Archive for the ‘Mount Kinabalu’ Category

The recent Sabah Quake has left a very damaging effect on Sabah and her people in all forms. The physical, psychological, spiritual trauma felt by Sabahans and friends of Sabah is one that cannot be erased so easily. As someone who has called Sabah my home for many years, I believe I speak for many that the Sabah Quake is a reminder of how insignificant we are to a land that had provided so much for so many. Clearly, life as we live it must take into account natures very living presence that is in as much of a position as human beings are in determining both life and death.

However, what I foresee to be the greatest burden befallen those effected by the quake is an economical one.The quake took 18 lives and left almost 20 people wounded and hurt. Over a hundred climbers were left stranded on the mountain, without other viable exit routes. Numerous homes and building in approximately 18 districts suffered structurally and more than 80 aftershocks recorded by the Meteorological Department, many more will soon be reported.

The point that I am making here is simple; There is a great need for funds designated to restoration works in Sabah. The local mountain guides (national heroes in my eyes) and affected local residents need to be taken care of till Mount Kinabalu is once again ready for climbers. In its current state, no climbers would even dare think of weathering Akinabalu and if climbers are no longer coming, an entire community that depends on this industry to make a living will be severely effected.

Recently in a conversation with Sabah Chief Minister, Musa Aman, I was told that he had appealed to several high ranking officers from PETRONAS ( a government endorsed oil and Gas conglomerate) to assist with the Sabah Quake victims. A verbal agreement was made between Aman and PETRONAS in which this special fund would serve as their CSR for Sabah. This has yet to take place, but for this assistance to make truly help, it needs to come in soon. Similarly, other successful companies and conglomerates need to come forward in a similar fashion. Anyone who has benefited from Sabah needs to pump resources back to the state immediately.

We can never blame anyone for the Sabah quake. Nature is unpredictable as it is beautiful and what happens within the realm of the natural is completely out of our hands. But what we can take complete control of are the aftermaths, the rehabilitation and and the recovery. If we fail to assist and support where it is needed, then blame is inevitable. Conglomerates, such as PETRONAS who have had the support of so many, need to take time from their busy schedule to realize that those servicing the Mount Kinabalu, a cherished and honored world heritage site, are in need of help. Help needs to come sooner rather than later, through swift action and not as lip service.

this piece was out today in the Sunday Daily Express forum

Lopsidedness is a matter of perspective. Consider this: 35% of Malaysia’s disposable income comes from the top six cities. The bottom 1000+ kampongs account for 35% of income. Of the rest of the income, 30% is in the remaining hundreds of towns. These are what some marketing pundits euphorically call the Tier-2 towns, places with perceived potential for immense growth. Does this Tier-2 layer really exist?

This must be judged from the headline news — “Malaysia’s August inflation seen steady at 1.4%”, “Falling Inflation”, “Bank Negara and the Malaysian economists celebrate volubly”. Is this really worth celebrating for all?

I was recently touring Kundasang, home to South East Asia’s highest mountain – Mount Kinabalu, also South East Asia’s largest cabbage and broccoli market which I’m very familiar with, as I was one of the pioneers years ago doing experiments on pesticides and introducing hybrid cabbage and highland vegetable seeds from Taiwan and Japan some twenty years ago. I can’t say people of Kundasang would celebrate a fall in highland vegetables i.e. cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli prices. Hundreds of farmers are mourning the crash of prices, sometimes to even below the cost of production.

The cost of cabbages has fallen at the farm gate by over 50% over just 6 months! Overall, prices have deflated over 30%. But it will take years before they could go up again.

Unfortunately, the farmer is not treated like an investor whose money commands the headlines, and who reports farm level profitability. No farmer ever computes his ROI (return on investment) on the land that he owns. It is inherited and comes for free to cultivate.

If we were to cost up all farm level production based on the cost of fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, weedicides, labour and land, everything will be ten times more expensive! Not many recognise this, but Malaysian agriculture is highly subsidised by the farmer who treats the cost of land as free.

