Saturday, June 30, 2012

Floria 2012 - Magic of the Night

Here are some pictures from Floria 2012's decorated floats (boats actually) and fireworks display. It is worth the time spent standing by the lake for two hours plus to see the 'Magic of the Night' as the organisers calls it. For those who are going to Floria 2012, try to go in the evening and stay on to see this event as many of the Floria exhibits are lighted and look good at night. As each boat goes by the main stage, the MC will give a brief description of the theme for the float plus the thematic music will be played.
The lighted boats at the end of the parade.
Fireworks display with the boats on the Putrajaya lake.

International Floats
There were two international floats for this event. The first international float (and the first float) to drift by is from Suzhou, China. The float from Suzhou highlighted the city as a UNESCO heritage city. Suzhou is also known as the Venice of the East. I think it is one of the best float for the night, if not the best.
The float from Suzhou, China.

The next international entry is from Kenya. Depicted on the float are the Big 5 of Africa, namely the lion, African elephant, rhinoceros, Cape buffalo and leopard.
The float from Kenya, depicting the Big 5 of Africa with the Putrajaya Seri Wawasan Bridge in the background.

Local Floats
The first local float is from Langkawi. With a large Brahminy Kite perched on the front side of the boat, the float promotes Langkawi's Magical 99 Islands.
Langkawi's float with a large Brahminy Kite at the bow end of the boat. Langkawi is named after the Brahminy Kite - Lang means a raptor and Kawi is the ochre colour/dye, the main plumage colouration of the Brahminy Kite.

Next is the float from Johor, which is less gaudy but still colourful. I kinda like the colourful checkerboard pattern on the boat.
The float from Johor that proudly carries the name of Nusajaya.

Next was the float from Melaka. The float looked like a tortoise shell, and had a replica of the A-Famosa gate and a red building that looked like the buildings at Stadhuys at the back of the float. The 'shell' is used as a projection screen for pictures of historical buildings in Melaka plus some laser lights. Not at all attractive as the projected images were not bright enough and the laser light show was nothing spectacular. A possible candidate for the worst float, in my humble opinion.
The strange float from Melaka. Rather dark and not eye-catching. The bridge and the lights in the background looked more interesting.

After the dull, rather boring float from Melaka, the next float from Negeri Sembilan looked bright and cheery like the Sun. One can easily see that the focal point of this float is a representation of the beautiful old Istana Seri Menanti at Kuala Pilah.
The float from Negeri Sembilan depicting the traditional Malay style architecture of old Istana Seri Menanti.

This is then followed by the float from the state of Pahang. The float loudly proclaims Start in Tioman (SIT), which is a joint program between the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia, Tourism Malaysia, the Pahang State Government, and the Divers Association. There is also a strawberry onboard, for Cameron Highlands is in the state of Pahang.
The float from Pahang, heading towards the main stage.

Well, then we have the float from Perak. I am not too sure how to put this, but I would have considered this float a 'disaster'. Firstly, it appears to be poorly lit. Also the rendition of buildings weren't very distinct. I can just make out the leaning clock tower of Teluk Intan, and that is just about it. As it approached the main stage, all lights were turned off. Then pigeons were released from the boat. Yes PIGEONS, released at night! Those poor birds were plunged into darkness and then forced to take flight in the dark. Consequently, they headed for areas perceived as lighted. Since the water had reflections of bright lights, some of the disorientated birds dive straight for the lake surface. They then flop and swim to the shore, where they get frightened by the wall of spectators. Some flew to the trees (lucky them). Some were 'taken' by the spectators. Not too sure if they were released or ended up in the pot of one of the spectators. Then the lights on the float were turned on and a flag (not very discernible) was raised above the main structure of the float. I am appalled that the organisers even allowed this thing. I guess animal rights isn't a strong point for this event. Pigeons are diurnal animals, and even trained homing pigeons get confused if forced to fly at night. Never ever release diurnal birds at night. Perhaps bats or nightjars would have been a better choice. Maybe owls...
The float from Perak - this is before they turn all the lights off and release pigeons into the night! Tsk tsk tsk, bad float bad organisers.

Click on the link/image below to read the second part of this post:

Floria 2012 - The Magic of the Night Part 2

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Scallions from the balcony

Something out, something in...That's how it goes for a small balcony garden. I have been dragging my feet in planting bulbs and seeds from Diana, as I need to free up some space to accommodate the generous offer of seeds and bulbs. I believe that most people whom had obtained bulbs and seeds recently had already planted them and theirs are all growing vigorously. Just look at K Mar's gladioli and Lynn's carrots and romaine seedlings. So feeling a little kiasu, I took to clearing some of the containers to free up space for the seeds and bulbs.
The severely neglected Allium chinense still produced quite some bulbs.

