Sunday, 27 July 2008

Help preserve our marine life forms

Within a month's time, i have been travelling to Tioman twice. The first time was to help a friend in her Master's research and the other time, was to carry out reef check. The last dive i did was in February. Surprisingly, within approx 5 mth's time, everything in Tioman had changed. The corals are seriously in stress due to the heavy construction along the beach. For the first time in my life, I'd seen serious bleaching of corals in depth less than 2m. To some people, this is just normal. But as for a diver, and as a person interested in corals research, i find that this phenomena is a sign that the environment is seriously changing.

Bleaching, is an event where the zooxanthellae inside corals are expelled and the corals starting to loose their natural colours turning white, just like the two pics shown top right and left (i try to briefly explain in the layman's language). Bleaching in Tioman has gone serious, with even the most robust of them all are also bleached. The only factor that may be involved or in relation with bleaching event is water temperature. The water temp for last few months have been increasing based on recorded data from a reliable source. No many people know that although with an increase of 1 degree of celsius, is already providing stress to the corals. Corals can actually be the indicator to the changes in the environment as they are very sensitive to slight changes. They are also very fragile. Some corals, would only grow bout 2 cm a year (imagine now how long a big coral have been living).

One big problem to corals in Malaysia is that not many issues and phenomena have been recorded or documented. Even that, the development that have been taking place, will always 'forget' the importance of marine life forms. For bleaching event, as far as we know, the last event was in 1998. Therefore, i hope that snorkellers, and leisure divers, would report to the authorities of any bleaching event (either Marine Parks, or any universities in Malaysia, UM, UKM, UMT or UMS). This small report would help to enhance the conservation movement around Malaysia. We can see improvements (just improvement, but still more to do) however but unfortunately, these were focused on terrestrial organisms. Many are not aware of the marine ecosystem is equally important or i would say play more important role than the terrestrial ecosystem.

Development are important, but think again, withou
t the natural resources, will there be development? Isn't it time for all human being (especially business minded people - and i do really mean it) to stop being selfish and try to save the world. Some will go "oh my gosh, that's horrible!" and then do nothing. Small contribution is better than no contribution at all. Development will create heavy sedimentation to the seawater (refer pic on the right, the view is being blocked by sediments), and that will reduce the light received by corals. Even small particles can reflect light, what more sediments. What's the point of development, when they will destroy the environment? Its a fact that the world doesn't belong to us, but to the future generations. What we do today, may be harmful for our children. Stop being selfish, some would even think what's more important to them now, rather than the future.

Let us all pray that the corals that are facing this massive bleaching event, will be able to recover. Another information to share is that although bleaching is a catastrophe, but they are not dead yet. Corals have the ability to recover when the water temp begin to cool, where the zooxanthellae will be able to get back into the corals. This recovery event is like chasing the time. If corals are bleached for too long, they will eventually die, or when algae grows faster than the recovery rate, that's the end for the corals.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Za'ba Champs again!

"7th college....power! 7th college...power! 7th college..power,power,power!. Za'ba power..yah! Za'ba power..yah! Za'ba power..yah,yah,yah!" - Those were the days...when i was the cheers leader for orientation week in UM (also known as Minggu Haluansiswa, MHS). When i first came in to Za'ba, i never expect to end my journey of college (not college in institutions, but residential college) in such a high note. The first responsibility given, unexpectedly was the cheers leader. I have never expected that coming, but nevertheless, i liked it (i meant i like cheers, not being cheers leader). Until today, the atmosphere of cheering in Dewan Tunku Canselor, still fresh in my mind.

A year before my MHS, Za'ba college emerged as champion of cheering competition (year 2004). Michael Ng, who was my mentor and the cheers leader for the year 2004, lead the team to champions. However, during my time, in 2005 we only managed as first runner up. I was disappointed myself, but it was an enjoyable moment for me. I was determined the next year I will be back to help regain the title by becoming Pembantu Mahasiswa (PM) to help our juniors to regain the title. Joseph, Fairus and Sanjivi were the cheers leaders that time. It was a different feeling then, being the one to guide the leaders instead of leading. However, luck wasn't on our side again. For the second time, we were in second place. The year after that, 2006, Za'ba finally lost its touch. There wasn't any placing for us. No one knows exactly where went wrong. No one knows. But the cheers leader that year, managed to bring back the glory, the trophy, this year, when he and his team guided the freshies to emerged as champions!..Bravo! Guess i was the bad charm for Za'ba...a year before i enter, we won...a year later after i finished, we won again. But the years that i was in Za'ba, we didn't win. Amazing, huh?...well, maybe i'm a bad luck for Za'ba.

