FOOD! FOOD! FOOD!! I really enjoyed the food during my recent trip to Bintulu-Miri.

My long-awaited umai (ceviche)…oh umai I miss you so so much since I left Bintulu!!

The prawns tomato noodles from Bintulu market

The very tender ostrich meat in Bintulu

Grilled prawns topped with cheese ~ Bintulu

Purple sweet potato dessert ~ Bintulu

Deep fried fritters, taufu, prawn cakes in rojak sauce ~ Miri

Rojak ~ Miri

And my favourite bowl of laksa ~ Miri

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Time must have flew by last few months…it’s already May and I didn’t realise the Borneo Jazz Festival was last weekend!!! I must must must take note for next year’s event.

Luckily I got a friend who was at the Festival and wrote this article for Jazzuality.com. Thanks Madan Rao for coming to Borneo!

MERCY Malaysia and UMW Toyota Jointly Organises
Outreach Clinic Mission to Long Luar and Long Singu from 11-13 December 2010

MIRI: The Sarawak Chapter of MERCY Malaysia will be organising an outreach clinic mission to Long Luar and Long Singu from 11-13 December 2010.  Long Luar longhouses and Long Kajang homes were razed in a fire in June and July 2010 respectively, and left more than 300 people homeless. Long Kajang which is the farthest (11 hours from Sungei Asap) will have to rescheduled to next year’s programme due to logistics’ constraint.

According to Sarawak Chapter Acting Head, Ms Jennie Soh, several programmes have been planned for the Penan community and fire victims of Long Luar and Long Singu in the upcoming mission including general health screening, dental care, eye care, pap smear test, as well as hygiene and health promotion activities, and fire risk reduction activities.

She said that the team will arrive in Long Luar and Long Singu a day early in order to set up the outreach clinic on the morning of 12 December 2010 (Sunday) that will cater to the needs of the effected people there.

About 40 people will be taking part in the mission, including four medical doctors, two dieticians  from Sibu and Miri General Hospital and two dentists from the Kuching General Hospital. Apart from that , there will be three main teams, namely the eye care team, the pap smear team and the fire risk reduction team.

In the same mission, a Rotary Club member, Rovena Plique, from Singapore, will be conducting an assessment on the possibility of rebuilding the longhouses destroyed by the fire. Currently, some of the fire survivors are staying within the Long Singu area, some are squatting within the vicinity of Long Luar, while the rest are staying with their friends and families around that area.

In August and September 2010, the Sarawak Chapter of MERCY Malaysia responded to their call for help by providing humanitarian aids to the two communities, and delivering hygiene packs, as well as rice and canned food donated by Coral Alliance Sdn Bhd and staff of CIMB , Miri branch, Sarawak.

Background on Long Luar and Long Singu

On 13 July 2010, a fire razed Long Luar, a 54-door longhouse that accommodates about 195 people. Most of the survivors are currently squatting at Long Singu, a 80-door longhouse and home to 226 people. The longhouses are deprived of electricity and school, and the communities get their water supply from nearby rivers that are yellow in colour.

Getting to Long Singu is no easy task as the team needs to travel by tarred road for four to five hours from Miri to Sungei Asap, followed by another four hours on timber logging road from Sungai Asap to Long Singu. For this mission, the team will be staying at the Samling’s Camp, the nearest accommodation to Long Luar and Long Singu, and about one to two hours’ drive to the longhouses.

On a separate note, the effected communities in Long Luar and Long Singu are seeking food item donations from members of the public, namely rice, biscuits, instant noodles, canned food and drinks. For those who wish to contribute in cash or in kind, kindly contact Ms Jennie Soh at +6016-888 3679 or email jsohyankhoon@gmail.com, or Ms Elizabeth Wee at +6085 663 000 / +6012 893 3262 or emailelizabethwee@mercy.org.my. Members of the public can also send their cash or food item donations to the MERCY Malaysia – Sarawak Chapter office at No 54, Piasau Garden in Miri.

Concerned individuals and organisations can donate to MERCY Malaysia General Humanitarian Fund through the following bank accounts:

MAYBANK (account name: MERCY HUMANITARIAN FUND, account number : 5621-7950-4126, ABA Swift Code: MBBEMYKLA), or
CIMB Bank (account name: MERCY Malaysia, account number: 1424-000-6561053, ABA Swift Code: CIBBMYKL).

Donations via cheque are payable to MERCY MALAYSIA.

To donate online, please visit www.mercy.org.my.

Penan Longhouse at Singu

Some of the fire victims staying at Long Sigur Penan Settlement

Volunteers and Penan at the fire site

Pixman to snap the highlands and its people on a motorbike trip

Story and photos by VANES DEVINDRAN
vanes@thestar.com.my

PROFESSIONAL photographer and adventurer Alex Wong will hit the dirt road to Bario in a solo quest to photograph the scenic highlands and its people.

Equipped with a Lumix GH1 camera to document his journey, he will travel on a Kawasaki KLX250 from Miri and back in mid-November.

