Living with Dyslexia in Malaysia

“Friends” and “foes” in my organic garden

This yellow dragonfly is found in my back lane. There used to be another red coloured dragon-fly.

Beautiful red ladybird on my kendongdong leaves.  Have not seen many ladybirds these days.

My camera is not able to take small insects or rather I am not that camera savvy. You can see a blur green spider which is hanging on its thread.Used a leaf to show the spider dangling down.

Red wrigglers from HS Wong’s DQ Farm.  Found out that I also have such worms in my garden.  Latest experiment is my wormiculture, started since June 2009. Have already harvested  my first worm castings in Oct.  As per Mr Wong’s suggestion, I made tea from the worm castings and sprayed all  over my garden.

Have yet to spot my old ‘friend’ – the chameleon, also the solo big bumble bee. There used to be many small bees hovering around my starfruit tree.  Maybe due to the rainy season, these creatures have gone into  “hibernation?”

OR most probably most of them have been snuffed out by the constant MPBJ’s fogging against the dengue fever.

Yuks! those creepy worms or larvae from butterflies.  No informed gardener would be happy to see these.  Neither would I be happy to see butterflies in my garden even though they are so colourful  and it’s so nice to see them flying around.  With butterflies around, you would sure to find their larvae on my lime leaves, the above caterpillar is very happy on my succulent jambu air leaves.   Notice the white jambu flowers on the bottom right. looking forward to eating my red jambu air fruits soon.

This grasshopper is easily 4 inches long. You can do your own comparison as this is the normal rectangular box you use when you ‘tar-pau’ your food.  These huge grasshoppers know where to get good organic leaves . They love my mango, longan and  banana leaves.

My ‘holey’ longan leaves – after the grasshopper had a feast.  Just one huge grasshopper is enough to wipe out all my mango shoots.

Thank-goodness I am not an organic farmer having to face so many predators and weather issues but just an ordinary avid gardener.  Can you imagine the heartache and stress they have to endure with acres of farmland  under such stressful tropical l environment.  I only have a corner lot and it’s pretty tough to handle already. Therefore we organic kakis emphatise with the truly organic farmers. Their life is not easy -having to till the soil and face so many problems…. so take heart when you buy their produce which is more expensive. They need to survive too…… just like the grasshoppers and caterpillars….not forgetting the  earthworms and the bees.


November 24, 2009 Posted by | Organic Gardening | Leave a comment

Bio dynamic farming (Qi farming)- 20 June 2009

My organic ‘kakis’ were invited by Mr Wong to visit his farm in Bukit Tinggi one Saturday for a ‘compost qi’ course. This course is to start at 9 am till 1pm. Being avid kitchen gardeners the session dragged on till 3pm when we adjourned for lunch. There was so much to discuss and exchange amongst us- the die hard organic people.


We learnt a lot from Mr Wong – making our own lactobacillus, composting, wormiculture etc….   To top it all, he taught us a few qi-gong exercises so that we can cultivate our qi and pass this qi to our plants and environment.

We felt invigorated in his farm,  feeling all the good positive vibes (qi) that has never been felt in any other farms that we have visited.  This farm is truly beyond organic farming.

We left with red wrigglers (earthworms)  to start our own wormiculture. We also brought back papayas and loads of information to convert our small kitchen gardening into a bio dynamic garden.

I am now practising my qi exercises.  Also started my wormiculture with 2 boxes of worms – one the red wriigglers and another box of worms from my own garden. I have already sprayed the whole garden with my qi lactobacillus made from Mr Wong’s recipe. Look forward to more fruits from my >30 fruit trees in the garden now that i am giving them the extra ingredient “qi”

July 4, 2009 Posted by | Organic Gardening | 3 Comments

Garbage enzyme

Garbage Enzyme

1. What is Dr. Ros’s Garbage Enzyme?

1.1             Dr. Ros’s Garbage Enzyme is a complex organic substance of protein chain and mineral salt and juvenile hormone.

1.2             Enzyme’s Function:

  • Catalysis
  • Resolve / decompose
  • Transform / Change
  • Compose / make up / combination

1.1.           As a result of catalysis, ozone is produced, which can reduce the amount of carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere and thus reduce global warming.

1.2.           This enzyme can be produced easily with the organic waste from the kitchen.

1.3.           If each household in the world could use this method to dispose kitchen waste thus increasing ozone in the atmosphere, we could do our part to save the environment.

2. Why should we make Garbage Enzyme?

2.1       Green House Effect:

Green House Effect is caused by green house gasses. Greenhouse gases are like a blanket. If they are at the right thickness, the Earth won’t be too hot or too cold. Many experts now think the way we burning fossil fuel and adding chemicals to the atmosphere is causing the blanket to become thicker. This makes Earth warmer, an effect knows as Global warming.

2.1             What are Global Warming and the Effect?

Global warming is referring to the increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s in recent decades and the effects are projected to be continued.

Via the greenhouse effects and natural phenomena such as solar variation combined with volcanoes have probably show us a small warming effect ever since pre-industrial times from 1950.

Climate models referenced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) project that global surface temperatures are likely to increase by 1.1 to 6.4 °C (2.0 to 11.5 °F) between 1990 and 2100.

An increase in global temperatures is expected to cause other changes, including sea level rise, increased intensity of extreme weather events, and changes in the amount and pattern of precipitation rain fall. Other effects include changes in agricultural yields, glacier retreat, species extinctions and increases in the range of disease vectors.

The increasing frequency of summer heat waves in temperate zones, typhoons, hurricanes and floods are signs of the changing weather and climate patterns across the globe.

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 77,000 deaths are recorded annually in the Asia-Pacific region due to health problems arising from global warming. Among the potential effects of global warming would be the appearance of mosquitoes in areas where they were previously absent, with the accompanying threat of malaria and dengue fever. There is also the risk of reduced rainfall in some regions, causing a shortage of fresh water, thus introducing the danger of waterborne diseases.

2.3       Newspaper News:NST 2007/05/03

GLOBAL WARMING: Final warning… Will Malaysia be arid like Africa?

