Posted on Leave a comment

Day 4 RMO: Why is it called Social Distancing?

Since the spread of COVID-19, everyone has been called to practice “social distancing”, at various degrees.

Staying at home as much as possible (which is what the RMO is implementing). Avoiding gatherings of people. No handshakes. Regular handwashing. Keeping at least 6 feet apart from other people (especially in public). These are some forms of social distancing.

The “technical” definition of “social distancing” (per Merriam-Webster) is the practice of maintaining a greater than usual physical distance from other people or of avoiding direct contact with people or objects in public places during the outbreak of a contagious disease in order to minimize exposure and reduce the transmission of infection.

The easier way I would define “social distancing” is : reduce socialising (in the physical sense) with other people.

A friend mentioned that he cannot stand it because he needed to meet other humans apart from his housemates. To which I countered, “What about me? I don’t even have housemates.” (I live alone.) He then replied, “It’s okay for you, you like peace and quiet.”

Well, my friend, that may be true. I do enjoy my “peace and quiet” me times (eg. on weekends, after a full week of work and the other activities that I am actively involved with weekly) but that does not mean this “social distancing” period is any easier for me as compared to others. Humans are social creatures afterall.

Living alone, any time I am outside my house, I am in effect “socialising”. So to have gone through 3 full days of not doing even that, well I can imagine how one can get pretty stir-crazy with long periods of no socialising at all. So today, I decided to take my shopping list and go out to get groceries and some supplies at the pharmacy. And here’s how “social distancing” looked like out there:

To my surprise, there were still a lot of cars on the road. Yes, less than normal, but still a lot more than I imagined. But that was still fine, because we are all safe in the confines of our own vehicles. Oh boy was I in for an even more horrific surprise – the grocery store parking lot was FULL and there we probably HUNDREDS of people inside the grocery store. Umm hello? WHAT Social Distancing??

I didn’t like that the grocery store was crowded so I didn’t spend a long time getting stuff. Unfortunately, I had to spend quite some time queueu-ing for the cashier counter. Yes, it was that crowded. I noticed they had indicator lines on the floor where people were to stand (at the supposed “safe distance” apart) and that was nice. However, some people didn’t pay any attention to it – like the lady behind me in the queue. Excuse me lady, some personal space please! Sigh. In the end, I managed to get most of my groceries at another grocery store that was “less risky” because it was less crowded and they had temperature screening at the entrance.

Next was a challenge on its own. I went hunting for face masks, hand sanitisers, disposable gloves and thermometer. I must have checked almost 10 different pharmacies – face masks and hand sanistisers were sold out in all of them! Fortunately, I managed to buy a few gloves and an in-ear thermometer (because the forehead one is sold out everywhere too). While I was out, I also got some Vitamin C and cough medicine (just in case my on-and-off cough acted up).

I would like to say it was a successful time out of the house, but it wasn’t entirely since I couldn’t get some items on my list (like the face masks and hand sanitisers). Better luck the next time I go out I hope.

The highlight of my day though was a video conference call with mi familia:

Top left: My bro & parents in Brunei
Top right: My bro in Penang
Bottom right: My bro & niece in Kuching

This was the first time we ever “got together” this way. And this was using Instagram videochat too!

Before this, I didn’t even know they had a videochat function.

This was nice guys. Covid or not, we should do this more often!

Stay at home folks, and be safe.

Thanks to technology, we can still keep our family and loved ones close in other ways. =)

Posted on Leave a comment

How I accidentally climbed a Mountain

Yes, you read that right.

How can one accidentally climb a mountain? Well, let me tell you!

I was in Kuching for the Sacerdotal (Priestly) Ordination of a friend, Rev. Fr. Galvin, over the weekend. We used to go to the same University, were of the same intake and was part of the same community, called Young Catholic Undergraduates (YCU), so of course, his Big Day (Ordination to the Priesthood) was bound to be a reunion of old friends.

IMG20170923090355But on the day after the Ordination, some friends suggested we head up to the Catholic Memorial Pilgrimage Centre (CMPC), located at the Slope of Mount Singai, Kampung Tajong Singai, Bau. It is a venue for the Catholic Community to organise retreats, training and religious related events. CMPC was an integral part of our group of friends as we would go up to CMPC at least once a year back in the day. Some of them still do even now, but the last time I went up was 10 years ago, so of course, I agreed to join them.

