Friday, August 31, 2007

Happy Merdeka!


I used to love to go out during the National Day to see the parades and celebrations, or watch them on TV.

Today, we decided to have some quiet time at home. No TV. Just a Digital Camera Magazine and little boy disturbing on and off.

I was born in the post Merdeka era. Don't really understand how bad it was in the colonial days. Just wondering, are we much better off now?

We are fighting against colonialism of another kind. Think about corruption, rising crime, lack of transparency, suppression of opinions, social injustice, racial extremism and racial discrimination, islamisation, inept leaders, misuse of public funds...

While the country is celebrating 50 years of independance, a greater segment of its society is still dependant on special priviledges for jobs, contracts, scholarships, discounts and whatever else you can think of. Independance? Hmmm.

Don't be too pessimistic la. Here are a few sobering reads for this Merdeka.

The social contract may once have seemed necessary to keep the peace but now it and the official racism that it is used to justify look indefensible: it is absurd and unjust to tell the children of families that have lived in Malaysia for generations that, in effect, they are lucky not to be deported and will have to put up with second-class treatment for the rest of their lives, in the name of “racial harmony”.

Four years on, corruption, facilitated by the pro-Malay policies, is unchecked. The state continues to use draconian internal-security laws, dating back to the colonial era, to silence and threaten critics. UMNO continues to portray itself to Malays as the defender of their privileges yet tries to convince everyone else that it is the guarantor of racial harmony. One commentator this week gently described this as a “paradox”. Hypocrisy would be a better word.
Think Malaysian - we do not have anything to lose except our mental chains.
The soap box orators of UMNO and its Youth Wing in particular have demanded that others respect the special rights and privileges of the Malays, while forgetting the fact that for the past five decades we – Malaysians – have had to put up with their own brand of small town politics incessantly.

Too tight fit

Pray pray

"When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites! They love to stand up and pray in the houses of worship and on the street corners, so that everyone will see them. I assure you, they have already been paid in full.
But when you pray, go to your room, close the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what you do in private, will reward you.
"When you pray, do not use a lot of meaningless words, as the pagans do, who think that their gods will hear them because their prayers are long.
Do not be like them. Your Father already knows what you need before you ask him.

Matthew 6:5-8

5 months old

He learned this neat trick some time ago.

To see more of little boy's photos at 4 months plus, click HERE.

Borneo Orchid Show 2007

Last Sunday we received news from a friend in Keningau that there was something interesting happening in town (gosh, Keningau people are even more updated than us). Uncle Hii came all the way to KK to watch the show. Out of curiosity, we went to check it out too. And we were glad we did!

There we orchids, orchids, orchids everywhere! Big orchids, small orchids; nice orchids, wierd orchids; colourful orchids, dull orchids; expensive orchids, cheap orchids (naa... they didn't put up the prices, I made this up). I was no orchid expert, and such a simple description definitely did no justice to the amazing array of flowers on show.

We dragged little boy along. He wasn't too happy being woken up from his Sunday sleep.

Anyway, the colourful flowers caught his interest. Besides orchids, there were also cactuses on show.

Not sure where did the flowers came from. Probably collected from orchid lovers' home all over Borneo. The Tenom Agricultural Park, famed for its Orchid Garden, participated too. There was a voting contest to select the orchid to be crowned as the official State Orchid.

Here's the winner. It's name was Paphiopedilum rothschildianum (what a mouthful). I knew it would win... I took the most number of its photos compared to the rest. According to the local press, "Among the notable features of this particular species are its petals which are spread out and resembles a Dusun doing the Sumazau traditional dance." Sure does, don't you think so?

Flower photography is no easy task. There were some guys who came with big cameras and close-up photography gears that day. Anyway, if you are interested to see photos taken with my little digicam, click HERE.

Little boy was tired at the end of the show. I wanted to show you the HUGE orchid plant with kelapa-sawit-like leaves in the background. Na, GIGANTIC would be a better word.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Pirates of the Klang Valley

From HERE.

As I have said before, Malaysians are very generous.
People rob our country and what do we do? We give them more money.
And worst, after that, we let them go, just like that.
Because if I were a betting man, I would bet my mother, my father, my wife and my children that these people will still be in positions of power, authority and influence after the next general election.
Nothing changes if we Malaysians do not change things. MERDEKA!

If you read the article, you will notice a vulgar word that keeps appearing... no prize for guessing which pirate club those guys belong to.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


This song is no ordinary song, I tell you.

I still remember vividly the setting where I first heard it. That was an afternoon in Kampung Marak-Parak, a secluded village faraway from the main streets of Kota Marudu. We went there on a mission trip with SIB Likas (English) during my younger days. To cut the long story short, we had to endure hours of torturous gravel roads to reach this no-man's-land with no electricity. And we sang that song with the local folks during the first service in a wooden church .