Think about the positives of inflation for a moment. How many people know how inflation is computed actually? There are 435 articles or commodities across three major groups that are taken into consideration and given different weights. Milk has the highest weight (4.4), rice is (2.44), weights for all fruits and vegetables are less than that of milk.

This raises another question: how many times do the media complain about the cost of milk? Cabbages and most highland vegetables have a collective weight of 0.54, jagung (corn) even less (0.09). Then, why are corn prices more of an issue than cabbages? The Malaysian farmer would say that vegetables and fruits get unfairly low attention in the context of the perceived causes of inflation. I want to argue that farmers need inflation for a better living.

When I did economics as one of my first year papers in uni, as a student, I was taught that “a little inflation is not such a bad thing”. But how ‘little’ is little? The bigger issue is, 65% of Malaysia that lives off agriculture, will have to suffer from curtailed income due to deflation. And this clearly takes money out of the hands of semi-urban and rural people.

Would the Tier-2 story stand then with just 2% inflation? I would think not.

One also begins to wonder about the policy-making process and about those who are entrusted with the hallowed job of policy-making as well. Time and again, we have seen that Parliament is not where policy is made; it seems as though it is an arena where political parties stage their differences in acts of one-upmanship.

Policymakers are influenced heavily by three kinds of people: the man in the street types who just look at day-to-day gains and valuation; the politicians who do not understand economics when it is separated from politics; and the global investors who are at best opportunists and who treat Malaysia like a cell in a game of snakes-and-ladders.

The point is, good intentions of a few policymakers are not getting translated into ground reality at the farm level. There is too much media glare on produce prices than is required.

There is an urgent need for a fresh look at the needs of specific businesses in rural Malaysia, in terms of supply chain infrastructure, training and financial support. One size does not fit all. Individual ministries must debate thoughts and ideas with commercial businesses at the grassroots level, to understand the travails and opportunities.

Meantime, surely the dreams of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies and other categories must be put on hold till the work performed by farmers in smaller towns and kampongs for their livelihood becomes profitable again. Some inflation is surely good.

Dearest Readers and Commenters,

2011 has been an interesting year and we hope that 2012 calms down a whole bunch in comparison. The world needs peace and quiet instead of turmoil and war. So if wishes come true…..Peace on Earth and Goodwill to Men…..

I hear that statement every year, but maybe it is time to make it happen. The world can become a far better place….

As for me, I am just going with the flow. Listening to some good music and consuming some “no good”.

Anyway, we’re done with another complete year. Isn’t it awesome? The year was full of surprises. Nothing was easily predictable. Life is such. Or else how and why we’d be happy or sad about anything! Am I getting philosophical?

Wanna write a little politics here, sorry! Yes, Barisan National has been big failure in controlling the prices of basic necessities of Malaysians.The prices of food, fuel, land, house rentals, clothes, provisions, groceries etc.have all reached sky high.

Millions and millions of our money are collected as Tax every year and most of it is spent for some screwed up projects, cows, condos and for defense.

Will this help in removing poverty from Malaysia?

The salary or income of ordinary people have not increased.

So how can common man survive in Malaysia and along with this Corruption is also high.

So the expected gift of Barisan Govt to Malaysians on New Year 2012 will be a big blow in the back of common people in the form of all the price hikes.

Anyway, lets just forget about politics now, want a make me puke!

Lets get to the New Year.

Here’s a toast to 2012! Some wine too!

Well! 2011 started on a busy note. So many thoughts. And blogging was obviously one of the best things of 2011. Blogging was quite a journey of learning. Every new post I write renews my spirits. And every comment I get, it gives such a pleasant feeling.

I wholeheartedly thank all of you for being there, for taking time to read my writings, for extending such a huge support and for adding significant value to me and my blog. It means so much that I can’t express enough!

Like any other year, months passed and every day was an experience of its own in 2011. You love a moment. You detest a moment. You are active. You are not. You enjoy. You complain. You plan. You succeed. You don’t. You act wise. You act foolish. You dream. You wish. You ask. You demand. And everyday was a mixture of emotions. You are content. You regret.

