A Week Without Camera

28 Apr 2015 – Appreciations For Pix From Others

Mon: bought an I-Discovery Uni-App Charger S$45 and learning how to use both the charger and this inherited Nikon S70 – a touch-screen affair is touchy and NOT my forte! Will give it a try until I get another hand-me down Canon. PixCredits to I-Discovery and Nikon sites.


Dear cousin Amy in CA/USA. Thank you for this amazing postcard. Having fun with it like a kid – flipping it at different angles to see the effects. Yeah the camera works but I am not getting it quite right!

AlalamNewsAlalam News

These beautiful images reminded me of orchid shows where and when I tired to set up similar motif but due to the lack of budget and orchids they never turned out like these!


No longer helping with set-ups of any shows or publications, just admiring and enjoying them. PixCredits to various sites for these peacock flower set-ups.


Bringing back fond memories of the first and best SIN Orchid Festival at SBG in 2003. (ie personal rating from me as a member of The Orchid Society of South East Asia/OSSEA then).

Given 2 boxes of orchids, an attempt to set up a humble & modest peacock with Fred (no other helping hands!) in HKG&Taiwan 2004 Orchid Show.


Also involved in the publication of the Malayan Orchid Review/MOR for a nearly decade and still with minimum knowledge of orchids then and now 🙂


Vanda Miss Joaquim/卓锦万代兰/卓錦萬代蘭 – also known as the SIN Orchid and the Princess Aloha Orchid is a hybrid orchid cultivar that is SIN national flower. For its resilience and year round blooming quality, it was chosen on 15Apr 1981 to represent SIN uniqueness and hybrid culture. PixCredits to various sites.


10360841_10153350865433081_3407912922993057991_nA rose can say I love you
Orchids can enthrall
But a weed bouquet in a chubby fist,
Yes, that says it all…

Thank you May for the lovely Olai pix. This is how feel when I think of Linn, May & their families – ie I feel it in my fingers and toes 🙂



Appreciations to KK for bringing the 2books of the Iceland pix. Tkx to Peggy&Ian for these books and memorable shots. Experimenting with the Nikon S70 camera for OSSEA, MOR and Iceland books pix…

Tue: trying to keep to the brighter and more cheerful moments in the midst of the sad news with the drowning of migrants in the Mediterranean, Chile’s volcano eruption, Nepal’s earthquake, rapes, executions, and the list goes on. No pix needed for such depressing scenes.


New places to visit when I get back from US and Norway are the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum.


The National Gallery and LCKNH Museum PixCredits to various sites.


A Decade Ago

26 Apr 2015 – Does Not Seem That Long Ago…


PixCredits and updates thanks to MoFo, Pokey, HiHills and Loon who are now on the AT. Looking forwarding to catching up with them sometime between May-Jun.


Would be nice to be a trail and Trillum Angel, but without the 8 pockets red-vest 🙂 PixCredits to Loon taken 23 May 2005 somewhere between Roan Mt – Dennis Cove NC/TN.

Thu: morning at Mt E. Needed the afternoon to sort out the mess with unpacking and repacking for the US. Still no camera but will update post with pix when I get one! Just staying in the AC apt to chill and rest, My times are completely upside down but will be heading for the US soon. Not too bothered about napping whenever the need is there!

7bec47f4e2_192x272_377b42e82bFri: The Longest Ride****Elderly widower Ira  recollects his memories of his late wife and their life together as she appears to him, while a few miles away, college student Sophia finds unexpected love through Luke, a cowboy who is also a bull-rider…

A fairy tale ending with attractive young casts and a feel good movie!

c24d06382f_192x272_ecad7fec67While We Were Young***Josh and Cornelia, a married couple in their mid-forties who do not have any children, start to feel left out after realizing that their other friends are already having children.

A young hipster couple Jamie and Darby catch their attention and get reminded of what it’s like to be young again…

Sat: checked out cameras at Challenger with Clement but did not buy any yet as I might inherit one. Was looking at some kitchen appliances which could be quite useful, but was put off by the staff there. Will write in to complain about that! Tkx for Clement’s patience and for food.


