Sunday, 27 November 2016

Paragliding in Borneo: From Kokol Hill (Part 1)


It had been a long time since I last saw my cousin, Christopher Lammert gliding down the The Forgotten Hill  and floating above the cloud overlooking Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu). This time Chris told me; everything is different. Before he used to have the orange paragliding wing which is big and cumbersome; and it is very old. However, Chris kept it, nicely and neatly tucked at his house because that big piece of fiber had done him too much favor to be disposed. He had too much memory with his old friend; the old orange wing flying together at Kokol Hill.


This time his white new wing is not only much more smaller, but sleeker and lighter; which make it easy for the pilot like Chris to handle. Before, the orange wing would not be able to take off unless it is a perfect weather condition. For example now; the weather is so cool and comfortable because the cloud is hovering  slightly below us. With his old gliding wing, Chris will not be able to take off because cool air mean less pressure. With newer technology, this white wing do not see any problem with that sort of situation.

With his old orange wing, Chris will not dare jump with such a low hanging cloud
This time his client was a Dane named Alan. Chris told me Alan had a sleepless night and he didn't take his lunch properly because he was thinking of the frightening experience he is going to face; paragliding for the first time! I noticed he was taking a deep breath all the time. I asked him, "you are Dane right?" "Ya!" Was his reply. "Then you should not be afraid because you are a Viking warrior!" I told him. "But not on air!" He replied stammering. Both of us laugh and somehow it comforted him a little.

Chris (in orange) explaining to Alan (in blue) the flight part
Alan shouting with fear
And became overjoyed watching the beautiful scenery from above





Contact Chris Lammert at +6013-8645606
PLEASE CLICK CHRIS KOKOL PARAGLIDING











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Saturday, 19 November 2016

NASI LEMAK served at Villa Ku Boutique Homestay



Villa Ku Boutique Homestay is a cute 11 room motel on top of the Kokol Hill. It is so cozy inside especially after being chilled by the afternoon mist surrounding this resort. The view outside is even breathtaking. According to the owner, Madam Bona, people coming here enjoyed the outside view overlooking the Kionsom Valley because every hour, the panoramic views kept changing.


What I enjoyed most about this place or Kokol Hill; we have the opportunity to experience "floating in the clouds" and yet this place is not far away. It is only 45 minutes drive from the city center of Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu). But the best thing about here is; having hot chocolate and nasi lemak when you are feeling cold.


Madam Bona's special dish is her Nasi Lemak. Nasi lemak is a fragrant rice dish cooked with coconut milk and pandan (Pandanus amaryllifolius) leave. It is common in the Malay archipelago (Malaysia, Indonesia, Southern parts of Philippines and Thailand and Brunei). Madam Bona told me that she was fascinated with nasi lemak ever since she was a small. She traveled around North Borneo and even went as far as West Malaysia so that she could find the best recipe. Finally she found one, and now she could serve nasi lemak in a cool terrain. Her rice is special local rice which made her dish tasty.

In the late 1980's, I saw a newspaper article in the sports column quoting the North Borneo football coach (I believe an English coach) saying; the problem with the local footballers is their dietary habits. It is so unhealthy because the players do not have enough nutrients in their body. They eat nasi lemak! To think back about it; I thing he is very wrong. Nasi lemak is packed with proteins; ikan bilis, groundnuts, eggs are full of nutrients. To me, the people of the archipelago did the right thing to have nasi lemak for breakfast.


So if you need a place to relax, enjoying the views and having nasi lemak, VILLA KU BOUTIQUE HOMESTAY AND CAFE is the right place to go. For booking, the resort can be contacted at:

TEL NO: 011-12214708
E-MAIL: villakuboutique@gmail.com
WEBSITE: Villa Ku Boutique Homestay


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Thursday, 10 November 2016

THE EURASIANS by Don Peter AVAILABLE AT LOCAL BOOKSTORES

WH Smith at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA)

The Museum Shop at the Sabah Museum

My romance-thriller novel, THE EURASIANS is now available in two of these bookstores; WH SMITH at the KKIA and also at the  THE MUSEUM SHOP at the North Borneo (Sabah) Museum. These bookstores also sells other interesting collection of Borneo books pen by local authors, mostly dealing with non-fiction issues such as history, culture and nature. It is worth spending time here. While WH Smith offer a place to seat, relax and have a light snack, Museum Shop also sell varieties of local and imported handicrafts.





