Thursday, July 31, 2008

That Very Crucial Medical Report

The alleged sodomy charge against DSAI has become extremely complex!

The medical report by Dr. Mohamad Osman Hamid (DMOH) from Hospital Pusrawi (HP) is decidedly a crucial factor now.

As stated in the report, DMOH found zero evidence of trace of sodomy.

To the utter dismay of the Malaysian public at large, the PDRM, MOH and HP have been beating round the bush, short of hitting the nail on the head.

PDRM: How did the report get divulged?
MOH: HP has to be answerable for the leakage!
HP: The divulgence has nothing to do with us!

But the core of it has been missed out: Is the P & C document a true report?

Up to now, all the authorities concerned have not refuted the authenticity of the report. Nor has DMOH's medical status been reasonably doubted.

In any subsequent legal proceedings, should there be, this supposedly P & C document is going to play a crucial role in casting reasonable doubt to the alleged charge. In any event, DMOH's report is timely to give a plus to PKR and DSAI in their stand, both politically and legally.

This saga is simply nerve-racking!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Kopitiam Talks On Issues Of Great Concern

The alleged sodomy charge against DSAI and the imbroglio involving Teregganu over Proton/Mercedes tassle have emerged the hottest kopitiam talk in Sibu.

The blah over kopi-o shows the public concern over the national issues of grave implications to the integrity of our system of government.

The alleged sodomy case took dramatic turns, from the arrest of DSAI by some masked special force before the due time to show up to the surfacing of a medical report pointing to zero trace of sodomy on Saiful Bahari. All eyes are now on the next course of action by our police upon the emergence of a contradictory evidence.

The imbroglio of Proton/Mercedes exposed worrisome loopholes in our administration. Certainly more transparency is very much desired.

Malaysia in its efforts to open up to more foreign investments has to have creditable international standing. A transparent, trustworthy and professional system of governance would put Malaysia on a firmer footing to stand tall internationally.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

UMNO-PAS Talks - Malaysia Moving One Step Backwards

Of late UMNO and PAS met to rub shoulders with each other. This caused quite a stir in the component parties of both BN and PR. It was certainly not unexpected.

UMNO put them under the clout of "Malay Unity" , hoping to tone down the whole highly catchy show. But the public at large pierced through with their sharp eyes.

The 12th GE took Malaysia one step forward in political maturity, breaking the nation away from the prevalent racial politics. The election really ushered in a new era of politics, from that of a single-front system to that of a two-front system. The nation witnessed for the first time the fading of the predominant ethnic elements in the local politics. Emerged instead was a stronger Malaysian notion.

Therefore, UMNO-PAS talks initiated by UMNO was viewed as back-pedalling, working towards taking Malaysia back to race-based politics.

This nature of talks should really be broad-based Malaysian politics, and not narrowly ethnic-based racial politics.

The so-called talks are not expected to be fruitful other than causing a stir in the grouping of PR.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Euro On Downtrend

If you are keen in foreign exchange trading, then it might excite you to take note of a probable devaluation trend in Euro. This is going to have tremendous effects on us.

Based on purchasing power parity (PPP), Euro is now about 30% overvalued. PPP means that $1 would buy the same amount of goods and services in the U.S. as its rate in Euros would buy in Europe.

According to economists, when a currency gets between 25 and 30 percent overvalued, it tends to revert to the mean. In this case, it implies that Euro is very likely embarking on a downtrend.

Fundamentally speaking, the median forecast of a Bloomberg survey shows that the economic outlook for U.S. is brighter than that of Europe. As such, the greenback is poised to outperform Euro.

The strong Euro policy in the past few years has hurt the European exports and has been restraining its growth. It is about time for Euro to reflect the Europe's economic strength.

The weakening growth prospects are pressurising the ECB to lower its rate to spur on growth. This move is going to drive Euro further down.

The relative relationship in foreign exchange rate implies that when Euro weakens, the dollar strengthens.

A strong dollar is what the whole world needs most now. With the greenback gaining strength, the oil price would go on declining in the near term. The gold would be less attractive also.

This alone is exciting to all of us.

