Of Dragonflies, Butterflies and Moths

It is with great hesitancy that I write this post.

I am not promoting superstition, but this has been happening to me since my mom passed away end July last year.

Starting three months after her passing, several type of insects came to me.  A total of 8 encounters in 14 months. Three times moths; three times dragonflies; one time butterfly, one time an unknown insect.

These insects are not only insects I saw around me but insects that seem to be coming to me, maybe to convey messages or at least to say Hi or to say I am with you.DSCF1898

Three months after mom’s passing, I decided to climb Huashan, which is the steepest mountain in China. At the starting point, a golden moth gripped onto the the strap of my backpack and refused to go away despite my wife’s trying to get rid of it.

One night, two weeks ago, I discovered a big moth of around three inches square, stuck onto the outside of my toilet window. I tried to photograph it, but the flashlight has driven it away.IMG_6379

Just two days ago, a light colored moth around one inch square was found within my flat. Mind you, except two windows, all my other windows have mosquito net installed.IMG_6528 (1)

I also have three encounters with dragonflies. On two occasions, the dragonflies knocked onto my car windscreen ( one knocked three times) while I stopped at a traffic light. On the other occasion, a pair of dragonflies bumped into my windscreen.

On one occasion, one big blue butterfly flew near me while I was hiking. I said to myself if it is you mom please stay for a moment. . . . . .  which it did.

A couple of months ago, a stick like flying insect ( about 1.5 inches long) came resting on my window pane. Every morning, once got out of bed, I used to brush my teeth while looking out of the window. Here it was this flying insect pinging on my window. It has an extruded dry skin still attached to the underside of its body.

I was, of course intrigued, not only by this insect, but by all the insects that have come to me.

These insects did not just came to me; but they made sure that they are noticeable. Every time because of their appearance, I think of my mom.

I started looking up books about the meaning of these encounters. Some say it could be spirits with a message, a biologist discounted these thoughts. Up to this very moment, I am still baffled.

I know that there is a great divide between the living and those passed away and that we are not supposed to communicate.

My questions are:

Could it be my mom just trying to say Hi?

Why so many insect encounters after mom’s passing?

Dragonflies, with their compound eyes, are known to have excellent eye sight. Maybe they are unable to discern the glass wind screen, but how come I have not experienced this before?

That strange insect with an extruded body seems to suggest to me that it has transformed. Does it carry a special meaning that mom wants to tell?

OK, maybe, I have become too obsessed with seeing insects.

Maybe, as the biologists says, these only remind me of the mom I love and nothing else.

Perhaps, maybe . . . . . . . . . . .

The Morning after Super Hurricane Mangkhurt passed by HK

After killing some dozens of people in the Philippines, the super hurricane made its way towards HK.

Fortunately, it passed by 100 km of us. However, with an enormous circulation radius of around 900 km, an eye radius of 50 km and a wind speed of over 200 km/h, it has done a lot of damages to HK.

Signal no. 10, the highest signal, was hoisted for 10 hours.

There were lots of flooding in the low lying areas. Several blocks of residential buildings have seen waves rising to several stories high before their windows. The nearby shopping complex was flooded and the electricity / water supply to these several blocks were disrupted even till now.

Many residents complained of feeling discomfort as their apartments swayed in the wind and their hanging lights swinging to and fro. One video showing a tall residential building swayed noticeably under the typhoon went viral.

Many trees have fallen (over 17,000 big trees were reported to have fallen), blocking many roads and pavements. All transport came to a halt. There was a lot of chaos as one major section of the MTR was out of operation. Meanwhile, 2000 flights needed to be rescheduled.

A tower crane for tall building construction fell, some roof coverings were ripped out. Many windows and facade have broken, rain and wind that came through the windows have left those flats and offices ravished.

Many coastal park and amenity areas were destroyed. Boats are grounded and even one barge sank.

Luckily, there were no landslides nor deaths; around 400 people were injured.IMG_6476

The government here has done a good job, stepping up measures and advising / coercing people in low lying areas to leave and hastily cut out some weak tree branches beforehand.

