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Archive for the ‘SIG Geology, Caving & Trekking’ Category

Gunung Lanno – Geological Heritage Site

A team of international speleologists were engaged in a speleological expedition to Gunung Lanno, Keramat Pulai, Perak, Malaysia during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Thirty six caves were discovered and documented. All of these caves were surveyed except for Gua Thai Monk, Gua Batu Pencuri and Gua di tepi Tasik. These caves are of geological, speleological, biospeleological, heritage conservation (evidence of tin mining activities), show cave (cave with spectacular speleoterms), and cultural (temple caves) interests. The bulk of the discoveries were made during the International Speleological Expedition Gunung Lanno Malaysia 2001.

At the coming National Geoscience Conference 2011 to be held from11 to 12 June 2011 at Puteri Pacific Johor Bahru, we will present a paper on “Conservation of Gunung Lanno Cave Systems – Proposal for Geoheritage Site”. We shall highlight features of the caves worthy to be preserved as geoheritage site. But, preserving caves in Gunung Lanno is not possible if the mountain, Gunung Lanno itself is not conserved! Currently, there are 8 (5 of which are very active) limestone quarries operating at the foot of Gunung Lanno. Therefore, in the conference we are shall also going to highlight Gunung Lanno itself is to be conserved in term not only it harbours 36 cave systems but it itself is a botanical wonder.

There is a natural trail up to the summit (407 meters) of the mountain (see attached photos). As one ascends to the summit one will see changes in floristic composition at every 100 meters.
1. 0-100 meters: gesnereids, arums, begonias, palms, ferns, bryophytes, begonias
2. 100-200 meters: boeas & paraboias
3. 200-300 meters: bamboo forest
4. 300-400 meters: bamboo forest & orchids

During the International Speleological Expedition Gunung Lanno Malaysia 2001 the team members had successfully summit the mountain.

After the expedition Liew, Mah and I attempted to summit the mountain from the west but failed because it was not the correct trailhead and day was getting dark. On the second attempt with another team of 3 climbers we got ourselves lost in the thick limestone forest and almost died of dehydration. Lesson learned, mark the trail. On the third attempt an expert climber and I attempted and successfully summit the mountain. However, the trail wasn’t still marked!

This Sunday, 17 April 2011, I shall attempt to summit the mountain again with physical markers and GPS markings. The result of this mini expedition up Gunung Lanno shall be presented at the National Geoscience Conference 2011 to be held from11 to 12 June 2011 at Puteri Pacific Johor Bahru.

Interested climbers of the calibre of Christopher Leo, J.C. Tan, Moon, Mah, and Liew are welcome to join me. This will be a project for MNS Perak SIG: Geology, Caving, and Trekking.

Venue: Simpang Pulai Toll
Date: 17 April 2011 (Sunday)
Time: 8.00am
Contact person: Robin Leow
Contact email: robinleow1@gmail.com
Contact number: 012-5217526

All the best,
Robin

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An Excursion to Klang Gates Quartz Ridge at Taman Melawati, Selangor this November 28, 2010 (Sunday), will be co-organized by the Pathfinders Group of MNS Selangor Branch lead by Christopher Leo and MNS Perak GCT SIG.

Christopher will lead the excursion and highlight on the conservational aspect of the ridge where the Kuala Lumpur Outer Ring Road (KLORR) is proposed to be developed. MNS Perak Branch GCT SIG will focus on the geological interpretation of the ridge.

Date: 28 November 2010, Sunday
Time: 5.00 am depart from Ipoh to BP station at Taman Melawati, Selangor.
Meeting Place: Shall be determined when enough participants from MNS Perak have registered.
Method of transport: Car pooling.

For MNS Perak’s member, Robin’s car can accommodate max. of 4 passengers at RM10 per passenger. For further information on the excursion please call Robin Leow at 012-5217526 or email at robinleow@hotmail.co.uk.

The following is a brief information on the conversational and geological aspect of the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge is noted below.

Conservation Notes
by Leo K.M. of the Pathfinders Group

Klang Gates Quartz Ridge (KGQR) is the longest quartz ridge in the world spanning 14 km and soars to 380 m at its highest point. Survey indicated at least 265 plant species thrive at its surroundings and at the ridge what botanist called an island habitat of which 5 are endemic.

