Sunday, May 31, 2015

Harvest Festival promotes cultural diversity

PENAMPANG: Pesta Kaamatan or the Harvest Festival, which is traditionally celebrated by the Kadazan, Dusun and Murut communities in Sabah, is capable of promoting cross-cultural understanding, tolerance and acceptance of ethnic, cultural, religious differences, said Sabah Deputy Chief Minister, Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan.

Pairin, who is also chairman of the state’s main committee for the celebration, said the occasion also created a sense of belonging and strengthened cooperation between the various ethnic groups.

“This year, in keeping with the times, the theme of the Harvest Festival is “Peace and Unity Through Culture”.

“This theme is very apt in helping to address polemics on  issue of racial extremism which can bring about disunity and tension in our  multiracial society,” he said at the closing of the state-level Harvest Festival celebration here yesterday.

The closing ceremony was officiated by Sabah Yang Dipertua Negeri, Tun Juhar Mahiruddin.

Pairin said efforts in maintaining security and unity in a multi-cultural society should not solely be the responsibility of the government.

“This is a collective responsibility. The generation today decides whether we can appreciate, harness and inherit this cultural diversity as a solid foundation for the people of 1Malaysia,” he said.


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Sabah Harvest pageant to showcase five new traditional costumes

SEVERAL variants of the traditional costumes during the finale of the state-level Unduk Ngadau this year will be another attraction at the most anticipated peak of the Kaamatan festival celebration.

Participants from Lahad Datu, Sook, Kemabong, Keningau and Beaufort are expected to wear five newly-introduced traditional costumes which have been accepted by the organizing committee as the new addition to the other costumes that are being worn at the beauty pageant.

Organizing chairperson Joanna Kitingan said they had been emphasizing on new representations of the traditional costumes from each district by encouraging the district-level coordinators to come up with costumes that had not been highlighted before.

“We have many ethnic groups under the Kadazan, Dusun and Murut (KDM) group. Each ethnic has their own variant of clothing that can be worn by the Unduk Ngadau. That is why we need to go back to basics and refer to our own history to find out what we can present to showcase the uniqueness of KDM women.

“It is a good thing to discover something new because we want our people to be aware of the history. The reason why we want to return to basics is because we are looking at the evolution of our traditional costumes,” she said.

This year, Unduk Ngadau representing Lahad Datu, Euphrasia Christe Majalang Lusoc will be walking on the stage of the Hongkod Koisaan with Dusun Subpan costume called Minglap (top) and Tapik (skirt).

Meanwhile, Angela Felix of Sook will be wearing the Murut Bookan costume, which is another variant of the Murut attire. The top part of the Murut Bookan costume is called Sulayau, while the skirt is Tapik Kinangkaringan. Head gear, which is a fluffy and colourful feather tucked in the hair bun called Sikot is something new and refreshing.

Kemabong representative, Cehrolley Judah will be parading her Murut Kemabong costume, which is embroidered with mostly red, yellow and blue beads. Colourful beaded accessories on her arm and neck are another new thing that will add the excitement of the pageant this year.


It's Sarawak laksa again for Anthony Bourdain

KUCHING: Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain is in town. He bought everyone breakfast, again at Choon Hui Kopitiam, on Friday.

Bourdain has taped shows in Sarawak twice, and on both occasions he has featured Choon Hui Kopitiam, which is rare. His first visit in 2005 was for Travel Channel's No Reservation.

On this visit, Bourdain, who will be here until June 3, is filming an episode of CNN's Parts Unknown.

The New York chef turned writer and TV presenter started taping at the popular family run kopitiam Friday morning.

Dressed casually in a black "The Warriors" t-shirt and jeans, Bourdain ate Sarawak laksa, filmed for about two hours and paid the bill for everyone.

"His people arrived first around 8am then he came at 9am. It was a typical busy morning. We knew he was coming but we didn't do anything special.

"Ten years ago, he also came for Laksa," said Myap Chin, one of the owners of the family business, which is synonymous with Sarawak laksa and Kuching.

Chin said Bourdain appeared to enjoy his breakfast.

"He also ordered a kopi-c-peng (iced milk coffee)," she said. "We know he is really famous because other people have been sending us photos of him eating Laksa," Chin laughed.

Bourdain, who has a social media following of millions, tweeted a photo of his breakfast, which received over 1,200 likes by lunch time.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: It's Sarawak laksa again for Anthony Bourdain

Friday, May 29, 2015

Tanjung Puting – cruising the rivers of Borneo

One of the driving factors behind my visit to Indonesia was the desire to take a trip by klotok, a houseboat where we would eat, sleep, and live, with a captain, guide, crew, and cook, up the Sekonyer river through the jungles of Borneo.

I have always wanted to see exotic places, the wilder the better, and the jungles of Borneo seemed about as exotic and wild as I could think of.

We flew to Pangkalan Bun, and were taken to Kumai, where we boarded the Kunang Kunang, which means Fireflies (I thought she said French fries! said Emily, hahaha).

Most of the klotok on the river are newer than the Kunang Kunang, but our boat is made of expensive, sturdy ironwood, and she is beautiful.

We spend most of the day cruising along the river. The klotok is well-equipped with a deck with wooden chairs, a shady area with mattresses, bean bag chairs, and hammock, a dining area, and an open-air washroom.

The crew spend most of the time below deck, where there is a library, a space for the captain, and a kitchen, where the cook makes us assorted dishes three times a day, on top of fried bananas, drinks, tea, and coffee for snacks in between.

When Louis Leakey’s three famous students set off to study the great apes, Jane Goodall headed to Africa to study chimpanzees, Diane Fossey made a name for herself studying the gorillas in Africa, and Canadian Biruté Galdikas came to Borneo to study orangutans.

The main draw of these klotok tours is to visit the orangutan feeding stations when the rangers call to them and leave out fruit.

The orangutans are semi-wild, most having been rescued, rehabilitated, and released as part of Professor Galdikas’ efforts.

We visit Tanjung Harapan the first afternoon, Pondok Tanggui in the morning on the second day, and arrive at Camp Leakey later that afternoon before beginning our journey back to Kumai on the third day.

The journey to Camp Leakey takes an hour and a half by speedboat, but the journey by klotok is way cooler.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Tanjung Puting – cruising the rivers of Borneo

Film makers interested to shoot films in Sarawak

KUCHING: Sarawak has the potential to become a shooting venue for film makers from China and Korea.

