<?xml version= encoding=?> B�o�r�n�e�o�t�o�m�.�c�o�m� http://www.borneotom.com Fri, 23 Mar 2012 03:19:18 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.3.1 T�a�p�i�r�s� �a�n�d� �S�e�e�d� �D�i�s�p�e�r�s�a�l� http://www.borneotom.com/2012/03/tapirs-and-seed-dispersal/ http://www.borneotom.com/2012/03/tapirs-and-seed-dispersal/#comments Fri, 23 Mar 2012 03:13:12 +0000 Tom http://www.borneotom.com/?p=354 Malayan Tapir How are seeds dispersed now that the large animals, elephants and rhinoceros, have been hunted from their ecological habitat? Who took their place? A Tapir? Rhinoceros were once plentiful throughout the Southeast Asian ecosystem. They consumed vast quantities of plants and seeds and moved from one area to another pooping the seeds out from one place to another. However, the demand for rhinos foolishly used as an aphrodisiac in Chinese  medicine has decimated the population to the point where they are now on the critically endangered list. Conservation efforts by governments have largely failed throughout the world. It will probably take a soldier armed with a machine gun stationed next to each animal with orders to shoot and kill to save the remaining animals. Elephants were also responsible for the wide dispersal of seeds. Eating and pooping from one place to another, their habitat has been decimated from hunting for ivory and the planting of oil palm plantations. Could the Malayan tapir replace these wonders for seed dispersal? There are a couple of things in their favor. None of their body parts are used in Chinese potions. Their meat is not favored. Although an endangered species, their survival looks a bit brighter than for rhinos and elephants. Malayan Tapirs are usually about 1.8 meters long and weigh about 350kg. They are solitary animals and eat fallen fruits and twigs from the forest floor. Running into thick bushes is their defense from Tigers, their major predator. An experiment* conducted at the Wildlife Reserves in Singapore made an attempt to answer whether the tapir could replace the rhino and elephant for seed dispersal. Nine plant species, seven from Southeast Asia, were fed to eight Malayan tapirs, seven of which were born in captivity. The fruits, purchased at a local market, included mango, durian, chemedak, rambutan, manosteen, tamarind, longan, dillenia and papaya. A known number of seed fruit were fed to the Tapirs. For example, the rambutan has a large central seed and the number they ate were counted. Five hours later, the dung was located and the seeds collected. They were then planted in pots to see if they would germinate. The Tapirs are picky eaters. They did not like the big seeds and when they did pass through the gut, none of the seeds germinated. The Tapirs captured, radio collared and set free in central Malaya and whose range was monitored, pooped only a short distance from the food source. A preliminary conclusion suggests the Tapir will not replace elephants and rhinos for seed dispersal. However, the authors of the study suggest many more experiments need to be performed. *Campos-Arceiz, et al Asian Tapirs Are No Elephants When It Comes To Seed Dispersal Biotropica 44(2):220-227 2012 All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all ]]> http://www.borneotom.com/2012/03/tapirs-and-seed-dispersal/feed/ 0 N�e�w� �D�i�s�c�o�v�e�r�y� �i�n� �B�o�r�n�e�o� �C�a�v�e� http://www.borneotom.com/2011/09/new-discovery-in-borneo-cave/ http://www.borneotom.com/2011/09/new-discovery-in-borneo-cave/#comments Thu, 01 Sep 2011 01:23:23 +0000 Tom http://www.borneotom.com/?p=348 In central Borneo there is this huge cave, I mean like the second biggest in the world and, in my, opinion the smelliest one. As you walk in, there are long, narrow shelf like structures, attached to the side of a cave, suitable as steps for a leprechaun. They are not impressive and I looked at them for about a nano second. Part of these steps are living organisms and form stromatolites. A stromatolite is built when photosynthesizing bacteria (cyanobacteria) produce minerals in a process called biomineralization. This is not so strange when you consider our teeth and bones are made biologically and shells and corals are also formed by a similar process. However, instead of using calcium from the calcium carbonate in the cave, these critters use phosphorous from the bat guano! In the cave, millions of bats hang around during the day producing guano. This guano mixes with water and drips down onto the  shelves providing a rich mixture of phosphorus for the cynobacteria to convert into a hard substance. The entrance to the cave, I like to think of it as a cavern, allows sunlight to infiltrate deep into the recesses where the stromatolites form. They only need a bit of light to grow and live in the dimmest part of the cave. Therefore one has the perfect ingredients: sunlight, fertilizer from the bat guano and water from a hole in the roof. These three combinations, plus a warm temperature