Friday 20 September 2019

My Intimate Evening With Langkawi's Gunung Raya

The breeze brought the cool evening air to the mountain that gently caressed my face. Quietness filled the surrounding as I begun to walk up the easy comfortable road. The rustling of tree leaves and branches made by jumping squirrels and some ground foragers reminding me that I am not alone. As I looked at the sun setting down on the other side of the horizon, I stared with awe of the orange delights that coloured the sky. 
Sunset delight at the peak of Gunung Raya, Langkawi
Running macaques crossing my path with their babies clinging on is a simple proof that wildlife exists. The barkings of Wreathed Hornbills and the growlings of Great Hornbills seemed to be calling for equal rights to be here. The chatty Flameback Woodpeckers came along making the wildlife party merrier. 
Darkness creeping into the forest
As I stood by the side of the road glaring at the highest canopy tree, a fleet of jet fighters appeared in the sky. Twenty to thirty of Wreathed Hornbills and forty Great Hornbills flew out in formations like sky troopers announcing "WE RULE".  

Just when I thought that these awesome displays were over, a dark figure appeared in front of my path. Wearing an embedded pair of white glasses, it was an honor to be greeted by this gentle and shy Dusky Leaf Monkey at a close distance of approximately 5 meters. I froze immediately and watched carefully as this gentle creature enjoyed its last leafy snack for the day. It seemed to be contented and not bothered with my presence at all. What a true honor! 

As the mountain summoned for the darkness and its nocturnal creatures, it was time for me to descend and return to my real world. I smiled and silently thanked the mountain, Gunung Raya that has given me these wonderful gifts for the day.

Gunung Raya, the gentle energizer and life giver of Langkawi's natural heritage. 
Fiery ball descending into the horizon

Friday 13 September 2019

Featured on Bryony Angell Dot Com

I cannot recall how Bryony and I were connected via Instagram many months ago or perhaps almost a year ago. After visited Bryony Angell's website awhile ago, I was impressed with her writings and especially her posts featuring female bird guides from different countries. And to my surprise in late May 2019, Bryony invited me for an interview via email for her next blog post feature. Her blog was only posted on 16th August due to the delay from my heavy schedule in June. Bryony was very patient with me, thanks!

Screenshot of Bryony's blog page

Thank you to Bryony Angell for selecting me to be featured on her web blog. Bryony is a freelance writer/blogger and also an avid birder. Her website has a specific focus on birding culture and women in the world birding scene, with clips in regional and national publications.
Screenshot of Bryony's blog page
My contents to her questions can be hard to stomach by some bird or eco tourism industry players or may be offensive to some simply because the truth hurts. While the word "sustainable" is so overused, almost to as "green-washing", it is challenging to strike a balance between ethical practices and profit making. Tourism practices follow the trend of consumers who are the tourists. Companies will continue to provide what tourists want in order to make huge profits. Like the saying goes, "If there are demands, there will be supplies". It takes more than two parties to ensure ethical practices in tourism or eco tourism but the greater power comes from the visitors or tourists themselves. It will be my dream one day to be able to witness all tourists to say "No" to wildlife exploitation in tourism. Likewise as guides whether we are freelancers or employees, we too have our roles to play as frontliners. We had our training when getting our licensed badges and it is part of our duty to educate the tourists and not spoiling them in the end. I usually lay out my rules before accepting a nature tour booking especially Bird Photography and Mangrove Boat tour. Some will accept and some will not. I also have been declined by some tour agents when I laid out my rules. At least now, I do not have a boss to answer to. I only have to answer to my conscience. It is never easy to practice full ethics as guides. 

Please click on this link here to Bryony Angell's latest blog post.

Once again, thank you Bryony for featuring and acknowledging female Birdwatching guides around the world.