As global warming looms, many scientists are sounding the alarm. Some are predicting doom. How will it affect Malaysians? Are we prepared for it? MINDERJEET KAUR wades through the gloom to find out KUALA LUMPUR: Heat waves, floods, costlier food, water shortages and more diseases. Malaysians must prepare for these over the next 20 years.

Global warming could even turn Malaysia into an arid state akin to Africa’s parched states, according to a weather expert.
And no less a person than Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid says 1,200 sq km of coastline will be under water if no measures are taken to tackle global warming.
The journal Environment and Urbanization, in its latest issue, quoted a recent study which showed that more than two-thirds of the world’s large cities were in areas vulnerable to global warming and rising sea levels. Some 600 million people could be affected.
Malaysians are already feeling the effects of freak weather patterns and now experts warn that by 2025, higher temperatures will cause prolonged droughts and intense floods.
The impact is likely to reduce food supply, causing the prices of vegetables, rice, seafood, fruits and meat to rise………..

2.4       Mr.  Al Gore:

In one especially disquieting slide, we are told that “if half of Greenland and half of the Antarctic polar ice region melt,” numerous big cities around the world will be partially or almost fully submerged by varying sea levels, including parts of Lower Manhattan, San Francisco, Beijing, India, Bangladesh.  In the last three places, “millions and millions of people would die,” Mr. Al Gore cites, with millions more taking on the status of displaced citizens.

2.5       Enzyme Anti Greenhouse effect

As the result in enzyme production, O3 + NO3 + CO3 generated could purify the cloud and becomes white color; due to reflection from the sea the sky looks blue. But, instead dark cloud which accumulated a lot of heavy metal become greenhouse effect and more heat are trapped on the earth. The O3 from Garbage Enzyme could reduce the heavy metal in the cloud thus heat are released from the earth, that’s maintaining the earth’s temperature and save the atmosphere and global.

If every household make enzyme, this would help in anti global warming effectively.

More NO3 in the air can feed the plant. The plants will growth well. The root can let the animal alive, and animal give their waste to the plant more hormone and nutrition.

For Agriculture

Reduce over-use of chemicals in the agriculture. Keep the farm free from infections and insects. Enzyme can fertilize the soil for healthy vegetable growing. It is natural hormone for plants and trees as well as natural herbicide and Pesticide. Enzyme can also cultivate sandy land to fertile farm land which is suitable for planting.

It also keeps the air in the farm atmosphere clean and cool, clean impure and dirty water in the farm.

3.3.3 For House Hold

Enzyme is a popular household cleanser, cleaning with enzyme is a smart way to avoid using harsh chemicals. By the end those            Enzyme will reach to the river & the sea and it will safe our environment.

  • Remove the foul odor, mold and grime in kitchen and bathroom
  • Anti bacterial and virus
  • Help in driving away insects
  • Remove odor from pets and cigarettes
  • For ticks and carpets
  • For ironing and washing
  • For hallway and bedroom
  • For car maintenance

Making Enzyme


Brown Sugar / Molasses                              :           1

Garbage (chop to smaller pieces)              :           3

Water                                                              :           10


  • Mix brown sugar with water, add in the garbage.
  • Leave some space for fermentation.
  • Enzyme will form and ready to use in 3 months
  • Make sure the container is air tight.
  • Push the floating garbage downward once a while.
  • The enzyme is ready to use in 3 months. The residue can be reuse for the next production by adding fresh garbage. It can be use as fertilizer by drying the residue, blending and buried in the ground


  • Enzyme adds with water to dilute, it become more power.
  • Enzyme for fertilizer, 1:1000
  • Enzyme for insecticide, 1:1000
  • Enzyme for pesticide, 1:100
  • For anti odour / air re-freshener,: dilute 200x
  • As plant hormone to get more flower and fruit: dilute 500x.
  • For Shampoo, Dish wash, Detergent, use enzyme: add half tea spoon in shampoo (1 tea spoon for 500cc; 1 table spoon for 1 lit) to enhance the nutrients and reduce chemical side effect.

February 4, 2009 Posted by | Organic Gardening | 3 Comments

Farm visit – Chenderiang 1 -2 Dec 2007

Observation Trip to Green Wish  Organic Farm, Chenderiang,  1 -2 Dec 2007

– by Cho Suet Sen

This is the first farm visit that I went to without my family as I did  not want to subject them to “another farm visit”.  Like the saying goes “one man’s meat is another man’s poison”.

It is such a pity that they had to miss out on this trip as this trip is the most interesting trip so far as the trip was not only just a farm visit.

The itinerary was full of activities – caving, picnic lunch at Kinjang waterfall, visit to Orang Asli Kampung, dinner (cooked by Orang Asli). Breakfast/visit to Morning market at Chenderiang, Hike up Hebron Hill to another Pandan Farm and lastly a visit to the Bamboo Farm.

The very first  activity was the most challenging for me ie .Caving at Gua Kandu.IMG_0636


All 32 of us entered the cave and explored the cave which took 2 solid hours.  I have been to the Niah Caves in Sarawak a few years back but there was no rope climbing up and down the caves as steps were built inside the cave for tourists. Nothing challenging there except that one has to have the stamina to endure  around  4 hours of walking to the cave, inside the cave and back to the van.

Here we had to bend, crawl and squeeze through tight crevices in the cave.  Then climb up the steep sides via ropes and chains.


No doubt we were all hot, tired and sweaty, I believe we all enjoyed ourselves even though there were bruises and minor cuts here and there. Then came the back aches and tired muscles during the night as some of us are not that young and fit anymore.

The serenity of the kampong life is so inviting that most of us wish we can ‘retire’ in this place just like Kenny’s neighbour whom we visited. Their traditional wooden house (fully made from chengai wood) is a dream house for many of us. The clear stream running round the house and surrounded by nature…….Hmm……..IMG_0664

The sharing amongst all the members after dinner was enlightening as new members were informed of what is happening in the organic movement and how we as consumers can help the farmers.

