Monthly Archives: September 2008

Papier Mache, 7-member music group from Tamparuli releases debut album, September 2008

3 years and 10 songs (6 Kadazandusun, 2 Bahasa Malaysia, 2 English) later, they finally did it.

If you’re tired of “MIDI songs” and want to hear real musical instruments being played by a true-blue Sabahan pop/rock band, this album is for you.

Apart from having the expected solid melodies, arrangement wise I’d say they went further than most local artistes; there are extended instrumental breaks, for example that minute-long violin-led solo in “Oiyad” and “Iya Om Iya” and that 90-second guitar riff fest reminiscent of Led Zeppelin in “Itu Bukan.”

As a result, the shortest song clocks in at 4:22 (Nung Olingan Oku Dia) while the longest, “Itu Bukan” is at more than 7 minutes.

Further setting them apart is songs like “Iya Om Iya” which I have never witnessed being attempted in Dusun language before: retro images of smoky bars come to mind.

Lyrics wise, apart from the usual love songs, there is also the socially-aware “Misompuru”, which calls for a united society.

Here are some previews, snippets of songs off the CD.

[UPDATE: 16th July 2009: I'm having problems with the internal player, please listen to the previews here. Apologies for the inconvenience.]

“Growing in the light” was written and sung by the group’s multi-instrumentalist Gilbert “Ebert” Lajim.

“Nung nolingan oku dia” has an opening piano and vocal melody that I think Elton John would be proud of. It was written by Gilbert “Ebert” Lajim, with Cyril “Kuak” Johnny on lead vocals. This song is being played almost daily at SuriaFM (105.9 in Sabah) by DJ Othoe:

YouTube Preview Image

“Terima kasih” was co-written by the group’s bassist Ezbon “Golib” Godomon and Cyril “Kuak” Johnny. Kuak’s on lead vocals.

“Stream” has an excellent riff and a U2-influenced soaring chorus. It was written by Ezbon “Golib” Godomon.

“Matai-patai do masi”: I don’t know about you, but I have never heard an original Dusun song so heavily early-60s era Beatles-influenced and executed so well. It was written by Gilbert “Ebert” Lajim and the vocals handled by both him and Kuak. Ebert’s two sisters did the backing vocals. I think this will be a favourite with concert audiences.

Please support our local musicians.

If you like what you hear, and would like to purchase the CD (RM20) or cassette (RM13), I was informed that you can get them at music stores in Kota Kinabalu, Penampang, Kuala Lumpur and Johor. I have personally verified that they are available at CKS Donggongon and Polysound Kg Air.

Alternatively, I also keep some in stock. Please email me at bengodomon@gmail.com or leave a comment.

About the album

The songs were mostly recorded and mixed at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), probably the most advanced recording studio in the state. It was mastered by Roger Wang (RAM Studio) and released under TJC Talent Studio of Tenghilan.

Click here to see sleeve artwork

Exclusive photos of a baby Bornean elephant crossing the Kinabatangan river

Got this from a contact in the local press.

Photos taken by Conservation Geneticist Dr. Benoit Goossens, Director of Danau Girang Field Centre, a Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) facility located within the Kinabatangan.

It was released during a press conference on 14th September, which amongst others said:

These series of photographs show us a lot about the caring behaviour of the elephants as the mother and another female which we assume is related to the baby [believed to be a month old] work very hard to protect and safely bring the baby over to the other side of the bank.

As elephants have lost much of their habitat due to conversion of land to primarily agriculture, they need to zig-zag across the broken landscape as they travel to find food.

And of course this includes the need to cross rivers to get to feeding grounds, however river crossing are quite stressful for elephants that have to contend with strong currents and dangers of crocodiles especially for their young. We have seen elephants struggling with crocodiles as they make a grab for the smaller elephants, but so far we have not seen fatalities as the group always works very hard together to protect their young.

Click here to see the photos

What to do if your Maybank ATM card is disabled due to keying in the PIN wrongly too many times

I am not sure if this applies to all banks in Malaysia, but this happened to me last week with Maybank.

One of my accounts with Maybank is used exclusively for online banking.

Still, once in a while I’d need to withdraw cash from that account.

It so happened that I managed to key in the wrong PIN too many times, hence the card was blocked.

