The idiomatic phrase Familiarity Breeds Contempt which means that “the more you know something or someone, the more you start to find faults and dislike things about it or them.” My neighbourhood falls squarely into this category. When I moved here circa 5 years ago, the neighbourhood wasn’t as populated as it is today, it was serene being next to the forest (before that began to disappear too!) and a distance from the main road and commuters. Today, that forest is disappearing fast and one could even spot my house from the Seria by-pass where the dense trees used to wall us in quite good. But all this progressively loss of privacy isn’t nearly as bad as the number of dogs (once affectionately called ‘man’s best friend’ for reasons I cannot comprehend today) that had appeared proportionately as the number of families who had moved here.
Clearly, the owners of their pets having gotten used the endless barking that not on the odd occasion but rather on a daily basis and as a resident here, I should too but it continues to drive me and my family up the wall with their barking. And we get them in cinematic surround too literally being in the middle of a neighbourhood of canine loving families—one bark sets of a chain reaction!
Fortunately, the barks do not scare off the hornbills and if anything, I suspect the barks from the puppies that sound so familiar to the cries of the hornbills draw them into this neighbourhood. It’s uncanny. But even before that, Kampong Sungai Bera has been somewhat of a hornbill hotspot and I appreciate every waking moment of them choosing to transit at that haunting dead tree across from my kitchen balcony.
So I titled this post Familiarity Breeds Art as that’s how I feel towards how little is left of the trees, vegetation that form a familiar landscape each morning as the strong sunlight casts an equally familiar silhouette. It has inspired me to create a composite from two photographs taken approximately two weeks apart into the above picture. I managed to capture the fast moving low clouds one morning and the effect you see in that picture isn’t manipulated (exception being the addition of the hornbills). Hope you enjoy this!
Businesses today realize that consumers increasingly value products and services that have a positive and meaningful association with the environment, with nature and with a healthy world. What if your business could establish a link between the conservation of some of the world’s most charismatic animals and your company’s products? The Malua Wildlife Habitat Conservation Bank is a world-leading model for accomplishing just this.
— MALUA Wildlife Habitat Conservation Bank by New Forests
The hornbills (featured here the Oriental Pied variety) are indeed one of such charismatic animals that grace our skies and residents of the Belait District in Brunei Darussalam notably in Panaga and Seria area. I began taking an interest in them back in March 2008 when they became a regular feature in my neighbourhood and since then I’ve been fascinated by their movements and habitats. So much so that I now have a nice collection of various hornbill photos that are both great for editorial documentary publication as well as a couple for fine art.
During the time of His Majesty the Sultan’s Birthday celebrations, I received an enquiry from NEW FORESTS:
We would like to purchase rights to one-time print use of the following photo (which we love). The photo would be used on the cover a brochure used to promote an innovative model for rainforest conservation in partnership with the Sabah State Government. I apologize for the rush as I know you are incredibly busy with His Majesty the Sultan’s Birthday celebrations at the moment.
I suspect the brochures were rushed for the launch of Malua Wildlife Habitat Conservation Bank in Sabah, Malaysia (link to PDF download). New Forests recently sent me a copy of the final brochure (PDF) and in additional, an copy of the brochure autographed by the team members is on its way. The hornbill has become more than just a charismatic animal, it’s attained somewhat of a celebrity status having been featured in The Brunei Times newspaper. All the publicity has made the bird an icon on SHIMWORLD and I’m proud to have been a part of New Forests wildlife habitat conservation efforts although indirectly.
Here’s food for thought—while my Nokia E71 post is Connecting People across continents, the hornbill photo on the other hand, has connected countries and its piercing cries continue to be heard by many in its path.