The picture showsthe ECB in Frankfurt, Germany. ECB is in charge of Eurozone's monetary policy.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

KLSE Likely On Sideways

The international oil price retraced by more than 15% in the past two weeks. The market rebounded initially with a heavy dump in oil palm stocks for fear that the declining oil price might impact adversely the implicit value of palm oil as a substitute source of energy.

However, Bursa rebounded on the strong lead of Dow Jones in the middle of last week, taking CI to recover the earlier loss.

But the market strongly speculates that the world oil price may go for a technical rebound in the week to come. As such, Bursa may face build-up of pressure.

The market is fundamentally divided on Bursa's likely trends in the coming week.

Optimists are of the opinion that the outlook is promising as the market ushers in pre-budget run.

Pessimists feel that the overall confidence of the market is still in the doldrums. In the absence of strong lead, the trading may remain quiet.

In any event, Bursa stands a good chance to be on sideways.

Have a good trading week!
The above picture is by courtesy of Liong ( ).

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Homemade Curry Puffs And Siew Pau

Homemade curry puffs and siew pau are the delights of the day. This afternoon, Yian put her hands to come out with these locally renowned pastries.

Curry puff is an authentic Malay pastry. It is simply a paste of flour, fat, etc baked in oven. Commonly stuffed with beef curry or potatoe cubes, it is now popular among all races in Malaysia.

In star-rated hotels, curry puffs are commonly served as a tea break item. Even foreigners have grown to like it after savouring.

Yian also baked some siew pau for us to sample using shredded pork as stuffing. This is a non-Malay pastry, popular among Chinese only.

Homemade curry puffs and siew pau - they are yummy!

The seni-round-shaped curry puffs before going into the oven.

Oven-baked hot and golden brown in colour - Even foreigners have grown to like them.

Siew pau with shredded pork stuffing - A popular pastry among Chinese.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Hospitality - The Sibu Style

Kopitiam has long become an integral part of Sibuians' daily life. And kampua is a popular Foochow food originated in Sibu.

The combination of the two makes an unique hospitality which is almost a must for visitors to Sibu.

After teh tarik meet, we planned to give Dr. Dennis Ngien a dose of this unique hospitality - a kampua breakfast at kopitiam.

This morning we met up in Emas Corner at Jalan Central to chat away over kampua and kopi-o.

A cordial breakfast meet, it was also an occasion of flashing back and catching up. What a wonderful time that we gathered in this manner!

The picture shows (L to R) Dr. Dennis Ngien, Wong Thien Kien, Tiong Toh Chiong, Ngang Chun Sui, Tie Siew Ching, Nee Meng Choon, me.

Tie Siew Ming and Mrs (3rd and 2nd from left) joined us a bit late.
Dr. Dennis Ngien met his long - time friend Dennis Kong in the kopitiam. Dennis Kong runs a successful barber's shop.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hii Tiong Huat & Flooding Woes In Sibu

Some Sibuians say he is bizarre, while others jeer at him, calling him a nut. This person is Hii Tiong Huat, a stout senior citizen.

But Tiong Huat is sensible and logical in thinking, not at all crazy like what the public at large view him.

Tiong Huat is outspoken on flooding woes in Sibu. Over the past two years, he has made a mark in most of the flooding scenes by taking himself to floods with a hand-held vertical banner, protesting outright against the authorities.

This socially righteous old man has taken to streets the deep-down feelings of the Sibuians single-handedly. He is most respectable for this point.

This morning, Tiong Huat used his own van to lift up the steel water gate to bring to light the serious blockage which may be a contributory factor for the rising water level.

The scene was in front of Garden Hotel where a bridge runs over the only river flowing through Sibu town centre. This is an important waterway for water to flow in and out of Sibu town. The blockage has indeed blocked the flow of water especially after heavy downpour.

Hii Tiong Huat may not be an expert, but he is certainly talking no nonsense!

When I was snapping pictures, I saw some onlookers giving Tiong Huat thumbs up.

A few policemen were at the scene to control the traffic flow.

Hii Tiong Huat - He may not be an expert, but he is certainly talking no nonsense.
A vertical banner at the scene - Tiong Huat sent a wake-up call to the authorities.
A single-handed effort - Tiong Huat used his van to lift up the steel gate.
An awful scene - He showed to the public how bad was the blockage.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sibu In Floods Again!

