Sabah’s oldest bookstore now a heritage centre for unique local food, handicraft

KOTA KINABALU: When the state’s oldest bookstore, Tung Nan Bookstore, closed down last year, it was thought to be the end of such an iconic part of Sabah’s history. But the 66-year old establishment has undergone a dramatic transformation. It re-opened today as Tung Nan Heritage – a centre for unique local food and handicraft. “For me and others my age, as a child growing up, Tung Nan was the place to get our books during the 60s. It holds a special place in many Sabahans’ hearts,” said State Tourism, Cultural, and Environmental Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun, who officiated the store’s launching. “It is admirable to see its owners opt to continue the store’s legacy, rebranding itself as a store for local products, instead of taking the easy way out by simply leasing to other businesses.

When the state’s oldest bookstore, Tung Nan Bookstore, closed down last year, it was thought to be the end of such an iconic part of Sabah’s history. Pic by NSTP/MALAI ROSMAH TUAH

Masidi said that Gaya Street, where the store was located, was a bustling hotspot for tourists, especially China nationals. “There has been a huge increase in tourists from China recently. I believe that there are 86 scheduled flights from China alone to Kota Kinabalu. “In fact, Kota Kinabalu International Airport is now the busiest airport after Kuala Lumpur International Airport. “Much of it is due to our tourism success stories and the selling power of our local products. So I hope many other Sabahans can capitalise on this opportunity,” he said. Tung Nan Bookstore was established in 1952 by George Wong Tung Chee, whose wife also founded Kota Kinabalu’s first kindergarten, Chung Hwa kindergarten. Their grandchildren Patrick and Katherine Wong are the current owners of the rejuvenated establishment, which now offers a myriad of local products including wild honey, coffee, and durian.

Source: New Straits Times

Leaving a lasting legacy

Kota Kinabalu: History was re-written with the unveiling of the Inner Wheel Garden Plaque at the historic Atkinson Clock Tower, Wednesday, a sequel to the 2015 revival of the Garden spearheaded by the Inner Wheel Club of Kota Kinabalu (IWCKK), in collaboration with City Hall (DBKK) and the Sabah State Museum.

What made the occasion even more significant was that it coincided with International Inner Wheel (IIW) Day, celebrated all over the world. IWCKK walked the talk in translating the IIW Theme (2017-2018), “Leave a Lasting Legacy”, into reality.

The history of the Inner Wheel Garden, created by the Inner Wheel Club of Jesselton (the forerunner of IWCKK) at a cost of $1,400, dates back to 1961. The original plaque had gone missing for many years, apparently the work of vandals.

The plaque tells it all – Inner Wheel Garden Est. 3rd July 1961. The Inner Wheel Garden (formerly known as The Anns’ Garden) at the Atkinson Clock Tower was declared open by E.J.H. Berwick, President of the Jesselton Gardening Society and Director of Agriculture on July 3, 1961. The Garden is now maintained by City Hall.

Lady Goode, wife of the then Governor of British North Borneo (now Sabah), was present at the opening ceremony. She was an Honorary Member of the Inner Wheel Club of Jesselton.

The joint unveiling ceremony was conducted by DBKK Director-General Joannes Solidau who represented Mayor Datuk Yeo Boon Hai, Sabah Museum Director Mansur Assun, Sabah Archives Director Mohd Said Hinayat, Sabah Tourism Board (STB) General Manager Suzaini Ghani and IWCCK President Cecilia Amid.

Among those who witnessed the ceremony were the wife of Mayor and Chairperson of Puspanita Kota Kinabalu City Branch, Datin Rohayah Pawzy, DBKK Director of Bureau of Economic, Tourism and International Relations, Fauziahton Ag Samad, DBKK Director of Landscape Department, Walter Kenson, Sabah Museum Senior Curator (Corporate Communications), Stella Moo, Member of DBKK Board of Advisers cum Chairperson of Tourism Development Committee, Datuk Nancy Ho, and President of the Inner Wheel Club of Kota Kinabalu Rafflesia, Helen Morgan.

Interestingly, Joannes was a signatory of the tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2015 by three parties – DBKK, Sabah State Museum and IWCKK – in an effort to revive the Inner Wheel Garden.

In his speech read out by Joannes, Yeo said the Atkinson Clock Tower (previously known as Jesselton Clock Tower) stands proud as a Heritage Building much to the admiration of our local community and visitors alike.

“City Hall is happy to render its assistance as part of our service to the city. We hope that the Garden could be maintained and cherished by all our visitors. We advocate ‘zero garbage’ around the city because we want our city to be ‘Clean, Green and Safe’. City Hall will continue to spare no efforts to ensure that Kota Kinabalu remains as a beautiful and liveable City,” he said.

