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.
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