Posted by: Wisnu | December 17, 2017


This was where Felix lived tied up with a tight two-metre chain around his neck without anything to rest on or to play with for three long years. During these years, Felix basically only got rice as food and as a result he is malnourished and thin. His hair lacks the shine of oil that normally protects the orangutans from rain reaching their skin in the rainforest. Felix originally came from an oil palm region in Central Kalimantan and was kept by a family in the Erna plantation area several hours from the Sanggau city in West Kalimantan from the age of one year. He now is four years old and does not look at all like a normal 4-year-old orangutan baby.

It was quite interesting how we first found out about Felix. A local NGO staff put up a WhatsApp message that included a picture of the orangutan he had seen inside the plantation area living with this family. Dudung, our Sintang Orangutan Centre director, came across this message and immediately followed up trying to find out where this orangutan might be hidden so he could organize a rescue operation. After he found out through social media, where he uploaded the picture, he contacted the forestry conservation office of West-Kalimantan, with whom we have an official cooperation, and on Sunday morning a joint team of forestry police and our Sintang Orangutan Centre staff immediately left for Sangau. Bayu, our paramedic, was the one to take off the chain from the neck of Felix when after The ‘owner’ was asked to “voluntarily” hand over the orangutan and the forestry police just made a report of the confiscation and handed over the orangutan to the Sintang Orangutan Centre.

Felix is not very strong. But when I met him about two weeks after his confiscation at the Sintang Orangutan Center, he was very approachable. He was still on his own in the quarantine facility of the orangutan clinic where he was undergoing a range of medical tests and parasite treatments. He already looks a lot better and he is very interested in things around him. So, actually, I have hope he will quickly join a group of youngsters and start the learning process to return to his forest home in our Betung Kerihun release area.

Here are a few pictures of the rescue operation for Felix.


Posted by: Wisnu | December 12, 2017

Masarang Hong Kong’s Sustainable Merchandise

Masarang Hong Kong is trying to raise funds for the Sintang Orangutan Centre in West Kalimantan and the Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue and Education Centre in North Sulawesi. One of the latest initiatives is to support the local Dayak women in the interior of West Kalimantan making small Dayak handicraft items as sustainable merchandise items. The women are members of the Koperasi Menenun Mandiri, which translates to the “We can do it ourselves” cooperative. Indeed, now the women make more money than most of their husbands! They seem to have been taking good care of the money they earn, rather than spending it on cigarettes, it ends up in funds to pay for the studies of their children!

The first type of product is a woven bracelet, very much based upon the woven clothes that the women in the cooperative are already making but much smaller obviously. Here are some photographs showing how the women make them and what types of bracelets they presently produce. The various motifs in the woven patterns represent various aspects of their culture, like protecting harmony, supporting good fortune and health as well as many other Dayak motifs.

The second type of bracelet is made from other jungle materials. They are made from rattan, a product normally better known as being used in the production of furniture. The rattan is sliced by hand in very thin strips that are then sometimes interwoven with the stems of a climbing fern with much darker shiny surface as seen here right.

No colouring is used, the products are 100% natural from intact jungle and are made by hand only by local women. These bracelets are made from a climbing palm from the rain forest of Borneo. The palms are very thorny and with long whips with hooks these palms can make walking in the rainforest very difficult. Interestingly, the palm is sometimes called “wait a moment!” for obvious reasons since the hooks are difficult to loosen from the clothing of a passing person! These palms have always been the most important material for the Dayak, former head-hunters of Borneo, to make baskets, fish traps, bind their huts and houses together, for mats and hundreds of other products. The material is very light but extremely strong and flexible. When kept clean it can last more than a hundred years! The bracelets are normally woven by one Dayak directly around the wrist of the other person and are difficult to take off. But the newer ones, like in the picture above, are now popular as gifts between Dayak members as well as for gifts to visitors.