Yeo’s aspiration is that the revived Inner Wheel Garden would be another signature site of the city “as we promote our City for the world to see.”

Meanwhile, Joannes noted that the Atkinson Clock Tower is becoming increasingly popular with tourists, saying he has often seen them taking snapshots of the landmark.

It is reportedly the only oldest standing structure in Kota Kinabalu that has survived to this day.

Completed in 1905 after two years of construction work, the clock tower was built to commemorate Jesselton’s first District Officer, Francis Gorge Atkinson, who died of malaria at the age of 28 on December 6, 1902.

The second son of Rev F.H. Atkinson of Jersey and Mary Edith Atkinson was reportedly a popular District Officer and adored by many. Mary loved her son so much that she built the all-wood, no nails structure in memory of him. That was during the British North Borneo Chartered Company administration.

Earlier, in his address, Mansur said IWCKK’s endeavour was very timely, given the passing of the new State Heritage Enactment 2017 and its enforcement on January 1 this year.

“Today is a historical day as we witness the unveiling of the Inner Wheel Garden Plaque at this historical site below the iconic Atkinson Clock Tower. I commend the President and her team for the initiative to reactivate a Garden planted 57 years ago in Jesselton (now Kota Kinabalu) and to beautify the capital city,” he said.

Noting that the site is in close proximity to Padang Merdeka (yet another heritage site of Kota Kinabalu), Mansur said KK is alive with a very rich cultural heritage. “Heritage sites will further enhance the State’s wealth in culture and heritage. The Inner Wheel Club of Kota Kinabalu is in essence contributing to the legacy of our State.”

Both Joannes and Mansur acknowledged the constructive role of Ho who was instrumental in the revival of the Inner Wheel Garden and installation of a new plaque by forming the Inner Wheel Garden Committee. Members comprised past Presidents Datin Carlota Lo, Daisy Chong, Margaret Chin, Emmeline Tan, Gillian Lee and Tengku Marilyn Tengku Adlin.

The starting-point began in December 2013 when Lee (then IWCKK President), Chin and Tan explored the grounds of the Atkinson Clock Tower in an attempt to identify the location of the Inner Wheel Garden and the exact spot where a plaque was apparently once installed. Ho, then past IIW Board Director, volunteered to study the report on the ladies’ findings. Subsequently, she approached the various authorities in Kota Kinabalu to present the Club’s case to them, and discussed the possibility of reviving the Garden.

Confirming this, President Amid said Ho also mooted the idea of installing a new plaque, and a joint committee involving the three parties (IWCKK, DBKK and Sabah State Museum) was set up in December last year with past President Datin Tengku Adlina Tengku Adlin as Chairperson of the Inner Wheel Garden Committee.

DBKK and the Museum were represented by Fauziathon and Moo respectively.

“In less than a month, we witness a huge transformation of this place. This is attributed to the close collaboration among the three parties with energetic (Datuk) Nancy as the main pillar and key strategist, knitting these three parties to work together as an effective team,” she added, while thanking the Museum for allowing the Inner Wheel Garden to continue as an important feature of the Atkinson Clock Tower and the State Archives for enabling the Committee to relive the history.

Amid said the unveiling of the Inner Wheel Garden Plaque marked a realisation of the theme “Leave a Lasting Legacy”, where the plaque serves as a permanent record of Inner Wheel’s legacy since 1961 at this historical site.

According to her, DBKK has done an excellent job in maintaining the garden with a lot of creativity.

“We understand that they have planted Bauhinia Kockiana that will soon transform the outlook of this garden.”

After the formalities were over, Joannes, accompanied by Ho, who is also a past International Inner Wheel Board Director, led the Heritage Walk along Australia Place to the Jesselton Hotel, one of the oldest hotels in the State Capital. Preceding them was the Sabah Museum’s tagunggak group comprising gong and drum beaters.

The entourage adjourned to the hotel’s Bayu Restaurant for the IIW Day celebration where Ho recited the Candle of Friendship Poem, followed by the traditional lighting of the Candle by Rokiah Staun, who is the National Representative (2017-2018) of Inner Wheel Districts 330 & 331.

Fellowship prevailed after the cake-cutting ceremony to mark the auspicious occasion.

In her vote of thanks, Organising Chairperson Datin Tengku Adlina Tengku Adlin described the day as the biggest in the history of IWCKK. “An event like this cannot happen overnight. It requires planning and a bird’s eye for details, and we have been fortunate enough to be backed by the involvement of DBKK and Sabah State Museum,” she said. Rokiah then extinguished the Candle of Friendship. – Mary Chin


Source: Daily Express

Imbak canyon homestay thriving

KOTA KINABALU: Located deep within the heart of Sabah, some 300km from here, Imbak Canyon Conservation Area (Icca) is home to one of the state’s last remaining virgin rainforests.