Flooding in Sibu is a recurrent issue and it looks like it is going to be an unending nightmare!

During the 12th GE, it emerged to be one of the hottest election issues being propagated by the candidates from both sides.

Consequent upon the election, the government proposed a flood mitigation project involving building dams. The 400-million project was not well favoured by Sibuians who were of the opinion that dredging would be more workable.

In the midst of debates and loud public outcry, the issue died down for no known cause. But Sibuians are generally very concerned about the progress of the mitigation plan.

The nightmarish floods continue to loom large in Sibuians' minds. They humbly hope that a workable plan is forthcoming without further showmanship.

Dear Sibuians, what do you think?

The flooded scene at Jalan Foochow.

The nightmarish floods continue to loom large in Sibuians' minds.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

UMNO & PAS Talks - A Stir To PR

Legally speaking, marriage for convenience is an offence in Australia. During my student days at Monash University, the officials went to the extent of spot checking on the marriage lives of dubious marriages, especially those between foreigners and locals.

In politics, there have been cases of marriages for convenience to suit the political agendas, the latest in Malaysia being the on-going political talks between UMNO and PAS. Of course, they are still very much at a courting stage!

Chats over kopi-o are really nothing a big deal to blah about. But the present precarious political structure makes this nature of meet smell fishy!

By a snap of his fingers, Pak Lah may easily cook up elements to unsettle the PR coalition. This is nothing too far-fetched and the implications are not to be underestimated.

Pak Lah is shrewd (or is it the idea of KJ?). You see, Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim is now preoccupied with the alleged sodomy case and the defamation suit. It is an opportune time for Pak Lah to take an offensive move to stir up PR a little bit.

PR has a testing time ahead!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sarikei Election Petition - The Winner Goes To Ding Kuong Hiing

The hottest talk perhaps in the town in the past few weeks was on the petition hearing in Election Court over the general election result in Sarikei Constituency (P.208).

In a stiff five-cornered fight, Ding Kuong Hiing emerged winner with a tissue-thin majority. Dr. Wong Hua Seh later made a petition to seek the election court to declare the result as null and void. The core of the arguement lies with the condirional setting up of TAR College.

Judge Ian Chin delivered his much-awaited judgement this morning. It came as a little surprise that the petition was dismissed.

In the course of hearing, the respondent's side turned from defensive initially to offensive eventually. The evidence in support of the petition lacked substance even from a layman's view.

As a whole, it was quite a lopsided case. When compared to the petition case now still proceeding in Kuching, Sarikei constituency's hearing was much less dramatic and sensational.

The only stunning thing about this case was the highly controversial statements made by Judge Ian Chin about TDM which sent the whole nation rocking.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Saga of SUPP's Proposed Dudong Branch

A takedown order by ROS of the signboard of SUPP's Dudong Branch took the saga to a new height, ignitting a new round of explosive squabbles through press. The organising committee of the proposed Dudong Branch even took the matter to the court to seek an order as to whether SMC has power to act on the ROS's takedown order.

The prolonged dragging of the issue has fed the market with a gossip topic, giving Sibuians extra blah time at kopitiam.

The setting up of Dudong Branch is in any sense a non-issue so long as it is in full compliance with the party's procedures and the rule of law of our nation.

But the branch issue has been cooked up by certain interested parties to fit in to their personal agendas. With a calculated manoeuvre, Dudong branch issue was blown up, taking SUPP to the verge of split.

In economics, a market invisible hand works towards balancing the supply and demand. But in the case of Dudong, the strong invisible hand tilts the party to an imbalance.

SUPP really has to stay united to fend off the challenge!

The organising committee of the proposed Dudong Branch took it to court to seek an order.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Two Battle Fields Confronting Pak Lah

In the wake of the alleged sodomy charge against the de facto leader of PKR Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the nation is now caught in a wave of of uncertainties. This chill in the air would very likely impact the nation politically and economically, depending on the charge of the allegation.

When the curtain is eventually drawn, more would be unveiled. The nation may surf into an uncharted front, thereby adding more pessimism to the outlook.

