Sunday, October 21, 2007

Play time

He was alone near a pile of sand with two pieces of cut off planks as his toys.
As his father worked to complete renovations at a house, this boy found some discarded pieces of wood to live out his imagination.
As I watched, the pieces of wood were transformed from what a apparently was a four-wheel-drive vehile race across a desert to a train (after being strung together with a piece of plastic sheet.)
The wonders of a child's imagination.

Another posting via mobile blogger.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Nature nearby

It is said that Borneo like other tropical regions contains the highest biodiversity, meaning as I understand it, it has the largest variety of plants and creatures.
My house is in the middle of a housing estate in Kota Kinabalu is a little testament to this. Little creatures do drop by at the yard attracted by the plants that we have there.
So I've learnt to keep my camera nearby to "capture" them. And it has made me realise that nature photography requires much much patience. Afterall, a toad or a butterfly will not wait around for anyone to set up that "Kodak moment."

Here are some of the creatures that have appeared in my yard.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Royal opening

Often described as the king of fruits, aficionados will not hesitate to pay a princely sum for a durian. I've seen people forking out as up to RM17 per kg (working out to nearly RM40 per fruit) just for the ones that taste 'bitter sweet'.
However, more often than not,the king of fruit will have to be consumed at humble surroundings, usually along a road side, under the shade of a large tree as hotels and other businesses ban them due to their overpowering?odour.
An American has described the smell of the durian as something akin to a pair of very well used socks.
So much for respect for the king of fruit.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Plastic scare

At the backyard of my house is a wiremesh basket in which my family has been tossing in discarded plastic containers, mostly mineral water bottles.
After a while we send them to the recycling centre. Mundane stuff. But looking at the filled wiremesh basket recently, i realised that there was an awful lot of plastic containers just one family has been throwing out.
Now multiply that thousands no, million times more. And how many are simply discarded and end up in garbage dumps? And that's just the plastic bottles. What about plastic bags?
A scary thought.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

On the go

Colourful and candle lighted paper lanterns light up the night of the mid autumm festival as these children parade around their neighbourhood park in Kota Kinabalu.
It is good to see simple pleasures like these persisting.

By the wayThis is a short post as it was dispatched to blogspot via my hand phone where typing out a message is definately not a walk through the park (pun intended).

Monday, September 17, 2007

Nature's water park

A stream flowing down the Crocker Range in the outskirts of Kota Kinabalu serves as a wet playground for these children as their parents harvest their orchard nearby of durians, mangosteens, rambutans among others.
The cool, clear water of the stream flows for about 10kms before pouring out into the South China Sea.
Along the way, it becomes a convenient open sewer as it flows past pig and chicken farms, industrial and commercial areas and riverside squatter colonies and has been described as one of the most polluted waterways in Sabah.
And it continues unabated. This will be one of the legacies these children will inherit.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

That time of the year

Come ever September 16 the annual question of how old exactly is Malaysia will be on the lips of some politicians and arm chair historians. See here , here and here. These are some of the more recent stuff on the subject.
Did Malaysia come into being on Aug 31, 1957 or Sept 16, 1963? Does this question actually matter at this point?
I think the question is repeatedly being asked from this side of the South China Sea as it reflects dissatisfaction as to how both states, that agreed to become part of the federation as equal partners, are being treated today.
It may not be too far fetched if I say that many Sabahans - due to Umno's overwhelming presence in the state - as well as Sarawakians can't shake off this feeling that both states are now subservient to Kuala Lumpur.
In the end, are Sabahans and Sarawakians feeling that they got rid one colonial master off their backs only to eventually find that another has taken its place?

Happy birthday Malaysia.

By the way, it's nice to be back after a short break due to blogging block (as in writing block).

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Simple pleasures

A ball and a stream were all the things that kept these three children occupied as their parents took part in the festivities of a wedding at a village in the interior Sabah district of Keningau.

Simple pleasures like this still keep these children busy unlike their urban counterparts who at the slightest hint boredom will whip out a hand phone or ipod or mobile playstation game set or any other electronic gizmos to keep them occupied.

Is this a defination of progress?

Happy birthday.