The long rattan stems are pulled from between the branches of the trees. This does not damage the forest and the rattan immediately grows back from the clump in the soil with new shoots that fill up the space again. The stems are then thoroughly cleaned and dried. Then the stems are cut by hand in very fine long strings of the material that then are woven by Dayak women in the longhouse during the long evenings in the jungle, normally with the light of resin burning in bamboo. The women are very skilled at making all kinds of patterns. The various patterns in the woven end-product represent deeper meanings like prosperity, security, love, unity and many more.

The women that make both the woven as well as the rattan bracelets work in a cooperative set up by the formerly Dutch Missionary Father Jacques Maessen, with the goal of increasing their income while preserving their special Dayak skills.

By purchasing these 100% natural products from the intact rainforest you:

help protect the jungle and its inhabitants;
increase the well-being of the local people, while contributing to the preservation of their culture and traditional knowhow;
help to enable Masarang Hong Kong to support the salary of vets at both the Sintang Orangutan Centre and Tasikoki.

Posted by: Wisnu | December 3, 2017

New Orangutan, Old Threats

Everyone has heard of orangutans. The Red Ape, the Old Man of the Forest; the poster child for shrinking Indo-Malayan rainforests. But less people are aware that since 2001, there have been two recognized orangutan species: the Bornean (Pongo pygmaeus) and the Sumatran (P abelii). And a study published earlier this year has revealed something that until recently, nobody knew about: A third orangutan species, the Tapanuli Orangutan (P. tapanuliensis).

The first signs of a new species came when a DNA analysis of over 30 orangutans from across Indonesia found that the genetic code of a population from the Tapanuli region of Northern Sumatra differed from that of other Sumatran Orangutans. A closer examination of the code found that they had split from each around 700,000 years ago. Subtle differences in mating calls and skull shapes provided further evidence for the uniqueness of these orangutans, leading to scientists from the University of Zurich and the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme to declare them a new species.

While the validity of this new species is currently being debated, what is depressingly clear is how close we are to losing it. There are thought to be less than 800 Tapanuli Orangutans in the world, making it the rarest great ape species on earth. All of them live in a 1000 km² area already threatened by illegal hunting, deforestation, gold mining and now the looming possibility of a new hydroelectric power plant. For now, the Tapanuli Orangutan is going on the IUCN’s Critically Endangered list. But it should also be listed as yet another reason why we must act now to cut our palm oil consumption and save Southeast Asia’s unique rainforests.


Thomas Gomersall, Masarang HK Volunteer

Posted by: Wisnu | November 15, 2017

National Award for Masarang’s Palm Sugar Factory

A few days ago I was given a package with batik cloth in it, sent from Jakarta. I asked Erwin Tanauma, our palm sugar factory director what it was for. “Well it is not 100% sure but this could mean that we won the prestigious Paramakarya award Sir.” I thought, sounds a bit like the Sidhakarya award of last year?…

So what is it about? Last year’s Sidhakarya award was given for the best provincial enterprise and the Masarang and Pertamina (Indonesia’s state oil and gas enterprise that also operates the Lahendong geothermal plant that provides our factory with energy) was chosen as the provincial winner for a mid-sized enterprise. It turns out the provincial ministry of labor and industry recommended us for the national level price!

Paramakarya stands for “extraordinary work”. The award was instituted in 1994 as part of an ILO (International Labor Organization) program. The goal is to support small and medium scale enterprises and create good quality jobs for people. In Indonesia, it is given as the highest national award for enterprises of small and medium scale. Our Masarang factory is in the category medium scale. Some of the criteria to be considered are to have a complete legal status and certification and the enterprise must have been active for many years.

Here is a picture of the jury that comprised provincial government officials and several independent national level jury members from the business and academic and NGO world that visited the factory for a final inspection some three weeks ago in Tomohon. Third from the right is Erwin Tanauma, our director and second from the right Ir. Marthen Polii, the operational manager.