Economically, Malaysia seems to be filled with gloom right in the front. MIER in its Q2 review scaled down our growth forecast from 5.4% to 4.6%. This is most disheartening in the midst of all unrest.

Global downturn has certainly dragged Malaysia along, taking our nation to go downhill. External shocks are also impacting our bourse, driving our Bursa Malaysia to turn bearish with a prospect of testing CI at 1,000 in the months ahead.

But the local political unrest also gives our business confidence a good beating. Foreign funds may sideline or even be channelled away to the neighbouring countries. Indonesia poses immense challenge to Malaysia in securing foreign investments due to it being politically stable now. Goldman Sachs has named Indonesia as one of the N-11 after BRIC. As such, Indonesia may outperform Malaysia in time to come.

Both political and economic fronts pose stiff challenges to Pak Lah. As Malaysians, we hope he has the wits to tide the nation over.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Air Waves Band - They Are Sizzling Hot!

Air Waves Band, our latest resident band, is really sizzling hot. By your very first look at them, you have a chance to go breathless!

Henri, Maria, Vanessa and Aileen are vibrant. Their showmanship easily takes audience to go wild with delight, making their night-life at Bamboo House ( ) a lot more exciting.

Need Lee and Philip ( ) again teamed up to photoshoot the band. It was a fun time snapping the band members in their full costume. Amidst all the laughs and flashes, the artistes posed to their free styles in front of the cameras.

Need Lee had a wonderful time sharing with Air Waves Band.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Chats Over Teh Tarik With Dr. Dennis Ngien

It was a heartwarming meet this morning after a lapse of two full years. Time really flew and it was only like yesterday that we last met up with Dr. Dennis Ngien.

An authentically Sibu-born guy, Dr. Dennis Ngien has been residing in Toronto, Canada for more than twenty years serving God full-timely. Presently he is in theological education field as a research professor of theology at Tyndale Seminary, Toronto.

I fixed Dr. Dennis Ngien up with a teh tarik meet at Cafe Palmelia in Premier Hotel after he landed at Sibu for a 11-day home visit.

It was a fun time this morning chatting away over the hotel's signature beverage. The atmosphere was jovial as we indulged in contemporary anecdotes, both social and political. It was heart-rending to touch on the shady sides of our society.

Dr. Dennis Ngien is humble and cheerful in his disposition. As such, we feel at ease chit-chatting with him.

Time ticked away fast. A 90-minute meet just slipped away amidst our laughs and chats.

Before we left, we fixed Dr. Dennis Ngien up for another session to give him another dose of Sibu hospitality - this time it is going to be a kampua breakfast meet.

We took a snapshot during the teh tarik session. The picture shows (L to R) Tiong Toh Chiong, me, Wong Thien Kien, Dr, Dennis Ngien, Tie Siew Ching, Nee Meng Choon.

I bought this book from Dr. Dennis Ngien in support of his fund-raising project for mission.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Anwar Ibrahim Versus Ahmad Shabery Cheek - Debate of The Century

Anwar Ibrahim and Ahmad Shabery Cheek went on stage for a debate of the century in Malaysia on July 15.

It was an eye-opener in Malaysia although in the Western and some other democratically more mature nations, an open debate between ruling and opposition fronts is a common scene.

The topic in question was the steamy oil which has turned the whole world frenzied economically and socially - and the wobbly situation is not expected to be over soon.

Let's come back to the debate - both Anwar and Shabery had all the wits to deal with the sizzling issue from their respective perspectives. Their views were therefore respectable.

Anwar thrashed out eloquently with his views on a managable subsidisation programme to keep the oil cheaper for the benefits of the rakyat. But one point particularly relevant to us was on the prevalent corruption.

In the words of Anwar, had our system of government been cleaner and more transparent, the nation would have saved huge wealth for the betterment of our welfare system including oil subsidisation. This point is truly valid with all thumbs up!

Ahmad Shabery Cheek made good sense economically in pointing out that the oil desubsidisation programme of the government of Pak Lah has been implmented in utmost good faith for the benefits of the nation on long-term perspective. Malaysia is fast turning into an oil net-importer, making it burdensome for the government to go on indefinitely providing cheap oil.