It poured cats and dogs both Fri & Sat afternoons and felt nice and cool after the rains.

_82566881_nepal_earthquake_624_82566884_tower-betterPixCredits BBC

Saddened by Nepal’s earthquake with death toll over 1,000. SIN prepares to send 55-man search-and-rescue team to Nepal. Prayers and thoughts out to all who are affected by this.


Sun: tkx for dinner Les&Ivy and for the Nikon CoolPix S70 camera. Need to get a battery charger and figure how to use it.

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Reflections On Brunei & Miri

23 Apr 2015 – Goodbye Brunei, Miri And Camera

1484391_10206698330647610_2923328305463009820_n11169857_10206511542096256_1495993201870984810_nPixCredits Linn

Tue: congratulations to my first born for completing the Boston Marathon and beating her 2014 time by nearly 10mins. Good job Linn, so proud of her.


Headed off to Miri and was there by noon. Checked into the Kingsely Hotel, decent clean room with bathroom attached – good deal S$58. The ceiling shower felt like refreshing tropical rains and the best shower I have experienced. Good afternoon snooze. Was told by LuLu that the receptionist told her that he did not think I was in the room when she called. Lulu told him to just put the call thru’. Now how difficult it is to put a call thru’???  PixCredits KingsleyHotel.


IMG_8561My camera decided to run away between the cake shop and the Esplanade Beach  🙁 (PixCredits VariousSites) Thank goodness all pix were loaded to hard disk.

Anyway it is time for a new camera as there is a piece of S-shaped dust stuck in-between the lenses and sometimes one can see it clearly and it is rather annoying!!!

Tkx to Lulu for a great evening and pix credits to her.


Sunset at Canada Hill. We were trying to get to the Cafe for dinner but at the looks of it, I think that place has packed up for good!


‘The Sky Garden’ alfresco dinning 17th floor Meritz Hotel. Best Satay I have tasted and even better with the moon smiling on us…


Night scenes in Miri.


Like many places in the world, the social consciousness with maintenance of the environment are still lacking. Being a visitor to these places, will only show the pix of the best sides but does not mean that I am not aware of the other sides but choose not to dwell on them.


Magnificent as those mosques are in Brunei, I just cannot help thinking how this extravagance including the life-style of the royal family could have been used for the people and the nation for education, environment and health. The consequences of total power is usually total corruption.


Others might think that there is charm and soul to these scenes. Panoramic pix credits to Leonard. Personally it is nice for a short holiday, but preference of places where education, environment and medical top the priorities are places where I will stay a little longer, like these 10 countries.

150421094517-09-happiest-countries-new-zealand-2015-exlarge-169150421095105-10-happiest-countries-australia-2015-super-169PixCredits CNN


Appreciate a good and constructive relevant dialog here, especially with one from UK, the other from S America – coincidentally Liz and Brian spent their childhood years in SIN. Makes it more interesting and less subjective. Tkx Liz and Brain for their comments.

Liz O’Regan/UK: interesting that most of them are Northern cold countries.

Me: less populated and more space.

Brian Hadfield/S America: I do not think that this accurate it is a snapshot of more Westernised countries another survey voted colombia as the happiest country in the World but who knows how they do this.I do see with all my travels that generally the countries that still have a bit of their culture remaining are more content which just goes to show that democracy is not the always the best way

150421090124-04-happiest-countries-norway-2015-restricted-super-169150421084617-02-happiest-countries-iceland-2015-restricted-super-169PixCredits CNN

Me: all these statistics etc are relative. This is the only list that I have been to all the countries listed and having lived in Norway, I am of course bias and subjective about the Nordic countries…

the-next-chapter-1-470x264Wed: appreciations to LuLu for getting me to the airport and for breakfast – the Kolo Mee was disappointing. Everything on schedule with AirAsia, safe and sound back in SIN and looking forward to buying a new camera.

