January 14, 2013

New Blog Site

I am now blogging at borneonfarmer.wordpress.com . See you there!

December 21, 2012

First Blog Post to Start The New Era

Photo : Wikimedia/Simon Burchell
Hey! What do you know? We're still here! Everyone was holding their breath at the stroke of midnight few hours ago for the impending doom according to some people who prophesied our end based on the Mayan calendar that ran its course few hours ago. Then again, we're ahead of the Americas by a few hours and I assume the Mayans made their calendar based on their time zone and the Mayan kingdom was in South America, so who knows, it might happened in a few hours from now hehehe...

Oh yah, History Chanel aired this documentary called “Countdown to Apocalypse” last evening and it carried these viewer discretion advisory, “This programme contains views from Non-Muslim perspective. Viewers discretion advised”.....................................*pin drop*............................................................... What? You're expecting me to say more about this? LOL. Oh ok! Just to clarify, History Chanel was not the one who put up the advisory, it was Astro.

September 30, 2012

Malaysia's Very Own Oktoberfest

Hallooooo.... Long time no see! It's been a while since I last blogged, hasn't it? Been wanting to start blogging again but I had problem coming up with a topic. Guess I have one of those 'blogger's block'. 

Anyway, drove down to KK on Friday to attend the launching of Borneo Eco Film Festival. Give support lah! After all, someone I know by the name of Dr Agnes Agama had a hand in organizing the event. Agnes is a passionate social and eco activist, I thought it'd be a shame if I didn't show my support. So off I went.I can tell you that the 100 KM drive was worth it! And to my pleasant surprise, the public turn up for what is to be a 3 day event was encouraging.

Some of the crowds at the lobby of the auditorium. That's June Rubis helping herself to some 'makan-makan'

The lady with the sunglasses is Caroline. She introduced her son who was a journalist with NST. Wow!

With Tom inside the auditorium. I said it's time someone took your picture instead of you taking all the pictures all the time hihihi
Opening presentation by LEAP
I didn't manage to take a lot of pictures of the event because the camera I brought with me (borrowed) was not up to the task(I left my Canon Powershot back in Beaufort). I regret this very much. The first film screening was a silent and black and white film shot in 1903 (if I'm not mistaken) called Trip Through North Borneo. Local musicians provided the live music background to the film. Truth to be told, I was more captivated by the music being played live by the three musicians than by the movie LOL. Wonderful musicians. 

Unfortunately, Tom who works for Borneocolours.com had to cover the Oktoberfest at Shenanigan Fun Pub at Hyatt hotel and I promised that I would drive him to the venue. So off we went. At first, I told Tom that although I would drive him there, I would not be joining him because I have an early meeting with the folks from City Hall the next day and I wanted to have an early rest. I was rather tired because I haven't really rested since arriving in KK. However, when we reached Segama, I changed my mind. Seeing that there was not much crowd at the entrance to the pub yet (I hate crowded area these days), I thought why not hang out with Tom a bit.

Hanging out
I helped Tom take some pictures of the event for him but I'm not sure he would use them anyway LOL. Oktoberfest I was told, is an annual event held throughout Malaysia. This is the second year it is done in Kota Kinabalu. The company (Carlsberg Malaysia) that promoted the event dubbed it Malaysia's Own Oktoberfest.

The band, straight from Germany, doing sound checks. Yes, we were that early

Oktoberfest girls entertaining customers with a game of chess

Tourists enjoying themselves
They are doing the Chicken Dance. Done by men, it looked silly but done by these girls, it looked sexy LOL
Everyone got to do the Chicken Dance!

These sporting gals went on stage and danced with the band
You know I stood next to one of these girls and she was like a head taller than me LOL. A great way to crush your man ego :P
Customers were pulled and made to compete in pairs to see who could do the best Chicken Dance. Some even incorporated the Sumazau in.
One of the competing couples. No silly hats were going to keep them from the prize! By the way, the emcee decided that everyone won. So everyone went away with a prize.
This was a game but I couldn't remember now what game it was.

Winners of 'Towers'.
You can get away with being cheeky any day girl hehehe
Colin with one of the local Oktoberfest girls. They are equally eye candy as their counterparts on stage

This is Fiona. She told me she's a Dusun and from Papar.

This one I didn't get the name. I was there to work bah but she gracefully agreed to take one with me
Me and Fiona. Nice girl.
So that was my Friday night lah. We left around 10pm (I think) after the band finished their set. I drove Tom back to his home in Inanam and then back to my sister's place in Penampang. The Shenanigan Oktoberfest was fun but I was told it was only for a night. I think it is a great product but limiting it to one night only in KK, macam tidak shiok oh but I guess doing it for a month in KK would be a tremendous logistical problem to be solved by the company that promoted the event as to what I'm given to understand, they are doing this nationwide. Yalah kan, sometimes it's not good to have too much of a good thing.

May 15, 2012

Richard Sokial for Sindak Pangazou 2012 (Burning Warrior)

This is my friend, Richard Sokial. I got to know him through my activities in North Borneo History Enthusiasts (NBHE). Granted that our 'friendship' (if he allows me to refer to it as such :P) is less than a year but I think I am a good judge of character. I have nominated him for the 2012 Sindak Pangazou, an award of sort given by Voice OUT Kota Kinabalu which is an annual youth art festival organized jointly by Youth-PREP Centre (YPC), Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP) and Sabah Women's Action-Resource Group (SAWO)

This year their theme is 'Breakout'. To quote them about their concept: 
"Voice Out aims to reach out to the young people through art as its medium. The music and art piece which will be contributed by both local talents and local artists will portray the social problems faced by the young people of today. We will also be conducting art events throughout the month of May in different locations and the Voice Out Concert will be the highlight and climax for all the programs."
And quoting them again about Sindak Pangazou:

Finding Huminodun is a search for one female youth who had contributed to the local communities and deserves an appreciation. Alongside the Finding Huminodun, we are also awarding another potential male youth as our Sindak Pangazou (Burning Warrior) The female youth will be awarded as the Voice-Out 2012 Youth Huminodun.Voting on facebook will close on Thursday 17 May 2012. 50% of the marks will be based on the likes in Facebook and another 50% will be decided by the judges during Voice-Out 2012 at Suria Sabah 19th May 2012 .The participants will be presenting a cause (eg. Indegenous Rights, Music, etc.) of their choice.Let's vote!!    
Now, why did I nominate Richard for Sindak Pangazou. First thing you must know is that Richard spent his childhood in New York at a young age! However, when you meet him, you will not hear any American accent from him. He is a down to earth fellow of Dusun Tatana (Kuala Penyu) and Tambunan parentage.

He is an architect by training but chose social activism as his vocation. Sure, he could get a 9 to 5 job and sit in some air-conditioned office and get his fat pay check every month but an inner voice told him that there must be more in life than just money! Perhaps his thinking was partly influenced by his environment while growing up in a foreign country. He saw things perhaps, we didn't see while growing up! Anyway, he was deadset about what he will do with his life and he 'breakout'! He decided that he would go against the flow. The conventional thinking is, you slog in University and when you graduated, you get a high paying job, drive an expensive car and marry a beautiful wife. He could get a beautiful wife by the way, the guy is suave looking :D. But he went the opposite of Sabahan or Malaysian conventional wisdom for the matter! 

He chose instead, to be involved with his community. To pay back to his community no doubt. He chose instead to fight to preserve his community's architectural heritage; Sabah's architectural heritage! He traveled extensively most of Sabah and record whatever he could on the subject. As a result, he has written and in some cases, commissioned to author a book or two on Sabah's architectural heritage!

He founded Heritage Sabah which was recently successfully registered as an NGO with our Registra of Society. Heritage Sabah is of course widely reported in our local papers for their mission to preserve the Atkinson Clock Tower. If anyone deserve the Sindak Pangazou title, I think Richard should be it! This is not only about him but also the people behind Heritage Sabah! This will validate their cause. They didn't do this for the money or glamour. Trust me, there's nothing glamourous about this activism. Plenty of long hours which extended beyond sanctioned working or overtime hours but they still doing it for us!

Therefore, vote for Richard. Click on this link and click LIKE.


Seems like I have erred in some of the facts that I presented. For example, Richard spent his childhood in UK and not New York! :P Now how did I got that two mixed up?? Since I'm very bad at telling his story, I'm just going to let him tell his story himself.

Astaga ging. Okay erm - I was in UK, not NYork. Sino Dusun but Chinese Hokkien from Kuala Penyu (not Tatana) and Dusun Tambunan...took up architectural heritage conservation cos in my final year at University I was shocked to find there were not many resources on Sabah traditional architecture at all! Additionally always got teased by West Malaysians about the lack of architecture we had in Sabah (tinggal atas pokok, etc). I did research on heritage architecture and documented it so that future young Sabahan graduates would not have to go through this kind of humiliating treatment from others, so that they could know their heritage and hold their head up proud. I believed (and still do) that those who have the privilege of obtaining higher education should use it to give back to the local community in some way. There are many forms of leadership, not just politics and i believe that through public awareness and sharing of information, we can empower young people to make the right choices for the future.
Richard has an impressive credentials too. Amongst them, being chose to represent Malaysia at the IVLP 2008 : Cultural Heritage Preservation Program in Washington DC! Read here for his experience at the event. 

P.s/- The profile description about Richard in the Facebook Finding Sindak Pangazou page was written by me. I've also erred about his ethnicity which he already clarified above. My unreserved apology to Richard for the mistakes.

May 1, 2012

BERSIH 3.0 : The Sabah Experience

Sia malas mau reproduce tu blogpost di sini. Jadi kalo ko mau baca tu post, pigi sini :D

April 18, 2012

An Omen? Mom remembers 48 years ago..

It rained heavily this afternoon and the thunder was so scary! Whenever it cracked, the house reverberated! In once instance, I could have sworn the thunder exploded right above our house. I hate thunder... I turn into a wuss whenever there is thunder..

Having nothing better to do and to distract myself from the 'mayhem', I sat down with my mother. Then my mom started reminiscing. She told me to close the front doors. She said, "In the old days, the old folks say you must close the door whenever there is thunder. They say the thunder could come into the house in a ball of lightning. Betul bah tu. Old folks swore that it happened before and the house was burned down. Luckily the occupants escaped in time!"

Cabo What Policy?

A West Malaysian acquaintance of mine called me up this morning. He said, “Justin! I'm still in KL but I called up one of my friends who is in the shipping line and asked him whether he knows anything about the Cabotage Policy and he said he has no idea what it is!” Before I proceed further, allow me to give a shoutout to this West Malaysian acquaintance of mine who will remain nameless in this writing to protect his privacy. This man is in semi-retirement. He has been visiting Sabah frequently for the past 30 years and has decided to make Sandakan his retirement abode. He embedded himself among the Orang Sungai in some remote area in Sandakan and took it upon himself to learn their way of living, to research on their history and culture because he said most of the Orang Sungai he encountered did not know their own history and he wants to help improve their socio-economy! Kudos to you sir!

My acquaintance told me that something must be done about the high cost of living in Sabah and Sarawak. His zeal and conviction for the poor natives of Sabah moved me. So I went plunging in into the subject. I must admit that I do not have an in depth knowledge of this National Cabotage Policy (NCP). It is a dry subject and I am more of a history buff than a business policy kind of guy.

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