In short, Ahmad Shabery Cheek was calling on the rakyat to wake up to the global reality.

This nature of debate provides an excellent platform for both ruling and opposition fronts to address the nation on contemporary burning issues. We hope to see more to come!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Good TV - Bringing Faith, Hope And Love To People

Coming together with Heavenly Melody Singers in its tour concerts in Sarawak is Henry Lee of Good TV. Apparently Good TV is on a promotion drive, hoping to build further inroad into Sarawak.

Good TV is an excellent television channel primarily in Chinese. Principally family-oriented and Bible-centred, it aims to touch individuals and families with God's love through TV ministry.

"Our mission is to reach out to the Chinese all over the world and bring faith, hope and love to them," Henry Lee told at Premier Hotel's check-in counter.

If you are not already a viewer of Good TV, then you are strongly recommended to this channel.

You may visit their website at .

At the foyer of Sibu Civic Centre, Good TV set up a booth on the evening of the live concert on July 12 to promote the television channel. We grabbed the opportunity to have a snapshot with Henry Lee.

The huge exhibition board at the foyer.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Heavenly Melody Singers - They Are Moving On!

It was a pleasant brief meet with Heavenly Melody Singers at the lobby of Premier Hotel before the group embarked on an onward journey to Kapit where they are going to similarly share the love of Christ through music.

The occasion was really a rarity. As such, it gave me excitement to come into face to face with a group whose melodious hymns stay on as living sound of music. Heavenly Melody Singers has been my inspiration spiritually ever since I came across the group more than twenty years ago.

I had a short chat with Pastor Wesley Hsu over their concert tours and experiences in this field of service. They are appreciative to the passionate Sibuians who have made them feel extremely homely.

As they moved on to their next destination, I wished them all the best.

Heavenly Melody Singers radiated warmth and happiness as they posed for a snapshot in the lobby of Premier Hotel.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Heavenly Melody Singers - Held By His Great Hand

Heavenly Melody Singers is presently on a tour of Satawak giving live concerts at various destinations. The group was in Sibu on July 12 for an open-to-all evening evangelical concert at Sibu Civic Centre.

Heavenly Melody Singers is popular locally and it has all the charisma to draw in crowds to its concerts. By a rough head-count, the evening concert pulled in approximately a crowd of 3,000, making the evening an astounding success.

Themed "Held By His Great Hand", the live musical concert was evangelical in nature with the aim to get across the gospel to the audience.

Heavenly Melody Singers was established in 1963 in Taiwan by Doris Brougham and Laland Haggerty with the mission to evangelise through music.

Over the years, they have left footprints in different parts of the world and their melodious hymns have touched the hearts and soothed the souls of counrless people. Precious lives have been saved through their preaching of the gospel, making it a lot more meaningful in their mission.

Looking into the future, Heavenly Melody Singers is set to continue to be guided by a mission-minded focus and a goal of professional excellence.
With God's guidance, the group's prayer is to continue fulfilling the mission of sharing the good news of Christ's love.
Through their music, they aim to touch more souls within the Chinese community throughout the world.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Pak Lah To Najib - With You In Charge, I Am At Ease!

When Chairman Mao Zedong announced to the world his handover of power to his designated heir Hua Guofeng in 1976, he was quoted as saying, "With you in charge, I am at ease!"

On July 10, our PM Dato' Seri Abdullah Badawi announced to the world the long-awaited his political agenda of power handover in 2010.

After laying the card on the table, Pak Lah was smiles all over with his designated heir, seemingly at great ease for the first time ever since the nation was thrown into upheavals after the political tsunami on March 8.

Pak Lah's handover move is viewed as shrewd. Firstly, the flying dust in UMNO would settle down for the time being on the run-up ti the year-end General Assembly of the party. Secondly, with UMNO set on a firmer footing, Pak Lah has free hands to consolidate BN in fending off Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Time is essence in this political game between BN and PR, and with the agenda unveiled, timing is now on Pak Lah's side.

It is premature to jump to any conclusion at this juncture, but the tension is certainly easing off in BN.

Anwar may still hold his best cards, but timing is obviously working to his disadvantage.

