Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Deutsche's Welcome - 23 Oct 2012

"Eye of the Sky" exhibition at the brand new complex of German-Malaysia Institute in Kajang. 

The exhibition consisted of 18 high-resolution images showing the transformation of the natural landscapes on earth. Kids were all ears when the host explained these images to them. These images were taken by modern satellites, capturing data digitally on a continuous basis, therefore helping to paint a detailed picture of the actual condition on earth. For example, they could identify the health of forests, reveal how much cities have encroached into the natural environment, display elevation profiles, ocean currents, glacier movements etc. 

A picture could speak a thousand words. Must be true cos the kids were so active asking so many questions  on the images. 

Following the exhibition, we were brought to two galleries showcasing the projects by the GMI students.

This modified Angklung attracted most attention from the younger kids. It's a musical instrument made of bamboo tubes atached to a bamboo frame, originated from Indonesia.

Some innovative inventions for the process instrumentation & control and manufacturing fields.

After an exposure to so many new and technical stuff, the kids could unwind with more fun activities. We were so grateful it was all arranged courtesy of the GMI hosts/students.

The kids were taught the German alphabets and how to sing a birthday song in German. But most memorable was the storytelling session in both German and English languages of the story "Hansel & Gretel".

The hosts were very generous and presented some souvenirs and a "Schultüte" (or school cone or sugar bag) to each kid. It's a tradition in Germany, when children set off for their first day in school, their parents will present them with a big cone decorated and filled with toys, sweets and other goodies, the cone that's as tall as the height of the child. It's given to make the children's first day at school a little bit sweeter.

Children were all smiles with their lovely GMI hosts/students

Here's one for the camera! "Danke"

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Close Encounter 2 @ K.Selangor - 20 Oct 2012

We stopped by Malawati Hill which was near to Kuala Selangor Nature Park to take a look at the silver leaf monkeys. We have to take a tram to go up the hill (on weekends and public holidays only). Even at the waiting area for the tram, we saw those silver leaf monkeys mingling freely with the visitors. 

A bit of local history on Malawati Hill.  A fort was built for defence on the hill, facing the Strait of Malacca and has a commanding view of the mangroves below and further out, the coastline and open sea. Not much was left of the fort today, except for some foundation stones and walls, a lighthouse, the famous seven wells and Dutch made cannons after its invasion. The environment was nice with many old and big rain trees dotting the hill.

The silvery monkeys have punk hair style, their babies have orange fur but after about 4 months, the fur will change to silvery grey like the others. 

The locals claimed that these monkeys were safe to play with and "friendly" - they would help themselves to your bags and climb all over you for food. They're very sharp and it's easy to lure them with food. There're many vendors around selling food for the monkeys. If you have nothing in hands and no bags, then these monkeys would ignore you. Watch out for the other common species - the long tailed macaques cos these were more aggressive and not to be provoked.

Starting to warm up......... at first the boys stayed a distance from the monkeys but it's hard not to get close cos they're lovable (if not too many of them)

Without warning, one of them hopped on to Wei..... but he stayed very calm. Would be a different ending if it climbed on me!

Monkeys in the silhouette

Nathan, one of the pioneer vendors in Malawati Hill. He's very friendly and not pushy like most vendors there. He told us there were more than 800 silver leaf monkeys on the hill. They love to eat - anything - but most vendors have bundles of long beans for them. Next to the food, we noticed that most of the vendors placed toys like lion, tiger or snake to scare away the silver leaf monkeys. Without these toys, the monkeys would snatch the food away. We tried this on the monkeys and it really worked!! Guess these monkeys were not as smart as we thought...

To the visitors, all the monkeys looked alike. But Nathan could tell each monkey by its face. Tis were some of his favourite companions and he's very generous to feed them with food too. At his command, some of these monkeys which he called by names, would perform some tricks. There was this only monkey who could kiss his face and bite his finger. Another one who was not afraid of the toys that were meant to scare them away, and was even willing to kiss the toy lion or snake. And my favourite was 'Motorbike' (bottom far right pix) - that it would only sit on the sidestand of the bike and would refuse anything less than a bundle of long beans.

Thanks to these monkeys - the kids really had a good time with them.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Close Encounter @ K.Selangor - 20 Oct 2012

The Festival of Wings is initiated by the Malaysian Nature Society and it has gathered bird watchers and nature lovers alike for over a decade to Kuala Selangor wetlands. 

