Monday, February 11, 2008


Big turnout surprises organisers


Sheer human jam was the response to the 8th KK City Anniversary Cultural Extravaganza. First, KK folks packed Promenade Boulevard to see the Anniversary Street Parade. A terrific turnout that heartened and surprised the organisers. Head of State Tun Ahmadshah Abdullah and Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman —both Guests of Honour of City Mayor Datuk iliyas Ibrahim - witnessed the throngs who were ultimately treated to some spectacular fireworks. But what really surprised the organisers was when the 5,000-capacity Dewan Canslor at Universiti Malaysia Sabah was packed by paying spectators, especially the last night on Tuesday, to see the Anniversary Cultural Extravaganza which featured exotic Brazilian, Ukranian Cossacks, Spanish, Maori, Kenyan, Polish, Scottish and Irish dance troupes. No free tickets were handed out to help fill gaps, except for a smattering of invited guests, assured Wan Maria Othman Lee, DBKK Deputy Director General-cum-organising chairperson. Tun Ahmadshah was there again to witness it, so was Datuk Masidi Manjun, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment. But it was a tribute to a top rate show and high quality presentation which deserved that sort of response. Not forgetting, of course, Daily Express as the event’s official media which gave prime front page space and colour pages to orchestrate the publicity for a vision and mission as crucial as promoting respect and appreciation for cultural diversity and tolerance. We are happy it worked out with a resounding success. True, there was a hitch on the first night on Feb. 3, which stretched the show up to midnight. But an urgent 9am meeting next morning called by Wan Maria quickly turned the show around into a praiseworthy, time-disciplined endeavour over the next two nights. A judicious portfolio of the best of exotic and local dances got the crowd hooked. instead of a quick exit after the finale, hundreds of spectators rushed up to their idol dance troupes for lingering photographic opportunities — a phenomenal local affection which many dance troupe members said just made them feel so significant in Sabah. “It was a very good quality show. I hope we can see something like this every year,” remarked La Salle teacher Veronica Somasundran.


CM suggests chief for all Tawau PTAs


Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman suggested that all parent- teacher associations in the Tawau district be headed by a Chairman or President, towards achieving common goals. This would undoubtedly encourage discussions of common issues that could benefit the students and schools concerned, other than fostering mutual understanding and cooperation, he said, while opening a one-day seminar on Parent-Teacher Associations towards Educational Excellence for the Kalabakan parliamentary constituency. at the SK Bandar hall, here, Sunday. Also present were local leaders Datuk Tawfiq Abu Bakar Titingan, Datuk Abdul Ghapur Salleh, Datuk Dr Patawari Patawe, Haji Mohd Karnil Kasim and Samson Chin. The function also saw 49 pupils receiving excellence awards for their 2007 UPSR achievements. Musa also presented tuition assistance for learning the English language to five rural primary schools — SK Mentadak Baru (Pulau Sebatik), SK Bergosong (Pulau Sebatik), Sk Berantian, SK Desa Subur and SK Sungai Imam. The Chief Minister also pointed out that it could not be denied that the PTAs have the responsibility to promote progress of students and schools, considering that they have good management system, including financial management. At the same time, PTAs could help ensure a healthy school environment arid disciplined students free from social ills, he said. Later, Musa, accompanied by his wife Datin Hajah Faridah Haji Tusin, attended a Chinese New Year open house hosted by Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) here. SAPP President Datuk Yong Teck Lee was also in attendance.


Exchange students form alumni to preserve culture


Native youths have been looking at their peers abroad to understand how to hold on to their culture in the ever- changing world. The Kadazandusun Cultural Association-International Student Cultural Exchange Programme (KDCA-ISCEP) aims to learn youths from other countries ways to preserve age-old traditions while not being left out from mainstream development. In 2005, eleven students from SM St Peter, Telipok became the first batch of the KDCA-ISCEP programme to set out to South Korea to learn from the counterparts there not only to see for themselves how Korean youths preserve their traditions but to build stronger relationships and promote global peace. Since then, a total of 49 students aged between 16 and 19 have had the opportunity to do so and determine to make good use the exposure gained from the programme. The KDCA-ISCEP Alumni was formed by these youths to ensure the continuance of the programme and to contribute constructively towards the development of Kadazandusun youths in particular. The Alumni, among others aims to help preserve the Kadazandusun culture among the youths as well as to promote understanding between youths of other countries. Its advisor, Athanasia Nointin said the Alumni, within a short period of time has devised whole-year plans that include cultural activities, fundraisers, teambuilding activities as well as jointly organising activities with other youth bodies or organisations. “This group of very passionate, highly motivated and committed young Kadazandusuns youths are set to learn, be groomed and be shaped in the manner that could bring them to their vision of being knowledgeable, respected and professional,” Nointin said. “In KDCA-ISCEP, we are blessed for these young individuals who though are living in a globalise world as well as with growing modernisation are seeking to hold on their own cultures.” she added. However, much of the future successes of the Alumni will depend on support-from the elders, she conceded and for that she urges Kadazandusun leaders to set aside political affiliations for the sake of the Kadazandusun youths and help towards the preservation of the culture. While thanking KDCA President Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan who she said has done much to assist the its cause, Nointin said more should step up to assist. Another goal for the Alumni is to provide more students, especially those in the rural areas to have the opportunity to participate in such programme, she said, but lack of funds is hampering efforts to do so. For this year, KDCA-ISCEP is sending another 22 students to South Korea for which participants will have to fork out close to RM2,000, an amount in which many rural students simply do not have. Although another half of the funding will be borne by KDCAISCEP and its affiliate, the Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation, Korea, these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for rural students will no doubt have a big impact on how they view the world and Nointin expressed her confidence that it would also show them to appreciate their culture. For Mohd Hazli Ali Zapar, .19, the Alumni’s President, in the context of culture and indigenous identity, the changes that threatens traditional cultures are often blamed on globalisation. “However, it is important to realise that globalisation is just a process, manipulated by mankind and with that it is transparent that we (the youths) hold the power to change things we see necessary and at the same time preserve our heritage.” he said. “The Alumni believes that if there should be any changes ushered in to ensure a better future, it should therefore be done by the young generation of today. Life is like a baton, it is passed on from one generation to the next. “We strive be the ‘wheel of change, in order to usher in the paradigm shift among youths, especially to incubate a realisation of self-identity and the right set of mind.., we hold the power to determine what tomorrow will look like as we are the future leaders,” he said. “