Am glad that we have such an enthusiastic organic farmer, Kenny  who is so willing to take his weekend off to bring us around and entertain us. We also enjoyed his hospitality as we stayed in his newly built farm house.  The night was chilly at 20 degrees and we were so lucky to be able to see so many stars that night as it was a very very clear night. One can never experience such a thing in the city.

On Sunday morning, we all went for breakfast at Chenderiang town and bought up all the ‘pisang jarum’ in town.  This Pisang is thin hence the name ‘Jarum’ and as this is only found here we of course bought them to bring home to show the urbanites in KL.


The last item on the itinerary was the Bamboo Farm – also a different feature from the standard organic vegetable farms with their greens and fruit trees.  Only problem was the mosquitoes – so many of them.  It was an experience seeing and touching the bamboo trees from China – the thickness of the bamboo is more than an inch thick therefore they make formidable fortresses.


We all departed for KL with a heavy heart as the 2 days was over so soon.

Nevertheless, like Ms Tan says there is always another trip. Coming up soon – hmm… this time an organic Farm with a Spa in Muar. Count me in, Ms Tan.

January 13, 2008 Posted by | Organic Gardening | 2 Comments

Cetdem’s centre – 13 March 2007

The morning on Tuesday 13 March 2007 started out bright at 7.30am with my 2 kids and Ika, my maid getting ready to go to Cetdem’s centre.

Had to dig out my drumstick plant, cut a few hibiscus cuttings and bring along the 3 bags of my homemade compost.  Of course, not forgetting all the ‘makan’ stuff after the garden ‘workout’.

Lost my way for 30 minutes. Was busy trying to decipher the map as to where I was, when I heard a ‘honk’ from behind.  What luck – it was Ms Tan and so we just followed her to the Centre.

Once there, we unloaded our things.  Chuy Fong also arrived whilst we were entering the house gate. CFong brought a friend, Rose another ardent gardener.  Rose gave us some ‘maiden hair’ fern to grow.

We toured Ms Tan’s garden and admired the Jackfruit tree(with many jackfruits), the starfruit tree(full of pink flowers)  and the papaya trees (full of papayas).

There were also many vegetable beds -full of corn plants already.  There were beds, newly planted just a couple of days ago -with vegetables like Sawi and kangkong.


CFong, my 2 kids, Ika and I helped out in weeding the corn beds.  Ika planted the Drumstick tree, aloevera and carnations in one of the beds.


We then rested and had a ‘picnic’.  My maid fried some ‘nien-koh’  with sweet potatoes.  Brought along some home made cookies – rock buns and almond biscuits.

Not forgetting my home grown sugar cane, of course.  CFong brought along some steamed sweet corn. My kids were looking forward to their Shandy drinks which is a rare treat for them.

During makan-time, passed around photos of my organic garden harvests – like star fruits, papayas, bananas etc… plus photos of my Ika’s kampong in Surabaya.

There she plants vanilla, coffee plants, salak, vegetables etc….Of course, they have their farm animals like goats and chickens.

After resting, CFong and I planted the maiden hair fern around the base of the Pinang tree.  I planted the hibiscus outside- along the road kerb.  Another pot of hibiscus plant was planted – the one with 2 tiered petals.

We called it a day at 11.30 am and said our goodbyes.

October 13, 2007 Posted by | Organic Gardening | Leave a comment

coconut oil

  Message: 2
Date: Fri, 28 Nov 2003 11:30:21 -0800
From: “Richard Grossman, L.Ac., O.M.D., Ph.D.” <>
Subject: coconut oil information

To: All Current Clients
From: Krispin
Date: Friday, November 28, 2003
Re: Good fats, bad fats, VIRUSES, aging and stress syndromes.
I spoke this week with the renowned world expert on fatty acids and degenerative diseases. Mary Enig, PhD. is a respected researcher in thefield of fats and oils, especially the hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated and trans fats. The latest findings coming down the research channels around the fall of this year will implicate all seed oils in the promotion of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, allergies, adrenal failure and stroke. The list of implicated oils includes canola, soy, corn, safflower, sunflower and all hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats and oils.
In the early 1900’s 25% of our fats came from seed oils including margarine and shortening and the rest from saturated, natural, no hormone, NOT CORN OR SEED FED, beef, eggs, poultry, pork and dairy. By the 1970’s this
proportion of seed oil intake had grown to 75% of daily fat totals with natural saturated fats reduced to 25% of totals.Changing from the safe, non-oxidizing saturated fats to the easily oxidizable polyunsaturated fatty acids, has precipitated the tremendous rise in degenerative diseases, all of which are associated with oxidative free
radical damage, and a higher need for all anti-oxidant vitamins. Reducing seed oils and using coconut milk or coconut oil as the staple of the diet is reversing viral loads in HIV, eliminating all types of Herpes
virus and reducing or preventing other viral diseases including the yearly ‘flus’ and measles. Animals fed natural (not processed) coconut and coconut oils were unable to grow tumors, malignant or benign. Coconut oil (as oil or in the coconut milk) lowers cholesterol if it is high and raises it if it is too low. Oil of coconut is anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal in the plant, in our gut and in our blood. In human HIV patients viral loads have decreased
from 950,000 to undetectable when just 1/3 can of coconut milk is consumed twice a day. The coconut oil or coconut milk must be un-preserved. Good brands are Thai Kitchen or Bangkok. Equivalents are 2-3 tablespoons of the unprocessed coconut oil daily or 1/3 can of the coconut milk twice a day (5 ounces twice a day) or 1/2 coconut steeped, mashed and eaten daily. Clients with hypo or hyper cortisol tests currently using this protocol are
showing an almost immediate response in adrenal restoration. With just the alteration of the thiamin plus B-complex plus coconut milk within a week day and night cycling of cortisol normalizes. Clients are more awake, mood
improves, energy greatly improves, sleep becomes normal without melatonin, Relaxer or any other aid. Phosphatidyl serine is not necessary. The coconut milk tastes great. If ‘fats’ bother your gall bladder stretch out the servings over more meals. High intake of seed oils contributes to gallstone formation but coconut oil or milk will normalize gallbladder function over time.
In studies in coconut eating countries metabolic rates in both men and women were found to be 25% higher than in the general US population. This protocol, if adhered to, will not cause weight gain unless you are underweight. If you are overweight, you will experience weight loss. The type of fatty acids found in unprocessed coconut fat are readily burned for energy without free radical damage. Seed oils destabilize blood sugar levels and contribute to storage of calories as fat. The thiamin, B-complex and coconut milk protocol stabilizes blood sugar and enhances metabolism. This protocol is safe for both type 1 and 2 diabetics, and any one experiencing stress induced hypoglycemia. These recommendations are in addition to any other supplements you may already be taking. Please do reduce other fats in the diet when adding coconut milk if your fat intake is already high. The fats to use are:
* Coconut oil or fresh coconut or coconut milk, natural, without preservatives, not hydrogenated. * Butter or ghee, on food as needed or desired (but coconut oil or milk can be used instead) * Olive oil, extra virgin only, for cooking or salad dressing or mayonnaise (make your own) * Peanut oil and non-hydrogenated peanut butter, for cooking or
eating * Avocado oil, for salads, not for cooking * Nuts and seeds in the whole, unprocessed state, alone or with
other foods. This includes the flax family. Flaxseeds or oil should only be used fresh. Buy organic flaxseeds, keep them in the freezer and fresh grind them in a coffee or seed mill on the day you use them. Light roasting of
some types of seeds is permissible. Other than sesame tahini or peanut butter do not use nuts as ‘butters’.

