Killing Us Softly

Once I ranted about the state of traffic jams in KK and Penampang, and a friend, in a throwaway comment, said “Biasa lah tu.” No, it is not. And there lies the crux of the problem: People (and authorities) just get used to problems that have slowly crept up to them, and they think, “Biasa lah tu.” You know what? People used to ride buffaloes to town along the now-jammed-up Kiansom road. I know—I have used the road for 57 years now.

This is what author Jared Diamond in his book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, called “Creeping Normality”— how societies have slowly destroyed themselves without noticing it until it was too late. These societies did not know that what they were doing was harmful because the affects happened very gradually. An example that Diamond uses is how the people of Easter Island were willing to chop down the last trees of a once luxuriantly forested island. The problem is very gradual process, and people often do not realise until they are in a lot of pain. Like the bliss of no traffic jams and no traffic lights (The first one in the whole of Sabah was that one in front of Wisma Muis; I know—I was there, getting excited for being stopped by a traffic light. Imagine!) being slowly erased from the collective memory of living motorists and road users.

Cheers, Rayner.

Gardening Update: 4 o’ clock flower

Also from eBay, the 4 o’clock flower: The cheerful Mirabilis jalapa got the common name “Four O’Clocks” because the flowers open in late afternoon. They remain open until morning and on cloudy days, they may not close at all. Their other common name “Marvel of Peru” is probably because they are native to the topical areas of South America. Mirabilis means wonderful, in Latin. Since they open at night and are fragrant at these hours, their pollinators must be moths. I am not sure Sabah moths will recognise this flower; would be interesting to watch the flowers for a few hours at night.

4oclockflower

Gardening Update: Periwinkles (Vinca) from eBay

I ordered a variety of Periwinkles from eBay. 6 Months later, here they are. One can never tell whether you are going to get the soft-stem Vincas (great for hanging basket arrangements) or the erect Vincas. The very light pink and fuchsia Vincas are the floppy-stemmed ones. If any one have any different coloured Perwinkle that are soft-stemmed, I am happy to barter trade!

redVinca

pinkVinca

burgundyVinca

lightPinkVinca

lightPurpleVinca

Soory about the conditions of the plants; no time to groom them everyday.