word Scramble Hunt.

The results of the Word Scramble Hunt were announced and I invited Pasu, our longest-serving volunteer with the greatest number of years in membership, to hand out prizes to the winners. We gave out boxes of Hershey's Kisses and Toblerone bars as prizes.

I distribute blank cards and instruct my friends on the next activity, the Affirmation session.

...We write good things on each other's cards...

... But they won't be able to see their own cards until it's time for everyone to peel their cards off their backs!

And what a lot of happy faces the Affirmation cards created!

I take a walk to the mangrove swamp at the back of the Centre while waiting for tea to be served.

... Gasp! There's someone on the rickety pontoon at the end of the mangrove boardwalk... It's... it's... Oh, it's my favourite set of sisters, Li-Li and Li-Kim! Hello, girls!

Having fun on the rickety pontoon. I have bin bags with me because I was planning on conducting a mangrove cleanup session.

We made a unanimous decision to go down to the Sepang Goldcoast Beach after tea.

Lenny Hassan bought everyone ice cream and I missed the ice cream man by minutes because I was too busy trying to find a parking space for the Battletank.

But Mark reappears with an eagle kite which created a ripple of excitement.

I buy a kite, which I have since dubbed the Rainbow Stealth Fighter, and dash across the beach with it.

... And suddenly nobody minded the drizzle anymore, and nobody wanted to go back to the Centre even after being reminded that there was briyani for dinner.

A briyani dinner is just what we need after 2 hours of flying kites!

We had a post-dinner Sharing Session to allow Special Interest Group Coordinators the opportunity to talk about the challenges faced and their plans and strategies for their groups in future. Here, Stewart shares his views on nature photography and offers his expertise.

The following morning, on International Volunteer Day proper, we were briefed on the itinerary for the day over breakfast.

The Sepang Environmental Interpretative Centre is the joint responsibility of MNS members as well as our Secretariat, so it is important that we help to keep it clean, orderly and welcoming.

I finished weeding my plot and go over to Doc Kana and Gary to help them with the unruly Bird of Paradise plants.

20 saplings were planted in a plot behind the Centre.

Volunteers taking a well-deserved break at the pontoon and boardwalk during low tide after working up a sweat.

It's International Volunteer Day, and we have gifts for all our longest serving and most dedicated volunteers! The gift idea came from Mark, and so the Branch purchased Sea-To-Summit dry packs for all the top volunteers as our way of saying "Thanks For Your Contributions!"

We had a steamboat lunch at the Golden Palm Tree Restaurant at Sepang Goldcoast to end our International Volunteer Day celebrations with a bang.

Happy International Volunteer Day, everyone! Goodbye and Thank You for the Memories!

Further information:
The Environmental Interpretative Centre in Sepang is jointly managed by the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) and Sepang Goldcoast (SGC) and provides many interesting nature-based activities such as river cruises, mangrove guided tours, shell identification, mangrove tree planting, beach clean-up, birdwatching and Orang Asli craft sessions. Ecology programmes available include water monitoring, river/ stream ecology and beach ecology sessions. The Centre is open from 8.30 am to 6.00 pm daily.

Tel : (603) 3142 2748
Fax : (603) 3142 2749
E-mail :

Wordle: GreenLivingMNS