Cheers competition, is a common thing in UM, and it has become a tradition in UM. No other uni in msia have the tradition that we do. This cheers tradition doesn't just stop at MHS, bt will be carried along all the way until the next year, and the year after...and so on. Even until now, it's in my blood. The rivalry between colleges doesn't just end after MHS, instead it will be carried on for years. But it's a healthy rivalry, bcoz from these rivalry, we get to know each other...just like the rivalry between MU and Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal. It goes on and on and on. In return, it makes the residents of that college becomes closer and have a strong relationship to the college (not all lar of course, some nerds wont ever feel the love to the college, but to the books instead). It builds a strong teamwork, communication skills and leadership as leading the team wasn't easy, and i'm not saying a team of 40 or 50...but 400 to 500. It was a challenge to all the leaders. It was a challenge to the team as well, for 400 to 500 people to be able to follow one's instruction and signal.

The situation is like in the battle scenes in Lord of The Rings, at Helms Deep and at Minas Tirith. The teams are eagerly to attack each other, and to defend themselves. Waiting for the command from the general, one shout, or even one hand signal, the war begins. The crowd in DTC will roar till walls shook, heart beat increased and blood pumped like waterfall. During my year, the best scene i'll never forget, was during the sports event...the horn was blown, and almost 400 of us, who were hiding under a tent, behind one big banner...ran out like soldiers ramming into war, just like the scene at Helms Deep, where Gandalf brought the Rohirrims to the rescue during the first light in the morning. We roared like dragons and ran thru the whole field, carrying banners (these banners are really damn big) as if we are really in war. The best scene for me a year after that, was the last day, when our college was split into two on the first floor, left and right of DTC. It was a difficult position becoz both sides are facing each other, and the leader cant be seen clearly. However, the strategy i planned worked out in the end, amazingly, both sides were very synchronized in their movement, and their cheeers, stunned the whole crowd watching us from below! These were the best moment which i'll never forget.

Looking back at the video now, i looked like sum crazy, hyperactive guy cheering like monkey. But when come to think of it, it was really fun and will never be forgotten in my campus life, in UM. I hope i can still feel the atmosphere just like in a stadium roaring when their team scored last gasp winning goal in soccer...during my convo this 7th of Aug. Well done Za'ba...once a Za'bahan, always a Za'bahan.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Do we change the world, or just change ourselves?

"He wanted to change the world, so he work very hard, do what ever he can to change the world. But after many years, he found that wow, it's very difficult to do it. So he decided to just change the people around him. He tried for so many years, but still didn't worked. Towards the end of his life, he finally realized that what he should do, is just to change himself instead of anything else." - This was a short story by a friend on a guy who has a big but kind hearted ambition. It was interesting talking to him on this matter. I also realized that in watever we do, we should first change ourselves rather than changing others. It's not the matter of difficulty, but it's a matter who would take the first step. In life, the biggest enemy is ourselves, not the ppl in front of us. The person who takes the first step to change him/herself is already making a first move to change the world. Life now, especially as a Malaysian is even more difficult than it used to be.

I used to enjoy playing outdoor traditional games with my friends, specially from different races...such guli (marbles in english), tarik upih, gasing (top spinning), konda kondi and my favourite is the galah panjang (picture shown on the left, taken from Kampung Boy by LAT). But now, how many of us still play this? some have not even heard of it before especially the younger generation these days. The Malaysia i've wished for is not goin to happen if the mindset of majority still remains the same. I used to enjoy seeing my friends playing soccer, with different races, different backgrounds, together as a team (i also play lar...but not a good footballer). Even sumtimes when i go back PD, i do play soccer with my friends, and never in my mind they were of different races. But as I grew older, i tend to meet ppl that are very racists. I realised that the government are being biased towards certain race. Is race very important? Ppl said that chinese are the strongest race (and seriously, some chinese believed they are). Is that really true? I'm a chinese and i dun feel that i'm good. There's stil alot more to learn. The malays will feel that they are always being bullied becoz the chinese dominate the economy. Think again, there are rich malays, and poor chinese. How bout indians, then? If it wasn't bcoz of them, our transportation wouldn't have survived. Well what ever it is, the problem is in us, ourselves.

Galah panjang, one of the old skools traditional games (picture taken from

Konda kondi, another traditional but forgotten game (picture taken from Kampung Boy by LAT)

I watched Hotel Rwanda (is a good movie, i reckon everyone to watch this...this movie was banned in Malaysia). I was so touched with Paul Rusasebangia (the main character in the movie), where he changed himself from being selfish and wanted to just save his family, to saving the ppl who seeks help from him. By doing that, he changed the people around him and in the end, he managed to change the whole world's perception. If a small country like Rwanda can do that, why can't malaysia? How many of us realised the race problem becomes more serious? That shouldn't be the question to ask. The one question we should ask ourselves and everyone else around us, if u realise this, what did u do? Demonstration like some oppositions do? Deny like the governments?...I felt that we should start telling our children, our family, there's no difference in it malay, chinese, indians or any other ethnics...we are one, truly Malaysian, share the same red blood, share the same no of chromosomes and share the same ancestors, evolved to be Homo sapiens. We don have to have big ambitions, but if every one of us, start to change ourselves, believe me, a miracle will happen. Let's us all that are born as malaysian, live as malaysian and die as malaysian...not as malay, chinese or indian solely.

Thank kew 4 sarpoting ah, come again oh!


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