The fishing community in Pulau Mantanani about 40 nautical miles from Kota Belud have been told to stop their destructive habit of fish- bombing. Shell Malaysia Exploration & Production (SM-EP) joined forces with the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), Fisheries Department Sabah, Malaysian Fisheries Development Board and Kota Belud District Office to conduct the awareness session recently. This engagement marked the third such session in two years as part of an ongoing dialogue with the villagers, who are predominantly fishermen, as this illegal activity poses a huge danger to the Shell offshore facilities near the island as well as corals on the seabed. MMEA’s Regional Commander for Sabah and Labuan, First Admiral Ahmad Puzi AB Kahar urged the villagers to observe the laws whenever they go out to earn their livelihood. Ahmad Puzi was pleased to note that the previous engagements had achieved good results, as there has been a reduction in fish bombing reports in the Mantanani area. He appealed for the cooperation of the villagers to become the eyes and ears of MMEA and the other enforcement agencies in the fight against fish bombing. “Fish bombing is a danger to the oil and gas infrastructure in the area and the workers on these infrastructure. Secondly, it flattens corals on the seabed, destroying the natural habitat of the fishing resources that you and your future generation depend for livelihood,” Ahmad Puzi told the villagers. Shell Malaysia EP’s Head of Security, Mohd Kassim Abdul Kadi, advised villagers to observe their personal safety at sea and to refrain from encroaching into the 500m off-limit restricted zone around the Shell offshore platforms. In practising what it preaches about safety at sea, Shell also donated 50 radar reflectors to the villagers for their fishing boats. These 3’ x 2’ reflectors when fixed on boats, will enable the boats to be spotted even in bad weather, hence making them visible by other mariners, particularly large vessels plying in the area. Mohd Kassim also handed out 300 coloured T-shirts and 50 posters carrying the day’s key messages emblazoned on them. As with many fishing communities, the culture of some 400-odd families in Kampung Pulau Mantanani, is that the youngsters invariably will take over from their fathers to go out and continue the fishing tradition in the family. SM-EP’s Sabah Shell Petroleum Company Limitied Managing Director, George Ling, said the dialogue in part focused on spreading the message among the younger generation in the village. “While we continue to engage with the older folk against fish bombing and the like, this time we also involve the younger generation because they will be the ones who inherit the future from their parents,” Ling added. According to Ling, the future for the younger generation will depend on what’s done presently to conserve the environment around the island — and this means doing away with fish bombing! Ling hoped the fishermen would cooperate in making the sea around Pulau Mantanani free from fish bombing so that there is a sustainable livelihood for the younger generation in the area. He also disclosed that Shell and the enforcement agencies would focus the other nearby fishing communities in the Tuaran district as well as continuing to catch the young with the message. In a concerted effort of reaching out to the young in Pulau Mantanani, Ahmad Puzi followed the Shell focus by donating exercise books and stationery to pupils of SK Pulau Mantanani. “I hope that this small gesture from MMEA will spur on the pupils to do better in their public exam results,” he added. Kota Belud District Officer Mohd Najib Muntok congratulated Shell Malaysia and the other agencies for coming together in organising the dialogue for the benefit of the folk in Kg Pulau Mantanani, an administrative area which falls under his purview. Mohd Najib said the District Office is aware of the issue and is equally concerned. Shell for example has offshore facilities in the area where fish bombing can pose a real danger. “I call on all fishermen to observe the 500m off-limits from any offshore platforms out at sea because you can be charged for encroachment if you continue to defy the ruling,” he urged. Kg Pulau Mantanani headman Albi Alad pledged to assist in keeping a vigil on the issues and spreading the safety and environmental conservation message among his fellow villagers and their young ones.