When I asked what made the national jury decide that our Masarang Palm Sugar Factory was considered the best medium enterprise of all of the Republic of Indonesia with its 250 Million people and ten thousands of companies I was told that two aspects stood out for the jury. The first aspect considered the clever design of the factory using geothermal steam to save trees from being burned as fuel wood and increasing income for some of the formerly poorest farmers in the society that were tapping sugar palms. They also mentioned that the integration of traditional methods with efficient industrial processing of the palm juice was unique in Indonesia and that we are the first sugar palm sugar factory in the world like this.

So now we received the official confirmation that on November 16th, 2017 we are invited to the presidential palace in Jakarta to receive the highest national award directly from the Indonesian president Joko Widodo, better known as president Jokowi! Unfortunately I already committed to attending COP23 in Bonn, Germany this week and to lectures in New York and Boston so I will not be able to be in the palace myself but be represented.

I want to take this occasion to highlight a very special person whom I credit with improving many things in our operations and it is Erwin Tanauma. When we started the palm sugar factory the local sugar palm tapper coordinators, 36 of them, advertised the position of factory director more than 10 years ago. And they selected Erwin with a very big majority vote out of three candidates that had applied. Very unusual for Indonesia that farmers elect their own director! When the sugar palm coordinators had internal problems we had to reorganize the factory and Erwin choose another path. Two years ago we had a lot of issues that needed to be dealt with in the factory and I approached, rather begged, Erwin to come back and try to improve the factory and expand the production. I am very pleased that Erwin agreed and I want to thank him here for the great job he is doing, benefitting so many local people in Tomohon and now in many other places in Indonesia where we share our knowhow to improve the wellbeing of local people.

I also must thank a very generous donor that financed the upgrading of our factory and who chooses to remain in the background for now. We call him “Gaia” and when he reads this he knows how much we appreciate what he is doing to give Masarang a chance to bring about change. Thank you Gaia!

We are very pleased to announce that a group of staff and students from STFA Yung Yau College will visit Tasikoki and some of the nearby Masarang projects in 2018.

After an initial visit to the school to meet the principal, Mr Alex Kai, staff and students with school sponsor, Mr Billy Yung, then Masarang HK commitee members, Sharne McMillan and Adrienne Watson Smits, arranged to speak to a large group of students and staff in October 2017 about our charity, Tasikoki and biodiversity issues in HK as well as Indonesia.


After hearing the talks from Sharne and Adrienne, some responses given by the students
are shown below:

I can now say that I’m “otterly” fantasized by the world of animals! When Ms Watson was telling us about how the wildlife’s lives are endangered because of us – human beings. It made me realize that humans are really selfish. We are taking away the lives of these species just to enjoy our own. After the heartwarming sharing by both Ms Watson & Ms Sharne, I’m now determined to change the lifestyle ours (eg use less plastic bag) in order to help save the lives of many. (Laiba 5D)

Before the talk,I didn’t know that there is a centre protecting animals in Hong Kong and nor did I know that there are so many beautiful and amazing species that are unique in Hong Kong. I used to believe that Hong Kong is lacking its unique species but I learn after the talk that this is not true. The talk encourages me to pay more attention to the waste problem and the animal orphans in Hong Kong. I hope I can have a chance to visit the Marasang centre and know more about nature.
(Anna Wong 5D)

Actually I have learnt a lot from the talk especially about biodiversity. This talk gave me the opportunity to understand that there are still a lot of species that need our care and protection in Hong Kong. Also, I’ve got a lot of new information about the extinct and endangered species and it really increased our awareness of protecting animals.
(Kystral Lee 5D)

The talk was inspirational. As a student in HK, I was not aware about the type of unique species HK has. I am looking forward to the chance to join the visit. Hope that I can be chosen!
(Aimen 5D)