My roof was flooded as leaves/ grits blocked the gratings. Three trees planted on my roof toppled. There was also seepage problems in my flat too.

Climate Change has really arrived. I argue with my classmate who is influential in the government / building sector that the design gust wind speed for one in 50 years has got to be upgraded. For a couple of hours, there was a lot of toing and froing in the chat group – that helped me spending the time before sleep. I know I am doing the right thing.

The mega bridge from HK to Zhuhai and Macau has a design wind speed of 432km/h, it is a bridge of high economic value. Our high rises, which has a high life content, are designed to 200+ km/ h. In my view, it should be upgraded to account for the now apparent Climate Change effects.

I know I have a clear conscience. Went to bed, woke up and took this photo outside my window.

It looks gloomy, but I know I am starting a new day 🙂

My Trip to Yogyakarta, Indonisa

Some 30 years ago, I visited Indonesia and discovered its beauty.

The trip brought me from Jakarta all the way southwards to Bali, passing through notably, Yogayakarta and Surabaya.

I was stunned by the beauty of Boroburdur temple ( built in the 8th century) and also watching the rising sun from the Bromo Mountain which is an active volcano.

I vowed to return.IMG_6161 (1)

This trip, I brought my wife with me, as she has never seen the beauty of Borobudur and also Prambanan.

On this trip, I rediscovered the beauty of Boroburdur temple and the Prambanan; not only that, we toured the second most active volcano Merapi on a jeep, coming to within 4km of the crater and walked the terraced fields of Melagan, getting our feet wet and dirty. There we have a close encounter with the local peasants, seeing how they plow their land with oxen, how they harvest and how they carry the firewood etc on their backs.

We lazed around in our hotel which was within a short distance from the Borobudur temple. Every morning we would gaze towards the temple which has a dreamy setting of many layers of trees below it and fabulous cloud formation above it. We knew our lives are blessed as we hear the night prayers broadcast in the middle of the night (4:30 am).

We ended our trip sitting under a pavilion among the terraced fields; having lunch whilst over viewing the green and yellow paddy fields with relatively strong wind blowing over our faces and bodies.

We have returned home yesterday and learned that there was a 6.4 scale earthquake at Lombok. We were happy with the decision not to go further south to stay in Bali.

Impressions of Xinjiang, China

I told myself that I should jot down some notes before I forget about Xinjiang.

I started thinking what have impressed me most about this very vast and diverse area up in the north west extremity of China.

I can vividly remember:

The clouds, some fantastic and silky; the clear blue sky.

The swiftly flowing rivers, with rapids.DSCF2237A

The blue lakes; tranquil and clear. The enchanting reflections in the lakes.

The endless grasslands.

The special landforms – high mountains, rugged rocks, colored rocks ( Yangdan).

The snow capped mountains, areas of ice.DSCF2391

The place is generally over 2000m in elevation and have an Alpine setting.

The horses, camels, goats, sheep, dogs, cows.

The people – Eurasian looking, with a lot of Caucasian features in the face, the beautiful ladies and the handsome young man. Smiling kids with goats as their pets.DSCF2612

The beautiful sunset shining on the meanders of the rivers.

Beautiful villages with their timber huts.

The flowers – daffodils, canola, lavender, chrysanthemum etc.imgonline-com-ua-HDRJPGqZgllD7eCch6

The pine trees and fruit bearing trees.

The Mongolian yurts, the herdsmen, their cars and motorcycles.

The eagles, swans , other birds, dragonflies.

Their traditional food, with lots of oil and chili, the kebabs, lambs served in three styles.

The long coach / bus / electric cart  travels. The trips on the boats. The cable car. horse pulled carts.

Strict speed control on the highway and vigilant security control at the airport, hotel, scenic areas, restaurants. Limited Wifi and almost no WhatsApps and Gmail.

Stinky toilets except near Karamay where they are rich with their oil.

Big differences in day / night temperatures. Sudden rain and coldness in the highland areas and in the grasslands.

Beautiful performance – of flute, by a band and a male dancer. Wine tasting / greeting tradition.

Yes, a day would go by mixing some of the items together.

My days in Xinjiang are made of these.