come together to form the perfect conditions. In fact, this is the only place in the world where they appear in freshwater conditions and on the wall of a cave. Well, not exactly on the wall. No cave has a smooth surface. There are always places where indentations occur especially in Deer Cave where rainwater runs down the walls. The water erodes unstable parts of the rock forming ledges. It is on these ledges the stromatolites form and build upward and outward forming the ledges or steps. When you cut a chunk of stromatolite in half there are alternating dark and light bands. They seem to be evenly separated. The researchers think they may be are caused by the different amounts of rainfall. Although there is rain usually every day, the amount increases or decreases with the seasonal monsoons. Each layer, therefore, should provide an accurate record of the amount of rain over an extended period of time. Unfortunately, rainfall records for comparison are scant and altogether missing for the war years. All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all. The article was adapted from: Lundberg, Joyce and McFarlane Donald Subaerial freshwater phosphatic stromaolites in Deer Cave, Sarawak-A unique geobilogical cave formation in Geomorphology 128 (2011) 57-72 and Presentation by the authors 18 July 2011 Sarawak Museum, Kuching, Sarawak. ]]> http://www.borneotom.com/2011/09/new-discovery-in-borneo-cave/feed/ 0 S�o�i�l� �S�a�m�p�l�e�s� �a�s� �a� �T�o�o�l� �f�o�r� �R�a�i�n� �F�o�r�e�s�t� �P�r�e�s�e�r�v�a�t�i�o�n� http://www.borneotom.com/2011/05/soil-samples-as-a-tool-for-rain-forest-preservation/ http://www.borneotom.com/2011/05/soil-samples-as-a-tool-for-rain-forest-preservation/#comments Sat, 21 May 2011 11:33:19 +0000 Tom http://www.borneotom.com/?p=346 The Rainforest can have distinct areas where amphibians and reptiles live. One of the most obvious would be near a pond or riverside ecosystem. The number of critters increases the closer to the water. But what about soil types? Scientists in South America decided to find out. Although the Amazon basin looks like one huge swath of rain forest, it can be divided into two areas. The first rolls from the Atlantic Ocean to Western Amazonia. The forests and the landscapes gradually changes and then becomes more pronounced as one reaches the foot of the Andes and up the slopes. However, these changes are often imperceptible to the untrained eye. The eastern and central soils are geologically much older, formed about 325 mya. Their soils have few minerals and trees grow quite slowly because of the lack of nutrients. The only source would be the leaf litter. Further west, the soils are much younger, having been laid from erosion of the Andes Mountains uplifted over 30 mya. With plenty of minerals from continued wash down, the trees have faster regeneration and growth rates. There has been considerable research to prove there are more frogs and lizards in the leaf litter in the uplands than the lowlands of the Amazon. There also seems to be  general trends in the number of other critters as one travels westward. However, many of these studies are flawed according to the authors. Sampling methods,  climate, disturbance fragmentation and hunting pressures are all variables that have not been taken into consideration and therefore, the data cannot be compared. The scientists have a new idea. Compare the biomass that lives on top of certain soil types and you should be able to predict the number of frogs and amphibians. They marked off 465 5X5 meter plots in both the Eastern and western regions and counted every critter except turtles and poisonous snakes, and many other things. The results were very predictable. The plots in the west had more of everything than those in the east. There have been many hypothesis put forward to explain the phenomena. Maybe the reason is not the soil type but the number of predators. The reason could be there are more predators in Brazil than Peru. Another reason could be the greater amount of leaf litter in the west provides more places for the amphibians and reptiles to live. However, there were more snakes and spiders in the west than in the east, which should account for these discrepancies. This all seems to be beating a dead horse. Why is this important when everyone knows the further west you go in the Amazon, the greater the diversity? The answer is simple. When people are plotting out areas that can be preserved, they can use soil samples as a guide. When given a choice, and very unfortunately conservationists must choose areas to be saved, then the selection of rainforest with a certain soil type may be an indicator, biologically speaking, than other areas. For example, if a line must be drawn between a human occupied area and the rain forest preserve, then the surveyors should follow the soils that will have the greatest biological diversity. You just can t tell by looking. This study, another tool in rainforest