The Asean International Film Festival and Awards (Aiffa) was a success with the presence of around 400 delegates from all 10 Asean countries and international superstars Datuk Jackie Chan and Datuk Michelle Yeoh.

“Aiffa held from April 9 to 11 celebrated the best films from the Asean region. It created a lot of buzz for Sarawak with almost one million likes on Jackie Chan’s Facebook,” said Tourism Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Datu Ik Pahon Joyikat at the Ministry of Tourism Sarawak’s appreciation night here on Wednesday.

“In America, the monetary value of one ‘like’ on FB is USD1.60. So, Jackie Chan’s FB alone brings a gigantic value,” he added.

He said Aiffa aimed to market Kuching and the state as a filming destination within the Asean region.

Some film makers from China and Korea had shown interest to shoot films here.

A group of film producers, film directors and media from China and Korea were present at Aiffa Film Biz World Seminar and Exhibition where they shared and discussed areas of collaborations and education under the Asean-China and Asean-Korea forum.

According to him, Sarawak visitors and delegates at Sarawak Tourism Complex, Sarawak Cultural Village, Borneo Convention Centre Kuching, Kuching International Airport and fans here make up to 15,000 visitors.


Thursday, May 28, 2015

42 beauties and new costumes in 2015 State Unduk Ngadau

KOTA KINABALU: The battle for the State-level 2015 Unduk Ngadau title began in earnest yesterday with 42 girls registering themselves at Le Meridien Hotel here.

They will be further groomed during a five-day programme en route to competing in the finale on May 31.

Meticulously planned by State-level organising committee headed by chairperson Joanna Kitingan, the programme which started yesterday, included talks on culture and customs, motivation and conservation, in the belief that the knowledge would enhance their chances of winning the coveted crown.

After the registration, the 42 girls checked into the Le Meridien Hotel and then proceeded to a briefing session.

Last night, Huguan Siou Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, hosted a Sodop Pintutunan (introduction night) for the beauty pageant finalists, where his wife, Puan Seri Genevieve Kitingan presented a sash to each participant.

It was also the prejudging of the Creative Evening Gown wear based on ethnic motif, the winner of which will be announced on May 29 during the Sodop Unduk Ngadau or the Gala Night.

Joanna said, the expectations of the organizer were getting higher and higher each year, especially with the newly introduced subsidiary title this year, Miss Conservation WWF.

“The Unduk Ngadau winner is supposed to be able to exude a high degree of moral because they are representing the Kadazan, Dusun and Murut women. We are also looking at a winner who can be the role model to the younger generation and has a spirit of voluntarism in being willing to sacrifice her time for the community, besides being intelligent to ably present our country, culture and tourism to the world.


Sibu Cultural Heritage Museum aims to be more informative

SIBU: The Sibu Cultural Heritage Museum Committee is looking at ways to make museum exhibits more informative to attract more visitors.

Chairman Temenggong Vincent Lau said the changes would hopefully be in time for Visit Sibu Year 2016.

“We hope to attract not only locals but outsiders as well,” he told a press conference yesterday.

Lau said they would engage the help of experts to help improve the labels of exhibits.

“Just like we did for the exhibits’ catalogue before; we had experts from China who came here last year, and they helped us with the catalogue. They came up with a report and a CD,” he said, adding the same experts would return in July.

Lau said information on some of the exhibits that had historical value would be printed and given to public libraries and schools.

“We intend to make our brochure more informative. Copies of the brochure will be placed at various strategic locations, like places of tourist attraction,” he said.

Lau said the exhibits are rich in cultural and historical value.

“We’ve about 5,000 items, which include the latest collection from Mukah Civic Centre; 25 pieces of artefacts during colonial times donated by a member of the public last year; and two new Chinese calligraphy collections this year.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

‘I can’t believe I just did that’ - Aussie climbs Mt Kinabalu in Borneo

TACKLING the highest mountain in South-East Asia is difficult and challenging but you don’t have to be an experienced climber to do it.

Mt Kinabalu in Sabah, Borneo, towers 4095 metres above sea level. Its summit plateau is made up of sloping granite slabs and the climb, while not technically difficult, is a relentless upward slog.

Aussie Melissa Findley, 26, from the Gold Coast recently completed the climb and despite a fear of heights and a group bout of gastro, she says it was so beautiful it was almost overwhelming.

“The landscape is beautiful. You walk through lush, green, dense rainforest. You’ll come across swinging bridges, walk on stone paths and gaze at waterfalls. At one point we were walking across a bridge and the clouds enveloped us, it was magical! I felt like I had to stop every moment to take a photo. Every corner we turned was more beautiful than the next,” she said.

Unlike any other mountain on Earth, Mt Kinabalu is twice as high as its Crocker Range neighbour and has a summit made up of huge granite spires. Daunting to look at, the drawcard for most climbers is the reward at the top — a sunrise that is thought to be one of the most beautiful in the world.

Completing the climb with Geckos Adventures, Melissa endured an eight hour hike on day one before a night’s recuperation at a rest house on the hill. From there it was a 2am start to ensure climbers reached the sunrise at the summit.

“This was the most difficult part because it’s pitch-black and you are literally pulling yourself up a rope at times without seeing much at all! I looked around a few times and just saw this magical line of headlights from people climbing around me,” she said.

Mt Kinabalu and the surrounding areas are one of the most important biological sites in the world and is protected as a World Heritage Site. Unique flora and fauna as well as a chance to spot the famous Sabah Orangutans makes it a rare eco experience.


Bengoh Cultural Carnival 2015 gets rave reviews

KUCHING: The inaugural Miss Culture Bengoh pageant saw 19-year-old accounting student Fiona Wilson defeating 11 other contestants at Bengoh Resettlement Scheme (BRS) in Jalan Puncak Borneo recently.

Fiona, who is with a local university and hails from Kampung Jambu in Padawan, received a cash prize of RM1,500, a trophy and certificate presented by the Assistant Minister of Public Health Datuk Dr Jerip Susil.

First runner-up was Marrie Assunta Rijed of Kampung Simpok who took home a cash prize of RM1,000, a trophy and certificate, while at third place was Lyrissa Lister from Serian who received RM500 cash, a trophy and certificate.

The nine consolation prize winners were Grabdy Mina, Fulvia Maltia, Cornelia Natasya, Madelin Mil, Lenny Iku, Jessy Gantte, Rozalia Repi, Rabbani Marlani and Elsy Artini Taleng.

