Saturday, September 7, 2013

..CRUISING UNDER THE HOT TROPICAL SUN, BALMY NITES AND GLORIOUS SUNRISE....


..missing you..


yours truly, under the hot merciless tropical sun at Ao Nang beach, Krabi, Thailand..

(..will post more pics later.. :)


 .took this from our hotel window in Penang..

the SuperStar Libra.. ..she's gorgeous

beauties on board


the 'moms' and our wards





 Phuket:  pic courtesy of Nick Toidis


pics above and below: courtesy of Nick T

Group photo at Phuket before we 'attacked' the shopping mall..


beautiful Debbie, my roomie, my 'girl'..

..at the lounge with Imma and Dedie, our girls with the singer/pianist, a handsome Filipino, who had an amazing  voice..I could listen to him forever..



above: no, these dancers were not part of us..

the beauties....

the beauties and the beast..LOL





.. still feeling the effects of the sea..not all the time but at some odd times.  Gosh, I need a holiday after the holiday. Luckily it is weekend now so am reveling in this free time. 
Arrived home almost midnite on 4th September.  After sleepless nites on board the SuperStar Libra, I literally slept in the plane all the way from Penang to KL and then to KK.

On 31st August as Malaysia celebrated 56 years of Independence,  we 35 of us from KK boarded the plane bound for Penang where we were to board the Star Cruise Libra the following day. We stayed a night in Penang and we took the opportunity to sample some the delicious food.  

The following day, a bus transported us to the jetty and there were ohhss and ahhs at our first close encounter with the beautiful ship. After all the formalities of immigration and all, we finally stepped into the ship and to our respective cabin, a twin bed with a lovely view. We did some survey on the ship and was also informed of the program for the next 3 days. The first day, we were entertained with shows and later all were invited to party at the Sailing-Away Party with music and dances and then there's the various arrays of food! Later during the night, a sumptuous supper was also available. 

The following day, the ship docked in Phuket where we disembarked and did some exploring and shopping of course, of the amazing place.  It was hard to imagine that this place was hit by a tragedy of the tsunami on December 26, in 2004 that incurred a great deal of destruction to the waterfront of  the beach and killed many people. Patong was one of the worst affected areas of Phuket. Amazingly, it looked like Patong has recovered from the tragedy as no trace of the effects, at least physically,  was evident.  We headed back to the ship at around 6 pm though some opted to stay until 10 pm. 


Patong Beach
taken from a moving bus


At 1.00 am, the ship sailed for Krabi. We disembarked the following morning but as the ship could not dock near the shore, passengers had to be transported by a large ferry.  We spied many beautiful islands along the way such as the famed The Phi Phi Islands which are the best known of the Andaman Islands.  Which reminded me that the movie "The Beach"  was filmed there.  No wonder that it gained so much exposure and opened up as one of the world's most desired holiday destinations!   Option to follow a tour of the islands was available too at a price of course. But we say, naahh, we wanna explore the inland instead, the beautiful Ao Nang beach and the shops that stretched for miles. 

The beautiful day was spent just exploring,  shopping and I heard one of the ladies wanted a massage to ease her tired shoulders and feet. I echoed her intention and before we knew it, we were ushered into a lovely spa... ahh an aromatheraphy massage for me and I slumbered into the expert hands of an able lady masseuse with some lovely music in the background, I was quite sure in made me snore into dreamland for a while hahaha.. I had never felt so relaxed before and it made me forget all my cares for a while..pure bliss!  All too soon, it was time to go back to the ship but before that we managed to sample some of the delicious food.. what else if not their tom yam.

Anyway, all those are memories now.. and now am back to reality.. 
Cheers!











Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I WISH HER WELL...


Dear All.. gosh seems a long time ago  since I was here. I sure miss this neglected blog and have taken a little of my time just to jot down something lest this blog forget me.. hehehe..

As usual, my busiest months would be April and May and this is due to preparation for our Pesta Kaamatan or Harvest Festival held every 30th and 31st May organised by the KadazanDusun Cultural Association (KDCA). Coupled with that, this year, it is election time and everyone seems to be busy concentrating more on the upcoming GE13.

As usual, we the Organising Committee would arrange a photoshoot for the reigning Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan (Harvest Festival Queen  a month before the celebration. These photos would be used as publicity for the upcoming celebrations in the form of streamers which would be lined up along the roads or at billboards by the sponsors, this year Digi, a telco company. 

Come May 1st, photos of Melinda Louis, the reigning Unduk Ngadau would be found all over Kota Kinabalu and even out of town. However, as it is election time, the spaces along the roads are at the moment filled with candidates'  flags and posters.. a war of flags and posters. So looks like, Mell's photos might have to wait until after election that's on May 5th.



Melinda,  (centre)

So, we not satisfied to be just those behind the scene people, we too took the opportunity to experience that 5 minutes of fame. Being made up  and hair done by none other than the reknown make-up artist, Mr Mart who is also a member of the Committee is every girls' wish. We too  had our own photoshoot ..NO, not to be displayed anywhere of course, but just for our own collections and some to be used for our magazine.  



clowning around with Mart (centre), and Ando his assistant, standing behind.