Nice to meet you! Thank you so much for coming to our school to promote the importance of nature conservation.  I am crazy in animals too. They are cute and friendly to us. But unfortunately, some of them are in the verge of jeopardy. I have learned that we should save water and woods to prevent further deforestation. I feel sorry to the endangered species. It’s high time for humans to do something. Your talk impressed me a lot! Thank you again!
Christy Yiu (5D)

The talk is really informative and meaningful. It provided multifarious photographs for reference. Besides, it reveals the importance of conserving wild animals and maintaining the biodiversity. Biodiversity is vital for not only humans but also the whole ecosystem. As we have no idea on what will happen when some species become extinct, we should attach great importance on the biodiversity in nature.
Moreover, the wild animals are treasures in the earth so we should take the responsibility to protect the endangered species and maintain the biodiversity. It is really great that students can more about this so we may increase the awareness on the endangered animals.
(Hiu Tung 5D)

We are looking forward to their visit and we are grateful for the kind sponsorship of Mr Yung to allow the visit to take place.


Posted by: Wisnu | November 4, 2017

A good week!

By: Willie Smits

A good week it was. For a full seven days, I could spend time with the boards of Masarang International, Masarang Hong Kong and Masarang Indonesia, while at the same time also showing a party interested in carbon credits around. During this week, we also held final interviews with candidates for the Masarang Indonesia CEO position, we accepted a new veterinarian to work at Tasikoki and had interviews for an operational manager at Tasikoki while also working on the new website and agreeing on an improved logo for our foundations that we will soon share with all of you.

Here is a picture of the international Masarang representatives and supporters that worked hard for the future of the Masarang Foundation during their time in Tomohon, Sulawesi.

During the week, we also visited many of the reforestation sites of Masarang in Tomohon, such as the 80 hectare Pulisan reforestation, the Masarang Mountain reforestation and many of the new forests that were planted through a special cooperation with local people and local government. We also visited the Tulap turtle beach where the reforestation scheme supported by Hong Kong schools is coming along nicely. Of course, Tasikoki itself with its stunning views and so many special animals could not be left out.

Here is a picture of the group together with two visitors, Nick and Scott, from a company interested in the carbon sequestration potential of our reforestation scheme. The Masarang forest behind captures much water from the clouds that pass by. It was a wet climb to this extinct volcano crater in light rain and through very slippery mud! This crater is called Rumpina and will be the site of our cooperation with the Sam Ratulangi University from Manado and will have a visitor center for schools

During the visit we also celebrated the Birthday of Esther in the lovely Gardenia Country Inn of Tomohon.

After North Sulawesi, we visited the Arsari Enviro Industri site near Balikpapan, in East Kalimantan, where the work of Masarang is now being implemented on a massive scale and where sugar palms from Tomohon are already starting to provide sustainable livelihood for many local people whilst a million new specially selected sugar palms are on their way to be planted under the Rebuild agroforestry-based reforestation scheme in the coming months. And to top off the week we spent a night at my Samboja Ecolodge and visited the various activities there.

In the picture on the right we are standing on a sandstone rock, overlooking the vast area of good rain forest behind us that will be preserved forever by Arsari Enviro Industri, the company that could have taken the logs but only works with reforestation of the degraded forests in the area through agroforestry with sugar palms and a mix of other local tree species. Any good forest is excluded from commercial operations.

A picture from the fire tower of Samboja Lestari. Behind us a sea of green where once was nothing else but a biological dessert of short yellow grass. The power of nature!

Oh, I almost forgot… I was also invited to meet with the Bupati of the district of Paser Penajam Utara, which is the district where Arsari Enviro Industri is located, to discuss the land use planning for the district. The Bupati agreed with my proposal that the best option to protect the future water needs of the district was to safeguard an area of around 30.000 hectares of still mostly pristine forest that directly borders the new Arsari Lestari protected forest! Together with the adjoining Meratus Mountain this means that we are now looking at an area of more than 100.000 hectares of contiguous forest in good condition to be protected forever!

