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Preview: Sikmading's Sabah, Malaysian Borneo

Sikmading's Sabah, Malaysian Borneo

This blog is about Sabah, until 1963 British North Borneo, seen through the eyes of veteran local journalist Sikmading. Located in Borneo, the 3rd largest island in the World, this east Malaysian state is home to Kinabalu, the highest mountain in South Ea

Updated: 2018-03-07T01:38:09.652+08:00


The Millionaire Amah


(image) If you were an amah or domestic help who has won a lottery worth millions of $, would you stay on in your job? Most people, if not all, would not.

But not in the case of a middle-aged Chinese amah who works in Hong Kong! And she is a Malaysian!

The reason? She works for the 4th wife of Hong Kong billionaire Stanley Ho (bottom pic). She has served the Ho family for so long that Ho's daughter by his 4th wife practically grew up in the amah's arms; from a baby to an adult.

As a result, she treats the daughter Rosie (top pic) as her own. Rosie, 35, too has grown very attached to her. Some sort of a second or foster mother already.

The windfall by right should be just timely for her well-earned retirement (after raising a billionaire's daughter) but she has become part of the Ho family so it is not easy for her to leave without missing Rosie, now an actress/singer.

Stanley Ho's nickname is the Macau gambling king as he owns a few casinos on the former Portugese colony near Hong Kong. Each of his four wives live separately and each is served by several amahs, of course.

But the Malaysian amah who won the lottery seems to be their favourite. This could seen from the fact that she was chosen over others to look after Stanley, 82, when he was hospitalised after a bad fall.

In view of the above, the Ho family must have treated her well. After all, money has never been an issue.

How much did the amah win in the lotto draw? HK$30 million or roughly RM15 million!!!

But to some people, money is not everything. Friendship and sentiments are equally important, as proven in the amah's case.

For Rosie, she was born the daughter of a billionaire and now she is the foster daughter of a multi-millionaire who is also her amah! How about that? She was proverbially born with a silver spoon in her mouth and now she is eating with a golden spoon as well!

Ex-CM Salleh is new Speaker (Part 2)


(image) It is not immediately known if Salleh would vacate the Finas post now that he is Sabah State Legislative Assembly Speaker. The Speaker's post is a full-time job and in terms of protocol he is second only to the Chief Minister who in turn is second only to the TYT or governor. He therefore also normally does not hold any other post like that of a chairmanship of another government body.

The Finas job will be Salleh's second appointment to head a federal government agency in recent years. Until last year, he was chairman of the Malaysian Handicraft Board.

Since last year too, Salleh has been Science Advisor to the Chief Minister with ministerial rank. He is expected to vacate this post before being sworn-in as Speaker in front of the new governor Juhar at the Istana (palace). Juhar was the Speaker until 31 December 2010. As mentioned earlier, the Speaker is even more senior than a Minister in terms of protocol.

Who will replace Salleh as Science Advisor, if any? This question will spark off another round of speculations in Sabah. Rumour-mongering is part of every day life in the State and it adds spice to politics especially in the coffeeshops.

Meanwhile, Datin Linda Tsen as most Sabahans would know is the widow of the late Datuk Edmund Chong who was killed in an accident a few months ago. She successfully defended her husband's parliamentary seat of Batu Sapi in the ensuing by-election on a BN ticket.

As chairperson of the Sabah Credit Corporation (SCC), she succeeds Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) secretary-general Datuk Teo Chee Kang who is now chairman of the Sabah Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (SCVB).

Observers noted that since Teo took over the SCVB job from the late Edmund who was from the Sabah United Party (PBS), it is only fair that his former job at SCC be given back to PBS through Datin Linda. Fair and square, as they say.

Ex-CM Salleh is new Speaker



They say that good things come in small packages, but in the case of former Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Panglima Salleh Tun Said Keruak (top pic), they came in big packages.

Only yesterday, Malaysian Information Minister Datuk Rais Yatim annouced that Salled has been appointed Chairman of the Malaysian Film Development Corporation (FINAS) effective 1 January 2011.

FINAS is an agency or statutory body under the Ministry and, as its name suggests, looks after the development of the film industry in the country.

And today, Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman announced that Salleh is the new Speaker of the State Legislative Assembly replacing Datuk Seri Panglima Juhar Hj Mahiruddin who is the new TYT or governor.

Musa also announccd, after chairing a Cabinet meeting, that new Batu Sapi MP Datin Linda Tsen (bottom pic) will be the new Chairman of the Sabah Credit Corporation taking over from Tanjung Kapor Assemblyman Datuk Teo Chee Kang.

New Governor's 1st Duty (Part 2)


I received a comment from a reader who preferred to remain anonymous. He commented on my last post, New Governor's 1st Duty.

He pointed out to me that I missed out mentioning the late Tun Ahmad Koroh, governor from 1977 to 1978. He said when Ahmad was TYT, his younger brother Tan Sri Suffian Koroh was Deputy Chief Minister and his (Ahmad's) son Azmy (Azmi?) was the State Assemblyman for Pensiangan.

He (I assume the it's a man) also mentioned Tun Ahmad's successor, the late Tun Adnan Robert whom he said was related to the Korohs. He also pointed out that both Tuns (the highest award for Malaysian civilians) were Muruts from the Interior of Sabah and that they were converts.

If I am not mistaken, Tun Ahmad was the former Thomas Koroh while Tun Adnan was Mickey Robert. For the full comments of my visitor, please click the Comment ikon below the said post

Well, friend (since he/she addressed me that way), first of all thank you for your comment and taking the trouble to point that out to me.

