Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Millionaire Amah

If you were an amah or domestic help who has won a lottery worth millions of $, would you stay on in your job? Most people, if not all, would not.

But not in the case of a middle-aged Chinese amah who works in Hong Kong! And she is a Malaysian!

The reason? She works for the 4th wife of Hong Kong billionaire Stanley Ho (bottom pic). She has served the Ho family for so long that Ho's daughter by his 4th wife practically grew up in the amah's arms; from a baby to an adult.

As a result, she treats the daughter Rosie (top pic) as her own. Rosie, 35, too has grown very attached to her. Some sort of a second or foster mother already.

The windfall by right should be just timely for her well-earned retirement (after raising a billionaire's daughter) but she has become part of the Ho family so it is not easy for her to leave without missing Rosie, now an actress/singer.

Stanley Ho's nickname is the Macau gambling king as he owns a few casinos on the former Portugese colony near Hong Kong. Each of his four wives live separately and each is served by several amahs, of course.

But the Malaysian amah who won the lottery seems to be their favourite. This could seen from the fact that she was chosen over others to look after Stanley, 82, when he was hospitalised after a bad fall.

In view of the above, the Ho family must have treated her well. After all, money has never been an issue.

How much did the amah win in the lotto draw? HK$30 million or roughly RM15 million!!!

But to some people, money is not everything. Friendship and sentiments are equally important, as proven in the amah's case.

For Rosie, she was born the daughter of a billionaire and now she is the foster daughter of a multi-millionaire who is also her amah! How about that? She was proverbially born with a silver spoon in her mouth and now she is eating with a golden spoon as well!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ex-CM Salleh is new Speaker (Part 2)

It is not immediately known if Salleh would vacate the Finas post now that he is Sabah State Legislative Assembly Speaker. The Speaker's post is a full-time job and in terms of protocol he is second only to the Chief Minister who in turn is second only to the TYT or governor. He therefore also normally does not hold any other post like that of a chairmanship of another government body.

The Finas job will be Salleh's second appointment to head a federal government agency in recent years. Until last year, he was chairman of the Malaysian Handicraft Board.

Since last year too, Salleh has been Science Advisor to the Chief Minister with ministerial rank. He is expected to vacate this post before being sworn-in as Speaker in front of the new governor Juhar at the Istana (palace). Juhar was the Speaker until 31 December 2010. As mentioned earlier, the Speaker is even more senior than a Minister in terms of protocol.

Who will replace Salleh as Science Advisor, if any? This question will spark off another round of speculations in Sabah. Rumour-mongering is part of every day life in the State and it adds spice to politics especially in the coffeeshops.

Meanwhile, Datin Linda Tsen as most Sabahans would know is the widow of the late Datuk Edmund Chong who was killed in an accident a few months ago. She successfully defended her husband's parliamentary seat of Batu Sapi in the ensuing by-election on a BN ticket.

As chairperson of the Sabah Credit Corporation (SCC), she succeeds Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) secretary-general Datuk Teo Chee Kang who is now chairman of the Sabah Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (SCVB).

Observers noted that since Teo took over the SCVB job from the late Edmund who was from the Sabah United Party (PBS), it is only fair that his former job at SCC be given back to PBS through Datin Linda. Fair and square, as they say.

Ex-CM Salleh is new Speaker

They say that good things come in small packages, but in the case of former Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Panglima Salleh Tun Said Keruak (top pic), they came in big packages.

Only yesterday, Malaysian Information Minister Datuk Rais Yatim annouced that Salled has been appointed Chairman of the Malaysian Film Development Corporation (FINAS) effective 1 January 2011.

FINAS is an agency or statutory body under the Ministry and, as its name suggests, looks after the development of the film industry in the country.

And today, Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman announced that Salleh is the new Speaker of the State Legislative Assembly replacing Datuk Seri Panglima Juhar Hj Mahiruddin who is the new TYT or governor.