Mart is a well-sought individual, especially come every May when girls line up to vie for the Unduk Ngadau title fight to use his services to make them beautiful.  He is usually already booked like a year in advance by unduk ngadau aspiring participants. He also has bookings like 2 years in advance by prospective brides! The only weekends he is free is during the month  of Lent, where Church weddings for Roman Catholic is prohibited.  And that is, if one can afford his fees! So to be made-up by him complimentary is like a dream come true!!  

We had that session yesterday, this being the 3rd year. We ladies marvel at how our plain looks suddenly looking so much different and each of us shrieking in laughter at each other's transformation. In the midst of our fun, I couldn't help missing our former Chairperson. I felt her absence and could feel myself tearing up every time I look at our old photographs. 




on happier times...April 2012.  Mart the guy on the right.



Jornah,  (Centre) and Jo on her left.

A few days before, we were shocked to receive news that she had resigned from all her posts in KDCA including leading the Unduk Ngadau Organising team.  A former Assistant Minister and Matunggong assemblywoman, she decided to stand for election in her constituency after being left our from the fray in the 2008 election when the president of her party decided to field someone else at the eleventh hour.  She agreed to stand aside and gave her full support to the chosen candidate. 

Apparently, the same thing happened this time round. We were made to understand that the President had agreed to put up her name and had been endorsed by the BN President. In her FB wall it said "Thanks to Datuk Seri Najib Razak for endorsing Jornah Mozihim as the WINNABLE CANDIDATE. Sadly, Dr Maximus Ongkili pressured Tan Sri Pairin to change to Sarapin Magana."

With these latest, I guess it was like a de javu, a repeat of what had been done to her in 2008. Hurt, disappointed and feeling betrayed, she decided to quit from the party and all her posts and membership in Party Bersatu Sabah (PBS) and KDCA, saying she has totally lost confidence in the party's top leadership. 

She was the party's elected supreme council member, while in KDCA, she was the nominated vice-president, Koperasi Koisaan Berhad secretary and an appointed KDCA Wanita Bureau Chief and Unduk Ngadau Committee Chairperson (since 2007).  Yours Truly, is a Secretary in the KDCA Wanita Bureau and Unduk Ngadau Committee since 2007.

I learnt about her resignation earlier that day on April 19th, through one of our group's 
Watsapp chats. I was like.. what?? I tried calling her on her hand phone for clarifications but could not get through.  I guess so many people were  trying to reach her trying to console her or giving advise and such.  I tried calling her house number, and miraculously it rang and her assistant  answered. She told me that Jornah was on the phone.  

My team and I had wanted to pay her a visit to get a better picture of what made her take that stand and perhaps to talk her out from quitting. So I called first to just check if she was home.  Calling her the 2nd time, I managed to speak to her, her voice a sounded a little strained and cold. I asked her if it was alright if we drop by her house and  she answered with a curt no and asking why would we want to visit her... I was taken aback.  I was like, hey you left just like that without informing us? Don't we deserve to know what's going on. 

We wanted to persuade her to consider and to be rational in the whole situation. It is after all politics and she should know better.  She said that we could not visit her as in less than an hour, she was going to hold a press conference to announce her resignation! I burst into tears, "YB (yes I still call her YB eventhough she had ceased to be one since 2008), please do not make hasty decision and especially in anger.   Please, please don't resign from KDCA.    KDCA is a cultural association, not a political one.  "If you must, you can resign from the Party, but not KDCA." I pleaded to her.  Incidentally, the association is headed by YB Tan Sri Joseph Pairin, the President of the PBS Party.   "Then what do I get?" she retorted.  I then knew it was really over and no point talking to her. She must have heard the choked sound in my voice and she toned down.

She apologised but said she could not go on as she felt betrayed. Then she said gently, "ok you may come. At least we can say goodbye properly" she laughed softly.  I said no thank you, wished her well and put down the phone.  I felt like I had lost a friend. I thought about all the plans that we made, all the work we did,  and I sobbed uncontrollably.  

I hope she is happy with her decision.  I read from the papers that she has switched camps and is now busy campaigning for the opposition.   Ohhh...I hate politics!  I am sure that those without any political inclination sleeps better at night.  Oh well, I wish her well...

Joanna Kitingan, the Deputy is now our new head and she is well supported.







Monday, March 18, 2013

THE STRANGE LITTLE BIRD..

Our mama passed away on the day that we were supposed to go clear the land. I can't even explain the shock and trauma it did to me and my family, my siblings and to all who loved her on her sudden passing. 

That morning, she woke up early in anticipation of the day ahead. She must have been excited, as we found out later, she was preparing lunch to be packed for the day.  But little did we know, God had other plans for her... the Angels took her that early morn. She had been attacked by an acute asthma.   


