Sunday, 30 November 2008

South China Sea Conference 2008 - A step closer to protect the marine ecosystems

For the past week, I was away attending an international conference, South China Sea Conference organised by UM, together with MOSTI (Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovative) and MSMS (Malaysia Society of Marine Sciences). This conference is one step closer in creating transboundary and collaboration to protect one of the most diverse ecosystem, the South China Sea. It was held in Hyatt Regency, Kuantan from 25th til 28th November 2008.

I attended this conference with two mindsets...
1st: to present my work on corals on a poster.
2nd: to get more knowledge in scientific value on how to conserve the large marine ecosystem.

Expert scientists and researchers all over the world. From left: Ms Li Jianwei (China), Dr. Fadli Syamsudin (Indonesia), Dr. Tan Koh Siang (Singapore), Prof. Dr. Phan Siew Moi (UM), Dr. Kenneth Sherman (US), Prof. Vo Si Tuan (Vietnam), Dr. Koch Savath (Cambodia) and Abraham Sakili (the Phillipines).

This conference is big, as it was attended by bigshots around the world involved in marine protection, such as Dr. Kenneth Sherman (US), Director of National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, Dr. Vo Si Tuan (Vietnam), COBSEA project, Dr. Tan Koh Siang (Singapore), Dr. Yasuwo Fukuyo, Prof Phang Siew Moi (UM), Director of Institute of Ocean and Earth Sciences and etc from all over the world including China, UK, US, the Phillipines, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea. I was proud to have joined this conference as I get to know what efforts have been made to protect marine ecosystem in this region.

I was excited as I get to present my poster in an international conference. It's an important value for a researcher as the more scientific paper published, the higher reputation you'll get. This is a start for me, as I had my poster presented. To add further excitement, there were competition for the best poster presentation. My team, including my well respected supervisor and only expert in Malaysian corals (I reckon so) Mr. Affendi Yang Amri, Badrul Huzaimi, Nikoo Cheheltani, Munira, Poh Leem, Jia Jie, Kok Wei, Faedz (didn't attend) had posters and oral presentation during that conference. And the great news is, our team won 2 out of 3 winners in poster presentation. Mr Affendi, and myself....both winning the biological category. It was my first time winning an award in an international conference (the first i attended as well)...and guess what, the judges are from overseas, so it shows that our work are on par with other U in the world.

My poster: Effect of Jetty Pillar Orientation on Scleractinian Corals

1st pic: That's me and my supervisor, Mr Affendi. 2nd pic: Posing with Mr. Affendi's poster, one of the winner of best poster awards.


Explaining to one of the judges, Prof Dang from Vietnam


En Ismail, National Coordinator for the Large Marine Ecosystem project


Prof Dr. Gareth Jones (UK) listening to my presentation on my work.

I hope that after this conference, more of the scientists in the world will collaborate with each other to share data and protect the world's largest ecosystem, the marine ecosystem. I hope one day, I'll be able to get involved actively in protecting this fragile ecosystem.


I would also like to acknowlegde Mr. Affendi, Prof Chong, my family and siblings, my project mates, my housemates and a very important person in my life, Kuan Ching...in winning the best poster award. Thanks to all of ur support and assistance. I wouldnt have gotten the award if it wasn't because of all of you!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Oceanarium in Mabul - is it worth it?


I was shock to read the news in The Star few days ago, that there was a plan to build an oceanarium in Pulau Mabul. I personally feel that this idea is not just stupid but its worthless. The money use to build this oceanarium could have been used for a long term conservation. It was reported that a Japanese company would join venture to build so-called 'eco-friendly' building concept. Although the Japanese are very good with these eco-friendly projects, this is nothing but a project that will fail the environment.

It is also reported that the EIA have not been obtained, but this is not the point. Being an graduate in Ecology and Biodversity, and also a SCUBA diver, I know that the EIA report will not be able to stop these culprits from getting this project done. This is because, from my experience, after the original EIA report have been done, these culprits will alter and change the report accordingly before handing it to the authorities. Some of the suggestions in EIA report will not be followed but will be changed to suit their projects.