Isolated, vegetation at the ridge top differs from those of surrounding areas. The grass-looking Eulaili milsumii is a rare plant that grows only on the ridge and nowhere else in the world. Other endemics plants are small woody shrub, Aleisanthia rupestris, the small tree llex praetermissa, the wiry herb Borreria pilulifera and the ground herb Henckelia primulina. A National Parks and Wildlife Department survey carried out in 1985 found the tracks of 5 rare animals, the serow but it’s anyone guess how many are still around today.

In 1958, a retaining wall was built at the natural gap along the ridge to form the KGQR dam to hold the water whilst the whole ridge acts as the foundation. Will the proposed Kuala Lumpur Outer Ring Road (KLORR) cutting through KGQR, Selangor State Park, the forest reserves of Hulu Gombak, Ampang and Hulu Langat or any alignments affect the fragile eco-system?

Geological Notes
by Robin Leow of MNS Perak branch Geology, Caving and Trekking (GCT) SIG

The Klang Gates Quartz Ridge is composed almost entirely of pure white quartz. It has been traced for a lateral distance of more than 16km, and its width varies from only a few meters at some places to as much as 180m.

It was formed by the deposition of hydrothermal quartz along a near-vertical zone of weakness in the granite. As early formed quartz masses and veins cooled and contracted, new fractures were formed and were filled with later veins of crystalline quartz.

Repeated quartz injection and deposition, contraction and fracturing have produced a complex interlacing network of large composite and small simple quartz veins in many places carrying the remnants of partly or almost wholly altered granite.

Much of the body is of massive quartz, although lenticular vugs with excellent crystalline quartz aggregates are common. This quartz dyke is characteristically formed of pure quartz with no traces of tin or gold mineralization.

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Report by Robin Leow

After the talk on “Reliving the Legacy of Gunung Lanno Speleological Expedition Malaysia 2001” on 24 September 2010 (Friday), the Geology, Caving and Trekking (GCT) SIG attempt to conserve the limestone hill of Gunung Lanno and its cave systems. This conservation attempt will be made between the Department of Land and Mines, Department of Minerals and Geoscience [Geoscience Unit; Geology Heritage Sub-Unit] and MNS Perak [Geology, Caving and Trekking SIG].

Fletcher, Robin and Moon - at entrance of Gua Cicak

Gua Cicak was surveyed and documented in August 1998 and Gua Tanah Merah was surveyed and documented in November 2001 by Gunung Lanno Speleological Expedition Malaysia. From here on, all findings from Gunung Lanno Speleological Expedition Malaysia 2001 and that of 1998 shall be referred as Expedition.

Gua Cicak and Gua Tanah Merah are among 15 other caves that are enclosed between two locked iron gates – one in the north and the other in the south west of Gunung Lanno. Accessing to these caves require one to pass through private lands own by a number of land owners. Permission to access into the these private lands were requested from the biggest share owner of the land.

Donna, Fletcher and Moon - in the Chamber of Missing Liphistius (Gua Cicak)

On 9 October 2010 (Saturday) 8.00 am, the assessment team consisting of Fletcher, Donna, Moon and I met at Kwong Fook Ngan temple and walked through the south gate to Gua Cicak. Trekking to Gua Cicak and the neighboring cave Gua Tanah Merah require one to walk through some old rubber plantation and thick undergrowth at ground level. At the foothill of the caves, trekking up the slope of Gunung Lanno to these caves was not easy for the thick vegetation of the slope. Nevertheless, we were happy to know these caves are not readily accessible thus lessen potential anthropogenic impact.

Guided by the Expedition location coordinates for the entrance of Gua Cicak we were mislead in an order of 70 meters. Both Fletcher handheld GPS and my GARMIN GPSmap 60CSx confirmed that. Locating the main entrance of Gua Cicak was done by instinct rather than relaying on the Expedition location coordinates. I took new location coordinates for the main entrances of Gua Cicak and the nearby cave Gua Tanah Merah. All new GPS readings and new discoveries are listed below.