In the kitchen, we later found boiled yam, rice, vegetable, fish...all packed nicely.  Sometimes, one can't help but question God.  But I take comfort God didn't let her suffer, took her away from the pains of the world. The Angels  came like a thief. We know that one day that day of coming home to the Lord will come, but that only God knows when.  


This reminds me of my cousin saying on his 60++ birthday when we wished him happy birthday through watsapp and his response was,   "If age were to be measured in the length of a string, what's left over for me is very short indeed. But I heard that life in Heaven is a lot better.. so actually I look forward to that. If I be there earlier, I would throw roses on your paths to remind you all, that there is indeed a better place.. should that be so, I would indeed be a senior citizen there receiving you guys."    Hehehe... haishhh..morbid.  


And my other cousin responded  "Life is a journey of adventures  - some exciting and some not so, when the auld lang syne is sang at last, you would have lived, loved and laughed well. In the end it's the agape love that matters..For now, let's all live well, love deep and laugh often. Rejoice in the light of dawn, and pray for surcease from pain and sorrow at dusk..."   Wow, that's deep and  I was like  "Ohh..oh.. blessed are ye of good faith." 

But back to my mama.. After she passed on, we could not even mention the land without tearing up. Henceforth, we never did go to the land and we carried on with our respective life just holding on to her memory.  On the back of my mind, our mama was constantly whispering, hey you all.. go and do something about the land.  All that she had planted or cleared must have turned  into a ghostly thick jungle. 



We did, after nine long years!  When we decided to do something about it, we had no idea where the boundaries began and ended.  The thick foliage was daunting and there wasn't any resemblance of it's previous state.  

We managed to have it cleared after a lot of challenges. To think that about 5 months ago, it was still a jungle.  We did think of hiring a surveyor to re-do the boundaries but it was too costly. So we decided to try do it ourselves.  We were in luck as my brother had some knowledge and experience about jungles, being educated in Agriculture related.  




 The Google map of the land





 Taking a breather and studying the map and bitten by mosquitoes same time..


the siblings... another 2 not in picture


.. through swampy areas..bitten by leeches..

So in October last year, we went randomly into the jungle.. armed with the Garmin instrument that detect stones on boundaries. We 6 of us - my 2 brothers and 4 of us girls went into the thick jungle and came through hills and swampy areas. There was an area the jungle so thick and swampy, trees so big full of hanging vines, it was so dark inside  -  we called that patch the lost world!!  Bitten by leeches, mosquitoes, we also worried about snakes and poisonous plants, wild animals and bees.. That was frightening but our excitement  over came all those obstacles! 




                 the cleared land


my favourite tree wasn't spared..  sob sob




We were saying, our mama and papa must be looking down at us from up there and smiling proudly... hahaha.   As of now, we have planted several fruit trees.. durians, rambutans, lemon, avacado, sour soup, mango, jackfruit and lots more. The guys are currently making a small house or a hut for us to take refuge on. 


..my sista and the lemon tree..



 the road where we parked our vehicle is quite a distance..
 so the powerful 4WD helps..





            ..the youngsters helping in the planting of fruits..

This has become our Sunday activities.  Our kids from the eldest to the youngest revel in this once a week activity. It not only help us till the land but have made the bonds of our families stronger. 


..dukung langsat planted by Yours Truly..

It was one of those Sundays while we were trying to pluck some of the cempedak that grew in the land that we heard this strange bird.  It was unlike any bird that just sang their meaningless tune. It must have been our imagination, but this particular bird kept repeating  - singing or saying something so clearly, our hairs stood on end!  My brother tried to 'talk' to the bird playfully against our protest!  We later remember that whenever my brother repeated what it sounded like, it stopped like as if it was listening and in 'conversation'.  My sisters and I admonished my brother for being 'naughty' fearing that it was some sort of bad spirit!!  haha



Guess who is in white...see the long knife or parang.... don't play play..hahaha


            the cempedak tree..

That night our mama appeared in my sister in law's dream. (She wasn't with us at the land that time and she didn't know about our encounter with the bird the previous day).  Our mama supposedly said that she was very happy that we did something about the land and she said that she was always with us during those visits but in a form of a bird! 



Google pic

Strange and unbelievable!! Then we recalled the strange encounter with the bird!  Really uncanny and difficult to believe. It was probably a coincidence but we like to believe that it was real, that our mama was really with us but as a bird!. 



..squirrels are the culprit I think..




..we may be in the wilds, but the handphone is never away..

The following week, we all went to the particular tree in the hope of encountering that phenomenon again...but the bird never came. We never saw or hear of it again. Oh,  there were several other birds, but none of that strange little bird.

Mama rest in peace, don't worry about us. We are doing ok.




my nine-year old nephew trying to plant some seeds...



A LESSON ON LIFE FROM DAD...

Just sharing this beautiful message received from a friend through WhatsApp which I think also received from someone. Guess it has been ...