Visiting the Orphanage – Sabah Trip#9

February 22, 2016 at 12:19 am | Posted in itchy backside | Leave a comment
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At 9 plus in the morning, the van from Uncle Tan sent us to the nearby Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, where baby and young orphaned orangutans are rehabilitated.

Entrance tickets for foreigners were RM30, plus RM10 for cameras, a vast price difference from the locals. We skipped the video presentation at the main reception area cos we were late and the room was already quite packed. The morning feeding session would be at 10am.

Tisu-Orang
Tisu Girl posing with her Orangutan tee from Malacca. :p Gotta walk through this boardwalk into the forest to see the orangutans

sign
Most of these orphaned orangutans were victims of illegal pet trade. “Babies are often caught during logging or forest clearance or captured by poachers who slaughter the adult apes to reach them. The Malaysian Government has clamped down on illegal trading, outlawing all such practice and imposing prison sentences on anyone caught keeping them as pets.”

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Signage along the way explaining plight of orphaned orangutans

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“Orangutan” in Malay language means “man of the forest”

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When we reached viewing area, we were a bit disappointed cos we thought the setting would be a little bit more natural…It actually looked like what we see at our Singapore Zoo….

From where we were standing at the viewing platform, we could see a few young orangutans hanging around on the trees…

sleep
Where’s the food….Wait till so sleepy….

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Then, one by one, the orangutans started to move closer to the feeding platform….

feeding
Finally shortly after 10am, a ranger came with his basket of fruits and vegetables…

Actually I didn’t expect they would just leave the food there and watch over the orangutans while they eat…I was expecting to have some sort of commentaries about how they are rehabilitated, the kind of trainings given behind the scene…just like what we see on tv documentaries…Well, maybe they did that on the video presentation, but if people were to miss it, then the experience would really feel like just visiting a zoo…

roar
“Hahaha! Of course TV programs would get special commentaries lah! Dumb dumb!”

pig-tailed
Halfway through feeding came an intruder!

sneaky
Sneaky fellow! Not sure if this Pig-tailed Macaque was also one of the animals at the centre since the website says they provide medical care for a few other wildlife species like sun bears, gibbons, Sumatran rhinos and elephants

In terms of size, he was not much of a difference from the youngsters, but since he was outnumbered, he was very cautious about not having close contact with the orangutans, and would take food that were further from the feasting youngsters.

takeaway
He kept stuffing himself non-stop with the food…See his swollen cheek pouch? He was packing for his lunch later….

Soon, the ranger left them alone, and slowly some orangutans started to climb freely on the rope towards the trees…providing visitors a much closer look at them….

735
See her tattoo on her thigh? I shall call her, “Miss 735” 

stare
Climbing is one of the most important skills orangutans need to develop, as they are arboreal and will spend their lives high in the rainforest canopy

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At the centre, their natural mother’s teaching is replaced by joining the youngsters with older orphans who will show them the skills they themselves have already learnt. It has proven to be a very successful combination

hanging
See, so acrobatic! Can think on the go! 😀

Once they have developed their climbing and foraging skills, they are eventually released into the surrounding forest reserve to fend for themselves. They spend most of their time in the forest and will sometimes return to the centre for a free meal. So when it is fruiting seasons when naturally growing food is in abundance in the reserve, visitors may not get to see that many or even any orangutans. Although this can be disappointing for those hoping to see the orangutans, it just means that they are not reliant upon the feeding and are able to survive and in a free and natural existence in the reserve.

share
“Yo, can share?”

joking
“Hahah! You must be joking! Look for your own food!”

contribute
You can help these orphaned orangutans too!

We followed the orangutans until they went further deeper into the trees…There are some trails of different distances that visitors could explore but due to time constraint, we didn’t try that. Thought of just chill out at the cafe since it was really a hot day!

tractor-millipede
On the way out, saw this Tractor Millipede….quite big, about the length and thickness of my index finger…about 6cm…ok,…I have short fingers… 😦

entrance
Then we realised the Bornean Sunbear Conservation Centre was just around the corner! But we were left with only one more hour before the van picked us back to Uncle Tan Operation Base at 12.30pm!

admission
There is another entrance fee to the centre….We checked with the lady if one hour was enough for the visit and she said yes….

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Way to observation platform

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After climbing a flight of stairs, right in front of us was a cute Sun Bear on a tree!!!!

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It was the first time Itchyfingers actually saw a Sun Bear on a tree! Usually in the zoos, they are just on the ground walking around or sleeping…never have the luxury of climbing up a tall tree!

tongue-texture
Look at the tongue texture! So cute! Hahah….

Sun bears (Helarctos malayanus) are the smallest bear species and the best tree climber. 

tongue
They may be the small, but they have long tongue of 20-25 cm! They are useful when seeking out for honey in bee hives! Their fondness for honey means they are sometimes named ‘honey bear’ or ‘beruang madu’ in Malay and Indonesian. 

Once found throughout Asia, from India to Vietnam and China to Borneo, their numbers have decreased dramatically due to deforestation, commercial hunting and the pet trade. They are often found in appalling conditions; without a home, a mother, or left to rot in tiny cages. Hence the mission of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) is to rescue these sun bears and promote their conservation to return sun bears to the forest.”