Goodbye Brunei

21 Apr 2015 – Boston Marathon


Sun: beautiful sunset from the coast of Brunei out to the S China Sea. Goodnight sun. The real thing looks better and the beauty of nature can sometimes move one to tears…


Appreciations to Husna, Nidzam and Yashreen for sharing their time and food. Nidzam was home for the weekend and bought back a bunch of food from a wedding and some home-made kelupis (glutinous rice rolls) attended. The tumpi were crispy and flaky, nice plain without any sauce.


Yashreen’s parents brought enough bananas to feed an army. They have a banana farm with 7 different varieties and the 3 – Kapas, Saba and Amas were plenty. And the Minions Banana Song to go with these tummy and sweet bananas… 🙂



IMG_9024Was attracted to this colourful dessert – bought some to taste and they are good, but I am sure all the colouring is not that healthy for the body. Crispy cones (similar to CNY Love-Letters) filled with chocolate.

No did not buy this bag of frozen mixed veg but it did get my attention 🙂 Preferred the local fresh veg, especially the wild kind from the jungle which I did not get much of as the farmers’ market was only opened on certain days…


Mon: blessed with 3 horn-bills enjoying their view and I am also soaking in the green jungle before heading back to the concrete jungle…


Sunset at the farm and the colours are different but just as mesmerizing as yesterday’s sunset by the sea. Somehow the sunsets and the colours of the sky here are quite breath-taking and it is never the same.


Leonard taking care of garbage and nothing goes to waste as the ashes will be used as fertilizer. Relaxing at the end of the day with Nidzam and Yashreen looking into the gender of some fighting fish…


Thank you Leonard for putting me up and putting up with me the past 2 weeks. Being back to the basic and with nature does a world of good mentally and physically. Looking forward to hearing and seeing the progress of Adeela.


As I say goodnight here, Linn started her run at the 119th Boston Marathon 1050hrs Boston time. Hope that she will PR (3:42:04 was her time for 2014 Boston Marathon) and a safe run to her. Olai is cheering her on in Norway and I will cheer her into the finish line in my dreams unless I wake up after 0200hrs!


Adeela Concept

19 April 2015 – Moving And Still Life

Sat & Sun: a blissful weekend at the farm observing life in all forms and shapes, reflecting on thoughts from the past week…


Domesticated life


Wild life



Beautiful and colourful still life in lush green surroundings with a nice shady spot for the car where I can vision a tree-house there in the future 🙂

adeela - Copy - CopyIMG_9012


Quite amazing looking at the ariel view to learn that the whole farm (10+aces) was virgin jungle a year ago. Denis & Leonard cleared it, setting up the farm and living quarters (blue roof area) with minimal machinery and a few helpers to just pour concrete for the flooring in this unbearable heat. Total admiration and respect to them as I sit under the shade by a powerful fan hoping that cool words are not burnt in the fried brains…


The Adeela Concept has much potentials combining a sea-bass hatchery, and nursery for the students from the fishery and agricultural school as attachments. Eventually a full fish farm will be the result when the ponds are ready to sustain the mature fish. The teething period is always painful but that too shall pass…


Nidzam and Yashreen are here on attachment and so far they are attentive, cooperative and willing to ask questions – good signs. Also they are eating whatever I cook, another better sign 🙂 Training and disciplining them to learn the daily chores and responsibilities of other life than their own and also to handle the mundane monotony of cleaning tanks and feeding fish. Time will tell when the novelty wears out…


Plans and visions are to build some shelters by the ponds and the Danau River. Sometimes visions will have to wait as the priority has to be the reality! More important for now is to set up a reputable sea-bass hatchery and nursery to cover cost and preferably with some profits for improving the facilities. Focus on the present to give future its turn when the time is right to move on.


With Leonard running this place, there is no doubt that things will move forward in good time. Disadvantage is that this country is packed with bureaucracies and red-tapes!! Good luck and may the Force be with all who are involved here at Adeela – a just and worthy concept to pursue.



Provision stalls and eateries within 5-15mins walk from the farm.

