Annular Solar Eclipse Over Borneo On Jan 26

An annular solar eclipse will sweep over Indian Ocean on Jan 26, the first eclipse for the year 2009.

An annular eclipse occurs when the sun and moon are exactly in line, but the apparent size of the Moon is smaller than that of the Sun. Hence the sun appears as a very bright ring, or annulus, surrounding the outline of the Moon. [Wikipedia]

Crescent sun setting in Borneo

People in Borneo will be among the lucky ones as they can see almost the full grandeur of the eclipse.

In Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, the first contact — the moment when the edge of the moon overlaps with the sun — will take place at 8.43am UT or about 4.43pm local time.

The eclipse will be at its maximum at 5.54pm local time when the moon totally obscures 75 per cent of the sun, leaving only a tiny crescent of the sun. [Watch the eclipse's animation as can be seen from Kota Kinabalu].

[Graphic: Eclipses Online]

The luckiest of people will be those living in Tanjung Karang, south of Sumatra, Indonesia as they will be able to witness the full grandeur of the annular eclipse — when the moon totally obscures the inner part of the sun, leaving only its outer edge visible.

The annular eclipse can also be seen in Sarawak. In fact, the best place to watch the eclipse in Malaysia is in Sri Aman, where gazers can expect to see nearly 83 per cent of the sun obscured by the moon. [Watch the eclipse's animation as can be seen from Sri Aman]

Spectacular view

In Kota Kinabalu, Tanjung Lipat will be the best place to view the eclipse. Those with good photographic sets may want to set up their equipment there and pray that the sky will be clear.

In fact the eclipse that is going to be visible in Kota Kinabalu on the evening of Jan 26 will be among the most spectacular annular eclipses. Here’s why:

At 5.54pm, the sun is about to set in Sabah. From the Tanjung Lipat vantage point, the sun can still be seen above the horizon, hovering just above the sea water.

Heaven knows what a view that will be

That will be a god-send photo opportunity for photographers. Not only can they photograph the eclipse, they can also have the horizon, the sea, beach, trees, people, huts, islands, golden sky and ships mooring off the Kota Kinabalu port as elements to create a dramatic ambiance of their pictures. Others may also want to take the eclipse against the Sabah Foundation Building.

The whole process will be over by 6.57pm local time, meaning the sun will still be partly-eclipsed by the moon by the time it disappears from the horizon!

People in the old days would be left wondering if the sun would still rise the next day!

IMPORTANT NOTE ON PHOTOGRAPHING ECLIPSE: Do not look directly at the sun from your camera viewfinder unless you are wearing special eyeglasses as even the few seconds of exposure to the glare can permanently damage the retina.

P.S: The annular eclipse can also be seen partially from states in Peninsular Malaysia.

P.P.S: I hope I am correct with my calculation of the time, otherwise many will miss the eclipse, which is to occur at 8.43:57.5 UT (Universal Time). If my understanding is correct, UT is similar to GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) and Malaysia is +8 hours of GMT, hence 8.43:57.5 UT is actually 4.43:57.5pm. Please korek me if I am wrong.

So, How Did They Confuse Borneo And Malaysia?

So, is Borneo part of Malaysia or Malaysia part of Borneo?

In some of the reports I read lately in relation to the launching of the globally anticipated Blackberry Bold (picture, left), it seems that Malaysia is part of Borneo.

Heh heh! Gee… How I wish this was the case.

One of the reports, for instance, stated that:

“Canadians can get the BlackBerry Bold through Rogers Wireless, but AT&T subscribers in the United States are still anxiously awaiting the arrival of the hotly anticipated smartphone. To further add insult to injury, it seems that the good people of Borneo are getting the BlackBerry Bold before Americans.”

“I think most people would agree that Borneo isn’t the biggest of worldwide markets, but Research in Motion knows that there is money to be made there.

“As such, it has been announced that the Bold will launch through Maxis of Borneo (Malaysia) on September 26th.

“Furthermore, 30 lucky individuals in Borneo already received their Bold smartphones last Friday! They had preorders. The sans contract price is RM2,199 ($643).” [Source]

Actually the 30 units of Blackberry Bold were collected from Maxis Centre in Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) at a special event on Friday.

Hey, it’s okay. I don’t mind the geographical mix-up. It goes to show how popular Borneo is!

By the way, the Blackberry Bold is beautiful don’t you think so?

Former Australian Foreign Minister In Borneo To Walk The Sandakan-Ranau Death March

Former Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer is currently in Sabah, the Malaysian state on Borneo Island.

He is in the state in conjunction with the annual memorial service for some 2,400 allied forces who died — either killed or too weak to walk and left to die — in the 250km forced march from the Sandakan prisoner of war camp to Ranau during the Second World War.

Downer attended the service in Sandakan on Friday and later joined some 40 Australians to retrace the footsteps of the POWs, covering the final 100km of the journey.

Downer and the group began trekking from 7am yesterday (Aug 16) and is expected to complete the march to the Kundasang War Memorial on Wednesday.

The Star reported that Downer was part of the McGuinness McDermott Foundation team, which aims to raise about RM8mil for cancer patients at the foundation’s Women and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide.

Downer, whose father was also a prisoner of war in Singapore, said his participation this time around was aimed at drawing more attention to the sacrifices of Australian soldiers.

“So many were killed, tortured and treated barbarically. We should remember that man has treated man in that way within living memory and that what has happened in the past should never be repeated.”

He said many Australian families had some ties with the war. His father, Sir Alexander Downer, Sr, was with the Australian army serving in the Malay peninsula. [Source]

The walk will be documented by a Channel 10 TV crew for viewing in Australia from November.