Findings in Gua Cicak

We wasted no time and head for the chamber where the Expedition found 14 Liphistius tempurung (trapdoor spider) nests. Dr Helmut Steiner, the biospeleologist of the Expedition was the one that found and document these nests. Fletcher noted that these 14 Liphistius tempurung might just be the only 14 left in world. In spite with the guide of the Expedition photograph of Liphistius nests location we failed to see any trace of the nests being there. Ting and I had looked for these nests in 2006 with negative results. The present team members decided this particular chamber, where the Liphistius tempurung nests were, should be called Chamber of Missing Liphistius.

Fletcher and Donna - photographing a scorpion in the Chamber of Missing Liphistius (Gua Cicak)

We continued to scout the rest of the cave for cave fauna. One particular fauna that we looked for is the cave racer snake reported during August 1998 Expedition. In spite we had looked into the deep recesses Cave Racer Snake Passage we failed to find the snake. Ting and I had looked for the racer in 2006 with negative results. Listed below are comparison of the Expedition found in August 1998 and what we found in October 2010.

Cave fauna

Expedition found: Cave racer snake, bats, whip spiders, spiders including trapdoor spiders, geckos and many gecko eggs, cockroaches, many insects, relatively little guano.

We found: A scorpion, a whip spider, spiders, cave crickets, a millipede, insect exoskeletons in clumps, snail shell mortuaries, remain of 3 pairs of cave cricket exoskeleton legs.

Snail shells mortuary - in the Chamber of Missing Liphistius (Gua Cicak)

Scorpion - in the Chamber of Missing Liphistius (Gua Cicak)

Whip spider - in the Chamber of Missing Liphistius (Gua Cicak)

Cave cricket - in the Chamber of Missing Liphistius (Gua Cicak)

Interpretation of cave fauna diversity

In August 1998 Gua Cicak was rich in cave fauna diversity. The presence of bats that provided guano would sustain guano feeders that support predators such as trapdoor spiders and whip spiders. The presence of many insects attracted geckos and spiders. The cave racer snake being the top most predator feed on the bats.

Since 2006, there were no cave racer snake or bats or trapdoor spiders in the cave. No other cave fauna were recorded during the 2006 visit. In October 2010 in spite of the fact there are no bats or guano, we observed that there are millipede and cave crickets that sustain predators such as the whip spider and scorpion.

Millipede - in the Chamber of Missing Liphistius (Gua Cicak)

We have no idea the identity of the insect exoskeletons found in clumps and why they are found in such a way. Nor can we explain why there are numerous heaps of snail shells found in the Chamber of Missing Liphistius.

Speleogenesis

Expedition noted: Gua Cicak was speleogenetically connected to nearby Gua Tanah Merah. A rock fall has removed the connecting wall.

Collapse breccia - at the entrance of Gua Cicak

We noted: There is a block of collapse breccia at the main entrance of Gua Cicak. This collapse breccia is not only restricted to the main entrance of Gua Cicak but found cemented along the cliff of Gunung Lanno all the way to the entrance of of Gua Tanah Merah.

Interpretation of collapse breccias

After the formation of Gua Cicak and Gua Tanah Merah huge blocks of limestone that form the connecting wall disintegrated into rubbles or boulders and cobble sized fragments forming rock screes along the limestone cliff between Gua Cicak and Gua Tanah Merah. Over time these rock fragments were cemented together by dissolution and deposition processes forming the collapse breccias we see today at the entrances of the caves and along the cliffs between these caves.

Anthropogenic impact

Expedition noted: No anthropogenic impact was recorded.

We found: Little human interference. Except for some arrow markings on one or two walls of the cave and one arrow marking on the cave floor there are no other damage to the cave.

Location coordinates

Expedition coordinates of Gua Cicak main entrance:
N 04o 31.243′
E 101o 08.522′
Elevation: 75m a.s.l.
Height above ground level: Not recorded
Estimated accuracy: Not known
Measurement counts: Not known

Our coordinates of Gua Cicak main entrance determined by GARMIN GPSmap 60CSx:
N 04o 31.247′
E 101o 08.481′
Elevation: 79m a.s.l.
Height above ground level: 15m
Estimated accuracy: 10.0m
Measurement counts: 450

Coordinates at ground level (arbitrary location at ground level)
Expedition coordinates at ground level: Not known

Our coordinates at ground level determined by GARMIN GPSmap 60CSx:
N 04o 31.258′
E101o 08.479′
Elevation: 64m a.s.l.
Estimated accuracy: 4.4m
Measurement counts: 493

Interpretation of GPS coordinates – The difference in horizontal distance between the Expedition coordinates and our coordinates is 76 meters. Using our coordinates, the height of Gua Cicak main entrance is 15 meters above ground level.

