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WHY I HELPED KNIT A HAT FOR OUR GIANT KUCHING/CAT

Kuching Craft Group

It  was my friend and Kuching Crafthub Director Heidi Munan’s brain child: “Let’s all get together to knit a hat for the Padungan cat”.

Now I have to explain that the said Padungan cat is about 3 m tall, with a 1.98m head diameter. The cat is a statue, the icon of our city of Kuching.

The council men fitting the hat over a wire-meshed cover.

The council men fitting the hat over a wire-meshed cover.

Fast forward a few months to March 2013… here we were, ladies of the “Knitting Brigade” busy fitting The Cat with a gigantic knitted hat and it’s matching scarf, embellished with pompoms made out of recycled plastic bottles.

Kuching City South Mayor Dato James Chan came to inaugurate on Friday 8th of March and was happily surprised to receive a hand knitted hat (by Heidi) with the colours of the City Council: white, blue and red. I gather that Mr.Mayor will have no fear of going skiing on his next holiday!

 

Mayor Dato James Chan couldn't wait to wear his knitted hat.

Mayor Dato James Chan couldn’t wait to wear his knitted hat.

Since then, lots of pictures have been taken both by locals and tourists; a film crew was caught interviewing the big cat (true story). We have received an amazing amount of praise on Facebook and, too, a few negative feed-backs of the unhelpful type; some folks simply cannot look at the bright side of life and frankly, only a show of indifference to our group effort would be a sad outcome. Why?

I will answer with a question: What if tomorrow, you were told that you have cancer? Sadly some of you, too many of you have had to live through this ordeal. Now I want you to imagine for just a second, that you are still a child, a one year old, a two, eight or fourteen year old… can you feel the fear of being diagnosed with cancer? Can you see your mum going through the same agony of chemo treatment? I can, and this is why I contributed to knitting a hat for the cat statue, with the hope that it will bring awareness on cancer stricken children at our Kuching General Hospital and that more people will join our group either to knit, or donate wool, or acrylic wool, or stuffing for soft toys that we make together to bring colour and cheers to sad and fearful children and their mums.

Annette is holding one of the blankets we knit for sick children.

Annette is holding one of the blankets we knit for sick children.

So yes, and to quote Eleanor Roosevelt we “do what [we] feel in our heart to be right – for [we]’ll be criticized anyway.”

Our group meets every Wednesday morning at the Sarawak Museum Shop and Cafe at the Tun Abdul Razak Museum.

We share our knowledge and stories of Sarawak with tourists and new comers to Kuching which, by the way, translates “cat”; which explains the cat statue could not be a leopard, even the rare Sarawak Clouded leopard.

We welcome helping hands, wool (acrylic OK) and synthetic filling for soft toys. All our hand-made products will be given to the Kuching General Hospital Children Cancer ward.

Some of the soft toys we make.

Some of the soft toys we make.

Thanks to all the fantastic and productive ladies of the group (I love you all!), the gigantic hat was made out of generously donated remnants of knitting yarn.

The recycled plastic pompoms on the Big Cat were made by Jenny Chan of Heart Treasures.

from left to right: Heidi, Annie and Rosemary who was responsible for the Big Kuching to have a scarf.

from left to right: Heidi, Annie and Rosemary who was responsible for the Big Kuching to have a scarf.

 

Fitting on the hat. In the background the beautiiful Chinese gate to Padungan Road.

Fitting on the hat. In the background the beautiiful Chinese gate to Padungan Road.

 

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A DOG’s PURPOSE

    

A Dog's PurposeAll dogs go to heaven… unless they have unfinished business here on Earth.

 

 

 

 

Birthdays are a wonderful time to appreciate how precious a close friend really is: not only does she/he remember your Big Day, she/he knows you deep enough underneath the surface to pick just the right gift for you.

 

Rosemary hasn’t known me very long, yet long enough to recognise in me both an avid reader and a soul that connects with animals in general and loves dogs unconditionally.