Sight is about what lies right in front of us. Vision is what lies ahead – TH Church

Bandar Seri Begawan

17 Apr 2015 – Brunei’s Capital

Thu: Yashreen, one of the attachments had to make a presentation at school in town. Took the opportunity to see a bit of the capital, app 70km and an hour drive on the highway from the farm.

These 2 mosque were on my list to see.


Jame’Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque locally known as the Kiarong Mosque, built in 1992 and is Brunei’s largest mosque is to celebrate the 25th year of the current sultan’s reign.


I wonder how many tons of marble is used for the entrance stairs and the 30+outdoor benches??


A mosque that is indescribable! The architecture is amazing! There are 29 gold domes, all of 24K gold-plated! Boy, do they ever shine in the sun! The fence posts are 18k gold. The fountains are beautiful.


The long hall to hold shoes is unbelievable. If you go, ladies must have a scarf for her head. No shorts. Pix not allowed indoors.


Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque is an Islamic mosque, considered as one of the most beautiful mosques in the Asia Pacific, a major landmark and a tourist attraction of Brunei.


Built in an artificial lagoon on the banks of the Brunei River at Kampong Ayer – the ‘village in the water. The mosque has marble minarets and golden domes, a courtyard and is surrounded by a large number of trees and floral gardens. A marble bridge leads to a structure in the lagoon meant as a replica of a 16th Century Sultan Bolkiah Mahligai Barge.


The barge itself was completed in 1967 to commemorate the 1,400th anniversary of Nuzul Al-Quran and was used to stage the Quran reading competitions.


Kampong Ayer, or the Water Village is situated over Brunei Bay. 39,000 people live in there, roughly ten percent of the nation’s total population. All of the Water Village buildings are constructed on stilts above the Brunei River.


Not much time to take pix, just these 2 random shots by the mosques.


Fri: found this beautiful bug dead outside my bedroom door Mallotus Harlequin Bug Cantao parentum, commonly known as Jewel Bug.


Tkx for the visit Kay (an English teacher here) and a pleasure to meet her. Way to go Nidzam and Yashreen for a good demonstration to the guest.

61By action life may become both paradise and hell;
This creature of dust in its nature is neither of light nor of fire.

Brunei Kuih/Kuey/Kueh

15 Apr 2015 – For The Sweet Tooth…



Tue: 5-10mins drive to the mouth of the Danau River on one side and the S China Sea on the other side. Oil-rigs could be seen from a distance but was too early for sunset shots. Sad to see litter and garbage all around.


Tkx for the drive, Nidzam and Yashreen



Wed: Pumba the tom-cat was waiting for me outside my bedroom to ride with him this morning. To his disappointment, I went for a solo walk around the farm.


Kuih (also spelled Indonesian: kue, Hokkien/Teochew: kueh or kway; from the Hokkien: 粿 koé) are bite-sized snack or dessert foods commonly found in this area. Kuih is a fairly broad term which may include items that would be called cakes, cookies, dumplings, pudding, biscuit, or pastries in English and are usually made from rice or glutinous rice. Kuih stall in Brunei and kueh stall in Miri.

Tkx to Husna for the 4 varieties of kuih for breakfast this morning.

Kuih Lenggang: these green Spring roll-looking literally means Wiggle cake! It’s a pandan crepe filled with sweet dessicated coconut

Cucur Ubi: deep-fried shredded sweet potato.

Egg tart: on the rich side and the filling is more eggy.

Blueberry tart: similar to the Western ones.


Leonard bought these a few nights ago and always fun to taste new food.

Kuih Penyaram or kuih UFO! main ingredients rice & corn flour, coconut milk, palm sugar/gula melaka known in Malaysia, but here in Brunei it is call gula anau.

Kuih Denderam: sweet snack resembles a mini doughnut but is made from palm sugar.


Not easy here with daily cleaning and feeding. Leonard and the crew hard at work and deserve a good rest at the end of the day.



Sunset and starlight from the farm – Mother Nature at her best. Starlight pix credit to Leonard.