At the end of the day you go back to bed after experiencing a valuable day of life. And before you do, you already have thoughts running in your head about tomorrow. Life’s colorful, no? And there are people around to make it so. They love you. They like you. The feeling that you matter to another person in itself is very beautiful and keeps us going.

I’m sure the coming year too will be no different. But I want it to be even brighter. And I hope there will be many proud moments.I hope I will write more. And I hope I’ll get to read more random musings, thoughtful articles, and great insights.

I don’t make any formal resolutions but there are things I wish for. I want to learn to meditate more. Yes, many more. I want to see Malaysia grow into a great nation.

That’s it for now. Have fun. Smile often. We’ll give 2012 a warm welcome. No, the world is not going to end. I prefer to believe so. So, be prepared for another roller-coaster of 365 days. With a wide smile!

Wish you 2012 will bring great success in life. Have a good health and be happy! Dare to follow your dreams!

I end here with a picture of me at the top of Mount Kinabalu which I did on this 29th of December which happens to be my 3rd time up the sacred Mount Kinabalu. Here is my first climb and my Second Climb.

Happy New Year 2011 Everyone!






This is my second climb to  Mount Kinabalu. See here the climb I did last year.

Before I started the climb to Mount Kinabalu, I stayed overnight in Kampong Kibbas, Ranau with a good friend of mine Emit Mandadi.

Next day after breakfast, gathered my bag together with my friend Emit drove to the base of the Mount Kinabalu and arrived at Timpohon Gate at around 8.30am where we actually started our climb together with my guide Biling Bin Sanan a very nice Dusun gentleman.

When I reached about 3Km stopped at the “Pondok Mempening” hut and ate my packed lunch as it was almost noon. Couldn’t finish the packed lunch but I manage to feed the balance food to the many squirrels which were so friendly and one even came up to my hands and got its share of food. It was a nice feeling. The lunch pack consisted of 1 fried chicken, a few sets of sandwiches and 2 boiled eggs.

Reached Laban Rata Km6 by 1pm. It was cold and misty and it started to rain. My accommodation was in Gunting Lagadan.

There was no hot shower in Gunting Lagadan and boy it was really cold taking shower in the evening before dinner at Laban Rata. By 9.30pm I was aready tucking myself into the bunk as had to be up by 1.30am the next day for the remaining 3km to Low’s Peak.

My aim now was to get to Low’s Peak and back to Laban Rata for breakfast and then back to the base of Mount Kinabalu (Timpohan Gate) on the very same day.

So did I make it????

HELL YES!!!! *grin* Yes, I made it again to the Rooftop Of South East Asia, the summit, Low’s Peak 13345 feet above sea, at exactly 5.12 am on the 29th of November 2010. Exactly 1 year 1 month from my previous climb.

What an INCREDIBLE experience, just like the last time…so much emotions, but, was a little confuse this time, don’t know why. So much things was going on in my mind.

Anyway, slowly made my way up, right to the Peak. It certainly was NOT an easy climb compared with the climb I made last year as it was raining all the way. Gripping on to the wet rope in the dark was quite a challange! It was only on my descent that I realised just how far I could have fallen if I had slipped. Additionally, the rain did not make my descent any easier as the rocks were darn slippery and I really had to watch my footing and balance.

My mountain guide Billing was such a great chap and a great motivator always telling me ‘dekat sudah bah’. These mountain guides really know their way on the mountain and know exactly where to step for an easier climb.

My verdict this time? Mount Kinabalu isn’t there to be conquered. If anything, she is there to be respected. The climb wasn’t just all physical. In fact, it was more mental than anything. My climb showed me that hey, anything is possible if I just put your mind to it.

Mount Kinabalu –ah! anything more beautiful, taking it altogether, I have never seen and I say this the 2nd time. There could only be one such mountain in the world, and as a landmark it is priceless. I knew that I could not mistake that and this is from my HEART.