Have you ever sat in a French café or a bistro? If you have, although perhaps not in one of those touristic ones in the centre of Paris, but more likely anywhere else in France, you will be likely to have noticed, if not actually met with “le chien de bistro”, the bistro dog.

Invariably, when I sit at a café, it will only take a few minutes before a canine head comes to rest on my lap or a small paw starts scratching my thigh: “Hey dog lover!” They just know me.

To be entirely honest, the reviews for “A Dog’s Purpose” did alarm me a little, with everyone recommending to “make a major Kleenex run…” (Cesar’s Way magazine (Cesar Millan, The Dog Wisperer).

I do not like sad stories!

Yet, I ventured to try this one out and lucky me for daring! A Dog’s Purpose happens to be the most enjoyable, refreshing novel I have read in a long time.

The story of the multiple lives of a dog is a literary delight, a wonderfully imagined tale which is at once funny, touching and inspirational while avoiding to get trapped into mushy sensibility.

If you’re a human, read this book; if you’re a dog, paws up to W.Bruce Cameron for having written it!

                                                                          

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2013 in Books I've Read

 

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MOON RAT

The Moon Rat I saw on the road

The Moon Rat I saw on the road

The moon rat I saw looked like this one which I found at http://sites4school.com/giant%20rats.html

The moon rat I saw looked like this one which I found at http://sites4school.com/giant%20rats.html

CLIQUEZ ICI POUR LA VERSION FRANCAISE

 

The unmistakable sound of a heavy splash into our gold fish pond rose Hubby and I from our comfortable terrace seats.

It was already night and quite dark too, thanks to the thick clouds of the landas season.

Our three dogs went berserk;  the smaller one, a Maltese , literally stamping on four paws, Sherlok, the Belgian Shepherd half bent over the edge of the pond in a bit to catch the mysterious prey.

Hubby rushed into the house  to get the heavy Dolphin torch light and came back in a flash to catch a fast swimming creature inside a luminous spot. It was a Moon Rat, much larger than an ordinary rat, white fur and orangy face.

Until not so long ago, I had seen only one Moon Rat, at the Sarawak Museum, and it was probably as long as the museum itself which opened in 1891. I hope you guessed that it was embalmed.

Then and a few months back, I almost drove over one specimen; and guess what?  Again last night I saw another and this time it was a black and white one!

The Moon Rat, or Echinosorex Gymnura belongs to the Erinaceidae family. The white one, I think is only found here, in Borneo while the black and white one is also found on the Malay Peninsula.

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2013 in At Home in Borneo, Wild Life & Nature

 

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HOMES & GARDENS OF KUCHING 3

HOMES & GARDENS OF KUCHING 3

4962X

 

Link to the story

 

The hair salon Kampung style -  Le salon de coiffure

The hair salon Kampung style – Le salon de coiffure

 

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Today's laundry - La lessive du jour

Today’s laundry – La lessive du jour

 

3 Kuching

3 Kuching

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2012 in Decouvrez Borneo, Discover Borneo

 

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LOOKING BACK ON WAGGING THE NIGHT AWAY

That’s me with big bro Sherlock

Story by Caramel
 

SHE went out without me last night. SHE had taken the time to explain that it was for a good cause, a WAG music festival to benefit the SSPCA and finance the construction of a splendid new shelter to be completed in 2014. I still had to wait until 1am; so I had time to think about WAGs (of course not the Wives and Girlfriends of Sportsmen).

Now, I do wag a lot, if I may say so myself. Wagging my tail is the way I express myself, even more so than barking.

Tail at middle height: I’m relaxed

Tail in horizontal position: You have my attention.

Tail up: Back off or else!

Tail down:  I’m either scared or unwell.

Tail tucked under the body: Please don’t hurt me!

 

When SHE came back, SHE immediately (or just after SHE’d patted me) started telling HIM about her evening:

How amazing the performers were and how awesome the sound system.

