Blog Under Reconstruction

I just thought I had to inform you this — in case you notice a design mash-up on this blog, it is because Borneo Blog is under reconstruction and I am still trying to figure out how to deploy the News Theme on Genesis Framework on this blog.

Roadbuilder1

I’m Back In Borneo After Seven Long Years

When I first started this blog during the third quarter of 2007, I was in my second year of posting in Singapore. I was missing this island so much, and shuddered at the thought of being away from it until retirement. So I started this blog where I post stories about Borneo that pique my interest.

By end of 2007 I was transferred back home to Malaysia, a promotion for me, but that also meant that I would have to work in the national capital, Kuala Lumpur, for the rest of my working years.

Dusk, as seen from the balcony of my home in Menggatal

I would have had to live in KL until I reached my golden years had it not for a plan I hatched slightly more than a year ago — a Borneo homecoming plan. It consisted of an early retirement idea, resettling my wife and kids to Kota Kinabalu from Kuala Lumpur, and coming up with a career plan post-retirement.

To cut the long story shot, in January this year, I bought a one-way ticket from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu, packed my things at my rented home in Cheras, and ship them back, including my old Toyota pick-up truck. On February 11, I was on my flight back, and now, for all intent and purpose, I’m back.

A stretch of the Kionsom River, Inanam, 14km from Kota Kinabalu

I’m now on leave and will tender my early retirement letter shortly.

What does this mean is that, I can now blog about Borneo in Borneo itself and not arm-chairing from some locations outside the island. That means, a more regular blogging here and with more hands-on contents. And that, my friends, is a good thing :)

No More Politics in Borneo Blog

After giving it much thought, I decided to steer this blog away from politics. There are many socio-political blogs out there which are able articulate the issue minus the kind of constraints that I face.

You know what I mean, you know how things work. Until such time when I can unshackle myself from those constraints, politics will remain the unblogged subject here.

This blog will instead focus on what Borneo is to the outside world — a place of beauty and a faraway island struggling to keep its pristine heritage in the onslaught of development. This blog will also carry news and stories about the people of Borneo as well as those of other places on the planet which share the world’s rainforest.

I will also be deleting political-related entries in this blog. You will also find entries about the so-called Sabah claim by the Sultan of Sulu deleted from this blog. I’ve had enough of the diatribe of profanities spewed out by commentators trying to put forward what barely qualifies as opinion when discussing the issue.

Return to Borneo

If everything goes according to plan, I should be returning to Borneo for good at the latest by April this year. I have been away for about six years now and the longer I live away from the beloved island, the stronger the urge to go home. During the three of the six years, I lived and work in cosmopolitan Singapore, almost a complete opposite of what life is in Borneo.

Gaya Street

After Singapore, I moved to Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, working and living and experiencing a new culture, something different from that of Singapore, all the while feeling that Sabah, the Malaysian state on Borneo, is beckoning me home.

Floating Village

Last month, I spent a month holidaying in Borneo. It’s good that we left our house in Kota Kinabalu without renting it out. This way my family and I can always be assured of a home each time we return to Borneo.

KKCityLensbaby

The Kota Kinabalu city that I left six years ago was very much different from the city I visited as a holiday-maker. Spanking new shopping malls are sprucing up and new buildings coming up.

When I was at the Berjaya Times Square, I thought to myself, this is worthy of a place in Singapore.

Other things have also changed, notable of which is the traffic. In 2005, the year I left Sabah, places around the city can be reach in 20 minutes from my house in Menggatal. Now, I’ll be lucky to reach Kota Kinabalu in 30 minutes.

There were cars everywhere — Kancils, Protons, Toyota Hiluxes, Isuzu D’Maxes, Ford Rangers, lorries, Ninja Turtles, Nissan Muranos, Naza Rias, Porsche Cayenne, you name it — but the number of road remains the same, except for the construction of several fly-overs.

Reaching for the Moon 1

At the rate things are going, Kota Kinabalu, or KK as it is known, will be a congested city in six more years, with the traffic looking very much like the notorious Kuala Lumpur jam.

Even with all the signs of losing its tranquility of the past, KK is still an attractive place to live. Thirty kilometres from the city is alerady a laid back place.

Padi field

But it is good to be away as long as it is not for forever. Being away from home is like taking a step back to examine a large painting. It enables you to see things more clearly, to know where you stand and see things from a new perspective. Then, you can dive back in knowing exactly what you are going to do.

