Monthly Archives: March 2011

These conversations can only happen in Sabah

The following conversation would happen without anyone batting an eyelid in Sabah, but might cause World War III to erupt at home elsewhere in the country:

Conversation 1

Isteri: Abang mau pergi ke mana?
Suami: Saya mau pergi Menggatal.

Rough translation:
Wife: where are you going?
Husband: I am going to Menggatal

Menggatal is a town near Kota Kinabalu, but that word can also mean “flirting with another woman”, so he could be saying “I am going to flirt with another woman”. You don’t need tertiary level education, online business degree or anything else to know that that kind of reply would guarantee that all hell breaks loose.

Conversation 2

Wanita 1 bertanya kepada Wanita 2: Suami kita di mana?

Rough translation:
Woman 1 asks Woman 2: where is your husband?

In Sabah, “kita” can mean “your” / “you” as well as “our”; hence someone not familiar with this might misconstrue Woman 1 to be asking Woman 2 “where is our husband?”, which can create an awkward situation where Woman 2 could snap “apa? kita kongsi suami kah?” (what? are we sharing a husband?). As mentioned before, one does not need a online business degree or other higher education diploma to realise that what follows could well be very interesting to watch.

Only in Sabah – everybody calls each other “boss”

Worldwide, perhaps this is not unique to Sabah, but in any other state in Malaysia at least, I have never heard or seen a minister say or write as follows:

I spotted this in mid 2009, and the last comment by an apparent caucasian is a nice touch :-)

That also reminded me of our Learning Organisation instructor who quipped years ago, “I notice that in Sabah everybody calls everybody else boss. If everybody is a boss, then who’s doing all the hard work?”

Some would say Sabahans are the most informal people in Malaysia, and while everybody has just started talking about the 1Malaysia concept, it has been practiced in Sabah since time immemorial. To some in the peninsula, acculturation of the concept is about as easy as finding someone who has read oxyelite pro reviews on the streets…

Most explosive Malaysian video of 2011

It all started around lunchtime today. A black-and-white CCTV video of a “top opposition figure” doing the wild thing with a woman with East Asian features was reportedly shown to top media people at a luxury hotel in Kuala Lumpur by shadowy figures, including the now infamous “Datuk T”.

It was supposedly taken 21st February 2011 around 10 something at night.

By 5pm the opposition leader had held a media conference denying that it was him in the video, citing, amongst others, that he was somewhere else on the said day and time.

The thing is, so far the video has not been made available for download, so every comment floating around is basically based on hearsay; we don’t even know if her attire included women’s singlets.

All England badminton 2011: Lee Chong Wei creates history

With both of Malaysia’s men’s singles and men’s doubles in the final, on a Sunday evening starting 8pm, it was one of rare nights where I was glued to the TV right till the early hours of Monday.

There was a chance to create another history: first chance for the double (men’s singles & doubles) in 15 years. In 1996, Rashid Sidek & Cheah Soon Kit/Yap Kim Hock fell tamely in the finals. The last time the double was successfully pulled off was 45 years ago in 1966 by Tan Aik Huang & Ng Boon Bee/Tan Yee Khan.

But Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong blew it in 62 minutes. 1st set was state of the art. Then cracked under pressure. There went my victory commentary that borrows from WC2006 Argentina-Serbia: “well, it’s been a pleasure watching KKK/TBH playing badminton at the highest level possible”.

On paper, they should’ve won it:
- led 16-11 in the decider
- we had previously lost only once to Boe/Mogensen, winning the other 7 encounters
- their confidence sky high after defeating 2 top pairs on route to the final: Olympic champions Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan and world champions Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng.

So what happened?

The Danes played faster and kept up the pressure.

Coach Rexy Mainaky summed it up:

The title could have been ours if Koo and Tan had pressed on after taking a 16-11 lead. And I think, they should have slowed down the game when the Danes started to win a few points in a row. They should have looked for some kind of breather to break the rhythm of their opponents. Unfortunately, they did not. The Danes had nothing to lose and took their chances well. We had better control from the start of the game but did not have a good finish.

But my mood was soon lifted as Lee Chong Wei became the first ever Malaysian to retain the All-England men single’s title. When Eddy Choong did it in 1956 & 1957, Malaysia was yet to be created. Also LCW is the first Malaysian/Malayan to make the final 3 years in a row since Eddy Choong (who made the final an incredible 6 years in a row between 1952 & 1957, winning 4). Ng Boon Bee/Tan Yee Khan won the men’s doubles 2 years in a row in 1965 & 1966.

More special is the fact that I’ve been watching Chong Wei-Lin Dan finals in countless big tournaments, and LCW always lost. But this time it was different.

Yes, he defeated his nemesis, his greatest rival, his bogeyman, Lin “Super Dan” Dan, the player some have called the greatest badminton player to have ever lived, fair and square.

Lin Dan is a 3-time world champion, the reigning Olympic champion and is the first and only player to have achieved the “Super Grand Slam” / “Golden Grand Slam”, having won all the major titles badminton has to offer: the Olympics, World Championships, Asian Games, All England, Asia Championships, World Cup, Thomas Cup and Sudirman Cup.

The Star reported that: “For the first time, Malaysia‚Äôs Lee Chong Wei truly felt on top of the world” because for the first time ever, Chong Wei beat Lin Dan in a major final. Definitely most importantly, it showed that Chong Wei has the stuff to shake off the Lin Dan jinx which had plagued him for so long. This time, he did not crumble under pressure.

For sure, that 52-minute 21-17, 21-17 victory was truly a nail biter.