Musa also announccd, after chairing a Cabinet meeting, that new Batu Sapi MP Datin Linda Tsen (bottom pic) will be the new Chairman of the Sabah Credit Corporation taking over from Tanjung Kapor Assemblyman Datuk Teo Chee Kang.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Governor's 1st Duty (Part 2)

I received a comment from a reader who preferred to remain anonymous. He commented on my last post, New Governor's 1st Duty.

He pointed out to me that I missed out mentioning the late Tun Ahmad Koroh, governor from 1977 to 1978. He said when Ahmad was TYT, his younger brother Tan Sri Suffian Koroh was Deputy Chief Minister and his (Ahmad's) son Azmy (Azmi?) was the State Assemblyman for Pensiangan.

He (I assume the it's a man) also mentioned Tun Ahmad's successor, the late Tun Adnan Robert whom he said was related to the Korohs. He also pointed out that both Tuns (the highest award for Malaysian civilians) were Muruts from the Interior of Sabah and that they were converts.

If I am not mistaken, Tun Ahmad was the former Thomas Koroh while Tun Adnan was Mickey Robert. For the full comments of my visitor, please click the Comment ikon below the said post

Well, friend (since he/she addressed me that way), first of all thank you for your comment and taking the trouble to point that out to me.

But you see, I left out both Tun Ahmad and Tun Adnan for two reasons. Firstly, my last post was only talking about new governor Juhar's visit to Tun Mustapha's grave as well as those former TYTs buried at the Heroes' Mausoleum (Makam Pahlawan) at the State Mosque.

The late Tun Fuad Stephens, the late Tun Hamdan Abdullah (the former Datuk Indan bin Kari) and the late Tun Said Keruak were all buried at the State Mosque while, if I am not mistaken, Tun Ahmad and Tun Adnan were both buried in Keningau, their home town. Another former TYT who was buried in his home town of Sipitang was the late Tun Ahmad Raffae.

The second reason why I left out Tun Koroh and Tun Adnan was that I was talking about the father and son teams where the father was TYT and the son Minister or, in the case of the Keruak family, the Chief Minister.

But I do agree with my visitor that the Korohs' case was also unique whereby two brothers were TYT/DCM and on top of that the TYT's son was Assemblyman. That was another first for Sabah.

In conclusion, I once again thank my visitor for his comment. In fact, he just gave me an idea. For the sake of future Sabah generations and our overseas friends, in one or more of my future posts I will chronicle Sabah's TYTs from the 1st (Tun Mustapha) to the current 10th (Datuk Seri Panglima Juhar).

Sunday, January 9, 2011

New Governor's 1st Duty

The new Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sabah, Datuk Seri Panglima Juhar Hj Mahiruddin's (bottom pic) first official duty will be to visit the graves of two former Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sabah, (governor) the late Tun Datu Hj Mustapha Datu Harun (top pic, left) and the late Tun Hj Mohd Fuad Stephens (top pic, right) tomorrow Monday Jan 10.

This will be the first public function of the former Speaker of the Sabah State Legislative Assembly who was sworn-in as Sabah's 10th governor on Jan 1 at the Istana Negeri in Kota Kinabalu, capital of Sabah.

Both Tun Mustapha and Tun Fuad had the distinction of having served as both Sabah governor and Chief Minister. Tun Mustapha was Sabah's first Yang di-Pertua Negeri (then known as Yang di-Pertua Negara) when the former British colony of North Borneo became independent Sabah and one of Malaysia's then 14 States on 16 September 1963. Tun Fuad (then Dato' Donald Stephens) was the first Chief Minister.

After Sabah's first direct general election in 1967, Mustapha became the State's 3rd Chief Minister, replacing Datuk (now Tan Sri) Peter Lo who succeeded Stephens in 1965. After dissolving his UPKO party which lost in the election, Stephens was made the Malaysian High Commissioner to Australia in the late 1960s.

In 1973, Mustapha, still the Chief Minister, made Stephens the State's 3rd governor, replacing the late Tun Ahmad Raffae, father of former Sabah Minister Dayang Mahani. Stephens stepped down as TYT or Tuan Yang Terutama (His Excellency) in August 1975 following the formation of the new Berjaya party which he later led. Two months later, Mustapha gave way to his deputy the late Tun Said Keruak due to pressure from Berjaya.

