Thursday, May 20, 2010

Gombak reprise

I went to Gombak with Daicus last week. He was scheduled to conduct a few sessions at the Ecology Field Trip camp for Environmental Engineering students. He asked if I wanted to tag along and take some photos.

'Cave' centipede, Scutigera sp.

Close-up of a harvestman, a.k.a. daddy-long-legs.

Photographed using reverse-coupled lenses.

Huntsman spider by the water's edge. It rests the tip of its 'toes' on the water's surface, waiting for prey to swim by. When it senses movement beneath the surface, it lunges forward and grabs its prey.

Bufo asper and its shadow.

Ants finishing off our tea.

These were only about 2mm long, photographed using reverse-coupled lenses.

Dr Rosli Hashim briefing the group on birdwatching.

Junior birdwatchers.

(They were pointing at a bird in the trees, not at the rays of light.)

Cyber café at the Ulu Gombak Field Studies Centre.

These days students are very tech-savvy. My Ecology classmates and I never bring such gear into the field, except once in my second year, when I was rushing an assignment.

Daicus the Nikonian.

Daicus the herpetologist.

* * *

The Gombak area has always been special to me, not least because my first two field trips were in this area. The first, to the Klang Gates Ridge, and the second, at the Field Studies Centre.

View of the KL skyline from the Klang Gates Ridge. Ilford Pan 400 film, hand print by Eric.

View of the Klang Gates Dam, from atop the ridge. Ilford Pan 400 film, hand print by Eric.

And now this place is a major bone of contention because of a highway that is tentatively going to be built running through part of the ridge.

Much of the forested area in Gombak is classified as reserve forest, which means logging and other industries which require the forest to be cleared, cannot be conducted. Also, the Klang Gates Dam is an important catchment area which supplies a good deal of water to Kuala Lumpur. As if to make matters more complicated, the Klang Gates Ridge is the world's longest quartzite ridge, and there has been talk, now and then, about getting UNESCO World Heritage status for it.

Of course, the problem is that the highway, which will connect Rawang and Cheras, does not actually cut through the dam or the forest reserve. It supposedly just chips away at a fringe part of the ridge. The main ridge will apparently be unaffected.

If indeed a highway is built, the present draft must be heavily reworked. A slight miscalculation may well disqualify the ridge for World Heritage status.

Therein lies the second problem: most of the people who have a stake in the project, e.g. government agents/agencies, roadwork contractors and industries whose delivery will be sped up by the new highway, probably couldn't care less about the World Heritage status. There are no direct fiscal benefits of such a title, only the projected future overall well-being of the city.

And of course, these people have no ecological sense. Common ecological knowledge states that the health of the population/community depends on the health of a habitat. Polluted rivers don't house healthy fish, and likewise an unhealthy KL will not be very nice to live in.

I woke the world with bawling

One day I'll die, I'll pass away
But not today, no, not this way

I was of the feeling it was out of control
I had the opinion it was out of control

Tanah tumpahnya darahku
Where I was born

One day I'll die, the choice will not be mine
Will it be too late, well you can't fight fate

* * *

Just for the record, this is what the picture above looks like when scanned from the negative at a commercial photo shop:

Compare the difference in tone texture and contrast!


Flo said...

Hey Ben, lovely photos you've got here! Take care. :)

syuhadah dzarawi said...

rasanya spider tu bukan hunstman. mungkin Dolomedes sp. seem like nursery spider.

SimianD said...

Yes I think you're right.

Daicus yang kata huntsman, and since I don't know much about spiders, I noted it down as huntsman.