How SHE, along with her friends clapped and danced to irresistible tunes… and WAG, and WAG, and WAG…

I know what dancing is; I saw it once on TV as SHE and I were waiting for Cesar Milan’s programme to start. So, there was this bunch of people, following as one the beat of a song, moving briskly and repeatedly from side to side, to and fro and sometimes even up and down. SHE often does that alone in the living room but I had never realised, until now, that in her own human way, SHE was  only wagging!

The WAG Music Festival will be back next year, remember, dogs and cats, to let your human pets buy tickets and go to make the event a gigantic success so that we may all keep on wagging happily.

Be cool, support the SSPCA

 

 
 
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Posted by on October 7, 2012 in Traditions & Events

 

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UN CALAO MAITRE DANS SA MAISON

Le weekend dernier nous a vu prendre la route pour un trajet de près de 500km jusqu’à la ville de Sibu. Le voyage lui-même s’est déroulé comme un long métrage de paysages, commenté de ça et la par Swee Ann et Danson, notre chauffeur tatoué. Les villes, les villages et la longhouse Iban que nous avons visités, tous nous ont accueillis avec leur propre charme ; pourtant les meilleurs souvenirs que nous avons ramenés de ce périple sont faits de rires mais aussi de quelques moments émouvants que nous avons eu le bonheur de partager avec nos hôtes accueillants et (je vais vous surprendre) un oiseau rare ! Je reste sous le charme.

Le but de notre voyage était de nous rendre à Rumah Udam, longhouse Iban près de Sibu, pour assister à une fête qui devait conclure l’effort d’équipe des longhouses riveraines de la Manyan de dégager leur rivière des débris accumulés durant quelques années d’abandon. Les Ibans de Sungai Manyang avaient en effet abandonné le transport en pirogue lorsque l’exploitation de palmiers à huile avait créé une route d’accès à la plantation. Sous l’égide du Sarawak Rivers Board les villages concernés ont retroussé leurs manches pour déblayer la rivière et remettre leurs pirogues et leurs nasses à l’eau.

Je commencerai donc par l’oiseau…

Je l’ai trouvé perché sur la selle du vélo moteur qui appartient à son père adoptif. Nous étions au village de Pusa sur le fleuve Rimbas et « l’ » est un calao ! Un villageois l’a trouvé dans la jungle, au pied d’un arbre ; il était tombé du nid. Rentré chez lui, il n’a pas pu s’occuper de l’oiseau et l’a confié à son ami ; c’était il y a trois mois. Depuis lors, le calao a tout a fait adopte sa nouvelle famille, y compris le chat ; il n’a aucun scrupule à être le seul oiseau toléré dans le verger.

Note: Au Sarawak, “Pusa”, le nom du village, signifie aussi “chat”.

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 J’ai essayé de me présenter mais il n’a rien voulu savoir.

Une fois tout le monde rentré à l’intérieur de la maison, je me doutais bien qu’il allait vouloir suivre…

Du balai! Du balai!

Mackcik* n’était pas très contente de voir ce bel oiseau s’introduire chez elle ; « du balai ! » dit elle avant de repousser l’intrus à l’aide du balai qu’elle venait de confectionner à partir de lamelles de feuilles de palmier Nipah. Monsieur Burung* a trouvé ça très amusant et s’est mis à tirer à l’aide de son bec.

*Mackcik : Tantine

*Burung : Oiseau – Burung Kenyalang est le calao

Un peu plus tard, M.Burung Kenyalang nous a retrouvés coté cuisine, sur la terrasse où il s’est offert une noix bien dure cueillie d’un arbre voisin qu’il a brisée de son bec tranchant et puissant.                        Comme nous avions fini de déjeuner, je me suis levée pour aller lui offrir un morceau de pastèque avec l’intention de l’amadouer enfin. Mon geste a eu pour effet de sceller notre amitié. Lorsque je suis retournée m’assoir sur ma chaise, il est venu tout droit vers mon pied, en sautillant ; puis il s’est mis à jouer avec mes orteils en les prenant un à un dans son bec ! Oui, le bec même qui venait de briser une noix bien dure. Je suis heureuse de commenter que j’ai encore tous mes orteils et entiers ! Monsieur Calao s’est révélé être très délicat même lorsqu’il s’est tout de même un peu trop excité après mon pied jusqu’à agiter ses ailes s’est retrouvé tout ébouriffé. Je me suis enfin permis de lui tendre la main qu’il a aussitôt acceptée comme perchoir depuis lequel il m’a bien observée de près.