The beginning of the nature trail, which could be comfortably completed in 2.5 hours, but we've an express 'walk & run' in slightly over 1.5 hours - just in time to catch the river cruise. 

The view of the wetland from the watchtower.

Our guide, Li Ping who's a volunteer, explaining to us the man-made bund separating the mangrove forest in order to prevent the seawater from going inland

Can you spot the bulbul bird?

Can you spot the collared kingfisher?

Spotted only a heron and 2 honey buzzard eagles from the watchtower. 
Bottom 1st & 2nd pix: Tis is the vivipary from the mangrove tree, ie the young plant within the seed that grows first to break through the seed coat, then out of the fruit wall while still attached to the parent plant. They came in a variety of shapes and sizes, like long rods, balls, cigars or beans.

The mangrove breathing roots... mangrove trees breathe differently from most other plants.

Fascinated by the colours of  the fiddler crabs on the mud at low tide. These crabs got their name because of the oversized claw, which is fiddle-shaped! The male has the oversized claw to attract a mate and fight rivals.

Interesting combination of bluish to reddish specie?

The blue-turquoise fiddler crab. Their burrowing activities eg picking up the sediment and sifting them play an important role for the ecosystem.

The elevated boardwalk from the coastal bund to the seaward edge of the mangroves gave us a close up view of the creatures on the mud flat. First time we saw mud skippers everywhere - big and small. 
Bottom (left): We were told later that it's the droppings of civet, which could be made into the exotic expensive coffee Luwak.

On our way to Sasaran, a small and quiet fishing village nearby, for the river cruise. We saw tis masterpieces left behind from the Sasaran International Arts Festival 2011. 

Going to the boat for the river cruise. Low tide was the best time to see the birds because they would come down for the feeding. 

We're blessed with great sunny weather - wished we had brought the caps and sunblock.....

 High rise abode but no lift provided!

This stance must have inspired some kung fu moves....

A bountiful bird-watching feast indeed...

Kuala Selangor is an important stop over points for the migrating waders from the far north. It's not only watching the hundreds of birds that were fascinating. There were also various species, waterbirds to the migrating waders to raptors including the Brahminy kites, honey buzzard eagles, egrets, herons, storks (burung botak), redshanks, sandpipers and many more which we have no idea the species. It's simply magical and addictive to watch them swooping down the occasional prey and flapping wings as they fly in and out together.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Little Doctor in the House - 15 Oct 2012

Pretend Play: I set up this invitation in June. It's still very new to Brandon, but he liked to draw the wounds on the soft toys and make up illnesses or injury.

A day at the Doctor's office..... and his patients looked like in dire condition.

Doctor examining his patients

Brandon was really into pretend play - stitching back the head of Charlie.

Happy customers POST treatment. He was proud learning how to make an arm sling, and even I was not spared to be his patient.

In the beginning, I think he enjoyed billing and collecting money from his patients the most. After the initial few invitations to Doctor Play, he didn't touch his doctor kit for months. We left it as it was. Recently, he told us he wanted to play again. After we've observed he was more comfortable with the play, we set up a more challenging invitation for him!

A Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery!!

He watched the procedure in animation form on YouTube (what would we do without the internet!). Next, we decided which toy gotta be sacrificed for the procedure... Basically the patient was given the anaesthetic and a vein was harvested from the leg for the grafting. Prior to this I have hidden the heart  and vein inside the respective parts in Charlie. He was really enjoying it!!

A temporary oxygen machine whilst doctor was working on the heart and the graft...

The graft to create a new pathway for blood to flow to the heart was a SUCCESS! Now we have a healthy Charlie Brown brimming with happiness.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Getting Your Hands Dirty - 14 Oct 2012

At the PlayGarden. Brandon didn't like messy play and preferred to be clean. It's easier to convince him when he's playing with friends.

Enjoying the sand pit, especially so with friends....

Kids playing in a sandbox. They dug in sand, sifted it, built with it, poured it, pretended with it, explored it to get their hands dirty.

Food colouring fun

Unlimited ways to explore the colours.... another good place to play with colours is in the bathroom.

Colours and ice blocks??

...became the cool Star Wars Coloursabers!

Treasure hunting wasn't just for pirates! A fun adventure to send kids searching for treasure. Cracking up to solve riddles and getting their hands dirty to find the 'buried' clues.


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