The Ordination was all I packed for this trip (read: ill-equipped),  but since it was plank-walks and staircases all the way up to CMPC, I wasn’t particularly concerned. Everyone insisted I not use my ladies’ sandals though so I took up Nico’s offer to wear his crocs sandals instead, sans socks. And up we went…

As I recall, going up to CMPC had always been quite a challenge – even back in the day – as some parts were pretty steep. For those who have not been to CMPC, there are Stations of the Cross along the way up that also double as rest-stops. I have gone up without any stops years ago and I have gone up by stopping and praying at each Station as well. But I have never had my knees feel like jelly, which was what happened this time (the difference 10 years make). Lest my knees fully give up on me, I had to stop at almost each Station after the first five, but I still made it up, Thank God.

But that’s where things started to get really interesting.

After a brief picnic (we brought some food with us) at CMPC, Nico suggested, “Hey, shall we go to the top (of Mount Singai)?”

IMG20170923130044
A jungle path leading to the top of Mount Singai is located just beside the Longhouse.

There were 6 of us in the group – 2 (Syl and Nick) have been to the top before whilst the rest of us (Nico, Ted, Edwin and myself) have not. Prior to this, I never knew it was even possible to go to the top. Needless to say, in excitement, it was a unanimous YES from all of us, although I was starting to feel concerned. I mean, having only brought dresses, dress shoes and a handbag for the weekend (and jeans, tshirts and ladies’ sandals for “casual wear”), I was in no way equipped for climbing a mountain!

“It’s not that high,” said Syl, who had been up a few times.

“How many minutes or hours is “not that high”?” I asked.

“Depends. Some parts are quite steep.”

IMG-20170923-WA0021

And so we started… There was also a group of foreign students from a local private university that coincidentally started their ascend the same time.

IMG-20170923-WA0011My knees were fine during the climb. I wish I could say the same for my feet. Wearing crocs (sans socks!), my feet was starting to blister. And my hands as well, from the rope we use to pull ourselves up along the steeper parts… My handbag – that was just an inconvenience. I was just thankful I could sling it across my shoulder.

 

After a considerable amount of time and climbing a steep part, I asked Syl, “This is the steep part you mentioned?”

“There’s more.”

Internal gasp.

“It’s still a long way up.”

Internal sigh.

We continued our ascend. The group of students earlier had started to split up as some were faster than the others. At one point, our group of 6 became 4 as Nick and Edwin were left behind. When Nick rejoined us, he reported that Edwin could not go up any farther and would just wait for us where he was. And so were 5…

IMG-20170923-WA0052

But one steep slope after another, it became 3 – 2 as Syl, Nico and Ted went up faster, leaving behind myself and Nick who was kind enough to keep me company. My feet was really uncomfortable but there was nowhere to go but up. Fellow climbers (a few from the student group and others) were also taking their own pace (some above us, some below) and Nick would be cheering us all to continue: “Almost there!” “You can do it!” “I can see the sun!” “5 more steps!” “5 more minutes!”

In reality, we were nowhere near the top yet.

Small talks with fellow climbers along the way was interesting though. It made the climb more bearable.

One of the students exclaimed (dramatically): “Someone should make a documentary of me, before I die!” as he huffed and puffed up a steep slope.

Another climber retorted to Nick’s “5 more minutes!” cheer with a “That’s what you said 5 minutes ago!!!” and to his “I can see the sun!”, “I can see the sun from my room, man!”

Funny exchanges happen when people are exhausted. Hahaha.

I passed a climber who was taking a break on the way up.

“As you can see, I am in no way prepared for this climb.” I said, as I motioned to what I was wearing.

“Neither am I”, he agreed. “Just got back from the club and my mate was like, ‘Hey let’s go for a climb!'”

“Doesn’t sound like a great idea now does it?” I quipped.

“No! And I’m tipsy to boot!” he exclaimed.

I chuckled as I considered the next slope…

There were also a few climbers who were on their way down as well and passed us by. I was tempted to ask them how much further we had to reach the top but decided not to, for fear they would say it was still a long way to go.