The beauty contest was the highlight of the three-day Bengoh Cultural Carnival 2015 which was held in a very festive atmosphere in the presence of thousands of spectators who filled the vicinity of BRS.

Dr Jerip, in his speech, said the carnival would be continued next year with a more thorough preparation.

He commended the efforts by the organising committee who only had a month’s run-up to lay the groundwork for the showpiece.

“The carnival coincides with efforts to promote cultural diversity of local communities to local and foreign tourists,” Dr Jerip said.

Meanwhile, carnival director Robert Kenneth said the entire carnival this time went on successfully with an overwhelming response.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Bengoh Cultural Carnival 2015 gets rave reviews

Gawai carnival to showcase full Gawai rituals

KUCHING: The upcoming Gawai Carnival Redeems from June 11 to 14 is the best opportunity for people to see the actual celebration of the ancient Bidayuh festival.

Redeems president Datuk Peter Nansian Ngusie said this time they will be showcasing the full Gawai rituals from ‘A to Z’ and as such it would be the best chance for the modern community to see the actual Gawai rituals as practised by the Bidayuh in the past.

“We no longer practise such rituals because most of us are now Christians but what we will do is just a show for people to see how our forefathers celebrated the festive occasion in the past.

“Gawai is in fact a festival for them to give thanks to the gods for their blessings and abundant harvests of padi for that particular year apart from looking forward to more success in the year to come,” he said.

He disclosed this when updating reporters on the upcoming Redeems (Research and Development Movement of Singai Sarawak) Gawai Carnival at a media conference at Redeems Centre Office at MJC here yesterday.

He said in this modern era most people no longer plant padi but they still celebrate Gawai to give thanks to God for the blessings given to them throughout the year.

“Gawai is a very special occasion for our community and because of that I, as president of Redeems, would like to wish our fellow Dayak friends a very happy Gawai Dayak 2015,” he said.

Nansian, who is Assistant Community Services Minister and Tasik Biru assemblyman, said in conjunction with Gawai Carnival Redeems 2015 various side events had been planned, starting from the morning of June 11 until midnight of June 14.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Gawai carnival to showcase full Gawai rituals

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Mount Kinabalu

It was overall a great experience. I read somewhere Mt. Kinabalu is the richest place in Borneo in terms of biodiversity (which is saying a lot), due to the changes in elevation, and that’s definitely true.

Since it’s the highest point on the island, the alpine nature on the top is unique and doesn’t exist anywhere else. The hike itself is demanding but nice, and the mountain is beautiful, as are the views.

Let’s start from before the beginning: the drive there. There were already nice views (the base camp is at 1700m, so it’s already in the mountains).

I arrived a day before my hike. The next day, I arrived early at the national park headquarters, registered and filled out all the paperwork, and searched around for people to share a guide with. Getting a guide is 150 ringgit (about 40 euros), but you can share with up to 3 people, and with 3-6 people the guide is 175 ringgit. I didn’t find any other independent travellers, but I found a couple from Luxembourg (or rather, the guy, Mattias, was German, and the girl, Hana, was Czech, but they lived in Luxembourg) who had booked through a tour agency and they were willing to share.

The guide said I could join for 100 ringgit, which is more than the 75 I would have paid if I shared with another independent traveller, but he spoke excellent English (which many guides don’t) and there were no other independent travellers around, plus Mattias and Hana seemed friendly enough, so I joined them. Those 100 ringgit included transportation to and from the start of the trail, which was also 10-15 ringgit one way, so in the end it was a decent deal.

Now, the ‘base camp’ is not a camp. This was the entrance to Kinabalu National Park, which also includes several hostels and even hotels, restaurants, and other trails. The whole thing is very well organized, including the hike, with rest stations with places to sit and bathrooms roughly every km.

Anyways, we took the taxi to Timophon gate, where the hike begins, and set off.

The first 2km were all stairs (going upwards, of course), so it was pretty tough, and we ended up using almost all the rest stations, which I didn’t expect. Even so, we made good progress, going at a decent pace.

The nature down here was pretty similar to the cloud forest of Cameron Highlands.

After 2km, there were stretches that were flat, but on the whole it was still going up quite steeply. After 4km it started going up again, with some stairs but also a lot of rocks.

As we rose in elevation, the vegetation started changing, with the trees becoming shorter and scragglier (although still quite large and impressive), with whiter wood. There was a lot more moss, and we also entered the clouds which gave everything a very cool surreal look.

As we neared the top, the vegetation became alpine, which is unique to Mt. Kinabalu. It exists nowhere else on Borneo, since Mt. Kinabalu is the only point that reaches this high, and although alpine vegetation exists in other places, it’s different from the specific type of alpine vegetation here.

As we got higher, the vegetation kept diminishing in size and getting stranger.

It reminded me of a ghost forest: the trees were now decidedly scraggly and had white branches, with a sickly green moss draped over the branches, and the clouds covering everything. It was eerily beautiful.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Mount Kinabalu

Gawai Dayak Parade - Historic parade showcases Dayak costumes, unity

MIRI: The Gawai Dayak Parade held in conjunction with the first-ever Miri Gawai Dayak Bazaar was a tremendous success with over 500 people comprising mostly Dayaks in their beautiful traditional costumes participating.

It created history, giving great pride to the Dayaks not only in Miri but to the state and the country as a whole.

The parade was the highlight of the ‘Miri 2015 Gawai Dayak Bazaar’ mooted and organised by the Miri Unity Chapter (MUC), a Dayak-based non-governmental organisation (NGO).

It started at 4pm from the starting point at Kolej Komuniti in Permyjaya and proceeded to the car parking bays of Permy Mall, the site where the bazaar was held.

Thanks to the weather – it was perfectly fine and favourable – the event ran smoothly.

Leading the parade were the Gawai Dayak Bazaar organising chairman Emmanuel Sawing Kedit and members of his working committee.

The colourful scene was a crowd puller, with over 3,000 people from all walks of life thronging the premises to watch the participants in their traditional costumes.


Big crowd expected at Lun Bawang festival

KUCHING: Several thousand people are expected to throng Long Tuan village in Trusan, Lawas, for a weekend of festivities at the upcoming Irau Aco Lun Bawang.

Now in its 28th year, this annual festival will be held at the Lun Bawang cultural centre in Long Tuan from May 29 to 31.