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Friday, 4 November 2016

KOKOL IN HEAVEN: A View to Kill (Time that is!)


The most wonderful place to see the view of Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu) is from a resort call Kokol Haven, located at The Forgotten Hill.This building have 11 big rooms suitable for families who decide to travel up the hill, enjoying the cool night and morning wind and at the same time walk into the primary forest nearby. Up at this resort the view is breathtaking! Almost all the important islands near the city such as Gaya, Mamutik, Sulug and Sepanggar could be seen clearly from up here. Sometime we can even see Pulau Tiga, a national park designated island near Kuala Penyu.


I asked one of the staffs here; what is their special dishes? She told me Tuaran Mee. Well, this noodle is indeed famous in North Borneo (Sabah) and leaving the island without tasting this food is a wasted opportunity. However, the Kokol Haven restaurant also served western cuisines, Chinese meals and Malay delicacy; typical of many Borneo restaurants.








In the day time, if it doesn't rain, we could see the concrete jungles mushrooming all over Jesselton. Early in the morning, before 8am, the weather is so comforting as the cool wind blow into your face. Sitting at this resort, as we watch below; time really slowed down. But the coming of night is more interesting. The ray of sunset really inspire you. It is so beautiful and spectacular. Once again, the coolness creep in as it had disappeared during the mid-morning. Watching colorful sunset; as the cool wind kept pounding on you, is really a wonderful experience.




A twenty minutes walk up the hill from the resort, we will reach the peak of Kokol Hill; the paragliders paradise! Early in the morning and occasionally right into the afternoon, the peak is covered with thick cloud. Here the height is 2800 feet above sea level. See also The Forgotten Hill Part Two.

What's unique about Kokol Haven is the distant. It only takes 45 minutes from the city center to reach this resort. We can be enjoying swimming at one of the islands, and almost immediately we can decide to tell ourselves or the tour guide that "I want to go to Kokol Haven now!"  No problem!

For more information PLEASE CLICK KOKOL HAVEN RESORT.


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Saturday, 29 October 2016

THE EURASIANS: Wonderful Coverage!


On 28th of October 2016, I got a message from my son that my story about THE EURASIANS was out in the STAR newspaper. Immediately, I went off to the city to get one copy. There it was on the page nation 36; EURASIAN PENS ROMANTIC THRILLER. It was a wonderful coverage indeed and I felt so happy with the nationwide exposure. I wish to thank Ruben Sario, STAR Senior Writer, who wrote this article and also STAR for such a wonderful publicity. I will remember this moment for the rest of my life.

As I had always told people, there are two main themes for my novel. The first is the usual theme that is common among romance novel; the circle of life. We might fail initially, but as we persevered, success will come; whether in love, career or business. But the second theme is more important; the environmental theme. "I wanted to express what Sabah (North Borneo) is all about, how we have been blessed with an environment that is constantly under threat." That was what I said as reported in the STAR newspaper.

Colorful sunset at Matanani Island

The pristine forest of the Crocker Range

Nature adventure at Kokol Hill

These are the background of my novel. Borneo, especially North Borneo have so much attractions to offer. The island most important assets which must be preserved at all cost are their endemic flora and fauna, unique multiracial cultures, their jungles, mountains, rivers as well as the ecological balance of the marine life. The characters are just actors in my novel. They are just figments of my imagination; and does not have any connection with real people, dead or alive. But the backdrops are real. Borneo indeed have beautiful environment which is now under threat. At the rate of destruction going on as I write now, within 50 years Borneo will have nothing beautiful left to offer to the world.   

Total destruction of the forest near the Crocker Range

Once again, coming back to the newspaper article about me and my novel, I truly appreciate what Ruben and STAR had written about me. 


 
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Friday, 14 October 2016

JESSELTON: Waterfall not far away!


Just imagine! Only 25 kilometer from the Jesselton city center, we are here; at the Kiansom Waterfall! It only takes 30 minute to reach this wonderful place. A friend told me that there are 7 waterfalls here but just those close to the entrance are already awesome. Indeed the water is chilled and refreshing. You won't mind jumping into the water over and over again. I am also fascinated by the flora around these waterfalls. Some are introduced species but most are endemic.


The source of these waterfalls is from Kokol Hill, where the highest peak is roughly 3000 feet above see level. On the other side of this hilly terrain there are numerous rivers and waterfalls that are equally interesting. However, it takes between 45 minutes to 1 hour to reach these places. So Kiansom Waterfall is the nearest place for visitors to drop by.