There was a reversal of fortunes when, in April 1976, Stephens once again became Chief Minister follwing Berjaya's victory in the State's 3rd general election. But alas, the joy of Berjaya members was short-lived as Stephens and almost half of his Cabinet Colleagues were killed in an air-crash. Stephens was succeeded by his deputy Datuk Harris Salleh, a former Minister in the Mustapha Cabinet.

Mustapha, meanwhile lived on to see another new party, PBS, defeating Berjaya in 1985 in a 'history repeating itself' scenario. Following PBS's pulling out from Malaysia's ruling national coalition BN in 1990, Mustapha dissolved his Usno party to make way for the national Umno party to enter Sabah. The majority members of both Usno and Umno were Muslims and to enhance Umno's image in Sabah, Mustapha was made Federal Minister for Sabah Affairs.

The PBS government collasped soon after the 1994 State general election which it won narrowly, due to defections. The Umno-led BN took over. However, by then Mustapha had left Umno, dissatisfied that he was replaced as Sabah Umno chief months before.

Ironically, Mustapha died on 2 Jan 1995 not as an Umno member but as a PBS member! Ironic because Mustapha had challenged PBS president Datuk Joseph Pairin in court after the 1985 election, seeking a declaration that he (Mustapha) was the rightful Chief Minister. Mustapha became the new Chief Minister for less than 24 hours after then governor the late Tun Adnan Robert revoked his appointment. No wonder they say that in politics there is no permanent friend and no permanent enemy!

By the way, Tun Mustapha's grave which has since been turned into a Memorail is at Petagas near Putatan while Stephens' is at the State Mosque in Kota Kinabalu. It is not known if the new TYT Juhar will also visit the graves of two other former governors also buried at the State Mosque compound. The duo are the late Tun Said Keruak and Tun Hamdan Abdullah.

Tun Said also had the distinction of having served as both the governor and Chief Minister. He was made TYT by the PBS government in the late 1980s. He served until 31 Dec 1994, but not before he swore-in his son Datuk Salleh as the new Chief Minister on 27 Dec 1994! In other words, the Keruak family also had the distinction of having produced Sabah's only Governor-Chief Minister team!

The only other TYTs whose children also served as State Cabinet Ministers (but not Chief Minister and not necessarily during their tenure as TYT) were the late Tun Raffae, the late Tun Mustapha and Tun Sakaran. Their children, respectively, are Dayang Mahani Raffae, the late Datuk Hamid Mustapha and Datuk Amir Kahar Mustapha and Datuk Nasir Sakaran.

The late Hamid Mustapha was Culture, Youth and Sports Minister during Berjaya time in the early 1980s while his younger brother Amir Kahar was Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries during PBS era. Again, ironically, none of the Mustapha brothers served as Minister during BN time since 1994 despite their father's influence and sacrifice after dissolving Usno to make way for Umno!

May the souls of all the late State leaders and politicians I have mentioned rest in peace. Their contributions cannot be ignored by Sabahans. Amen.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2011 (Part 4)

As promised, this is the first in a series of videos I took at Bantayan on Christmas Day 2010. I am not sure what the title of the song or who the singer is. Anyone? Anyway, that is not important here. What is more important is the fact that the people dancing enjoyed themselves, thoroughly, although most of them did not even understand the meaning of the wordings which were in Bajau. They did this dance, along with another Bajau song and Poco-Poco, not once, not twice, but at least thrice the short few hours that I was there. Looks like the days of Poco-Poco are numbered. It started with the kids but after sometime the adults couldn't resist the temptation to join in.