The first to go is the Chinese scallions that I had put in last November. I have three large poly-bags of them (they fill up the bags quite rapidly) and had thrown out one bag last month. When the remaining two bags were cut and the soil dumped away, I am faced with this bunch of Kiangsi scallions that I do not really fancy eating since they can taste a little 'green'. As they were about to go into the bin, I was told not to waste it so it is now waiting to be pickled.
Allium chinense
Some of the Kiangsi scallion bulbs were replanted into a small pot - just in case I still need it for some dish in the future.

I did replant some of the bulbs, but this time in a small plastic pot. If needed, the bulbs can be further divided at a later date.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Hmm, still hazy today. The percentage of areas with unhealthy air quality had risen to 14% at 7am today (16 June 2012) from 8% at 5pm yesterday. And with no rain forecast until next week, coupled with weak winds that is not helping the dispersion of the haze, it appears that we will have to be content with smoky, acrid smelling air and lowered visibility in the city.
The haze in KL is not getting any better. In fact it might be getting worst - compare this picture with a picture in yesterday's post.

The Air Pollutant Index data from the Department of Environment Malaysia for 11am shows that the percentage of area with unhealthy air quality is at 16%, an increase from 2% from the 7am data.So I guess it is getting hazier when compared to yesterday. Hopefully this patch of haze will get dispersed when it rains.
The Air Pollutant Index data from the Department of Environment Malaysia showing percentages of area with different status of air quality for 7am and 11am 16 June 2012.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Welcome to Hazy Malaysia

Ahh, the South West Monsoon....which brings to KL and many parts of Malaysia the dreaded HAZE!!! The Air Pollutant Index (API) in several parts of the Klang Valley rose above the 100 mark today. A quick look out of the balcony in the morning revealed the usual sight of the KL skyline minus a lot of buildings, especially the Petronas Twin Towers and KL Tower, which is a sure indicator that horizontal visibility have dropped and the API is not good. Since 1990, this haze has become an annual, predictable occurrence that only varies in severity and duration from year to year (look at this post from last year).
Hmmm, a hazy KL skyline in the morning = bad air quality.

A look at the Malaysian Department of Environment website shows that the air quality had worsen in the afternoon for many spots in Selangor, with Port Klang having the highest API of 147 at 5pm.
The API index as percentages of areas in Malaysia for 11am and 5pm by Department of Environment Malaysia. The percentage area with unhealthy API rose by 2% from 11am to 5pm.
Part of the API index listing provided by Department of Environment Malaysia for 15 June 2012, showing several areas of Selangor having unhealthy API.

From the map provided by ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC), it appears that the hotspots in Sumatra are most likely to be responsible for the haze over in Klang Valley, given the surface wind direction. Hotspots are most likely peat forest fires that smoulder as the underground peat layers burn away.
Map from ASMC site showing the hotspots and prevalent surface winds.

The South West Monsoon usually runs from June to September, and brings about drier weather to the West coast of Peninsular Malaysia. This monsoon system is different from the Indian Monsoon (also South Westerly winds), thought both systems do interact.

During the summer months, the land mass of Asia (China) warms up due to the approaching boreal summer. The warm rising air creates a low pressure area. At the same time, the deserts of Australia are approaching winter, thus the cooled air drops and creates a high pressure spot.

The difference in pressure causes the dry air from the Australian desert to move south-easterly and upon crossing the Equator, becomes a south-westerly wind due to the Coriolis effect. This dry wind brings about drier weather, especially to the eastern parts of Sumatra and western Peninsular Malaysia, thus escalating the peat/forest fire situation. The northern tip of Sumatra and parts of north-western Peninsular Malaysia however, may receive decent rainfall due to interaction with the Indian Monsoon system.

Perhaps I would need to do a rain dance and pray that my dancing is that bad, it makes the heavens cry. I am still unsure if rain dances must be conducted naked or clothed…anyone??

UPDATE: I got back home at 10.30pm and guess what...the lights from KL Tower were not visible whilst those from the Twin Towers were just barely visible. Hazy indeed.
At 10.30pm. the lights from the Twin Towers were just barely visible, a far cry from the usual glittering pair of phalluses in the KL night sky.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Floria 2012 is coming up!

Floria 2012 is coming up soon at the end of this month. The theme for this year is Bougainvillea - Enduring Beauty. I believe this would be a better theme than that of roses for last year's Floria i.e Roses are Forever. Of course bougainvillea is a love-hate plant - you either love it or hate it to the core.

