Kamis, 27 November 2008

On the Line with The Conservationist

Mr Jatna was about to withdraw himself from the crowd. it was fun to see someone ushered him back to the stage. to a group of SMU students he talked of how males in animal kingdom "beautify" themselves to attract females.

i agree with him. males can be as bling as peacocks. (It reminds me of an old mag article, "Meraknya Boy George", back to the Hamid Rusdi days.)

I was glad to meet him in person two weeks ago at an event for honoring the achievements of Darwin's correspondent, Russell Wallace. Jatna Supriatna, PhD. of Conservation International Indonesia, an executive director r& egional VP for Indonesia is himself a recent Habibie Award 2008 laureate .

That he agreed to talk to me on the phone made me happy, even after I mumbled "for my blog".

He talked of his recent discovery at Danau Tempe (where a Loch Ness monster-like creature is rumored to reside): new "kind" of monkeys. "....once again, it's females that made journey to find males." The hybrid macacas have characteristic of small size (smaller than parents) and webbed feet. anomaly no? that's interesting. He talked of lesser or lost genes that reappeared.

Is this evolution?
"I haven't concluded yet. It can be a mere adaptation, a modification, or evolution."

Adaptation. Modification. Never heard of these before!

Hearing this, I felt like, I'm still thee hundreds credits away to get my degree in science. Many a time I just made ooh, ahh responses. (very unscientific ha? lol)

"That's the wonder of nature's lab," he concluded.

nature's lab. how cool is that!

to be honest, I din understand many of his descriptions but it was nice of him to share knowledge.

To my surprise, the primatologist's first book was on poisonous snakes of Indonesia (published in 1981). creepy!

He: "Ever heard of flying snakes?"
Me: uhm-uhm.
He: "I often find them whenever I go to the jungle. when i sleep on my hammock, they often take refuge inside my body."
Me: how could you escape alive? or not get bitten.
He: "well, they're gentle creatures. if we aint afraid of them, they wont bite."
Me: gentle? How do they know we're afraid of them?
He: "If we're afraid of them, we release 'hormone of fear'. They'll become defensive when they smell this particular hormone."

Later he told me of the relevance of studying animals and everyday life. And also about primates' "office politic" i din know it exists hahahaha

a cool scientist he is!

Rabu, 26 November 2008

Bay Dolphin

I was thrilled when reading the itinerary. We must do dolphin watching, i said to Cika and Anast and those people agreed. So we rose very early, despite the fact we barely arrived like 5 hours before.

Soon as the catamaran hit the calm water, i took the role as captain. or watchman? because i frequently sought direction in the boatman's face. if he raised his chin and turning left, it means south. like that.

Twenty minutes later, we spotted a school of dolphin. exciting! very cool. I leapt from the seat. So did the other boats. They leapt to the school's direction. Can you imagine? Scary no?

We four people asked the boatman to slow down the catamaran and go to calm water. Miraculously, the dolphins reappeared. This time to everyone's satisfaction. It leaped like twice and swam with fin above the water surface.

Very kewl! I guessed they've got used to people and boats that they chose to play around and "greet" them.

Koi Boy

metropolitan koi (Senopati area, 2007)

I hadn't seen him for about 6 years, so i was excited to see him. But before kak Sam greeted me on the gate, Roy, who i never knew, almost leapt on me. Surprisingly this German shepherd din bark. my hands were received warmly with eager grunts. He was a gift from a local police, so i say that Roy was a retired cop. Good boy.

Four days of holiday turned into four days of labor. To be exact, it was a labor of love. hahaha

To see hundreds of fish in large cement tanks was awesome. colorful and active. Very cool. Kois, goldfish, and 'invisible' gouramis. More surprising, i arrived at tank-cleaning-week.

Oom couldn't be happier with my staying there. Thus i was employed by oom Alex. For him i was like a Godsend because he had like 10 large tanks. He spared only the baptism tank for the namesake's purpose. The lichen scrubbing was exhausting but it seemed kak Sam had got used to the rhythm there. Working was his daily exercise. He got muscled in the tanks and gardens--not in a gym room haha

Equipped with plastic brush, wire brush, and syringe, I dipped into the biggest tank to catch the big kois. "Careful, careful! They're easily distressed!" said oom. More distressed was i who knew not the hows. That day i also learnt how to spot the gold: kois with unique "spots" sold better.

Tante Hwa seemed to see a fatigue face and a low spirit, so she served the best food of her gardens--and tanks. (in the afternoon, i learnt that exhausted kois could die easily of rough or wrong handling. They went straight to the frying pan). In my wildest dream I never know kois were edible. Tante deep fried them and served with steamed vegetables and fiery sambal. The slimy carps (kois) however can't beat the taste of fellow common carps aka mujahir.

What made my staying there 'worthwhile' was something in a container. I was indulging myself with homemade wine. they made wine out of fruity parts of cashew nuts! Oom was a genius.

Last July or eight years later, i remembered the tanks and asked kak Sam. "Ah, they're for gouramis," he said. Eight years before, I asked kak sam: Why din your pa allow me to scrub the gourami tanks?

"Ah they love lichens," kak Sam said. "The greener the water, the better."

I love gouramis

High Tea

They're never as high as their cousin Camelia is. But both produce sweet smelling flowers. Kak Sam can drain a two-litre-stainless-steel glass full of oolong tea in just minutes. Ani makes it regularly, perhaps twice a day. And Becki falls in love with a tasteless popular tea. Anyway, I love teas

Rabu, 12 November 2008


whence the color term cometh

I was happy to find this plant in the morning when i did the sunrise seeing on Tengger
beautiful, no?

Renate said that she discovered the plant on Dieng Plateau--much like what she had back home.
"Fuchsie, you know." Ah, yes.

These brighly colored blooms made my day
love 'em