Beautiful Sabah sunsets – seen from my front balcony

Sabah is famed for its sunsets, and even a local like me can still be stunned at the beauty of our sunsets, which can be enjoyed from virtually anywhere.

Here’s a selection of stunningly beautiful sunsets as seen from my front balcony, usually taken after I had just arrived home from work: even Michelangelo cannot match the artistry of these giant paintings in the sky.

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Tips when visiting Urban Transformation Centre (UTC) Kota Kinabalu

The Urban Transformation Centre (UTC) or Pusat Transformasi Bandar in Kota Kinabalu, the seventh in Malaysia, started operating on 16th December 2013, offering the services of 43 federal and state agencies from 8.30am to 10pm (actually not all close at this time; some only until 8.30pm), except on public holidays.

I first visited the centre on 29th March 2014, and here’s my list of lessons learnt:

- Come on Sunday morning/before lunch. I was the only one at Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan (JPJ) at 12.45pm. The day before, I arrived 11.45am and there were 21 in front. Rule of thumb: queue speed is 16 pax per hour.

- Renewal of Goods Driving License (GDL) now requires one photo. This requirement is not stated in the GDL renewal form (JPJ8 form).

- There’s a private photographer on ground left as you enter Menara UTC. RM12 for 4 (passport size) or 6 (JPJ size). 3 minutes to print.

- Free WiFi I tried at the library fast: in one test, more than 9Mbps download speed. Can even access the WiFi from the parking lot.

- Dewan Bandaraya Kota Kinabalu [DBKK] (6th floor of Menara UTC): no consumer accessible online summons checking system yet

- Gym (3rd flr wisma UTC): closed Sundays, other days open till 8.30pm.

Usage of the word “Sakai” in Malaysia

An indigenous people in peninsular Malaysia are the Semangs. Semangs who live in lowlands are also called Sakai. Now this term is generally considered derogatory in Malaysia, but apparently not in Indonesia.

In Sabah, the term “Sakai” is generally taken to mean “backward” or “hillbilly”, conjuring images of wide-eyed wonder while looking at something – while taken for granted by the general populace – they’ve never seen or experienced before.

2 of my kids have never been on a roller, so when the opportunity came recently, it was an irresistible photo opportunity, with the most appropriate caption could only be in Malay.

First time naik jentera penggelek, mestilah Sakai

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Reasons why many BR1M applications are rejected

Why many BR1M applications get rejected?

According to De­­puty Finance Minister Datuk Ah­­mad Maslan:
- for under-declaring monthly in­­come: the authorities would cross-check with various sources, including loans taken under the applicants’ name;
- for failing to update marital status

- 8 million total applications
- >1 million applications rejected (20% of total)
- 6.4 million successful applications

- don’t do multiple applications within the same family: eg, stating that you are taking care of your elderly parents, yet at the same time they also submit their own application.
- rejected applications can be appealed

The Star, 5 Apr 2014

Why I think straight-away brainstorming is bad

I scribbled this thought when I was waiting for a conference to start a few days ago. The initial seed was planted during an EQ training a few years ago in which the facilitator said: “most brainstorming sessions have a lot of storm, but very little brain.”

What I mean by straight-away brainstorming: after initial instructions, participants are required to participate in a brainstorming session straight away, without giving them a chance (and enough time) to think about the matter(s) being discussed first.

The session will tend to be dominated by strong-willed/aggressive individuals. Other participants, who haven’t had a chance to think deeply about the matter being discussed and haven’t formed their own opinions about it tend to be swayed or influenced easily and end up going along with the general consensus, when later they could’ve had different opinions. Hence, I would let participants go away and give them time (amount of time depends on complexity of subject, but a week should be plenty) to form their own ideas and set the foundation for discussion when all participants come together for a meeting.

Q: Why face to face meeting is still necessary, instead of just via letter/email/phone?

A: Action tend to be more urgently done if told face to face.

[originally posted 3 March 2007]

Tamparuli’s best restaurant: Wun Chiap: makes probably the best fried noodles in Sabah

Note: Before I start, I should clarify that this restaurant is of the non-halal category.

This mee Tuaran (fried mee) is the flagship product of this family run restaurant, located next to what was previously the Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) Tamparuli. Most of the time the restaurant is packed. When I do manage to get a seat, I see most people would order this succulent fried mee. Nobody makes them better than Wun Chiap Restaurant, a business which has been running for as long as I can remember.

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Jamal Abdillah’s classic pose : Bintang RTM 1979 final

jamal abdillah 1979

pic source:

I still remember watching this live on TV. If I’m not mistaken, this was when Jamal was belting out the highest notes of Alleycat’s “Berirama Senandung Semalam.” He dropped on his knees, and went for it with everthing he’s got:

ku berdoa agar dikau, aman bertemunya

This could be the audio of that performance – you might be able to hear dava picks from guitar center being used:

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Deaths in the Moyog River

17 December 2013: Mohammad Hafiz Tussin, 19, at Kg Dambai. He was in a lorry which plunged into the river around 3.30am. The body was finally found on 9th January 2014.

17 September 2012: woman, 20s, near Kg Kodundungan, Jalan Terawi. She was found nude, stuck between the branches in the river, and believed to have been dead for 3 days before she was found. [Source]. As of November she was still unidentified.

30 August 2011: girl (foreigner), 10, at Kampung Pogunon, Jalan Tambunan. Said to have gone swimming an 11-year-old friend at 8am when she “faced difficulties.” The friend then went to call for help, and villagers found her body shortly, not far from where she went missing.