Right after, some notable tweets from well-known Malaysian personalities:

The Prime Minister tweeted:

LCW has done all Malaysians proud by winning the All England Championship. My wife n I spoke to him b4 n after the game.

Khairy Jamaluddin tweeted:

Lin Dan, mana breakdance robot kau yang hampeh tu? Haha! CONGRATEEEEES LCW!!!

Tony Fernandes tweeted:

Well done LCW – Win all england title. Far cry frm d olympics. Great game. Well done. True 1malaysia spirit at stadium

But the greatest tweet of the night must be the Prime Minister’s :-)

Sorry tmrw not public hldy. We hv 2 rejoice in LCW’s victory n at same time work hard so dat we hv more victories

And later:

To my tweeter friends , It is very costly to the nation to have a public holiday. We must not overdo it . We need to work hard .

As for Chong Wei, he can have a well-deserved break, at Outer Banks rentals perhaps, before going all-out for the big 2: the World Championships and the Olympics.

Sabahan SMS of the day: Siput Putatan, 13th March 2011

Update 16 March 2011

It seems that hoaxsters are having a field day, now there’s the one about AirAsia flight AK5154 / AK5145 crashing at Kuching airport / KLIA on Sunday.

Next time we might hear that apple bottoms is now available in Kota Kinabalu, or is it already?


Probably everybody with a handphone in Sabah, and even beyond, got the following SMS yesterday:

Msg fr fren: pls ask as many to pray for Sabah n Kota Kinabalu. Just now along the coast of Putatan, all the siput surfaced. It’s the animals reaction to the coming disaster. This siput always hide beneath the sand. For them to surface is an unusual n unnatural thing! This is just like the incident earlier this wk where Californian coast is flooded with dead tuna fishes washed ashore. Pls pass this msg so we could all do our bit to pray!

I got it twice, from 2 different persons, at 4.52pm and later at 10.31pm.

My journalist brother told me that during a 5pm press conference with the Foreign Minister, Datuk Anifah Aman at Le Meridien, the minister mentioned that he also received the SMS, prompting him to see for himself, but didn’t see anything unusual due to the high tide.

A friend mentioned in FB around 6pm that her friends residing in Putatan said there’s nothing unusual going on there. If there were really a bounty of snails available, for sure the coast would be swarming with illegal immigrants collecting the animals.

At 6+ pm a senior official at the state Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment said that earlier in the afternoon they checked this with tour operators, who confirmed that everything’s as normal on the beaches.

The next day, at least one local paper reported that the police has confirmed that it’s all mere rumours.

By then, the SMS has travelled far and wide. An acquaintance mentioned that at midnight last night, in the midst of watching the Lee Chong Wei – Lin Dan All-England badminton final, he received an SMS from his daughter in the USA asking him to be on alert just in case the Putatan Seashells were correct and that a tsunami’s on its way!

Cyberspace was, and still is, abuzz with “siput putatan”: that search term gave me more than a million results just now.

This reminds me of various rumours hot on the heels of the Japanese earthquake:

- In late afternoon of Friday the 11th, a few hours after the quake, messages about Kota Kinabalu airport’s Terminal 2 being flooded made its rounds on social networks

- later on the same evening a relative informed me that his friend told him that his planned event of the night at Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort (STAR) was cancelled due to the resort being flooded. Both turned out to be untrue.

- on the 14th I received an SMS saying: “A nuclear power plant in Fukumi, Japan exploded at 4.30am 2day. If it rains 2mrw / later, dont go outside. If u are outside, be sure tat u have rain protectors. Its acid rain. Dont let it touch u. It may burn yr skin, lose yr hair / hv cancer. Pls pass, stay safe n remind evry1 u knw.” This was later dismissed as a hoax.

With the Sendai Earthquake in Japan dominating the news, I suppose this kind of thing makes people more fidgety than normal.

For conspiracy theorists out there: perhaps someone at a telco started it in order to make a fast buck?

Sabah flag flown upside down at Dataran Putrajaya, March 2011

Ritchie, an acquaintance reported on FB that when he went to Putrajaya on 10th March 2011 at 4pm, he saw this at Dataran Putrajaya, right in front of Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan (Federal Government Administrative Centre):

The place displays the flags of all the states in Malaysia; the others were all flown correctly, except Sabah.

According to Ritchie, the officer at the I-Centre said it’s been like that for days. Nobody came to complain before he did.

From what I read, according to convention, flying a flag upside down is not disrespectful, but rather a signal that what it stands for is in distress. For example, a ship that has run aground could display its ensign upside down. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, a Chinese boy from an earthquake stricken area participating in the opening parade was given an upside down flag of his nation while he walked alongside Yao Ming.

Of course, if you try that stunt in Malaysia you could get in trouble, like kickdefella for proposing to fly the Malaysian flag upside down in 2008.

So was this an honest mistake / deliberately done?

As far as I am aware, this has not made the news yet, probably it should since this can’t really be considered a trivial matter; it’s not like they lacked two step stools, resulting in the mistake…

An interesting chalet ID at Tambunan Village Resort Centre (TVRC), Sabah

TVRC is probably the most well known place to stay at Tambunan town, Sabah. It has been around for years. I visited it for the second time in about 17 years recently, and was rather dismayed when I found that it was rather not well maintained.

Still, there’s that riverside cafe, perfect place for a drink on a hot afternoon.

And perhaps this chalet:

Before 18th October 2006, I don’t think anybody would give it a second glance.

The hall next to this chalet is OK, big enough for baby shower invitations, but when the party’s in full swing, it might be too loud!