Findings in Gua Tanah Merah

By 12.30 noon, Moon left the team because he has some important commitment that he has to attend to. Fletcher, Donna and I continued to assess Gua Tanah Merah. Listed below are comparison of Expedition findings in November 2001 and what we found in October 2010.

Cave fauna

Expedition found: No bat colony inside cave. The cave was apparently barren of cave fauna.

We found: 5 bats, a whip spider, a piece of iridescence blue and gold beetle wing in the twilight zone of the cave, two moths at cave entrance, patches of thin layer of guano deposit.

Interpretation of cave fauna diversity

The cave fauna diversity in Gua Tanah Merah has increased over a period of 9 years. The presence of bats in the cave produce patches of line layers of guano on the cave floor. This provide food for the guano feeders (we did not find any) that support the whip spider found in the cave.

Speleogenesis

Expedition noted: Gua Tanah Merah was speleogenetically connected to nearby Gua Cicak. A rock fall has removed the connecting wall.

We noted: There is a block of collapse breccia at the main entrance of Gua Tanah Merah. This collapse breccia is not only restricted to the main entrance of Gua Tanah Merah but found cemented along the cliff of Gunung Lanno all the way to the entrance of Gua Cicak.

Interpretation of collapse breccias

After the formation of Gua Cicak and Gua Tanah Merah huge blocks of limestone that form the connecting wall disintegrated into rubbles or boulders and cobble sized fragments forming rock screes along the limestone cliff between Gua Cicak and Gua Tanah Merah. Over time these rock fragments were cemented together by dissolution and deposition processes forming the collapse breccias we see today by the entrances of the caves and along the cliffs between these caves.

Anthropogenic impact

Expedition noted: There is evidence of digging inside the cave most probably guano even though during the expedition no bat colony was seen inside the cave.

We found: A homemade galvanized zinc sieve, a galvanized tin can and a changkul blade. These are excavation and earth sorting tools. It is not certain what they were used for. The floor of the cave is generally of dry red mud which I interpreted as terra rosa – the remain of dissolution of impure limestone. There is nothing of value in this cave deposit.

Location coordinates

Expedition coordinates of Gua Tanah Merah main entrance:
N 04o 31.238′
E101o 08.514′
Elevation: 73m a.s.l.
Height above ground level: 14m
Estimated accuracy: Not known
Measurement counts: Not known

Our coordinates of Gua Tanah Merah main entrance determined by GARMIN GPSmap 60CSx:
N 04o 31.250′
E101o 08.487′
Elevation: 89m a.s.l.
Height above ground level: 25m
Estimated accuracy: 9.8m
Measurement counts: 703

Coordinates at ground level (arbitrary location at ground level)
Expedition coordinates at ground level: Not known

Our coordinates at ground level determined by GARMIN GPSmap 60CSx:
N 04o 31.258′
E101o 08.479′
Elevation: 64m a.s.l.
Estimated accuracy: 4.4m
Measurement counts: 493

Interpretation of GPS coordinates – The difference in horizontal distance between the Expedition coordinates and our coordinates is 54 meters. Using our coordinates, the height of Gua Tanah Merah main entrance is 25 meters above ground level.

Among further works to be done and unresolved mysteries to be solved

1. What contribute to those clumps of insect exoskeletons in Chamber of Missing Liphistius?

2. Why are there so many snail shells heaps in the Chamber of Missing Liphistius?

3. Identification of these snail shells.

4. Determine the composition of the rock fragments and matrix of collapse breccias.

5. Survey the length of the skylight shaft in the Chamber of Missing Liphistius.

6. Survey the distance between the main entrances of Gua Cicak and Gua Tanah Merah.

7. More coordinate readings should to be taken at ground level and at the main entrances of Gua Cicak and Gua Tanah Merah. This is important in determining the accuracy of the locations of these caves for speleogenesis interpretations.

8. Continue monitoring the cave fauna diversity and population of Gua Cicak and Gua Tanah Merah. The latter cave shows an increase in cave fauna diversity over a period of 9 years.