Kokol Hill towering above these waterfalls
Entrance to the waterfalls
The waterfall areas is currently maintain by village cooperative. Visitors can also buy foods and drinks at the stalls located near the entrance. To enter, we only need to pay two Malaysian Ringgit. There are also few gazebos for families to enjoy their picnic. As I said before, I can't believe myself; a local from Jesselton, to see such a beautiful place close to the city.

According to Wikipedia, a waterfall is a place where water flows over a vertical drop or series of drops in the course of a stream or a river. Waterfalls are commonly formed in the upper course of a river.


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Wednesday, 5 October 2016

THE EURASIAN: Launching at The Sabah Society



At last! My novel, THE EURASIANS was launched at The Sabah Society (TSS) on October 5, 2016 at 7.30pm. I am very grateful to the President of TSS, Mr Chiwon, and his committee members especially Maria Rowan and Monica for the support of this launching.

I am also deeply appreciative to Susan Sinsua, Farida Shukor, David de la Harpe, Ron Griffin, Claudius Frederick, my honored guests from United States; Grace and Allen Miller, David Yong, SM Muthu, to those whom I failed to remember their names (deeply sorry) and my family members.

I was excited to know that Susan and Farida is also actively involved in writing activities and they have been compiling short stories from Borneo which one day they will complete it and publish them. And I am also very excited to know that Grace Miller is also an editor. Susan and Farida told me their greatest problem, even as a qualified English expert, they still find it difficult when comes to editing. They were absolutely right! I told them I completed my manuscript for The Eurasians within three months in 2006. But my greatest dilemma was; how to edit my manuscript? That was why my manuscript was never submitted until Partridge Publishing called me up in late 2015. So, just imagine; what wonderful opportunity when I can meet the editor in person.  I am looking forward to meet all of them again.










I always heard famous authors "launched" their books, and carried out author signing activities. I thought authors job are only to write books. Marketing and promotions are carried out by publishers. I was wrong. Authors need to go out there and meet people telling them about their books and what experiences they need to share with others. It is tough and challenging; but what is interesting, it compelled us to meet new people and make more friends. That is why I like to thanks Partridge Publishing for the support they gave me in term of editing, producing and marketing my books. Even though they are handling my marketing activities on the international front, they told me it is still very important for me to launch my book locally. It is indeed a rewarding experience.




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Monday, 19 September 2016

JESSELTON: Our Green Lung


WHERE IS THIS PICTURE TAKEN? Danum valley? Crocker Range National Park? Or some faraway virgin jungle; which takes hours to reach? NO! IT IS SIGNAL HILL! I was amazed to see right in the heart of our city in Jesselton, we still have this intact forest. After shopping at Suria Complex or having lunch at the Little Italy, one could simply walk towards this hill and enjoy the scenery. I did just that; but only reaching the foothill. I could hear the songs of insects and birds chipping just like what we will hear if we go deep into the jungle. If you close your eyes, you will definitely feel your are in the middle of the forest.







I took these pictures from the Menara Jubilee (Jubilee Complex) because it is so difficult to find parking below. This place is actually a public parking bay for cars. From the 3rd floor right up to the 6th floor, the parking lots were filled up. I cursed for having to park right to the top of this complex. But as I came out of the car, I found out I made a mistake cursing. The sight up here is awesome; but because of the wonderful jungle nearby. The second picture above is facing north of the city and the third picture is facing south.

The green lung at Jalan Istana (Palace Street)
According to the Dictionary.com, green lung means; an area of parkland within a town or a city, considered in terms of the healthier environment it provide. Wiktionary define green lung as an area of natural parkland within an urban region; supposed to replenish the air with oxygen! Before 1970, within the forest of Jalan Istana, there used to be the nostalgic structures of beautiful colonial houses. Few shacks still can be seen nowadays hidden somewhere deep inside.

Just like the colonial buildings, I am very worried that these green lungs all around Jesselton will also disappear giving ways to concrete jungle. Right as I speak now, huge track of former green lung had been destroyed at Jalan Kolam (Pool Street) giving way for a huge courthouse. The problem is we Asian loves concrete jungle; and hates anything that is green! Unfortunately, our authority also shared this feeling. SO SAD!

Sunday, 4 September 2016

THE EURASIANS: The maiden English novel of Borneo



Novels are very subjective. Some love them; others don't. Many however likes to read popular genres like horror, science-fiction, romance or thriller. When I first submitted my manuscript, I thought it was a historical-family saga. However, after editing, my editor told me it was Romance-Thriller. I was delighted because it falls under one of the important genres.