The Grand Old Lady

14 Apr 2015 – And A Grandmother!



Sat: emptying garbage at the dumpster and saw this man taking pix near by. Decided to ask what he was taking pix of was blessed to meet an ex-teacher who showed me where these amazing wild pitcher plants are growing. The one by the flower is Gracilis. The others from left: Rafflesiana, Nepenthes gracilis, Nepenthes rafflesiana and Nepenthes hookeriana. Tkx to YZ Siaw for the names.

Grocery shopping in Tutong. There is this fantastic market/function center before you get into Tutong when we were and only a few stalls were open. Justin had a bowl of mee soto – nothing to really write home about! We were hoping for some kind of farmers’ market so that we do not have to go into Tutong – but no such luck. Was later told by the locals that this is a Thu market!!!


Still had to go into the grocery stalls for our produce passing by the bus which was making a toilet-stop from Brunei’s capital Bandar Seri Begawan heading to Miri. Took a pix of this guy trying out some exercise chair store, and no, the general population do not usually dress like him 🙂


Delightful alfresco dinning to welcome the principal of the school Zai who sent the 2 attachments and to NurAnne who is involved in the agricultural and fishery department in Brunei. Appreciations to Leonard for the yummy sea-bass and to NurAnne and Zai&family for prawns, fish balls, cheese cake and satay. A great time was had by all.



Sun: on the road bright and early back to Miri for Justin to catch his flight in time. Justin’s mom has a green fingers. Custard apples, passion fruits, buah dongdong, chillies and longans. Tkx to TingTing for some of the names to these.


An early breakfast of Kolo mee at Merryland cafe again. The Sunday market was quite something where one could almost find all kind of wild produce and meat! Being me, I could not resist the hand-made basket.


The ginger were attractively presented that I had to take a pix, even when it is common to most of us! My favourite fern, midin and bought some rosette to make tea. The red colour is bright and beautiful and I like the refreshing sour and tart taste. Made 1litre and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Drank the whole bottle and had to make toilet-calls twice, but thank goodness I fall back to sleep easily. The locals use rosette to make jelly and jam but add tons of sugar!


Amazing bougainvillea up the tree at the Vistors’ Information Centre. First sighting with such an elaborate round-about! Miri Handicraft Centre with horn bill wall mural.



Situated on top of Canada Hill, the Grand Old Lady is the first oil well in Malaysia with a good view of Miri



The Petroleum Museum with no AC and it was way too stuffy to be inside, especially when there was such a lovely breeze outside on Canada Hill.


Miri City Fan, a unique fan-shaped (when viewed from the air) 10.4-hectare (26-acre) park in the heart of the city.


The Lian Hua San Temple is one of the more worthwhile places to visit which is reputedly the largest Taoist temple in SE Asia. The newly-not quite completed Buddhist temple has 2 giant dragons at the entrance – 海龙寺 literally means ‘Sea Dragon Temple’ costing RM1.6 million in the making; with the pair of majestic dragons (108 ft long x 30 ft in height) costing RM500K. Upon completion in July 2015, they will be the most expensive and biggest ‘dragons’ in Malaysia!! Tkx to LuLu for the info.


The Miri laksa is good but my favourite is still the KCH laksa. Tkx to Lulu for being such an excellent tourist guide. Would not have seen much of Miri if not for her.



Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends – Maya Angelou

Chicken Or The Egg

10 Apr 2015 – Does Not Really Matter, I Will Eat Both 🙂


Thu: tank cleaning instructions by Leo  to Nidzam and Yashreen who are on attachment here. These young men are lucky to have Leo, my computer guru as their instructor. When he can teach someone like me to do what I can do online, then he must be a good teacher!


Fri: lovely view from my bedroom window this Fri morning. Fri being Jumu’ah صلاة الجمعة for the Muslims – their prayers seem extra long and loud over the speakers!

The moment I wake up
Before I put on my makeup
I say a little prayer for you… – Bacharach


Simpoh Air, Shrubby Dillenia, common wild jungle plant with large leafs and yellow flowers. The flowers open at 3 am and last only a day. The ripe fruit splits open also the same time into pinkish star-shaped segments. The plant blooms from age 3-4 and can live for 50-100 years! Sends out very deep tap roots to reach underground water sources. The tree is used to detect water as it always grows near water.