But you see, I left out both Tun Ahmad and Tun Adnan for two reasons. Firstly, my last post was only talking about new governor Juhar's visit to Tun Mustapha's grave as well as those former TYTs buried at the Heroes' Mausoleum (Makam Pahlawan) at the State Mosque.

The late Tun Fuad Stephens, the late Tun Hamdan Abdullah (the former Datuk Indan bin Kari) and the late Tun Said Keruak were all buried at the State Mosque while, if I am not mistaken, Tun Ahmad and Tun Adnan were both buried in Keningau, their home town. Another former TYT who was buried in his home town of Sipitang was the late Tun Ahmad Raffae.

The second reason why I left out Tun Koroh and Tun Adnan was that I was talking about the father and son teams where the father was TYT and the son Minister or, in the case of the Keruak family, the Chief Minister.

But I do agree with my visitor that the Korohs' case was also unique whereby two brothers were TYT/DCM and on top of that the TYT's son was Assemblyman. That was another first for Sabah.

In conclusion, I once again thank my visitor for his comment. In fact, he just gave me an idea. For the sake of future Sabah generations and our overseas friends, in one or more of my future posts I will chronicle Sabah's TYTs from the 1st (Tun Mustapha) to the current 10th (Datuk Seri Panglima Juhar).

New Governor's 1st Duty


The new Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sabah, Datuk Seri Panglima Juhar Hj Mahiruddin's (bottom pic) first official duty will be to visit the graves of two former Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sabah, (governor) the late Tun Datu Hj Mustapha Datu Harun (top pic, left) and the late Tun Hj Mohd Fuad Stephens (top pic, right) tomorrow Monday Jan 10.This will be the first public function of the former Speaker of the Sabah State Legislative Assembly who was sworn-in as Sabah's 10th governor on Jan 1 at the Istana Negeri in Kota Kinabalu, capital of Sabah.Both Tun Mustapha and Tun Fuad had the distinction of having served as both Sabah governor and Chief Minister. Tun Mustapha was Sabah's first Yang di-Pertua Negeri (then known as Yang di-Pertua Negara) when the former British colony of North Borneo became independent Sabah and one of Malaysia's then 14 States on 16 September 1963. Tun Fuad (then Dato' Donald Stephens) was the first Chief Minister.After Sabah's first direct general election in 1967, Mustapha became the State's 3rd Chief Minister, replacing Datuk (now Tan Sri) Peter Lo who succeeded Stephens in 1965. After dissolving his UPKO party which lost in the election, Stephens was made the Malaysian High Commissioner to Australia in the late 1960s.In 1973, Mustapha, still the Chief Minister, made Stephens the State's 3rd governor, replacing the late Tun Ahmad Raffae, father of former Sabah Minister Dayang Mahani. Stephens stepped down as TYT or Tuan Yang Terutama (His Excellency) in August 1975 following the formation of the new Berjaya party which he later led. Two months later, Mustapha gave way to his deputy the late Tun Said Keruak due to pressure from Berjaya.There was a reversal of fortunes when, in April 1976, Stephens once again became Chief Minister follwing Berjaya's victory in the State's 3rd general election. But alas, the joy of Berjaya members was short-lived as Stephens and almost half of his Cabinet Colleagues were killed in an air-crash. Stephens was succeeded by his deputy Datuk Harris Salleh, a former Minister in the Mustapha Cabinet.Mustapha, meanwhile lived on to see another new party, PBS, defeating Berjaya in 1985 in a 'history repeating itself' scenario. Following PBS's pulling out from Malaysia's ruling national coalition BN in 1990, Mustapha dissolved his Usno party to make way for the national Umno party to enter Sabah. The majority members of both Usno and Umno were Muslims and to enhance Umno's image in Sabah, Mustapha was made Federal Minister for Sabah Affairs.The PBS government collasped soon after the 1994 State general election which it won narrowly, due to defections. The Umno-led BN took over. However, by then Mustapha had left Umno, dissatisfied that he was replaced as Sabah Umno chief months before.Ironically, Mustapha died on 2 Jan 1995 not as an Umno member but as a PBS member! Ironic because Mustapha had challenged PBS president Datuk Joseph Pairin in court after the 1985 election, seeking a declaration that he (Mustapha) was the rightful Chief Minister. Mustapha became the new Chief Minister for less than 24 hours after then governor the late Tun Adnan Robert revoked his appointment. No wonder they say that in politics there is no permanent friend and no permanent enemy!By the way, Tun Mustapha's grave which has since been turned into a Memorail is at Petagas near Putatan while Stephens' is at the State Mosque in Kota Kinabalu. It is not known if the new TYT Juhar will also visit the graves of two other former governors also buried at the State Mosque compound. The duo are the late Tun Said Keruak and Tun Hamdan Abdullah.Tun Said also had the distinction of having served as both the governor and Chief Minister. He was made TYT by the PBS government in the late 1980s. He served until 31 Dec 1994, but not before he swore-in his son Datuk Salleh as the new Chief Minister on 27 Dec 1994! In other words, the Keruak family also had the distinction of having produced Sabah's only Governor-Chief [...]

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2011 (Part 4)


width="480" height="295" src="" frameborder="0">As promised, this is the first in a series of videos I took at Bantayan on Christmas Day 2010. I am not sure what the title of the song or who the singer is. Anyone? Anyway, that is not important here. What is more important is the fact that the people dancing enjoyed themselves, thoroughly, although most of them did not even understand the meaning of the wordings which were in Bajau. They did this dance, along with another Bajau song and Poco-Poco, not once, not twice, but at least thrice the short few hours that I was there. Looks like the days of Poco-Poco are numbered. It started with the kids but after sometime the adults couldn't resist the temptation to join in.

