|SABM Roadshow No 4 - Kota Kinabalu|
|Written by straits-mongrel|
|Tuesday, 23 March 2010 19:58|
From up above, the Land Beneath the Wind is a giddy watercolour of turquoise and ultramarine, and thin streaks of surf breaking as they approach the coastline. The reefs reach up close to the main island. To the casual traveler, this has to be paradise.
Kota Kinabalu digs its sea produce. It's a blessing from Mother Earth; dozens of different types of salted fish, sea cucumbers, and sharks' fins are on sale at the Pasar Filipino on any given day.
But as much as this island is beautiful from up high, on terra firma however, the harsh reality of governance and its subsequent social concerns cut a different perspective. As we found out, there is much to be done.
Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia brought its Roadshow, the first leg of Sama-sama, to Kota Kinabalu on March 13. We came to learn and to digest the main concerns of the people of Sabah. We also came to share.
Held at the Beverly Hotel, the event drew a full house with the range of folks few from the peninsula get to experience. But that's common in these parts. It is we, of the Semenanjung-singed mentality, who gawk at this. 'Dan lain-lain' is a gross injustice to say the least.
We wanted to address the Sabah 20-point Memorandum, and there was no better authority - we were assured - than Dr Jeffrey Kitingan. He delved on the early agreement and the corresponding decay of the position of Sabah and Sarawak in the context of Malaysia. "We entered as equal partners - Malaya, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak. But along the way, we have essentially been recolonised. We are a colony of the Federal Government."
We played the Perak Crisis, from last year's Freedom Film Fest, to remind the audience to be constantly vigilant about the rights of the rakyat. Haris Ibrahim also shared his views on the key message 'Are We a Nation in Distress?'
Dr Chong Eng Leong is someone more peninsula folks need to be familiar. Remember Project IC? The former Sabah Senator, who is an activist against illegal immigration, has done immense work on the exploding population of Filipinos and Indonesians in Sabah.
Quick to clarify he has nothing against individuals from the neighboring territories, he turned towards the Federal government and questioned why so little effort is spent on stemming the tide. "The situation will become untenable,'' said Dr Chong. "And it's not merely a Sabah problem. These very immigrants, with MyKad in hand, now have free entry into Semenanjung. Putrajaya must wake up."
We have copies of Dr Chong's book, Lest We Forget, which deals with the illegal immigration issue and are planning to run a series of articles in the near future here at SABM.net. Do watch out for it.
Jaya closed the evening's presentation with This is My Home. I Care. I Want to Make It Better, and we made time for a question-and-answer session.
Now we've seen subdued crowds at our roadshows. Kota Kinabalu isn't one of them, to say the least. Its people were raring to dig into the issues right away at Q&A, some more about putting a point across. It was an animated 40 minutes with hands constantly asking for the mike and no pause for Shar the MC.
Guys, here's a plea: Bring this same energy to get every eligible Sabahan registered to vote. Get that done, and we'll get somewhere with nation-building yet.
We ended past 11pm, rich and full. For the more inclined, there was the partaking of tapai and bahar, or to simply chill with varsity students at the local warong. The team woke up bright and early Sunday. We had an early flight out to Kuching, the second leg of Sama-sama, to be held that same afternoon. From the hotel room, the sea and its calm islands beckoned. There was still so much to see and learn, but we couldn't. We had to move on.
Sabah, we'll be back. Promise.
PS. We'll be running a further Tale in Ten pictorial on the many faces we met in our short time in KK. Stay tuned.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 01:19|