This is one of the few posts with no pictures. But I've updated this blog and added the Malaysian flag on the right panel.
It is a little tribute to the country where I was born, raised and that has been good to me and my family.
Though I often wonder where this country is heading to, I know that I will be calling myself a Malaysian for a very long time. And proudly so.

Happy birthday Malaysia.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Fishy business

Meet Ahmad Jais Inil. He wants to capitalise on Sabah's reputation as a seafood paradise.

Those sitting in Sabah coffee shops would have likely experienced 'mobile vendors' hawking everything from pirated DVD movies to Brietling, Omega andRolex watches to sunglasses to wallets and belts.

Ahmad was taking the same business approach but his wares were dried scallops, sotong (cuttlefish) and sea cucumber. I bumped into him as he was replenishing his stocks at a coffeeshop near my office where he was packing some dried scallops that he would sell at about RM30 per kilogramme.

An electrician by profession, Jamil has laid wires and cables in office complexes in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. But he gave it up to get to started in the seafood business.

So much for capitalising on a good thing.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Learning young

Like thousands of other Malaysian children, these boys were on a one week school break.
Unlike most of their counterparts however, their holidays were helping their parents to market the produce from their kebun or orchard to operators of these roadside fruit stalls somewhere between the northern Sabah towns of Kota Belud and Kota Marudu.
In this case, their wheel barrow was loaded with tarap, a fruit similar to jackfruit. For the children's efforts, the fruit stall operators will pay between RM1 and RM2 each and turn around and sell them for double that amount.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Going strong

On a recent trip to Sook in the heart of Sabah, I spotted this house on a hill top. What caught my eye was its bamboo walls. I went to ask villagers at nearby house with its conventional wooden walls and was told that the occupant of the bamboo abode was a farmer in his 60's.

Such houses were once common particularly among the ethnic Kadazandusuns and Muruts who now prefer to fashion their homes from wood or for the more affluent, bricks and concrete.

Now that Sabah is facing a cement shortage and bamboo still plentiful, perhaps going back to this traditional building material may make sense, in some instances.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Getting lucky

Hey hey! I checked out my blog and looked at the site meter and saw that the total visits since I installed it was 888 (For the uninitiated eight is considered a lucky number and I guess three of them would mean thrice the luck?!

And the visitor made the lucky number was Jack .

Thanks for all the support guys.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Going fishing

With the flags of Sabah and Malaysia flying high, this trawler was literally sailing into the sunset from the northern town of Kudat to one of the most fertile fishing grounds, an area where the South China Sea meets the Sulu Sea.
After taking this picture, I had a sumptious tiger prawn dinner with the owner of 10 fishing trawlers which was among the more than 100 such vessels in Kudat.
Acknowledging that the amount of fish his vessels were landing was on the decline (in some cases, just handful of fish in one trip), the owner said his vessels like others in Kudat operate in two shifts.
In other words, fishing is being carried out 24-7, meaning the fish have no chance to reproduce before they are caught. So the fertile fishing grounds will not be fertile soon.
The fishing vessel owner told me he and his counterparts know what their methods were unsustainable but no one was willing to take the first step to kick off a change.
And then we went back to devouring our prawns sauteed in a spicy butter sauce garnished with curry leaves.
I wondered whether my children would be able to enjoy such a spread of sea food in the future.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Muddy slips

First time visitors are often taken aback by the sheer number of four-wheel-drive vehicles in Sabah. It seems that every other vehicle in this state has some off-road capability.
From the demure Suzuki and Perodua Kembara vehicles to the full scale Toyota Land Cruisers and Range Rovers as well as Hilux, Ford Ranger and Isuzu DMax, these vehicles indeed have a prominant presence on Sabah roads.
A reason for this is that though most Sabah towns are linked by proper roads, routes to numerous villages are still nothing more earthern tracks that transform into a muddy patches after a short spell of rain.
Such was the condition of the road leading to Kampung Kouvosian near the interior Keningau district when driver of this van tried to negotiate a wooden bridge with vehicle slipping off the simple structure.
Dozens of villagers lent a hand and together with the pulling power of a Ford Ranger, they managed to pull the van out of its predicament.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Misplaced patriotism?

