May 18, 2011

The Most Generous of us all

Wow! Saw this news about some homeless guy named Curtis Jackson, helping out an Ex-Banker who herself recently became homeless. 

It is so inspiring! Just goes to show that kindness begets kindness. Curtis has nothing to his name but he gave everything of his to help out someone he has no blood ties to. 

Sandy, not her real name, used to have a job as a banker and she had a home, a car and security. She had a good live! One day she lost her job and her home. She and her 10 year old son had to sleep in their car for 3 months before the police and DCFS (I think it's a department that watch after children's welfare) threatened to take away her son if she couldn't provide a safe place to stay for her son. 

A social worker helped find a hotel for them to stay and paid for a few nights stay from her(the social worker) own pocket. When Sandy and her son was at danger of being out in the street again because they couldn't pay for the room, Curtis came to the rescue and paid for their hotel bills. He has been doing it since December 2011 and so far he had paid about USD9,000/-. 

Curtis doesn't have a job! How he do it? He begs on the street. He keeps some of his day's 'earning' for bus fares and food for himself and the rest he gave it all to Sandy. So why is Curtis who himself has nothing, decided to help Sandy? When Sandy had a job, she was kind to Curtis. He used to beg around the place where Sandy worked. Whenever she saw him, she would be kind to him and treated him with dignity. 

So next time if you see a stranger in need, be kind to them, they might just be your angel when you are in need.

May 16, 2011

A funny Argument with Grandpa

When I was younger, I was never one to back-down or give in to anyone without a logical or valid reasoning. This characteristic of mine had got me into many arguments and troubles with the adults. Adults those days subscribed to the idea that children do not have rights, children are suppose to just follow what the adults say and children have no right to question their wisdom. Unfortunately for them, question them I did. 

I am the second child in a sibling of three, so you can imagine I was always the one who gets the shorter end of the stick. I was suppose to give way to my elder brother because he was older and I was suppose to give way to my younger sister because she was younger. 

My mom these days like to tell people how stubborn I was when I was young, it's her favorite story to embarrass me. Her favorite line is, "If I tell him not to do something, you can be sure that he would do exactly the thing that I told him not to do!". Then she would proudly say that my son's character is exactly like mine. This actually is not meant to embarrass me, she's pretty proud of my son and she somehow is proud that a part of me is alive in my son. Well of course my son has my character, I'm his dad after all. 

I had the following conversation with my grandfather, I went through a phase where I rebelled and questioned the authority of the adults in my live and apparently, my mom asked my grandfather to have a word with me. Let me qualify that I'm not proud that I hurt my grandfather's feeling if I did but on hindsight, it was a funny conversation and it reveal my thought process then. So this was how the conversation went to the best of my recollection(it's a very short conversation): 

Grandpa : "Justin, I heard you always fight with your mom. You shouldn't do that. Children must always listen to their parents bah"

Me : "I know Grandpa but she is always not fair to me. She told me to give in to so and so with this logic but when I apply the same logic for my own situation, she said no. It's not fair! It doesn't make sense!"

Grandpa : "Don't argue! Just listen to your mother. Aren't you afraid? If you defy your mother, you will "Ketulahan" (retribution) bah! One day your children will do the same thing to you!" 

Me : "So does that mean mom is getting her retribution?"

Grandpa : "What do you mean?"

Me : "Well you said if I don't listen to my mother, my children will do the same thing to me. It stands to reason that my mother must had defied you when she was young, therefore, I am her retribution!" 

Grandpa : "No! No! Your mother was an obedient child. She never went against my wishes"

My grandfather ended the conversation there, perhaps knowing that I have checkmated him hehehe..     

As to my son, yes, he has a mind of his own and I nurture that. Whenever he did wrong, I reason with him. Whenever he is afraid to do something, I tell him that I will catch him if he falls. When I did him wrong, I apologize to him. There is no shouting, name calling or shaming anyone in my home when someone did something wrong, a home is a sanctuary. I want it to be the first destination my son think of whenever he is in trouble or has a problem. I aim to nurture and not to break the spirit. 

I love you Elijah! By the way, I chose that name for you when I was in my late teen. I've been expecting you!  

May 11, 2011

North Borneo Hero : Aki Kulindod of the Momogun

Aki Kulindod was a Momogun warrior from Kirangavan Bandau. He was the guardian of the coastal areas in Kudat, Marudu and Pitas.