The video was shot at the residence of Anderson who is married to my wife's cousin. Although he is from Sarawak, his house is more or less the centre of attraction every Christmas after the morning Mass at the nearby St Philip's, Tamparuli. And he celebrates Gawai in June too, apart from Kaamatan as his wife is Kadazan (oops, I think she prefers to be known as Dusun). Each time there is a large crowd, comprising both Christians and Muslims alike. I think he should be made an honourary village headman of Bantayan. Infact, his popularity already made him a de facto one, despite him having hailed from Sarawak. One of the ladies in the video is also from Sarawak One of the kids is half-Bajau (her father brought the song) while another is half-Tmorese. Another good example of 1Malaysia at work. Or should I say 1Borneo? Or even 1ASEAN? Or may be this fits in well with Dr Jeffrey's Borneo Agenda?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2011 (Part 3)

How did I spend my Christmas Day? As in previous years, went back to my late father-in-law's kampung (village) at Bantayan, Tamparuli to visit Christian relatives.

Bantayan and Damat next to it is unique in the sense that the majority of the villagers are Dusun people (they prefer to be called that instead of Kadazan) but some of them are Muslims. Thus, quite a number of the crowd that day were Muslims. Similarly, during Hari Raya half of the crowd would be Christians. Good example of 1Malaysia, I think.

To be exact they are Dusun Lotud, a unique sub-community of the Kadazandusun found only in the Tuaran district which includes the Tamparuli sub-district. Unique in their dialect as opposed to the Kadazan spoken in Penampang. Unique in their traditional costume and dance, the Sumayau, as opposed to the Sumazau of Penampang. Thus, it is quite understandable that they want to remain as Dusuns. After all, we are living in a free world and it is their right.

As usual on that day, there was of course music and singing. But not just Christmas songs. The ever popular song and dance is still Poco-Poco. The whole afternoon that I was there, this Indonesian song was played at least a few times and each time the dance floor was full., by both the young and old. Mind you, 90% of the people occupying the dance floor were Dusuns - far from being Indonesians.

Which sets me thinking - that Poco-Poco is still very much in fashion ever in our villages, a few years after it first 'landed' in Sabah from our neighbouring country. It's just like fashion. You can't kill it. So just let it disappear by itself over time, just like fashion.

So I just don't understand so was the fuss all about when certain quarters querried, a couple of years ago I think, why Poco-Poco was incorporated as one of the dances during the State-level Harvest Festival or Kaamatan celebration at Hongkod Koisaan, the KDCA building in Penampang. Come all, let us be more civilized and open-minded. Don't be narrow-minded. Gone were the days of Sabah for Sabahans - PBS and more recently SAPP (Batu Sapi) found that out the hard way. A Poco-Poco dance lasting a few minutes among a score of other dances can't hurt, can it? It can't be Sumazau the whole day, can it? Otherwise even the tourists would be bored.

I know some people may not like what I write but I stand by my conviction. To these people, my advice is simple - stop reading and move on to another blog. As the Malay saying goes, "Dunia masih luas" (the world is still wide). Don't waste your time or energy expecting an apology from me because you won't get any. You are entitled to your opinion which I respect but I am entitled to mine. To borrow the words of the late Datuk Felix Golingi: "I won't use my importance to put other people down, but neither will I let other people to use their importance to put me down!"

The Poco-Poco reminds me of my childhood and teenage days as a bandboy. Those days, the 'dance of the day' during parties and other social functions would be Joget or in those days known locally as Dendang. Each time the music starts, the dance floor is full, just like the Poco-Poco. But I am sure the Joget and Dendang were not invented by Sabahans (or those days North Borneons). They originated from Indonesia and the then Malaya (now Peninsular Malaysia). Nobody made noise then.

All they care is it is everybody's favourite dance. No problem. But nowadays the Joget and Dendang are no longer fashionable. They have been replaced by the Poco-Poco. As simple as that. So what's the problem? Over time it will pass and the Poco-Poco will be overtaken by something else.

And this change may come sooner than we think. That afternoon in Bantayan, apart from the Poco-Poco, two other songs were played over and over again. Each time these two songs were played, a goup of kids would, without being shy, take to the floor. Before long the adults joined them. And they could not even understand the meaning of the words because they were Bajau songs! One was sung by a Bajau singer called Den Bisa, I was told, and the other by a Kadazan or Dusun from Kota Belud! See my point?

I took video (amateur standard lah) of these songs/dances and will put them in my next posts after I uploaded them to You Tube. Then you will know what I mean.