The outdoor/indoor garden and flower showcase will be on from the 30th June until the 8th July 2012. The venue is at the usual Floria location i.e. Waterfront at Precinct 2, Putrajaya. So get your cameras ready and also your wallets ready for some plant shopping at the event.

The opening hours are listed below:

Monday - Thursday:   9.00 am - 10.00 pm
Friday - Sunday:        9.00 am - 12.00 midnight

So there is no reason to say that you can't make it for Floria 2012 due to work hours etc. For more information, do visit the official website:
Putrajaya Floria 2012

Click here to see my post on the 1Malaysia International Night Floral Parade themed 'The Magic of The Night'.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Kuala Lumpur International Music and Light Festival 2012

In conjunction with the 25th World Gas Conference in Kuala Lumpur, the event management company for this conference is holding another event, the Kuala Lumpur International Music and Light Festival 2012 daily at the Esplanade, Suria KLCC, during the duration of the World Gas Conference from the 4th - 8th of June, 2012. The 2012 KL International Music and Light Festival, which carries the theme "World Peace, World Harmony, World Unity", starts daily at 8pm until 10.30pm.
Bright colourful dancing fountains was one of the highlight of the KL International Music and Light Festival 2012.
The whole Esplanade of Suria KLCC was bathed in psychedelic lights as well as a huge crowd.

On the first day of the event, the sight and sound of a fireworks display that was visible from Ampang led us to finding out about the event. According to the event website, this festival will have a dazzling showcase of the largest light installation, dancing fountains, water screen, pyrotechnics and multimedia lasers displays, video mapping - projecting advertisements and branding on Suria KLCC. This festival will also bring together international and local musicians creating music on a single platform, whilst at the same time, promoting the theme. 
The main stage where the performers are staged.
A dancing rainbow curtain of water.
People grooving away to the beat of the music. The walls of Suria KLCC becomes a projection screen for the video mapping, projecting shows.

Different performers/musical acts were listed for each of the night that the show is on. On the night that we went, a local act, Akasha was there for the night's performance. The dancing fountains and laser displays were spectacular, plus the video mapping shows too captivated the audience that were present. Many were seen dancing and grooving away with the music through the night. So if you have some time this Friday evening, do go and catch the last night of the show.
An open air, moonlit dance club?? No, its the KL International Music and Light Festival 2012.
Even after the performance had ended, the guy beside the Samsung shopping bag was still grooving to his own music.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Last Transit of Venus for the Century

Here are some pictures of the last transit of Venus for this century. The next transit will be in 2117, which I guess we all won't be around to catch it.
Transit of Venus, Venus transit from Malaysia, Transit of Venus 2012
Venus appears as a shadow (the beauty spot - a.k.a. the Cindy Crawford/Marilyn Monroe mole) on the left (about 9 o'clock) of the Sun's disk. Taken with a Sony DSC point and shoot, two pieces of DIN10 welder's glass, a cardboard shield and Adobe Photoshopped to remove the green cast.
Transit of Venus as seen from Kuala Lumpur, image of Venus in transit, transit of Venus June 6 2012
Without colour correction, the welder's glass gives the image a strong green cast. The shadow of Venus is seen on the left hand side of the solar disk. This image was captured post maximum contact, at around 10am local time.

The path taken on the solar disk is a curved trajectory, because as the sun moves through the sky, the solar disk rotates with respect to the horizon. Hence the apparent trajectory taken by Venus across the solar disk is a curve and would be different depending on the location that you are viewing from. To look at what the trajectory looks like, you can go to and use the flash applet provided by to see the trajectory from your location.
Venus in transit photo series, transit of Venus series, transit of Venus as seen from Kuala Lumpur, transit of Venus 6 June 2012 photos
An overlay of combined images taken during the transit of Venus over that of the modeled track given by that was accessed from - the combined series of images shows the 'spot' is taking a curved trajectory over the solar disk as modeled for viewing from Kuala Lumpur.

Below are a few pictures extracted from the site mentioned above to illustrate how the observed trajectory is different at different localities.
The apparent transit trajectory for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - this imaged was superimposed with images of taken during the transit and made into the image above this.
The apparent transit trajectory for Adelaide, South Australia.
The apparent transit trajectory for Osaka, Japan.
The apparent transit trajectory for Beijing, China - similar to the view from Osaka.
The apparent trajectory for Fairbanks, Alaska.
The apparent trajectory for Los Angeles.

If you like to see how the trajectory of Venus appears in other places, try using the flash object below. You can click on the Trajectory button to draw the calculated trajectory and change the location by clicking on the map.
Please install latest Flash Player to run SunAeon Venus Transit 2012