Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Opening Mt Kinabalu to climbers in September ‘optimistic’ despite new aftershock

RANAU: Nearly two months after the 5.9 magnitude earthquake hit Sabah on June 5, another tremor, at 4.4 magnitude, was reported yesterday about midnight at Kilometre 8, West Coast of Ranau.

According to Sabah Meteorological Department director Abdul Malik Tusin, the tremor was the 112th aftershock recorded since the earthquake in early June.

He disclosed that to date a total of 107 aftershocks had been recorded while the rest of the aftershocks were not fully detected.

“Out of the said number, 76 aftershocks were reportedly felt, including the most recent one last midnight,” he said.

In the meantime, geologist Professor Dr Felix Tongkul said the recent aftershock could be considered as one of the five or six main strongest aftershocks since the June 5 quake, with aftershocks possibly continuing to occur for several more weeks albeit with less frequency and smaller magnitudes.

“The epicentre of this tremor is still located within the aftershock zone in terms of geographical distribution and timing. Aftershocks may continue for several more weeks.


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Borneo Cultural Festival must resonate with travel agents

SIBU: Travel operators from Peninsular Malaysia and overseas have been invited for a familiarisation trip here during the Borneo Cultural Festival (BCF) as an effort to elevate the event to a higher level.

Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) deputy chairman Dato Andrew Wong, who disclosed this, said most of the operators are from the Peninsula while one or two are from China.

“At the moment, we are still targeting visitors within Sarawak.

“However, for this year, we have invited a lot of travel operators from outside Sarawak to visit us, in what we call a familiarisation visit during the BCF.

“We are working in collaboration with Sibu Travel Operators Association.

“The move is for us to better promote Sibu and BCF in future,” Wong, who is BCF organising chairman, told The Borneo Post.

He was asked if there were plans to promote BCF to the international arena.

Towards this end, Wong reckoned Visit Sibu Year 2016 would be the flag-off for BCF to be launched into the international stage.

“We have to do promotion for BCF before we can actually launch it onto another level. So, this is what I call the transition period,” he said.

BCF, into its 12th year, will kick off on July 30 and ends on Aug 8.

It goes by the same theme as last year – ‘Beauty in Ethnic Diversity’.


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Kuching to host national-level International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

KUCHING: The national-level celebrations for this year’s International Day of the World’s Indigenous People will be held in Kuching from Aug 7 to 10.

The celebrations, organised by the Indigenous People’s Network of Malaysia (JOAS), will be hosted by several indigenous organisations led by Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia) and will be held at the Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA) headquarters.

Sadia secretary general and JOAS steering committee member Nicholas Mujah said the event will see the participation of indigenous groups comprising Orang Asal from Sabah, Orang Asli from Peninsular Malaysia and the Dayak from Sarawak.

He explained the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People is observed on Aug 9 each year to promote and highlight the rights of the world’s indigenous peoples following the decision of the United Nations’ General Assembly on Dec 23, 1994.

In Malaysia, he added JOAS has been organising the celebration since 2008, rotating the venues between Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia. Sarawak is hosting the celebration for the third time, twice previously in Miri. Peninsular Malaysia will host the event next year.

“The indigenous people of Malaysia, which make up 13.8 per cent of the population, continue to face many issues and challenges that affect their rights as citizens of the country.

“Even though Malaysia endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in 2007 – which outlines the rights that the government should respect and recognise; the serious gaps in our laws, policies and administration continue to persist.

“As such, Malaysia’s indigenous peoples continue to assert their rights and are determined in their efforts to bring about positive change in the country,” he said to reporters at the Sadia headquarters here yesterday.

Nicholas also said he expected the celebration will attract a lot of interest from both locals and tourists alike, since it coincided with the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) to be held in Kuching.

Activities planned include cultural presentations by various indigenous groups on the evenings of Aug 7, 8 and 9, including a rare opportunity to witness performance by Orang Asli cultural troupe.


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TV drama will help promote Sabah tourism in Singapore

KOTA KINABALU: A family TV drama ‘Beyond Words’ to be shot by MediaCorp in Sabah would help promote the state in Singapore, and bring in more tourists from the island country.

The 30-episode series featuring popular Singaporean artists would be shot in various locations, including in and around Kota Kinabalu.

“Sabah has many beautiful places that would make a very good location for shooting TV drama.

I hope MediaCorp will continue to choose Sabah for its future shootings,” said Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai.

Speaking to reporters during a lensing ceremony and press meet with MediaCorp Singapore here yesterday, Bangkuai said STB always welcomed any ventures that could help introduce Sabah to foreign visitors.

He said over 25,000 Singaporeans visited Sabah last year and about 10,000 tourists from the country had spent their holidays here as of July this year.

“The shooting, which is expected to take a month to complete, would not only attract visitors from Singapore but also other countries where the drama will be aired,” said Bangkuai.



Monday, July 27, 2015

The best ever KK Jazz Festival to date

KOTA KINABALU: If the first night of the Kota Kinabalu Jazz Festival (KKJF) was mesmerizing, the second night was nothing short of scintillating.

With an estimated 4,000 people in attendance over both nights, the ninth edition of this glittery event might just be the best one ever.

“We have the most fabulous trumpeter, a great line-up of performers and fans came out in full force. After nine years, I think jazz has finally arrived in Kota Kinabalu,” said organising chairperson Jack Ong.

Also present on the second night of the festival was Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun.

“I think the standard is getting better and better every year, and the crowd is growing as well,”said Masidi, when asked to comment on the event.

“KKJF is fast becoming an event which is widely known in this part of the world. My hope is that it will eventually become the premier jazz festival in this region and I’m sure it can, one day.”

He also commended the efforts of the joint organisers, the Rotary Club of Kota Kinabalu (RCKK) and the Society of Performing Arts Kota Kinabalu (SPArKS).

“I think they’ve done a wonderful job, considering that all of them are volunteers. This is something that all of us in Sabah should be very proud of. The fact that they are able to attract quality performers indicates their confidence.”

Masidi wrapped up his statement by saying:“Tourism is one aspect, but the most important thing is the Sabahans’ ability to organise something of a world-class standard, and I think we are moving towards that.”

The first night of the festival saw outstanding performances by local and international talents alike, namely, Faizul Sany and The Hybrid, Headhunters and of course, the legendary Bobby Taylor.

It certainly raised the bar for the second night, but what unfolded exceeded all expectations.

Suria Buskers set the stage with their mixture of various genres, consisting of world music, pop and rhythm and blues, just to name a few. This highly experienced group of professional musicians, comprising of bands from Sandakan boasted a catalogue of music styles that best complemented the event.

Following Suria Buskers was Eilvane Chang, who is no stranger to the KKJF stage. Returning for the second time around, Eilvane reminded the crowd why they fell in love with her in the first place, displaying exceptionally smooth vocals and a repertoire the audience adored.

Eilvane, who is of the opinion that jazz is“one of the best genres out there,” shared her views on why it is an important genre to upkeep.

“To me, jazz is like an expression of life,”said Eilvane.“The thing about jazz is that everything is so unstructured; nothing is really set in stone. That’s kind of the way life is. Everything just happens and we make improvisations along the way. The same thing goes for jazz. It’s the best expression of life, in a musical way.”


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