According to staff at Maybank Sadong Jaya, the card cannot be unblocked: a new card must be issued. For that to happen, I’d need to produce the “bank book” for that account. I figured that I’d get the card faster if I declared the “bank book” to have been lost (costs RM15). What he didn’t tell me was that I’d need to wait 24 hours after the new “bank book” is issued before I can get a new card.

What a waste of time and money.

I should’ve located the original “bank book” first, then go to the bank.

Do not forget to renew your driving license

If you’re caught at a Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan (JPJ) roadblock and issued with a summons, you’d have to pay a compound of RM120.

According to the lady at JPJ Kota Kinabalu’s counter, this is fixed price – no discounts, unlike traffic police summons.

I’ve had my driver’s license for more than 10 years and have only ever been asked to show it at roadblocks about 3 times, the last time 10 years ago!

Add to that: in the last few years I’ve started asking my insurance agent to renew everthing for me – car insurance, road tax, license.

I guess you’d get a little complacent.

This year I forgot to ask him to renew my driving license – it expired back in May. That means I’ve been driving around with an expired license for more than 3 months. What could’ve happened if I was involved in an accident?

… Car owners would do well to shop around for cheap auto insurance

The most popular SMS joke about Pakatan Rakyat’s federal government takeover making the rounds in Sabah

I received this from at least 3 different persons today, none exactly the same, all “fine-tuned”, but the punchline was always the same:

BREAKING NEWS. 18 Sept, Kota Kinabalu. Pada jam 10.30 pagi Dato’ Seri Anwar telah mendapat 30 kerusi dari Sabah… sumbangan Chan Furniture!!!

In English:

BREAKING NEWS. 18 Sept, Kota Kinabalu. At 10.30am Dato’ Seri Anwar got 30 seats in Sabah… donated by Chan Furniture!!!

Note: Chan Furniture is one of the biggest furniture chains in Sabah.

I think all of our brains have been permanently tuned to the takeover talk: the moment we hear or read about “Anwar” and “seat” we immediately think of the purported 916 D-Day which apparently has been delayed.

The most popular vocalist in Tamparuli is not Marsha AF3

Even though Tamparuli has long been well known, if only for the song “Jambatan Tamparuli”, Marsha firmly re-established Tamparuli in the nation’s consciousness.

But is she the most popular vocalist in Tamparuli?

I don’t think so.

I have been to a few wedding receptions which was also attended by “Chris”, who would invariably perform a song or three, and would get the best reception of all performers in the reception, guaranteed.

Here’s a video of him performing the classic Bob Tutupoly song “Widuri”:

Click here to see the video

Exabytes’ new website design buzz creation contest: winner takes all

Exabytes, one of Malaysia’s most well-known web hosters (among bloggers and SMEs at least) is currently running a contest dubbed “I Want a MacBook Air.”

In order to have a chance of winning the RM6,300 beauty, one’s supposed to write a review of Exabytes’ new website design, if one manages to be among the first 100 to sign up for the contest.

Obviously, somehow or rather I managed to be in.

But by then a small print caught my eye.

It says “higher traffic website stands higher chance to win the contest.”

That’s it. No chance lah.

That means that one particular guy from Sarawak whose blog boasts 15,000 unique visitors a day could just do a quick entry, and the world’s thinnest notebook is his for the taking. Or that other guy from Penang who, at last count, gets more than double the traffic of the previous guy I mentioned.

Having said that, since I’m in and being a somewhat satisfied customer of them for the last 3 years, I’d still give it ago.

My short take would be this: a menu (of a restaurant or otherwise) that has too many items is a turn-off: the new design improves on this.

Pakatan Rakyat toppling Barisan Nasional on 16th September 2008: will it happen?

OK, the much-talked about D-Day (16th September 2008) did not happen, but I’d like to ask: will the federal government change hands from BN to PR this year?

Timeline

16th September 2008

Change of government didn’t happen, but Anwar insists:

We have a slight majority, it is in excess of 31. To the PM, please do not do more ISA arrests or impose emergency rule to stop the takeover.

But he would not name the defectors:

We name them now and they get harassed immediately. So I’m telling you now that I will choose to confide in the prime minister. And if he wants the list I will show the list at the meeting. Until the right opportune moment, we can’t declare. We know how the system operates.

He even said the numbers are increasing quickly:

It keeps increasing by the hour… seriously. I’m not joking. This morning, I received a signed note from another member. What do you want to know? You want to know if we have the numbers. We’ve the numbers!

He even said that the defectors included cabinet members and their deputies.