The video was shot at the residence of Anderson who is married to my wife's cousin. Although he is from Sarawak, his house is more or less the centre of attraction every Christmas after the morning Mass at the nearby St Philip's, Tamparuli. And he celebrates Gawai in June too, apart from Kaamatan as his wife is Kadazan (oops, I think she prefers to be known as Dusun). Each time there is a large crowd, comprising both Christians and Muslims alike. I think he should be made an honourary village headman of Bantayan. Infact, his popularity already made him a de facto one, despite him having hailed from Sarawak. One of the ladies in the video is also from Sarawak One of the kids is half-Bajau (her father brought the song) while another is half-Tmorese. Another good example of 1Malaysia at work. Or should I say 1Borneo? Or even 1ASEAN? Or may be this fits in well with Dr Jeffrey's Borneo Agenda?

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2011 (Part 3)


How did I spend my Christmas Day? As in previous years, went back to my late father-in-law's kampung (village) at Bantayan, Tamparuli to visit Christian relatives.Bantayan and Damat next to it is unique in the sense that the majority of the villagers are Dusun people (they prefer to be called that instead of Kadazan) but some of them are Muslims. Thus, quite a number of the crowd that day were Muslims. Similarly, during Hari Raya half of the crowd would be Christians. Good example of 1Malaysia, I think.To be exact they are Dusun Lotud, a unique sub-community of the Kadazandusun found only in the Tuaran district which includes the Tamparuli sub-district. Unique in their dialect as opposed to the Kadazan spoken in Penampang. Unique in their traditional costume and dance, the Sumayau, as opposed to the Sumazau of Penampang. Thus, it is quite understandable that they want to remain as Dusuns. After all, we are living in a free world and it is their right.As usual on that day, there was of course music and singing. But not just Christmas songs. The ever popular song and dance is still Poco-Poco. The whole afternoon that I was there, this Indonesian song was played at least a few times and each time the dance floor was full., by both the young and old. Mind you, 90% of the people occupying the dance floor were Dusuns - far from being Indonesians.Which sets me thinking - that Poco-Poco is still very much in fashion ever in our villages, a few years after it first 'landed' in Sabah from our neighbouring country. It's just like fashion. You can't kill it. So just let it disappear by itself over time, just like fashion.So I just don't understand so was the fuss all about when certain quarters querried, a couple of years ago I think, why Poco-Poco was incorporated as one of the dances during the State-level Harvest Festival or Kaamatan celebration at Hongkod Koisaan, the KDCA building in Penampang. Come all, let us be more civilized and open-minded. Don't be narrow-minded. Gone were the days of Sabah for Sabahans - PBS and more recently SAPP (Batu Sapi) found that out the hard way. A Poco-Poco dance lasting a few minutes among a score of other dances can't hurt, can it? It can't be Sumazau the whole day, can it? Otherwise even the tourists would be bored.I know some people may not like what I write but I stand by my conviction. To these people, my advice is simple - stop reading and move on to another blog. As the Malay saying goes, "Dunia masih luas" (the world is still wide). Don't waste your time or energy expecting an apology from me because you won't get any. You are entitled to your opinion which I respect but I am entitled to mine. To borrow the words of the late Datuk Felix Golingi: "I won't use my importance to put other people down, but neither will I let other people to use their importance to put me down!"The Poco-Poco reminds me of my childhood and teenage days as a bandboy. Those days, the 'dance of the day' during parties and other social functions would be Joget or in those days known locally as Dendang. Each time the music starts, the dance floor is full, just like the Poco-Poco. But I am sure the Joget and Dendang were not invented by Sabahans (or those days North Borneons). They originated from Indonesia and the then Malaya (now Peninsular Malaysia). Nobody made noise then.All they care is it is everybody's favourite dance. No problem. But nowadays the Joget and Dendang are no longer fashionable. They have been replaced by the Poco-Poco. As simple as that. So what's the problem? Over time it will pass and the Poco-Poco will be overtaken by something else.And this change may come sooner than we think. That afternoon in Bantayan, apart from the Poco-Poco, two other songs were played over and over again. Each time these two songs were played, a goup of kids would, without being shy, take to the floor. Before long the adults joined them. And they could no[...]

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2011 (Part 2)


(image) So what did my wife and I do after Mass at Rasa Ria on Christmas Eve?

We adjourned to my foster brother's place, an apartment at the Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP). My brother was the one who invited me to Dalit where he is one of the senior guys. When and how did he become my brother? Leave that for another day lah.

My brother and his family used to stay in a double-storeyed landed property in Kota Kinabalu. They moved to Sepanggar (where KKIP is) because there are only three of them and also so that he would be closer to office.

After high tea and resting for about an hour at my brother's, we moved on to Inanam for dinner. I promised to buy him and family dinner. By the way, his name is Johnny and his wife Rose.

My foster sister-in-law recommended Kim Fah Restaurant at Inanam town proper, a new shop opposite the market and next to the Giant (?) supermarket near the Esso petrol station. The restaurant is 2-storeyed, with downstairs being non-aircon and smoking permittable while upstairs is air-conned and non-smoking, of course. We opted for upstairs for privacy.

We needed two tables, since my two other foster brothers and their kids were also there. We ordered Fish Maw Soup, Steamed Tilapia Asam Pedas, Pork Throttle (Chu Kiok), Yam Ring, Mixed Vegetables, and Steamed Chicken served with Ham and Vege. May be I missed out one more, can't remember what, getting old!

