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Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Missing the sweet-dead smells of jungle

Recently, our friend Wouter from the Netherlands emailed our entire forest management class--he was a sweetheart who was very opinionated but also very open to talking about issues across continents. It was from him that I heard about how Dutch men were one of the tallest in the world (as a country, their men are taller on the average than most Europeans).

So Wouter was taking a trip across the ASEAN countries--and was asking to meet up with him. Lo and behold, the gang from across the islands suddenly started stirring.

There were a lot of funny coincidences. Ben from France and Irma from Indonesia both because of their studies on tropical forestry ended up in the same area of Indonesia in Kalimantan. Though Ben is still pursuing is poli-econ Phd on forestry policies, Irma is a now joining the workforce.

Darlin from Brunei is now a college English teacher. Hassanul also from Brunei is now a civil servant with the department of public works. Clara from Singapore is now finally finished with her law studies--still stressed out of her wits at the killer law firm, having to work overtime over new year's--poor dear!

Some have been moving around a lot--Eva has been hopping from France to Singapore for internship then back to China. Tanja has been moving from further studies in Finland to Sweden--hopefully meeting up with the dear Swedish ladies.

A lot of that trail over email was about all of us remembering our time in Belalong center. On the river, doing water studies, studying the small/tiny/miniscule mammals--our joke being little Rima and Clara with their petite frames, may even pass for these 'small mammals' hehe. Then the fact that there was always the vegetarian table--where mangoes and rice was the norm. Of course, cramming our paper--and for the non-science majors, realizing how important geography and terrain mapping should be in policy studies for sustainable development.

Forgetting those moments that we were pretty much eaten alive by that jungle humidity and stench when we came back to Bandar Seri Begawan civilization--and that I had to wash all my clothes twice in the hotel bathtub--I miss Brunei and our hotel room chats, err, parties and arguing about how forest plantations as a sustainble forestry strategy works in the developing East. *Sigh*

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