Quote Today

    If you pretend to be good, the world takes you very seriously. If you pretend to be bad, it doesn't. Such is the astounding stupidity of optimism.
    - Oscar Wilde

    Saturday, June 20, 2009

    Tree Planting at Badas Forest Reserve - June 17th Share

    Wednesday morning woke up early and tagged my boyfriend and cousin Mona along for a tree-planting activity at Badas. Maw told me about the event and I figured there wasn't any reason not to go since it's in Seria. And besides, it's a cause that I actually want to be a part of.

    I must admit that before this, I haven't a clue about the Million Trees Project (yes, I am ashamed), which is a project initiated by ISB (International School Brunei) in support of the Heart of Borneo project that was launched in March 2007. The Million Trees Project has a number of individual projects of tree-planting and forest conservation across Borneo. The one that I took part in was the Badas Tree Planting Project and aims to see about 50, 000 trees planted in and around the Badas Triangle by October 2009.

    Initially, Maw invited me to the 12th June batch of Brunei Bloggers and British High Comm. personnels going to Badas but I couldn't make it. So, Maznah was kind enough to let me tag along for the 17th June batch comprising of Standard Chartered personnels, BARA members and of course mission staff of the British High Comm.

    Let me just tell you why we arrived so late at Badas Forest Reserve - so late that they were less than 10 little trees left to plant. I knew that we were suppose to go to Badas and automatically I'm thinking it has got to be that little junction just on the highway of Seria-Lumut with the signpost that actually says "Badas". So, at about 8.50am we started our journey to the end of Badas, and en-route, we met with a nice lady from the British High Comm. stopping next to our car telling us how she was a bit lost. Well, guess what? We were, too. And to think I know my way around Badas?!
    Soon enough there were three other cars following the lost convoy trying to figure out where exactly the reserve should be. After a good 45 minutes searching for the reserve and making our way back to the highway, we were then told that the junction to the reserve was further up nearer to Lumut, to where most of the forest fires were concentrated at. If only someone had told us to look for the ISB signboard, life would have been much easier...
    With the nice lady earlier and the Australian High Commissioner leading the way to the reserve, we found the correct junction as indicated by the ISB signboard in the picture above, we finally arrived just shy of minutes away from the last batches of trees to plant. The drive in to the reserve was quite a far one..or maybe it wasn't but the many dips and turns we did to avoid rough patches probably made it seemed like an hour.

    Anyways, when we got there the Standard Chartered people were already taking group photos after planting their batches of trees - I started feeling hmm maybe I should have just bailed out of there to avoid embarassment of not planting ANY at all. I was just about to turn around when my cousin Mona said "Oh, we'll just say we're from RTB." So we hung near and around Syukri and the reporter like flies, pretending to be part of the crew...
    Eventually, Mona and I found two not yet planted trees nearby and asked a nice lad from one of the mission staff if we could do those. He was nice enough to show us how to do it, too "first, you tear the plastic from the bottom and then...."
    So, I only got to plant one tree but at least I GOT to plant a tree. Where were you?!
    Yes, I'm extremely proud of my tree - I hope you get to grow to be the biggest and the tallest of them all...heheh. I must tell you that I went down on my knees and planted that one tree without using gloves - I clawed, I filled and I patted at that ashened soil with my two bare hands.

    Onto facts of the project:
    The Badas Tree Planting Project is currently in its 2nd phase that will see the 50 000th tree planted by HM Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah as its completion by October this year. Phase One was completed just October last year with the 1000th tree planted by HRH Prince of Wales and the 1001st tree by HRH Crown Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah. Since its launch, many have joined in the effort to re-habilitate the forest cover in and around the Badas Triangle that was destroyed by forest fires back in 1998. Through participation of schools and other institutions, the Badas Forest Reserve is slowly enjoying the rise in population of indigenous trees like the Agathis Borneensis (tulong) and the Drybalanops Rappa (kapur paya), which were/are provided by the Forestry Department of the Ministry of Industry and Pr
    imary Resources on an area of plus-minus 10 hectares of heath (kerangas - in Iban that literally means "soil that cannot grow rice") soil.

    * * * * *

    Eventhough I only got to plant "eyy" tree, I can't help but boast about the fact that at least I was part of something that is worth boasting about. I mean, how many of us drive past the forest area along the Seria/Lumut highway, worry about the fires and the haze but do nothing?

    At the end of the day, with dirt-laden fingernails and hands, I feel a little lighter with guilt from the many open-burnings I may have started and the many trees I may have etched "I love ..." on before. When I got home, though, and tell of the tree I planted that morning to my mother and expecting a pat on the back for my good job, all that she quipped was,

    "Nanam pokok di Badas, mau ah...di suruh nanam pokok/bunga di rumah, payah di suruh..."


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