Wong was selected by the Lumix G Team for the Bario Enduro Bike Adventure project to capture the exhilarating moments of the trip and share his passion for photography with Bario’s younger generation.

Read more at STAR online

Today commemorates the 100th anniversary of my grandfather’s birth.

Stephen Lim Beng Soon, my grandpa was born in Kuching on 10th October 1910, one of the 12 children of a humble Assistant Surgeon at our local General Hospital back in the early 1900s.

Grandpa was schooled at St Thomas in Kuching and was baptised on 3rd April 1920. After his father, Lim Swee Kim, drowned in a boating tragedy near Pulau Lakei in 1923, grandpa and his 9 siblings were brought up by an aunt (mak-ko).

After he finished his studies, he joined Land and Survey as a clerk. He was later transferred to Sibu. Sibu was where he met my grandmother, Chew Kim Eng. Together they brought up a brood of 11 children. Grandpa brought up his big family with his meager salary and stayed in a government quarters with only two rooms. The boys had to sleep in the living room and the dining table was a prime sleep bed.

The young family later moved to Miri in 1951 and when grandpa retired he was given a choice to move back to Kuching but he decided to make Miri his hometown and was offered a piece of land by Land & Survey at Tanjung Lobang, fondly known to us as no.7.

Grandpa was a man of few words, no gossiping, no bad temper, read a lot and loved listening to his BBC news and marching band (and John Denver) on his Bendix radio. He was a grandpa who would tease and joke with us but he would also pull our ears if we were naughty. He would play mahjong with his elder kids and daughters and sons inlaw. He was a billiard player too before he had so many kids to look after.

Remembering grandpa is like remembering all the good times we had at no.7 because every weekend was a family day. Grandpa would cooked for a small army and he loved cooking. He was a great cook who cooked as his heart pleased. His signature dishes were chicken curry and beef stew. He would let us organized Christmas parties, weekend and holidays mahjong sessions and there were definitely a spread of great food. Picnics by the beach were the best as grandpa would bring along his makeshift mahjong table, he would catch bubuk to make belacan and we would barbeque by the beach.

What is vivid was the smell of his Erinmore tobacco and cigar. Grandpa was a pipe smoker and the older grandkids would learn how to clean it for him. The reward for job well-done or just being a good boy/girl, would be found in his wardrobe some chocolates or mint sweets or even bubble gums.

Grandpa was the pillar of our family strength and unity. And in his memory today our family, all 43 grandchildren and (approx) 55 great-grandchildren scattered around the four corners of the globe, come together to remember him. Like my cousin Hubert said “It took the memory of a great man to get all of us together”

And so today we pay homage to this great man in our lives. We’ll always miss our Ah Kong.

Bush fires keep firemen busy

by Mary Francis
March 9, 2010, Tuesday

MIRI:  Firemen are kept busy fighting forest and bush fires which seem to have become rampant here lately.

Head of the Miri Zone of the Fire and Rescue Service Department (Bomba), deputy superintendent Ali Bema said a total of 26 forest and bush fires have been reported and dealt with in the past month.

These included four bush fires in hotspot areas in Kuala Baram, Senadin, Bandar Baru Permyjaya and Taman Tunku yesterday.

Two bush fires occurred in Bandar Baru Permyjaya – one near Emart Commercial Centre at Kuala Baram Road and the other in front of Tudan Polyclinic.

Seven firemen headed by Wan Sakawi from the Lopeng Zone of Bomba rushed to the scene in two fire engines.

“These fires have contributed to the haze in Miri,” he said yesterday.

Read more at Borneo Post online

A(H1N1): New mom dies, baby is safe (Update)

By STEPHEN THEN

stephenthen@thestar.com.my

MIRI: A 24-year-old native woman suffering from Influenza A(H1N1) died at 4am on Monday, a mere two weeks after giving birth to her first child at the intensive care unit of the Miri Hospital.

Her baby girl is safe, Sarawak Deputy Chief Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam said, adding that this was the state’s first reported death from the deadly flu.

The woman, from here, was warded on July 17 after she contracted the disease. At that time she was already in an advanced stage of pregnancy.

The hospital managed to help her deliver a baby girl a few days after she was warded. The baby has been handed over to her father, a labourer in his late 20s.

“This is the first death in Sarawak due to A(H1N1). We (the Sarawak government) have increased the alert level throughout the whole state now.

“Nobody can take this disease lightly anymore,” Dr Chan said.

Read more at STAR Online

First NS camp H1N1 positive

By Lim How Pim and Churchill Edward

State Ops room situation report says four confirmed swine flu cases in camp closed two days ago

KUCHING: A national service camp in Bau is the first (NS) camp in Malaysia to register positive cases of Influenza A (H1NI) with four people having confirmed contracting the virus.

National Service director general Datuk Abdul Hadi Awang Kechil said this when told about the latest update from the Sarawak State Operations Room yesterday.

A situation report from the Operation Room said that Sarawak was now having nine new positive cases, all in Kuching, bringing the total number of positive cases to 135.

Of the nine new cases, four came from a cluster in the national service training camp in Bau.

Read more at Borneo Post Online