There was no transparency projector, no printed lyrics, no powerpoint, not even music instruments except for a little guitar (I think). But hey, those village folks sang it from memory! The tune was so melodious and uplifting, and before I knew it, they were dancing and sumazau-ing with outstretched hands! Man, they were sincerely enjoying every bit of the song! I thought in my heart then: wow, though they may seem like illiterate folks, but THIS must be a very meaningful song to them. I've gotta learn it!

From that day onwards, I was attracted to the indigenous churches and ministries in Sabah. I simply love the cross-culture experience that the SIB churches has to offer. At times I stick out like an anomaly in the SIB Bandar Keningau church, coz there was hardly any Chinese there. The little church would be packed with tanned and exotic-looking Dusuns, Muruts, Lundayehs, Sinos, Oms, Tators, Bajaus... and suddenly you have this bespectacled fair-skinned spiky-hair Cina-kui sitting in front.

Well, I don't care. I made some friends there.

I think the indegenous folks have a chromosome called Music in their genes. They make playing music seem so effortless. I've got this friend called Damian, who could play the keyboard, the lead and bass guitars, the drums, and probably a couple more instruments, without ever attending any formal music lesson, let alone recognising any taugeh on the 5-line bars. And he plays without looking at any scores or chords; he plays from his heart. COOL! If only I can do just a bit of that.

Just because I am hooked to indigenous churches, doesn't mean that I don't enjoy going to Chinese churches. Just that, I don't like to see a whole church full of Cina-kuis and nothing else. So boring. Don't agree with me? Well you better start to get along with one another, coz that's what's going to happen when Kingdom comes.

After this I looked, and there was an enormous crowd---no one could count all the people! They were from every race, tribe, nation, and language, and they stood in front of the throne and of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.
Rev 7:9

On and off, I still want to attend Mandarin services, coz that's the language that I grew up with, and one which I can worship most affectionately. But I don't think churches should be divided along racial lines, whether intentionally or not. It is bad enough that our race-based political parties set such bad examples, making racial harmony and unity efforts nothing more than empty rhetorics. In such a setting, the churches should play the role of demonstrating to the fragmented society that racial unity is indeed achievable, and the place to start looking is at the congregation. That's what I call Light and Salt. Shame on the racist bigots.

OK, we have digressed far enough to get from Tuaran to Tawau. Now back to the SONG story. Since that memorable day in Kampung Marak-Parak, I've heard and sang the song a many more times in different services, though not understanding much of it. I tried deciphering the song by looking up word by word in my Komoiboros DusunKadazan (borrowed from Auntie Lebing). Not much progress though. Coz in order to look up a word in the dictionary, one would need to identify the root-word minus the prepositions and postpositions which comes in many forms. Not easy. But anyway, thanks to the Komoiboros, I learned a few Dusun songs along the way, enough to impress the Dusun nurses and patients. That was FUN. You may ask me, heck why not just ASK SOMEBODY to translate that song for you?! Nah, that would be too easy. No challenge.

TODAY, the mystery is finally unveiled. Pastor Bios and his team of Borneo Praise Ministry singers had the Mamarayou song all laid out in English. Whew! What a great relief. It's a feeling... like watching Vanna White revealing the whole cube-line of words in the Wheel Of Fortune, and knowing you've had the correct answer in your mind all along!

Let's sumayau om suminding to mamarayou Diya!

P/S: The Borneo Praise Ministry has produced it's first CD compilation of worship songs in local tunes, including the Mamarayou song. This ministry, an extension of the SIB church, is still in its infancy and would definitely need your support. Enough la of Hillsongs and Don Moen, not bored meh, try la some local flavour ones mah. The debut CD is sold at RM 25 each. So if you have friends or contacts who may be interested, lead them to mikestation. I can ask my contact to purchase their orders (they pay la of course).

Little boy's new toy

Little boy has been putting his hands into his mouth a bit too often.

We figured maybe his gums are feeling itchy, or he may be growing teeth soon. But he hasn't yet learned how to wash his hands first before sucking on them. So it's not quite a hygienic practice. We decided to get this new toy for him.

Walla, the colourful chut-chut.

The bright and contrasty colour did caught his attention. He was even bragging about it to his grandparents. But not for long. Soon he found out that the chut-chut was tasteless and milkless. So he learned to spit it out and made it look like a game.

"Don't tipu me la. My hand is more tasty than this!". Sombong hor?

Back to the Ulu

Decided that we need to get out of the crazy city and chill out a bit in the kampung. So we drove back to Keningau and Tenom for some rest and recreation.

KK was like a furnace last week. Haven't seen a drop of rain for almost a week. It was really wonderful to find a downpour greeting us at the chilly peak of Gunung Alab, as we made a brief pitstop to soak in some mountain air before descending on to Tambunan. Have you ever gave thanksgiving for rain? Little boy thoroughly enjoyed the cool mountain air mixed with the fresh smell of rain.