Here a picture during the presentation. The projector did not work so many of the department heads of the Bupati tried to get glimpses of the maps and pictures I showed them.

The Bupati had attended the Governors for Climate and Forests conference and together with the governor of East-Kalimantan, my long-time friend Awang Faroek, visited the Arsari Enviro Industri operations that include a large new nature reserve voluntarily taken out from the commercial harvesting rights to support wildlife conservation and drinking water for nearby Balikpapan. He heard the positive feedback from the many conference attendants about our scheme. He now supports the new forest area in his district to be protected for his future water needs. Excellent!

Whilst cruising through thousands of hectares of pristine mangrove forest in the Bay of Balikpapan that the Bupati has entrusted to be safeguarded from charcoal making wood collectors and poachers we also got to see the Irrawaddy dolphins playing in the water. A group of two adults and one young! Such a rare event! So much is happening that it is hard to keep up with everything. I will just conclude with some pictures that can tell much more.

Masarang is making an impact! For thousands of local farmers and for large scale environmentally friendly biodiverse reforestation. And I just heard that I have been asked to present in Bonn at COP23 about the updates with our profitable climate solutions. Onward we’ll go! Many thanks to all our loyal supporters around the world that are giving us the chance to demonstrate that a small group of dedicated people can make a real difference!

Posted by: Wisnu | October 1, 2017

New Uniforms for SOC Team

Looking after orangutan orphans is a wonderful but hot and dirty activity and strong, protective uniforms are needed.

The team at the Sintang Orangutan Centre are wonderfully dedicated to all the orangutans and are very hard-working.

Due to fund raising from our supporters, Masarang HK was able to send the funds to enable the purchase of new uniforms for all the team.

Please view the photographs below showing the team in their new uniforms. Very practical and smart, and big smiles from all!

Thank you for your support.

2017 Yan Oi Tong Maritime Silk Road Exploration Tour to Tasikoki

Forest foraging, Bug hunting, Tree planting, Seed bombing, Enrichment making, and Beach cleaning – the students from the 2017 Yan Oi Tong Maritime Silk Road Exploration programme did it all (plus more), at their recent visit to Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Centre!

The Tasikoki adventure started with an interesting information session where the students learnt about the importance of Sulawesi as one of the planet’s biodiversity hotspots and the many endemic species it supports. They were also introduced to the challenges and impact of the illegal wildlife trade and the important role that the Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Centre plays in combatting this problem.

Planting seedlings for the Tasikoki forest

A visit to Tangkoko Nature Reserve was rewarded with sightings of wild Tarsier, Bear Cuscus, Macaques and beautiful birds including Hornbill. Back at Tasikoki, the students especially enjoyed creating enrichment from the fruit and plants they had collected from the forest and the generous donations they had brought from Hong Kong. A highlight of the programme was the time spent enriching the enclosure for the two Sun Bears – Bin Bin and Bon Bon who took delight in exploring all of the new greenery and vegetation that the students had placed and hidden around their enclosure.

Bird watching at Tangkoko Nature Reserve

The Education Centre was filled with chatter and laughter when the students from the local Bitung School joined the Hong Kong students in a brain-storming session to consider ways to reduce their daily waste, such as plastic. The students excitedly shared their ideas and afterwards, cleaned the local beach together and played beach games.

The importance of marine Biodiversity and the threats facing it were further explored during a visit to Tulap Sea Turtle Beach, which is a nesting site managed by the Masarang Foundation, for all five species of turtles in the region. The students also enjoyed a visit to Bunacken National Park to observe first hand the incredible marine biodiversity of the Coral Triangle, by glass-bottom boat.

The students had an inspirational afternoon with Dr Willie Smits who gave a guided tour through a reforestation project at Tomohon, which includes both plants for flora and fauna as well as food plants for the local community, including Sugar Palm. The students also met with local sugar palm tappers to learn how Sugar Palm is helping both the environment and local communities, and later visited the eco-sustainable Sugar Palm Factory.

