Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A Little of Magical Myth

Sea lettuce (Scaevola taccada)
Bottom half

Upper half

On my first day at the Botanical Garden of Putrajaya, I was brought for a tour with a buggy ride with Mr. Yoge, the senior supervisor of the outdoor team. He told me that the garden is 63 acres of 230 acres of land with another two phases to be completed soon. There are about 750 species of plants from 90 countries of Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Tropical America. Yoge have been working there for the past three years and he is so well versed with the garden and its content. He told me the name of each plant with its local and scientific names which impressed me very much. He also told me the usage and medicinal values of the plants and sometimes stories of local believes or myths related to it.

There was this type of palm tree that is used to make toddy (some kind of alcohol drink) and another that can be made rum, there was a bamboo which is called ‘the buddha’s belly bamboo’; there were tower trees that looked like tress from the dinosaur’s era and many other plants that can cure sicknesses. He showed me how to play with the leaves and the flowers which is fun. Obviously, the tour guides and facilitators are all well versed with what they do. They did a lot of research and continuous learning in perfecting their knowledge and communication skill. I was fascinated and amazed by everything that they showed me on my first day at the Botanical Garden. Although Putrajaya’s Botanical Garden is very young (was opened on the 31st August 2001) as compared to others in the world; with most of the trees are still small and not fully developed, the people working there successfully made it look grand and informative with little resources that they have.

There is one particular plant in the garden that has a romantic myth to it. It is associated with Hawaii’s most famous legends, i.e. the sea lettuce or Scaevola sericea. It is one of most common beach plants in Hawai that grows in abundance in the mountains near the beaches. In Hawai itself, the plant is called ‘naupaka’. There are nine different species of naupaka, which typically grow up to 10 feet tall and six to 15 feet wide. The plant has large leaves with flowers in small clusters. The flowers are typically white with purplish streaks. The fruits are white.

Naupuka is a name believed to be taken after a beautiful Hawaiian princess in ancient time. It has a very unique flower, white in colour that it represents only half flower. It perfectly looks like a normal flower that has been missing the other half. Why does it appear so? Well, the legend goes like this:

The legend says that it was the incarnation of an ancient native separated from her lover. In ancient times, one version goes, there was a beautiful Hawaiian princess known as Naupaka. One day, the villagers noticed that Naupaka looked very sad. They told her parents, who approached Naupaka and asked her what was troubling her.

"I have fallen in love with a man named Kaui," replied the princess. "But Kaui is not of noble birth—he is a commoner." According to Hawaiian tradition, it was strictly forbidden for members of royalty to marry people from the common ranks.

Distressed, Naupaka and Kaui traveled long and far, seeking a solution to their dilemma. They climbed up a mountain to see a kahuna who was staying at a heiau (temple). Alas, he had no clear answer for the young lovers. "There is nothing I can do," he told them, "but you should pray. Pray at this heiau."

So they did. And as they prayed, rain began to fall. Their hearts torn by sorrow, Naupaka and Kaui embraced for a final time. Then Naupaka took a flower from her ear and tore it in half, giving one half to Kaui. "The gods won’t allow us to be together," she said. "You go live down by the water, while I will stay up here in the mountains."

As the two lovers separated, the naupaka plants that grew nearby saw how sad they were. The very next day, they began to bloom in only half flowers.

There are different versions of the naupaka legend, but all carry the same unhappy theme: lovers that are separated forever, one banished to the mountains, the other to the beach. It is said that the other half of the flower can be seen further up the mountain. However, only the flower looks the same while the leaves does not look similar. Look closely at the photos above of the naupuka of different species.

Amazing isn’t it? Well, may be just to me. It doesn’t matter.

It is said that there is a cursed by naupuka that the flower will always be in half until the day she and her lover be reunited.

"Who travels for love finds a thousand miles not longer than one". ~Japanese Proverb~

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A Whole New Look

What do you think of this new look?

I played with the colours and background image to suit my taste and personality. So far, this is what I am capable of doing with little knowledge of CSS or webdesigning. I will learn more later on.

Don't you just hate having to share the same template look with other bloggers?

I am very busy at the moment to post anything of great value to you all out there. However, I'll try my best whenever I could find a free time to do so.

Friday, November 04, 2005


I have to admit to everybody that it sucks working on the first and second day of Hari Raya. Even though my house is not so far away like in Kedah or Johor, I still feel that I miss the most important day of my life yesterday.

Early in the morning I met my father (kissed his hand and gave him a peck on both cheeks because I knew I won’t be able to celebrate with him when he comes home from Hari Raya Prayer). I left to work immediately after seeing my mother who was busy in the kitchen. I missed my brother and sisters who came later on to see my parents before they all went off to their respective spouses’ hometown yesterday after Raya Prayer.