As a person who have personal interest in coral reef system, I find that building an oceanarium will not create more income in tourism. Foreign tourists came to Malaysia to see the originality and natural environment. If this oceanarium is being built, we will be wasting millions of ringgit. Some would be wasted on building the oceanarium, some would be losses due to the drop of tourists because more corals are being destroyed. Only a fool would believe, that corals can still be preserved while this project is on going. Corals are slow growing organisms, it took billions of years to reach such massive system. Moreover, Malaysia lies in the coral triangle, and Sabah being in the centre of the triangle. Coral triangle is where the highest coral diversity in the world is found. How can a country, with such high diversity, allow such projects to be approved? It shouldn't be in the plan at all! I have dived in Lahad Datu, somewhere near Sipadan island, and the corals there are already amazing. What more in Mabul and Sipadan?

I understand that development is important. We cant run away from it. However, development is necessary when it helps to reduce the burden of people. But this project, doesn't seem to make any difference in people's lifestyle. Infact it will disrupt the income of those who are depending on corals in Mabul. Some fishermen have already been doing damage to corals with illegal fishing, fish bombing, muro ami and etc. Now, with such a big project, the whole reef system in Mabul will be destroyed. Let us all put our hands together, and stop this nonsense from these selfish developers who only think of their profits.

"The earth belongs to our children, not our ancestors. It's time for us to return the earth back to them"

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Eddie's Wedding: The Mixed Malaysian Culture Detailed Story

On 6th Nov, the biggest day of my beloved and only brother, Eddie Lau, (now known as Fahim Lau) as he would wed his beloved Arnida Arsam. Their wedding is simply special, because they had a three day wedding celebration with a mixed ceremony of the Malay and Chinese culture.
The wedding started with a Malay culture of akad nikah and bersanding on the first day, at Arnida's house. I was involved directly as i'm Eddie's best man. It was started with sending the hantaran, where my cousins all the way from NZ were among the few to carry the hantarans. The akad nikah went well, Eddie managed to continued get thru the akad nikah just once. Both the bride and groom, looked gorgeous and stunningly attractive.
They looked even more matching and attractive when they came out with new set of clothes for bersanding. Then my family especially, managed to experience 'merenjis' for the very first time. 'Merenjis' is done by sprinkling water and placing flower petals on the hands of the bride and groom. It is done to bless the married couple.
The wedding is continued with Chinese tea ceremony the next day. According to the chinese custom, we can't see the bride and groom face to face before they enter the house...so all of us, immediate family stayed in the house right til my bro and his wife step into the house. Then we also experience kid jumping and rolling on the groom's bed...believing that it will bring children to the couple. The ceremony continued with tea ceremony..."cam cha" to the elderly.
The last day, was the lunch reception. It was held at Community Centre in Bukit Damansara. It was a nice place and had a nice setup. The entourage of the couple arrived in a very grand manner, followed by kompang beats at the back. The couple and their immediate family had the honour of having lunch on high table, making them feeling like king n queen (That's where the Raja Sehari phrase comes from i guess, haha).
Being his brother, its a once in a lifetime experience to get involved in the ceremony. My family, have been waiting for such a long time for this moment to arrive. I would expected this day soon, however, not that soon. But nevertheless, I felt so happy and excited for my brother, as he has proven that pure Malaysian culture still lives on. A culture where Malay and Chinese were put together in on occasion. This should be the ideal concept for Malaysian not only today, but for as long as Malaysia exists. Never had i thought my family would practise the true Malaysian spirit...

*frustrated coz cant upload photo,duno what's the prob*

Friday, 7 November 2008

Eddie's Wedding - The Mixed Malaysian Culture

6 Nov - Akad Nikah and Bersanding

7 Nov - Tea Ceremony

8 Nov - Lunch Reception

On 6th Nov, the biggest day of my beloved and only brother, Eddie Lau, now known as Fahim Lau as he would wed his beloved Arnida Arsam. The wedding started with a Malay culture of akad nikah and bersanding on the first day, continued with a Chinese tea ceremony the next day. Being his brother, its a once in a lifetime experience to get involved in the ceremony. My family, have been waiting for such a long time for this moment to arrive. I would expected this day soon, however, not that soon. But nevertheless, I felt so happy and excited for my brother, as he has proven that pure Malaysian culture still lives on.

More detailed story will soon to come in this blog, as I now have only a short time to drop some words here.

Thank kew 4 sarpoting ah, come again oh!

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