An informative visit to the Sugar Palm Factory

Cloud and wind created atmospheric conditions for an amazing walk up and around the crater rim of a local volcano. This was followed by more cultural exchange when the local children put on a “fierce” and highly entertaining warrior dance, which the YOT students even got involved in! The YOT visit was definitely action-packed!

Masarang HK and the management, staff and volunteers at Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Centre would like to send a big ‘Thank You’ to the YOT 2017 Maritime Silk Road programme students and staff for their amazing contribution during their stay and wonderful donations. The Sun Bears, Orangutan, Gibbons, and many birds at Tasikoki are very grateful for your support!

Posted by: Admin | August 25, 2017

Victoria Shanghai Academy CAS Trip to Tasikoki 2017

On May 7th 2017 Victoria Shanghai Academy travelled from Hong Kong to Manado to start their week long CAS experience at Tasikoki.  The school was warmly welcomed by the Masarang Foundation Team as Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue and Education Centre urgently needs the support and extra hands to help, as well as keen individuals to raise awareness of the importance of the work being done at the centre.

Please find below 2 reflections from the young VSA environmentalists. One reflection details the day to day experience and one reflection details the efforts by the wish list team to collect relevant items.

The VSA staff and students worked hard, did their best and made a meaningful contribution to the work being done at Tasikoki.
We look forward to their return!

Masarang HK Volunteer

Justin’s Reflection

Day 1:
The first 2 days (including transport) of my Masarang CAS trip is exhausting but inspiring. Although we had only travelled, only gone through the introductions, and did only one of the many planned activities, I can already tell how different and rewarding our experience will be for the upcoming five days. I believe this trip is great for CAS as it greatly contrasts with Hong Kong’s lifestyle and has a big impact. All in all, it is a tiring, but fresh 2 days.

Day 2:
Today is unfortunate that we are not able to go to the beach due to the thunderstorm, but we did enrich the Sun bear’s living space and it got me to think that in fact the sunbeam’s habitat would already be sufficient for humans to live in. I realized that our yearn for a “better” life is quite pointless –– especially, when reversing or downgrading” is torture-like. This experience really inspired me to think about all what exactly made the society the way it is today.

Day 3:
Today is more about learning instead of participating in the work: today we visited the palm sugar factory and observed how palm tree are tapped in a sustainable way, how the the juice is converted to fuel (alcohol) and sugar. This allowed me to learn how Masarang foundation is able to create profit from natural resources in a very sustainable way, so sustainable that it is restoring the natural habitat that is a blooming rainforest like back in the 1980s. We then visited the Mahawu volcano which is formed as the pacific tectonic plate and the philippine tectonic plate collided. This visit allowed me to physically observe the interactions of tectonic which is covered greatly in my ESS lessons, allowing me to grasp a better idea of the interactions. We also participated in some local cultural activities and planted more sugar palms at the Rurukan village for cultural exchange. All in all, I would say today is a fun and rewarding day.

Day 4:
Today we had is another working day for us –– we woke up early to work on foraging browse, jungle salad, and bugs. We then worked enrichments for different animals afterward. For my group, we did enrichments on birds, mainly on cockatoos. We made food for them and fed them. Afterwards, we worked on enrichments for the orangutans: we cut bamboo, we created nets from tires, we made toys for them…… This allowed us to learn more about the animals’ habitats and their interactions. Afterwards we also did a beach cleanup, spread some seeds, and walked on the beach towards the Tulap Turtle breeding site (which is located on that 1km long beach). This further allows us to observe how the ecosystem in tropical rainforests work and I had learned a lot from both CAS experience and ESS materials.