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Bear hug…like a koala! Hahahah….

bear
Looking at us….

curious
Something caught his attention?

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Then he decided he had enough of the tree and started to descend! 

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So agile!

A local researcher there told us that at that time there were 32 bears in six holding pens. Only realised he was actually the CEO and founder of the centre after reading the website! But only this one was opened to visitors. There was only this Sun Bear which was closest to the platform, and another two were further on another tree and much more hidden.

From this observation platform, you could walk a loop around the short boardwalk.

squirrel
Got to see this Prevost’s Squirrel (Callosciurus prevostii pluto) hugging a trunk at a closer range…There was another hyperactive on at the platform

orang
And found this Orangutan high up a tree foraging for fruit! He was supposed to be from the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre next door but apparently crossed over the boundary….Well, just showed that he was able to take care of himself and hopefully may be on the way to be released in the wild in the near future…

We had to take a last look at the adorable Sun Bear cos we would be transported back to the Operation Base and then to our camp site for the next three days.

The viewing areas opened to public and the boardwalk were actually quite small, so the entry fee was quite expensive if you think about it. But, if the money is able to help these orphaned animals have a better chance of survival and be eventually returned to the wild, then it would be money well spent and worth every cent of it! If you have the chance to visit Sepilok, do drop by these two centers for the Orangutans and Sun bear. By just being there, you would be contributing towards the conservation of these two beautiful animals.

Also see related posts:
>
Where is the Uncle – Sabah Trip#8
Wild Sabah – Sabah Trip#7
The Lost Gardens – Sabah Trip#6
A Close Shave – Sabah Trip#5
Boring Hot Spring – Sabah Trip#4
A Slow Slow Cllimb – Sabah Trip#3
A Different Garden – Sabah Trip#2
So Near Yet So Far – Sabah Trip#1

Yellow Ribbon Prison Run 2015

September 15, 2015 at 12:17 am | Posted in itchy backside | Leave a comment
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Itchyfingers has always wanted to join the Yellow Ribbon Prison Run to try out its many challenging inclined slopes along the route but somehow it always clashed with some other runs or dates that we couldn’t make it. This year, we finally signed up for it after deciding to try a new run.

Unfortunately, thanks to our neighboring country’s annual oil palm plantation burning, our usually clean air has been badly polluted. The sky had been covered by haze for at least a week now and getting worse. The organiser had to pre-empt participants of a possible scaled down event if the haze reached a PSI reading of over 100.

Alas, at 5am on Sunday morning, a final announcement was made that the 10km competitive run was to be cancelled, and the 6km run will be changed to a fun walk, so the participants would not be over-exerting ourselves under the bad weather condition. It was very disappointing when I woke up at 6am to read the message, but Itchyfingers decided to go ahead and join in the walk anyway.

The shuttle bus pick-up point at Expo took about 20 minutes to reach Changi Village, and by the time we walked to the starting point a few traffic lights away, it was already past 7.45am. So if the 10km run wasn’t cancelled, a lot of us would have been late for the run…

start
My first time walking this route…hahah

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We were more than three minutes late….

ribbon
Many people were seen taking photos with the huge yellow ribbon tied on lamp posts and trees. Itchyfingers also want! Hahah….

security
We were not supposed to take photos of prison facilities but I guess an unused old prison site is ok?

slope
Walking on the Road to Acceptance, to give ex-offenders a second chance in life…This was one of the upslopes…

2km
Took about half an hour to reach 2km! Didn’t even see the 1km marker!

trail
Soon we reached the “Happily Ever After Running (in this case, ‘Walking’) Trail”

Quak
The first fairy tale characters were the Ugly Ducklings…Will you be kind to it and accept it? If yes, say “Quack”!

johore-battery
When we saw this, we thought it was a replica since it was inside a restaurant….

sign
But apparently, it is the real thing!

no-photo
Itchyfingers fooling around again….

bird
Was looking for real birds…

swans
Then realised Ugly Ducklings had turned into Beautiful Swans…hahaha…. 

chapel
We passed by Changi Chapel and Museum, which Itchyfingers visited few years back

princess
These Princesses appeared without warning and they were popular! I thought it was cleared and ran in to take photo, but apparently the other guy still hasn’t had enough yet! Hahah….

princess-ahead
The sign came too late! Hahaha….I think I missed the Frog Prince…

prison
Didn’t turn on my GPS so lost count of how long we walked….Before we knew it, we were at the end of the 6km walk….Did I miss the distance markers again? This is the old Changi Prison Gate

finish
Wow! We took so long for our leisurely walk and photo taking!

After this finishing point, we had to walk quite a distance to the tentage to collect our finishing medals….Was wondering why made us walk so long…Then we realised only 6km runners were supposed to walk so far…For 10km runners, we had a separate finishing point which was just next to the carnival tentage….

10k
The unused 10km finishing point…Next year, ok? Next year we will pass through you!

medal1
First time collected a medal and felt no sense of achievement…hahaha….Maybe the achievement is having survived walking in the hazy condition….

