Sunday, March 29, 2009

Of Kadazan and Dusun

I read with great interest an article written in Daily Express dated 22-3-2009 in conjunction with Dr Herman Luping's soon-to-be-launched book "The Indigenous Ethnic Communities of Sabah: The Kadazandusuns".

He identifies 14 tribes who are of the same-speech community under the Kadazandusun category, namely:
  1. Bonggi (Banggi Island)
  2. Idaan or Tindal (Tempasuk, Kota Belud)
  3. Dumpaas (Orang Sungai, Kinabatangan)
  4. Bagahak (Orang Sungai, Kinabatangan)
  5. Tombinuo and Buludupis (Orang Sungai, Kinabatangan)
  6. Kimaragang (Tandek, Kota Marudu)
  7. Liwan (Ranau and Tambunan)
  8. Tangaah (Penampang and Papar)
  9. Rungus (Matunggong, Kudat)
  10. Tatana (Kuala Penyu)
  11. Lotud (Tuaran)
  12. Bisaya (Beaufort)
  13. Tidong (Tawau)
  14. Kedayan (Sipitang)

Traditional dance called Sumazau performed in Penampang

Kirai, the home-made cigarette used here to convey a message during engagement ceremony is still practiced within the Kadazan and Dusun community.

First thing first, there is no such term as "kadazandusun". It was created by politicians in an effort to supposedly unite the Kadazans and Dusuns in the 80-ies. Has it unite the many tribes socially? Not necessarily, if anything it only gave rise to more debate on what should one identify oneself as. While leaders of those days prefer to have one term for both Kadazan and Dusun, the population at large never really subscribe to this idea.

Even Dr. Luping himself is a fanatic, to certain extent. Read the article and you will understand what I mean. It is alright to dissect the bigger group into smaller tribes (and this is according to where they are residing, remember Sabah is not that big, geographically) but in my opinion let one identify himself/herself what he/she is comfortable with. Luping can be so hard on with his Kadazan stance but go easy with people who prefer to call themselves Dusun.

The Magagung, or beating the gong is a must during communal functions and celebrations

Luping forgot about Tamparuli and Kiulu. There are many Dusuns there; much more than the Lotud in Tuaran and these two areas are big enough to be put under separate DUN, namely DUN 10 and DUN 11. So, which tribe does he group these Dusuns into? Liwan, Tindal or Lotud?

Say, he sourced his material partly from Sabah State Museum and through interview. Maybe he has not met with the Deputy Director of Sabah Museum which hails from Tamparuli. It would be interesting to listen to his opinion.

It must be noted that Bisaya, Tidong and Kedayan does not really fall under either Kadazan or Dusun community.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Uniquely Penampang

The sigah (sigar in Dusun) is a headgear mostly assosiated with the Kadazan and Dusun people of Sabah, worn mainly during the communities traditional celebration or other social functions. In the olden days, sight of one wearing the headgear was quite common but the newer generation seem to regard the wearing as just for traditional introduction to visitors.

In Penampang, the sigah was immortalised by replicating it into community buildings, decorative structures, and erection of statue wearing sigah.

Statue of one of the earlier Kadazan leaders which was relocated from a filthy wastewater oxidation pond to a more appropriate location at the centre of Donggongon town in 2004.

Clock tower built between Dragon Restaurant and Ching Fah Restaurant. Note the sigah-like cap.

Giant sigah: Concrete structure to symbolise the Kadazan as the largest ethnic group in Penampang - located at a round about linking roads between Kota Kinabalu-Papar-Tambunan-Donggongon town.

Only in Penampang: A community hall called Dewan Huguan Siou in Kg Tuavon, in the shape of a sigah.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Earth Hour 2009

As at 24 March 2009 there are 2,398 cities, towns and municipalities in 83 countries around the world (earthhour website) that have committed to vote-earth for Earth Hour 2009. The vote earth tag is aimed at giving the human race the opportunity to elect between Earth and global warming.

So, what is Earth Hour and what is the significance of this campaign?

It is an annual international event created by the WWF, held on the last Saturday of March, that asks households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights and electrical appliances for one hour to raise awareness towards the need to take action on climate change (Wikipedia).
Alas, for the people residing in Kota Kinabalu or generally in Sabah, the call to switch off their lights for an hour at 8.30pm come March 28 in support of action on global warming may remind the people more of the perennial black-outs rather than the intended awareness campaign itself.
It is like, you are practising this for years and against your will - I am refering to the many incidences of sudden blackouts that sometimes results in going without electricity for hours. In Penampang, it can happen any time. It can be in the form of power dips, multiple power trips of 2 to 3 black-outs and it can sometime go on for hours; so much so that if I were to make complaint using my fixed line telephone, the operator at SESB (Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd) call centre could tell my name by just looking at my caller ID.

I am not calling this call a joke, but in Sabah you can not help but think that way. Sometime you just wonder if it is due to lack of political will, pure case of bad planning on the part of the utility company, or is it true that the government does not have the necessary fund to improve the situation. What is clear is that every now and then politicians come over (and I mean, the big shots from federal level) with pledge to do something, with little or no result to shout about.

Back to the Earth Hour. As one of the considerate and aware citizen, I would participate in this event by switching off a couple of the fluorescent lamps come 28 March. It may not make much difference individually but a synchronised action globally sure will get the message through.

Happy Earth Hour!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Beginning of a Bull-Market, or nothing more than just a Bear-Market Rally?

The positive sentiment in the domestic market may hold up pending the Umno party elections this week and could spruce up interest in UEM Land, MRCB, KUB and Kencana Petroleum, all of which are linked in one way or another to the government.

