Sunday, September 15, 2013


 Since 2007, I have blogging about Bintulu on a vast range of topics and these were incorporated in many blogs, thanks to Blogger.  One of my favourite blogs  is about the old images of Bintulu compared  with recent or contemporary ones.  It is a pictorial history of Bintulu that many outside Bintulu can sit comfortably in their arm chairs and time-travel to Bintulu during the 1950's in the safety of their homes or zoom into modern times in relative ease clicks away.  Bintulu is my hometown and I think I will continue to document its history as it marches in the field of time.  Currently Bintulu is deep into its fourth economic boom period and this boom has a much wider impact upon its societal changes compared to the previous ones mainly because the economic generators that push the town forward are scattered over its hinterland like its massive hydro-electric dam, reforestation projects, oil palm estates, timber exploitation and new industrial and township satellite zones at Similajau.  Below are some examples of the pictorial history of Bintulu.  For more pictorial history images please go to the original blog as in here ...>>>

MNLG plant complexes with the port at top of picture.
( Tanjung Kidurong Industrial zone)
 At the inset is a picture showing the Tg. Kidurong Industrial zone which started the first boom in Bintulu starting 1979.  The main project was the liquified natural gas plant and a deep water port to enable huge LNG ships come in to harbour to load its cargo for export to Japan and other buyers outside Malaysia.
Second Industrial Satellite Zone at Similajau, 14 miles north of the Tg. Kidurong Industrial zone.
The new zone is serviced by new port.
Today, with all the industrial developments combined with agricultural, timber-based, power generation and off-shore oil and gas explorations and productions,  Bintulu is on the right path to be an industrial showpiece of the nation.
Happy Malaysia day Sarawak !!

Friday, September 13, 2013


Picture above is taken from a tiny book about Sarawak entitled " Memperkenalkan Serawak",
written by R.M. Jasmi and  published by Sinaran Bros, North Borneo in 1958.
The picture shows the Sarawak Radio Building which produced and broadcasted radio programmes and also radio lessons for schools throughout Sarawak.  The broadcast reached Bintulu in fairly clear reception in 1963.

EMS ( Educational Mass Media Service )
Building in 1970's.  During colonial time
the building was called 'The Pavillion'.
 Just months before Sarawak became independent from the British colonial government and its forming the Federation of Malaysia on the 16th of September in 1963, I was a Primary Six student at St.Anthony's School, Bintulu. During those days the whole school curriculum was taught in English.  But the learning of English did not end in the classrooms. I participated in the school drama called 'The Black Basin', sang songs and debated in English.  It was really nostalgic for me to know that 16 years later I was to head the Educational Radio section of the Educational Mass Media Service arm of the Sarawak Education Department in the years 1978 -1979 in Kuching, the capital of Sarawak. .  At the inset is the picture of my office while I was in charge of the school's broadcasting programmes.  I occupied a big room at the building and from it our radio producers created radio programmes in many languages like English, Malay, Chinese and Iban for schools in Sarawak. In 1963 however I was very keen to write to the School Broadcasting Officer to inquire about many general knowledge questions.  I wrote four letters and below is one letter I received from Alan Moore dated 1st July,1963.  In those days, primary school students really looked forward to listening the  radio lessons broadcasts to learn how to speak the language correctly and listened to the replies of their letters on air from Kuching.

Above is the broadcasting schedule of the school's broadcast in 1979, days of broadcast and time of broadcast included
Note the subject "Anna and Abu" - this was the broadcast for the learning of English for Primary 5 students, produced by Reg Salisbury, a Colombo Plan expert for the teaching of English through radio..

Picture shows Reg Salisbury taken by me while having lunch at a food stall in Miri.

During my short stint at the Educational Radio I was most fortunate to work with Reg Salisbury who was from the BBC and acted as a Colombo Plan expert in the teaching of English by way of radio lessons.  We went around Sarawak to promote the 'Anna and Abu' programme together with printed teaching aids to teachers as remote as Bario in the Kelabit Highlands and little known places like  Awat-Awat near Limbang.
While working together in Kuching I managed to get Reg Salisbury read my poems and recorded them in the studio of RTM (Radio and Television Malaysia) in Kuching.  Here is one of my poems read by Reg Salisbury called " Hasyimah"....of which I think the BBC voice is just superb.  Check out the reading here...>>>>

Happy Malaysia Day Sarawak!!

Monday, September 2, 2013


Sarawak sapeh players from an old post card.

Batik by MOOD
 A long time ago the sounds of the sapeh were heard deep in the interior of Sarawak.  It has an exotic and mystic sound to it having the power to mesmerize the listener.  Nowadays the sapeh music is a tourism product that sells well for Sarawak.  I am always entertained to its music which reminds me of my school days at Tanjung Lobang Miri in the 60's where the rural students mainly from the ethnic groups like Kelabit and Kayans were greatly encouraged by the Principal of the school/college (Mr. Robert Nichol)  to bring the sapeh to school and play in many of the school functions.  From such exposure I have on many occasions painted the sapeh players and dancers for my batik pieces.
Sapeh music accopanying a Hornbill dance
Batik by MOOD

A sapeh player basking at the Kuching waterfront...
Sometime ago I made a simple recording of two sapeh players in Kuching using a Nokia camera phone N93i.  I am indeed surprised to see that as at today that recording has received more than 29,500 views. The link to the video is here...>>> THE SOUNDS OF SARAWAK SAPEH

Sarawak is indeed blessed with such a rich diversity of culture and ethnic groups with their unique music.
Happy Malaysia Day Sarawak!!