Rabu, 22 Desember 2010


I am all astonishment! thought knew it all until i read this
seems that me being a biologist is years away :)
nature is indeed a mystery

Kamis, 02 September 2010

In the garden, not alone

Pi is the only one in the world I know to have green thumbs. Everything he touches turns green. Here in Pontianak he works the garden at his best: mung beans, cucumbers, string beans, ulam raja (english name of kenikir aka Cosmos caudatus), and so on. He even tends more kinds of hibiscus: roselle grows at their best, producing crimson fruit pods and striking red stalks contrasting to the green background. Pi grows cotton too! Love the yellow flowers.

Pi introduces taro to me. He dug some tubers, peeled and fried some. Tasty it might be yet it burnt my throat! Should’ve marinated them in the brine! Lol

Mi tends her small garden too! She has cincau plant, liang teh plants, some sour leaves with tiny blooms, and some strange plants whose leaves she uses to flavor fish cookings.

I guess they have patience of a farmer :)

Rabu, 18 Agustus 2010

The Trees Nobody Likes

I borrow the title from an NG's article from 1977. Think I've written about mangroves before. But I'd like to write about it again, having clicked this picture from CI's website: beautiful. and what are those things clinging on the roots? just fascinating!

I admire mangroves, their oddities, and strange appearance. an encounter with a very slender snake at mangrove forest on Pulau Untung Jawa was surely memorable. so, i admire these trees--only from a distance :)

Senin, 16 Agustus 2010

Luck be the Lady!

(photo by Lisa Saputra)

Lisa shot the most adorable photo of the week. love the colorings. the ladybug here hitchhikes our bus on the way back from Tanjung Lesung to Jakarta. Even bug needs holiday!

Rabu, 21 Juli 2010

On Taking Chances

One scene in Ocean movie keeps playing in mind every time i think of saline water: lighting crashes, rain falls, it storms. one coconut tree is struck, falls into the sea. Meanwhile, a medium-sized monitor (biawak) rushed to the scene and swims to the fallen trunk, embarking on a journey to an island or a beach or ... to uncertainty.

Think that's why water monitors (Varanus salvator) roam on small islands like ones i've visited in Kepulauan Seribu. Some of these lizards even grows as fat and big as the komodo dragons--ones i had an encounter with at Pulau Rambut.

(Mr. Monitor after morning bath, photo by friend Tetty aka 'tettyyangmotoloch')

Yes, I admire them:  their slender appearance, graceful movement on the land and in the water as well. i admire their skin pattern. bag, camera case, and shoes made out of monitor skin are my wish list... no, kidding! :)

Last weekend at the beach of Pulau Biawak, Indramayu, i stood admiring its residents. The monitors. and all i could do was wowing. They're such incredible reptiles, swimming and walking--and running away--gracefully :)

they took chances and got there. So did I.

PS: I wonder why--for centuries--komodo monitors (V. komodoensis) unlike distant cousins V. salvator, remain landlocked in Komodo Is., Rinca Is, and some smaller islands nearby, and do not take chances. too heavy-bodied? Nature is a big mystery.

Minggu, 18 Juli 2010

The Full Nest

Steffi sent a very eager sms, telling of her discovery: she found a nest full of tiny red eggs. the bird nests 0.5 m above the ground. behind the pots in front of our house. cool! wonder what kind of bird it is.

Twinkle, Twinkle (God's Lamps)

To light up the dark, God switches on his lights....

I love the way Ayu Utami describes light emitting things in the sky in her third novel, Bilangan Fu. She calls them “lampu-lampu Tuhan” or God’s lamps. The stars and the moon.

After being overshadowed by dark clouds all the way to Pulau Biawak* I was glad to see the clear sky, full of stars to gaze at. Although I ain’t a romantic person, it’s fun to guess what constellation is appearing. In the near complete darkness it is beautiful to see some things lit up the sky. Although it lasted only an hour, I was satisfied to find the Scorpion before the dark cloud painted the sky.

And there under the lone mangrove tree by the pier, I saw planktons lit the water by blinking. It looked like someone was igniting match in the water. If the rig lamps were unlit, the planktons would set the beach twinkling in the midnight!

On the way home, the sky was dark blue. I was knocked down by seasickness. I fell asleep, rocked by the strong waves. Then I woke up to the smell of rotting fish. I knew the boat was entering the estuary.