I was driving behind a seafood restaurant when I spotted this Jalur Gemilang (Malaysia's national flag) flapping away as it was attached to a post near the exhaust fans at eatery's kitchen.
I have no doubt about the well meaning intentions of the person who placed the flag there but is that an appropriate place?
Somehow I do not think so. But it's even worse to see mini versions of the flag that used to adorn vehicles being strewn about on the roads days after we celebrate our nation's independence.
Surely our patriotism doesn't just die off after every August 31?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Am I an addict?

I had find out if I hooked to that fix. I did the test and found out that I was 70% addicted to blogging.
Is that bad? I'm not sure but I do know that though I'm not prolific, I do think about upcoming entries in this blog.
That begs the question; why do I blog? Hmmmm....
I'll come up with a list soon. Keep watching this space ....

Friday, August 3, 2007

An example of globalisation.

On a recent trip to the east coast district of Semporna, I met this gentleman who was patiently waiting for customers as he used a bench at the walkway of the Dragon Inn hotel and restaurant to display his wares comprising largely cultured pearl necklaces and bracelets.
After taking his picture, we chatted and he introduced himself as Arshad and he cheerfully acknowledged that his wares were brought in from "sebelah" (the other side, i.e southern Philippines).
Arshad will probably tell gullible tourists that the pearls orginated from Sabah. Already cheaper handicrafts from the Philippines, Indonesia and even Thailand make up the bulk of goods at souvenir shops in Kota Kinabalu and other tourist hotspots in Sabah.
Part of the problem is that Sabahan craftsmen are contented to continue to produce the things they know such beadware, woven baskets and traditional fabric like the Bajau dastar.
Then again maybe the situation is not that bad as tourists will likely find a mini replica of Big Ben in London with a 'Made in China' sticker on it.
So much for globalisation.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Domesticated cats

I shook my head in disbelief when I read this. The Malayan tigers at the Sabah zoo (technically it's called the Lok Kawi wildlife park) chewing on plastic bags?
Those treating the tiger enclosures like a big refuse bin are obviously witless.
And I I guess those cats must be bored out of their wits to resort to chewing on stuff like that. Then again what else can they do as they fed at regular intervals and need not worry about hunting for their food unlike their endangered cousins in the wild.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Monkey business

I was thinking about the slew of criticisms being levelled against Malaysian mainstream media when I spotted this 2inch high carving at the Borneo Arts handicraft shop in the Centre Point shopping centre (gotta put in a plug for the missus).
The first thing that crossed my mind was "Oh how appropriate." The carving to me summed up all those criticisms. Whether justified, i feel that as a practicing member of that profession, it is not for me to answer.
But I keep this carving on my computer as a reminder to try and avoid 'monkeying' around.

Bounty from the backyard

I do not have a kebun or orchard to my name but the small strip of land at one side of my house is enough for a papaya, a few mango and a handful of banana trees.
Though all these trees have bore their fruit at one time or another before, a few weeks ago, these began ripening together so we've had no shortage of freshly plucked from the tree fruits at home.
I'm occasionally asked why I've never moved elsewhere to practice my profession. There are many answers to that.
One of them is life's little rewards like this.


Hey I'm back. Yea, it's been like nearly three weeks since I've updated this blog. I had to take a short break for a while. I was bogged down with work and I wasn't in any mood to blog.
But most of what was required has been done and so I can start sending out some postcards.

Keep a watch on this space!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Highland veggies

Curious hands unfurl leaves of a cabbage plant at a patch in Kundasang, about 60kms from Kota Kinabalu. For decades, Kundasang has been the centre of temperate vegetable and fruit cultivation in Sabah.
The cultivation of cabbages, carrots, capsicums and asparagus were introduced in Kundasang by Christian missionaries to the indigenous Kadazandusuns of the area in the 1950s.
Sadly though, fuelled by demand for local temperate vegetables, 'outsiders' have been making a beeline for Kundasang and acquired land there. They have resorted to employing cheap but poorly educated Indonesian migrant labour to grow these vegetables. And for years there have been persistent worries that these vegetables contain excessive amounts of pesticide and fertiliser.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Pygmys of Borneo