Sarawak Lun Bawang Association president Ipoi Datan said the festival was now a major event attracting many visitors since being listed on the state tourism calendar.

“Last year we had 3,000 to 4,000 people attending the festival. We hope there will be more this year,” he said, adding that the Lun Bawang and Lun Dayeh communities in Sabah, Brunei and Kalimantan were also invited to participate in the event.

He also said the festival aimed to contribute to tourism in Lawas by promoting the bamboo band and handicrafts.

“We also want to preserve and celebrate Lun Bawang culture and heritage, besides bringing different races together in unity,” he added.

For the first time, the festival will feature a rafting race and a competition to make the traditional Lun Bawang headgear known as “sigar”.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Big crowd expected at Lun Bawang festival

Monday, May 25, 2015

First rehabilitated sun bear returns to the wild in Sabah

KOTA KINABALU —  Natalie, the sun bear in Sabah who was rescued after poachers killed her mother, became the first to be released into the wild after she returned to the reserve forests of Lahad Datu last week.

Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) founder Wong Siew Te said Natalie, who arrived at the centre in December 2010 aged three months, has come of age in the four and a half years under their care and that the rare sun bear is now ready to fend for herself.

“Releasing her was a moment of bittersweet joy,” Wong told Malay Mail Online today.

“I cared for her like a daughter. I had brought her for walks in the forest, fed her, taught her what food to identify and played with her. It was sad to let her go but I know she belongs in the forest,” he added.

Natalie was one of 35 sun bears kept in captivity, most of which were brought there as cubs after their mothers were killed by poachers. BSBCC has kept a total of 43 sun bears, which are the smallest bear species in the world, since the centre was established.

“Young sun bears are cute and people want to keep them as pets. The person who surrendered her claimed she was found abandoned in the forest,” Wong said.

The BSBCC and Sabah Wildlife Department have been monitoring Natalie’s movements and progress at the Tabin Wildlife Reserve through a satellite collar fitted on her, after she was airlifted by a helicopter from Layang-Layang Aerospace Sdn Bhd into the protected area, away from settlements and oil palm plantations.

Part of Natalie’s rehabilitation process included walks in the forest to learn to live like wild bears by developing essential survival skills like foraging, climbing, nest building and socialising.

“Natalie grew up in natural forest enclosures in BSBCC with tall trees, dense vegetation and significant amounts of natural food items such as termites, earthworms, insects and honey from bee hives,” said Wong.


Thousands attend inaugural Bidayuh Music Festival 2015

SERIAN: The inaugural Bidayuh Music Festival 2015 that kicked off at Taman Komuniti Serian on Saturday night attracted thousands who came as early as 7pm to watch some of the best Bidayuh recording artistes performing live.

Officiating at the opening ceremony was Minister of Human Resources Datuk Seri Richard Riot who expressed his happiness over the overwhelming response to the festival, which acted as a prelude to the Gawai Dayak celebrations on June 1.

“This festival is also a grand gesture for Serian which has been elevated to become the 12th division in the state recently,” said Riot, who is also Serian MP, in his opening remark.

He further said the two-day festival could also act as a platform for Serian folk to further strengthen their ties and community spirit.

“I strongly believe that the people of Serian made up of Bidayuhs, Malays, Chinese and Ibans are in unison that a festival of this nature should be held every year,” he added.

On another note, Riot extended his invitation to everyone to his Gawai Dayak open house at Kampung Pichin this June 7, starting at 4pm.

Also speaking was the Bidayuh Artists and Music Association (Bama) president Dr Alim Impira who introduced the history and role of Bama in pushing for the recognition and marketability of new Bidayuh recording artistes.

“The Bidayuh music industry has been in existence for more than 50 years. Bama will act as the umbrella for the recording artistes and continue to elevate the standard of this music industry,” he added.


May merry-making month for KadazanDusun and Murut community in honour of Huminodun

MAY is a month of merry making for the KadazanDusun and Murut community in Sabah and the country as they celebrate Tadau Kaamatan or Harvest Festival.

Families will gather during this month and hold reunions with their relatives to celebrate the bountiful padi harvest.

During this month districts will hold their respective Harvest Festival celebrations and the highlight of the festivities is the ‘Unduk Ngadau’, a pageant to select a young woman from the district to represent ‘Huminodun’ who according to traditional beliefs had sacrificed her life for the KadazanDusun and Murut people.

In an article titled ‘The Kaamatan Mystery’ written by Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association (KDCA) Executive Secretary Dr Benedict Topin for the 2014 state-level Pesta Kaamatan celebration’s souvenir program, he presented a synopsis and summary of the KadazanDusun Genesis and the Cosmological Flow of events leading to Huminodun’s  sacrifice.

Dr Benedict said that the ‘Unduk Ngadau’ Bobolian (Priestess) Odu Miada Gumarong told him that it happened during a Kaamatan Festival celebration that questions arose from young girls in attendance and helping to serve food and drinks as to how ‘Huminodun turned Bambarayon’ looks like.

“So the Bobolians and elders made a selection of the most beautiful, humblest, modest and purest in heart, body, mind and spirit from among the young girls present at the celebration and imparted to them that if Huminodun was there at the feast, she would seek company with the exemplary girl they picked from among them,” he said.


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sandakan - Borneo, Malaysia

So since we left Indonesia everything just seems to be flying by! After a night in Kuala Lumpur we arrived in the Malaysian part of Borneo, in the northern part, a place called Sandakan

The town itself is extremely quiet, not what we expected at all with virtually 0 tourists.

Although it was nice to be away from some of the more tourist centred and commercial places we’d been to it felt a bit strange to have people staring and feeling so alien.

It was like being back in Phu Kradueng again! We had planned to get a bus from the airport to the centre where our hostel was but after walking up a hill with no path and over a roundabout to get to the bus stop in what felt like 200 degrees, when a taxi came along and offered us a ride for £4 we jumped straight in.

The humidity in Borneo is something like 90% and boy do you feel it. I suppose it’s expected being pretty close to the equator but that heat is on another level!

For the first day we went to an orangutan rehabilitation centre. We walked through part of a rainforest towards a platform where bananas and all kinds of other fruit is laid out.

They say this is the only time you’ll really see them in the centre, as normally they will hide up in the trees and only sometimes come down for food.

We were quite lucky in that 4 orangutans came down to be fed before climbing around on the ropes and wandering off.