Day 5:
Today is essentially a snorkelling trip where we observe the aquatic ecosystem of Manado. We snorkelled at 2 sites and we managed to observe many difference species: including (obviously) coral reefs, a variety of fish, and surprisingly an abundance of sea turtles, which is a good thing, as there is a lot of this endangered species. However, I also observed huge patches of bleached (dead) coral reefs, which just shows that how pollution and carbon dioxide emissions are effecting the aquatic systems (CO2 has an equilibrium reaction with water which forms carbonic acid). We also discussed afterwards such observations and we had strengthened our understanding on ecosystems and how our actions affect the environment.

Day 6:
Today is our last day at Tasikoki before returning to Hong Kong. Today we only had time to visit a local school near the Tasikoki village. At the school, we did some activities related to our global values, ethics, and knowledge on environmental systems. There is also a show for us that highlights their cultural values and practices and all in all it is a very nice cultural exchange experience. From today’s experience I learned a lot more about the values of the people of a LEDC and learned that they resonate greatly with their culture values –– a lot of the things I saw in them I do not see in people from MEDCs, and of course I do not see things from MEDCs in them too. My considerations when thinking about ethical topics had changed greatly from this experience.

Wish list Team Reflections
Wish list Team members: Lincoln Tong, Linus Lim, Wai Lam Leung, Jonathan Chung, Ernie Lee, Luca Law

The following entries demonstrate and trace the work done by the Wishlist Team starting from fundraising activities to purchase wishlist items and ultimately bringing them to Tasikoki. On the whole, we are quite successful in gathering quite a lot of resources for the Masarang Foundation. In particularly, we are pleased to actually feed the animals with the food we brought from Hong Kong and also witness our hard work in gathering the resources worth it. After visiting the Tasikoki animal care centre, we realised that the Chinese seeds are very favourable for the animals over there. Therefore, in the future, we will host resource collection sections, especially the post Chinese New Year period to collect any unwanted or leftover festive seeds that can be enjoyed by animals in Tasikoki

As the Wishlist Team of the Masarang Trip, we need to do fundraising activities to purchase the Wish list items, such as bird seeds, dried fruits and dried nuts. As a group, we have decided to hold a booth during Family Fun Day by selling chocolate snacks and some candies. These were the goods that we will sell because we think these goods can be preserved easily and stored easily without much constraint on the time to sell and storage space. Therefore, we have bought around 2000 dollars of snacks in total and we aim to earn about 500 dollars profit from it. We worked collaboratively and discussed thoroughly about the price of different food for sale. As a result, we have come to an agreement of a list of prices and the amount of good we will sell. In addition to Mr. Brewer’s request, we will prepare a dance game to attract people on our stall. Overall, we think we have shown our commitment and inputted our energy in preparing for the charity sell. We hope that we can make some profit and use those profits to buy Wish list items.

Today is the Family Fun Day. We have split our team into two to be responsible for the booth at two sections so that we can be more efficient in man power. Our booth is set up in the morning 10 am and got ready very soon as we have well planned for the event. At the beginning, the dance game is not quite attractive because people were a bit shy. However, as more and more crowd comes by, they started to enjoy the dance game and people got interested in our products. We think we have initially set the prices for candies and chocolates too high. Therefore, not much revenue is made in the morning. However, we started to earn a bit more as we sell the chocolates mobile and also at a low price. We sold the chocolates at five dollars for three pieces. This idea is quite successful and a made more revenue since then. At the end of the day, we still have half of our stocks not yet sold. Therefore, we might need to organise another sale later during the week to maximise the revenue.
Today is the Chinese Culture Day in school, which our Masarang Wishlist team treasured the chance to do more charity selling so that we have more money to prepare more Wishlist items. Just like the one we did in Dollar a Day, we will be selling some candies and chocolate. Fortunately, another team working on the t-shirt design has volunteered to help us to earn more money by selling Siu Mai. These Siu Mai do not have any cost because they are the leftover storage from Yangtze’s booth on Dollar a Day. Therefore, it will be very profitable for us when we sell these items. Through this experience, it showcases how engaged we are in being aware of the needs for nature conservation in Tasikoki and at Masarang Foundation projects.
During the selling process, our team worked collaboratively in small groups that are in-charge of the booth rotationally during the day. Thus, our sales are quite smooth and is positive to our charity funding. In particular, the Siu Mai are quite great in demand. Many students enjoyed the food. As a result, we are able to sell over two big packs of Siu Mai at the basis of not having any cost. Our cooperation in the team includes good communication, good organisation and good collaboration. With such a great success, we are able to collect a net profit of over 600 dollars. After this event, we will decide what Wishlist items we will buy to bring to Tasikoki.