Some Jokes About Wildlife

If Borneo has the orang utan, Australia has kangaroo, China the panda bear, what species of wildlife can you find in Singapore?


Wind Of Change In Borneo’s Land Below The Wind… Part 1

I was once a part-time reporter with a national newspaper. Back then, and still is, they call part-time reporters “stringers”, although none of their job involves stringing strings (for want of a better pun).

That was in the early 90′s and Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan was still the Sabah Chief Minister and Datuk Yong Teck Lee his deputy, if my memory serves me right.

Seri Bersatu assignment

Sometime in 1993, I was assigned to cover an event at Seri Bersatu, Pairin’s residence in Luyang near Kota Kinabalu, the capital city of the Malaysian state of Sabah.

I could not remember what exactly the event was — it might have been a Harvest Festival celebration or a Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) anniversary, but I remember there was partying, and singing, and the food was great.

Biar kau menjadi lilin

I still remember Datuk Lawrence Gimbang was singing “Biarku Menjadi Lilin” that night and did quite a nice rendition of the song.

Well, it wasn’t great — as Simon Cowell would have put it — but it wasn’t terrible. Now we know from whom Rich of Akadami Fantasia got his singing talent.

Calling it the blues

I also remember the sharp, stinging and definitive sound of an electric guitar in the hands of Datuk Hassan Alban Sandukong, who was Sabah Legislative Assembly Speaker at the time, again if my memory serves me right –  about Alban’s post, I mean; not the guitar.

I remember the guitar well because a guitar-playing politician was quite a sight to behold. Hassan Alban is no Eric Clapton but man, he can play the blues.

And then there was Young Turk Lee

Then there was Datuk Yong Teck Lee, the then PBS Deputy President, whom we — the reporters — bumped into while filling our plates with food. He greeted us and told us how great the party was.

Something in the way he said it

But there was something else he said that night that is flooding back to me now like an old dream.

I guess, we, the reporters, must have remarked about the food and had probably asked him if he had taken his. He told us that he in fact had, and that he was just walking around “to get an idea how to make a party”.

That was many more months before he finally made the party and it had nothing to do with playing guitar or singing about becoming a candle. His party is called Parti Maju Sabah or Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP).

… to be continued (but can’t promise when)

Reactions To Borneo Bigfoot… “A Hoax”

A hoax. That has been the general reaction to the discovery of two large Borneo Bigfoot “footprints” in Daro, Mukah, Sarawak.

Apparently it got not only Malaysians talking but also other Bigfooters around the world as well. And they are skeptical that the footprints were that of the mythical giant primate, Bigfoot.

Borneo Prince On The Run In UK In Alleged £3 Billion Embezzlement Case

Prince Jefri, the younger brother of the Sultan of Brunei, is on the run rather than face jail for refusing to hand over over £3 billion (RM15.1 billion) of assets to the Sultanate.

Reports said the flamboyant prince was issued with a warrant of arrest by a British judge on June 11 for failing to turn up for a five-day hearing for contempt of court.

The Times reported that:

Prince JefriPrince Jefri, who denied any wrongdoing and said he had authority to use state funds, took his case to the Privy Council in London last year but lost.

Brunei sources say that he has since surrendered a few diamonds but held on to other assets. Brunei has adopted a hard line, applying to the High Court in London to commit the Prince to prison for contempt of court.

Friends of Prince Jefri are shocked at what they see as the harshness of the Sultan in attempting to get his youngest brother locked up.

But legal sources have always emphasised that these actions were being taken by the nation’s investment vehicle rather than the Sultan. [...]

The Prince’s friends said that Brunei’s attempt to get him jailed was “purely vindictive”, serving no purpose “other than to extract punitive revenge on your brother”.

Bigfoot’s Footprints Found In Borneo – Report

A village in Daro, in the Malaysian state of Sarawak on Borneo Island, is still in a state of shock following the discovery of two very large footprints — measuring 117cm long (47 inches) by 43cm sideways (17 inches) on Wednesday, the Borneo Post reported.

“The shocker has been spreading like wildfire in Daro district for the past few days and among those drawn to the phenomenon was local businessman Tan Soon Kuang,” the report said.

[All pictures are by Tan Soon Kuang, via The Borneo Post]
Bigfoot Borneo

The paper, which is the biggest local newspaper in Borneo in terms of reach, reported today that:

Yesterday, Tan, 42, e-mailed the images of the mysterious creature’s footprints. He said he personally went to the village (which he refused to name out of respect for the wishes of the locals) to check on the truth of the story.

[Read more...]

A Scot Who Once Serve In Borneo

… and his wife, have turned their home into army museum. John Hodge, 73, and wife Betty, have been collecting items related to the regiment for about 18 years, reports BBC.

Scot Borneo
[Photo source: BBC] The medals, uniforms, weapons and pictures now fill their spare room, the hall and up the stairs.

Mr Hodge, 73, joined the Scots Guards in 1953 and served in Germany, Borneo, Malaya and Singapore.

The Song “Borneo” By US Punk-Rock Group Firewater

The Golden Hour” is a new album launched in the United States on May 6 and in the United Kingdom on April 14 this year.

The experimental punk-rock album contains the song “Borneo” of which lyric contains the following phrases, “I’m gonna swing like an ape from a banyan tree; I’m gonna live me a life of luxury; Or get drunk; untidy, and sleep all day.”

Watch the YouTube clip to see why this album is called “experimental”.

Click here to listen to the song “Borneo” by Firewater. Once the page loads, scroll down and locate the “Borneo” MP3.

Below is the lyric of the song “Borneo” by Firewater:

[Read more...]