24 March 2012

Datuk Masidi Manjun- a Dusun guy one can respect

I just came back from the launch of Fabian William's album, Id Pagandadan at the Le Meridien Hotel, Kota Kinabalu. Believe it or not, this is the first time I've ever attended an album launch. I have loved the experience. Fabian, as expected, performed excellently. In fact his voice is much better live.

Anyway, the album was launched by Datuk Masidi Manjun, the minister at the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment. He himself is from Ranau, so it comes as no surprise that he is very supportive of the new artist. But one thing for sure, he is a person that one can really respect. I have attended a few functions in which he gives speeches, and at the end of each function, I always arrived at the same conclusion- his speech has substance.

At the launch, he honestly appraised Fabian's songs. 9 out of the 10 in the album he finds excellent. "Fabian's lyrics are deep (using 'deep' Dusun) and fresh", he said. And he reminded everyone present never to think "I am the best of the best" because out there, there must be somebody who's better than you, but they haven't had the chance to shine as yet. In short, he reminded everyone to always be humble, because humility will take us far.

I'm oblivious to what critics say about him. So far, what I've experienced with him were all positive. Intelligent, witty, humble, non-descriminative, to name some of his traits, I'll remain one of his steadfast admirers.

23 March 2012

The girl who gave me a massage

She reminded me of sunflowers, for whatever reason, but never once did I ask her name, despite being quite a regular customer at the reflexology centre. But I always asked for her because I liked the way she kneaded my feet. In December 2011 she said she was going to get married, and wouldn't be working there anymore. I felt sorry that I won't be enjoying her massage anymore in the future.

I didn't go to the place again, until this month. I was desperate for a massage, so I went. What a pleasant surprise to see her there! We started chatting like old friends ( and I realized then that people often mean more to us than we ever realize). I asked her about her wedding, and she told me everything down to the last details.

Then I blurt out "so, your parents are separated?", having deduced from the conversation that she had the wedding at her mother's place. "Yes, since I was 12", she said matter of factly. Then without me asking, she went on to tell me how, when she was about to sit for her UPSR (year 6) exam, her father 'borrowed' her from her mother, saying that he was going to get her Malaysian Identification made (they are of Philippine descent). He, who then was married to a local and had a newborn baby decided to keep her for good to be their convenient babysitter. She begged him to let her go to school, but he could not be bothered to listen to her. And she ended up being her father and stepmother's 'amah' for 7 years. The only good thing to have been living with her father and stepmother for her was that the step-grandmother was very good at traditional massage, and she taught her to do it.

"So when I turned 20, I stole my identity card from my father, left his home, and went back to my mother (who lives 8 hours drive away)", she ended her story. I admire the girl her spirit. Not everyone would have survived the way she had, and still could make a decent living. I'm glad I know her story- it has made me appreciate more the things I tend to take for granted like access to education.

I came out of the reflexology center a little bit wiser, and I made sure I asked her her name this time. Although in my culture, not asking somebody's name is not rude; it's even encouraged, I'm glad I can now call her name whenever I see her.

13 March 2012

Kadazandusun University?

The first thing that caught my eyes on the front page of Daily Express yesterday was the headline about how a certain organisation in Sabah is going to set up a Kadazandusun University. No further comments were given on the nature of the uni, apart from the fact it is going to be set up in Kaingaran, Tambunan.

At the risk of offending many people, I have to say I cannot see the merits of having a Kadazandusun Uni in Sabah. Of course this reaction is merely based on assumptions, as there are no other known facts on the plan yet. I am imagining a scenario where there is a university that functions like any other univeristy, tucked somewhere in Tambunan, attended by 60% Kadazandusuns. These kids would mostly be from the rural areas whose parents cannot afford to send them elsewhere to study. They would have had attended schools in the localities of Kadazandusun ethnic groups for about 12 years before going to the Kadazandusun Uni. After they have finished their tertiary education, they would come out without much new perspective since all they have been exposed to in their lives were the Kadazandusun things. Would they, I wonder, ever get good employments with such limited experience? If I were an employer, I think one of the things I'd look for would be one's ability to be a team player in a multicultural setting.

I have this nagging doubt about the plan to have this KD Uni. I would even be more sceptical if somebody tries to set up a Kadazandusun Studies programme in the uni. I supposed the people with the big idea wouldn't have much ideas of how difficult it is to come up with grammar books, or any books that describe any of the KD languages. A research takes years to do, even on one dialect of KD. Textbook writings do not happen overnight, that is, if you want quality. Perhaps we shouldn't leap before we look?

08 March 2012

Thanks Tata Jane and Kastumized!

It's quite handy to have an IT expert in the family :). In ours, Tata Jane is one of them. And she enjoys designing things, hence the company Kastumized Kreations. Being a family member, yours truly gets freebies from time to time, like today. Tata redesigned my blog, and I say "yay, I like!". It's too bad Tata was born 10 years later than me, or else I would have hired her to customize my wedding stuffs. But perhaps it's not too late. In this era where everyone celebrates wedding anniversaries, I might just celebrate my Silver Jubilee in 9 years time and get her to design me something sweet.

By the by, this year in December, I'd be celebrating my 16th year of matrimony. Hubby and I are thinking of doing a special family photography session with all the frills. That way the kids will get to wear the bridesmaid dresses and a bridegroom suit. Then they can joke that they are in the pic on my wedding day. (I remember when Sandra, the eldest girl was about 4, she was looking at the family photo taken on my wedding day and puzzling over why she wasn't in the photo :)!)

Anyway,thanks Tata and Kastumized. People out there, if you are looking for something sweet for any celebration, look for Tata. She delivers what she promises!

06 March 2012

Cure for toothache

I must be one of the eldest wisdom-tooth problem sufferers in the world. 38 going 39 years old and still having the problem :(. Those who have experienced the pain before would know how unpleasant it is.

As I looked around for domestic cure, I suddenly remembered my late grandmother. She would have had come up with a solution for any ailments. When I was a little kid, her toothache remedy was the the bark of a mango tree (I still remember that particular mango tree). Pounded till the bark turned into a gooey green paste. Then she would rub it on my gum and filled up the hole on my tooth with it. I'd go to sleep and for some reason, after waking up the pain was always gone. Either that thing was really medicinal, or it was just psychological, it worked anyway.

I have a mango tree outside the house, but I just dare not try doing it 'without the supervision of an expert'. Who knows I might end up poisoning myself? So, *sigh*, I have to make do with gurgling with salt water, and rubbing lots of bonjella gel on my gum. I wish I was a child again, being tended to by grandmother...

01 March 2012

Id Pagandadan

As the Dusun tradition goes, a person who makes the community proud is a celebrity in his own right. We like to fondly talk about the person, even if in actual fact we may never have met him. We'd try very hard to establish some kind of relationship with him, and we'd dig very hard till our mission is accomplished. It's quite amazing what one always discovers- he'd turn out to be a distance relative, a cousin twice removed, a neighbour, a friend of one of the family members, or even somebody that one of one's acquintances knows.

Today I'm basking in this tradition, for I am proud of the person who sings this song 'Id pagandadan' (While Waiting). Fabian William hails from my humble hometown, Ranau. He also happens to be a close friend of one of my brothers (see, I have unearthed one type of relationship :)) and his family is known to my family (another relationship). But best of all, his music is beautiful. I hope he'll produce more such beautiful music in the future. Way to go Fabian!