New Botanic Garden chief seeks volunteers

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The new Ketua Penguasa of the Penang Botanic Garden, Tengku Idaura, has a monumental challenge ahead of her in restoring and improving the Garden in line with best practices.

She is seeking the assistance of volunteer botanists and garden enthusiasts.

Says Tengku Idaura:

It’s heartening to read the comments about the Penang Botanic Gardens. After working here for seven days, I feel downright discouraged at the volume of tasks ahead of me. Most of all, can I remove all the unnecessary structures which the officials would declare as “structurally sound” and therefore…

Then where are the brains and the brawn? There’s not a single botanist although there’s a Botany Unit made up of clerical staff trying their best at identifying and classifying plants.

So, guys, who wants to volunteer, please come forward?

As for the brawn, the garden has expanded eight-fold from 72 to 592 acres, but the staff numbers remain the same, while 26 per cent of them are assigned to maintain the state’s VIPs’ gardens.

Any gardening volunteers? We surely need you here.

Several regular walkers stop to talk to me after noticing that I’m a “regular”. I’m really glad that they share the same ideals.

Thanks for wishing me luck.

Yes, Tengku, please do your best to remove all the unnecessary concrete structures. Folks, here’s your chance to step forward and lend a hand to make the Garden the pride of the region.

Meanwhile, a botanist clarifies the chain of responsibility over the Garden fiasco:

There is still a misunderstanding among many that Ministry of Tourism is responsible for the fiasco and the state government and authorities are blameless. The projects in the gardens were proposed by the Penang Gardens Department and implemented by the State Drainage and Irrigation Department. The design was approved and accepted by the Gardens Dept, DID as well as JKR.

The State government through its Exco member approved the design, according to some of the state officials. Perhaps it is time for the Exco to clarify to the public why he approved the design.

The Federal Government is guilty of many things, such as selecting unsuitable consultants which were not those originally proposed by the previous State government.

But the proposal of the gardens’ improvement projects and responsibility and supervision of implementation is that of the Penang Botanic Gardens Department.

The gardens’ projects are federally funded State projects.

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16 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Anil,

    I just had to share this article from the Star:

    http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2010/12/14/north/7614553&sec=north

    How can Danny Law be the leader of Penang tourism with ignorant comments like this?

    Speaking to reporters later, Law suggested engaging an animal trainer to train the monkeys at the gardens as a new attraction.

    “Perhaps we can get the monkeys to welcome visitors by shaking their hands — that could be a new attraction.

    “For example, in Thailand, the elephants are taught to greet and entertain people. Similarly, this is something we can look into,” he said.

  2. I am a U.K. resident but thinking of doing the M2H now that I am in my fifties. I am not a Botanist but have studied RHS in horticulture to diploma leve and wanting to do something volunteering in Penang as that is where I wish to live at least 6 months of year with summers in U.K. Please advise if and how I could best benefit the gardens. Don

    • That’s great, thanks Don. I have emailed the Botanic Garden, and I hope they get back to you.
      best wishes
      Anil

  3. Count me it. I am available during the weekend and I am a regular walker in the garden. I believe my 2 hands and legs can be some help to the garden

    • I believe the PBG folks might soon fix a date and time for “meet the volunteers” session and will then publicise it in the press, email, websites and blogs. Look out for it.

  4. Sorry for all, I’m not a botanist. What to do ???

    Let the professional botanist do the job. Furthermore, now I’m in Selangor and only occasionally go back to my “kampung” during festival celebrations.

    Finally, please ask our great … CM LGE to increase the allocation for the Penang Botanic Garden. Also stop blaming the previous state government after two years in power.

    If current DAP state government even cannot get a single full time botanist to manage our Botanic Garden, then we should ask that … CM LGE resign and go back to his “kampung” in Melaka.

    Hello DAP … CM LGE, are you a talker or doer ???

  5. Not forgetting our OES (ong ewe soon). you are wanted. You talk so much now’s your chance to prove to us what you can do to gain respect.

  6. Perhaps Tengku Idaura should hold a Meet The Volunteers session at an appointed date and time to discuss, share and brainstorm creative ideas for the betterment of Botanical Garden.
    I’m sure volunteers will come with many skills and talents to offer which can be of great use besides just for brawn works or filing plant records.
    Make it more of fun, creative and challenging contributions for the genuine care and preservation of BG.
    Can we Penangites?

  7. …Tengku Idaura,

    i know/sympathise with you in your asking other loyal Penangites to help dispose off(too much human effort/physical strength) the wanton/now derelict debris of the controversial ’tilting’ arch/s…..perhaps a much easier/faster way is to engage a cheap friendly BACKHOE operator….dig a large hole on lower ground/terrain and hove/shove the ill tourism concept …bury them once and for all, their useless money squandering…

  8. Yes, be a volunteer folks but…make sure you are properly insured!!!!…still a lot of “dangerous traps” around.
    I love the tropical greenery, wish I am still in Malaysia, will gladly participate….

  9. So Pearl, Gerakan K & partners. This is the time to proof your contribution with some value adding physical work.
    At least that way, the next time you shoot your mouth off, you can have some respect.
    If you come out with your guns blazing against this effort, then, you have lost even the respect which only you had for yourself
    This effort is for your state, and goes beyond party lines.
    I am ready to help whenever I am on the island.

  10. Where is Gerakan K? When there is real work to be done, he is gone. I like to help, but I do not live in Penang.

  11. Hello, to those critics of Penang, dont just cakap pandai, now it is your chance to prove yourself and your worth.

  12. ….Tengku Idaura,

    ……….the 592 acres of pristine jungle/secondary forest of the Island Of Penang Botanical Gardens, although WOULD attract a sizeable influx of tourist, if left alone/untouched WOULD not survive in this real world of garnering more of the ALMIGHTY local/foreign tourist dollar……..there is a NEED for mankind to SOMEWHAT intervene to sort of spruce up/create an attractive/complimenting enviroment of interest, like for example, suitable ‘walking’ paths/bird feeding /enticement aerial areas, through the labyrinth of the dense foliage, for bird watching/lesiure walks, morning exercises, especially for Penang elderly/obese citizens…….also the proposed long and winding walking paths COULD be enchanced by planting trees like the CANNON BALL tree, the IPOH tree,the MERBAU tree, the CHENGAL species, the Sarawak IRON tree, the FLAME of the Forest tree., etc., etc. …naming them with lasting aluminium sign boards depicting/describing its country originality, rarity, uses/poison(like the Ipoh tree), mini herb gardens at one corner along the trodden walk path????,different types of local fruit trees too, etc., also very important , not to FORGET creating adequate ‘stop rest’ areas with , for example, placement of suitable large flat like surfaces of limestones slaps ,which can be easily sourced from our quarries….i once suggested putting up nice enough but strong(that DONT tilted/threatened to topple) simple “less money costing” arches to be put up/erected at the main entrance to the park and have them planted with the less seen, but extremely attractive purplish/orange coloured clinging JADE vines…….there are many other ideas that anyone can offer, but cannot because like me, i stay in far off Ipoh, although i once lived and enjoyed my stay there in the Paradise Island of Penang….

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