Le Sarawak est la terre des calaos et j’ai eu plusieurs fois la joie d’en voir, libres, lors de mes voyages dans l’intérieur du pays. Le calao rhinocéros est l’emblème de l’état du Sarawak.

Dans le folklore Iban, le calao est le messager des dieux.

 

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Posted by on June 29, 2012 in Animaux de Borneo

 

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THE HORNBILL IN THE HOUSE

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Last weekend saw Hubby and I take a rather long drive of almost 500km to the town of Sibu. The road itself was a reel of sceneries. The towns, villages and the Iban longhouse we visited all had their own personal charm; however, what remains in my memory are the great fun I had and a few touching moments I spent with the people and too, with an amazing bird! I am still under the spell.

The main purpose of our journey was to reach Rumah Udam, an Iban longhouse close to Sibu and celebrate a community clean up of the Menyan river by all the longhouses along the banks. The river had been abandoned as a mean of transportation in favour of a palm-oil plantation road; it had become cluttered with debris and trunks. The folks of Sungai Menyan, encouraged by the Sarawak Rivers Board have agreed to clean up their river and repopulate the waters with indigenous fishes.

Let me start with the bird…

I found him settled on his adopted father’s motorcycle when we arrived. We were in Kampung Pusa on the river Rimbas. “Him” is a Sarawak hornbill someone found in the jungle, at the foot of a tree, obviously fallen from the nest. The man brought the young bird back to his village and gave it away to his friend. The hornbill has been staying with the family for 3 months now; he has totally adopted them, including the cat and feels perfectly happy to be the only bird allowed in the orchard.

Note: Incidentally, Pusa, the name of the village also means “cat” in Sarawak.

I found him on the motorcycle.

Keep your distance woman!

I attempted to befriend him but he wouldn’t have anything to do with me.

Hop in

SInce eveybody had gone inside the house, I suspected that the hornbill would want to follow and of course he did.

Mackcik* wouldn’t have any of this bird nonsense and she brushed him out of her house with a broom she had just finished making out of strips of Nipah palm leaves, Mr. Burung* obviously thought this was all a game and grabbed the twigs in his bill.

*Mackcik: Auntie

*Burung: Bird the hornbill is Burung Kenyalang.

Friends at last

Later on Mr.Burung Kenyalang found his way around the house and onto the kitchen terrace where he indulged in cracking a small yet solid nut he had picked from a near-by tree. As we had finished eating lunch, I thought of trying another approach to gain his trust; I presented him with a piece of water-melon. This sealed our friendhip.

When I returned to my chair, he hopped in, came straight for my foot and started nibbling at my toes; yes with the same bill that had just cracked a hard nut. I am pleased to report that I still have my toes, all of them, and that Mr.Hornbill was extremely gentle, although he did get rather excited with my foot, flipped his wings and fluffed his feathers quite a bit. Finally I thought it was a good time to invite him to climb on my hand where he perched himself and took a good look at me.

The Hornbill, or Burung Kenyalang, is the Emblem of Sarawak

Sarawak is the land of many hornbills and I have had the great joy to see quite a few on my trips to the interior. The rhinoceros hornbill is the emblem of the state. In Iban folklore, Burung Kenayalang, the hornbill is the messenger of the gods. If you would like to find out more about Iban beliefs and culture, check out GN Mawar’s blog, IBAN CULTURAL HERITAGE; worth the visit.

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2012 in Wild Life & Nature

 

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THE LIZARD IN MY GARDEN – LE LEZARD DAND MON JARDIN

Lézard, joli lézard, n’aie crainte du chasseur d’image

Lizard, lizard where is your ladder?