He is a celebrated warrior and was said to be impervious to weapons of any kind including bullets. He fought against the British with guerrilla tactic and was said to fight alone in all his ambushes. 

Aki Kulindod opposed the British because they had required every Momogons that lived around the Kudat area to pay a levy. As retaliation to this oppressive tax, Aki Kulindod attacked British ships .

Eventually, he agreed to a truce with the British for fear that the British would attack innocent Momoguns as retaliation to his attacks. However, this truce was short-lived. Soon his friend Kadim, who was also fighting the British because of the tax requested for his assistance. 

May 10, 2011

North Borneo Hero : Aki Japval of the Momogun

Aki Japval was the son of Aki Japain. Both father and son were feared warriors. They were said to be invincible.  

Father and son divided the coastal areas of Momogun between the two of them and they each protected their part of the coasts. They operated independently from any authority namely the Village Chief of Momogun. Their full time jobs were fighting intruders or pirates that ambushed the Momogun people at the coastal areas. 

With their mystical invincibility and fighting skills said to be a fighting style of the Dayak Dusun (Momogun Laut/Sea Momogun), they kept the pirates at bay. The father and son team was a success. 

One day, the widowed Aki Japain made a proposal of marriage to one of the women in the village. Unfortunately, it was the same woman that Aki Japval was in love with. Aki Japval was heartbroken. Nonetheless, he gave way to his father. To nurse his broken heart, he left the village and wandered into the Tampasuk river area. 

The Tampasuk area was often attacked by headhunters. Hence, he decided to venture to this area to nurse his broken heart. What better way to forget your pain than to have a good fight or fights. 

When Aki Japval arrived at the Tampasuk area, he was attacked by the locals because they thought that he was one of the headhunters. However, Aki Japval did not retaliate and passively continued his journey. He didn't have to worry about injuries because he was invincible, any spear attack would just bounced off his skin. Eventually, seeing his behaviour, the locals decided that he was just passing through. Hence, they left him alone. 

North Borneo Folklore : Origins of the Dusunic People

I've posted briefly about the origin of the Kadazandusuns or Dusuns before. According to legend, our ancestors came from Nunuk Ragang, which was a huge Banyan tree which was claimed to be somewhere east of Ranau and Tambunan. The Dusuns lived under the tree and the tree provided their daily need. 

Eventually, the Dusuns had to abandon their beloved tree and started spreading all over North Borneo.

That's the Nunuk Ragang on the left. Actually, that's a picture of the Tree of Souls from James Cameron's Avatar. I'd like to think that the Nunuk Ragang was just as beautiful as the Tree of Souls.  

James Cameron must have read or heard the legend of Nunuk Ragang. I can't help but compare the similarities between the Navi and Dusuns. The Dusuns were also sort of driven from their home because of the abundance of their home. Outsiders lusted for the wealth of our land. Now World Bank confirmed that we are the poorest state in Malaysia albeit that we are resources rich. Hey, why am I talking about politics here?? 

May 9, 2011

North Borneo Historical Figure : The Founding of British North Borneo Company


The North Borneo Chartered Company or British North Borneo Company(BNBC) first set foot on North Borneo soil in 1882. They set up their first settlement on Pulau Gaya. 

How did BNBC came to its fortuitous position of acquiring this sizable real estate in the 3rd largest island in the world? Let us study it.

In 1865, Charles Lee Moses, the United States Consul to Brunei obtained a 10 year lease from Sultan Abdul Momin (1852 - 1885) over the Sultan's territory in North Borneo but his government was not interested in North Borneo. So the right to the lease was later sold to American Trading Company of Borneo in 1865. The company built a settlement at Kimanis River mouth but it was disastrous.  Just before the lease expire in January 1875, the right to the lease again was sold to the Consul of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in Hong Kong, Baron Von Overbeck.  

Coalition Duchenne

An article on Sabah's Daily Express caught my attention. It was published on 28 April 2011 entitled "A Mother's fight to raise awareness on Duchenne". I had expected it to be a third party account of a woman's fight but it turned out to be a very personal account. It was written by the mother herself, she retold the anguish she felt when her son was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The struggle she and her husband went through about learning to deal with the condition. Her son's indomitable courage and positive outlook. As a parent, I was moved. 

May 8, 2011

North Borneo Historical Figure ; Syarif Osman

Syarif Osman is a mid 19th century chieftan in Kota Marudu or Marudu as it was known then before it was named Bandau and later Kota Marudu in 1974.