We visited the orangutan nursery where the babies are orphans are kept separate from the adults so that they can learn to climb and eat and generally get used to their surroundings.

Orangutans are the only monkeys that live solely in the trees without touching the ground which is why they are so in danger from deforestation.

So when the baby orangutans go on the ground a keeper has to run out and shoo them back up into the tree so they don’t get too used to it.

The rehabilitation centre is actually very small so we didn’t spend as long as we expected there.

Right next door though is a large rainforest centre for sun bears. Sun bears are a small black bear with a distinct yellowish marking round their neck that looks a bit like a necklace.

They’re pretty cute and after searching for a while we could see a few hiding in the trees and wandering around.

The workers at the centre had big telescopes as well so when a bear was insight they would position it and you could see them so clearly munching away on some honey.

There was not a lot else to do so we caught the bus back and lied in the air con.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Sandakan - Borneo, Malaysia

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Tips on island hopping in Kota Kinabalu

While Kota Kinabalu (KK) in Sabah state, Malaysia has a vibrant nightlife and charming nature reserves, its most popular tourist spots are its islands. Tourists from neighboring Brunei, Indonesia, and other Malaysian states travel to KK to go island hopping.

So when my friends and I made a side trip to KK from Brunei, that’s exactly what we did – island hopping in Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. Aside from the fact that it was the peak of summer heat, my friends and I really love beaches so we thought it would be nice to hit one on our first group trip abroad.

When I was researching about our itinerary prior to the trip, I had a difficult time looking for information about island hopping. I got the details of where to go and what to do but I didn’t know the most important thing to consider – the cost!

The government websites gave different information and some blogs are outdated. So I decided to compile this list of tips to save on cost, effort, and time when planning to bask in Kota Kinabalu’s famous islands.

1) Be early.

Jesselton Point (JP) is where you’ll find all the boats going to the islands. If you travelled by ferry from Labuan or Brunei, this is the same terminal you arrived in.

It’s best to be in JP early – around 8am to 9am – to skip the long lines of tourists booking boats, especially if you’re going on a weekend. If you weren’t able to eat in your hotel, don’t worry. There are many food stalls that serve delicious Malaysian food at cheap prices in JP.

Many tourists tend to arrive an hour or two before lunch time so you might have to wait long for boats or pay more for “private boats.”

The weather in Sabah is quite consistent so this is applicable almost all year round. This won’t be as big a problem if you go on a weekday but it’s still best to be first in your chosen island, right?

Tip: KK is a pretty small city. Taxis don’t even turn their meters on when you ride them. You should not pay more than MYR 15 to MYR 20 (if it’s really far) from your hotel to JP.

2) Book your trips in the ticketing center.

There are many barkers outside of JP who will try to sell you a ticket or book you your own boat for the day. The prices here are very high compared to the actual prices of tickets – I also saw tour agencies online that ask MYR 400 for 4 people for 2 islands.

While this can be tempting, especially if there are many tourists lined up, you can save a lot by just being patient. Thankfully, we went island hopping on a Monday so there weren’t that many people. We just went straight to the ticketing counter.

The actual price is MYR 25 for a return trip to one island. You will need to tell the agent what time you want to go home – or if you’re planning to visit more islands, what time you’ll transfer. Two islands will probably cost around MYR 35. The last trip going home is at 5pm.

There’s an MYR 7.20 terminal tax for JP and an MYR10 (price for foreigners) conservation fee for each island. You’ll pay the terminal fee when you pay for your fare and the conservation fee every time you dock on an island.

You’ll join other tourists in the boats when you book through the counter. Unless you’re a big group and you plan to see as many of the islands as you can, I don’t think it’s necessary to book your own boat for the day. Remember to keep your ticket from getting wet. You’ll need it to board your boats.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Tips on island hopping in Kota Kinabalu

Cat statues and more monkeys - 5 days in Borneo

We’re on our way back to the Malaysian mainland after five days on Borneo. Borneo has always conjured images of Survivor-worthy remote jungle frontiers and we certainly caught glimpses in our brief time here.

Being the world’s third largest island, we only nibbled off a small corner (if that). We stayed in Kuching, Malaysian Borneo’s largest city.

It has a distinct Chinese influence along with being a former British colony. The town itself was fairly modern although a far cry from the glitz of Kuala Lumpur.

Kuching is known as Cat City and is adorned with numerous feline statues and even a Cat Museum.

It has a beautiful waterfront walkway and we faired quite well with a number of vegetarian Chinese restaurants.

We are suffering a bit of rice-fatigue at the moment so last night we caved and ordered Pizza Hut to our hotel room. Pizza Hut on Borneo, who knew?

Borneo’s main draw is the wildlife and it did not disappoint. On our first day we visited Semenggoh Nature Reserve.

This is the easiest place to spot orangutans, some of which have been rescued from captivity while others have been born in the wild.

They have a morning feeding where they supplement the orangutans’ diet with fruits if they decide to show up.

Fortunately, a mother and her seven year old decided to swing on down for some bananas and coconuts.

It was very interesting to observe the social bond between these great apes. They would share fruit and had obvious affection for one another.

These orangutans are more accustomed to walking on the ground than Sumatran orangutans as Borneo lacks predatory tigers.

When the mother walked, her baby wanted to keep in close contact. We saw one additional orangutan and felt very fortunate to be in their presence.

It was also gratifying to see the park rangers keeping visitors at a safe distance from the animals and ensuring that no flash photography occurred.

A balance needs to be struck between tourism and conservation objectives and it felt like the reserve was achieving this.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Cat statues and more monkeys - 5 days in Borneo

The 28th Irau Aco Lun Bawang Festival to be at Trusan this year

KUCHING: The 28th Irau Aco Lun Bawang Festival will be held in Trusan, Lawas, this year.

The annual event from May 29 to 31 will take place for the first time in Kampung Long Tuan, about 40 minutes by car from Lawas.

Sarawak Lun Bawang Association (PLBS) president Ipoi Datan said there will be a galore of interesting cultural activities that will include river boating, rafting, and ‘sigar’ headgear design competition. Those are besides the usual activities such as exhibition, sales booths, heritage talks and so on.

“The festival will be officiated at on May 30 by the chief minister. Highlights of the festival will be the Ruran Ulung and Padan Liu Burung competition similar to Kumang and Keling competition.