The PM said:

I would not entertain Anwar’s request to meet him until the list of defectors is made public. This is a waste of our time. It is a game of political lies by Anwar Ibrahim and the people are choosing to believe him. He has no substance but the people will continue to be fascinated by him. Why should I be pressured? It is mere dreams. If at all it is true, (Anwar) would have announced it by now. The whole world would have known. Do you think he would ask for a meeting with me to discuss a transition? He would storm into my room with hundreds behind him, shouting victory. This is Anwar’s style.

However, PR leaders said in that case they would meet the king. PKR Information Chief Tian Chua said this could happen within the next 1 to 2 days, but then clarified, “as much as possible, however, we will try to avoid dragging the king into this.”

According to the law:
(i) Anwar can approach the king with proof that he has the support of enough MPs to be the new leader of the government; however Anwar preferred to discuss the takeover with the PM first; or that
(ii) the king could order another round of general elections, if the outgoing or incoming PM recommended it.

15th September 2008

On the eve of 916, Anwar Ibrahim told a rally of 25,000 (some say 30,000) at the Kelana Jaya stadium in Petaling Jaya:

Tonight on the eve of Malaysia Day, we are ready to form the government tomorrow. We have the numbers to defeat BN. Tomorrow is D-day, we are ready to form the government. Pakatan Rakyat has submitted a letter to the PM today seeking a meeting for a smooth transition of power.

Apparently, earlier 3 MPs from Pakatan Rakyat (PKR’s Johari Abdul, DAP’s Loke Siew Fook and PAS’ Dr Hatta Ramli) gave the letter to the PM.

After the rally, Anwar told journalists:

I believe that the government will fall in the next few weeks.

However, the Prime Minister dismissed this claim, saying:

It’s a nuisance and preposterous. The people had become very uneasy with this “naughty” speculation that the government would be toppled. It’s better to so something worthwhile instead of indulging in unecessary coffee shop talk. The best thing to do was not to entertain such talk posted in websites. The current government will remain strong.

Other Barisan Nasional leaders echoed him.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said:

There’s no way there would be a change in government on Tuesday. It’s not going to happen. Parliament has to be in session and it’s not sitting currently, and there should be a constructive vote of no-confidence in Parliament such as by defeating a Bill. There were two attempts by the Opposition not too long ago but they did not materialise. So, it’s a waste of time talking about it. Anwar is always doing a con job to trick the rakyat. You can kid the people once, twice but not all the time.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Farid Wan Salleh said:

Anwar should stop playing mind games [playing the xbox 360 is allowed though ;-)]. For someone who aspires to be the future leader of the country, he must behave like one, and not like a politician hungry for power.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said:

Anwar’s goal to capture enough Barisan MPs to topple the government today was an unnatural political act. If they want to form a government, it has to be done through the democratic process of the general election, not through the back door.

PAS secretary-general Kamaruddin Jaafar said:

The new “Pakatan federal government” will include Barisan members who have rejected their component parties.

12th September 2008

Anwar admits for the first time that Pakatan Rakyat might miss the 16th September deadline:

The process of transformation to a new government… is proceeding smoothly and we believe that Barisan Nasional will be replaced in a very short period. The date might be delayed from September 16… but the agenda is still going on. One complicating factor had been the government’s move to ship lawmakers overseas this week.

Today the PKR sent a delegation of 5 to fly to Taipei to contact “potential defectors” among the 49 MPs who went on the Taiwan trip. Members of the delegation:
(i) Fuziah Salleh (Kuantan MP), election bureau deputy head, flew in the morning;
(ii) Tian Chua (Batu MP), information chief;
(iii) Saifuddin Nasution (Machang MP), strategic director;
(iv) Low Chee Cheong, supreme council member. Another report said the PKR vice-president Dr Lee Boon Chye went instead;
(v) Elizabeth Wong (Selangor state executive councillor and PKR Wanita publicity chief).

The Taiwan tour officially ends tomorrow, and “about five to six MPs had already gone back on the 10th (Wednesday).”

10th September 2008

Anwar Ibrahim said the 16th deadline is still very much on track, even though many MPs are now abroad.

He also said there will be a “surprise” on that day (16th Sept), but did not go into detail.

8th September 2008

PKR Deputy President Dr Syed Husin Ali confirmed that Pakatan Rakyat does have enough MPs for the takeover, and tantalizingly, said that there are “several” among the 41 BN MPs who flew to Taiwan today for an “agriculture study tour” lasting 8 days.