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AVENTURE EN FORET MANGROVE

Poisson Amphibien. Source: budak-blogs

Source Photo

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Ce matin, quelques un de mes souvenirs me sont revenus en force et tout ça grâce à un message sur facebook de l’office du tourisme du Sarawak ( SARAWAK TRAVEL  MALAYSIA, BORNEO) qui disait :.

La forêt mangrove forme une ceinture qui borde les baies et les estuaires des rivières les plus importantes de Bako. Une plateforme piétonnière de 164m de long traverse la mangrove dans la zone de Telok Assam qui permet de voir de près des plantes et des créatures fascinantes.

A marée basse, il suffit de prêter l’oreille pour entendre résonner le bruit  sec de claquettes que font les mollusques dans la boue gorgée d’eau de mer sous les racines des palétuviers. On peut aussi se laisser distraire par les prouesses des poissons amphibiens et des crabes violonistes aux couleurs éclatantes. Alors racontez-nous et partagez votre expérience de la forêt mangrove à Bako National Park.

J’ai donc partagé mon expérience personnelle, bien que mon aventure se soit passée à Santubong qui n’est pas bien loin de Bako :

Il y a de ça quelques années, j’étais partie avec un copain belge à la recherche de poissons amphibies pour les photographier. Montés sur des jet-skis, nous étions partis nous enfoncer dans la mangrove. Après  avoir pris soin d’attacher nos engins à un tronc, nous nous étions laissés enfoncer jusqu’aux genoux dans la boue aspirante et attendre sans bouger, l’œil collé sur l’objectif, trempés de sueur par au moins 33 degrés d’humidité, nous offrant en repas à un nuage de moustiques et de mouches de sables voraces et sans merci.

Les photos n’étaient pas bien ressorties et nous avons du nous gratter pendant plusieurs jours, mais je garderai à jamais le souvenir d’un aventure extraordinaire. J’adore encore la forêt mangrove et son air de mystère.

En rétrospective je réfléchirais peut être à deux fois avant de partir dans la mangrove de Santubong qui abrite des crocodiles d’estuaires… et j’irais à Bako qui est absolument grandiose !

LOVE THE MANGROVE – LOVE BORNEO – LOVE PLANET EARTH!

Mon Histoire en ebook

 

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ADVENTURE IN THE MANGROVE FOREST

The Mud Skipper Source: budak-blogs

PIX SOURCE

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A BLAST FROM THE PAST is what I experienced this morning; don’t worry, it felt great and all thanks to a post on facebook by SARAWAK TRAVEL, MALAYSIA, BORNEO.

This is what the post read:

Mangrove forest form broad belts fringing the bays and estuaries of Bako’s larger rivers. A footbridge, 164m long, leads through the mangroves at Telok Assam and provides an intimate view of the amazing plant and animal life. At low tide, if you listen closely, you can hear the oozing mud beneath the mangrove’s long stilt roots resonates with the popping sounds of bivalve shells. Or be amused with the antics of the mudskippers and brightly coloured fiddler crabs that move about and leave their tell-tale tracks. So, tell us your mangrove forest experience :-) — at Bako National Park.

So I shared my experience of the mangove forest, although it did not happen in Bako National Park but in Santubong.

A few years back, together with a friend, I went on a mad quest for pictures of mud-skippers. We rod our jet-skis into the mangrove forest, tied them to a tree and sank knee-deep into the sucking mud (slush!) and waited absolutely still, eye stuck on the camera, letting ourselves be food for clouds of hungry and merciless mosquitoes and sand-flies. The photos were not good after all and we were left scratching for a few days, but I’ll never forget such an amazing, unique adventure. I love the mangrove forest and it’s air of mytery.

In retrospect though, I would certainly think twice before heading for Santubong mangrove which is home to estuary crocodiles. Instead I’ll go to Bako which is absolutely breath-taking.

THE MANGROVE – LOVE BORNEO – LOVE PLANET EARTH!

 

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