Makassar Mirror

_DSC3590Selamat tinggal untuk saat ini OR Selamat tinggal untuk selamanya?

Either way, it’s a ‘hwyl fawr’ through the paradoxical airwaves.

The facts.

  1. The furthest I’ve ever travelled
  2. The longest I’ve ever stayed in the same hotel room
  3. The second of the above does not appertain to Wallace.

Foremost.

Huge commendation and immense gratitude to Geinor from Theatr na n’Og who is such a visionary when it comes to subject matter within contemporary storytelling. This has been such a gift and I will never be able to fully contextualise the incredible enrichment that working on ‘You should ask Wallace’ has added to my personal life. This enrichment of education continues throughout my life.

Simply phenomenal.

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Ok.

Indonesia.

The land of flip flops and flip flopping non-commitment.

No solar panels. A shit load of plastic everywhere. Totally disconnected from nature.

I expected. I hoped. I wished. I dreamt.

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I found, I despaired, I sank like the bleached corals.

https://www.ijens.org/Vol_18_I_01/182701-3939-IJET-IJENS.pdf

This is not a direct comment on the people of Indonesia. This is a comment on us. All of us. Wherever we live. Whatever we feel. This paradise of an archipelago / Kepulauan Nusantara demonstrates the effect of our direct choices. Each and every one of them.

And despite some comments from scientists to suggest that it’s not as simple as little Greta may suggest. It seems to me that it really is that simple.

“No one is too small to make a difference”

And I really, really felt for all those scientists that have lived and breathed these thoughts and fears for over a quarter of a century. They are heroes in the way they have continued on their quest. They have undertaken the most difficult of tasks in the face of the greatest of adversities. At the head of that specific scientific Wallace line are Trevor Roach and the irrepressible alpha George Beccaloni.

Indonesia of today needs Wallace. Paul Smith, the Director of the British Council summarised it perfectly.

“Wallace is from the UK. Wallacea is Indonesian. It belongs to you. You are the custodians”

And these are some of those newly appointed custodians.

After all, if the hat fits:

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Rays of hope cling on to the disappearing timeline. Daeng Serang Dakko really is a maestro. The rhythmic call to nature’s defence are still echoing within me.

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This was the only perceivable connection between man and ‘alam’ during my whole stay. And the first time I saw a ‘garden’ in Makassar. This is a paradise offered and gifted as a palette for natural growth and sustenance. But there were secluded places where the gift was received, and nurtured.

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And other offerings of sanctuary now receiving the guise of modern forts as an attempt to hold back the sea. This happened now. We were there. King Canute is re-born and re-incarnated on these distant shores.

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The land of mopeds, cheap cigarettes, sunsets and ‘mister, mister’. A ‘bule’ abroad.

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And on the final day, a chance to seek reflections in the green waters of Fort Rottingdam.

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Pagan gods floating in their misery and despair.

If only religions (of all creed) could place nature at the core of the worship. We all need this call to prayer. It is the only cause that merits establishing a deity to offer hope. But hope is disappearing. Fast. Humans are the plague. Evolution has a devious twist to mask our flawed journey.

So, the sun sets.

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And so we wait in the airport with a flight delaying our final aspirations and hope. My hair sits on a Makassar floor.

If only Wallace was here. Or perhaps he always is. And we simply need to raise our perception.

During the final performance, a solitary butterfly entered the mall and circled above with the subtle messaging code of a silent, inaudible convert.

During the first performance, the first rain since our welcoming thunder storm followed the Wallace chant of ‘Awan-awan, sepertynia datang’. It was a deluge. It was fitting. It is what it is. It is the Wallace line and we crossed it.

 

Bantimurung – a kingdom redefined

Yes, I know. I’m going to bang on about Wallace. Again. And again. AND AGAIN!

“You should ask Wallace” has been around Wales and the UK and we’ve tentatively touched upon two other of his expedition targets by performing in Singapore and Brazil.

Indonesia was calling. His greatest adventure. His calling card to recognition from the academic elite and privileged ‘crachach’.

