Friday, December 31, 2004

Donations/Relief Funds Information for Malaysians

Malaysians can make their donations to the “National Disaster Fund” managed by the National Disaster Management and Relief Committee headed by the Deputy Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Mohd. Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak, as well as the various Humanitarian Fund for relief efforts in the northern part of Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India, by following the information at any of the websites below:

Also note that the AMP Tsunami 26/12 appeal, where you can sent your donation via SMS, has closed, midnight 31 December 2004. More info here.

Malaysia is one of the richest (if not the richest) tsunami-hit nations. But our destruction and the number of deaths can be described as insignificant compared to the other nations, especially the neighbouring Aceh province of Sumatra in Indonesia, which sheltered Peninsular Malaysia from the full force of nature. We are indeed lucky. Feel it in your heart to think of the other less fortunate Malaysans and the people in the other nations, and give generously.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

What Have We Learn from the Asian Tsunami

It is extremely difficult for us here in Borneo to enjoy the year-end holiday season and to shepherd in the coming new year. Although Borneo is literally untouched and unshakened, the scale of the natural disaster really hit home with the fast rising death toll each day.

Some of us here may still be in disbelief that something so disastrous can happened so close to our home, but the horrific images on the television and other media helped to disseminate the true picture of the situation.

One look at this animation (which shows the wave of the tsunami moving outward from northern Sumatra and travelled some 750 miles to Sri Lanka and Eastern India in less than 2 hours) and we in Borneo can somehow feel how lucky and blessed we are sometimes. Not only are we living in the Land Below the Wind, but we are also in the Land away from the paths of the Ring of Fire.

We shouldn't take this for granted.

Additionally, we must bear in mind that the entire disaster will probably only get worst as the aftermath of disease and sickness will likely kills many more. Any disease outbreak may spread to other neighbouring unaffected region, including Borneo. We can only hope that the local and international aids arrives in time to check this. We, the lucky ones, can do our part too!

Check out the interactive SEA EAT Blog on how you can help the countless number of victims and displaced families.

Asian Tsunami News, Resources and Donations

For the latest news update and resources, check out the following sites:

Information on multinational disaster relief effort, resources, aid, donations and volunteer efforts:

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The Worst Tsunami in History!

Based on the latest death toll, the tsunamis generated by an earthquake Sunday off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia is the worst in history. The worst tsunamis, by number of fatalities by Location, Year and the No. of Deaths, as follows:
  • South China Sea ; 1782 ; 40,000
  • South Java Sea ; 1883 ; 36,500
  • Tokaido-Nankaido, Japan ; 1707 ; 30,000
  • Sanriku, Japan ; 1896 ; 26,360
  • Northern Chile ; 1868 ; 25,674
  • Southwest Kyushu Island, Japan ; 1792 ; 15,030
  • Ryukyu Trench ; 1771 ; 13,486
  • Moro Gulf, Philippines ; 1976 ; 8,000
  • Tokaido-Kashima, Japan ; 1703 ; 5,233
  • Nankaido, Japan ; 1605 ; 5,000

Source: West Coast & Alaska Tsunami Warning Center

Monday, December 27, 2004

The Asian Quake & Tsunamis

The huge earthquake off Sumatra Island, northern Indonesia on Boxing Day, which triggered giant tidal waves or Tsunamis across south east and western Asia, is undoubtedly the worst natural disaster of the 21st century thus far. While most of us here in Borneo were just getting over the Christmas turkey hang-over, and did not realise (or feel) anything was amiss on the other side of Malaysia, and Asia..., until we tuned in to the news.

We were captivated by the images shown on the television, and could not really comprehend the magnitude of this disaster. It was already devastating in Penang and Phuket, but in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and India, it was simply horrendous. To think that we in Borneo did not even feel the earth shake may be a real blessing from above but to see others in the effected countries including our countrymen in Peninsular Malaysia having to go through this unthinkable devastation and its aftermath during the holiday season leaves us totally lost for words.

All we can utter is that our prayers and heartfelt thoughts for all the victims of the catastrophic disaster...

Click here for more updated news.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

The Archaelogical Niah Caves of Sarawak

Niah is about 110 km south of Miri, Sarawak. Niah is an archaelogical site where the skull/remains of early cave dwellers were found. Walk to the Painted Cave with Borneo's only haematite paintings. Witness the harvesting of Birds' nests during harvesting time and enroute to the picturistic Latak waterfall at Lambir National Park.

Click here for more tour information.

Niah Caves

Copyright © 2004

Monday, December 06, 2004

NEWS: Extension denied, dive operators to be evicted from Sipadan

SIPADAN, Malaysia -- The Government has rejected a request from scuba diving resort operators to be allowed to remain on Sipadan for another year.

The Dec. 31 deadline stays for the five operators to vacate the popular diving spot. The Government will allow only day trips from Jan. 1 next year and limited to 80 visitors. The decision is expected to strengthen the Government's application for the island to be listed as a world heritage site by Unesco, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

It was learnt that all five resorts have been fully booked till Dec. 31 even four months in advance, as this is the last chance for people to stay overnight on the island.

It was learnt that the five dive operators had, through their lawyers, asked for the extension in September, citing the need for more time to relocate.

The lawyers had met the authorities twice to discuss the request.

The committee set up to oversee the matter is jointly headed by Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Samsuddin Osman and State Secretary Datuk K.Y. Mustafa.