Up above my head, I saw dark clouds fading. The moon started appearing, like a silver coin. Slowly, I could see it forming. Half moon. But to my surprise, it sent a strong light, forming the biggest halo I’ve ever seen. The river was lit by the moon. It was the only ‘lamp’ (the boatman hadn’t even fix the battery-torch) yet strong enough to see the forms on terra firma.

I sat up and saw, at left and right I saw lines of trees and thickets of bush. Fireflies lit them up, almost like fairy lamps light up christmas trees. I’ve never seen fireflies that numerous! When I was small, I used to see fireflies in the garden, on passionfruit vines, and caught some. It’d been long since the last time I saw a firefly!

I was relieved to see lamps, meaning the port was near. But there I stood on the boat, admiring the moon and every single twinkle of fireflies. God’s lamps.

* Indramayu, West Java,

Kamis, 15 Juli 2010

Stamp Your Trees

Stamp your trees or make sure they got certified.

When buddy Ocha brought up this topic, i was in complete darkness: To reduce illegal logging and deforestation (one of Indonesia's major problems in environment), European countries have banned uncertified woods and papers from entering Europe. Tree growers and loggers and paper mills will have to need to register their products in the name of sustainability.

the concept is imho similar to Fair Trade Certification: ensuring reclamation, good compensation, no underage workers etc.

Good move given that Indonesia is a leading wood producing countries and--sadly--is also a country who is losing hundreds of kilometer square of jungle per day due to illegal logging.

i hope the implementation is also nationwide. if the illegal loggers can't sell any to Europe, perhaps they will turn to other continents or worst: local market...

("it's not time to worry yet" hey, i heard someone says that. Atticus!)

think i should call a friend. She bought a piece of land and covered the ground with young sengons*:
"Ms. Wacana, get your seedlings registered now! Then sell them to Europe and get rich!" :)

* Paraserianthes falcataria

Rabu, 14 Juli 2010

The Flowers & the Trees

Les fleurs et les arbres,
Les bronzes, les marbres,
Les ors, les émaux,
La mer, les fontaines,
Les monts et les plaines
Consolent nos maux.

Nature éternelle,
Tu semble plus belle
Au sein des douleurs!
Et l'art nous domine,
Sa flamme illumine
Le rire et les pleurs.

Les fleurs et les arbres always reminds me of how nice it is to sing of nature. it was 2001 and i really wanted to pass the audition of 'mature' smaller choir of Paragita UI. they only chose old students or alumni. back then i was sad.

but then i was happy to listen to them sing this at a concert in Erasmus Huis. it was nice to listen to a nice choir singing.

and as for the song itself, written by Camille Saint Saens, i just came to know the meaning not long ago. simple yet lovely.

The flowers and trees,
The bronzes, the marbles,
The gold, the enamels,
The sea, the fountains,
The mountains and the plains

Console our unfortunes
The Eternal nature,
You seem more beautifulin pain!
And the art above us,
Its flame illuminates
Laughter and tears

Sabtu, 03 Juli 2010

A Very Green Act

since its initial release in 1997, i never watched Batman & Robin until last night on TV. moi, it's very corny and funny. in a scene where Batgirl Alicia Silverstone duelled with Poison Ivy in Ivy's home-lab. all the plants looked artificial and plastic.

and i exploded when Batgirl said this to Ivy, "You're about to become compost!"

a very green act(ion), indeed, lol!

Jumat, 02 Juli 2010

Vegetal & Animal@Gunung Gede

Wallace mentioned Gede Pangrango more than twice in his book. I tried to climb Gunung Gede twice. on the last attempt last weekend, friends and i finally made it to the summit. all the way, i saw so many astonishing and rich vegetation and animals. i even saw a silvery monkey (owa jawa) eating leaves, snails, birds, and flowering plants. all in their perfect forms that i felt i should call it--quoting Wallace's term--"luxuriance"! i felt so happy!

Jumat, 18 Juni 2010

Breakfast Salad, Unlikely

Hendra spotted it. Miss Pundung nearly jumped off the chair. i've never seen scarab so beautiful and mahogany like this! he took a good grip on the rattan chair. I tried to persuade him to move on the leaf. Here he was, sitting pretty.

Taman Safari

Kamis, 10 Juni 2010

naturally, A Selection

It's a nice website telling the journey of Charles Robert Darwin. it must have been an exciting and challenging journey.Any scientists or researchers need asssistant? email me :)

Selasa, 08 Juni 2010

Late Late Bloomer!

