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by : BTF

As I Wander...

Living in tropical Malaysia, we tend to take the hot humid weather, thundery rainstorms and the spectrum of wild evergreen plants as a given.

Recently, I noticed more exotic plants making its way into landscaped home gardens, recreational parks, frontages of shopping malls and
commercial buildings.

Along kerb sides of residential streets and busy motorways, palms, trees and flowering plants make pleasant and interesting fringes.

This is a record of the various species "as I see it" for I am in awe of palms. Hence, my premise for this blog is that the global garden,
i.e. every physical garden (tended or untended), becomes a part of my, simply said, cyber palm garden. ;-)

Please feel free to share your thoughts or comments.

Thank you for visiting!

ShaShinKi - Malaysia's Online Camera Shop!

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Areca Nut Palm Island

PWhen I walked past some Areca palms today, my first thought was, it's about time to get this species into the blog.  Suddenly, a funny thought came to mind and I think this would be a wonderful deviation from the real thing but would be equally interesting from a totally different perspective.

The island of Penang (Malay name Pulau Pinang) directly translated it means the Areca Nut Palm Island. It was the birthplace of both my parents and also where our family were born and raised.  Locals here are known as Penangites. It's famous for its sandy beaches and popular, delicious hawker fare throughout the world. I mean, if one were to go to dine at any Malaysian restaurant overseas, chances are they're serving (or even adopted!) Penang-style food.

                                 Peninsular & Borneo East Malaysia (Penang - small red dot)  

If you asked me whether I noticed any of these palm trees when we were younger, I'd probably say vaguely.

I just had recollection of some up in the forested hillsides of Ayer Itam (Black Water) where we visited relatives and the occasional sprinkle of these 'pinang' palms in communities which practices chewing the betel leaves with areca nuts.  The spitting of reddish brown coloured saliva and their badly stained teeth that I do remember well.

Penang was founded by Capt. Francis Light back in 1786 and it later became a British ruled Straits Settlement colony until it joined the Malayan Union. Malaya (now Malaysia) eventually gained independence in 1957.

In its early settlement days the island must have been teaming with these indigenous palms to draw inspiration for its name and consequently the pride of place on the crest. Hence, am delighted to share this historical island's rare Coat of Arms and the State flag showing the Areca Nut palm "leaved and fructed proper". Quoted text reminds me of the prim and proper English langauge of days gone by...

                                                             translated: United and Loyal

With the inner city of Georgetown (Malay name Tanjung) granted a UNESCO World Heritage site,
that's a special honour and tribute to the small island state.

And here also, we honour the areca nut palm, a beautiful herbal tree, native of my home island + country.

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