The special thing about this useful plant is that the leaves can be used to wrap food and can also be used by tailor birds to make nests. Also used to staunch bleeding wounds and the fruit pulp may be used to wash the hair…


Healthy farm life with lush greenery. Melastoma malabathricum with purple flowers opening in the morning for 1day. The seeds stain the mouth when eaten, and is sweet and slightly astringent. The leaves and roots are used in traditional treatments of diarrhoea and dysentery. Powdered leafs may be sprinkled over wounds, roots used for a mouthwash for toothache. It is even used to treat elephants! The fruits may also be used to obtain a black dye, while the ashes of the plant is used to fix dyes.


Acacia mangium is a species of flowering tree in the pea family. Just love those pods and used to collect them when they were dried. Spray-painted them for jewellery and decorations. First time now encountering a fresh greens pods. So beautiful. Appreciations to Bian for the names of these delightful local wild plants.


Fresh eggs and chicken for our meals. Memories of childhood when we had our own chicken coop. Thank goodness I remembered that the chicken had to be blanched in hot water making the feathers easier to be removed…


One of the chickens was bullied by the others before this coop was ready. Tried to rescue it but the poor thing did not survived. Would have preferred to have her eggs than her meat. Leonard chopped the head off to drain the blood.

Some humour with eggs since I am eating them nearly daily 🙂


A Fish Story

9 Apr 2015 – Asian Sea-bass

Wed: Calcalifer (Bloch) is commonly called the sea-bass or giant sea perch. It has been cultured in Southeast Asia for 10+yrs. Rough est as I have been informed –  out of the 1mil eggs laid by the female fish, the hatching rate is up to 70%. The lave stage follows lasting app 3-4week.


Sea-bass fry and fingerlings should be reared in concrete or fiberglass tanks up to the size 2.5 cms or 1 inch, takes roughly up to a month. The survival rate for the nursery period would be 60 to 80%, depending on feeding, aquatic environmental conditions and the expertise of the fish farmers.


Another month and the fry are ready to be sold to other fish farmers who will then raise them for the consumption market. Not easy to take pix of a shoal of them at this stage as they are easily frightened and can swim really fast! At present in this location they are only doing the hatchery and nursery. The farming part will be included with time.


Today a fish with an infection in the eye was taken care of but sadly we lost some mature fish, app 32″ 7kg. Poor fish were  splashing away last night during a change of water – old age and under stress conditions are not good combinations. The first day for some young students here on attachment to learn about this stage of the sea-bass’s journey.



Thu: an early morning walk to the main highway, app 900steps from the hatchery.


The morning  traffic was heavy with all the commuters heading to work! The mosque had their prayers on the loud-speakers at 04.30hrs. Have been warned, thus sleeping with ear-plugs and so far have not been wakened by them but do hear the loudspeakers going 4times the rest of the day! Another life time ago, I have questioned as to why they are unable to worship discreetly and quietly and today I am still wondering why?? At the junction of the of the main highway and Jalan Keramut Telisais is the nearest convenience store from Adeela عدیلہ نام = noble in Arabic/Urdu


Delightful tree with a swing made from an old tyre and a hammock. Felt like a kid again and wanted to go on them, but of course feeling and wanting to do so may not be a good idea. Alas if this is the result of age and wisdom – I might want to be otherwise 🙂


Found this cicada lying on its back with red ants crawling around. Thought that it was dead but to discover on turning it around, was still alive. The question, do I leave nature to take its course? But it was on the concrete and not in nature. Moved it back to Mother Nature for her to decide it’s fate. Lived at the foothills of Mt Faber, Temenggong Rd/SIN in the 1950s and have heard their sounds thru’out childhood. Only today did I meet with a cicada whose sounds have been such a comfort to me.

Japanese haiku poets found something morose in the sound, an omen of the cicada’s short adult life. In the cicada’s cry, … no sign can foretell how soon it must die – Matsuö Basho