Rafflesias are curious things. six times visiting Kebun raya Bogor, I only got the chance to see it once and it was fading.

Last week Sulis smsed me, saying that no-blooming-for-more-than-80-yrs Rafflesia patma blooms for two days. ocha sent me the pic. the salmon colored flower indeed looks attractive! (photo by Koen Setyawan)

Feeling Vine

artistic vines@Kebun Raya Bogor


highly artistic pine seed

Senin, 07 Juni 2010


these three trees grow side by side by the lake at UI. i'm amazed at how they manage to have "personal space". perhaps they chose not to compete for sunlight. how sweet!

Selasa, 01 Juni 2010


L'oceans, L'oceans .... comme les autres planetes...

the narrator's voice (guess it's Jacques Perrin's) cast the spell on me and the images sent me deep diving in the oceans. Love the movie. as grandiose as the scenes are, the music is. lovely. 
it was worth waiting and watching. 

the species are fabulous. most of them are new to my eyes. it features one species from Lembeh waters, Manado, Indonesia, which is the flamboyant squid (Metasepia pfefferi), so graceful! i could only mutter wow's to every scene. the tech was so cool and advanced that i could  hear even the faintest flip of the fins. incredible!

one scene touched me the most was: it was storming, and the lightning struck, a coco tree fell to the water. a monitor rushed to the scene and--unexpectedly--jumped on it and set sail on the fallen tree, drifting to uncertainty....

(this isn't my favorite poster from the site yet i know its message is: don't panick in the water)

and the "tangled" scene was bloody and even seeing the slender, mutilated  shark fell helpless to the seafloor could reduce anyone to tears....

the oceans are mysterious universes whose glimpses and riches are yet to be explored--by moi!

Rabu, 05 Mei 2010

Swimming with sharks

(in Tulamben; photo: thedivingdugongers)

X: "what did you see there?"
S: a school of jack, countless clowns, fans, parrots, and some beautiful rays.
X: "Too bad you din see any sharks no?"
S: mind you, rays are related to them, buddy.

Selasa, 04 Mei 2010

Qorina's Corner

Ria Qorina Lubis. This friendly lady dives and promotes sustainability. She snaps nice pictures. I came to know her pics when i read DiveDiscovery last march. love her pics!

not only shooting, she also sweats to identify the species. no wonder that one dive site in Ambon is named after her.

Let's Eat some Lions!

Once I resumed my snorkeling when i saw a lionfish in the size of a volleyball in Kiluan Bay, Lampung. I was afraid of the spines. Such terrible beauty. I am just glad that after that, each encounter didn't make me freaked out. my fear of it has turned into respect, I guess, for I admire them.

now having read an article in The Jakata post suggesting that--terrible as it may look--this fish is edible, i am ever curious. The scientists in Florida urge people to consume them. the spiny fish was once an accidentally introduced species circa 1992. now they've become pests, preying on other sea species.

To prepare the fish, all i need to do is to disarm the spines--just like when harvesting sea urchins aka bulu babi.

hmmm wonder what this candy-colored fish tastes like :)

(photo: thedivingdugongers)

Senin, 26 April 2010

Roaaaar!! When Dinosaur Rules the Amusement Park

plant eating dino at Taman Kyai Langgeng, Magelang, (Paskhoi 2010 s Ade)

Red Hue

tree, seaside, Tulamben

His Eye Is on the Emprit Haji

(v Renon Ploshad, courtesy of Rosa Widiyarini)

Been long since the last time I saw emprit haji (white headed finches). like them

What's the Story?

Morning glories; v Tulambene

Oh Deer!

Menjangan Island is all about curiosity. Last February, friends and I failed to reached the island and it was about time that finally buddies and I made it to its walls (spending only like 5 minutes on the dry land!)

Despite the name (menjangan is deer), I only saw one female. but it's OK. wondered how they arrived there. DM Wayan said, menjangans come to and fro mainland Bali and to the solitary island for they are avid swimmer. they cross the 1 km strait to find food and mates. how cool is that!

(left: Bali Island, right: Menjangan Island; courtesy of Ricka Ristianti)

The island itself looks like a solid gigantic coral and the vegetation thrives on that solid, white rock. cool!