In descending order the previous fats are saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. A final excellent source of the good fats is fish and the old rule applies. Eat fish 3-4 times a week, fresh not frozen. Though canned
water pack white tuna may be used for a protein source it is not a good source of the omega-3 fatty acids.
A suggested use for the coconut milk with breakfast, * cook your eggs in it or * put 1/3 cup in your protein and potassium smoothie (with added flaxseed for fiber) or * oatmeal cereal- 1 serving freshly made oatmeal, made with water 1/3 can coconut milk (about 5 ounces) 2 tablespoons flaxseed (makes about 4 tablespoons when ground)
2 heaped tablespoons non-fat cottage cheese or 1 scoop protein powder (not soy based) for protein raisins or dried blueberries or fresh fruit for more potassium maple syrup (grade C the dark stuff) to sweeten This breakfast provides protein, short and medium chain fatty acids for energy, complex carbohydrates and fiber from the flaxseed and oatmeal for energy and essential fatty acids from the flaxseeds for cell reproduction and growth. It also contains an abundant supply of potassium and other nutrients needed for regeneration and repair. Avoid entirely, or as much as possible, in food preparation and packaged foods:
* Safflower oil * Soy oil and soy products (more on this in the next newsletter)
* Sunflower oil * Cottonseed oil * Corn oil * Canola oil (never cook with this oil)
* Hydrogenated fats and oils * Partially hydrogenated fats and oils* Shortening
Check packages to make sure what you are getting. Do not miss on this one. In the next issue of the newsletter I will be explaining my position on all of the above and giving the clinical references. What I have the time and space to tell you now is that the sooner you switch your oils and fats the healthier you will be and the longer you will live
(barring an act of God or Satan).All current research DATA DECLARING the harmfulness of coconut oil and palm
A final note: Coconut milk is not the juice from the inside of a young coconut. That thin liquid is called coconut water. Coconut milk is made by steeping the coconut and scraping out the meat, adding just enough water to
simmer and mashing the end product into a thick, creamy (or milky)substance, coconut milk.

Thiamin normalizes carbohydrate utilization by supporting the enzymes necessary to burn glucose and glycogen in the cell. The complete B-complex is used to stabilize blood sugar and keep the body from going into ‘adrenal
stimulating hypoglycemia’. Short and medium chain fatty acids as found in coconut milk support cell energy as an alternative fuel source as glucose and glycogen are recycled which further prevents the dip into adrenal stress.

Expect more energy, less hunger, better mood and better sleep. If you have HIV, CFSIDS, fibromyalgia, candida, CMV, herpes (any type), hepatitis (any type) expect some initial sleepiness and then slow but steady recovery. Make
sure to continue your basic protocols but this plan requires a much lower intake of anti-oxidants ao your program may be modified. Hypoglycemia, with resulting adrenal stress and cortisol stimulated utilization of proteins and
long chain fatty acids for fuel, is eliminated.

SOURCES: Thai Kitchens Coconut Milk from Whole Foods in SF Bay area. Order by the case for a 10% discount OR Natural Value Brand also from Whole Foods and also 10% discount by the case. Do not get the ‘lite’ versions. If you are unable to access coconut milk, any brand without preservatives, you may
substitute coconut oil, 2 tablespoons a day total per person, from Spectrum Oils or Now Foods. Now Foods 1-800-283-3500. The oil can be used for cooking, baking or mixed in a smoothie.

June 29, 2007 Posted by | Organic Gardening | Leave a comment

The importance of bees in organic agriculture

honey combIMG_0025

from my garden


Bees started to build their bee house in my bougainvilla plant – 2005

The importance of bees in organic agriculture

Michael Weiler considers the value of bees in organic agriculture

Honeybee (Apis mellifera L.) keeping reveals a long-standing relationship between humans and insects.  Honeybees are of vital importance to the landscape they live and fly in. They increase the diversity of the  flora, which subsequently increases the diversity of insects and herbivorous animals and even soil fertility. It is well known that the quality and quantity of blossom flowers are increased when pollinated by insects, especially by bees. The effect of pollination by bees becomes particularly noticeable where fruit is grown for human consumption.

The objective of organic agriculture is the sustainable cultivation of nature, that is the landscape, soil, plants and animals. In addition, respectful social relationships between humans are encouraged.  The benefits of such practice are numerous: on the one hand, foodstuffs of highest quality are produced, on the other hand, nature, the basis for life on earth, is developed sustainably. This  objective of organic agriculture is significantly enhanced by the presence of bees.