So obsessed with the historical part, I failed to see that the story was in fact romantic affairs of two important characters; Aaron Johnson and William Stewart. Their romance were the one that triggered tensions and eventually conflict. As we move towards the middle chapters, readers will see this novel is a page-turner. What is going to happen next? Why did he do that? How could she?

The character will be memorable. Some of them you will love; some hate. It started with an English gentleman, a Royal Air Force pilot; Aaron Johnson on a mission to North Borneo because of the Indonesian Confrontation in 1964. Aaron had no intention of staying in this wild and undeveloped country. But he fell in love with an Asian girl from Sandakan, married her and he was stuck here establishing a Eurasian family which started a chain of events. Aaron's destiny will cross-part with another young Eurasian, William Stewart, a mild-mannered young lawyer turned lobbyist. Because of love, their lives were turned upside down.

I strongly believe this is the first English romance-thriller novel written by an author (that's me) from North Borneo and its stories most of the time revolving around Borneo. The landscape of the early chapters are historical; Indonesian Confrontation, British and her allies supporting her former colony and also it touches on the Malaysian Agreement 1963 which is a hotly debated topics nowadays in Borneo. Towards the middle chapters, the backdrop are environmental, political and business, an important issue for Borneo starting from the early 1980's. Indeed environment is one of the pillars of this novel.

I also wish to remind readers that few of the passages are colored with controversies. I had no intention of creating a polemic; I only want to make my story flow. Great stories from famous authors have far more controversial issues than mind. That's what made their novels great. However, I wish to apologize in advance, if indeed those controversies offended you.

For those of you who are interested to buy a copy of my book, THE EURASIANS, you can contact me through my email donaldrosli@hotmail.com or call/watsapp me at 012-8214206. I could also be contacted through my twitter @donaldrosli or my Facebook DONALD PETER. The book can also be purchased directly from CLICK HERE

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

THE ULTIMATE MALAYSIAN BUCKET LISTS by Sil


I once made a joke to my Malaysian friends about the general Malaysians travel attitude towards domestic travel, I blurted, Malaysians have been to Bangkok more than their own county states! and I received a lot of answers packaged in one phrase, Actually, that is true!
In the Philippines where I am from, people love to travel domestically as it is expensive to travel outside of the country, we have to pay taxes to get out and travel internationally. Imagine that! So when I decided to move to Kuala Lumpur and earn my career here, I made a promise to explore the country during weekends and holidays whenever I can. Here are my top picks:



1. Climb Mount Kinabalu (Kota Kinabalu)


Mount Kinabalu is the highest peak in the Malay peninsula and has received the world known UNESCO World Heritage status. Reaching the top may seem impossible, but you will definitely feel proud and accomplished once you get there. It's one of the things you must be able to conquer: Whether it's your fear of heights, or actually reaching the peak itself. Stamina is all you need.

 

2. Bargain at Malacca's Jonker Street Night Market

The night market is home to tons of clothes and trinkets you will be able to bring home as souvenir to your family and friends. Coming at affordable prices, you can still badger and negotiate with the friendly salespeople. Try scoring a deal or two! Although my local friends told me that this place is always packed, I dont mind, Im a visitor. Haha!

 

3. Swim with the fish in Sipadan Island


For those who absolutely love the waters, this must be on your bucket list. To swim with marine life and watch how fish live and the beauty of the corals under the clear blue waters... Now that's the life! You'll be able to find the best of waters and marine life of Malaysia in Sipadan Island.

4. Join the Penang Bridge International Marathon

For the runners seeking a challenge, the Penang Bridge International Marathon is right up your alley. The Penang Bridge is the 5th longest bridge in Southeast Asia. It's not only for serious runners but for those who want to check out the beauty of the sunrise when on the bridge! It is definitely one of the best things you can do in TRIP TO MALAYSIA

 

5. Stay in a real Malaysian Kampung in Sekinchan


Staying in KL, the city can be quite toxicating. Concrete walls and endless traffic paired with humid air can sure make anyone tired. Luckily, two hours away from the city is Sekinchan, an unassuming town famous for its paddy field. In there you can enjoy activities like seeing fireflies at night and have an authentic Malaysian kampung experience, just care free.

