Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Our hill resorts need cleaning up

Our hill resorts need cleaning up
Wednesday April 14, 2010

I AM happy to read that there is a freeze on development in Fraser’s Hill.

I spent two days and one night there two weeks ago and came away feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. However, I noticed garbage on the way up the hill and also around Fraser’s.

Another thing I couldn’t help but notice was that some of the bungalows were dirty and rundown. There was also a resort there that looked utterly decrepit.

The English translation on some of the information provided for foreign tourists was atrocious, to say the least!

I have also been to Cameron Highlands and yes, garbage was everywhere too.

That draws me to the letter “Poor tourists are simply too dirty for comfort (The Star, April 13). As the writer points out in his letter, you don’t find rubbish in high class neighbourhoods in our country.

I stay in a new development area in Cheras and I see rubbish piled up everywhere. When I go to places like Tropicana and Damansara, for example, I find them so well kept. Why is this so?


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fraser's Hill Development Halted

Pahang state exco rules out any new development in Fraser’s Hill
By Roslina Mohamad
Tuesday April 13, 2010

KUANTAN: No new land will be opened for development in Bukit Fraser, a popular highland resort in the state. The decision, made three weeks ago by the state executive council, is effective immediately.

Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob said the move was necessary to protect and preserve the natural setting of the highland, also known as "Little England".

However, the state government would still allow development that would add value to the current products, buildings or facilities, he added.

"We may entertain requests that will add value, such as a farm or hotel operators who plan to renovate or upgrade their premises," he told reporters after witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding at Bukit Gambang Resort here yesterday.

Old world charm: Fraser’s Hill’s clock tower, the town’s landmark is reminiscent of little village squares found in the English countryside.
Old world charm: Fraser’s Hill’s clock tower, the town’s landmark is reminiscent of little village squares found in the English countryside.

The MoU, between Bukit Fraser Development Corporation (the state’s tourism agency) and 20 tourism-related associations, is aimed at fostering better ties and networking.

Adnan, citing many examples where over-development could spoil the environment, said the state government would not want the same thing to happen to Bukit Fraser.

"Only 10% of Bukit Fraser has been developed and the rest of the highland will remain untouched," he added.

On developments in Cameron Highlands, another popular highland resort in the state, Adnan said the situation was still under control.

Conceding that there was land encroachment, and noting the poor sanitary and waste disposal system, he said the state government was working to overcome the problems.

"We are doing something about it. We can still mitigate the destruction that has occured in Cameron Highlands. It is not that serious," Adnan said.

On the second access route to Bukit Fraser that has yet to be opened to the public due to road defects and ongoing repair work over the past 11 years, Adnan clarified that it was not abandoned.

The works department was in the midst of repairing the route, he added. -- The Star

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Flower Show in Chelsea

Local flora set to bloom at the Chelsea Flower Show this May
By Sheila Stanley
Thursday April 1, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR: A tropical Malaysia-themed garden is set to bloom at the Chelsea Flower Show in London this May.

The 220-sq metre garden, designed by award-winning botanical design firm Amphibian Designs, is inspired by lush rainforest and traditional Malaysian village garden plants.

The main person behind all this is 28-year-old ethnobotanist James Wong, an up-and-coming television star in Britain, who co-founded Amphibian Designs with partner David Cubero.

"We’d like to pair traditional Malaysian materials like sustainable coconut wood and white limestone with native species like pitcher plants," he said while on a recent trip to Malaysia to film the BBC2 documentary special James Wong’s Malaysian Garden.

While in the country, Wong took the opportunity to scout around for local plants that would survive the more temperate English climate.

Floral pursuit: Wong posing with the Rose grape (medinilla magnifica) plant at the YG Park nursery in Cameron Highlands recently.
Floral pursuit: Wong posing with the Rose grape (medinilla magnifica) plant at the YG Park nursery in Cameron Highlands recently.

One of the places he visited was Cameron Highlands, where in YG Park nursery he came across the Rose grape (medinilla magnifica) plant and the elephant ear taro (alocasia macrorrhizos).

He also shopped for some cultural items to be included in the garden.

"I picked up a tepak sirih while in Kuching – I think it’ll lend a unique feel to the garden," he said.

Intended as a showcase to highlight Malaysian flora and natural habitats, the Malaysian garden in Chelsea is part of Tourism Malaysia’s ongoing promotion to sell Malaysian parks and gardens abroad.

Born to a Sarawakian-Chinese father and an English mother, Wong studied primarily in Singapore and moved to Britain for his university years.

He studied business in the beginning but realised his life’s passion was plants and decided to do ethnobotany.

He completed his MSc in Ethnobotany at the University of Bath and trained at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew.

His research resulted in him living in Ecuador for 18 months, learning how the Ecuadorians use their plants and picking up Spanish.

Wong ventured into television not because of the glamour but because he thought it would be the best way for him to do ethnobotany without spending the next seven years of his life "working towards a PhD in a remote part of the world and studying a subject that only the professors that marked my paper would ever read".

Wong has an infectious passion for plants and people, which doesn’t stop when the cameras stop rolling.

The Malaysian garden at the Chelsea Flower Show will be opened by Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.

For an update on the garden, visit
-- The Star