Bees and life

A bee  hive can produce between 150,000 and 350,000 bees per year, depending on the landscape and climatic zone it lives in.  The bee venom of one hive amounts to approximately 45-100 grams (0.3mg/bee).

However, only a few bees will ever sting in their short lifetime of six weeks. Bees spend their lives flying from one plant to the next collecting nectar. While doing so, they automatically pollinate the flowers and distribute some of their revitalising bee venom to the plants and landscape. Both pollination and revitalisation through bees enhance the fertility and regenerative capacity of plants. Dr. Rudolf Steiner often referred to this link in his lectures on bees.

Organic beekeeping in practice

How can a bee colony be managed in practice to comply with the objectives of organic agriculture, while ensuring the welfare of bees?

First of all, beekeepers have to respect the bees way of life. They have to be enthusiastic about working with bees, but also be willing to face problems that may occur. Next, the necessary time and materials have to be readily available.  Bees do not articulate themselves when in need, and are more inclined  to ‘die in silence’. For bees to survive, expert human care is necessary, especially in the so called ‘modern’ regions of the world.  The hives and other  equipment, should be made of natural, untreated, material and no poisons should be used in the management or treatment of the bees themselves.

When honey is collected enough should always be left with the bees so that they do not have to be fed with sugar during the winter. If however, circumstances make it necessary to provide sugar as little as possible should be used, and where feasible some of the bees own honey should be added to the sugar solution to improve the quality of the feed.  Harvested honey should not be heated as it causes the quality of the honey to deteriorate. Light and heat also increase the aging of honey.

Michael Weiler works at the Biodynamic Institute in Germany and has kept bees for twenty years.

Biofach sets new records

Once again the organic business world come together in February  for the 11th Biofach fair in Nurnberg. With 1,725 exhibitors and 25,000 professional visitors new records were set for this unique and world-leading organic fair. IFOAM was again the patron of the event, a role that includes a major involvement in the conference programme.  Apart from general cooperation in the conference programme, IFOAM also organised a number of international seminars on topics that are particularly relevant to the organic movement. Among the theme covered were:

  • The roles of local markets and regional marketing
  • The social agenda of trade and organics
  • Fair and slow – three pillars for a common roof?

This year the “Focus Country” was the United Kingdom with its booming organic market.

IFOAM’s President, Gunnar Rundgren, gave a well received speech during the opening session. The opening ceremony was highlighted with a challenging presentation by the newly appointed German Minister of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, Ms Renate Kunasst from the Green Party. It is a remarkable fact that te first time a German minister of agriculture had paid a visit to the Biofach fair. However, Renate Kunast certainly made up for this and impressed everybody, not only with her strong support  of organic agriculture, but also because of her clear and radical analysis of the today’s situation in conventional farming, “That era of industrial farming is at an end”. But she left no doubt that this will only be the case if we are prepared to pay more for food and accept her slogan ‘Quality instead of Quantity’. She also reconfirmed her commitment to work towards 20% of German farms being organic by the year 2010. With the dual crises of BSE and foot and mouth disease, as well as the media talent of Renate Kunast it was not a surprise that Biofach received more media attention than ever before.

The floors of the fair were extremely busy, and watching the discussions and trade activities that took place all day and in every hall there is no doubt that the organic market is not only continuing but rapidly growing in its booming phase. It is now  that the yields of the decade long struggle to position  organic agriculture as the leading model for the future can be ‘harvested’.  It is important, though , not to be carried away by the wave of success or to sacrifice some of the basic organic principles on the altar of market expansion.  IFOAM’s role in ensuring this was, in fact, referred to by the Federation’s President, Gunnar Rundgren, when he  wrote in his welcome message to Biofach, ‘Our responsibility is not only to follow the organic rules but also to ensure that our production and trading practises are sustainable and people-friendly. It is still too early to determine exactly how, if and when. Ethical aspects of production and trade will be fully incorporated in the organic standards, but it is  now clear that if you want to be a future player, you should take this into serious consideration.’

The transition from Biofach’s previous owners and managers, the Okowelt Company (Hubert Rottner, Hagen Sunder, Christine Neidhardt), to Messe Nurnberg, the new owner, went smoothly. Messe Nurnberg’s potential and resources will also ensure that the newly-introduced global Biofach concept will become the focal point of organic trade all over the world. The Biofach Japan in December this year will be the next major step to making sure that ‘the world continues to grow organic.’

Biofach Japan

Tokyo, Japan

10-13 December 2001

The successful   concept of the world’s leading organic fair, Biofach held annually in Nurnberg, Germany, is a solid foundation for the upcoming Biofach Japan.  It is is organised by Global Fairs, a subsidiary of messe Nurnberg the organisers of the Biofach in Nurnberg. In light of the positive cooperation between IFOAM, patron of Biofach, and Messe Nurnberg, the invitation to become a global partner was accepted by IFOAM. IFOAM will now be  the parton for the new concept, which internationalises and decentralises Biofach. The new partnership between IFOAM, Messe Nurnberg and Global Fairs was signed at this year’s

Fair in Nurnberg.

The first  event  resulting from this new cooperative relationship will be Biofach Japan, taking place from 10-13 December, 2001, in Tokyo.  Together with its Japanese members, IFOAM will carry the special responsibility for the educational programme of the fair. It is expected that Biofach Japan will reach beyond Japan into the whole Asian region, which has tremendous ‘organic’ potential.

Global Fairs has arranged a very convenient package arrangement, which not  only facilitates  participation, but also makes it affordable, considering the high prices typical of fairs, particularly in Japan. Anybody with a business  interest in the development of organic agriculture and trade in Asia should not miss Biofach Japan- either as exhibitor or visitor.

The 4th IFOAM Organic World Exhibition

August 24-25, 2002

St. Ann’s Academy, Victoria, BC, Canada

The 4th IFOAM Organic World Exhibition is held in conjunction with the 14th Organic World Congress. For one week-end in August 2002 Victoria will be the ‘organic’ capital of Canada! This international organic festival is an opportunity to showcase certified organic products from around the world.