I got home at around 8.30 p.m. with stomach discomfort, feeling nauseated and disheartened. Blame it to the sorrow of having to miss my first day of Hari Raya and the bad catering food I had at the workplace. I went straight to bed after greeting my parents. They haven’t said it but I knew how unhappy they were with my working situation at the moment.

I haven’t said my Hari Raya wish to my elders or gave away the money packets to my nephews and nieces yet. That, I miss really much; to be able to kiss each and everyone’s cheeks while little heads bow and kiss my hand. That’s the Malay culture on the first day of Hari Raya or Eid. The younger people will kiss the hands of their elders, wishing them ‘Selamat Hari Raya’ and finally ask forgiveness from them. Once a year, you will be able to forgive and forget.

Thank you for everyone who has given me Hari Raya wishes. I understand that nowadays people no longer send greeting cards. I have to remind some of you for not wishing me at all. Where are you guys? I am so upset that you all have forgotten me altogether. Not to mention my birthday too! I’ve been away for only about two months and already you all have forgotten about me.


From Left: Mona, Liza & Bibi

They say best friends are forever. It holds true to me. No matter where we go and lead our saparate ways, in the end there will always be time when we will be reunited eventhough not as often. This posting is dedicated to two special person, i.e. Bibi and Mona which are one of the best things in my life. We met 14 years ago during a matriculation programme. At that time Mona's room was adjacent to mine while Bibi was always seen waiting patiently for Mona outside her door (doing her hair). They went to class together because they were classmates while I was in a different class. I never bothered to say hi to them and vice versa.

They thought I was a snob and I thought they were the snobs. Two years later, we were fated to meet again during our first year at the university, having rooms near to each other (again), we spoke and we found out how we were wrong about each other. We shared many common grounds. I was quiet because I was having a cultural shock having recently moved from Sabah just like Bibi who had just came from Sarawak. Mona is from Penang and she is the most happy-go-lucky between the three who bridged my friendship with Bibi. I was very shy at that point of time because my way of speech was very much like a Sabahan. I could not express my thoughts easily like others so I prefer to keep silence. Bibi was even worst than me, she speaks so softly like a little girl that it's very hard to understand her speech. However, she has improved a lot since becoming a teacher.

We are different in many ways, different background, different sense of style and different taste in everything. However, we do love many same things such as dressing up, perfume, crazy shopping and most of all the nature and outdoor activities. We started doing things together and we became insaparable. We laughed about it many times. How fate has played its role in meeting us together. Our friendship will surely last forever

To all of my PERBARA friends, the photo above is the latest looks of BibiMonaLiza taken a week before Hari Raya :)

Thursday, November 03, 2005


On Deepavali Day in the Vine Garden

We are so lucky that our country is peaceful with no hatred between races and religions. This has allowed us to celebrate almost every cultural and religious festivities with the spirit of solidarity. We have seen the worst of each other during the 13th May incident and now we are a wiser community who understand each others' culture better as years gone by.

I don't understand why other countries could not do that? Why do they have to descriminate? Why do they feel superior than others? Why do they have to harm each other? What are they thinking? The glory of this world will go down to waste. Great achievements that could have been achieved will only be a distance dream. Time is wasted with unnecessary thing like war.

Well okay, I've been feeling lucky despite of the fact that I am no longer working like normal people nowadays; to be able to work in a multi racial working environment with good balance of the Malay, Chinese and Indian. I do miss some of the things I used to enjoy while working in Bandar Utama and Taman Tun area but well this is life. You win some and you lose some.

I got to wear Panjabi's suit during Deepavali and so did others in my work place. The Malays wore Saries and Panjabi suits for the jovial of Deepavali celebration in the garden. It was worth every effort, that everybody seemed to enjoy themselves including the visitors who took our photos. I called up the media to cover a story on our garden. This gave a boost in the staffs' morale after their hard work as well as it's a good way to promote the garden to the public who do not know of our existance. I'll be writing more about the garden in later postings.

We did our own 'kolum' to welcome the visitors to Taman Botani. Kolum is an ancient Indian art form (as shown on the photos below). It was made of intricate arrangement of coloured rice grains placed on a floor usually infront of an entrance to welcome visitors. It looks simple but trust me it's not. I saw them doing it meticalously bit by bit following the pattern drawn on the floor with white chalk. The price was I got them to be on TV the day of Deepavali. There will be more to come.


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My mind says:

  • If it's not you, who else!
  • Love your country. Keep it SAFE & GREEN...