preservation, demonstrates that, when one must choose, then we can use soil type as guide to save the most biologically diverse areas. Although this study is limited to the neo tropics, the applications should be explored for Southeast Asia. All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all. This article is adapted from: Deichmann, Jessica L. et al Effects of Geomorphology and Primary Productivity on Amazonian Leaf Litter Herpetofauna in Biotropica, volume 43, number 2, March 2011 p.149-156 ]]> http://www.borneotom.com/2011/05/soil-samples-as-a-tool-for-rain-forest-preservation/feed/ 0 O�r�a�n�g�u�t�a�n� �P�o�e�t�r�y� http://www.borneotom.com/2011/05/orangutan-poetry/ http://www.borneotom.com/2011/05/orangutan-poetry/#comments Sat, 21 May 2011 02:15:04 +0000 Tom http://www.borneotom.com/?p=339 Senryu (humour haiku) &#8211; Orangutan orangutan and us watch each other did an alien separate us? john tiong chunghoo majestic orangutan Majestic Orangutan Oh majestic orangutan it has been years since I saw you last I remember your eyes well such eyes! mirrors glimmering sadness you are on display for the gawkers smug in their superiority you are so much more than they could ever be man, that greedy beast! not fit to be called ape I remember when our eyes met eyes became tongue you spook eloquent touching my soul crying out I pounded against your glass of injustice, shattering! each shard reflecting your plight one day we will meet again majestic orangutan you will sing your song and I will listen into the far reaching night searching out your beauty without greed or strife Cynthia Grier CROCS PARK It is as if the park we walk on, this New year day 2009 is the park of wild beasts tranferred from jungle forest compress into single jail beautifully landscaped and designed Entrance fees not for ransoms nor bails for creatures&#8217; release for not-to-be expected freedom They are exploited like the just-born baby crocs couldn&#8217;t taste yet the aroma of wild river their supposed grandeur habitat away from human touch radiation of digital cam harmful sights of guests teasing their squared limited haven so heart breaking while their teary eyes gaze up the native birds and buzzing bees flying freely in infinite sky grasping full justice and freedom chanting all day long over the extra judicial prisoners&#8217; animals not so lucky enough to be a localized- common creatures that unshackles spectator&#8217;s curiosity unfetters commercial animal tours may this poem unlocks the croc&#8217;s inmates aching fate ROMMEL MARK DOMINGUEZ MARCHAN ]]> http://www.borneotom.com/2011/05/orangutan-poetry/feed/ 0 R�a�i�n� �F�o�r�e�s�t� �V�i�o�l�a�t�e�s� �M�o�s�a�i�c� �L�a�w�;� �P�o�s�s�i�b�l�e� �l�e�s�s�o�n� �f�o�r� �o�i�l� �p�a�l�m�?� http://www.borneotom.com/2011/04/337/ http://www.borneotom.com/2011/04/337/#comments Sat, 23 Apr 2011 08:50:21 +0000 Tom http://www.borneotom.com/?p=337 What happens when ancient gardens and orchards are abandoned and allowed to return to the forest? The Mosaic Theory of Species states the rainforest taking over the old Mayan gardens should eventually show species at random and not in any particular order. Each part of the rain forest should have different tree species with none dominating the other. When this randomness is achieved the rain forest is considered in balance and has returned to its normal state after having been logged or disturbed in other ways such as fire. The great British naturalist, Alfred Wallace, who spent years in the Malay Archipelago, wrote in 1878 that high diversity was associated with low densities of each species in a given area. Since that time, several other theories and studies have been put forth in an effort to discover if Wallace s observation holds true. It does But how long will it take? Researchers took a look at the old plantings of the Mayas and tried to figure out if they had any effect on the rain forest that subsequently took over the area. The Maya culture collapsed in about 1 AD. This should be long enough for the Mosaic Theory to take effect. The Maya gardens consisted of groups of trees from the forest that produced products useful to the Maya community. And, as every back yard gardener knows, groups of species clustered together grow and survive better than if planted alone. Hence, plantings are in rows or groupings. What they found is that the Mosaic Theory didn t work even after all that time. There were still groupings of trees of the same species that violated the randomness that should have been achieved. But why? One explanation they proposed stated there wasn t enough time for the forest to take over because the trees in a tropical rain forest live for a very long time. But, they discounted this idea because hurricanes have penetrated well inland and have devastated the forests yet the species grew back in the same area, again in violation of the Mosaic Theory. Another idea states that the trees clustered together, could like a single organism, inhibit