 

6. Become a Kid Again at Legoland in Johor Bahru

Johor Bahru has its own Legoland, filled with beautiful statues made of your favorite childhood toys! It's even got a water park, a resort, and a ton of rides and attractions. Just make sure to ready your wallet, as it doesn't come as affordable as you would think! But with that being said, the visit will definitely be worth it.

 

7. Gobble up Penang street food

Forget everything on the list but never this. Its simply the one thing you must really try. No one would want to go home or leave without trying the best of Malaysia, and you can do that through checking out their street food in Penang! If you're just there to eat, then Penang should definitely be the place to stay.

 

8. Stay a night in the Sarawak Longhouse

If you have ever wondered how families in Malaysia live, then you can do so through staying at the Sarawak Longhouse, where you can meet families and see how life is. It truly broadens your perspective of cultures and diverse ethnicity tucked in South East Asia.

 

9. Go skydiving in Taiping or Segamat


For the ultimate thrill-seekers out there! BUT, you will need to work on it with the Kuala Lumpur Skydiving Association before you go, though. It's one of the best experiences one should do at least once in their lifetime, and Malaysia is the place to do it.

 

10. Adventure Caving at Gunung Mulu Park

I have not been able to do this yet, but I am planning to do this soon. Gunung Mulu Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site in Sarawak known as the largest natural room or chamber, so huge it can house 40 Boeing 747s, wing to wing with no overlaps. Inside you are able to find rare species of plants and animals only seen in the caves, a real delight for science geeks.

Malaysia is home to tons of activities and places to experience. With the many things you are able to do, not only will you have a new perspective, but you'll also be able to proudly say you accomplished feats and explored the area to the fullest extent as you can.
To be fair, Thailand is cheaper and nearby thats why Malaysians prefer going there, but honestly speaking Malaysia too is a beauty. You'll find that there are so many things to do, and it isn't just to relax by your hotel room or booze away. It's time to explore and get lost along the way. It's through exploring parts unknown to you because Malaysia is huge man! All this experience and creating new memories with your loved ones. Where in Malaysia should you head on to next? For more information please see our website www.tripovo.com


Author's Bio: Sil is bitten by the travel bug the moment he
finished university, A radical sabbatical, Sil moved to Malaysia in
2013 to to expand his horizon, experience the local culture and
learning Bahasa. At his free time, he enjoys arts and crafts, and
exploring neighborhood gems of Kuala Lumpur.
 


Friday, 26 August 2016

THE EURASIANS OF NORTH BORNEO

A typical Eurasian family in the early 1960's

When Joseph Schooling won his first Olympic gold medal for Singapore, it sparked an interest in that small but prosperous country about Eurasians. A Singapore article, TODAY went on to name several roads and places in Singapore that originated from Eurasians. It described how Eurasian families were built up in Singapore. The article did get positive respond but some raised the question; why only highlight Eurasians descendants through paternal lineage? What about those Eurasians whose mothers are Europeans?

To me, whether your parents of European descent are father or mother; all deserved to be call Eurasians because it is indeed a coloration of two identities; European and Asians. I would go further to include even those having Caucasians parents example from Australian or America marrying an Asian, to be considered Eurasians. In Latin America and Philippines, the mixed race are called Mestizo for men and Mestiza for women.


However, North Borneo (Sabah) also have Eurasian families shaping their history. The most important one was North Borneo had the first Eurasian Chief Minister, Donald Stephens (picture above). Donald Stephens was also one of the person who signed a very important document, THE MALAYSIAN AGREEMENT 1963. The Malaysian Agreement 1963 or MA63 is a very hotly debated topic nowadays due to the book, The Queens Obligation by Zainnal Ajamain. Donald Stephens and many other Eurasians had contributed a lot to the development of North Borneo.

My grandma Mary Peter (seated second right) and my aunts and uncles
Like Singapore, as well as other countries of Asia, European families started due to colonization. During the early 1500's, the Spanish had reached Philippines, while the Portuguese had captured Malacca in 1511. Malacca could boast to have the earliest Eurasian families in Southeast Asia. By late 1600's the Dutch defeated the Portuguese in Malacca and went on to establish a colony in the Indonesian chain of islands. France established her colony in Indo-China and by the 1800's, the British established their presence in Malaya, Singapore and the West coast of Borneo. But without doubt, all these races; European, Asian and Eurasians did played an important role in nation building. The infusion of cultures created a unique heritage.

I would like to inform my readers that my novel, THE EURASIANS is available in hardback, paperback and also digital format. To purchase, please click here
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