Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Tutong By the River

If visitors travels to Brunei Darus Sallam, they will notice one thing; the small towns are extremely clean! Kuala Belait, Muara, Seria and Tutong. It's quite expensive visiting Brunei because the Brunei Ringgit is peg to the Singapore Dollar and their per capita income is one of the highest in Asia. But tourists will find Brunei relaxing and peaceful and compounding this is the town cleanliness.

One of them is Tutong. The district capital is Pekan Tutong with a population of 35,000 inhabitants. Tutong is also a unique district because it is the most multiracial place in Brunei. They even speak a slight variant from the Brunei Malay dialect. It is believed that the language is heavily influence by Kadayan and a little bit of Tagalog. One hilarious example is the word Ma'ang. In Brunei Malay it is described as Merah, which mean red.

Tutong also have a large number of minority call Dusun. In fact, it is the only place in Brunei where their presence are felt. Many of them are Pagans but quite a number of them had converted to Islam and few had converted to Christianity. I had talked to many of them asking them where does the Dusun Brunei come from? Some of them claimed their ancestors were here even before the Brunei rulers became Muslim. That was in 1400 AD. Others traced their ancestors migrating to Tutong from the Moyog-Tambunan Valley in the mid-late 1800's.

My uncle, who used the drone to take a bird-eye view of the Borneo landscape in Labuan and Kota Kinabalu took this breathtaking view of the Kuala Tutong. The view is majestic. The sea feed into the river mouth, detached houses along the river, and of course the beautiful town itself. Brunei is accessible by cars both from Sabah and Sarawak. For peace of mind, visitors should drop by at Tutong at least once in their lifetime.

The top picture is the Kuala Tutong river mouth, the middle is detached house that is common along the river and below is the Pekan Tutong by the side of the river. Notice how clean the town is.

The first English romance-thriller from Borneo
Search THE EURASIANS by Don Peter ebook

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

SGCC: The Tough Old Nut

I hate and love playing at Sabah Golf and Country Club (SGCC). For one thing, the course is murderously tough. Good scores are hard to come by. My average scores is between 90 and 96 gross in any average courses, but at SGCC, I would be lucky escaping with 100! I am not talking on behalf of the single handicappers or the pros, for they tend to believe otherwise.

One of the hallmark of SGCC's difficulty is its slippery greens, and very difficult to read. Four putts is extremely common for the higher handicappers. Its fairways are undulating which make good contact a challenge. SGCC is a good course for anger management, because most of the time a player will always have to confront his temper playing at a course like SGCC. But I have to admit SGCC is a thrilling course, and every time I swear not to return and play here, somehow players knows that there isn't any other course like SGCC when comes to the excitement of challenge. Many players says, if you could tamed SGCC, other courses are just a piece of cake!

The most famous or 'infamous' fairway of SGCC is the 14th hole Par 5. In Chinese, 14 means 'the part of death' or 'straight death'! That's the reputation of the 14th hole. Many players called her Sharifah and I don't know why. If you happen to play fairly good all the while, wait till you reach her. Things can get awfully wrong here. Ponds, deep ravine, tall trees, and out of bound (OB) comes into play. Be prepared for triple bogey or more which is very common here.

SGCC is located at Jalan Kolam, Bukit Padang. It is a ten minutes drive from the Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu) city center. The course was constructed in 1976.

The middle picture is hole 10. On this green, the surrounding views are magnificent. But it is a funny hole. Regulation in two doesn't necessarily bring joy. If your ball managed to land at the nearest edge of the green, then most probably your ball will roll back to the fairway! The bottom picture is another funny hole. The green is narrow and long, and it is slopping downward away from the 15th fairway. If you land on this green, the chances of your ball skidding out is normal, unless you have a strong backspin.

As it was said before, if you could master playing at SGCC, rest assured you can play anywhere with ease.

The first romance-thriller from Borneo

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Drone over the Likas Bay

Drones are also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA). Since ancient time, men had been toying with drones. The most famous one was the kites. Kites are not only used by children as plaything but it was also used for military purpose. In ancient China, kites were used for warfare. Soldiers drew fierce looking characters on their kites believing it will scare their enemies. During the Second World War, the German used the V1 and V2 rockets to bomb British cities, and this weapon was actually drone.

The importance of drones were manifested during the battle against Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces in Afghanistan since the early 2000 until today. Drones are very useful military weapon especially for intelligence gathering and special operations. At the Battle of Tora Bora in the Afghan mountains, the terrorists cannot even carry any soft drinks canned in metal because the drones can detect their presence.

Nowadays, drones are not only used for military purposes, but also as civil applications, such as for police works, firefighting and rescue, and also useful for commercial activities such as for Real Estate Agents. My uncle brought his drone from Brunei and he took the whole bird-eye view of the Likas Bay, including Kampong Likas. Likas is located about six miles from the Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu) city center. Located in this vicinity is the beautiful City Mosque (Mesjid Bandaraya), Likas Lagoon Park, and the wonderful jogging track that stretches from Tanjung Lipat right up to the Tun Mustapha Tower.

The first picture is the drone just taking off, the second shows the bird eye view of the whole  Kampong Likas and the third picture is showing Likas Bay during sunset. The views is so magnificent and truly wonderful.

The first English romance-thriller from Borneo
Search THE EURASIANS by Don Peter ebook