The attractive heritage building of St Ann’s Academy will provide a unique setting for the marquees and individual display tents scattered throughout the grounds. Exhibitors are invited to display their finest organic food, beverages and fibre products, and to offer for them sample and sale.  This Organic World Exhibition is offering exhibition space at half the standard price to non-profit groups who wish to inform the public about organic agriculture projects in their country.

The event will have cultural activities, music and other performances taking place throughout the Exhibition, as well as  an exciting programme of films and speakers. This World Expo will be a100% recycled/no waste event with recycling facilities on-site. The City of Victoria is ‘going green’ and organic methods are being used at St Ann’s this season in preparation for the event in 2002.

Come, join in and enjoy the fun as you sample the best the organic community has to offer.  Admission is free for residents, tourist and congress delegates. August is the height of the tourist season and 15,000 people are expected to visit the site during the course of the weekend. Exhibitors are encouraged to book their space as early as possible.

For more information concerning any event at IFOAM 2002 please contact

IFOAM 2002, c/o Building 20, 8801 East Saanich Road, Sidney BC, V8L 1H3, Canada.

Tel: +1-250-655-5662    Fax: +1-250-655-5657   email:


Registration information will be available from October 2001.

Effective Micro-organisms Technology

EM-Technology was developed by professor Dr. Teruo Higa in 1980 at  the University of Rhyukyus, Japan.  At the First International Conference on Nature Farming held in Tahialand in 1989, the Asia Pacific Natural Agriculture Network (APNAN) was formed. This network established an international programme for promoting research, education and extension of nature farming with EM-Technology.

EM contains photosynthetic bacteria (Rhodopseudomonas spp.), lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus spp.) and yeast (Saccharomyces spp.). It also supports thr activities of other microbes. It is claimed that EM promotes germination, growth, flowering, fruiting, and ripening in crop plants.  It enhances the photosynthetic capacity of plants and the efficiency of organic matter as fertilisers. EM develops the resistance of plants to pests and diseases and suppresses soil borne pathogens and pests. It can also be used in human and animal health care. A good introduction on EM-Technology can be down-loaded from

In Pakistan EM-Technology is being promoted by Nature Farming Research & Development Foundation (NFRDF) which set up the Nature Farming Research Centre and the EM-Technology Training Institute. In the last 8 years extensive experimentation has led to some important innovations in EM-Technology. Now a wide network of EM suppliers and technology transfer officers are available for the thousands of farmers who have begun using EM-Technology.

In January 2000, the EM World Journal (ISSN:1562-255X) was launched by Nature Farming Research & Development Foundation, 41-X-101, Susan Road, Madina Town, Faisalabad, 38060 Pakistan. Ax: +9241613507;

The Journal contains research articles on EM-Technology in agriculture and health. One of the articles: Technology of Effective Micro-organisms as an alternative for rice and wheat production in Pakistan by Tahir Hussain et al., reports on a long-term field experiment at Faisalabad, Pakistan, to determine the agronomic and economic merits of EM-Technology. Results were, among others: EM applied in combination with NPK fertilisers, Green Manure (GM) and Farm Yard Manure (FYM) caused significant increase in grain and straw yield and  in nutrient uptake by the grain and straw of each crop following the order NPK+EM>GM+EM>FYM+EM. The GM+EM treatment produced grain and straw yields of each crop that approached those for NPK alone. A comparative economic analysis of the treatments showed a significantly higher net return due to EM. The average net profit from rice and wheat production using EM was US$44.90/ha and US$62.35/ha, respectively, compared to about nil for the conventional rice-wheat system with optimal fertilisation and management.

Key elements of “Farm Planning (FP) for Sustainable Farming””

•1. Learning from the forest for the farm.

Before starting a farm planning process in a farm, farm families and extension staff learn from the example of a natural forest as a sustainable environment.  The most important ecological processes through  which the natural forest sustains itself and creates a balanced environment are in brief:

  • Bio mass production
  • Diversity and complexity (a web of relations in unity)
  • Living soil as a major component of soil fertility
  • Recycling of all organic matter
  • Efficient use of all the resources
  • Site specificity of plant and animal species chosen

By discovering and analysing these processes and their linkages in a natural environment, families and extension staff draw learning points for sustainable farming.

Efficient resource use serves as the starting point for FP. The unity in a natural forest environment as a system with a web of interaction between its elements is also important. Likewise, in FP the farm is considered in a holistic way, as a system with flows of material and energy between all the different farm enterprises.

•2. Observation and analysis of the existing situation of the farm.

The planning process starts from the existing situation on the farm, which is carefully observed and analysed.  How does the present farm system work and what are the available resources?  The farm family members are the most important resource persons in the exercise of observation and analysis of resources, processes, practices, opportunities and problems in their own farm.  Extension staff act as facilitators. Together they document the analysis of the farm system in maps, flow charts and written or “symbolised” text: this is the first part of the farm document.

•3. Exposure visits to farm families who successfully developed their farms.

Groups of farm families who have mapped the existing situation of their farms visit others who are in the process of successfully developing their farms, and collect ideas for their own farm plans.

•4. Planning for further development of the farm.

Before making the Farm Plan, farm families and facilitators discuss about planning in relation to needs, goals, dreams, and vision on the future.  Planning starts with the ‘here and now’, the existing situation, and reaches a final goal.  It describes changes and improvements in different feasible steps, keeping in mind the lessons learned from the natural forest environment and utilising available resources optimally.

In a Farm Plan this final goal, the more sustainable situation of the farm, is put on paper. Then, with the help of simple formats, often designed by the farm families themselves, the different steps of systematic development of the farm over several years, towards the desired situation, are chalked out: the longterm plan.  The long-term plan, is divided in seasonal workplans,  in which the activities for the season, the necessary resources and the expected returns are documented.  This is the second part of the farm document made by the farm family.

This farm document, the Farm Plan, is not a blue -print but a flexible framework for the farm development, which can be adapted to changing situations (e.g. weather conditions, availability of resources, changing views and priorities, new ideas, etc.) This makes Farm Planning an ongoing process.