“We also invite Malays, Chinese, Kedayans, Tagals and Ibans to join us in the festival,” he told a press conference at the Museum Department office recently.

He said this year’s festival, which they themed ‘Mekail Pepua, Pupuh Megala’, will be an interesting experience for both local and foreign tourists to learn more about the Lun Bawang culture.

Ipoi hoped to see more visitors this year as Trusan is close to Lawas.


Friday, May 22, 2015

Saving the Jungle Hipster of Borneo

What is the most important wildlife species on Borneo? Depending on whom you ask this question, answers will surely vary.

A forestry official might argue that any tree of the dipterocarp family is obviously most important, because that’s where the timber cash is. And for the same reason, an oil palm grower would likely reply that the oil palm tree is by far the most important species.

Many people in Australia, Europe or North America may reply “the orangutan,” or maybe “the rhino” or “proboscis monkey,” because, after all, those species are highly threatened and many worry about their survival.

But ask a person from Borneo and the dominant answer would likely be quite different. In fact, I think that many would argue that the Bearded Pig is by far the most important. Are you surprised? Had you even heard of Bearded Pigs? Bear with me and I will explain.

First, a quick 101 on these pigs. This enigmatic species of wild pig occurs only in the southern part of Sumatra and on Borneo. And they indeed have beards, both males and females, and are thus true jungle hipsters, at least in the sense of the current popular beard subculture.

Interestingly, Bearded Pigs are among the very few rainforest species that makes long distance migrations, the kind of animal movement more associated with species like Wildebeest on open African savannas.

Every so many years, Bearded Pig populations erupt and thousands and thousands of pigs starts moving through the jungle.

One such migration which occurred in 1935 was described as follows: “For five or six weeks, at points sixty to a hundred miles [100-160 kilometers] apart, moves a steady stream of wild pigs, a few solitary, some family parties of seven or eight, many packs from fifteen to thirty of forty, occasionally convoys estimated at two hundred, sufficiently large to deter the natives from attack. Every ten minutes or quarter of an hour pigs pass by, a few large, old individuals, many of medium size, none in very fat condition. Silent, not quarrelsome, almost furtive, intent on something, looking round little, they push on undeterred by waiting natives, who club and spear them at river crossings until weary of pork. Whence came the pigs, and where they go none know.”

Intriguing or what?

Now, depending on your religion, you may consider pigs to be rather gross or totally wonderful. Certainly, Christian communities on Borneo heavily rely on these pigs for meat and other products.

Studies in Malaysian Borneo indicated that between 54 percent and 72 percent of the dressed weight of all animals hunted is Bearded Pig meat. A hunting study in one remote village in Kalimantan showed that over a period of 21 months people caught 707 Bearded Pigs, which was probably more than 90 percent of the weight of all species caught. In a different hunting study, people in one village caught 429 Bearded Pigs in one year or about 81 percent of the dressed weight of all species. That adds up to a lot of pork!

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Saving the Jungle Hipster of Borneo

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Add a Kota Kinabalu Sunset to Your Life Bucket List

“You have to see where I’m sitting,” I said to my daughter after collecting her from the lobby of Shangri-la's Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa in Kota Kinabalu, located in Sabah.

We were visiting friends who live near the luxury resort and they had just dropped her off after a play date.

While she was off with friends, I stayed put on the resort to enjoy a 2.5-hour Indulgence of Time treatment (aromatic bath, massage and facial in a private villa–I’ll tell you more about it later) at CHI Spa.

Then, I thought I’d park myself in a prime viewing spot to watch one of Malaysian Borneo’s famous sunsets—glass of wine by my side—at the Sunset Bar, located on its own little private island (pictured above).

They were offering a two-for-one drink special, lucky for me, because my daughter and I eventually spent the next several hours here chatting on our comfy lounge bed.

I actually brought my computer with the hopes of working a bit, but how can you with a view like this?

Sunset Bar is accessible to resort guests only during sunset hours for a good reason.

It is widely-regarded as one of the best places in Kota Kinabalu—some say in all of Malaysian Borneo—to watch the sunset.

I would have to agree, especially with kids in tow. It was nice to have this perk available just steps from our room.

Unlike other parts of the world, the sunset in Kota Kinabalu seems to linger a bit.

The sky slowly changes color and the sun sinks below the horizon at a leisurely pace, which makes booking a sunset cruise (available through the resort’s STAR Marina) another awesome option.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Add a Kota Kinabalu Sunset to Your Life Bucket List

New Lawas airport to enhance Sarawak, Sabah’s economy

MIRI: The construction of the new airport for Lawas in Limbang division under 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP) will boost the economic, social and tourism potentials of Sarawak and Sabah.

Lawas Member of Parliament Datuk Henry Sum Agong said the existing Lawas airport was too small and the runway was always hit by floods during the rainy season forcing it to be closed, sometimes up to one week.

“It also can only accommodate the Twin Otter aircraft and with the new airport bigger aircraft can operate in Lawas,” he told Bernama when commenting on the proposal to construct the new Lawas airport under the 11MP.

Currently only the 17-seater Twin Otter aircraft operated by Maswings provide the Rural Air Service (RAS) to Lawas.

He said at the moment Lawas had huge potentials in the tourism industry but the limited flights there made this northern Sarawak region quite difficult to promote as a tourism destination.


Rainforest World Music Festival 2015 welcomes volunteers

KUCHING: Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) welcomes volunteers from all backgrounds to help run it at the Sarawak Cultural Village from Aug 7 to 9.

Those interested may obtain volunteer’s application form at and successful applicants will be notified by email or telephone.

Closing date to return the form is June 12, 2015.

Being a volunteer, according to its press release yesterday, is a great way to gain new skills, meet people, and help it become a world class festival. Volunteering is one of the best ways to contribute to the festival while enjoying the music!

Volunteers will carry out a variety of tasks that requires physical, technical and interpersonal skills.

Each volunteer will be given a volunteer pass and festival access, two volunteer t-shirts, meal allowance and a certificate as an acknowledgement for contributing to the festival.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Joint Gawai Kaamatan celebration to take place in Kota Kinabalu this year

KUCHING: This year’s Joint Gawai Kaamatan celebration will be held in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah on June 19.

Organised by Dayak Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) and Kadazandusun Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI), more than 400 chamber members of which 150 from DCCI are expected to participate in the event.

The celebration will be held for the ninth year running, with both chambers taking turns to host it.