Photographing these Borneo pygmy elephants were a cinch. Afterall they were confined in their enclusures at the Lok Kawi wildlife park near Kota Kinabalu.
The situation is hardly different for their cousins in the wild, particularly in the Lower Kinabatangan region where tracts of jungles where these pachyderms used to forage have been cleared to make way for oil palm plantations.
As a result, the 150 or so elephants in the Lower Kinabatangan are confined to the remaining fragmanted strips of forests along Kinabatangan river. It makes me wonder what are the chances of these elephants surviving in the whatever remaining "wild" areas of Sabah.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A picture with a few stories

Riding on a boat heading up a tributary of the Kinabatangan River with some friends some time ago, I saw this pile of logs stacked along the river bank and whipped out my camera and began snapping away. Reviewing the picture later, I realised it it said a lot about the environment of the area.
a) small trees some barely 1metre in circumference are being felled for lumber because there are no more bigger trees there;
b) these small trees were likely to have been felled in a secondary jungle that has been cleared to make way for yet another part of an oil palm plantation and;
c) plantation owners are ignoring requirements for them to leave strips of forests along the rivers (or riparian reserves) and instead are planting the crops right until the water's edge though oil palm trees could be wiped out in the event of a flood.
Because of (c) wildlife such as the Borneo pygmy elephants are being squeezed in their remaining habitat (more of that in an upcoming posting).

Monday, June 18, 2007


I've been trying some new stuff in this blog including a video and a slideshow. I hope to do more of this as and when the opportunity arises.
As I try to keep postcardsfromnorthborneo going, I get a kick knowing that some of my family and friends have got into the blogging habit as well. Yea!
I've linked them in the "stuff i read" section. So do pay a visit to their blogs.
There are some interesting stuff there. Especially if you live to eat...

A lesson by candle light

I wish I could say that I thought of the picture of this candle and set up all the elements to make it look as it turned out. The fact it was by pure chance when yet another power black out occured in my housing area just as I was about to take my evening shower.
So with praticed ease, the candles were taken out and lighted, one of which was placed in the bathroom.
As I was about to take my shower (fortunately, there was water supply that day) I noticed the candle on the bathroom's window sill and perhaps I might get a nice artistic picture out of it.
So took out my camera and started snapping aaway. Perhaps a lesson to be learnt here is to try make the best from any given situation.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Faces of Kaamatan

A boy adjusting his dastar or ethnic Bajau headgear while taking a break at the Kaamatan or Harvest Festival celebrations on May 30 and 31. More pics of Sabah's indigenous communities at this year's festival can be viewed on a slideshow here.

Friday, June 8, 2007

A white man's brew

Twelve years ago, German Herman Scholz came to Sabah as tourist. And he has since made the state his home.
So at home is the 37-year-old entrepreneur that he can converse in Bahasa Malaysia and Kadazandusun apart from English and his mother tongue.
"There's a book with the title 'Sabah, the stealer of hearts'. I can really relate to that," said Scholz who turned some heads at the two-day state level Kaamatan or Harvest Festival celebrations at the Hongkod Koisaan in Penampang near Kota Kinabalu on May 30 and 31.
Garbed in traditional black with gold coloured lace Kadazandusun costume, he was seen offering samples and selling bottles of rice wine or lihing as it is known among the Kadazandusun community to locals and tourists alike.
And many eyebrows were arched when the perspective customers learnt that Scholz himself was the one who had brewed the lihing using pulut or glutinous rice and sasad or yeast extract.
Asked about his brewing skills, he said it was prompted by his affinity for lihing. "I liked this wine so much I learned how to make it from an elderly Kadazandusun lady at Kampung Maang in Penampang where I live," Scholz explained.
Unlike other rice wines that are packed in 'recycled' beer bottles, Scholz's lihing bearing the The Flying Dusun label is packaged in attractive glass liqueur bottles with a little booklet explaining how the wine is made and recipes dishes such as drunken chicken or cocktails
The rice wine is sold at certain handicraft and souvenir shops around Kota Kinabalu.
"This is my little way of making Sabah more well known. Sake is synonymous with Japan and when people think of Sabah in the future, I hope among the things that come to mind is lihing," he said.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Cultural beat

Sabah's month-long Kaamatan or Harvest Festival celebrations came to an end with a two-day state level fest at the Hongkod Koisaan grounds in Penampang on May 30 and 31. Having covered the annual event for seemingly countless years, this year's festivities was a tad refreshing in that some of Sabah's lesser known indigenous communities came to the fore. The pictures will tell the story.
11-year-old Izan Julip deftly playing the kulingtangan or a set of small gongs at a stall showcasing the Kadazan Tanggara of the Sabah southwestern Membakut district. Click here to watch the video.