Normally, I would concentrate on the steamed fish since I can put the gravy on white rice, my favourite. My other favourite is of course the chu kiok. But after I tasted the steamed chicken, I did not look at the other dishes anymore except the soup of course. I never tasted such delicious tasting or succulent steamed chicken before, until I asked for more rice.

So, the next time you can't decide where to go for lunch or dinner, try Kim Fah @ Inanam. The restaurant which originated from Beaufort has branches in KK (Beverly and Millennium). But I am not sure if the other branches serve the steamed chicken or if they do, whether it's equally tasty. For me, I can't wait to go back to Inanam.

Beaufort must be the Chinese food centre of Interior Upper (comprising Beaufort, Kuala Penyu and Sipitang). I say this because apart from Kim Fah, at least two or three restaurants (with branches) in KK also originated from there. Leading the pack if of course Beaufort Restaurant itself, then also Man Tai and Foh Chuan. Most of them are Hakka-based and famous for their fried mee Beaufort style. They are known for using only organic vege, especially Beaufort's.

Picture: Some of my foster nephews and nieces photographed at my brother's apartment. This is only half of them. If every one of them came, at least double the number.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2011 (Part 1)


(image) Hi friends! Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2011!

Too late? Well, they say that it's better late than never! Amen?

Unlike previous years when I made New Year Resolutions on Dec 31, this year I don't make any! What I intend to do, I just do it on January 1 and hopefully the rest of the year too. Less talk, more work, they say.

Besides, resolutions are not easy to keep. So here I am, back on my blog, writing again on New Year's Day. Wish me luck.

Notice that I call this Part 1. This is because once I start writing I can hardly stop. So by calling it Part 1, at least I know when to stop.

Since this is about both Christmas and New Year, Part 1 deals only with my Christmas. So what did I do for Christmas? Or where did I go for my Christmas Eve Mass?

You may not believe it. It's an unlikely place.

For the second year running now, I have been going to Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort at the scenic Dalit beach in Tuaran, my home district. Hometown Tamparuli is under the jurisdiction of the Tuaran district.

But a Mass in a hotel? Yes, some of the top brass of the resort are Catholics or Christians and they made special arrangement for a priest to say Mass for their Catholic staff, family members and hotel guests. Very thoughtful of them, isn't it?. Thank you Shangri-La.

As expected, most of the Catholic hotel guests who attended the Mass were tourists from overseas. They too were pleasantly surprised.

"My family and I certainly did not expect the convenience of being able to attend a Christmas Eve Mass right here in the hotel. Very thoughtful of Shangri-La," said Mr Brendan Lyne from New Zealand.

He and his family (picture) were on a first-time visit to Sabah and looked forward to returning.

Joan Baez "We Shall Overcome" (2009)


Just to share with you a 2009 version of Joan Baez's We Shall Overcome made famous by the Civil Rights Movement of Black Americans in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Joan dedicated this version to the Iranian people and therefore parts of the wordings are in Farsi. Why? I don't know. May be to ask the Iranians to be patient just like the Black Americans and that victory or freedom will be eventually theirs. But it looks like the recording was done in her house. Joan is one of my favourite veteran singers partly because she has been around since my bandboy days decades ago. Enjoy and God bless!
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World Cup Final: Bird vs Octopus


On Monday morning or Sunday past-midnight, all eyes (well, almost) on earth will be glued on their TV screens watching the once-in-4-years World Cup football final. Who will win? The frontpage of today's Star, Malaysia's tabloid daily, says it all. Ever since the World Cup started, Paul the octopus had gained worldwide fame by accurately (well,80%) predicting the outcome of matches in which Germany played. But Paul now has a competitor or two - Mani the bird of Singapore says it's going to be Netherlands while Paul says it's Spain. Yet another octopus, Pauline of Netherlands picked her home country to be the new World Cup champions. Looks like the World Cup has turned animals into oracles! (Click on image for better view)

What an Adjutor Bishop is....


It's from the horse's mouth....I managed to get hold of Rev Fr John Wong after today's Morning Mass and asked him what an Adjutor Bishop (his new post) is.

To avoid embarrassment, I first told him that I couldn't find the word adjutor in two major dicionaries. He agreed with me, saying that it's a Christian/Catholic term.

The humble and friendly as well as soft-spoken priest explained to me that an Adjutor Bishop is just like an auxiliary bishop with the right to succession to a full-fledged bishop when a vacancy arises.

Another English/Christian lesson for me. No wonder it's said that learning is a life-long and every-day process. That's why some parties (not necessarily political ones) including the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) do conduct Life-Long Learning classes.

(Footnote: Rev Fr John Wong was promoted as Adjutor Bishop of the Catholic Archbishop of Kota Kinabalu on Monday 21 June 2010; assisting Archbishop Datuk John Lee. Apart from the latter, there are two other Catholic Bishops in Sabah - Datuk Cornelius Piong (Diocese of Keningau) and Fr Julius Gitom (?) of the Sandakan Diocese.)

It's Coadjutor Bishop John Wong


Here it is, I reproduce herewith Archbishop Datuk John Lee's letter regarding the appointment of Rev Fr John Wong Soo Kau as Coadjutor Bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu.

Yesterday, I wrongly reported it as Adjutant Bishop and I apologize for the mistake. I then based it on my hearing of what was announced only and I managed to lay hands on a copy of the letter only today.