But, again, lightning may just flash over the sky to everybody's surprise. Let's wait and see.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim Versus Saiful Bahari

The saga of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim allegedly sodomising Saiful Bahari for 8 times took dramatic turns with Saiful challenging Anwar to a Quran swearing and Anwar subsequently turning to Syariah Court to clear his name.

According to the news report, before the victimised Saiful Bahari lodged a police report, he requested an audience with DPM.

In the aftermath of the saga, Datuk Seri Najib Razak disclosed that he advised Saiful to pursue the case in accordance with a legal course of action.

If Saiful was sodomised at all and had he been shrewd enough, he could have hit Anwar where it hurts.

Firstly, Saiful could have done precisely what Monica Lewinsky did to Bill Clinton. Monica almost sent the Ex-President out of the White House with her infamous sperm-smeated skirt. Goodness, Saiful got to be regretful for not keeping his sperm-smeared briefs, if the alleged sodomy at all took place.

Alternatively, Saiful could have copied the idea of the schemer in Datuk Seri Dr. Chua Soi Lek's sex scandal. Had Saiful recorded the alleged sodomy scene with a wireless hidden camera, Anwar would have been killed off easily.

Even better still, Saiful could have just schemed a raid on the alleged sodomy scene to let police catch Anwar with a smoking gun. Regrets are probably all over now for not planting a scene.

Any one of the above would have nailed Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on the wall with concrete evidence, sufficient to send him back to jail, if the alleged sodomy was actually commited. But the poor victimised Saiful Bahari failed in this game of wits.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Where Is The Oil Market Heading To From Now Onwards?

The oil price has driven everybody crazy. From West to East, irrespective of rich or developing, all nations are in the soup. The all-time-high oil price has pushed up our CPI (Consumer Price Index), making life a lot more difficult for the ordinary folks.

After rocketing to ceiling-high, there is now this prevalent market concern as to the future direction of oil.

The immediate trend is dependent on the strength of the dollar.

Ben Bernake is mostly to put a brake on the monetaryloosening and poised to tighten the momey supply in the next few months to keep the worsening inflation in check. This is going to spur on the dollar to regain its strong position. With the greenback moving upward against EURO, the international oil price would retrace, giving everybody a sigh of relief. But that is only for the short term.

In longer term, other factors like strong demand, diminishing reserves and costly exploration are going to keep the oil price on the uptrend. In short, the cheap oil era is over.

I wrote an article in Mandarin on the above subject for The Chinese Methodist Message dated July 6. If you are Chinese-literate, you may take the benefits of it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Softer Rental Market In Kuala Lumpur

Ever since the outbreak of political tsunami on March 8, the residential rental market has turned soft in Kuala Lumpur. The expatriates have been holding back in view of the uncertainty prevailing in Malaysia.

Coupled with an increase in the units available, the market is fast turning into a tenants' market, with landlords losing some bargaining power.

The soft market may persist for a few more months before a recovery is foreseeable.

The latest political bombshells and a hike in petrol prices have simply made the business situation in KL more nightmarish. I just learned that certain eateries in KL have put on offer a 50% knock-off during lunch hours in a desperate fight for survival.

Judging from the prevalent tightness, the woes are not going to be over soon.

The picture shows Desa Putra Condominium project in KL.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

European Tourists - Sibu On The Map of Global Tourism

(1) Exotic 23-day Borneo Tour

Sarawak fascinates the outside world with its diverse culture and ethnic groups. And the exotic settings of our nature take the tourists to an eye-opening trip. Our adventure tourism is in no small way less comparable to other tropical destinations.

This group of German tourists are on a 23-day tour of Borneo. They told me the tour is a marvellous experience.

Arriving Sibu on July 3 for a one-night stop-over, they only had a brief excursion to the town. The next destination after Sibu is Bintulu where they have more exciting programme.

I shot them before they embarked on their land journey to Bintulu.

(2) South-East Asian Tour

These Polish tourists are on a 14-day South-East Asian holiday covering Thailand, Philippines and Malaysia, and Sibu is their last stop.

They landed Sibu on July 6 for a 2-night-3-day stop-over. The ground-handling was handled by Frankie Ting who guided the group to Bawang Assan for a longhouse visit.