Having visited Tasikoki for a week back in 2014 on a teacher reconnaissance trip, followed by organising student visits from my school in Hong Kong, I felt it was about time to volunteer myself and learn more about Tasikoki. Being initially inspired by the work of Willie Smits and the Masarang team as well as being a Science teacher with an interest in environmental systems and sustainability, my objectives were to volunteer my skills as an educator and obtain life learning experiences for myself that I can share with my students.

In short, I came away fulfilling all my objectives and experiencing much more, with the addition of making great friends.

Laughing and enjoying the views around Tomohon with some of the friends I made at Tasikoki

The charm of Tasikoki blew me away from the beginning. The setting is magical, my favourite time being 5am; looking over the forest towards the sea, watching the fishing boats come in while listening to the sounds of dawn. The people I met are amazing, each engaging in a different way but all sharing one passion. The drive and dedication the team showed is inspiring and encouraging.

5am sunrise and dawn chorus were magical

At the beginning of my visit I supported the education team hosting school groups of about 20 students. We lead the groups through varying activities on and off site at local projects. The students relished in the opportunity to hand make enrichment for the rescued wildlife. Some lucky students watched the wildlife interacting with the enrichment but all students were happy in the knowledge of the impact they were making.

The offsite trips gave us a glimpse of the wonderfully biodiverse corner of the world we were in, on land and underwater. Meeting local people and talking to them about their lives allowed the students to link the three pillars of sustainability: ecology, economy and society. Through conversations I found that most of the students are aware of current environmental issues and I was encouraged to find that most of them want to take responsibility for their part in the care for our Earth’s future. This requires being a conscientious consumer and reduction of waste which is a challenge in Hong Kong, but it can be done.

One of the school visits with a sugar palm tapper

Part of the solution is making more people aware which was my next (on-going) task. I reached out to companies with corporate responsibility, other local or international schools wishing to visit, learn and volunteer. This is where I will make a brief appeal for any contacts you wish to share who might want to donate or volunteer. Please contact Masarang HK or If you want to ask me any more questions about my experience I am happy to expand, just direct the email to me through Masarang HK or Tasikoki.

Back to the Wildlife and Rescue Centre; the rest of my time was spent helping out preparing food and enrichment for the wildlife. I had a rare opportunity to be present while three newly rescued macaques were given the once over, microchipped and physically assessed before being kept in quarantine. Talking to the person in charge of animal care she explained the lengthy process it takes from rescue to release. There is so much more than I thought. I am truly in awe at the commitment she has along with all the members of the team. Unfortunately, we have the stark realisation that the displacement and mistreatment of wildlife will continue if the root of the cause is not dealt with. I will leave you to ponder and discuss this, as I did at length with the many insightful people at Tasikoki and do with anyone who wants to…… (we’ll assume I can include my students as wanting to).

Even though some of the physical work is hard in the hot weather, the goals are sometimes far off and the conversations serious, we all had one thing to keep us going, humour. Without the laughter and support for each other I don’t think as much could be achieved. That’s why I would definitely recommend some time at Tasikoki to share your skills, volunteer your time, hands, ears and patience to help where it’s needed most and learn first-hand the work of these environmentalists.

Lisa Pang, Volunteer and Masarang HK Committee Member

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