DCCI deputy president and the chamber’s Gawai committee chairman, Kilat Beriak chaired a meeting last Friday at the DCCI’s office here to work out the details on DCCI’s participation and contributions to the event.

“This annual event is a continuous networking activity for the two chambers and provides opportunities for the exchanging of business views and discussing the way forward for both KCCI and DCCI members,” said Kilat.

“This is especially so for the economic benefits of their respective communities, who generally face similar economic challenges and are keen to improve their participations in business and commerce.

“The event also is an opportunity for cultural exchanges and understanding as well as both state and national integration. More than 400 chamber members of which 150 are from DCCI are expected to participate in the joint event this time,” he said yesterday, adding that the guest of honour would be Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.


Fairy Cave Festival promises exciting activities

BAU: The return of the popular Fairy Cave Festival for the fifth edition this weekend promises full pack exciting activities.

The festival organising committee deputy chairman Penghulu Dihoi Nyawen said the festival would start on Friday and end on Sunday afternoon.

He said the festival which usually attracted huge crowds from both local and foreigners will kick-off with water sports at the Lake Kunyit near Fairy Cave, adding that the activities were rafting, tug-of-war in the river and timber log race.

“In the evening there will be karaoke competitions, besides stalls selling food and beverages as well as handicraft,” he said.

On Saturday, he said the popular rock climbing, blowpipe competition, gasing competition, padi pounding, bird nest collection demonstration will be held.

He said Minister of Infrastructure Development and Communications Datuk Seri Michael Manyin will grace the opening ceremony of the festival at 2pm.

“At night there will be the “pentas Rakyat” featuring local singers and kid’s beauty contest,” said Dihoi.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Finding Nemo Snorkeling Around Mamutik Island in Borneo

There are some adventures that stick with you for a lifetime. I’m sure that learning to snorkel at Mamutik Island off the coast of Kota Kinabalu in Malaysian Borneo is one of those for my daughter.

What I’m not sure about is how to top a snorkeling experience like this which included a private guided reef tour, loads of colorful fish even in shallow water and a picnic lunch on the private beach belonging to our host, Shangri-la's Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa.

Anyone can visit Mamutik Island, but visiting as a guest of the resort is a different, more intimate experience. But if visiting Kota Kinabalu with kids, snorkeling here with them is easy due to calm and shallow water. And, you just might see clownfish, blacktip reef sharks, eels and so much more.

How to Get to Mamutik Island

At only 15 acres, Mamutik Island (or Pulau Mamutik) is the smallest of the five islands that make up Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park. It’s a lovely place to spend a beach day and you can take a boat easily from Kota Kinabalu.

Shangri-la's Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa’s STAR Marina—which was literally steps from our room—offers daily transport for resort guests to Mamutik and other islands as well as a wide range of water sports ranging from from diving to waterskiing. They have gear rentals, too.

Our first order of business before catching the first 9:00 a.m. boat out was to get outfitted with snorkeling gear and life vests.

Staff will help determine fit and give you a handy bag to carry everything in. Directly outside, we boarded our boat from the resort’s private jetty and set off on the quick trip to Mamutik Island.

I wasn’t counting but I would say it took about five awesome minutes at sea, maybe less. The short distance makes Mamutik Island an easy half-day trip, though a full day of leisure would be even better.

A Tranquil Private Beach

The water was so clear that we could see thousands of fish swarming between the underwater posts of the arrival jetty. After walking a minute or two through a public area—where locals and tourists gather at picnic tables to eat or prepare to swim—we arrived at Shangri-la's secluded private beach. A canopy of trees shade the provided lounge chairs which are located steps away from the designated area for snorkeling.

Hotel staff here make sure that guests are comfortable, assist with snorkel gear and point out where the fish are. Valuables can be placed in lockers onsite for safe-keeping. The resort was at fully-booked during our stay but there is so much to do on and off the property that the private beach here was still quiet.


MySabah: Mamutik Island of Sabah, Malaysia

Tourists to Kota Kinabalu City (KK) always ask, out of the five islands of Tunku Abdul Rahman Park (TARP), which one is recommended. My answer is – if you expect a famous and exciting tourist destination, go for Sapi or Manukan. But if you only want a quiet beach to laze around and unwind, Mamutik Island (Pulau Mamutik) is for you.

People who want to avoid the crowd will love Mamutik Island, as it is less touristy than Sapi and Manukan, the islands where they would see more people than fishes, and human noise is louder than splashing waves.

Being the smallest island of TARP, Mamutik is like an unsophisticated child who doesn’t try to impress you, it may not have charming personality but you feel more open up and relax.

Mamutik is rated by some tourists as an average island because of three reasons. First, the sea there is quite rough and water turns murky sometimes. Second, the strong waves wash many coral fragments to the shore. Stepping on this jagged surface can be a discomfort to sensitive feet. Last, the density and variety of corals isn’t great. All of the above are true.

However, Mamutik still has one of the most beautiful beaches near KK and its photo is good enough to be used as postcard. Though lack of WOW factor, Mamutik isn’t lack of happy customers who appreciate the ambience of tranquillity and privacy offered by this less-crowded island.

The Beaches

Mamutik Island has long stretch of white sandy beach about 200 Meters in length. The sea can be choppy occassionally and the water is getting deep after 10 Meters from shore, so be careful if you don’t know how to swim.

Every visitor can get a big share of space, swim freely and won’t collide with others (but watch out for jellyfish). Without many eyes around, tourists here behave relatively more relax.

However, the visitors seem to congregate in one or two places. Probably they feel safer to stay near to one another, or these places are near to toilet. Anyway, there are some sections that has few or no tourist, so feel free to pick a zone as your “private beach”.

Move further away from people, you can find many good photography spots with clean background, as if you are on a remote island. Most coral fragments are concentrated in the water. The beach is still mainly fine sandy beach that is nice to walk on.

If you go to the east side of Mamutik, there is a more secluded area very well-shaded by tall casuarina trees. The beach chairs are reserved for the hotel guests from Shangri-la's Tanjung Aru Resort. The place is quite cooling and suitable for chilling out after a swim under hot sun. You may walk or snorkel at the beach there but please keep your voice down. The staff would ask noisy outsiders to leave.

