Archive for Malaysia

The Heart of Borneo

On the world’s third largest island lies the last sizeable chunk of pristine rainforest in Asia. This is none other than the island of Borneo, which lies in the South China Sea, sections of which belong to Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia. The “Heart of Borneo” (see here and here for more information) is the charming name given to a project led by WWF-Malaysia to conduct a detailed survey of this area, utilising GIS technologies, with the aim of identifying key areas on which conservation efforts should be concentrated. The grand vision is to extend and link up existing protected areas into a “conservation network” by means of strategically created forested corridors.

The importance of this project cannot be understated. The Borneo rainforest plays host to a staggering amount of biodiversity – it is home to more than 2000 species of trees as well as a vast array of other animal species. At present there are already 11 protected areas but these have become increasingly isolated as a result of deforestation and other human activities in the surrounding areas. The creation of special forested corridors linking up the protected areas will increase the chances of survival for larger animal species such as Rhinos and Elephants. If you have the means, please try to help (visit the WWF site to get started).

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Malaysian Road Signs

Talking about Malaysian roads, what is it about those road signs. They seem to have been specially tailored to confuse and mislead. Two examples:

1) In most other places, if the speed limit is (say) x kmh, the sign would say “x kmh” and that would be that. If at some point, the speed limit changes to y kmh, then just erect a sign which says, accordingly, “y kmh”, at which point most reasonable people would agree that the previous speed limit was now void and had been replaced by the new one. Well, for some reason, on Malaysian roads, when the limit is x kmh, three signs are needed: “x kmh mula (start)”, “x kmh peringatan (reminder)” and “x kmh tamat (end)”. Apart from being a waste of time and resources, this will be confusing to foreign drivers who can’t read Malay. In addition, there’s the question of what exactly is the speed limit between the last tamat and the next mula. Clearly we are now in some dead zone where there is no speed limit. Great.

2) A favourite spot to erect road signs seems to be just after “Y” junctions, like so:

|——————->>
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——-| [Road Sign here]
|
|————————->>

However, the sign would only indicate one destination (like “Exit”, for example). The hapless driver arriving at this junction is now left with the unenviable task of figuring out exactly which of the two branches is the “exit”.

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Evil drivers

I’m pretty horrified by the mannerisms of drivers on Malaysian roads. Especially annoying are those who flash their high beams at the vehicles in front to get them to move out of the way. Not only is this (extremely) rude, it is quite dangerous as it distracts both the driver in front as well as drivers in the neighboring lanes. The new superbright xenon lights don’t help, either.

How to strike back? Don’t budge. By obliging, we are re-inforcing their behaviour and encouraging them. Unless you are crawling in the fast lane at 20 below the speed limit, you have the same right to overtake/take the right turn, etc as anyone else. If you were planning to overtake a car on the right, carry on doing so at *Exactly* the same speed as before – do not be rushed into driving at a speed that is uncomfortable to you just to accomodate the barbarian behind you.

None of this is to say that you can’t show a little grace and courtesy yourself. Of course, the driver behind you could well have a valid reason for driving like the wind (or maybe he fainted with his foot stuck to the accelerator). However, there are more polite ways to do so than to dazzle a fellow road user with your high beam. It’s rude, dangerous and tolerated only because of the impersonal nature of travelling on the roads – try walking on the pavement and screaming at the guy in front of you to get out of the way. Not a good idea? Didn’t think so 🙂

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Camp-5

Finally looks like another indoor climbing gym will be opening in PJ. It’s called “Camp-5” and will be situated in 1-utama. Since it will supposedly be the biggest in Asia, wonder how they’ll fit it in, though..

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