Borneo Gibbons and the Myth of REDD

Posted on Jan 03 2011
I love walking through the up land rain forest. Looking through the lower trees I can see everyone is different just by the bark on the trunks. I sometimes try to identify them but I need leaves, and the leaves are way…up….there. I took my daughter, her boyfriend Cody and Rod for a walk through the wetland rain forest and, as you probably have guessed, the land was very spongy. We pulled many leeches off. A major difference was that the trees were mostly all the same. My daughter and her boyfriend...

Moms Care After Birth in Borneo

Posted on Dec 26 2010
As an American who married a Malay lady in Malaysian Borneo, I have attempted not to interfere with the local customs in the after birth care of my wife. I watched in awe and wonder as the family came together to care for my wife. When we arrived after the unexpected birth of my child in Sibu, my mother in law met us at the wharf and followed us to our condo in Kuching. She was the typical doting grandmother, recognizable in any society, every where. One of the first things she did after checking...

Malay Folk Medicine points to Cancer Cure Tree

Posted on Dec 23 2010
A drug from a tree that belongs to the pomegranate family found here in Sarawak has shown promise in the fight against certain types of cancer. Known for hundreds of years to the Malay folk community, the plant grows in the highlands of central Borneo. Misnamed silvestrol by Dr. Douglas Kinghorn because he was misinformed of the correct scientific name of the plant, the drug does wonders in the control of leukemia in mice that have been bred to have the disease. To make a very long story short...

Bead Art in Malaysian Borneo

Posted on Dec 12 2010
I really didn’t give much thought to beads until I moved here to Malaysia Borneo. Being an expat from the States, I remember wearing them during my hippie days of the sixties and early seventies. Being the curious type I am, I couldn’t help but notice that bead art is everywhere and I decided to investigate. The indigenous peoples of Malaysian Borneo, have used beads as part of their dress for hundreds of years. They add a vibrancy and color to formal occasions. Beads first came to Borneo through...

After Birth Confinement in Malay Borneo

Posted on Dec 07 2010
In the Sarawak Malay world, the mother is usually confined to the kampung house for about forty days. (interesting how that number keeps coming up). The mother will either move in with her of visit everyday. Just after delivery, the placenta is washed and prepared for burial. (See a previous post). The mother rests in bed for the first few days. Traditional herbs and medicines are given to the mother to consume. My mother in law mixed 13 different herbs and spices. They include cinnamon, coriander,...

Folk Custom in Malaysia Borneo

Posted on Nov 23 2010
Following the delivery of my third child and first son via C-section, a sterile clothed mask person handed me a package wrapped in plastic. She informed it was the placenta. Apparently, my Malay wife had made arrangements for the delivery of this bizarre package to me for safe keeping. We returned home and I took the placenta and asked my mother in law, an elderly mid wife from the kampung, if she wanted me to put it into the freezer. She said no as freezing would make it hard. We would take care...

Orangutan Gestures in Rain Forest?

Posted on Nov 11 2010
“If I could talk to the animals, just imagine it Chatten with an orangutan in orangese Imagine talking to tiger, chatting with a cheetah What a neat achievement that would be!” Of course everybody knows we can’t talk to an orangutan but Dr. Erika Cartmill has found a way to try and figure how orangs communicate using gestures. For example, here in Malaysian Borneo where I live, there are many Chinese shop keepers and I don’t speak a word of the language. When I wanted six eggs and asked in...

Old Recipe Revived, Cottage Industry Born in Malaysia

Posted on Nov 04 2010
Cake Lapis, A Kuching Institution A popular desert, cake lapis, has become required eating and a “must bring back” for the visitors who come here to Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. Returning flights carry an extra ton of the local delicacy for their returning passengers. Translated into English it means layer cake, but is much different from the deserts known to the west. The layers are only about half a centimeter thick creating a striped mosaic as one gazes from the side. Today, there are many different...

Plants Invade Jungle, Need Help Fighting Back

Posted on Oct 31 2010
One of the problems with tropical rain forest is the spread of new, unwanted species introduced from the outside. Usually, the jungle plants fights off invaders because the native plants are fast growing and are multilayerrd. New plants usually cannot get established. All of this is good. Multilayer means the jungle plants already live just about everywhere. They are on the floor, climb trees and in the canopy. There is no place for the new plants to live. However, some scientists are beginning to...

Kuching, Malaysia Dining Out

Posted on Oct 28 2010
Here in Kuching, I can walk to a restaurant for dinner, sit down and have a nice meal. I can even stroll to a fast food western restaurant. But, I always take a boat across the river to a selection of stalls with delicious local foods. I greet the thin, wiry captain with the Islamic greeting, “Peace be with you”. Stepping down, I usually always slip, but being a regular, the captain has a hand ready in case I tumble into the water. The sampan rocks crazily back and forth as people come aboard....

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