Monthly Archives: April 2009

How many Datuks are there in Sabah / Malaysia?

The Sabah State Honours Enactment, 1963, para 4(1) says that, amongst others:

There shall be four Grades of the Order namely:
First Grade – Sri Panglima Darjah Kinabalu (SPDK)
Second Grade – Panglima Gemilang Darjah Kinabalu (PGDK)

Then, para 4(2) says, amongst others:

The maximum number of persons appointed to the First Grade shall be one hundred and fifty, to the Second Grade nine hundred and fifty …

Sometime later the number was increased, then on 22nd April 2009, the enactment was amended to increase the number of PGDK recipients from 1,050 to 1,200, because “there was an increase in the number of people eligible.”

Does Sabah really have the most number of Datuks in the country, which spawned the joke about hitting a Datuk in the head if one threw a stone at random at a congregation of people here?

We look at other states first.

Probably the biggest numbers ever seen happened in 2004, when Melaka, with a population of around 700,000 awarded 84 Datukships. In the same year, Pahang bestowed 92 Datukships (some reports say 109). The Opposition Leader then claimed that Malaysia would have 3,000 new Datuks from state honours alone for that year.

In 2007, Negeri Sembilan bestowed 53 Datukships.

In 2006, Penang made 66 Datuks.

As for Sabah:

2004: 28.

2005: 33.

2006: 39.

2007: 51

2008: 51

Someone estimated that based on these numbers, probably 2,300 persons have been awarded a Datukship by the state of Sabah since 1963.

In contrast, for the state of Sarawak:

In 2008, quite a few.

In 2007, only 11 were awarded the Datukship.

In 2006, only 5.

So it seems Sabah isn’t too generous, nor too stingy compared to the other states.

I read that after Malaya’s independence in 1957, only 5 of the 15 cabinet ministers were made Datuks. Even the finance minister then Tan Siew Sin, only had a Justice of Peace. Of course he was later made a Tun. The Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman himself was never bestowed any award.

Chris Chong: first Sabahan filmmaker to be featured at the Cannes Film Festival

Title: Karaoke

Length: 76 minutes (his first feature length film)

Language: Malay, with English subtitles

Event: Directors’ Fortnight (Quinzaine des R√©alisateurs), 62nd Cannes Film Festival (le Festival de Cannes), France. It’s arguably the world’s most influential and prestigious film festival. This event was used as a stepping stone for luminaries like George Lucas, Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee.

Date: 14-24th May 2009

Potential award: Camera d’Or (Golden Camera). Of course by merely being featured, it’s already a great achievement in itself.


KL-based Chris Chong Chan Fui might not be well-known even in Malaysia (or even Sabah?!), but he’s done it: Karaoke is only the second Malaysian film to be screened at Cannes since U-Wei’s Kaki Bakar (1995).

Other, even bigger names in the Malaysian film-making fraternity have never made it this far.

For Karaoke, Chris was the Director, Producer and did the Story. The Production Designer was another Sabahan, Yee I-Lann, who created possibly the most highly-valued Kadazandusun-related work of art ever, at RM117,000.

Karaoke trailer:

Click here to see the video

List of online radios featuring Sabah indigenous languages

There are at now least 2 “real” radio stations featuring Sabah indigenous languages accessible online:

Sabah VFM


Suria FM. For SuriaFM, it’s Monday to Friday 6am – 10am local time.

Apart from those, there are now at least 2 Sabah-based internet-only radio stations being run by enthusiasts. (Pitas Online FM). According to its website, it’s running 24 hours, with its DJs going online every night from 8.30 pm to 10.30 pm. On Friday and Saturday nights they could extend their hours to 12.30 am. At the moment there are 4 DJs, all volunteers. Its creator, rumputt has even been asked by prominent Sabah entertainment company Sky Laser Enterprise Sdn. Bhd. (more popularly known as Skyline) to set up its online radio.


Sabahan.FM. This is a 24-hour channel, with walk-in (DJ@Walk) volunteer DJs during the day, apparently the first Malaysian online rado utilising this concept. The DJs could be anywhere: AbgLang, the creator wrote that he did the first live DJ@Walk on the 7th of April 2009 while at KLIA, utilising the free internet connection at KLIA’s Golden Lounge.

Kudos to all involved.

P.S. Of course there’s that itchy copyright issue.

Village life is not for the faint-hearted

My kampung is surrounded by trees and other greenery; it offers a spectacular view of Mount Kinabalu, and mist-filled evenings.

However, if you have romantic notions of the quiet, uneventful village life, you are wrong, for you will never be left alone: there are many creepy crawlies lurking outside, and more often than you think, INSIDE.

It’s only quite recently that I resolved to take photos of them as they make their presence known.

Recently, this multi-legged creature was spotted on the floor downstairs around 10.45pm:

There have been at least two occasions where red-green coloured centipedes suddenly dropped from the ceiling onto the floor upstairs, right next to where we were sitting.

I have seen baby scorpions inside the cracks of the concrete floor downstairs.

As far as I can remember, I have been stung by bees while inside the house on a few occasions.

If not shooed away, birds like to set up home right in the middle of the house. In fact, various types of insects have set up home at various parts of the house.

Many years ago I saw what I thought was a goliath spider – reddish, with very long legs, under the kitchen sink.

I was once attacked by a larger than average spider whose spouse I killed earlier for suddenly appearing beside me as I was studying.

Skinny spiders with long black arms, we call them “sindawang” has a penchant for setting up their web on the house balcony; we used to feed them insects and watch intently while it grabs the prey and spins it round and round with its web until all you could see was a white blob.

In the early evening a few days ago, just outside the house, there were some fire ants:

You do not want to accidentally walk in there!

Whenever we walk upriver to check on the water pipe supplying water to the house, we occasionally get entangled in giant spider webs with the spider itself hanging startling close to our faces.

Snakes are a common occurence – the biggest one I remember was a python caught trying to get away with some chicken.

Early last year around noon, I almost stepped on this beauty as I was walking out the door:

Welcome to village life!

… So keep in mind that these things can appear at any time, for example while one is doing things in the house, like affixing an LCD mount

“Bee Gees” live in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, 29th May 2009

Not the real Bee Gees, but what is arguably the world’s top Bee Gees tribute band: The Australian Bee Gees Show.

They will be performing at the charity dinner and concert of the Palliative Care Association of Kota Kinabalu (PCA) on 29th May 2009.

It will take place at the Grand Ballroom of The Magellan Sutera, Kota Kinabalu.

Before you scoff at tribute bands, check out their live videos first at youtube. People are gushing that they are “closest thing on earth to the real Bee Gees”. They have played to full houses worldwide.

Not only do they look like the Bee Gees, they even have the same mannerisms, and singing voices stunningly close to the original.

Wayne Hosking as Maurice Gibb, David Scott as Robin Gibb and Michael Clift as Barry Gibb:

Plus, they have been around for more than 10 years, have performed in 40 countries to more than 1 million people and have sung “Words” in 16 different languages.

Check out this video of them performing “Stayin’ Alive”, live:

Click here to see video