Syariff Osman was from the syariff lineage and was of mixed blood - Suluk, Bajau and Brunei. His wife, Dayang Cahaya, was a Sulu Princess and was the niece of the Sultan of Sulu, Sultan Jamalul Alam. Initially, Syarif Osman ruled Marudu on the authority of the Sultan of Sulu. However, he subsequently formed an independent Chiefdom and many people came to live under his jurisdiction because he could provide protection and security. 

A census done in the 1840s put the number of inhabitants at 50,000*.

May 7, 2011

North Borneon Hero : Korom of the Muruts

Korom was an early 20th century Murut warrior. The Murut is one of the oldest community in Borneo. They inhabit the interior and south-western parts of North Borneo and the territory straddling the Kalimantan and Sarawak border.

They were the last ethnic group to renounce head hunting in North Boreno. Some account that they did this when they embraced christianity. The word Murut means "Hill People". 

As head hunting community go, they were probably the most troublesome group. Other ethnic groups collected heads only during time of war with other villages or "country" as what the natives called other village then. For the Muruts, the rite of passage for a man was for him to collect a head from other villages. Failure to do so, would mean he would not be able to get married. 

The other great warrior of the Muruts was Ontoros. Unlike Ontoros, Korom it seems, do not get much publicity. There's not much literature on him. 

The Muruts referred to Ontoros and Korom as guru na amul, teachers of amul. It was said that Korom was born blind, that is why he was named Korom. In Murut, it means "his eyes was closed". 

North Borneon Hero : Pak Musa

Not much is known about Pak Musa, or at least there's not much stories about him circulating.

Photo courtesy of KK Jabah bin Amat
Pak Musa fought the British North Borneo Company (BNBC) in Paitan during the colonial era of North Borneo. Paitan is an area located in Sandakan Division. Incidentally, there is an ethnic group called Patainic whom are better known as Orang Sungai. These group of people are found mainly along rivers such as Paitan river, Kinabatangan river and Segama river. 

The Orang Sungai embraced Islam sometime in the 15th century. Perhaps, Ong Sum Ping, the Chinese Muslim Raja of Kinabatangan played a role in their Islamimization.

Was Pak Musa an Orang Sungai? I've no idea because my source did not identify his ethnicity. The fact that he was from Paitan and he was a Muslim seem to point that he was an Orang Sungai but then some say he was a Murut. That is a possibility too because there are Muslim Murut also and Murut were also found in these area. However, the Orang Sungai and Murut share many common traits, it would be easy to confuse between them. Anyway, I will try to find out more when I have the opportunity and will update this post when I have definite answer to it. In the meanwhile, we'll just focus on Pak Musa. 

May 5, 2011

Chinese Hero in Sabah Folklore?: Part 2 So Who is Wong Song Ping

So who is Wong Song Ping? While the story of his escapade on Mount Kinabalu is no doubt a myth, he was apparently a very real person. Wong Song Ping is also known as Huang Senping(Mandarin) and Ong Sum Ping(Hokkien). It is suggested that he was a native of Fujian, China.

There is a street in Brunei named Jalan Ong Sum Ping, the only street with a chinese name in Brunei! He must had been a significant figure in Brunei to deserve the honour.

And in South China Sea, there is a reef named Senping Reef, named so in 1947 by the chinese government in his honour.

Some say that he was a prince from the Ming Court, some say he was a minister and some say he was just an ordinary chinese that had fled from strife torn China during the late Yuan Dynasty.

Oral Tradition

The Orang Sungai of Kinabatangan has an oral tradition on how the Kinabatangan River got its name. They say an adventurer, whom was a "Prince" from the Emperor of China's Royal Court, started his journey from mainland China, through the Sulu Sea, he made his way to the river mouth of the Kinabatangan River.

Chinese Hero in Sabah Folklore?: Part 1 The Legend of Mount Kinabalu

Long ago, there lived a dragon at the top of Mount Kinabalu. This dragon possessed a "Butiza", a luminous jewel, a bezoar stone. It was his prized possession and he guarded it jealously. 

They say the dragon played with it everyday and at night, the people of Ranau and Tamparuli could see the bright "jewel" being tossed up and caught again and again on the dragon's forked tongue.

They say the dragon would sometime swallow the "jewel" if need be, to hide it from prying eyes and he could regurgitate the "jewel" at will but he could only swallow the "jewel" when his stomach was empty.