At the very edge between civilisation and wild, untamed forest, acting as a gateway between the two is Kampung Imbak, where some 700 people of the Dusun Sungai and Murut communities have lived off the land for generations.

A new initiative by Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) has provided the villagers with an alternative way of making a living by opening their homes to visitors.

“Kg Imbak is a strategic location for homestay programme. Not only is it on the way to Imbak Canyon, it is close to the trekking trail to Gunung Tinkar Forest Reserve,” said Sunsing Palatai, a member of the Tongod tourism community.

“Gunung Tinkar itself is a huge attraction as its peak is right at the centre of Sabah. Quite a number of tourists hike there to feel the excitement of being right at the heart of the state.”

Sunsing, who also operates a homestay at neighbouring Kampung Entilibon, has been teaching Kg Imbak’s villagers about managing a rural homestay.

These efforts come as part
of Petronas’ community development programme named Planting Tomorrow, a project with the Yayasan Sabah group that started in 2010 to assist the locals in setting up their own homestay operations.

Aside from providing funds and building materials for the homestays, the oil and gas giant also installed a gravity-fed water supply system to deliver clean water to all homes in Imbak.

There are now 22 registered operators for the homestays, which are known as “Homestay Po’pomponan” or “a place of gathering”.

Haina Sapah, 33, one of the operators in Kg Imbak, said setting up the homestay was challenging for her initially.

“I had to come up with funds, besides the provisions by Petronas, to equip my house with the required facilities.

“But I enjoy doing homestay. It helps supplement our main income from the oil palm plots.

“As long as Imbak Canyon is here, I think our homestay will thrive,” said Haina, who has three children.

According to Homestay Po’pomponan chairman Apal Sagit Uloi, 32, the homestay programme was still a work in progress.

“A lot of work still needs to be done to improve the homestay’s offerings and the overall upkeep of the village to enhance the visitors’ experience.

“We hope to see our village develop and more visitors at our homestay. We hope to showcase our cultural heritage one day, like the red durian which is one of our delicacies here,” said Apal.

The Icca was gazetted as a Class 1 (Protection) Forest Reserve in 2009 with much of its growth attributed to the partnership between Petronas and Yayasan Sabah.

Petronas has to date contributed RM83 million towards the
Icca’s growth and conservation.

It is fast emerging as a major destination for not only tourists, but also scientists who carry out research activities following the completion of the Imbak Canyon Studies Centre (ICSC) last year.


Source: New Straits Times

‘Huminodun’ complements Sabah’s creative industry aspiration — Musa

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman commended producers of the Kadazan-language film ‘Huminodun’ which premiered at a local cinema yesterday for their effort which complemented the Sabah government’s aspiration to develop the creative industry in the state.

“The state government has identified the creative industry as an important area of development and seeing the work of so many Sabahans brought to life through this film complements our aspiration.

“The effect of the creative industry on development is something that policymakers around the world have been waking up to with countries such as South Korea and New Zealand, making it the cornerstone of their economic growth,” he said in his speech text delivered by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan.

Musa was also glad to note that the filmmaker, Siung Films Sdn Bhd, comprised of 99 per cent of Sabah talents and had worked closely with various organisations in the state to ensure a true depiction of Sabah’s heritage displayed in the film.

Among the organisations involved were State Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry, Sabah Tourism Board, Sabah Cultural Board, Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA), KDCA Women’s Council and Kadazandusun Language Foundation. — Bernama


Source: Borneo Post

Five Sabah buildings identified as historic monuments

KOTA KINABALU: The oldest training college in Sabah and the former location of the Cobbold Commission are two of five structures identified in a move to preserve more historical buildings in the state.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said the state Cultural Heritage (Conservation) Enactment now provided a larger scope for older buildings here to be preserved.

The 2017 Ordinance widened the scope of subjects under its purview, Masidi added.

He said the state had not set a deadline for these buildings to be gazetted as heritage sites, which were built more than 50 years ago.

“We will continue the listing until all those that qualify are gazetted.”

Gazetted building sites must be preserved in their original form.

Tabling the 2018 state budget last week, Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman said Sabah aimed to preserve buildings that were at least 50 years old and have great historical value.

These include Turnbull Hall at Sabah College, which was named after Sir Roland Evelyn Turnbull, the second-last British governor in North Borneo.

Others include Kent College in Tuaran, built in 1952 and the oldest teacher training college in the state.

Also to be preserved is the former Wisma Radio Sabah along Jalan Tuaran here.

It was once used as the secretariat for the Cobbold Commission – the enquiry set up to determine whether the people of Sabah and Sarawak supported the proposal for the formation of Malaysia in 1962.

Source: The Star News