A girl from the Dusun Tombonuo community wait for her turn to perform at the Kaamatan festivities. The community are primarily from the northastern Pitas and Paitan districts as well as Tongod in the upper reaches of the Kinabatangan River.
Cultural dancers garbed in their eleborately and colourfully decorated costumes of the Murut community at the Kaamatan celebrations.
More pictures will be posted on this year's Kaamatan festivities.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


After reading the Daily Express today, I initially felt vindicated having written this and more recently this. But that was immediately replaced with sadness and despair. And at the back of my mind, a little voice was asking whether I could have done more. As a journalist, I could have asked more questions to keep the issue in focus.
But the damage is done. I can only take it as a lesson learned.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

An ode to my favourite landmark

The Borneo people awake at sunrise to an evaporating dew revealing a sacred mountain that is the highest in Southeast Asia.
To point to the majestic Mount Kinabalu sprouting out of the largest island in the world is sacrilegious.
That act prompted a slap for the cousin of Datuk Masidi Manjun from his grandfather. It is a memory etched in the mind of Masidi. He vividly remembers that day in the 1950s when he saw his grandfather slapping a cousin.
His cousin had accidentally pointed to the 4,095m mountain with his index finger and the reprimand came hard to cheek from the hands of an elder Dusun whose life is living under the shadow of the mountain until his death.
``Pointing your finger to the mountain was a big no-no for us Kadazandusuns. There was just one of the pantang (taboos) we learnt and abided to,'' said Masidi who grow up at Kampung Tarlobou, some 15kms from the mountain.
For generations, the Kadazandusuns farming the steep slopes of the foothills revered the mountain and they continued to do so after converting to Christianity or Islam as in the case of Masidi's forefathers.
Masidi, a lawyer and now the state Youth and Sports, said as children growing up literally in the shadow of the mountain he and his siblings learnt about how Kinabalu affected their Kadazandusun psyche.
``We grew up listening to numerous myths and legends about the mountain. For instance, as children we my grandparents told us how the souls of Dusun people would travel through Kinabalu to enter the next world.
He this myth was reinforced with a unique rock formation at village called Purak Pakau near Tamparuli, a town on the on way to the Kundasang highlands near Kinabalu.
``The rocks there had etchings like scratch marks and as children we were told these were made by the souls clambering their way to the mountain,'' Masidi said in recalling his grandparents telling about that Kinabalu was the weight that kept the world from spinning out of control.
``The underlying message there was that we should not play the fool with the mountain. It is one of things in creation that keeps a balance in the world,'' said Masidi, sighing and wondering about the seemingly "uncontrolled" development of mainly vegetable farms and resorts that have been mushrooming in the highlands of Kundasang over the past 20 years.
However very little changed within the immediate vicinity of the mountain with the creation of the Kinabalu Park nearly half a century ago.
The 754sq Kinabalu Park, about one a half times the size of Penang island, surrounds the mountain serving as buffer with areas outside which have been cleared for farming.
In 1964, the Kinabalu Park came into being to preserve the mountain's unique environment with its flora and fauna spread out over four climate zones from the lowland dipterocarp forest to the stunted bushes at the windswept summit zone.
The mountain and the park is home to 1,200 species of orchids, 26 varieties of rhododendrons, nine species of Nepenthes pitcher plants, 80 species of fig trees, 60 species of oak and chestnut trees, 100 species of mammals and 326 species of birds.
The preservation efforts of Mount Kinabalu and its immediate vicinity paid off in 2000 when UNESCO designated Kinabalu Park as Malaysia's first World Heritage site.
Located about a two hour's drive from Kota Kinabalu, each year Kinabalu Park attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors who savour the clean, cool invigorating air.
In 2004, some 415,360 people came to the park and 43,430 of them spent two days trekking to the Kinabalu's Low's Peak, the highest point between the Himalayas and the Snow Mountains of Papua Barat.
Once a year though, top athletes race up and down the mountain in just about two hours in the Kinabalu. The Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon that began more than 20 years ago as a search and rescue exercise for park rangers, mountain guides and porters, is usually held every the first week of every October.
The Kinabalu Park also encompasses the Poring Hot Springs, located 40kms from the park headquarters. For nearly three dacades, the hot sulphur springs combined with cool mountain water have attracted visitors for who spend hours soaking in the open air Japanese-style baths.
Apart from the springs, visitors to Poring may also encounter a blooming Rafflesia, the world's largest flower apart from walking or rather swaying through a 158km-long treetop canopy located among the trees about 41m from the ground.
Tours to Borneo's highest peak are available from any part of the world and the foothill indigenous Dusun people are always there to tell the many legends of Mt Kinabalu.
(First published in The Star, January 2007)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Retail therapy

