Tuesday, March 31, 2015


When I started to call monitor lizard as dragon, it sound so cool. 'I am going to hunt down dragon'. No I mean shoot them with camera and study them. I am intrigue by their features and their size. I am amazed when I first saw one descending head down vertically along the Tembusu tree trunk. I search the web for their information but I did not see any anatomy drawing on the monitor lizards that are common to this part of the world. I had seen many of them at the Macritchie Reservoir park. We use to chase them around the park in mid-afternoon as they would ascend from the reservoir to take a rest from the heat, I supposed. The maximum we sighted were six in a single afternoon.
I did not have the opportunity to see them up close nor see them many time larger than their actual size. For the sake of understanding them, we made several trips to the botanic garden to track them down and observe their habit and behaviour. It was fun and exhilerating.

As we had expected, animal stay around their territory and would not wander too far away. We spotted three to four dragons (Varanus Salvator) As one ran into the bushes and we later found three of them within the wrought iron fences. One of them looked smaller than the other two. I supposed the smaller one could be their children.

Monitor Lizard Varanus Salvator
Monitor Lizard looking for prey.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Possible Animal to have in the Organic Farm

Photography by Choo Meng Foo & Zhu Shengyiyu • Text by Choo Meng Foo

The one animal that is commonly found in the tropics is the monitor lizard. They are carnivorous I suppose and they are always foraging for other smaller animals, insects or arthropods. They are a common sight in places with water and abundance of other animals. They are also common in places where there are dumps. Somehow, they are scavenger too. They could swim and walk on land; they are very versatile. They live quite happily with turtles and larger fishes. They could grow to slightly more than one metres long.

Some possible animal to consider

  1. Monitor Lizard
  2. Bird – Pigeon, White-breasted Water Hen, Mandarin Duck, Spotted Dove
  3. Frog – American Bull Frog (Not a good thing) 
  4. Dragonflies

Monitor Lizard as Pet

  1. http://www.vitalexotics.com/water-monitor-black-dragon-care-sheet/
  2. http://www.naturia.per.sg/buloh/verts/monitor_lizard.htm
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monitor_lizard  – A general description of the Reptile. A good Start.
  4. http://www.ecologyasia.com/verts/lizards/malayan_water_monitor.htm 

The genus we photograph is possibly the Varanus Salvator or the Asian Water Monitor Lizard.

They come up on land whenever the weather is hot, especially during the mid-afternoon sun. They use to be a delicacy for the Chinese who are adventurous.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Yoga as a way of living

Yoga is not about exercises, especially most would be familiar with the Yoga posture, but it is about a way of living and achieving oneness with the greater being of the self. Achieving knowledge and spiritual well being is an important part of our being. Of course we do not despise the material and privilege the immaterial, nor the spiritual. The spiritual dwells in the material and the mundane. It is through the mundane that we learn to see its necessity and the futility of life. On meditating on its emptiness we see the wondrous landscape of this journey of life. Life is that journey we take and there is nothing else beyond. No matter how much we desire the desirable, all desires and the desired, the acquired shall perish in the instance of unconsciousness. Nature and yoga shall within the holistic living arena, provide us an answer to our existence and a way of life.

Here is the book, http://www.lulu.com/shop/meng-foo-choo/yoga-with-nature/paperback/product-21879170.html

Friday, March 20, 2015

Animal are a necessity for Organic farm

When I asked the organic farmers how did they get rid of the pest. Some answered that they do not use insecticide and have to wash the insects off the leaf with water or removed them by hand. Another, said that they can use organic insecticide, such as a mixture of chilli powder and other herbs. I did see that taxi driver in Singapore uses Padang leaves to ward off cockroaches.
Perhaps there are better ways, as nature always kept the balance with another animal checking on one another.
The monitor lizard and the anteater, do helps to keep small animal and insects in check. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monitor_lizard) Here a monitor lizard climb up one of the oldest tree in the Singapore botanical garden. They seems to be tame and they are quite a common sight in the garden. I suppose we can keep some of these in the organic farm too. As they are carnivorous an should not disturb the herb or the vegetable. Will have to study that. One should imagine the Organic farm as an organic garden instead, with animal and nature living in a symbiosis manner.

Monitor Lizard as Pest Control


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Finishing

We explored the way to add some flat colours to the pieces. It was a way to see if there is a fun way to add some colours using photoshop. He started the colour first and I made some simple adjustment to the colouring.
Here are some of the completed pieces.


A visit to the Farm. Amazing!
119 Neo Tiew Lane 1

We learned a lot about planting and using the plant as herbs to cure common diseases. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Visioning and conceptualizing the Brief

Hope to see the group soon so I can get on with my planning works for their 5 acres of land.

Visioning Exercise

  1. How it started (History)
  2. Taking Stock • Current Situation • Current achievement
  3. Visioning
  4. Establishing objective and milestone – Where, Who do what, when why and How
  5. Site Understanding
  6. Establishing Schedule of Accommodation (SOA)
  7. Establishing timeline
  8. Brief formulation
  9. Establishing Resources needed
  10. Signing of Vision Statement
Nothing happened as the meeting never materialised.

The Next phase of Organic Farming – The 5 acre site

We had a great lunch with a friend of Will's mother. He is a Pontiac residence and had remained so. He knew the place well and he is a source of information, provided us with advice and suggestion which makes planning much simpler.
At the oldest coffee shop at Pontian

Friday, March 13, 2015

Holistic Living

Perhaps holistic living could be the answer to one form of alternative living. The way to holistic living would have to deal with the material and the immaterial aspect of the person. The material aspect would be that of the physical composition of the person, his body and his mind. Food and Diet, exercises as well becomes crucial.
The other immaterial aspects would include the psychological and the social aspect which could impact the health of the physical body. Meditation, positive outlook and a happy disposition becomes crucial.
The environment is another factor which would impact the person as a clean, natural, unpolluted environment will definitely enhance both the physiological and psychological well being of the person.
Creating such an environment perhaps is the solution to holistic living.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Painting and Drawing with my son

It was a great blue day when we cross over to Johor, ate at my favourite restaurant (Dragon-i), had noodles and some double boil soup. Lawrence picked us up at the Levi entrance of the City Square mall. It is good to have a Nokia with GPS and the great apps, Photosynth. Yiyu had his Fuji X-M1 while I was without a pocket camera since my Canon S100 got its lens stuck. Canon S100 was a good camera to own as it has a GPS and every shot will be Geotag. However, battery will drain fast. I always had 2 spare batteries whenever I travel with it for documenting my journey. Well, Nokia with Photosynth apps serve me well too except the quality of the images cannot beat those taken by the S100.
We were here to create some art pieces for the Organic Farm set up by Lawrence and Will (and another partner which we had not met). The concept is amazing and needed to be tested. They had good results and they are looking forward to plan and bring their idea to the next stage. They will upgrade to the 5 acres land along Jalan Kukup Laut (95).
We arrived at their test-bed half acres land, had a little coffee and got down to work. The idea we had was to create a series of painting using water color, fountain pen and photoshop. The final output will be digital and the size can be adjusted during printing to suit the space at their rest house. Although it is an organic farm, art would play a part in creating an aesthetic environment that would stimulate the mind and the spirit.

The project was conceived with a methodical process of collaborative art creation. First Yiyu will photograph and investigate the farm and the interview the people involved in setting up the farm and planting the vegetables and fruits. He will document what he sees and I will then do a quick painting with watercolour on watercolour paper. After it dries, he will draw over the painting, inputting his interpretation, as a layer over my painting. Thereafter we intend to scan it into the computer and add colours to them.
Here are the unfinished works which are yet to be scanned into the computer.