Investors are taking on a more upbeat outlook with the continued gains at closing bell, as we observed a clearly strong sentiment on the Bursa Malaysia right at the start of the new week. Today itself, the KLCI surge 21.48 points to close at 878.3 points.

The table shows that most of the actively traded stocks posted gains.

On emerging market, Mark Mobius, Chairman of Templeton Asset Management Ltd, said in a Bloomberg TV interview that the next “bull-market” rally has begun and there are bargains in every emerging market. He based his view on the 23% jump in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index since the 4-year low of Oct 2007. This is in contrast to the 2.5% drop in the MSCI World Index and 9.5% decline in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

"I have a feeling we’re at the bottom and now we’re building a base for the next bull market" said Mobius. His view is shared by few other investors and portfolio managers. Of course, investors, traders, and people such as myself would be more than happy to welcome the materialisation of their views.

The truth is, while Mobius is very optimistic in his view, personally I would think that the keyword for now is 'cautious', at least for the next few months as there are so many things that are still uncertain. The gains may turn out to be another bear market rally. No one can call the bottom in the stock market correctly and I have never come accross anyone who managed to do it. Even if there is, it is just by mere coincidence. Keep it simple, if I can do it then I do not have to work, it would be like winning a lottery everyday.

Note: MSCI Emerging Markets Index is an index created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that is designed to measure equity market performance in global emerging markets. Malaysia is one of the 26 emerging economies listed in the index as at 2005.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Tracking Your Electricity Consumption

In a news release by Reuters on 17th March 2009 (Nao Nakanishi), Google Inc is reported to roll out free software which allows consumers to track their home electricity use and improve energy efficiency very soon.

Google is said to be in talks with utility companies in US, Europe and Asia to make the product available shortly to general consumers. Google Inc would use its software skills for the program that will show home energy consumption in real time on a user's computer or a telephone.

It was mentioned that according to the company, studies showed that by having access to home energy information, one can typically saves between 5% and 15% on monthly electricity bills.

As a tech savvy myself and being familiar with several other tools, this is very much a welcomed development. For a typical household monthly bill of RM250 (moderate estimate for a family with air-conditioners, automatic washing machine, fridge, audio-visual electrical appliances, etc.) one can save up to RM300 annually on electricity bills.

This is not including savings from replacing energy-guzzling equipments as a result of information gained from the usage of the software. It would be very interesting to know if the software would include predictive maintenance of equipments and appliances, including giving users some idea on performance curves, energy consumption projection, cost of replacement, and ROI in the case that one should purchase a greener (energy saving) replacement.

If the domestic consumers can save energy this way, I am convinced the bigger - the industry - consumers can save much more. Based on an integrated study I was involved in on facilities of utility company, it is possible to save energy up to 20% of the monthly bills.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


By going green, I don't mean painting your car and house green and wearing green clothing. Also, it doesn't mean you go to places where there are a lot of green mountains, camp into the thick untouched jungle, drink from contamination-free springs of water sourced from land no one has ventured into yet.

The The majestic Mount Kinabalu, taken from a spot near SMK Tamparuli entrance. On the foreground is Bukit Perahu, the highest altitude one can walk up to in Tamparuli.

It simply means we take good care of our earth, preserve the well being of our mother nature. How, you may ask? Well it does not take a rocket science professor or a linguistic doctor to explain the word ACTION.

Yes, it is as simple as that. It is through our determination and discipline to take action that matters when we are talking about getting result from what we intend to achieve. Here are some toughts about going green:
  1. Remember when you bought your first cellphone? Cellphones are now one of the biggest culprits in polluting the earth. So, keep your electronics (cellphone, computers, PLCs, etc) as long as possible. If you don't need them, donate them to others who may still have some use for them.

  2. Be a smart buyer. For instance, do not buy cheap products if you are in a position to buy a better-quality, last-longer items so that you do not have to replace them too often. Buying in bulk saves you money and at the same time it helps reducing the cost of packaging.

  3. Save energy and help yourself save some money. Set the automatic 'Off' to a time you think you'll not need a heater/air-conditioner before you go to bed. Energy saving bulbs or lamps are about 4 to 5 times more expensive than normal ones but they save you money in a long run. So consider one during your next bulb replacement.

  4. Do you enjoy spending long time in the bathroom? If so, it is highly possible that you may have been wasting water all this while. Take shorter shower and you may just have saved few cubic meter of water at month end, and plug some leaks on your wallet too. Can you afford to water your plants using raw water? Because that would save chemicals for water treatment, and help your neighbours residing at higher ground to get their water supplies.

  5. What about car pooling and using public transportation. Yes, I am talking about trying to reduce gas emission. We all know about this and how important it is to have gas free environment; it is just about whether we are willing to take ACTION and do the right thing.

  6. Can I go wrong, environmentally, with my eating behaviour? Yes you can. For your own good take good look at your health when deciding what to eat. From 'green' point of view, eating one meatless meal a week can go a long way on saving some cost on cold storage and less pollutants from the related refuse. From health point of view, you reduce the risk of possible complications resulting from excessive consumption of meat.

  7. Can you resist the temptation of the convenience of drinking from bottled water? Remember, bottled water generate a large quantity of container waste, especially plastic. So, use water purifier instead.
And the list goes on. There are many other little things that we can do and that we have been doing which we think were too small to mention. What we learnt during our school days to maintain cleanliness, health, and eating moderately surely have some substance in them. Do appreciate our teachers!