9. Continue to monitor the anthropogenic impacts on Gua Cicak and Gua Tanah Merah.

Conservation value

1. Gua Cicak was once the habitat of 14 Liphistius tempurung, a species of trapdoor spider that might be the only 14 left in the world.

2. Gua Cicak was the only cave in Gunung Lanno cave systems that harbored a cave racer.

3. Cave fauna diversity of Gua Tanah Merah has increased over a period of 9 years with the presence of 5 bats and accumulating guano.

4. Gua Cicak is speleogenetically connected to Gua Tanah Merah. The collapsed part of the cave is now evidence by numerous collapse breccias at the entrances of Gua Cicak and Gua Tanah Merah and along the cliff between Gua Cicak and Gua Tanah Merah.

It is hope that we do more conservation assessment of the caves in Gunung Lanno in the future. Gunung Lanno has been delineated as a quarry site. Gua Cicak and Gua Tanah Merah are just two of the 36 caves found in Gunung Lanno. High hope we can convince Department of Land and Mines and Department of Minerals and Geoscience that Gunung Lanno and its associated cave systems have conservation values.

Skyline - in the Chamber of Missing Liphistius (Gua Cicak)

I thanked Fletcher, Donna and Moon for their participation in assessing the conservation value of Gua Cicak and Gua Tanah Merah in this trip.

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Words by Ramli Mohd Osman
Images by Eve Leow

On 24th Sep 2010 (Fri), the Geology, Caving and Trekking SIG of MNS Perak launched its first programme. Ramli Mohd Osman, team leader of the Group delivered a talk on “Reliving the Legacy of Gunung Lanno Speleological Expedition 2001”.

Twenty one participants attended the presentation. The content of the presentation is as follows:

Part 1
8.00 pm – 9.00 pm:
1. Introduction to limestone rocks – composition and how they are formed
2. The unique properties of limestone have created:
a. Unique limestone hill ecosystems – flora and fauna
b. Unique karst topography – caves
c. Uses of limestone
d. Conflict of conservation and exploitation
3. Distribution of limestone (limestone hills, karst topography, caves) in the world and Malaysia

Part 2
9.00 pm – 10.00 pm:
Reliving the Legacy of Gunung Lanno Speleological Expedition 2001
1. Totes Gebirge, Austria (Alpine Karsts)
2. Gunung Lanno, Malaysia (Tropical Karsts)

The presentation is divided into 2 parts. Part 1 introduces what is limestone rock and the conservation of limestone hills and caves. Part 2 is about caving in Totes Gebirge, Austria (an example of alpine karst) and Gunung Lanno, Malaysia (an example of tropical karst).

Generally, limestone is formed from accumulation of thick layers of calcareous skeletons of marine invertebrates such as corals, sea urchins, brachiopods, bivalves, crinoids and gastropods. Under compaction and cementation these layers become bedded limestone formation.

Limestone consists principally of calcium carbonate derived from the skeletons of marine invertebrates with impurities such as clay, silt, sand and iron. Dissolution of calcium carbonate from the limestone leave behind red soils called terra rosa which is alkaline with pH greater than 8. These soils accumulate in pockets, depressions, and cracks and crevices of a limestone hill. Due to the presence of these soils, plants would later colonize the hill.

Dr. S.C. Chin, in his PhD thesis in 1977, identified 1216 species of limestone flora in Peninsular Malaysia. Of these, 258 species (21%) were identified to be exclusives. These plants require environment with high pH for growth and survival. Among these 258 species, 76 species were identified to be endemic to Malaysia.

Invertebrates that are specially adapted to limestone hills are the snails that require calcium carbonate to produce their shells. A number of these limestone hill snails are also endemic to Malaysia.

The calcium carbonate of limestone is readily soluble in rain water producing karst topography which includes limestone pavements, sink holes, dolines, karst towers, caverns and caves.

Limestone have many uses such as in making building blocks, dimension stones, aggregates, cement, lime, iron and steel industry, fillers and pigments, glass industry, mineral supplement, precipitated calcium carbonate and other industrial uses. Since limestone have many uses, there is a conflict between conservation and exploitation of limestone hills.