And thanks to the support of the British Council, Wales international, Welsh Arts Council and Theatr na nÓg, then here we are. In Makassar. Heading towards Wallacea Week.

https://www.britishcouncil.id/en/events/wallacea-week-2019

Even before arriving, my head was spinning.

How can I justify flying to Indonesia in denial of Greta?

What will I find there? How would Wallace feel landing in Indonesia 2019?

My resistance was centred around a few muddled and clouded facts: Indonesia is the 4th most populated country in the world. It imports plastic waste – including Welsh plastic waste so that the Welsh Assembly can congratulate themselves on hitting their targets. Export plastic from the Rhondda valley to the other side of the world for statistics and targets. “Not in my back yard.” 18000 tons of plastic waste and 55000 tons of paper waste arrived in Indonesia in the first six months of 2019.

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46% of the global total of humans live in 5 of its countries. China, India, USA, Indonesia and Brazil. Our richest natural treasures don’t have any hope of survival.

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-50392807

So, Malay Archipelago  – a collection of islands. Between 13,466 and 18,307 islands depending on which report you read.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_islands_of_Indonesia

The Indonesian government officially lists 8,844 islands, 922 of which are permanently inhabited.

We’re collaborating with a fantastic group of Indonesian creatives and are being well looked after. Adin in particular has been offered guidance and hospitality. Abdi arrives next week and then things will really start to aim towards a new version of the performance incorporating Indonesian actor(s) and content.

So, yesterday, we set off to Bantimurung National Park. A place where Wallace landed between July and October 1857. During that time Wallace found 256 butterfly species from Bantimurung area. He coined the phrase of ‘Butterfly Kingdom’ for the area which is now a National Park following guidance from UNESCO. The second large Karst area in the world with the limestone, dolomite and gypsum creating a landscape not too dissimilar to his adventures in Porth yr Ogof.

Upon entry to the park yesterday, my heart sunk. Tawdry. Gaudy. Plundered. Exploited.

Wallace’s catalogue of 256 butterfly species had dwindled to 103 in the Mattimu report of 1977. I’m curious to discover the results of any survey during the past 5 years.

Captured butterflies are now peddled to tourists in glass frames or key rings.

_DSC1231Wallace was fully aware of the potential destruction of the human species. Perhaps he even anticipated this?

But then in the middle of it all, nature holds on by fingertips, claws and sessile growth.

In the  “Bantimurung 1857 vs Bantimurung 2019” contest, there is only one winner.

 

 

30.6.19 30 Days Wild #30 “A rose by any other name”

“What’s in a name? That which we call a Rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
Dyma’r rhosyn sydd wedi cyrraedd ei ogoniant yn yr ardd eleni.

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But these local wild roses are stunning at the moment.

And man shall have dominion. Genetic selection. Preference. Morphic definition.

Cistus is a genus of flowering plants in the rockrose family Cistaceae. A rose with rock n roll.

Pabi, hocysen, clematis

Beauty in the eye of the beholder relies on the ability of the beholder to see.

Gobaith y lliwiau yw’r hâd.

So reveal your prism

Show your true colours

A rho gyfle i’r byd

And that is it. 30 days. A slice of time. Am nawr. Gad lonydd i’r byd a’r bod mawr.

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29.6.19 30 Days Wild #29 Ffos Las

2 ddiwrnod i fynd. Cyfle i fynd i’r goedwig goffa yn Ffos Las i weld beth sydd wedi newid dros y flwyddyn ddiwetha’. Am fore ffrwythlon!

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Mefus gwyllt / Fragaria vesca / Wild Strawberries                                                             (anyone else remember calling them ‘sheavies’?)

With only 2 days left, today offered an opportunity to Walk the remembrance woods in Ffos Las. Things have certainly changed since the last time we were there over a year ago. Quite a fruitful morning.

It’s always amazing how quickly nature can re-establish itself when given the chance. ‘Re-wilding’ is quite a buzz word, but if you want to see what it looks like then head to Ffos Las (other woods are available!)

