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.