The story of the dragon's luminous jewel, spread beyond the seas, even as far as China. When news of it reached the ears of China's emperor, he decided it should be his. He dispatched many of his best warriors to retrieve the jewel but none ever came back. Many were eaten or killed by the dragon. So many chinese men were killed on the mountain that the local Dusun started calling the mountain "Kina Balu", meaning Chinese Widow on account that many women became widows because their husband died fighting in the mountain. "Kina" was what the Dusun called the chinese, quite similar to the Malay word "cina".

May 4, 2011

....*sigh* The Quandary....

Seems like I've been blogging a lot about politics these week but I couldn't avoid it. I'm just annoyed by the condescending remarks made by some, obviously Pakatan Rakyat supporter, in West Malaysia about us East Malaysians holding on to our 18/20 points, in this blog post. Why am I offended by just one PR supporter's opinion? Because she is not the only West Malaysians who think this way. I've encountered other West Malaysians PR supporters who share her opinion. 

Suddenly it seems that it is now Sarawakians' fault that certain activists from West Malaysian were barred from entering Sarawak during the run up to Sarawak's recently concluded election. She berated that Sarawakians treated unequally on fellow Malaysians and berated that it is "unfair" that Sabah and Sarawak have more power than other states in Malaysia when it comes to controlling our borders. 

This guy blocked the entry. Not the poor Sarawakians

Saya bukan Melayu, saya orang Asli

To be honest, although I've heard about the Orang Asli/Asal in West Malaysia, I don't really 'know' them. Other than the fact that they are expert trackers, their purportedly powerful Shamans and that they live in poverty.

I was reading The Nutgraph today and chanced upon this article. Finally, I can put a face to the Orang Asli/Asal. I am ashamed actually. We've been complaining about our problems but what about them? If any group in Malaysia has been wronged tremendously, I think it's them.

Activist Tijah Yok Chopil. Pic from
It must be bemusing to them watching from the sideline, as Bumi and Non Bumi fight about rights when they(the Orang Asli/Asal) are the earliest inhabitant of West Malaysia.

For those who is not aware of it, Orang Asli/Asal are not categorized as Bumi in our Federal Constitution. If I'm not mistaken, even the Portuguese descendants in Melaka has been granted Bumi special rights. Injustice would be an understatement to describe what has befallen to the "host" of the Peninsula Malaysia.

I heard recently, some politician tabled a motion in parliament to discuss about granting Bumiputra status to them but for whatever reason, it was not supported? I don't see how our politicians/lawmakers can refuse to recognize Orang Asli/Asal as Bumiputra? It's clear cut, as clear as daylight, hands down that if anyone could rightfully call themselves as Son of the Soil, it would be the Orang Asli/Asal!

Shameless politicians! I wonder how would they feel if one day, I moved in to their homes and claim everything they own as mine. I sleep in their beds while I make them sleep in the servants' room.

Would we the Non-Muslim natives of Sabah and Sarawak suffer the same injustice in the future? That's a scary thought. Read Tijah's interview here. I especially like the folklore that she shared.


May 1, 2011

SOME West Malaysians, NOT ALL..

I was reading a post by one Andrew Voon entitled: Unapologetically Sarawakian (Stories from the East). He was reminiscing about growing up in his hometown. The harmony amongst the townsfolk of various ethnicity and religious beliefs. He admonished the divisive politics that West Malaysians practices, by that, I think he was referring to politicians and their supporters. He said Sarawakians will not go down that path.

He said Sarawak being an equal partner to the formation of Malaysia should participate more in nation building and stopped letting themselves be bullied by West Malaysian politicians. Some of whom he said, don't even have an intimate knowledge of Sarawak but nonetheless, like to offer advice about how Sarawak should be. He lamented that some West Malaysians still think Mount Kinabalu is in Kuching.

He ended his post by saying that if one day, when a non-Muslim Sarawakian becomes the Prime Minister of Malaysia, then that would be the day that Malaysia becomes a success story of multi-racialism.

The Internet Troll

Gave myself the day off today. After all, it is Labour Day today, it's a Sunday and it's also the 1 year anniversary of the passing of my maternal aunty, the late Antonia Sunam.

Since I got free time, I thought I should blog something. However, my mind drew a blank. Until I saw a Troll! :D 

So there you have it, my subject would be about troll. I'm talking about the internet troll, not the Scandinavian or Norwegian mythical kinda troll.

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