Before they left for airport to fly back to Poland, I took a snapshot of the group with Frankie Ting.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Environmental Rapes

Rapes of the Malaysian environmental ecosystems have been happening over the years.

There are wide fears that this sort of woe is going to impact our country's ecotourism adversely.

Worrisome rapes on our marine, island archipelagoes, mangroves, wetlands, lowland and forests have negative effects on tourist arrivals.

Notable concerns are mostly spotted in the tourist destinations in west Malaysia. But Sarawak is not spared of this nature of environmental rapes.

Take the example of our mighty Rajang River which otherwise would be a tourist potential if not because of its polluted conditions.

All developments certainly have a cost factor to involve. But with some thoughtful planning in environmental protection and conservation, costs could be minimised to the absolute advantage of the nation.

Pollution and environmental rapes are costly, socially and economically speaking. Laxity in enforcement could cost the nation to pay a heavy price for it. Malaysia has countless of cases on record of envitonmental rapes involving huge hidden and opportunity costs.

We may lose out to our competitors in tourism if our tourist potentials continue to be raped environmentally.

The above three pictures were taken in Sibu on July 5 late afternoon. The scene was quite terrific as the thick smoke engulfed the sky. I don't know for sure the source and purpose of burning. Since there was no news of fire outbreak, so the smoke could be from some kind of land clearing. If that was the case, then the act was quite environment unfriendly.

Maybe this is the price we have to pay for developments. What do you reckon?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Bursa Malaysia - A Choppy Week Ahead

Bursa Malaysia went through turbulent trading days last week, sending CI to new low. Judging from the scenarios both at the national front and internationally, the volatility is likely to be carried over to this week.

The local political scene in the past week took the whole nation for a rollercoaster ride. The nerve-racking ups and downs not only sent Malaysians into a state of confusion, they also swept across Bursa to take a dive in response to the uncertainty. Now there is consensus in the market that the worst is far from over.

The low trading sentiment last week, coupled with thin volume, is projected to send Bursa to fresh low in the absence of any foreseeable positive developments. The market sees the testing of CI 1000 as imminent.

At the international level, the surge to US$146 per barrel in oil price adds fuel to the flames, giving the inflation added pressure. A monetary tightening is now viewed as taking one step closer to knocking on the central banks' doors, adding more negative outlook to the already fragile sentiment.

I wish you all the best in the week ahead!

Balasubramaniam's 2 contradictory SDs not only took the nation for a rollercoaster ride, they also sent CI of Bursa Malaysia to take a dive in response.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Borneo Cultural Festival 2008 - A Grand Finale

From the rousing take-off to the grand finale, the 9-day extravaganza threaded with excitement, taking Sibuians and visitors from outstation through a fascinating journey of culture.

I had not been able to follow through the entire programme due to time constraint. But I had had enriching experiences with the festival as a whole.

In my opinion, the cultural aspects of BCF had been reasonably well achieved. With rich line-up and extensive coverage, the programme was set to take visitors for a fruitful tour.

On tourist response, the festival still has a bumpy path to go through. So far BCF has attracted no notable influx of tourists. Perhaps more extensive promotions with wider network may help.

Since BCF is already a calendar event,get the dates settled down at least one year in advance to enable tourists to fix up their itineraries. I understand that foreign travellers plan their travelling at least one year ahead.

BCF, see you in 2009!

The picture shows Wong Meng Lei autographing on his book. Promoting literary interests is one of the more remarkable aspects of this year's BCF. Meng Lei is a renowned writer and blogger.

Walking on stilts calls for skills. BCF may not give you all, but it never fails to open your eyes to wonderful Chinese culture like stilt-walking. Yian and Pauline grabbed the opportunity to take a picture with some stilt-walkers.
Kwang Wai Siew Association's booth - The succulent roasts are so very tempting!
Sibu Harka Association proudly presents an array of specialties.
Foochow Association - They offer all the authentic Foochow foods.
Sibu Chiang Chuan Association appears to be doing brisk business!
Melanau Food Fair - Kachang kuda on offer at RM1 per cup.
Dayak Food Fair - The mouth-watering pansuh (bamboo rice or meat) is almost a must.
Malay Food Fair - They are extremely receptive to request for photoshooting!