I was driving from Kota Kinabalu to my hometown of Sandakan recently when I dropped by at Pekan Nabalu, a hamlet along the road to the Kundasang highlands. It was tamu (farmers' market) day and there was more bustle than the usual travellers and tourist crowd browsing through the myriad of handicrafts and souvenirs on sale.
And then I spotted this man having a feel of home-made parang (machete). He took his time holding the machete while he and the vendor had a long chat. No one appeared to be in a hurry.
For rural communities, the tamu is more than just a market. It is a time to socialise, catch up with relatives and friends and then perhaps sell or buy a thing or two.
Now that's to me is the right kind of retail therapy.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Food insecurity

How time flies. It has been a week since my last posting and I was wondering if I would be taking yet another hiatus from this blog.
Those thoughts were at the back of my mind as I was driving and spotted this woman and probably her son standing in muck in a monsoon drain to pluck kangkong or water spinach.
As I started taking pictures of them, the boy simply stared at me. I was wondering what his thoughts were. Whether he was embarassed that a stranger was taking picture of him standing in muck in a monsoon drain.
But the lady continued plucking the vegetable. I guess making sure her family has something to eat would drown any other feelings she may have had.
But then again I may be presumptious. Afterall, I remember my mother plucking kangkong from a stream at the back of our house decades ago. But she didn't have to stand in the muck to do it.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Defying logic

I really wish I can claim that I took the picture of this orang utan while it was swinging around in the wild.
But I did not. This was a captive primate at the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park near Kota Kinabalu so taking a picture of it was a cinch.
The orang utan remaining in the wild have to contend with a shrinking habitat no thanks to the opening of hundreds of thousands of hectares of land for oil palm and logging.
Speaking of which, I cannot fanthom the Sabah government's logic of logging out a forest that is home to about 3,000 orang utan and then turning around rehabilitating what will obviously be a considerably damaged eco system. At a cost of RM200 million to boot.
Somehow I can't help but feel that some lucky few are making killing from the the logging and then "rehabilitating" what is left over.

Sunset at Borneo's northern tip

A family enjoying time together watching the sunset near a globe at Tanjung Simpang Mengayau, a landmark in the northernmost tip of Borneo.
The landmark is a 45 minute drive from Kudat town is like a trip back in time as the road passes through endless groves of coconut trees and wooden farmhouses.
Most of these plantations were opened by Hakka immigrants from China who came to Sabah more than a century ago.
Some fung shui (Chinese geomancy) practitioners (if that is the right phrase) believe that the globe's presence have helped to deflect 'ill' winds from Sabah. They said that before the globe was installed, the state had been besetted by a host of major calamities since 1994 including a series of air craft crashes and kidnappings starting with the abductions of tourists from Pulau Sipadan in 2000.
However in recent years the situation is more quiet in Sabah.
Don's forget, Negri Sabah, Negri Aman.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Suffer the children.

My job occasionally takes me to the Kota Kinabalu courts. When ever I’m at the courts, I dread passing the lock up area where detainees are kept before their appearance in court.
Families of the detainees – their parents or spouses – would wait for hours in the heat for a brief chance to see and exchange a few words with them as they are brought to the court or to a police truck for the trip back to the detention centres.
All too often, mothers would be bring along their young children, some cradling infants a few months old, to wait just like this woman. She was there the whole morning and by about 2pm, her daughter was getting cranky from the heat and exhaustion. It is sad that children all too often have to, in one way or another, pay for the sins of those their elders who should know better.