The National Security Division in the Prime Minister's Deparment, through the State Secretary's office, issued the notices to vacate late last year.

The five operators on the island are Borneo Divers, Sipadan Dive Centre, Pulau Sipadan Resort, Abdillah Sipadan Paradise and Sipadan Lodge.

Sipadan, listed among the world's top 10 diving destinations, is also a nesting spot for turtles and a transit point for migratory birds.

State National Security Division Deputy Director Abdullah Daud said the dive operators must demolish all the structures they own on the island.

"Ample time had been given to them and we will make a spot check on the island next month," he said when contacted.

However, the security post on the island will remain, and the requirement for all visitors to fill out a security form would continue.

The island was a subject of dispute between Malaysia and Indonesia until the International Court of Justice ruled on Dec 17, 2002 that the island belonged to Malaysia.

At least one of the five dive operators intends to stay open until the end of the year. November and December are peak periods.

The dive operators may relocate to the nearby islands of Mabul and Kapalai, half an hour from Sipadan.

SOURCE: Daily Express

Thursday, December 02, 2004

NEWS: Thumbs Up for Sabah Security from US Politicians

KOTA KINABALU: A group of nine politicians from the state of Iowa, United States, have given Sabah’s security situation the thumbs-up despite the recent US government’s advisory to the contrary.

The American legislators said the people in Sabah were very friendly and accommodating and that they felt very safe being here.

“I feel very fine and safe here. From what I’ve seen, everybody seems to be friendly and very accommodating,” the group’s leader Patrick Murphy told reporters when met at the lobby of the State Legislative Assembly building here yesterday.

The delegation had earlier observed the proceedings and question and answer session of the ongoing State Assembly sitting.

They arrived here on November 28 under the US-Sabah Legislative Exchange Programme and would leave for home on Dec 8.

Murphy, who is a Democrat representative in the state of Iowa, was asked to comment on the United States’ recent advisory to Americans against visiting Sabah as it was still unsafe for them.

Commenting on the same issue, Murphy’s Republican counterpart Nancy Boettger said Sabahans had been wonderful.

“Starting with the Malaysian Airlines service, they are very gracious and everyone has been very gracious,” he said.

On the US-Sabah Legislative Exchange Programme, Murphy said it was beneficial for both governments.

“It helped us to learn more about constitutional monarchy government.

“It (system) is not exactly the same as in the United States but it is very close. We expect to learn more on how the state government operates under the system (constitutional monarchy),” he said.

Murphy also invited Sabah Assemblymen to go to Iowa in late January or February next year for the same purpose.

“We hope they (Sabah Assemblymen) too can learn how our government works, especially how to make the government more transparent so that the people have access to the government.
“Things will be running differently from usual in Iowa Senate as both Republican and Democrat have 25 representatives each,” he added.

The American delegation will pay a courtesy call on Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman today.

Source: New Sabah Times

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Top 5 Folklore Tips for the "Mount Kinabalu Climb"

Additional folklore but equally important tips when climbing Mount Kinabalu as follows:

  1. Respect the mountain and 'nature spirits' even if you are a sceptic (or skeptic for US English)
  2. When you need to relieve yourself, tell the "nature spirits" (say aloud) that may be lying on your path to give way to avoid offending them
  3. Don't shout or make too much noise or you might disturb the "nature spirits"
  4. When lost, talk aloud to the "spirits" to "set you free" and apologise for anything that you might have done wrong.
  5. Never take what doesn't belong to you from the Mountain - "Take nothing, leave nothing but your footsteps"

The Good Holiday Guides Are Those Who've Lived The Experience.
The Best Holiday Guides Are Those Who Are Living The Experience.

Copyright © 2004

Top 20 Tips for the "Mount Kinabalu Climb"

Mount Kinabalu is still a relative safe mountain to climb. While climbing the mountain doesn't require any specialised mountaineering skills, and there is a mountain guide to accompany you (a prerequisite), it is useful to be reminded when one is traveling on unfamiliar grounds, and it pays to stay focussed on the climb.

Some useful tips for a successful climb include:

  1. Wear and bring adequate clothing
  2. Always climb in a group and stay close to the group
  3. Focus on what you do, (i.e., don't get distracted)
  4. Always use the well-trodden path
  5. Never get reckless or try to be a show-off
  6. If possible, climb during dry season
  7. If unavoidable, be extra careful with your steps during the wet spell
  8. Stay where you are if you are lost
  9. Leave a trail in case you have to walk away from the path where you got lost
  10. Bring along a whistle just to be extra safe.
  11. Always stay close to your mountain guide
  12. Wrap up your dry clothings with plastic bags in your napsack
  13. Bring lots of chocolates and candies
  14. No red meat or heavy meal before climbing
  15. Noodles and eggs are recommended before the more challenging second ascent from Laban Rata
  16. Never sit or lay down on high altitute (just stand still)
  17. Never forget to bring along a torchlight and sufficient water (but not too much/heavy)
  18. Cover your nose (and mouth) with a scarf in windy condition on high ground
  19. Make extra sure your feet and hands are warm and dry during the final ascent
  20. When descending, try to walk sideway if you are feeling the pinch

More Description and Tips Here.

The Good Holiday Guides Are Those Who've Lived The Experience.
The Best Holiday Guides Are Those Who Are Living The Experience.

Copyright © 2004