As can be seen, the letter was addressed to all Clergy and Religious communities, and care-taker Parish Pastoral Councils of the Archdiocese.

As stated in the letter, the appointment was made by none other than the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI of the Vatican in Rome.

I still don't know what a Coadjutor Bishop is but I will find out and get back to you. Can't find the word in two major dictionaries. It must be a term used only in the Catholic world. But as I said yesterday the new Bishop must be some kind of a deputy to the Archbishop.

Once again, congratulations Rt Rev Fr John or rather Bishop John!

Fr John Wong now a Bishop


The Priest-in-charge of the Catholic Archdiocesan Centre of the Archdiocese of Kota Kinablu, Rev Fr John Wong has been made a co-adjutant Bishop of the Archdiocese.This was announced after the daily English morning Mass at the St Paul's Church at Dontozidon in Penamnpang on Tuesday 22 June 2010.The announcement was made by regular morning Mass goer Mr Sylvester Disimon just before the concluding hymn. He was asked to do so by Sister Diana of the church.Sylvester read out a letter signed by Archbishop Datuk John Lee which said that His Holiness the Pope has approved the appointment effective Monday 21 June 2010.It was just a short letter and therefor most parishioners remain in the dark as to the exact duty of the new Bishop in view of the extraordinary title. At the moment, one can only assume that Rev Fr John (or rather Bishop) will be assisting the Archbishop, which he has been doing for quite sometime since being posted to the Centre anyway. But of course the new title will give Rev (or should I say Rt Rev) Wong more 'ummph' and added clout. Datuk Lee was the Bishop of KK Diocese before his promotion as Archbishop so one can assume that Fr Wong will be taking over Datuk Lee's former post. Apart from being Priest-in-charge of the Centre, Fr Wong has also been in charge of a group of young Aspirants to the priesthood; twelve of them to be exact - just like the 12 disciples, perhaps co-incidentally. Being an Aspirant is the first step to the priesthood, after which one will enter the Formation Year of the Seminary in Kota Kinabalu before going to St Peter's College, Kuching for the study proper.Present at the Mass this morning to hear the announcement was none other than Fr John Wong himself. He presides over the Mass most mornings as the Centre is just below the hill where the church is located. Also present were his students, the Aspirants, who served as the Choir.The church members present gave Fr Wong an applause after the announcement. Fr Wong in his short speech thanked the Archbishop for his trust and everyone for their prayers and pledged to do his best. The announcement took almost everyone by surprise because Fr Wong was due for transfer back to Sandakan, his hometown, at the end of this month. He infact spent last weekend there.Bishop John Wong was born on 6 June 1968. His promotion could not have come at a better time as it is the best birthday present for him. He was ordained a deacon at Sacred Heart Cathedral on 8 January 1998 and as a priest on 21 January 1999 at St Mary Church, Sandakan. On 18th Feb 1999 he became Assistant Rector of Sacred Heart.Congratulations to our new Bishop and a belated Happy Birthday![...]

What a Father's Day for me! (Part 2)


Mechanic Jo Jo did not get back into KK until nightfall. I didn't get my petrol drained and refilled them with diesel until 9pm+. He asked for RM30. I gave him RM50. It was a 'dirty' job though it looks and sound easy to most other people who are normally only good at talking. Most people would say "Itu senang saja bah tu" (that is easy enough) but when you asked them to help they would tell you to get a mechanic. This is the world that we live in or the reality that we have to face - that the world is full of people who only know how to talk and insist that they know everything. Jo Jo got his shirt soaked by petrol while underneath my Hi-Lux. Besides, he had an assistant. I figured the assistant would get only RM10 had I gave the RM30 Jo Jo asked for. So I gave RM50. As I said in my earlier post, you pay for the expertise. What is an extra RM20 to buy the goodwill of someone whose services I may continue to need from time to time, including helping a friend in need? Happy Father's Day!

(Footnote: Jo Jo's workshop is just cross the road from the Jalan Lintas Petronas station near the airport. I am tempted to put his tel no here but then I don't have his permission. Today's episode has reminded me that even a mechanic deserves the utmost respect. But if you have an emergency, call me and I'll gladly redirect you to him.)

I'll Never Dance Again by Herman's Hermits


Another down memory lane song I used to sing as a bandboy in the 60s-70s. In the mood bah, today's Father's Day bah. Apart from this one, other Herman's Hermits songs I used to play and sing included My Sentimental Friend and I'm Into Something Good. My friends who were teenagers between the 60s-70s would find this sentimental and walk down the lane with me. This was a British band whose fame was second perhaps only to their fellow-Brits, the Beatles. Enjoy.

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Joan Baez - We Shall Overcome


Time flies. It has been a month since I posted We Shall Overcome sung by Joan Baez at the White House for President Obama and family.
Today, Father's Day, I chanced upon this original version sung by Joan in 1963, the year her record was released. Notice it says "Original Vinyl 7" Single" on the cover. Yes, it walks me down memory lane. Kids of today have the Internet. They have E-Mail, Facebook, Twitter, Friendster, MySpace, You Tube, blogs and what have you. They also have Astro so that they can see live World Cup matches all the way from South Africa- some in HD, mind you. My generation (I was born in 1954) - we had nothing. No telephone, let alone IPhone or Smartphone. No radio (not the first few years of my life), let alone TV. The only entertainment was the cinema. Itupun pandai putus filem dan kerusi rotan dia ada bangking! The disco was not invented yet, let alone Karaoke. Kids nowadays are using MP3. Ours was the good old Vinyl Record like Joan's, even then it was only for those families who could afford one. The tape recorder came much later, in the 1960s, using literally tapes; unlike now digital. Then you had the big catridge which you play in the car, followed by the casette which was later replaced by the CD. So I grew up (in the 1960s) listening to the Beatles, Bee Gees, Shadows, Ventures, Rolling Stones, Cliff Richard, Elvis, etc on vinyl records or what Sabahans called Piring Hitam which literally means Black Record. If you tell this to kids nowadays, their standard reply will be: "Itu dulu!" (That was before). Sorry there is no picture of the young Joan on the record cover but anyway enjoy listening to the good old Piring Hitam. Kids nowadays are lucky because they call listen or watched what their parents used to decades ago - thanks to the Internet. The guys who invented Internet and You Tube should be given the Sabah Datukship or Malaysian Tan Sriship. Happy Father's Day. Happy listening!
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What A Father's Day for me!