(think i see the ladder up to the temple; courtsey of Ricka Ristianti)

(that wondrous rocky edge of the island; courtesy of Triadi Sena)

That Alfred Russell Wallace Moment

Everyone is a scientist in their own right. And when we saw this exotic insect in Tulamben, we admired and immortalized it (not with some chemicals and pin for sure). Just felt that we felt the eureka-moment-of-joy Mr. Wallace had had felt!

(from left: courtesy of Rosa Widiyarini, moi, Ricka Ristianti)

Kamis, 08 April 2010

Roaring finch

this is funny. from the very moment i opened the photo i sensed something wrong and it took a scroll down to the gotcha moment: April Mop!

science can be fun

Minggu, 21 Februari 2010

Tea Time!

i know moths and butterflies suck nectar. just don't know that they also like tea!

last night after watching Teater Koma's Sin Jin Kwie (it was 00.15), i agreed to sit and have tea with Rahma, Mada and Iie. Tea in beer glass as usual. I stirred the long tsp to dissolve sugar and then i put it on the table, "sunny side up".

Minutes later flew a moth: brown, ugly, hairy. uninteresting. It walked toward the tsp and then putting his long tongue to the bowl of the spoon.

There was virtually no liquid in the spoon. but it put its tongue there and stood for like five minutes. perhaps it was sipping traces of the sweet liquid.

then Iie took a spoonful and pour it into the spoon.

the moth stood motionless. i thought the warm liquid must have burnt its tongue. So i blew it gently...the moth flipped its wings repeatedly, never to leave the spoon. it turned out that it was sucking the sweet tea and seemed enjoying the spoonful!

Jumat, 19 Februari 2010

Swarovski Studded Squid

I "came across" Tony Wu's blog while "diving" (not surfing) on the internet. he's a keen UW photographer. a lucky photographer. he's so passionate abt marine life.

Lovely Grass that Is Rice

This rice, planted to complement the view of this one particular restaurant in Bandung. Sad. This rice will not fill anyone's stomach. they're purely ornamental....

Serumpun Padi(by R. Maladi)

Serumpun padi tumbuh di sawah
Hijau menguning daunnya
Tumbuh di sawah penuh berlumpur
Di pangkuan ibu pertiwi
Serumpun jiwa suci
Hidupnya nista abadi
Serumpun padi mengandung janji
Harapan ibu pertiwi

Out of the Dead Wood

spring this colony yellow beauties (Sumedang, 3 Jan 2010)

Morus Pocus (the Joy Mulberry Brings)

love mulberries. nothing beats the joy of sticking purple tongue at friends and laugh together. this morus tree I saw at warung Stroberi (?) in highlands off Bandung brought me back to Lawang. There near Polaman lived a family. The father worked the land best. the small boy i was had to walk slowly 10 m from the gates to the door for he eyed the mulberries. he would act nice so they would let him and friends climb the bush. his daughters was friends of ours. it was routine until i was about 10. everytime i passed their house i remembered them.

I'd climb the wall near Frateran back in SMPK to pick the bright deep red and deep purple berries. i knew exactly what Eve felt when she saw the forbidden fruit tree!

happy i am everytime i pick the berries!

Remorse of The Remoras

one thing i noticed when i saw the pool of beige sharks and colorful sea creatures on that "Bandeng Island": remoras!
how they arrived at the tank is one question. did the fishermen caught them with their "hosts" (sharks and mantas or other marine mammals)?

The inhabitant of the pool have a distinctive look: their pad-like, sucker-like organ. they're as big as the beige sharks, the biggest species in the tank. i bet they're in the state of frustration, trying to find new hosts. or can they be independent?

Sabtu, 13 Februari 2010

Butterfly lovers

Last week when i went to that shop for groceries, it played a traditional Chinese music over the speakers. I thought, oh next week is Chinese new year! that's why.

It took me a minute to recognise what song: Butterfly Lovers Concerto! It was a version i never heard. Before, I only knew Vanessa-Mae's version: an orchestra backing her solo violin. It's one of my fav piece of orchestral music.

Then I remember Fiona ever mentioned this: Butterfly Lovers? That's Sampek Engtay!
Ah really? So I, as always, consulted Wikipedia: It's about a boy met girl. A Romeo, a Juliet. They were Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai. In our dialect, they became Sampek Engtay.

I checked this video. this vid is cool. amazing. it makes me think of how a hundred legs become six and a wingless body become winged. that's the wonder of fasting, eh?