The most interesting thing that happened on the way up was when one of those on the way down locked eyes with mine as I climbed up a steep slope. It was a familiar face that I had not seen for almost 10 years.

“Fancy bumping into you here!” both Kevin and I agreed. We had a brief catch up as his group was catching up and Nick helped take a photo of us.

IMG20170923111651

Turned out Nick in turn, knew one of Kevin’s friends.

“I’m with him,” she said, pointing at Kevin.

“I’m with her,” Nick pointed at me.

“So is it still far up to the top?” Nick asked her.

“I turn back halfway,” she replied.

My heart stopped beating for a second. We’re not even HALFWAY up???

Fortunately, she laughed and continued, “I finished already lah. It’s not much further…”

My heart started beating again.

After what seemed like ages and after I don’t know how many “5 steps” and “5 minutes” later, we finally reached the top!!!

Was the view worth it?

Actually, I don’t know.

It was hazy and we couldn’t really see much.

But considering how ill-equipped I was and I reached the top anyways (and it was my first mountain!), I was really pleased.

And that my friend, was how I accidentally climbed a Mountain!

IMG20170923115910
At the top of Mount Singai, 562 metres above sea-level

For the record, it took me 1 hour and 20 minutes to reach the top – not bad for an ill-equipped first-timer hahaha!

 

Posted on 2 Comments

Dedicated To Sada Borneo (AGT19)

My dearest Sada Borneo,
You dedicated the Semi-Finals to us – to Malaysia and all who supported you from all over Asia.

The composition we brought tonight is called ‘Dedicated To You’. It was composed to express our gratitude to our families and friends who had always been there for us through thick and thin, without whom we would not be who we are today.
‘Dedicated To You’ was composed right after the self-titled piece that got us 4 YESes at the Asia’s Got Talent Judges’ Audition and the first time we performed it was during Malam Bumi Kenyalang 2014 (Sarawak Cultural Night 2014) in our university.

Touched by the amazing support we received through social media from everyone around the world during Asia’s Got Talent, what better way is there for us to thank each and everyone of you for your support and encouragement but through our language which is music. So truly, the Semi-Finals is dedicated to you.
‪#‎sadaborneo‬ ‪#‎asiasgottalent‬ ‪#‎keepourlegacy
– From Sada Borneo’s Facebook Page

Now I dedicate this post to you.
Nothing could have prepared you for the journey that awaited you when you decided to audition for Asia’s Got Talent (AGT).
Before the Judges’ Audition a month ago, most of Malaysia had not heard about you.
[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tih1MHKvHNY]
Sada Borneo @ Judges Audition (AGT)
Now, not only Malaysia but Asia and the whole world knows about you. More than that, they fell head over heels in love with you!
But did they love the REAL Sada Borneo or who they thought/wanted you to be?
David Foster, at the Judges’ Audition, already said he “didn’t like” the bass guitar and the acoustic guitar in the mix but he “loved loved loved” the traditional part of it.
Therein lies the “dilemma”…
From Sada Borneo’s website:

The unique thing about our band is that we are using traditional music instruments like sape, bungkau, kompang, seruling…. basically any instruments we can get, and then combining them with modern instruments like keyboard, bass and guitar, while infusing nature elements (rain, birds etc) to make music.
We are trying something new by combining modern western music and traditional Malaysian music. We hope that we can show the beauty of Malaysia through music.

Do you change who you are to be loved? Or do you remain true to yourselves?
Click here to watch Astro Awani’s interview with Sada Borneo before the Semi-Finals
[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6FQSblHAh8]
Sada Borneo @ Semi-Finals (AGT)
David wanted you to be more “traditional” – but that is not the REAL Sada Borneo.
Van Ness said it perfectly: “You stayed true to who you are” and Anggun was inspired to do a World Music album by listening to your music!
From Sada Borneo’s website:

AIM

  • To show the beauty of Malaysia through music.

  • To attract the youth of Malaysia to appreciate Malaysian traditional music.

  • To expand Malaysian traditional music to international level

  • To perform in international music festivals such as the Rainforest Music Festival in Sarawak, Penang World Music festival in Penang etc.