The sea waves at east side is even stronger because it is where open ocean current passing by the island. I call it a “Coral Beach” because the beach here is covered by bigger pieces of coral fragments. I even found giant clam shell once. Probably that’s how Mamutik got its name which means “shell collection”. (Note: collecting shell and anything is forbidden in this protected marine park)

Continue reading (Incl. Pics & Vid) at: MySabah: Mamutik Island of Sabah, Malaysia

Art with Gawai touch

IN the spirit of Gawai this month, immerse in the culture of Sarawak’s ethnic groups at the Gawai Art Festival at Sarawak Plaza until Friday.

From afar, a soft tune of the sape can be heard all the way leading into the exhibition. The soothing music played by a talented musician named Sylvester resonates throughout the room, giving it a traditional ambience.

Brought to you by Galleria, this is the first art exhibition held outside the gallery.

“We want to bring the arts into the city rather than get people to come,” said Galleria owner Irene Lim.

She said the venue chosen also helped to attract tourists nearby to experience the art and culture of Sarawak.

Featuring 30 beautifully drawn pieces including crafts, the Gawai-themed gallery boasts different kinds of paintings for sale, including pastels, oil paintings and metal sculptures and locally-weaved baskets. Prices range from RM400 to RM4,000 for each piece.

All the artists are from Sarawak, including foreigners residing in the state. Coming from all walks of life and races, the gallery helps to unite them in the name of art. Lim said most of the works featured in the gallery were made by teachers and lecturers.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Art with Gawai touch

Monday, May 18, 2015

Lots to do in Tamparuli

Pak pak kang ku doh, Sumunsui doh jambatan, Jambatan doh Tamparuli, Bakasut tinggi oku.

So goes the opening line of the Kadazandusun folk song called Jabatan Tamparuli.

The song dating back to the 1970s tells about how a young Kadazandusun lass garbed in her finest is heading to the weekly tamu at Tamparuli town on a Wednesday.

As she crosses the town’s suspension bridge, her high-heel shoes get stuck in the wooden planks and she can’t pull them out.

Left with her stockings, she can do little but to continue her trip to the tamu barefooted.

Like many Sabahans, veteran tour guide Daniel Doughty immediately thinks of that song whenever he hears the word Tamparuli, the name of a town about 35km from Kota Kinabalu.

The song brought fame to the town at the foothills of the Crocker Range.

Tamparuli is popular stop for travellers heading to the Kinabalu Park, Kundasang, Ranau and the east coast of Sabah as it is located along the Kota Kinabalu-Sandakan trunk road.

The suspension bridge has become an attraction in its own right as tourists love taking photographs of local folk using the swaying structure located about six metres above the Sungai Kiulu.

Just next to it is a low-lying bridge with vehicles crossing the river barely 0.3m above the waterline.

The normally quiet Tamparuli town is a hive of activity every Wednesday when the tamu or farmers’ market is held along the banks of the river.

There farmers from nearby villages bring their produce such as tuhau or wild ginger, local fruits such tarap and vegetables to be sold there.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Lots to do in Tamparuli

Soaking In Sunsets In Kota Kinabalu

Why go to Kota Kinabalu? It’s not much of a destination in itself, but as a beginning or end point to Borneo, it does the trick! 

While it doesn’t boast too many sites outside of an airport, you can relax and enjoy spectacular sunsets, navigate your way through crowded fish markets, or plan the next leg of your trip.

For us, our Borneo adventure both started and ended here.

The handsdown highlight was the sunset.

We’d walk over to the water’s edge and find a front row seat (and usually a beer) to watch the sky change magnificent vibrant colours and the clouds create fantastical shapes. 

In fact, I am not sure KK has ever had a less than spectacular sunset (at least not during our time there)!

One of our frequented spots was a lively pier lined with restaurants.

Smack in the middle of here we found a tented massage area.

I treated myself to foot reflexology and one of the best back massages I’ve ever had while Matt was able to recline beside me with a large bottle of beer and take in either the busy boardwalk or the movie screening on the tent’s ceiling. (That’s what I call win-win!)

It was a little odd flipping over and taking off a shirt in the middle of a crowded area for the back portion, but it was so relaxing I couldn’t of cared less in the moment.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Soaking In Sunsets In Kota Kinabalu

Borneo International Storytelling Festival

A festival within a festival! Borneo International Storytelling Festival 2015 is part of the Kota Kinabalu Festival of Theatre and Storytelling (KKFTAS) and is organised by Kiddo Family Fun. The Borneo International Storytelling Festival is particularly aimed at families with young children. It aims to highlight the importance of storytelling and the ways it can be used at home, in schools and in the community.

Borneo Storytelling Festival 2015 will feature a line-up of renowned international and local storytellers who will facilitate a series of adult workshops and children camps on the art of storytelling; and how the power and influence of story-telling could inspire creativity, enrich literacy skills and ignite the desire to learn.

Here are some of the storytellers:

Uncle Fat- Chen, Ming-Hsiang (Taiwan)

Uncle Fat is a pensioner army who lives in Kaoshiung, Taiwan. He is a very active storyteller who conducts 300 storytelling sessions per year. He is also the Storyteller and Music & Movement Instructor of ETTV TV Station programme “Little Fun Band”. Apart from that, he does storytelling for Kaoshiung Radio Station Programme “Story from the Little Stamp”. He is also a trainer for Storytelling for Native University of Kaoshiung, as well as a volunteer storyteller of Kaoshiung Library, Children Art Museum, Shelter Homes and more.

Wajuppa Tossa ( Thailand )

A teacher and storyteller trained under Dr. Margaret Read MacDonald, has been telling stories since 1995 to revitalize the use of Isan dialects and folktales among young people to engender pride in local cultural heritage. She has also successfully used folktales and storytelling in her teaching of English and literature.

Made Taro & Gede Tarmada ( Indonesia )

Made Taro was born in Bali and has always loved traditional stories, games and children’s songs. He has been a story teller since 1973 and has performed in Indonesia, Darwin, Pretoria and at the Ubud Writers’ and Readers’ Festival. For the past 35 years he has run Kukuruyuk, a children’s group for 8 – 12 year olds, where he educates children through stories and traditional games such as the gasing (top spinning) and mecungklik (game played with bamboo). His storytelling sessions also include singing and traditional percussion accompaniment. He has written more than 30 books about traditional games, children’s songs and folktales. A recipient of many awards as an outstanding teacher, preserver of culture, storyteller and writer, he was bestowed the prestigious Anugerah Kebudayaan (Cultural Medallion) from the President of the Republic of Indonesia in 2009.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Borneo International Storytelling Festival