Till then, bye. Oh ya, by the way, the picture - my family, in-laws, nephews, and nieces at Bantayan. In the foreground (right) is the 'matriarch' of the family.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2011 (Part 2)

So what did my wife and I do after Mass at Rasa Ria on Christmas Eve?

We adjourned to my foster brother's place, an apartment at the Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP). My brother was the one who invited me to Dalit where he is one of the senior guys. When and how did he become my brother? Leave that for another day lah.

My brother and his family used to stay in a double-storeyed landed property in Kota Kinabalu. They moved to Sepanggar (where KKIP is) because there are only three of them and also so that he would be closer to office.

After high tea and resting for about an hour at my brother's, we moved on to Inanam for dinner. I promised to buy him and family dinner. By the way, his name is Johnny and his wife Rose.

My foster sister-in-law recommended Kim Fah Restaurant at Inanam town proper, a new shop opposite the market and next to the Giant (?) supermarket near the Esso petrol station. The restaurant is 2-storeyed, with downstairs being non-aircon and smoking permittable while upstairs is air-conned and non-smoking, of course. We opted for upstairs for privacy.

We needed two tables, since my two other foster brothers and their kids were also there. We ordered Fish Maw Soup, Steamed Tilapia Asam Pedas, Pork Throttle (Chu Kiok), Yam Ring, Mixed Vegetables, and Steamed Chicken served with Ham and Vege. May be I missed out one more, can't remember what, getting old!

Normally, I would concentrate on the steamed fish since I can put the gravy on white rice, my favourite. My other favourite is of course the chu kiok. But after I tasted the steamed chicken, I did not look at the other dishes anymore except the soup of course. I never tasted such delicious tasting or succulent steamed chicken before, until I asked for more rice.

So, the next time you can't decide where to go for lunch or dinner, try Kim Fah @ Inanam. The restaurant which originated from Beaufort has branches in KK (Beverly and Millennium). But I am not sure if the other branches serve the steamed chicken or if they do, whether it's equally tasty. For me, I can't wait to go back to Inanam.

Beaufort must be the Chinese food centre of Interior Upper (comprising Beaufort, Kuala Penyu and Sipitang). I say this because apart from Kim Fah, at least two or three restaurants (with branches) in KK also originated from there. Leading the pack if of course Beaufort Restaurant itself, then also Man Tai and Foh Chuan. Most of them are Hakka-based and famous for their fried mee Beaufort style. They are known for using only organic vege, especially Beaufort's.

Picture: Some of my foster nephews and nieces photographed at my brother's apartment. This is only half of them. If every one of them came, at least double the number.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2011 (Part 1)

Hi friends! Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2011!

Too late? Well, they say that it's better late than never! Amen?

Unlike previous years when I made New Year Resolutions on Dec 31, this year I don't make any! What I intend to do, I just do it on January 1 and hopefully the rest of the year too. Less talk, more work, they say.

Besides, resolutions are not easy to keep. So here I am, back on my blog, writing again on New Year's Day. Wish me luck.

Notice that I call this Part 1. This is because once I start writing I can hardly stop. So by calling it Part 1, at least I know when to stop.

Since this is about both Christmas and New Year, Part 1 deals only with my Christmas. So what did I do for Christmas? Or where did I go for my Christmas Eve Mass?

You may not believe it. It's an unlikely place.

For the second year running now, I have been going to Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort at the scenic Dalit beach in Tuaran, my home district. Hometown Tamparuli is under the jurisdiction of the Tuaran district.

But a Mass in a hotel? Yes, some of the top brass of the resort are Catholics or Christians and they made special arrangement for a priest to say Mass for their Catholic staff, family members and hotel guests. Very thoughtful of them, isn't it?. Thank you Shangri-La.

As expected, most of the Catholic hotel guests who attended the Mass were tourists from overseas. They too were pleasantly surprised.

"My family and I certainly did not expect the convenience of being able to attend a Christmas Eve Mass right here in the hotel. Very thoughtful of Shangri-La," said Mr Brendan Lyne from New Zealand.

He and his family (picture) were on a first-time visit to Sabah and looked forward to returning.