Sunday, May 31, 2009

Trail of St Paul (Part 1)

We, 32 of us including the priest from Sabah, finally set foot on Turkey to begin our 12-day Trail of St Paul pilgrimage (after minusing the 2 days on the air plane from and to Singapore) on the morning of Saturday 30 May 2009.

Ideally, I should have blogged my first posting from Turkey last night, our first night in the country, before going to sleep. However, there were two reasons why I didn't, or rather couldn't.

Firstly, although the hotel where we stayed at Antakya provided FREE Wi-Fi Internet service in its premises; my fellow bloggers would know that does not necessarily mean you automatically get connected. This is because there may always be a technical hitch, like the modem blinking and so on (those with modem at home would know what I mean).

Then, there was a relief. I saw notice in the hotel room saying you can get connected either through wireless or LAN. I quickly rushed downstairs to borrow the connection wire from the counter - only to find that there was no such socket in my room. Even if there was, it was sealed/blocked (tiada lubang).

To cut the long story short (since I'm supposed to write on the pilgrimage rather than the problem) by the time I finally got connected it was already late at night (wee hours in Sabah as we are 5 hours ahead of the Turks). I tried my best to blog, but while my fingers were on the keyboard my eyes began to half-close until I finally dozed off with the computer still on my lap.

The culprit was the long and tiring journey from Singapore to Istanbul. We left Singapore late Friday night and landed in Istanbul early Saturday morning. In other words, we spent the nite on the plane. Those of you who ever experienced that, on the economy class especially, would know how tiring it is as you can't rest properly, never the fact that you can't take bath.

As if that was not tiring enough, instead of starting our pilgrimage straight away on Saturady morning from Istanbul, we had to take a connecting domestic flight to Adana. Even that after waiting for almost two hours at the Istanbul airport (on top of waiting for half-a-day at the Singapore airport on Friday!).

The flight from Istanbul to Adana took slightly over an hour, something like from Kota Kinabalu to Kuching. Just like Singapore-Istanbul, it was also Turksih Airline which took us to Adana. The only consolation for the extra journey was that despite being a domestic flight, the inflight service to Adana was even better than form Singapore to Istanbul which was an international flight. And the domestic flight crew spoke better English and more polite too!

I have to stop here as we have to go upstairs of the hotel for a briefing/slides show followed by dinner. I will post my Part 2 before bedtime, hopefully no more technical hitches this time. And hopefully my eyes won't be that heavy.

See you. Aramaiti! (Miss the Kaamatan at home)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Blogging from Singapore

Rev. Fr. Fundes Motiung (standing, left) with some of the pilgrims from Sabah on transit at the Singapore Airport. "Yoku Boti !"

Staff of Maxis Kota Kinabalu celebrating Harvest Festival over the weekend in conjunction with their Open House. Aramaiti!

As you are aware, I have not blogged for quite sometime.

Now that I finally got to doing it, guess where I am blogging from? Changi Airport in Singapore!

I am part of a 32-member entourage on a 2-week pilgrimage to Turkey (Trail of St Paul). This is in conjunction with the Year of St Paul which ends in June, so just in time.

The pilgrims are led by Rev. Fr. Fundes Motiung, the Rector of the Stella Maris Church in Tanjung Aru near Kota Kinabalu. The trip is arranged by Faith Tours of Singapore, that's why we are departing from Singapore.

We left Kota Kinabalu by Silk Air late this morning. Arrived after lunch on board. Have to transfer our luggage from Terminal 2 to Terimanal 1, a bit tiring and frustrating. Luckily there is this thing called Skytrain.

Will only leave for Istanbul tonight; so we have something like a few hours doing nothing at the airport. A bit boring and tiring. Some of the entourage are already napping as I write. Waiting, it is said, is one of the most boring things on earth. However, considering that it's a pilgrimage, no matter how tired also worth-it.

My return to blogging, after weeks, take place as we depart for a pilgrimage to Turkey. I take this as a good sign. Hopefully it will give me the inspiration and motivation to blog more regularly from now on. Remember my New Year Resolution? Ha ha ha.

Ya, I purposely brought along my mini netbook or netbook so I can blog from Turkey, hopefully every night before bed time and assuming that the hotels will have FREE Wi-Fi. Afterall, it's not every day (for that matter every year) that we go for a pilgrimage.

But why Turkey, some of you may ask. Well, we have two weeks ahead of us and I don't want to spoil the soup now. But the title Trail of St Paul speaks for itself. We will arrive in Istanbul tomorrow morning and catch a connecting domestic flight to Adana where our real journey begins. Hope to be able to blog from the hotel at Antioch tomorrow night.

That's all for now folks and thanks for visiting. By the way, since I'm travelling, here's wishing you an early Harvest Festival. This is the 2nd time I'm overseas during Kaamatan (Harvest). The first was in 1980 when I was in US attending a Communications Conference. Do enjoy yourselves but please don't drink and drive. The last thing I want to hear is I have lost a friend. (Palis2)


Boleh bah kalau kau!

Yoku Boti !

Friday, May 8, 2009

New Permanent Secretary

A handing-over ceremony was held at Sabah's Ministry of Local Government and Housing (KKTP) in Kota Kinabalu today.

During the brief ceremony, out-going Permanent Secretary (SUT) of KKTP, Datuk Ujang Hj Sulani handed over duties to his successor, Datuk Abidin Madingkir.

Ujang is being transferred to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry while Abidin was SUT of Ministry of Resource and IT Development. This would be Abidin's second stint at KKTP, having first served there in the early 1990s.

The ceremony was witnessed by Minister Datuk Hj Hajiji Hj Noor. Also present were his two Assistant Ministers, Datuk Ghulam Haidar Khan Bahadar and Datuk Edward Yong. Tonight, Ujang and Abidin will be feted at a farewell/welcome dinner by the Ministry.

The transfers are part of a reshuffle among senior Sabah civil servants. Under the exercise, Ujang replaces Mathius Sator who takes over from Abidin. Others involved in the reshuffle includes Datuk Dr Fowzi Eadzi who is now Managing Director of the Suria Capital group,. the State government's investment arm.

His post as Director of the State Economic Planning Unit (EPU) has been taken over by Datuk Ismail Abdullah. The latter's post as Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Industrial Development has been taken over by Hashim Paijan, former Deputy Director of the State Public Service Department (JPAN).

Picture: From left:- Ghulam, Ujang, Hajiji, Abidin and Edward.