Looking around me I see the bigger pictures. And I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.


Friday, March 30, 2007

Of rats


I must admit that in Malaysia rats are found in almost all the large towns, municipalities and in the City. I have often observed them in the daytime sometime, and at dusk but mostly in the early morning. Especially in areas where there is a high density of eating places such as food stalls and not too expensive restaurants. In such places food are mostly thrown about, and also in such a country as Malaysia where we experience heavy rainfall most of the time, there are many monsoon drains and many openings leading to these monsoon drain resulting in wasted food either getting into these drains or waste food flushed into these drains with the waste water during the washing of plates and dishes. And in these places where rats find food and take refuge. They come out where its quiet, that is why we see them after midnight or in the early morning.

Rats are also to be found in the homes in Malaysia, the reason being that in Malaysia we have this common habit of throwing wasted food into the sink and these gets into the sink outlet drain pipes and thus into the estate drainage system. Rats love these. And in the process rats take refuge in the between the houses drains and sometimes getting into the roofs and into the kitchen cabinets where they may even breed if not discovered early. And they are very cunning, very quiet during the day and only come out at night or in the early mornings, like those in the food stalls and restaurant areas. They can create havoc in the home, gnawing into wood structures of kitchen cabinets and even gnawing the wood structures of doors and windows frames in they find themselves trapped in a room without a mean of getting out.

Its the rats that get into my house, and my nerves that I capture. And I have trapped quite a few. Some just died of natural death (frightened and shocked I presume) and a few I set them free far far away from my house, assuming that they will not get back into the familiar scene of my house. They might get into someone’s far away house though, I wouldn’t know. I was just being humane to the rats.

These rats are mostly quite large and fat, well fed I suppose from all the thrown away food stuff. The ones I see are mostly of brown colour, though I have seem some with somewhat of near brunette fur. These rats are quite vicious, don’t ever get too near them when they are frightened on being trapped. They even try to bite through the metal netting of the trap.

They are mostly bigger than a few weeks old kitten (at least in my local scene), and in some cases even cats get frightened of them.

In some countries the people eat rats, but in Malaysia I have not seen such habit being practiced. I suppose they must be a good source of protein, after all they are of similar size to pigeon which many people eat. Not to mention mouse deer.


I must confess that a rat is not my favourite animal.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Pak Wan

There are so many tales and folklore (and books) about traditional medicine, especially the Malay traditional medicine, it may take a whole library to do research on them, and a lifetime to understand them.

I grew up in Malaya in the atmosphere where the traditional Malay medicine was the order of the day, in my growing up years we had little access to western medicine. Even if there were western medicine, the rural (kampung) folks then would rather go for the traditional medicine men, the pawang and the bomoh http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bomoh, and the herbs from plants and trees, they were easier and quick remedies. But as I grew older western medicine had more influence on our lives and yet traditional medicine were still practiced, but in a less sophisticated manner, more of what has been the tradition of past days.

In leading my normal life I have tried homeopathy http://www.homeopathyhome.com/ & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeopathy but it did not really do me any good; maybe good to some other people and not to me. I have tried traditional medicine, and many had not done me any good as well. But I am curious as to why traditional medicine still thrives and I have talked to a few people who practice such trade. In fact if one were to go on street corners in Malaysia today, one will still meet a few of these people, some are real quack but others may be true practitioners. And there are also many of these true practitioners either open their own business or shops, where when they are to poor to open their own shops they operate from their homes. (To note that Malays traditional medicine vendors rarely open shops but the Chinese do). To a true practitioners its too undignified for them to operate from street corners (may to a few is a mean of making a living operating from street corners). One such home practitioner I met was Pak Wan, who resides in Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia.

Pak Wan must be about 70 odd years now in age, may have contracted Parkinson’s disease (his hands are shaking all the time) but he practices the traditional massage, and sells traditional medicines, dried ‘misai kuching’ (orthosiphon aristatus) leaves (and similar but capsulated)is his speciallity. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthosiphon_aristatus

I am not so sure why is he in the ‘misai kucing’ dried leave business but he tells me that ‘misai kucing’ dried leaves when immersed in hot water is a good drink for remedy for diabetic. Proven? I don’t know. But in Malaysia they do sell ‘misai kuching’ powdered dried leaves as a form of tea and sold in teas sachets.

The other speciallity of Pak Wan is that he is a masseur, for men only. I have not tried his massage but from what I hear from him he seems to have regular customers.

And his other hobby is collecting wild medicinal herbs from the Malaysian jungle, he goes to where people tell him such herbs are available to collect them. And he has a small herb garden near his house, but there is nothing really to show for.

He has a small office where he keeps all his paraphalias, his books and stacks of herbal medicine, and a few bottles of jungle honey. And he sells all these to people requesting them, at a very reasonable price.

And his family sell Malay ‘kueh’ (sort of home made light sweets made from flour) in a small temporary hut near his house. Asked why did he not make a permanent hut to sell his home made ‘kueh’, he says its because the Kuantan Town Council is going to extend the road width in front of his house his house, the planned monsoon drain will be right in front of his house entrance.

Well, he a senior citizen, and whatever he does is through experience with a bit of self education and learning from Malays who have similar interest and probably longer experience.

He seems to be an interesting character, I will probably talk to him further about his experience and will blog on him at a later date. I may even make a home page for him if I have the time and the inclination.


Monday, March 12, 2007


Who is lying? Judge for yourself.



Malaysia Blogsites List