•5. Implementation of the Farm Plan

Implementation of Farm Plans is the responsibility of the  respective farm families.  Their Farm Plan is a documented commitment to the systematic development of their farms. It increases the confidence of the farm families: “We can reach this goal on our farm with our own resources”. At the end of each season the outcome of the seasonal work-plans is reviewed and new workplans are made, based on the results, and with reference to the long-term plan.

Farm Planning for Sustainable Farming is a family affair, involving women, men and children and their experience, knowledge and views of the farm. The planning process, the plans and their implementation are ‘owned’ by the family and facilitated  by extension staff.

The Sprout Route

Count the stars stretched across the desert sky. Count the grains of sand spread upon the tropical beach. Count the seeds contained in a jar of alfalfa sprouts.  Now try to count the many ways to grow the perfect alfalfa sprout. In order to conserve paper and ink, here are six basic sprout routes (which possible total five more than you need to explore):

  • A. The Jar/Tube Method
  • B. The Bag Method
  • C. The Tray/Plate Method
  • D. The Towel Method
  • E. The Saucer Method
  • F. The Soil Method
  • A. Jar/Tube Method

The most common container for home sprouting is the jar, and for decades it has proven to be the most effective. In time for the new millenium, a new contender has joined the symphony of sprout containers: Tubby the Tube.

While many nutrition books discuss sprouting in a page, they outline the Jar Method in a paragraph.  At the risk of appearing complicated and confused, our instructions span over several pages.  Not difficult and foolish, just definitive and foolproof.

The ten simple steps are:

  1. Measure and cull
  2. Wash and skim
  3. Soak overnight
  4. Drain the soaked water
  5. Rinse and drain (2-3 times a day for 2-3 days)
  6. Sun (leafy sprouts only)
  7. Hull (optional)
  8. Cull and store
  9. Clean the jar
  10. Begin again

We shall begin our bowl-by-bowl description with alfalfa sprouts.  Granting that the seeds are viable, they will sprout even if your thumb is not green:

  • 1. Measure and cull

Measure two tablespoons of seeds. Eventually you will develop the ability to estimate quantities visually, but for now resort to the spoon and cup.

Pick the seeds clean of foreign matter such as twigs and stones. Extensive experimentation proves that stones do not sprout.  Alfalfa seeds are too tiny, but larger sproutables should be culled of the Four D’s: Decayed, Diseased, Discolored, and Dwarfed. All these signify Dead.

Flat-tipped tweezers used by stamp collectors work best, but even a thumb  (red or green) and forefinger will suffice. Do not deliberate too long over  this. In fact, you may postpone this step  just before the harvest, when the quick are more easily discerned from the dead. In this case, a rotten apple seed rarely spoils the barrel.

  • 2. Wash and skim

Place the measured and culled seeds into the jar. Fill the jar three-quarters full with room-temperature water. Wither vigorously twirl the jar or stir the seeds in the water with a spoon.  A broad wooden spoon works better than a tiny metal teaspoon. Pour off the UFOs (the Unidentified Floating Objects).

Some otherwise lively-looking seeds will also float to the top. These may be infertile, but you are wise to judge them innocent until proven guilty.  Again fill the jar with water and, if needs be, pur off the UFOs. Repeat this step until the water appears clear and the surface is free of UFOs.

(Using a tube: Affix the solid brown cap onto one end of the tube. This end now becomes the bottom. The one and only inconvenience of the tube compared to the jar occurs at this step. The fit of the plastic cap to the plastic tube might not be leakproof. Test the fit by filling the tube with water before adding the seeds. If room temperature water leaks, pour it off and add hot water from the faucet. The slight heat will mold the shape of the cap to the shape of the tube. Next, pour off the hot water, add the seeds, add the room temperature water, and proceed as above.)

  • 3. Soak Overnight

Just one more time fill the jar three-quarters with room temperature water. Cover with a screen top. Not a jar cap, because air ventilation is important even at this submerged stage.  Alfalfa or clover should soak from 3 – 8 hours, depending upon the room temperature: the warmer the temperature, the shorter the soak time.

For other seeds soaking times vary. A common  denominator is 8 hours or over-night: a one-night stand. Let the seeds stand in water overnight, and while you are sleeping your sprouts will be waking.

Generally, the larger and harder the seed, the longer the soak time. When the saturated seeds have expanded to nearly twice their original size, or when they no longer rattle but just dully thumb against the glass if you spin the jar, they are ready for draining. Be aware that the larger beans, such as chick-peas, or  harder beans, such as aduki, might require 24 hours of soaking at cool room temperatures

June 29, 2007 Posted by | Organic Gardening | 2 Comments

Cetdem’s pot-luck gathering at Suet’s place



As usual in any pot-luck gathering, there would be lots of food  whereby everyone can taste different kinds of food and exchange of ideas will follow.  Getting to know one another better is the reason why such pot luck gatherings are held yearly.

Chai brought pumpkin which was just baked with some salt and herbs – tastes  deliciously healthy  Must try that out one day. She also brought salad with pine nuts and soy fish.

There was Sherene’s ‘tong sui’ prepared by her maid – sweet potato with bananas was a very refreshing change. Serene brought her 2 children as her younger son wanted to see my ‘short-legged’ chickens. Her husband was so sporting to come along and made this a family affair.

Ms. Tan prepared popiah which was delicious but ‘hot’ – must have eaten a chilli padi!

Jamie brought a big dumpling – very appropriate as it was the dumpling festival, made by her mother-in-law specially for the dumpling festival – wrapped in yam leaf instead of the bamboo leaves. She brought along some kuih-kuih too.

Belinda bought rojak which my maids thoroughly enjoyed. As for me, I  baked my first cheesecake this year. As usual, my husband commented that I only baked when there is a function – very true though!

My maid prepared the garlic bread made with my home- grown basil leaves. Cetdem members were very lucky as the figs (Mo Fa Kor) ripened at the correct time and I was able to serve the fresh figs marinated with some sugar and XO(only 1 tbsp so nobody got drunk).

There was the Citronella tea drink (serai wangi) from my garden – organic of course – for everyone to down the food with.