other species from coming close. Could the Maya plantings emit a chemical that prevents other species from moving in? Studies have shown that groups of trees perform in this manner. The question remains. In my own opinion, this study is important because when the time comes, and it will but not in my life time or my children s, where palm oil is no longer in demand because something else has replaced it. There will be a desire to return the lands back into natural tropical rain forest. One should examine oil palm trees to see if they possibly could exhibit the same behavior as the trees planted by the Mayans so long ago. All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all. This article was adapted from: Ross, Nanci J &#8220;Ancient Maya Agroforestry Echoing Through Spatial Relationships in the Extant Forests of NW Belize&#8221; in BioTropica, Volume 42 no.2, March 2011, p. 141-148 ]]> http://www.borneotom.com/2011/04/337/feed/ 0 O�r�a�n�g�u�t�a�n� �E�v�o�l�u�t�i�o�n� �b�y� �t�h�e� �N�u�m�b�e�r�s� http://www.borneotom.com/2011/03/orangutan-evolution-by-the-numbers/ http://www.borneotom.com/2011/03/orangutan-evolution-by-the-numbers/#comments Thu, 17 Mar 2011 09:04:56 +0000 Tom http://www.borneotom.com/?p=333 The Borneo and Sumatra orangutan subspecies diverged about 1.1 million years ago from a common but now extinct ancestor. The ancestor s fossils have been found throughout Southeast Asia and looked very similar to the apes of today. But how did we arrive at the two separate species, one in Sumatra and one in Borneo and three subspecies in Borneo? We need to remember that Borneo, Malaya and Sumatra were all connected and the critters roamed back and forth. Then, the glaciers melted, like they are doing now, and flooded all the lowlands, leaving the orangutan populations stranded. But, then, how did they become separate species? Let s take a series of events that happen randomly but discreetly like cancer cells. They reproduce unpredictably and quietly but they move forward to build a tumor. However, let say we want to work backwards and trace the tumor back to the original cell. Using this very simplistic example, the authors trace the origins of the Sumatra and Borneo orangutans back to a common ancestor through their chain of random events. The Sumatra and Borneo orangutan had to come from a common ancestor but who was this creature and how did we get the magnificent ape we have today? We also need to remember we need to have a lot of genes in a gene pool to recombine to make two very similar apes but still very different. With out the genes to trial and error back and forth there could be no sub species. Just look at the number of attempts to arrive at us humans! The authors have come up with the time it took to create a new species as 334,000 years from a population of 26,800 + or  6,700. In other words, 26,800 ancestors made whoopee for 334,000 years to make the orangutans we have today. Now the neat thing is how they came up with these numbers. They first built their own model using the Orangutan Genome Project information (I didn t know there was one either) as a basis. Then they added in formulas for population genetics and many other math stuffs(one of their formulas has a string of four  E things lined up!) and came up with their very own model. The resulting formulas, very simple to them but mind boggling to me, can be applied to other species to determine the numbers and time it took to go from a period of gene flow back and forth to a period where the gene flow stopped and the new sub species appeared. The above is adapted from: Mailund, Thomas et al  Estimating Divergence and Ancestral Population Size on Bornean and Sumatran Subspecies Using a Coalescent Hidden Markov Model PloS Genetics, 7 (3) March 3, 2011 I bear full responsibility for any mistakes in interpreting the article.  All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small all things wise and wonderful the Lord God made them all ]]> http://www.borneotom.com/2011/03/orangutan-evolution-by-the-numbers/feed/ 0 B�o�r�n�e�o� �T�o�m� �B�o�o�k� �R�e�v�i�e�w� http://www.borneotom.com/2011/02/borneo-tom-book-review/ http://www.borneotom.com/2011/02/borneo-tom-book-review/#comments Sun, 20 Feb 2011 09:12:04 +0000 Tom http://www.borneotom.com/?p=329 Saturday, February 19, 2011 Borneo Tom by: Tom McLaughlin Borneo Tom by: Tom McLaughlin has it all&#8230;.romance,travel through Southeast Asia, orangutans and more, all being told with sketches throughout the book instead of images. At first glance you would think it&#8217;s a children&#8217;s book because the cover is vibrant. However, Borneo Tom is one of those &#8220;Don&#8217;t judge a book by its cover&#8221; books. After caring for his parents in the years before their death, Tom impulsively decides to pull up roots and move to Borneo as well as travel through Southeast Asia. That only would be more than enough material for a great book, but Tom&#8217;s story