A Change of Heart

I’ve done translating part of the report on the rape of Penan girls and women in the interior of Sarawak but now having a second thought about posting it online.

Rainforest News and Borneo Blog Portal

As part of its “expansion” process, Borneo Blog will now bring to you rainforest news around the world.

World rainforest distribution

World rainforest distribution

As you can see from the map below, Borneo forms a significant part of the world’s total distribution of tropical rainforest, which supplies 28 per cent of world’s oxygen and regarded as the planet’s largest pharmacy. All rainforest news, from the Amazon to the Southern Yucatan Peninsula, Papua New Guinea to Sub-Saharan Africa, will be filed under the “Rainforest News” category.

Borneo Blog Portal

I’ve also started a new project under the Borneo Blog called the Borneo Blog Portal, which aggregates blogs run by Borneo bloggers — Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and Kalimantan bloggers.

The “Borneo Blog Portal” is now live online as a Borneo Blog sub-domain to at http://portal.borneo-blog.com. If it takes off successfully, it may get its own domain name in the future.

How to join Borneo Blog Portal

Here’s how, email me at jaxonsblog [at] gmail.com or use the contact form here to submit your blog’s address. I will then review the submissions and if everything is in order, your blog or blogs can be accepted into the portal within 24 hours.

Your blog or blogs must have a valid syndication feed to be featured in the portal.

Here’s the deal

Once your blog is accepted, your blog entries, starting with the latest, will start appearing on the portal in the form of excerpts. Clicking on the excerpts will bring visitors to your site. The excerpts will remain in the portal for about three months.

In exchange of this, I ask a small favour that you put a link to Borneo Blog Portal — a text link will do — in your blog.

One last thing, your blog must be in English or mostly in English. The portal is now aggregating three blogs, including Borneo Blog. All suggestions are welcome.

A Quick Note: Borneo Blog Revamp

Borneo Blog is celebrating its first anniversary next month. I guess, it’s time for a revamp and to add in one important feature that has been missing on this blog all the while — a blogroll.

I think I’m going to divide the blogroll into four categories, namely Sabah bloggers, Sarawak bloggers, Brunei bloggers and Kalimantan bloggers to make it a true Borneo blogroll.

Extractive Experience? Guys, Sorry For The Error

Anyone heard of the word “extractive”? According to Google definition, extractive is:

1. Something that may be extracted; The substance left behind after something has been extracted; That serves to extract something; Able to be extracted;

2. Parcels that are primarily used for surface mining and extraction of materials such as gravel, stone, minerals, ore, soil, or peat.

If that is the case, what then is the meaning of “extractive experience”?

Nothing. It means nothing.

I didn’t know that I had used the meaningless phrase in this post, until someone emailed me and pointed out the error. I really meant to write “extensive experience” and didn’t know how my fingers ended up keying in the wrong word.

I didn’t even know whether the word existed. Until today, that is.

Whoever you are, thanks for pointing out the error. I’ve spotted several others on this blog but not as fatal as extractive experience.

I do hope, however, that I didn’t cause anyone to lose a job with the Heart of Borneo for having stated that candidates with an extractive experience would stand a better chance at landing the job.

Probably Nothing

But I’m quite happy that as of today, this blog is on #1 on Google and Yahoo for the keyword “Borneo Blog”.

Maybe it’s going to drop tomorrow, who knows, but it doesn’t really matter so long as Borneo Blog stays on page one of both search engines for the keyword.

Being in the #1 is probably nothing though. I don’t really know what to make of this.

Borneo Poll And Forum

Just some blogkeeping announcement. I’ve removed the Borneo Polls Series widget, titled “Which of place below is your favourite destination in Sabah?”, from the main page of this blog and republished it as a page.

The reason for that is that the widget had somehow slowed down this blog’s loading time.

This may not be a problem for those with broadband connection but some of my friends who still use the 56kbps dail-up, told me that the widget was slowing down the loading time.

I guess, this blog should load faster now.

The poll can now be accessed via the header navigation. You can still vote by accessing the Poll section of this blog.

As of today, Danum Valley still leads the list of Borneo Blog readers’ favourite destination.

Another thing

I’ve also created a Forum section on this blog and still trying to figure out how to implement it effectively.

I plan to give everyone a full access to the forum so that everybody will have the chance to participate without having to go through the prior registration process.

I will be posting topics on that forum from time to time. You can also suggest topics for discussion.