Department of Mineral and Geoscience report (2008), noted that there are 308 quarries in Malaysia. Sixty eight (22%) of these are limestone quarries. Of the 68 limestone quarries in Malaysia, 34 (50%) are located in Perak, making the state of Perak having the highest number of limestone quarries in Malaysia. The issue of conservation of limestone hills and their associated caves are therefore the highest in Perak.

Limestone is not exclusively found in Malaysia. It is found in all continents and most countries in the world. Some of these countries produce the most magnificent of mountain ranges of limestone such as Totes Gebirge in Austria and spectacular caves such as Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, USA, which is the longest in the world at 591 km.

It is estimated that there are 1,302 limestone hills and 1,722 caves in Malaysia. Perak has 80 limestone hills with 192 caves. The highest number of limestone hills and caves in Perak is in the Kinta Valley that has 45 limestone hills and 135 caves.

Alpine karsts (example Totes Gebirge in Austria) have the following characteristics:
1. 10oC; low humidity
2. Sparse vegetation; caves are easy to find
3. Cave fauna are rare
4. Shafts are common
5. No stalactites, stalagmites, columns or water based speleothems
6. Physical weathering dominates – walls and ceiling rough

Tropical karsts (example Gunung Lanno in Malaysia) have the following characteristics:
1. 30oC; 100% humidity
2. Dense vegetation; caves are not easy to find (hidden by vegetation)
3. Cave fauna are abundant
4. Shafts are rare. Caves are dominated by horizontal passages.
5. Stalactites, stalagmites, columns or water based speleothems are ubiquitous
6. Chemical weathering dominates – walls and ceiling smooth

The international speleological expedition of 2001 that consists of 10 speleologists: 5 from Austria, 3 from Germany, 1 from Britain and 1 from Malaysia discovered, studied, surveyed and registered 36 caves in Gunung Lanno and 1 cave in Gunung Merawan.

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Images & words by Vera Radnell

I’m a newbie in town and keen to see all the interesting things around. One day I stumbled across a few words “ancient rock art in Ipoh”. I was immediately alerted. This was definitely something I had to see…. where is it ? Who can I ask for directions?


The sign is at the end of a short dead-end street and points at a polo ground


Look across the polo ground and to the left..a large limestone karst. The cave must be somewhere in there.


This cave is too small

My interest stems from collecting rock art on stamps. OK OK, I’m a philatelist, with a nice collection of birds on stamps but now working on an exhibition entitled The History of Hunting. The rock art stamps for my story illustrate hunters and their weapons so I was curious to see what the paintings here represented.


The reward a the end of the steep climb is worth it

With directions from a neighbour, I found the Ipoh rock face gallery recently and was very happy to see one has to climb up hundreds of steep steps to reach the paintings. What a good deterant I thought, one has to be really keen to climb so many steps. I know what damage vandals can cause and luckily very little modern graffiti adorns the lower rocks.


This isn’t what you want to see… modern graffiti

Upon seeing the myriad display of ancient paintings one instantly forgets the steep climb and you gaze in awe at the representations. Why are the paintings so high up, how old are they, what was used to make the drawings, what do those figures represent? I wasn’t the only admirer of the paintings that afternoon.


Looks like a marine creature..a dugong or a cat fish? The drawings have many similarities to Arnhem Land paintings of the Northern Territory, Australia

Standing in the shade of the tree was an elderly gent (an expert in Indian rock art) with a sketch pad and nearby was an archaeology student from Singapore working on his masters thesis based on the hundreds of paintings here. Noel, the student answered my many questions then invited me to visit his website where more questions on his topic can be answered.

Noel also admitted he collected rock art on stamps but only for SE Asia. He did agreed it was a good idea to keep this special place “a well kept secret”.

For further discussions on philately please contact me at vradnell (at) yahoo (dot) com

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Cheang Kum Seng, a MNS Perak member since 1987, has recently published a book titled “Limestone Hills & Caves of the Kinta Valley”. To our good fortune, the prolific photographer has generously donated 600 copies to Malaysian Nature Society with the understanding that sale proceed of 100 copies shall go to MNS Perak branch’s fund.

______________________________________________________________

For a peek at Cheang’s lifetime work, who is better to narrate his story than his son Dr. William Cheang.