The facts remain:
1. You were the only act from Malaysia that made it to the Semi-Finals – shortlisted along with 23 other acts from other countries out of the thousands that auditioned – you did show the beauty of Malaysia through your music
2. You have made youths all over Malaysia ask questions and yearn for answers about our traditional music
3. You brought Malaysian traditional music on the international stage through Asia’s Got Talent
4. “World Music” – the exact word Anggun used to describe your music. I am sure the Rainforest World Music Festival and the likes are just around the corner!
So here’s what I say and what I believe others like me feel: We support you for who you are. And to us, whether you go on to the Finals or not, you will always have our support.
Keep on making your kind of music. I am sure there is room for improvement and I look forward to seeing you become the great musicians you are, each and everyone of your 11 members and together as Sada Borneo!
So smile my Sada Boys. You only have one way to go from here – UP!
With love,
Mar
~~~
sb
VOTE FOR SADA BORNEO! (Voting ends on 4th May 2015.)

There are 3 ways to vote (visit http://asiasgottalent.tv/vote/ for full instructions)
Method 1 – via SMS(unlimited)
SMS “AGT19″ and send it to your country’s designated short code (For Malaysia, it’s 33200 – for others, click here:http://asiasgottalent.tv/vote/)
SMS charges apply.
Method 2 – via Facebook (one vote per user per episode)
Just go to this link and vote:
On computer: https://www.facebook.com/asiasgottalent/app_1598372720404428
On mobile: https://fbvotenow.asiasgottalent.tv/
Voting on Facebook is free for one vote per user per episode.
IMPORTANT: Each user is entitled to ONE VOTE ONLY (so vote wisely!)
Method 3 – via the official Asia’s Got Talent app(unlimited)
Just download the app (available on the App Store and Google Play) and start voting. You can purchase 1, 3, 25 or 100 votes at a click of a button. (WOW!) Read the Terms&Conditions for more information on purchasing votes and voting.
IMPORTANT: You can vote as many times as you want via SMS and the Asia’s Got Talent app but the producers reserve the right (at their sole discretion) to exclude any votes which they feel have been placed to unfairly manipulate the results.
Check out the Voting FAQ section if you have any other doubts: http://asiasgottalent.tv/vote/faq

Will Sada Borneo make it to the Finals and be that much closer to being the first Asia’s Got Talent winner??? ONLY YOU can make it happen!
So vote, vote, vote!
AGT19! Sada Borneo!
(Voting ends on 4th May 2015.)

Posted on Leave a comment

Sada Borneo (AGT19) brings Malaysia into the Semis!

Sada Borneo‘s performance at the Asia’s Got Talent (AGT) Judges Audition earned them 4 YESes from all 4 judges –
[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tih1MHKvHNY]
Sada Borneo @ Judges Audition (AGT)
And now, Sada Borneo made it into the Semi-Finals – the only act from Malaysia shortlisted along with 23 other acts from other countries out of the thousands that auditioned!
Woohoo!!! Malaysia and Borneo represent!
Will they make it to the Finals and be that much closer to being the winners??? YOU can make it happen!
VOTE FOR THEM right after that Semi-Finals episode airs on 30th April 2015. (Voting ends on 4th May 2015.)

There are 3 ways to vote for Sada Borneo (visit http://asiasgottalent.tv/vote/ for full instructions)
Method 1 – via SMS (unlimited)
SMS “AGT19” and send it to your country’s designated short code (For Malaysia it’s 33200)
SMS charges apply.
Method 2 – via Facebook (one vote per user per episode)
Just go to this link and vote:
On computer: https://www.facebook.com/asiasgottalent/app_1598372720404428
On mobile: https://fbvotenow.asiasgottalent.tv/
Voting on Facebook is free for one vote per user per episode.
IMPORTANT: Each user is entitled to one vote per episode (so VOTE WISELY!)
Method 3 – via the official Asia’s Got Talent app (unlimited)
Just download the app (available on the App Store and Google Play) and start voting.
You can purchase 1, 3, 25 or 100 votes at a click of a button. (WOW!) Read the Terms&Conditions for more information on purchasing votes and voting.
IMPORTANT: You can vote as many times as you want via SMS and the Asia’s Got Talent app but the producers reserve the right (at their sole discretion) to exclude any votes which they feel have been placed to unfairly manipulate the results.