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/wood/5670/coed-ffos-las/

Dwi erioed wedi gweld cynifer o ehedydd mewn un lle. Am wledd i’r llygaid a’r glust. Gweirloyn y ddôl ym mhob man a nifer o deigrod y benfelen.

Definitely the highest number of skylarks I’ve ever seen in one place (it looks like they’ve had an excellent breeding season). Meadow browns in rich numbers and numerous cinnabar moths.

And the Hedd Wyn memorial is so, so apt for the reflections of warfare to be married with extinction rebellion 100 years after WWI.

 

http://noglory.org/index.php/multimedia/poetry-and-spoken-word/240-hedd-wynn-war

War

Gwae fi fy myw mewn oes mor ddreng,
A Duw ar drai ar orwel pell;
O’i ôl mae dyn, yn deyrn a gwreng,
Yn codi ei awdurdod hell.
Pan deimlodd fyned ymaith Dduw
Cyfododd gledd i ladd ei frawd;
Mae swn yr ymladd ar ein clyw,
A’i gysgod ar fythynnod tlawd.
Mae’r hen delynau genid gynt,
Ynghrog ar gangau’r helyg draw,
A gwaedd y bechgyn lond y gwynt,
A’u gwaed yn gymysg efo’r glaw
Bitter to live in times like these.
While God declines beyond the seas;
Instead, man, king or peasantry,
Raises his gross authority.
When he thinks God has gone away
Man takes up his sword to slay
His brother; we can hear death’s roar.
It shadows the hovels of the poor.
Like the old songs they left behind,
We hung our harps in the willows again.
Ballads of boys blow on the wind,
Their blood is mingled with the rain.

That first line sticks with me with an intensity that should be missing during times of ‘peace’. Hedd Wyn fully understood the complexity and breadth of his observation.

“Gwae fi fy myw mewn oes mor ddreng” Ie wir.

28.6.19 30 Days Wild #28 Larva deception

A dyma fi’n meddwl bod pob lindysyn yn rhan o siwrne anhygoel iâr fach yr haf neu wyfyn.  Na, Ioan bach. Dim o gwbwl. Paid a bod mor ragfarnllyd. Dyma beth sy’n digwydd i’n llysiau Solomon ni bob blwyddyn,

I assumed (never assume, Ioan; never assume) that a caterpillar was a life cycle transition for butterflies and moths. This is what happens to our Solomon’s seal every year:

We try to operate a relaxed ‘laissez faire’ approach to gardening and have let the larvae eat the leaves but I’ve never identified them until #30DaysWild kicked me into action.

So. Drum rol . . . . .

DA RA!

It’s not a butterfly or a moth larvae. Is the Solomon’s seal sawfly larvae (I guess the clue is in the name)

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https://www.naturespot.org.uk/species/solomons-seal-sawfly

And today was also the ugly side of #30DaysWild for me. It hasn’t happened for a long time, but I caught a frog in the strimmer. It survived, but I’m not sure how much damage was caused.

Fues i’n teimlo’n flin drwy’r pnawn, ac wedyn cefais sgwrs diddorol da’r chwilen ‘ma a thrafod pethau pwysig bywyd:

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And that’s where today’s big discovery comes from. I now need to find out if this is a ‘stink bug’. If so, they’re an invasive species that have only been in this country for 5 years or so.  Now I wish the iPhone focus was on the beetle and not on my body hair!

I must admit, I do feel a little bit like Alfred Russel Wallace when he found a trichius fasciatus in the Neath Valley.

 

26.6.19 30 Days Wild #26 Iechyd Da.

Weithiau, mae eistedd yn yr awyr agored yn ddigon.

Yr heulwen. Yr awel. Caneuon yr adar. Yr awyr. Y llonyddwch. O ie – a’r cwrw (mae hopys yn wyllt iawn – Humulus lupulus) Iechyd da.

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Sometimes, a chance to sit outside is as wild as you want to be.

The sun. The breeze. The bird soundscape. The sky. The tranquility. Oh yes – and the beer (hops are pretty wild things you know – Humulus lupulus). Iechyd Da.