“Where else can the limitless landscape match the greatest reach of
the human spirit?”- T.A. Barron

I was born in the Kinta Valley. As a child I’ve roamed and explored most of the hills and caves around this karst region with my brothers and dad. It shaped my life as a scientist and engineer. I am pleased to announce that my dad’s book, almost 10 years in the making, has finally been published. It is a collection of photos taken over a period of 20 years.

Limestone Hill Book Front Cover 200pxMy dad is a staunch conservationist, naturalist and master photographer. His photos on the chambers of Gua Tempurung & Gunung Panjang helped save the hills. The NS highway was supposed to go through the Gajah-Tempurung Massif and pass by G.Panjang; and this will be disastrous as the whole cave system G-Tempurung & Cliff Paintings will be completely wiped out for good.

Over the course of this project many have helped and contributed in many ways and on behalf of my father, I would like to extend a huge thanks to all of you (you know who you are). Some have left the caving circle, some have moved on to greater things in life and there are some who have went up to the ‘upper chambers’. Perusing through the pages I hope it will bring back an abundance of caving memories. It did for me..

Progressing through the pages was like moving through the early chapters of my life and brought back nostalgia. Penetration of water caves (pp 96) and the gigantic size of ‘Gergasi’ column in Tempurung (pp 28).An old picture of a cave in Gua Layang-layang where I sat there for countless hours (pp116) thinking about my SPM. Also my ‘love-and-hate’ relationship with hornets (I hate them they love me) The sanskrit (pp 97) writings on the walls of a hidden wang through the Six Mile Tunnel was the last thing I saw before I got knocked out. I was stung by hornets and went through anaphylactic shock. Got knocked out in 10mins flat with only three miserable stings. Future encounters with them got none the better. It is all these little adventures in my early life and running around the country side with my brothers that made us independent. Nothing is really impossible if we set our minds to it and don’t give up. Looking back it has been almost 18 years.

I’m holding my own copy of the coffee-table book and I’m proud of my dad. When you drive along the NS highway on your way home to Ipoh, transversing through the karstic landscape in morning light, ask yourself a question- what’s in those hills and caves. For us, my brothers and I, we found life and adventures! I would like to end this with an excerpt from the book:

“Like layers of silk, Kinta Valley’s limestone hills are a beauteous tribute
to power and patience of Mother Nature”

Dr William Cheang Wai Lum
______________________________________________________________

An excerpt of interview conducted by Maye Yap, the Services HOD of MNS Secretariat.

MY: Can you provide a short synopsis of your recent publications?

CKS: As the book’s writer, S.L. Wong, put it in the book, “Famed for their beauty and exploited in numerous ways, the limestone hills and caves of the Kinta Valley are amazing repositories of the past, both natural as well as human. This publication is a tribute to that rare beauty and a call for responsibility as custodians of our precious heritage”.

MY: How can these publications assist in the conservation and protection of Malaysia’s natural heritage?

CKS: I hope this publication will instill awareness of the immeasurable conservation value of Kinta Valley Hills and its fascinating prehistoric past. This publication illustrates today’s hills and caves but also landscapes that no longer exist. This publication serves as an encouragement to all of us to stand up and protect Malaysia’s natural heritage.

MY: What kind of skills and commitment are required for budding writers interesting to embark on producing nature related publications?

CKS: Passion, passion and lots of patience. In producing this publication, thousands of photographs were taken to unravel the beauty of these cave formations. You will need lots of patience to be able to read and study the formations first and foremost before you are able to capture these fascinating images.

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Press review published on Sept 26, 2009.

Cheang 2 700px

Cheang 1 700px

To read the full story, click this The Star Online link

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“Limestone Hills & Caves” book launch event by Cheang Kum Seng on 6th November 2009 at MNS Perak branch level

Please join MNS Perak branch to congratulation Cheang Kum Seng for being awarded with the President’s Award in Nov 29, 2009 for his passion for the limestone hills and caves of Kinta Valley.

______________________________________________________________

Those who would like to purchase this beautiful book can contact MNS Perak Branch or Nature Owlet (Sin Ee at tapir.shop@mns.org.my). The selling price of this publication is fixed as follows:

MNS member: RM100 per copy
Non-member: RM110 per copy

Sometimes links may appear at the bottom of this post. They are not from us. These are randomly generated by WordPress.com, the platform we use to maintain this free website.

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