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The medal featured the old Changi Prison Gate

Will definitely try to come back again next year for the 10km run!

The Little Red Brick – SG50 Lego Exhibition

August 22, 2015 at 12:43 am | Posted in itchy mouth | Leave a comment
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This year is Singapore’s 50th year of national building. As part of the Jubilee Celebration, there are many events organised around the island. Itchyfingers just went to this ‘Past Forward’ Exhibition, held at Singapore National Library. There are three parts to this exhibition: ‘The Little Red Brick’, ‘3D Printing Singapura Stories’ and ‘The Singapore March’. But I must say that most people were attracted first to the many Lego models, cos I was there also just to check out the Legos…hahah

Since it is the SG50 celebration (Singapore 50), a lot of events revolve around the number “50”. There were apparently 50 showcases of people’s memories of Singapore, presented in the form of Lego models here. Din count, so can’t confirm…hahah…

9-Aug
Old school radio, a peranakan tingkat (or the tiffin box),  the gem biscuit in tin and the old school calendar, all made with Lego bricks!

biscuit
So cute!

octopus
Game & Watch, a cool toy of yesteryear! 😀

playground
One of my favorites – the old school mosaic playgrounds! Remember the Dragon, Pelican, Elephant and Watermelon? They left out the Seal… Sadly the Pelican is no more…. 😦 Why couldn’t they preserve the beautiful Pelican at least as a sculpture?

watermelon
The Watermelon playgrounds. In recent year, there are some local designers who made these old playgrounds into collar pins or bags for sale…wonder if there is any copyright issue?

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The iconic red-bricked National Library that, sadly, had given way to a stupid tunnel and finally another building for SMU…

library
Inside the old library…wow the library cards are huge! 😀

wayang
Another one of my favourite Lego models…the makeshift chinese opera stage, complete with opera actors and audiences

stage
So cute, look at the zigzag, comical-looking, snake-like dragons on both sides…they even put in the name of the acts on the black board…hahah

backstage
Backstage was as interesting as the front, with actors busy putting on their makeups and robes. At the left were the musicians. Kids were shown here skipping ropes. Street operas used to be common in the older days as main entertainment. But with the introduction of more televisions, cinemas and later, computer games, it is now a dying trade….

cinema
Open air movie screening! Looked so hip and cool! Hahaha….A lot of reflection on the casing, so very tough to take closeups…

samsui
The Samsui Women. These iron ladies from Sanshui of Guangdong (Canton) Province in China, came to Singapore between the 1920s and the 1940s and worked in construction sites as hard laborers, carrying heavy loads. Their hard work contributed to Singapore’s development, both as a colony and as a nation. Our true pioneers! 

samsui2
These women were referred to as 红头巾, which translates as “red bandana”, a reference to the trademark red cloth hats that they wore. Today, most of these Samsui Women have either passed on or went back to their hometown in China. Only a handful retired here in Singapore

red-house
Remember the Little Red House at Katong? Only went to this bakery twice before it was closed for development in 2003. But it stood there for many years with nothing being done to it! Only recently did the paper report some updates on the development

shophouse
Another favourite piece. Shophouses at Koon Seng Road near Joo Chiat

shop
So nice! Even the otherwise ugly wheeler bins looked cool here

tiong-bahru
Tiong Bahru pre-war flats!

ice-cream
Came with its own grumpy ice-cream man! Hahah. These uncles are still a common sight now, and long queues can sometimes be seen at those along Orchard Road on a hot day!

Remembering-LKY
Talking about queue…more than 1.2 million people braved rain and shine, day and night in March this year, to pay our last respect to our founding Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew at the Parliament House. This queue looked way too short…Itchyfingers braved through the whole Friday night for nine hours to pay our few seconds of respect…were you there too? Er, the flag didn’t look so good though….

 

bus-stop
The old bus stop! I love the pink and red Bougainvillea flowers!!! The flags here were much nicer! I didn’t take the old double-decker bus beside it… 😦

train
Who could have forgotten the KTM train that once passed through the heart of our island just few years back? This train against the Bukit Timah station must had brought back lots of memories for many people….The old railway track is now the Green Corridor. Itchyfingers just did our first Green Corridor Run early this year!

merlion
This Merlion looked very comical… 😀

landmark
But this one looked worse…I thought it was an elephant at first glance! The sprouting water looked more like an elephant’s trunk…hahah…and since when did we have a white standing Buddha figure in town? Hahaha….

singa
They should really stop at one…The bigger Singa looked fine…but the smaller one….hahahahah…..

army
We have to thank these Men in Green for protecting our homes. Here, a typical scene of parents sending off their teenage boys to be enlisted into the army

There was a small section on 3D printing, which was quite neglected..haha

march
First National Day Parade in 1966

great-world
Great World – a popular place for entertainment in the past

Overall, it was quite an interesting exhibition that certainly brought back quite a lot of memories. There were still many others that were not featured here, so do pop by the National Library foyer from now till 28 August to see them! 🙂

Also see related post:
> Building a LovingSG

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