After everyone had their fill of food, I brought out the enzyme drinks which  I prepared -a hobby of mine fermentation. Enzymes are good for digestion as it is a bit sourish.  Everyone tried the Fig enzyme and also the ginger enzyme. I have tried other fruits before like apples and pineapples. I have also tried red rice fermentation (hong chao). The wine residue can be used to marinate chicken – very delicious and different.

My maid, Ika demonstrated how tempeh was made in her kampong.  Questions were asked and answered accordingly. Tempeh recipes were distributed to everyone.

Tempeh is very rich in Vit B12, contains many natural antioxidents (one called factor 2 is 600 times more potent that Vit E), natural antibiotics and some of the Vit B group are elevated in comparison to unfermented soybeans. Tempeh also contains enzymes and free amino acids. (Ref:

Everyone left ‘full and contented’ with freshly made tempeh and my home made kombucha tea drink.


June 23, 2007 Posted by | Organic Gardening | 1 Comment

Cetdem’s Annual Get Together


Annual Get-together Pot-luck Lunch

at Rimbun Dahan, the Garden of Eden on 28 October 2001.

By Cho SuetSen  – CCS member

The response from members was good as can be seen from the turnout recorded. 31 adults and 10 children. All of us lazed next to the pool, waiting for all the members to arrive.

Whilst awaiting , we all happily exchanged notes on the food displayed in front of us. Yum! Yum! Too bad we can only look  A wide array of food was prepared – spiced hill-rice garnished with almonds (by Ms Tan) was very delicious.  So was the organic curry towfoo by Mdm See. There was  rendang, fried mee, vegetable sushi, doughnuts, yam cake, agar-agar, sweet potato kueh, melon bread rolls,  pickled mango, red bean porridge,  citronella drink and such a dazzling array that I am unable to recall every dish now.

At 1.05 p.m., a  round of self -introduction began with Mrs. Hijas Kasturi followed by the Cetdem members and friends who introduced themselves and the food that they have prepared.

When the cue for ‘chow time’ was announced after the introduction, everyone ‘charged’ for the food.  There were of course, oohs! and aahs! all around  with everyone tasting the wide variety of food available.  Ideas and information were exchanged accordingly on the food prepared.

At 2.15p.m. Mrs. Angela Hijjas, the gracious hostess gave us a briefing on Rimbun Dahan at the poolside after which we followed her on a tour of her 14 acres’ garden.

The children were of course, very happy to stay back for a swim at the pool.

We were led to the Herb garden whereby Mrs. Hijjas showed and explained in detail the landscape design of her garden and all the different types of herb and spices grown in her garden. We were shown the nutmeg tree, belinjo tree, different types of ginger, the vanilla creeper, cloves tree, etc….etc……

We then proceeded to the Bulatan Plong for outdoor performances. Along the way to the “Rumah Uda Manap” a 100 year old traditional village house from Parit, Perak, we passed along fruit trees, durian tress, jackfruit trees, cempedak, bananas, papaya trees, etc….

The last stop was a tour of the underground  Art Gallery which had 90 metres  of wall space to hand works.

The tour adjourned back to the poolside for another round of  ‘chowtime’.

After which a short meeting was held for the Consumers Caring Scheme (CCS).

Everyone left this gathering truly enlightened and  stronger ties were fostered amongst the members via such gatherings. Kudos to Ms Tan for arranging such a memorable gathering. We all certainly will look forward to the next pot-luck gathering.

June 23, 2007 Posted by | Organic Gardening | Leave a comment

A Trip to GK Organic Farm


A Trip to GK Organic Farm,  Bangi  by Suet (CCS member)

On 24 March 2002, Cetdem members and their families (all in all 14 adults and 2 children) visited GK Organic  at  8.30 a.m. on a bright and sunny Sunday.

We were greeted by Mr. Gan , our gracious host who treated us to an organic breakfast. Sugar Cane drink with papaya and red banana – all from his farm of course.  The sugar cane was really sweet, as it was just freshly juiced. Everyone had second helpings of this delicious drink.

We adjourned to the composting area where Mr. Gan explained his composting process in English and Mandarin.  The discussion on composting was ‘sidetracked’ when we saw Mr. Gan’s maid preparing tempeh.  Mr. Gan graciously explained how tempeh is made and even gave out his recipe on making delicious tempeh.

Mr. Gan is so tuned in to nature that he walked barefooted around his farm – natural reflexology as tooted by him. We proceeded to view the ‘arrowhead’ plants, and Mr. Gan’s  3 cows can be seen in the background mulling the grass.  There is a section for mulberry bushes  which were planted for making jam.  Next to the mulberry section was another big compost heap.  There is a farm cottage for visitors or volunteers which is situated next to the secondary forest nearby.  The temperature can fall to 20C during the night – nice and cooling.

There were numerous papaya and banana trees all around. What is very noticeable is that all the papaya trees are so healthy- with tens of fruits on them.  If only one of my papaya trees were like Mr. Gan’s!!

I will have to add more compost and ash – as he mentioned that that’s what he puts for his papaya trees.

We were introduced to many types of herbs which are grown wildly all over his farm.   Of course there were many vegetable plots along the way. We saw cabbages, beans, sweet potato leaves, etc…..

We saw the packing house which is next to the worker’s quarters. This quarters’  can house up to 15 workers. Currently Mr. Gan has 9 workers.  Mr. Gan also explained to us how the ‘natural ripening’ process for his bananas are done.

Next came the ‘seedlings’ area. Behind the seedlings area  are numerous compost piles which have been left there for years.

We then moved downhill back to his farmhouse.  Mr. Gan mentioned that we only toured 30% of his 10 acres’ farm.  That 30% took us 2 hours to tour. 

Some of us left after the tour whereas the rest stayed on to enjoy an organic vegetarian lunch, prepared by Mr. Gan’s wife Kazumi.

Of all the farms that I have visited so far, GK Organic Farm truly portrays an organic farm in its real essence. It is really hard work and kudos to Mr. Gan for staying on the true organic path despite all the odds.

June 23, 2007 Posted by | Organic Gardening | 4 Comments