Something happened to me around noon time, a couple of hours ago, which spoilt my otherwise Happy Father's Day.It took me quite a while to decide whether to share this with you, for it may be embarrassing. I finally decided to share in order not to be selfish - least the information may be useful to you one day.To cut the long story short, I went to the Petronas station to fill petrol (or rather diesel) for my Toyota Hi-Lux twin-cab, otherwise known as Vigo (a name which UMW Toyota does not recognise, although that may be the name in other countries.)After I inserted the pump into the petrol/diesel tank, I walked into the station just to see if there was anything I could buy. As I was walking back to my vehicle, a pump attendant asked me "Uncle, you filled with petrol or diesel?"Alamak! I was like being struck by lightning! I filled with petrol instead of diesel!!! First time in my life!Can't blame the attendant because he wasn't around when I chose. In any case, it's now supposed to be self-service.Instead, I should thank him for his alertness as he was trying to help me put the pump back into its place. Had it not been for his alertness, I would have started my engine and that would indeed be a COSTLY mistake!So, for the benefit of those who do not know, Rule No.1 when you across such a situation is NEVER start your engine, even if it's just to move your car to the side.The owner of the station (a Malay lady) instructed her workers to push my car to the side. She also gave me the phone number of a nearby mechanic who is supposed to be on stand-by, just like a doctor on call. The owner was very helpful as I am her regular customer. Loyalty pays, I suppose.I got through to the handphone of the mechanic, whose workshop is just across the road (Lintas highway near the airport). Today is Sunday, so his workshop is closed. But just call, said the lady owner, for he would help as long as he is around.But luck was not with me. The mechanic (Jo Jo is his name, reminds me of Father Jo Jo) was on his way to Keningau and would only be back late this afternoon. He called his friends but none of them was available, today being Sunday and eve of schooling day tomorrow.The alert worker, prompted by his lady boss, said he might be able to help if there is a hole below the fuel tank. But this is new model Hi-Lux and there wasn't any. The only option is to pump the petrol out and he did not have a pump. He could actually use a rubber hose to suck out the petrol if he wanted to but since he didn't offer that I didn't want to force him, after all it wasn't his job.The only other option left is to wait for the mechanic to come back from Keningau, since according to the owner it's his field of specialisation. There is no point to tow the vehicle to a workship or UMW - today being a Sunday. I need the vehicle since tomorrow schooling starts and my wife is a teacher. My two other cars are used by my sons. Nasib si bapa! Happy Father's Day!I am about to go back to the station to wait for the mechanic. According to the station worker, it should cost between RM20-30. Even if it were RM40-50, I wouldn't mind. You have to pay for expertise or things you can't do yourself! Which reminds me a story of a tourist in Hawaii commenting to a street vendor that his straw hat was too costly at US$10. The vendor took the straws apart and said to the tourist: "What you are paying for, Sir, is not so much the straws or the hat, but rather the expertise in turning the straws into a hat!" The tourist walked away embarrassingly.Got to go now, wish me good luck. Will report back to you later.[...]



I first heard this song almost ten years ago when I first got involved in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) movement. In late 1999 I was introduced to the Friday English Prayer Meeting (now known as the Bethel Prayer Group) of my Church, the Sacred Heart Catheral in Kota Kinabalu. I liked the song instantly because of both the wordings and the music/tempo. Infact, I can spend hours ecah day at home or in the car just listening to this song and singing along softly. In no time I found myself singing this song at the Prayer Meeting or at the funeral parlour while strumming my guitar as I was a member of the Benevolent Ministry, part of the Prayer Group. I also sang it at the end of my sharing at a Life In The Spirit Seminar at the St Simon's Church, Likas a few years back organised by the Prayer Group. I was backed by my sons on the guitar and saxophone then. Howver, for years I only got to hear it through the cassette or CD as to the best of my knowledge no video or karaoke version was recorded. So, minutes ago I was plesantly surprised to find this karaoke version on the Internet or to be exact the Facebook. The power of the Net and Facebook and Youtube! Praise the Lord! Thanks to Linda Cabanlit (I introduced CCR to her and husband Alex) who posted it on her Facebook homepage. I think she got it from one Victoria who in turn got it from Scott's EmulSon. The version I posted here is from someone else, so I don't know who first produced and posted it on the Net. Anyway, the composer is Mr Jude Antoine who was the main speaker at the Seminar where I did my sharing and that was partly why I chose this song to end my sharing, apart from the relevant wordings. Forgot the name of the guy who sang this song but he is a West Malaysian Chinese guy who also sang the theme song in the Proton Saga TV advertisements in the 1980s. And the best part is he wasn't even a Christian when he recorded this song. Nonetheless, he was chosen for his voice. I guess that was why Proton chose him too. He said as he was on his way to the studio, he was still learning the song, being a non-Christian and the song having been just composed by Jude. This guy is also popular at dinner functions or shows throughout Malaysia, having sung in Kota Kinabalu at least twice in recent years. Since 1999 I have learned a lot of Christian/Gospel/Charismatic songs, being a musician, but I guess I like this one best apart from a few others. Even the Filipino doctor and wife team who used to come here to give us talks at seminars liked this song and asked if I could give them the CD so they could learn and sing it in the Philippines while doing missionary work! Mabuhay! Thanks Jude, you coverted a lot of former Christians-in-name through this song, me included. May God bless you and your family.