It has been reported that up to 54 MPs will go to Taiwan, but the list of MPs is not available, only that there are 10 MPs from Sabah, 10 from Sarawak and the rest from the peninsular.

However, he added that:
(i) it is likely to be a few days after 16th September and that PR will wait until everybody’s back in Malaysia before unveiling all of them together.
(ii) PR is likely to secure 40 MPs rather than the minimum 31 in order to have a more stable government.

PAS secretary-general Kamaruddin Jaffar also confirmed that PR has the numbers but the takeover date has changed.

6th September 2008

Anwar Ibrahim said he is on track to meet the 16th September deadline to recruit at least 30 BN MPs in order to topple the government. 30 is the number needed to unseat the government. He said:

…quite positive from the initial response from the MPs. We have seen some very positive signs, but we have also seen the desperate acts by the government, threats and using institutions to discourage them. The only issue now is that they are going to compel members of parliament to (travel to) China or overseas until after the 16th of September, so we’ll have to deal with that. Probably we’ll meet on the 17th because they’ll come back on the 17th.

Gerakan’s Acting President Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said Gerakan will leave Barisan Nasional if it cannot play a “meaningful role” within the coalition.

5th September 2008

The PM said it won’t happen.

Some comments by Sabahan leaders:

PBS Deputy President Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili said:

We cannot tolerate any more this kind of story (of forming the Government). Such a rumour has created political instability and fear among the people and even (affected) public safety. Based on the feedback from the grassroots, there is no sign of BN MPs, especially from PBS, crossing over as claimed by the opposition.

LDP President Datuk VK Liew said:

The Government formed through the backdoor is undemocratic. We in LDP don’t uphold and subscribe to such a government.

Upko Deputy President Datuk Wilfred Bumburing said defections won’t happen, but declined to comment further on the matter.

SAPP VP and Tawau MP Datuk Dr Chua Soon Bui said:

We never discussed any defection.

Sabah Parliamentary Back Benchers Club Chairman and Kimanis MP Datuk Anifah Aman said:

No Sabah BN MPs, including from Umno, have indicated their intention to defect.


28th August 2008

Many of the 24 Sabah BN MPs rejected the move to get them to sign a loyalty pledge to the PM. State Barisan Backbenchers Club chairman Datuk Anifah Aman said the move proposed by Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Shafie Apdal:
(i) was an insult to the Sabah MPs
(ii) the pledge should instead be signed by all Barisan MPs
(iii) various Sabah MPs including himself had repeatedly voiced their loyalty to the Barisan leadership
(iv) they had no intention of crossing over to join the opposition.
(v) some Sabah MPs said they felt that they were being treated like “cattle.”

Kalabakan MP Datuk Abdul Ghapur Salleh said:
(i) the loyalty pledge seemed to infer that Sabah MPs could not be trusted.
(ii) He would not be signing any such pledge

Karambunai MP Datuk Eric Majimbun said:
(i) neither he nor fellow SAPP MP Datuk Dr Chua Soon Bui of Tawau would be signing such a pledge.
(ii) he questioned the the point of such a pledge, and said “this so-called pledge doesn’t make sense.”

Independent reviews of webhosting providers

No review of any product is perfect, but the general consensus is that the best reviews are those that are independent and fully customer rated, based on what everybody wants like track record, existing or former customers’ feedback, affordability, reliability and techical support.

Webhosting providers are in the midst of a price war, what with an abundance sub USD10/mth offers. At the same time, customers are getting more demanding and discerning: they’d throughly research a web host and its product nitty-gritties before making a decision. A review site with comprehensive list of webhosting providers, with relevant information such as plans offered, even promotions / discounts and most importantly uncensored reviews by customers would have an upper hand over the rest.

…I haven’t double-checked, but they might well also do reviews on hardware that run onMac memory.

Is this the correct way of opening a bottle of champagne at a wedding reception?

I’d say that in more than half of the total number of wedding receptions I attended, the opening of the champagne bottle is one of the most uncomfortable moments for the groom, because of the potential problems in opening it.

Of course the likelihood of this problem cropping up could’ve been minimised if one has had adequate practice, but I’d say most of us Sabahans are not really regular champagne drinkers, hence it’s not actually part of our culture.

Like this couple here:

Click here to view the video