If Tomorrow Comes, Ronan Keating Will Perform In Borneo

Ronan Keating, whose song “When You Say Nothing at All” tugs the heartstrings of millions around the world, will perform in Borneo next month.

His performance at the Bunga Raya Island Resort at Gaya Island, off Kota Kinabalu, on April 12, will be part of the resort’s effort to promote the Marine Ecology Research Centre’s (MERC) work in coral reef restoration and giant clam propagation, The Borneo Post reported.

The event will be exclusive for in-house guests between 7.30pm and 11pm. Tickets for the event is priced at RM1,000 per person.

Now, Where On Earth Is Borneo Mekong?

When I was in school, I hated Geography. It’s not because the subject is inherently hate-able, I guess, but rather because of the fact that I had never been able to score good marks for the subject no matter how hard I studied. Geography, to me, is like History. You know basically what it is but the knowledge won’t be able to take you home, so to speak.

So when I read an article mentioning that the third largest rainforest in the world is located in “Borneo Mekong in Indonesia,” I was perplexed. It cannot be, I told myself. I’ve never heard of Borneo Mekong before. But the reference may well be true because not hearing about it doesn’t mean that the place didn’t exist, does it?

Trees reaching out for the sky at Mahua Waterfall, Tambunan, Sabah

But I’m pretty sure there’s no Borneo Mekong in Indonesia, bad geography or not. Mekong is in Indochina and Borneo is in … Borneo, an island shared by three countries — Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. Indonesia’s portion of Borneo is called Kalimantan and at the centre of Borneo lies what is dubbed the Heart of Borneo where the island’s pristine jungle is located. This, too, is shared among the three countries.

There’s no Borneo Mekong in Indonesia, please! It should be called Borneo-Mekong rainforest in Southeast Asia!

Tropical trees, also at Mahua Waterfall

Anyway, the Amazon is the world’s biggest rainforest followed by the Congo Basin in Central Africa. The Borneo-Mekong rainforest is the third largest.

Representatives from 35 countries that share the world’s rainforest are meeting in Congo this week in a summit that may pave the way for initiatives to preserve the planet’s remaining forests, according to a report by Reuters.

The Congo Basin is represented by 11 nations, the Amazon in South America by 12 nations and the Mekong-Borneo in Southeast Asia by 12 nations.

Dynamite Fishing, Fish Bombing in Borneo

Despite the authorities “best effort”, dynamite fishing or what is commonly known as fish bombing, is still taking place in the waters of Borneo, particularly around Sabah.

Destructive and deadly, the age-old fishing method is illegal but like all things unlawful, it is difficult to wipe out.

And it is not confined to only in Borneo but in neighbouring regions as well.

Sand Dredging Affecting Wildlife In Borneo’s Kinabatangan

[UPDATE: Sabah government orders sand-mining to be stopped at the ecologically sensitive Kinabatangan river, with Minister Masidi Manjun saying he had ordered the Sabah Environment Protection Department to rescind its Environment Impact Assessment certificate approving dredging activities at the river, reports FMT.]

Earlier post: Sand dredging is back along the Kinabatangan River, the longest river in Sabah, the northern state on Borneo Island, and is affecting wildlife at the Borneo wildlife sanctuary, according to a report by AFP.

Activists are now concerned over the sand-dredging effect on wildlife in the 27,000ha conservation area, which is home to endangered species such as the proboscis monkey and pygmy elephant.

Nearly 1,000 Hectares of Degraded Land in Borneo to be Restored as Orangutan Habitat

WWF Malaysia and the state government of Sabah, the Malaysian state on Borneo island, have signed an agreement to restore almost 1,000 hectares of degraded land in the Heart of Borneo as an orangutan habitat.

The five-year agreement, signed this week, is made possible with RM4.35 million (USD1.27 million) grant from the ITOCHU Corporation of Japan, WWF Malaysia said in a statement.

The area covers Ulu Segama where some orangutan populations have become isolated due to logging and other activities as well as the existence of Ulu Segama river that acts as a natural barrier.

Heart of Borneo

Heart of Borneo

The memorandum is part fo the Heart of Borneo initiative to turn a huge portion of Borneo into a conservation area involving Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei.

Conservation group Hutan has estimated there are less than 11,000 orangutans remain in Sabah.

Seven Wonders No More For Sipadan

The panel of experts has chosen 28 Official Finalists for the New Seven Wonders of Nature, eliminating 49 other sites, including Sipadan Island. Below is the screenshot of those which made it to the final stage of voting to choose the New Seven Wonders of Nature.

List of 28 finalists for the New Seven Wonders of Nature

List of 28 finalists for the New Seven Wonders of Nature

The 28 finalists are: The Amazon, Angel Falls, Bay of Fundy, Black Forest, Bu Tinah Shoals, Cliffs of Moher, Dead Sea, El Yunque, Galapagos, Grand Canyon, Breat Barrier Reef, Halong Bay, Iguazu Falls, Jeita Grotto, Jeju Island, Kilimanjaro, Komodo Park, the Maldives, Masurian Lake District, Matterhorn/Cervino, Milford Sound, Mud Volcanoes, Puerto Princesa Underground River, Sundarbans, Table Mountain, Uluru, Vesuvius and Yushan.

The 28 were chosen based on the following criteria:

  1. Unique beauty of the nominated site
  2. Diversity and distribution (accounted for in 7 groups)
  3. Ecological significance (in terms of either stand-alone eco-systems and/or their significance for human beings)
  4. Historical legacy (relation that human beings and/or indigenous populations have or have had with the site)
  5. Geo-location (even distribution of the 28 Official Finalists between all continents)

We are disappointed… but still, Sipadan is a wonder of its own. Kudos to the Sabah Tourism and Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun for a hugely successful campaign during the first round of voting.

Aljazeera Says Corruption Linked To Borneo Deforestation

Borneo’s Burning Forests On Al-Jazeera

Can Sipadan Make It To The New Seven Wonders Of Nature “Final”?

The last time I checked, that was a week ago, Sipadan was in fifth position in the Island Category. It will have to be among the top 11 in the category to qualify for the “shortlisting stage”.

As this entry is written, the voting for the first round — to select 77 nominees from a pool of some 260 nominees — is just over.

Voting process for the New Seven Wonders of Nature

Voting process for the New Seven Wonders of Nature

After this, the panel of experts will go through the 77 nominees and will shortlist 28 of them for the Official Finalists voting stage.

The New Seven Wonders of Nature website no longer display the live ranking but I guess Sipadan did make it to the group of 77 nominees.

Sipadan’s fate is now in the hands of the panel of experts. By July 21 we should be able to know whether Sipadan is shortlisted for the final round of voting to choose The New Seven Wonders of Nature.

Sipadan Breaks No 14th “Psychological Barrier”, Moves A Rung Up

sipadan-rank-13thSipadan has finally broken the Number 14 “psychological barrier”, the first time it does so since its nomination for the New Seven Wonders of Nature more than a couple of months ago. It reached Number 14 several weeks back but fell a rung to Number 15 soon after, before picking up speed and now it is in 13th position in the Island Category.

It needs to move up two more rungs to reach Number 11, the magic number that will qualify the island for the next round of voting. If votes are forthcoming, the island could reach Number 11 by the July 7 deadline.