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IN PERFORMANCE AT THE WHITE HOUSE | Joan Baez - "We Shall Overcome" | PBS


Here is Joan Baez singing We Shall Overcome at the White House soon after Obama became President in 2009. Decades had past since she first made this song famous at the height of the Civil Rights Movement started by the blacks in the 1950s/60s. Imagine how she must have looked in her younger days and of course her voice then. If I am not mistaken, she sang this song during the March on Washington led by the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr, during Woodstock and again during Obama's inauguration. Anybody can confirm this? I will appreciate it. I have suddenly become interested in US history especially the Civil Rights Movement because there is a lot to be learnt from it, though unfortunately man's memory is short. Pay attention to the wordings and you will understand why I'm so much into it. Simple though the wordings may be, the song together with A Change Is Gonna Come was enough to capture the imagination of the black Americans which eventually won them freedom from slavery and equal rights with the whites especially the right to vote and education and health. Which reminds me of the song Berjaya which was the 'anthem' of the Berjaya Party which defeated the Usno-led Alliance Party in 1976 in Sabah. During the April 1976 State general election, nobody would dare bet that the all-powerful Alliance would fall to the 9-month-old Berjaya; not with memories of detention at the infamous 'Kepayan University' still fresh in their minds. I mean, before the Federal Government took away the special detention powers of former Usno strongman and former Chief Minister Tun Datu Mustapha, the mere mention of his name or Kepayan (prison) was enough to make the average Sabahan shiver! Indeed, in April 1976 Sabahans (majority of them at least) OVERCAME! although a different song (Berjaya) was used.
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New Orleans-- We Shall Overcome


This video is self-explanatory. It shows scenes of the aftermath of typhoon Catarina (hope I'm not wrong) which devastated South Eastern USA especially New Orleans when George W Bush was still American President. He was criticised by the American people for his slow response to the natural disaster. But that's not the reason why I'm blogging this. The reason is the song or background music sung by Bruce Springsteen. The title of the song is 'We Shall Overcome', a song made famous by black Americans at the height of their fight for Civil Rights between the 1950s-60s. One of those responsible for making this song famous was Joan Baez - though she is white. Since then, many other singers had recorded their own versions of the song - Bruce being one of them. This song was also sung during the famous March to Washington which culminated in the late Rev. Martin Luther King's famous "I Have A Dream" speech. Indeed, together with another song called A Change Is Gonna Come made famous by Sam Cooke, We Shall Overcome became an anthem for the civil rights movement. At least one former (white) US Presidents also used this rallying cry of We Shall Overcome in his speeches. By the way, I can't help but notice that most of the victims of New Orleans typhoon were blacks and I guess that's why the video producer appropriately chose this song. Hope you like the song. Enjoy and please feel free to comment.
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"Borneo Comes Together in Cyberspace"


"Borneo comes together in cyberspace" is the title of the lead story of today's update of Insight Sabah, a State Government-sponsored web site or portal, if you like, with the tagline "The Voice of Sabahans".

And rightly so, for the story is about the historic launch of a new portal dedicated to Borneo called k@Borneo which stand for key to knowledge on Borneo by Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman (photo courtesy of Insight Sabah). Next to Musa is Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili, whose federal ministry helped fund the project.

The best part is that the birth of this site was the result of the collective effort, for the first time, of relevant organisations from the three countries found on Borneo island - Indonesia (represented by Kalimantan), the Sultanate of Brunei, and Malaysia (represented by Sabah and Sarawak).

I took a look at the new site ( Just like anything new, give it time to grow. But what immediately attracted my attention was that there are already more than 140 books/titles about Borneo listed under the Bibliography section of k@Borneo. This is a treasure chest and should be useful to scholars and researchers alike.

Since my site is also about Borneo in general, I feel duty-bound to help introduce and promote k@Borneo. However, in order not to be accused of plagiarism, I leave it to you to find out more at and

Congratulations to both k@Borneo and Insight Sabah and happy surfing to my visitors.

Thank you.

My Chinese New Year (Part 3)


Yesterday, I wrote about the Yee Sang ceremony as a way to celebrate people or human day known as Cho Chat or the 7th day of the Chinese New Year (CNY).

However, it was a pity that I only managed to show you a sample picture of Yee Sang and a couple of pictures showing a typical Chinese family sitting around their Yee Sang.

Today, I managed to lay my hands on a couple of pictures of people (not necessarily Chinese) tossing the Yee Sang for the benefit of my non-Chinese visitors. However, it is just a co-incidence that both pictures comprise politicians from different political parties. It is not my intention to publicise them.

Meanwhile,today I also learnt a bit more about Cho Chat or People's Day. According to Chinese belief, the hen or chicken was created on the First Day, followed by the Dog, the Sheep, the Pig, the Cow and the Horse on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th Day respectively. Then, of course Man on the 7th Day.