doesn&#8217;t end at the traveling. Tom decided to write Borneo Tom for several reasons. One of those being to educate people on the Islamic faith and attempt to reduce the bigotry and prejudice against the. Tom lived with the Islamic people in Southeast Asia and writes of those experiences. after reading Tom&#8217;s experiences I must say I see the Islamic people in a different light. I told you there were orangutans in Borneo Tom. Efforts to help these creatures are mentioned in the book, and a portion of the proceeds from the book go to benefit this worthy cause. The illustrations of orangutans in Borneo Tom show how they interact with humans in such a way that will endear them to readers and make them want to learn more. The illustrations in Borneo Tom help you create a true and vivid picture in mind about the life Tom lived traveling through Southeast Asia. Waterfront Niki created the sketches, he lives near the Sarawak River in Borneo. He is famous in the region for his work because he sketches portraits of tourists. Borneo Tom is about taking a chance and just doing it. It took courage to suddenly pick up and move. For tom McLaughlin that courage paid off. Remember the romance I mentioned? Well Tom fell in love with a local girl in Southeast Asia and in spite of a vasectomy years prior, she got pregnant. Posted by Rita at 6:01 PM Labels: animals, Asia, book review, Borneo Tom, romance, travel, true story http://ritasbookreviews.blogspot.com/2011/02/borneo-tom-by-tom-mclaughlin.html ]]> http://www.borneotom.com/2011/02/borneo-tom-book-review/feed/ 0 R�a�r�e� �B�e�a�r� �B�o�r�n� �i�n� �M�a�l�a�y�s�i�a� �B�o�r�n�e�o� http://www.borneotom.com/2011/02/rare-bear-borne-in-malaysia-borneo/ http://www.borneotom.com/2011/02/rare-bear-borne-in-malaysia-borneo/#comments Mon, 14 Feb 2011 07:44:50 +0000 Tom http://www.borneotom.com/?p=327 A Sun Bear cub was born at the Matang Wildlife Center about 24 km outside of Kuching. A very rare event in efforts to save the endangered species, Volunteer Leo Biddle stated this rivals efforts obtained only by the San Diego Zoo, a world renowned reproductive center for critically endangered wildlife.  We had an idea she may be pregnant because she began acting strangely, Mr. Leo continued.  Then she dug a huge burrow under the largest tree in the bear enclosure. We have had glimpses of the cub. All seems well at this point and the entire center is filled with excitement , he continued. The cub could possibly make an appearance in about month after gaining weight and developing fur. The center has had three major disappointments with breeding Sun Bears. Two were still born and another was killed by a wild boar.  We have cordoned off the area and have provided top security to keep the other bears away. The parents are mother Gani and dad Gabby, two elderly bears in the later stages of their lives. Gabby, around 25, ancient for the breed and Gani, thought to be in her late teens are doing well. Gani remains in seclusion in her burrow dashing out to get food left by the keepers and then quickly returning. Trip cameras, donated by proceeds from the sale of the book  Borneo Tom , have recorded some of the action. Tom McLaughlin, 60, author of the book, stated cheekily, &#8220;We old men can still do it referring to the age of the daddy bear and his own two month old son.  I am happy the trip camera is helping to monitor things The Sun Bear population has been decimated by logging in Indonesian Borneo and its survival greatly endangered. The Matang Wildlife Center plans to construct a bear habitat on a peninsula surrounded on three sides by water and a bunker on the fourth. Researchers will then study and hopefully fill in the gaps of its still uncompleted life cycle. ]]> http://www.borneotom.com/2011/02/rare-bear-borne-in-malaysia-borneo/feed/ 0 E�x�p�a�t� �F�a�t�h�e�r� �i�n� �B�o�r�n�e�o�,� �M�a�l�a�y�s�i�a� http://www.borneotom.com/2011/02/expat-father-in-borneo-malaysia/ http://www.borneotom.com/2011/02/expat-father-in-borneo-malaysia/#comments Sun, 13 Feb 2011 06:13:08 +0000 Tom http://www.borneotom.com/?p=325 I guess being a father at age 60 is like having a grandson except the child never leaves. Dzul, sleeps, eats and poops around here all the time, morning, noon and night. I really don t mind because my wife has the equipment to feed him so I am relived of sterilizing bottles. I have lost the job of changing diapers. While working on the computer, Dzul told me in no uncertain terms his pampers need to be changed. In mid-thought while writing, I rushed through the process. My wife could not figure out how I left one cheek exposed. While in the states, we purchased a halter where Dzul, strapped to my wife s front, enjoys our walks. Being a guy, I insisted I would perform this task. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your perspective, I had trouble because I need to see my feet because of an illness I acquired some years ago. Balance became a problem. Now, my wife has taken over that task. I am good at hauling the diaper bag around, though. When we wander, everyone wants to see him because the mix of occident and orient genes produces a physically magnificent child. Most agree he favors the occident side of the gene pool except his skin has a built in tan. His eyes are huge and sometimes, brown, then blue and then my father s green. It s like they can t make up their mind. When I think of the future, I realize that when I am 70, he will be 10. What a great impetus to take care of myself to live as long as possible and enjoy him and my two girls. I have taken a teaching job on something I know nothing about, Literature in English. I try and exercise as much as possible. I am on my feet while in the classroom, begging, questioning, and cajoling answers out of the students. We are speaking both English and Malay to Dzul. We have been told that he will sort it out in his brain, separate the languages and be fluent in both. I am afraid he will speak English like the locals, a mixture of Sarawak Malay, Malay, Iban, Chinese, English and a few Tamil words. A beautiful concoction understood by all here but would not pass in the states or any other English-first language country. We shall see. Regrets? Just one. I have started to think of mom more often now. She so loved her grandchildren. But, I know she is looking down with love. In my minds-eye, I can see her smiling at Dzul. & Life is good ]]> http://www.borneotom.com/2011/02/expat-father-in-borneo-malaysia/feed/ 0 S�e�r�i� �A�m�a�n�:� �A� �T�o�w�n� �i�n� �M�a�l�a�y�s�i�a�n� �B�o�r�n�e�o� http://www.borneotom.com/2011/02/seri-aman-a-town-in-malaysian-borneo/ http://www.borneotom.com/2011/02/seri-aman-a-town-in-malaysian-borneo/#comments Wed, 02 Feb 2011 03:34:17 +0000 Tom http://www.borneotom.com/?p=317 I am just getting around to writing about one of the towns we visited before the birth of my son Dzul. We were on our way to Brunei on the only road north in Borneo when he suddenly decided to greet the world a month early a few towns later. Please go to thetentacle.com and click on my name for those adventures. A river town on the Batang Lupar, Seri Aman is known for the tidal bore that travels everyday up the river. Wave height and velocity depends on the moon. A tidal bore, according to the net is the leading edge of the incoming high tide. Unofficial observations, it has never been  officially monitored before, inform the wave height can reach three meters and travels between 7 and 18 k/hr. The high tide, unfortunately, when we were there was a night and it seemed like a mere ripple using a waning torch, flashlight to the Americans. Perched on the only hill overlooking the river, Fort Alice guarded the river during colonial days. The second white rajah Charles Brooke, a relative of the bumbling first one, built the structure to defend the town against Iban attacks. The troops of the rajah and the Ibans engaged in farcical skirmishes where very few, if any, were wounded or killed. There was one white soldier who did loose his life but details of the battle are sketchy and probably had more to do with swilling gin than any heroics. Truth be told, the Iban could have ousted the English whenever they wanted but found them useful. The structure, in disrepair, has been promised funding for restoration. Seri Aman means  beautiful peace and it was here in 1973 that the government of Malaysia and the communist insurgents signed a treaty ending twenty years of real conflict. In the round a bout entering town, a huge dove, about twenty meters high with wings spread out in alabaster white and bright yellow beak welcomes visitors. I believe a hold over from the seventies anti war protests. The accommodations are in the negative star arena but are at least clean and moderately comfortable. There are four  hotels , and I use that term very loosely. Food reflects the different styles and tastes as each part of Borneo has its own flavors. There many pepper farms along the road and this crop reflects the cooking. Each year, during the spring tide where the tidal bore is most pronounced, the town holds a festival. Locals informed me that the youth often use surf boards to ride the bore as it comes up the river, but their idea of a surfboard and mine are probably not the same. A carnival atmosphere attempts to attract tourists from all over and locals informed many Mat Saleh (westerners) come for the occasion. At other times, they by pass the town for Sibu and points further north. Other than festival time, they rarely see a white westerner, let alone one that speaks the local language, and I sincerely enjoyed answering the people s questions and their tales of the crocodiles along the river. I teased that the crocs would probably like to eat western people but they assured me, as if I was worried, they also like the locals as well. Face Book at Borneo Tom ]]> http://www.borneotom.com/2011/02/seri-aman-a-town-in-malaysian-borneo/feed/ 0