- October 14, 2015
The two snakes that clung to the mangrove tangle over the narrow inlet were what you might call double-trouble. The larger one was black and ringed in yellow, the smaller one bright green. The former one the locals call Ular Tiong - the Gold-Ringed Cat Snake. The latter, most likely a White-Lipped Tree Viper. Both are poisonous.
As our pilot boat went ahead, led by Wai Yin Yap, our intrepid local AD, he shouted back to us that we could not go any further with our cast and crew boats until the snakes were removed. To continue along the narrow gantlet would mean our three small boats - camera, crew, and starring cast - passing directly beneath the snakes as they slept in all their iridescent, cytotoxic glory.
- October 6, 2015
As schools here in Malaysia remain closed for a second day due to 'the haze' -- a rather soft euphemism for toxic pollution coming from burning rain forest -- the new issue of TIME Magazine quotes NASA as proclaiming this current event as among the worst in history. United Nations have declared this thing "an ecological disaster for the world."
In my last post I pointed out that the fires are occurring in Sumatra, an island in Western Indonesia. This rain forest, the third largest in the world, is being set afire to clear land. All of the blame is falling squarely at the doorstep of palm oil companies and their apparent friends in government.
- September 24, 2015
Here in Malaysia the skies have been heavy with smoke-haze and even the most smoghardened veterans of L.A. on our crew are finding it daunting. The haze, what the locals here call Jerabu, is a direct result of C0-2 rich peatland burning out of control on the island of Sumatra (western Indonesia and Borneo).
As we wake up each day and check the haze index -- anything over 200 is unhealthy -- no one seems to really look beyond the haze to question just what's going on over there in Sumatra. I didn't at first either. I was somewhat satisfied, even if annoyed, with the report of fires burning somewhere over in Indonesia. But as the Platters once sang, "Smoke gets in your eyes" day after day and you start to think "this is too damn unnatural."