I've been tinkering with this blog, adding and taking out stuff. I've put in a site counter and seeing it at digit is humbling as there are bloggers out there surpassing a million or two million hit level. So yeah, I'm the little kid on the blog block.
I've also subscribed to Google's Adsense with a hope that the "unobtrusive" ads on this will result in a little side income for me. So please feel free to click on those ads. When you do, it will ring a little tinkle in my pocket - so I hope.
For now I've removed my pic. Yes Phil, I intend to remain a gentleman blogger. Just give me a little time to find a less (if this phrase is at all possible) a less corny picture of me.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Padi scene

This rustic scene of an irrigation ditch running along a padi field in the northern Kota marudu district seems an appropriate picture to post at this time of the year.
May is the month when Kaamatan or Harvest Festival celebrations are held at the various districts and kampungs in Sabah.
The festvities are a time for thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest as farmers pray for a better harvest in the coming year.
Then the aramaiiti ( in loocal lingo party time) kicks in with lihing, 10-3 (cheap beers) and any other intoxicant taking centre stage.

Of rivers and monkeys.

This is a typical afternoon scene at Sungai Menanggul, a tributary of the massive 484km long Sungai Kinabatangan in Sabah's east coast.

From 4pm, boats laden with tourists head up the waterway in search of the golden coloured long-nosed proboscis monkeys that perch on trees along the riverbank.

Most of the boats are manned by the Sungei indigenous community villagers from the nearby Kampung Sukau. The standing joke among them is that there are usually more monkeys in the boats that in the trees. I wonder then who's watching whom?

Childhood freedom

As the weekly tamu or tradtional farmers' market gets underway at the Pekan Nabalu hamlet with a familiar landmark serving as a backdrop, a group of Kadazandusun children find something else to distract their attention.
The hamlet has evolved into a popular stopping point for travellers heading between Kota Kinabalu and the Kundasang highlands at the foothills of Mount Kinabalu.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

A question of distance

A portion of a fence frames this scene of a man walking past a 10m high statue at the Fook Tet Kung temple in the northern Kudat town. The temple built decades ago is just a stone's throw from the district mosque.
As a political storm brews about a shelved Goddess of the Sea or Ma Zu statue project following a directive from the Sabah government, some Kudat townsfolk are still wondering what the fuss is all about.

Questionable decisions

This is a view of the cyclindrical shaped Yayasan Sabah and Wisma Innoprise buildings from the scenic Likas Bay. The Yayasan building used to house the Sabah Chief Minister's office that has since moved to Wisma Innoprise.
In recent days, a decision from the Chief Minister's office is raising eyebrows even among ministers and assistant ministers.
Even as the new minister took his oath of office at the Istana Negri, the whispers among those present was whether the Chief Minister really looked into his background.
A check with the police for example might have revealed whether the new minister was a subject of a criminal probe a year or two ago.
And those probably among the most surprised over the appointment were the people from the new minister's hometown of Tawau. They know him for who he is.
But this is Sabah. Anything is possible.
Negri Sabah. Negri Aman.

I'm back!! (Again...and so another update)

I've finally got myself back to this blog. I wish I could say that the absence of any postings in the previous months was because I was thinking of some profound things to say, but no. Blame it on sheer laziness on my part.

But I shall endeavour to update this blog more regularly (so I don't get reminders - pk, Phil you know who I mean).

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Subtle beauty

I'm back! After a brief hiatus, I'm getting this blog going again. First a quick update. This is the first posting I'm doing wirelessly from my house. Yup, my house is now wifi enabled. YEAH! Cil, thank you for this.
I'm writing this posting on my laptop that is parked on a table at the car porch, glancing occasionally as my daughter paddling her trycycle. Who knows my next posting will be while I'm sitting on a park bench under a mango tree.
Now back to the picture above, driving past a padi field near Kota Marudu recently, I spotted some what appeared to me were poppy-like flowers by the road-side.
Their pink petals were a nice contrast with the green fields in the background.
Lesson here: Beauty is everywhere, just keep an eye out for it.