Check out the Voting FAQ section if you have any other doubts: http://asiasgottalent.tv/vote/faq/

We already know Gao Lin & Liu Xin (China), Triqstar (Japan), Gwyneth Dorado (Philippines) & Junior New System (Philippines) have been shortlisted to be part of the Final 9 Acts competing for the coveted title of being the first Asia’s Got Talent winner.
So come on Malaysia (and Borneo!) vote SADA BORNEO to represent us in the FINALS!

Posted on 4 Comments

The REAL Sada Borneo

Having taken Asia by storm the past week, I’d like you to meet some awesome guys I personally adore who need no further introduction.

image
With Sada Borneo in Brunei Darussalam (2014)

That’s definitely the case in Malaysia and to some extent, here in Brunei.
With over 11,000 followers on their official-and-verified Facebook page, more than 1.2K on their Instagram and even surpassing One Direction in Malaysia’s Top 100 on iTunes at #23…

Our song is at no. 23 in Malaysia iTunes Top 100 Songs | Hot Music Charts!!!!!!! This is so unexpected!!!! Thank you…

Posted by Sada Borneo on Rabu, 8 April 2015

…and #81 on Brunei’s Top 100, topping Coldplay!

"OUR SONG MADE IT TO THE TOP 100 IN BRUNEI DARUSSALAM!Sada Borneo is at no. 81 in Brunei Darussalam iTunes Top 100…

Posted by Sada Borneo on Rabu, 8 April 2015

Here’s 2 words that have been on everyone’s lips:
SADA BORNEO
[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tih1MHKvHNY]
Their audition video at AXN’s “Asia’s Got Talent” (AGT) went viral after it was aired last week.
Their story has been published in some of Malaysia’s mainstream media in English, Bahasa and Chinese.

"ABUZZ OVER RAINFOREST SOUNDS" – The Star NewspaperThank you for featuring us in The Star Newspaper last Saturday!…

Posted by Sada Borneo on Ahad, 5 April 2015

Out Today on RAP Harian Metro!Credit to Georgie Joseph from Harian MetroThank you!#sadaborneo #asiasgottalent #hmetro #malaysianteam #news

Posted by Sada Borneo on Rabu, 8 April 2015


Astro Awani also ran a story on them. While Caltex is following their “Journey To Stardom”.
[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zhof8fiUgoo&feature=youtube_gdata_player]
…and social media is abuzz with anything and everything they can find about this band.
Which is why this post is not about what everyone already knows (or think they do) about Sada Borneo (SB), but it is about debunking some SB “facts” which are not exactly correct. Why? Because it’s doing an injustice to them to not be properly written about.
Let’s start with the obvious:
SB Myth#1:

They are a 5-member band.

There were only 5 members at the AGT audition but that’s not the whole gang. There are actually 11 members! Trust me. Otherwise, check it out yourself:
[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pg4PEfWf3wI]
Have you not seen their music video? The whole group is in it – and then some.
Read their Facebook page/website. It is clearly stated there.
And if you’re observant enough, you would have noticed that there’s even another member of theirs in the Caltex advertisement!
SB Myth#2:

They are from Sarawak.

At the audition they clearly said “We’re from Malaysia.”
Everybody keeps asking them where they’re from. If they’d just listen to what they’ve already told us from the start.
SB Myth#3: 

They are new.

Again, they may be new to most but they have been around for a few years now.
And as I was typing this, look what was published on their Facebook page!:

Many people wanted to know more about us… so here it is!
Sada Borneo consist of 11 members, with 5 of us representing the band in Asia’s Got Talent Judges Audition.
We are good friends in university even before this band started. With the same passion for music, we ended up becoming Sada Borneo few years ago.

Our origin? We are from all corners of Malaysia.
We would like to thank all of you guys for the amazing support and encouragement ever since the episode aired in AXN. It is truly heartwarming!
We are proud to represent Malaysia!
For more info, you can refer to our official website by clicking on the link below:
sadaborneo.wix.com/official

Great minds think alike? Hahaha…
Well said Sada Borneo. Keep it up guys! 😀
Be great! But remain humble. Always.
Love,
Mar