In conclusion… INCREDIBLE, FANTASTIC, MAGIC… and hard but manageable, just like the first climb.

Strange, just like the last time, even after 3 days my heart is still calling for the mountain! It’s an energy of many dimensions and I confirm it again.

I  really appreciate now the great work Sabah Parks is putting in to keep this priceless mountain as it is. Well done Sabah Parks! Thanks to Thomas Yussof my friend from Sabah Parks.

And one last word…”Please don’t allow others to hijack Mount Kinabalu as it truly belongs to the DUSUNS!”

Yes, its Kaamatan time again!

The most important festival of the Kadazan Dusun Murut people, who are traditionally rice farmers, who honour the rice spirit, during the month long Kaamatan festival.

Happy Harvest Festival to all my relatives and friends where ever you are, also not forgetting Huguan Siou Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan & Datin – Kotobian Do Tadau Tagayo Do Kaamatan.

For this Kaamatan, I give you guys a Kadazan Dusun song for your listening pleasure. This song is also for Rosdiana Wasimin of Kundasang. Here goes….’ Sayang Kinabalu’

The Sabahsightseeing staff had a FAREWELL dinner for their boss Ambrose Obon  and I too was invited. It was like one last dinner with Ambrose as  he will be leaving  us to start his own Tourism company, a direct friendly competitor to TATT in the making.  So toasts were made, some good-byes were said, and accolades for the session were given, before all return as competitors.

Ambrose, my good friend from the Pasok days will be leaving us immediately. Ambrose did a good job as Manager of Sabahsightseeing as he had turn around the branch which was year marked to be closed down before he took over due to low sales.

I want to thank Ambrose for opening up opportunity for me to learn so much about tourism and its products by allowing me to hang out in the Wisma Sabah office, and I want to thank also the staff of Sabahsightseeing for allowing me a chance to share one of my passions with people who were interested in my topic while I was hanging out with them.

Anyway, the dinner itself started quite normally, we ate, drank some beers and just had fun talking about anything and everything. Overall it was a great dinner, and I really enjoyed myself that night and so was everyone. Thank you Emily for organising this in such a short notice.

To Ambrose, if you ever read this, I’ll pray for your success. I hope our paths cross again, but if they don’t…please know that you’re been a wonderful part of my life during my 9 months in Sabah. I’ll take what you said to heart, that friends should always bring out the best in each other. And remember, it is said that the only thing you can count on to remain the same is the very concept of change. Life moves on, and hopefully we grow and move along with life. See you !! Read my blog often so that I’ll have motivation to update it on your behalf : I’ll try to visit you sometimes in your new outfit.

Thank you. Wish you luck my friend.

See here and here

Sorry folks for the long drought. Really busy the past week preparing for my pilgrimage to Mount Kinabalu.

Yes, I made it to the Rooftop Of South East Asia, the summit, Low’s Peak 13345 feet above sea, at exactly 5.12 am on the 28th of October 2009. What an INCREDIBLE experience…I never felt so much emotion in my life…

Mount Kinabalu –ah! anything more beautiful, taking it altogether, I have never seen. Even the geology in me was put into good use, Mt Kinabalu in geological terms is a young mountain, a massive granodiorite with much sedimentary and ultrabasic and basic igneous rocks seen everywhere.The peak of the most varied form rose high into the air, partly covered with driving clouds. It was sharp and it glittered — a glorious spectacle. There could only be one such mountain in the world, and as a landmark it was priceless. I knew that I could not mistake that.

In conclusion… INCREDIBLE, FANTASTIC, MAGIC… and hard but manageable… but you need to be prepared when you are over 50.

Strange, even after 3 days my heart is still calling for the mountain! It’s an energy of many dimensions.

Anyway, I will like to take this opportunity to thank the one person who made this pilgrimage possible – Rosdiana Wasimin of Tanjung Aru Tours And Travel, Sabah, thank you Rose!

I shall blog about my journey another time but for now I want you to listen to this song “Speed of Sound” by Coldplay