Selasa, 09 Februari 2010

Is it Possible?

is it possible to save our biodiversity?

Copenhagen, I Love You

Just watched NYIOU for the second time. Yeah, the first time I did the movie gone out and made a lot of scratching noise and it happened on the kinotheather :)

so when I read this article, it's about time that every city in the world gets its long awaited I Love You (I think of Paris Je T'aime).

The results of Copenhagen.

Senin, 08 Februari 2010

No Cooking Rice

Wow! think i can bring it for camping. I'll be boiling a litre of water. when it boils, i will pour it for my coffee and then the remaining will go for the rice. The meal is ready!

here's the good news from AP: Scientists invent rice that doesn't need cooking

Mon Feb 8, 6:29AM PT - AP 2:10 |
Agricultural scientists in India say they have developed a variety of rice that requires no cooking and can be eaten simply after being soaked in water. (8 Feb 2010)

Selasa, 02 Februari 2010

Crab love

(photo courtesy of Maria Gode)

Crabs always bemuse me. i always have pleasant 'encounters' with them: fiddle crabs in Sanur, burrowing crabs in Banyuwangi, a mimicry crab in Sanur and Semak Daun, armored crab in Ujung Kulon, yummy crabs Mami cooked for me, and a white, palm-sized white crab that bit my toe last December. The latter might not be pleasant but it’s okay. It looked funny.

Last week I returned to Semak Daun for the second time since 2006. I spotted a green crab on the pier (I suspect there are more and more species I can discover on the island) And its legs are hairy.

I called it opal-shelled crab. Maria named it army crab. well, I agreed with her :)

Jumat, 29 Januari 2010

what's up DOC?

this morn i remembered some story that warms my heart and reduced my headache:

Papi and I went to Malang. he routed the streets to fetch some black dyes/tints (for printing the Api Menyala magazine perhaps) and then I remember we went to Chinatown.
there i saw a room full of very big and tall aluminum tubes. I was amazed by the sound inside: small chickens chirping. they were day old chicks! yello, fluffy chirping things!

next: story about Pak Hadi, Cik Milka, the fastest growing chickens i ever saw, and Sharon

Sabtu, 16 Januari 2010

First Song of Magicicadas

Zzrrrrt zrrrrt zrrrrt zzzzrrrrrrt
Zzzzrrrt zrrrt rrrt rrrrt

I am in your village
to be exact beyond it
I am about to cross there

I lift up my eyes to the sky
and level them to the thatched roof
among sugar cane leaves
beyond this green revine
there where happy i've always been

and I can feel my heart's at ease
for there I know you are for me awaitin'

the ravine is wide and deep
i am walking in the path
where all have walked before
so too have the cattle, ducks and buffalos

the beige and slender sticks of bamboos
dance in a stange movement

the music is even more strange
to my ears for i am a lowland man

it goes zzrrt zrrrt zrrrt zrrrt
like millions of schoolmates putting their index finger
in front of their mouths and they pout
and hiss: sssst ssst ssst

it tickles my ears
it's the first song of the monsoon

Jumat, 15 Januari 2010


This is a story of young mosquito, YM
call him Young
or like his enemy do, call him M

M is relaxing on the stick of a broom
in front of my room

The floor I look at
feel I need to sweep it
dirty it is, that's why

not aware of the presence M
I take the broom
to the bones, it startles M

as you can see
petit, almost black he is
him I can hardly notice

he flies, above the floor, 70 cm
now I am aware of him

He flaps lacey, untrained wings
he's doing maneuvres
in short flight
and returns, landing on the stick upright

as you can see
that's Y!
he's doing mimicry
that's why
him I can hadly see

Petit, almost black he is
his lacelike wings make me smile
for they're tiny, fragile

I decide to hit M
then hum the Requiem

Minggu, 10 Januari 2010


just want to say, I admire its flower. Last November I happened to see it for the first time in life. Beautiful! photo courtesy of Enti Nuridah

Selasa, 05 Januari 2010


i enjoyed the movie and really thrilled to see the creatures there in Pandora.
beautiful renderings!

think they're all hybrids of what we have today: a wolf with monkey feet, a spirit with jellyfish body and dandelion parachute, a humanlike creature with wild cat face and frog skin.
beautiful in their own ways.

the music, i notice the music, it sounds much like that of Ennio Morricone's The Mission