Ah hah... talk about perfect timing. These thorny stuffs are in season!!!

My church friend in Keningau owns a rather big plot of orchard, now fruiting with durians, rambutans, cempedaks, avocados, pineapples... There are plenty of fruits to spare. On good days he comes out with 5 crates of durians, which he distributes to fruit sellers for about RM 4 to 5 per kg. When they reach KK, the price rockets to RM 12 to 14 per kg! Crazy one!!! Makan gold ka? We know of durian-diehard friends in KK who unashamely drove all the way to Sipitang (hmmm... about 2 hours away) just to seek out for cheap durians and came back with a full belly of 'em (try imagine what happens if somebody lets out durian 'gas' on the return journey).

And these pair of darlings were a wonderful surprise. They fetch a pretty good price, you know. I know... some of you are asking... these fruits got taste one meh? Yes, they are quite tasty, succulent and crunchy, at least those that we've tried.

And what better way to end a durian trip in a hot afternoon... Fresh young coconut water! Gulped down two of 'em that day. I don't want to end up with a sore throat after the durian feast.

Our Keningau friend was really generous to pack us a box of assorted fruits to bring back to the city. Man, his durians were really EVIL! Especially those long-thorned mountain durians. They literally melt in your mouth, not in your hands.

We also found some time to visit our ex-neighbour's orchard and had some catching-up with them. Revisiting the place brought back great nostalgia. Did I tell you that they are Boss' exact fulfillment to my prayer before I went to that faraway land called Keningau? I prayed for an auntie who could jaga my makan (so that I may reduce exposure to Ajinomoto in street food), better if the auntie has a daughter (hahahaa...). Well, I wasn't specific enough. This Auntie DID have a daughter, but was no longer available (therefore be specific when asking Boss for things in your prayers). When I first arrived, I was a naive bachelor. They had one married daughter and a bachelor son and no grandchildren. When I left, I became a dad; and they have two grandchildren and a third one coming soon. All in a span of 3.5 years. The orchard was where I spent most of my free time after work, walking among the fruit trees and comtemplating what on earth was I doing with my life. In the early days, I went hunting (with a real RIFLE) with Uncle Nga, trapped birds, jala fish and swam at the fishpond, plucked fruits, watched the river and time go by, walked around like taukeh kebun... man.. I wouldn't have tahan long in Keningau if not for them. 3.5 years later, so many things have changed. The son has left the orchard, leaving the elderly couple to manage it. Due to lack of manpower (and two grandchildren to care for), fruit production has dwindled. Most fruit trees are now replaced with oil palms (oil palms are easier to jaga. Those fruits ah, have to spray insecticide, have to wrap them up to keep away fruit-flies... lots of work!).

Little boy's grandparents too were very excited on seeing how much he had grown (and how manja and attention-seeking he is now).

As I have said before, and shall say again now, I am not a city creature. The slower pace of life in the districts, the simple friends, and the close encounter with nature are some of the things that I shall sorely miss.

The Lord's Prayer

After this manner therefore pray ye:

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.

Matthew 6:9-13

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Sabah problem

Now, everyone can be a Bajau.

Seems to be written by a doctor in Sabah. Not me though.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Negaraku in Rap

Who says the youths nowadays are not creative? I suppose there are many creative ones, like the guy below. Man, his production is almost professional.

Some fellas are obviously angry at him, labelling what him as seditious. Like those guys HERE and HERE. Seditious is a relative term, depends on who is doing the talking. If you're on the right side, you can even wave a keris or threaten to run amok, and still get away with it. If you can understand the song, do evaluate yourself whether it is true or not.

UPDATE 17.8.07: So much furore has been raised over this issue. For the uninformed, JeffOoi has a complete translation of the rap song HERE. By the way, our Negaraku tune was pirated from a song called Mamula Moon.

Am feeling really sick of our jokers in high positions, who seem to have nothing better to do than to use the force of law onto a 24-year-old for expressing what many Malaysian Chinese in this country are feeling. The LAW? Where is the law when it comes to corruption, rising crime rates, misappropriation of public funds, irresponsible speeches by leaders, poor governance, lousy buildings built on public funds...

Fast and pray for Malaysia please. I sincerely ask that you take a careful look at the issues HERE. And vote wisely in the next General Election.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Speaking up for the truth

Nice to know that somebody in the government has found courage and conscience to speak up against the big bullies.

The name is Bernard Dompok. Read HERE and HERE. Sure made the Sabahans proud, don't you think so?

I congratulate Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, UPKO President and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, for his honesty, courage and conviction in speaking the truth today that Malaysia is not an Islamic state.