Looks like ancient Chinese also have their own version of the Bible's Genesis or 1st Chapter; except that God rested on the 7th day after creation.

Once again, Happy CNY, Happy Birthday everbody and I welcome any comments, corrections, additions, even criticisms, of what I have written about CNY for the past couple of days. I studied Chinese only up to Primary Six level and I stand to be corrected.

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

My Chinese New Year (Part 2)


I was supposed to have blogged this yesterday but circumstances prevented me from doing so.I wanted to blog this yesterday because it was the 7th day of the Chinese New Year (CNY) or Cho Chat. Anyway, it's still the 7th day of the lunar calender in some parts of the world. (What an excuse!) So what is so special about the 7th day?Well, the Chinese believe that Cho Chat is a day for all human kind or the day when we were created. In other words, it's everybody's birthday including you and me! So happy birthday everybody!It is common knowledge that the Yee Sang (also known as Lo Sang or Lau Sang) is part of CNY ceremonies. The Chinese perform this ceremony at the start of the family dinner hoping that the year ahead would bring good luck or prosperity.(Pix above) A typical plate of Yee Sang. The main ingredient is raw fish. Nowadays, salmon is popularly used but those who can afford even use abalone. Other ingredients include peanuts. Notice the different colours of the ingredients. Some advertisements say "Colourful Yee Sang". I am not sure why the Chinese want their Yee Sang to be colourful but I suppose variety is the spice of life.In Chinese, Yee means fish and it sounds similar to having extra or leftovers. That's why they use fish including salmon as the ingredient; hoping that there will be 'extra' (money) for the family in the year ahead.Meanwhile, Sang means to live or to be alive. So Lo Sang means to have an easy life or easy to earn a living. Thus, when they do the ceremony, they try to lift the ingredients trapped by the chopsticks as high as possible. The Chinese believe that the higher you lift, the easier to earn a living or to have a better life.(Pix above) A Chinese family getting ready to mix their plate of Yee Sang during a CNY dinner.Thus, in view of the above, and although CNY lasts for two weeks, the 7th day (apart from CNY Eve during family reunion dinner) is a favourite day to do the Yee Sang. It is, afterall, their 'birthday'.In Malaysia which is a multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-religious country however, this ceremony is also participated by non-Chinese (e.g. Malays, Indians, Kadazans) when they visit the CNY Open Houses.Only yesterday, at Pandamaran near Klang in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak joined in such a ceremony at the humble house of an ordinary Chinese folk, much to the surprise and delight of the house-owner. This is the beauty of Malaysia.1Malaysia![...]

My Chinese New Year


Time flies, and it has been more than one month since my last post on 31 Dec 2009; and by the time I am in the mood to blog again it's Chinese New Year (CNY)!Today is already the 6th day of the CNY but it's not too late for me to wish you Gong Xi Fa Cai (or Kong Hee Fatt Choy in my native Hakka). This is because the Chinese celebrate their New Year for 15 days; culminating in Chap Goh Mei (the 15th day) on 28 Feb which happens to be my birthday, yahoo! So this month alone I will have two double-celebrations - the other being 14 Feb which is both Valentine's Day and Day 1 of CNY.So how did I celebrate my CNY which is Year of the Tiger? Well, first of all as usual we had our family reunion dinner on 13 Feb which is CNY Eve; except that this year instead of going back to my brother's in Tamparuli we just had a simple dinner here in KK; just the 5 of us - myself, my wife, our two sons, and my mother-in-law.This was because we had a morning flight on Saturday the 14th and therefore did not want to take any chance of missing the flight. Nonetheless, simple though as our dinner was, it was not without the Hakka dishes one would expect during CNY like Kiu Nyuk and Steamed Chicken. Coming back to the flight, although it was CNY Day 1, we (my wife & I) had to send my mum-in-law to her son's place in Ipoh, Perak where he works - something which we had promised her for some time and so we took advantage of the week-long school holiday (my wife is a teacher). After spending two nights in Ipoh and leaving my mum-in-law behind as requested, we moved south to Kuala Lumpur where we spent 3 nights before coming home (sweet home) in KK a few hours ago. The first nite in KL was spent in Mutiara Damansara which is quite a distance from downtown KL. There was a reason for that but I will only elaborate in my next posts.Most of our 2-day stay in KL city proper was spent along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman (TAR), known in the pre-Merdeka (Independence) days as Batu Road. The reason was simple - my wife wanted to buy from the traditional Indian textile shops which are aplenty along TAR road and they are all next to each other. Another beauty of TAR road (especially the stretch nearer Merdeka Square) is that once one has finished shopping at the textile shops, there is also the ultra-modern Sogo Shopping Complex selling more luxurious and branded items. If I am not mistaken, Sogo is a Japanese emporium chain just like Yao Han which was popular in the 1980s both in KL and KK but has since 'disappeared'. And both the Monorail and RapidKL are within walking distance too so you don't have to depend on the blood-sucking taxis.Another characteristics of Jalan TAR is that it is one of the oldest parts of KL so that most 2 or 3-storey shops were built between the late 1940s and the early 1950s after the 2nd World War. Infact, standing at what used to be Batu Road and looking at the old shophouses (some of which look as if they can collaspe any time), one may start wondering if he is actually in the middle of a city. Batu means stone in the Malay language. I am not sure why it was called such but a good guess would be it was one of the first, if not the first, KL streets to be paved after the War.Most men would not trail their wives when the latter shop for obvious reasons. So while my wife shopped and shopped, I had plenty of opportunity to explore Batu Road and surrounding areas on my own for two days,[...]