Sunday, May 25, 2014

Kaamatan Festival, Harvest Festival in Sabah, Kota Kinabalu

Malaysia is pretty reserved when it comes to partying. Malaysians on the other hand, know where to find the best parties or make the best parties.

And Sabahans undoubtedly, are the best at it.

If you ever wonder when exactly is the best time to visit this beautiful side of the world, try the month of May. Not only it is the best weather - all sun, all day (right on time for the harvest), it is also the month of learning of the natives in Sabah and also hum, partying. The month will start its monthlong harvest festival celebration, and this is when I strongly, strongly recommend you to explore the local districts in Sabah and get into their harvest festival parties.

Do not fly in Kota Kinabalu and flap around the city WAITING to be invited to these local village parties, you either make friends with locals to get into one, or humbly explore them yourself. Y'know, like classic old times exploration.

They start their games, drinking and singing the first thing in the morning right up till..... well let's just say they can't stop until they're stopped. They're so much culture association with this event, this month, and this particular month has heavy association with drinking too. I hope this doesn't deter those who don't drink, because you don't have to, you can learn about the culture, about the history and about what each native represents because it's one of the more interesting one there is.

Unfortunately, I don't have any photos to justify this celebration since I came back for last year's and I didn't get to snap any, but if you've got anyone who've done a full coverage of this month's festival or the previous years' and the year before or the year before or.. then -- please look up, but trust me, it's a good one when you explore.

Here are some suggestions of how you can maximise this festival :-

Every weekend in May - try going into any local districts because they will conduct the classic beauty pageants to represent their districts as well as games and partying.

Last week of May - try heading to KDCA by this time already. KDCA is THE PLACE for its climax on 30 & 31 May. There will be the beauty pageant (undue ngadau) finale, all kinds of local food, drinks, singing, local done up clubs (trust me, it's a sight to be hold, it's small tents done up to a dancing area). You might as well learn the dialect by now.

30 & 31 May - try heading there first thing in the morning. Then start your day exploring all the houses there. If you could catch up on the finale of the Unduk Ngadau (beauty pageant) then please do. You will see wolf-whistles cheers of all the fans from different districts, it's going to be a sight to remember. Try learning everything you need to know about these native races, go to each of their houses, join their local games, learn about what they're good at, what they're big on. Stay on for the night for more socialising, drinking, singing.

By the end of month, you'd be wanting more. But, my friend all good things must come to an end.

So visit us next year again!

Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Paris in 3 Days

My mum and I just spent 12 days traveling from Paris, to Amsterdam to Istanbul. Our main purpose of this trip was, wait for it, wait for it, for a plant.

Well not a, but basically we were chasing tulips. It all started when I showed my mum Fresh's blogposts on the Tulip Festival in Istanbul when she sat down unfazed, and said, "this is my dream. I have always wanted to see tulips. Tulips everywhere." 

And knowing me, the moment I even start thinking about it I try really hard to make my way to it. I told her, then let's do it. This was in January, and right after that we started cracking our head.

Paris Day 1

Since we were from Kota Kinabalu, we had to take a flight into Kuala Lumpur really early in the morning, spent our day with the loved ones, and made our way to KLIA in the evening for an 11pm flight. We reached Paris really early in the morning, around 6AM and had to manoeuvre our way to the hotel via shuttle train and tram.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Art Heals: Eclectic Ecstatic Community Art Night Returns in Kota Kinabalu

Eclectic Ecstatic, a monthly event that aims to bring together the entire creative community in Kota Kinabalu made its return at El Centro last month for its second installation with the theme of ‘Art Heals’.

One of the event’s main highlight was featuring the award-winning master piece from local naïve artist, Awang Fadilah (Jacqkie is a huge fan!!) and the Sabah Naïve Art Group. 50 over of their artworks which decorated the wall of El Centro added so much colours as well as creating unique visuals towards the event’s space. If you happen to love the artwork, you can purchase them as well because they are available for sale too.
On top of that, some of the Sabah’s top local acts came to show their support in which includes alternative-post rock band, Versatile; ukulele group, OrkesAkiuku; sister duo Alice Alive; and Jobless Giraffes featuring Scott Daryl Hadjiril from Diary of Us. There were other acts that took the stage were guitarist from melodic metal band A Million Evil Faces, Aized Emir Kual who performed alongside with singer-songwriter Rozella; as well as Joanna Quintin and Friends. Artist Deanna Maria Elizabeth entertained the guest with some poetry while comedian Harjinder Kler kept the crowd roaring with laughter. Never a dull moment when it's Eclectic Ecstatic. 


 Scott Daryl Hadjiril from Diary of Us             
The event also saw international participants including back-by-popular-demand Rae Kissing Fire from the United States who entranced the crowd with a fire dance, and a very special performance by What a Hard Project, a creative duo that hails all the way from Spain and Argentina.

Rae Kissing Fire from United States

What a Hard Project

The main goal of this event was to give locals a platform and safe space of freedom to freely express themselves without any creative boundaries.  

According to the organizers, the theme ‘Art Heals’ was chosen for this installation as they realized the importance of spreading the message that rings deep and true to many people including themselves.

We all know what it feels like to be down or ill and have limited option to turn to for help, but art uplifts us.  All art forms, from beading to painting and drumming to dancing, is a powerful tool to heal all aspects of us, and we would like to use art to support those who need them the most in the near future, but we first need to create awareness and raise funds for that. ” said Devi Kusardy Cox of TACKit."

And as artists especially, there are many barriers which make it a real challenge to create and produce artworks, be it financial, society’s perception and judgment or other personal matters, but when we stay true to our passion and focus on doing what we love, our art is always there to give us strength, pushing us forward.  ‘Art heals’ is an important message and having free community events like this, helps us spread the word.” added RozellaMahjhrin of Contagious.

This is a non-profit community event and the organizers encourage people in the community to contribute in whatever way they can so that they can sustain Eclectic Ecstatic and continue providing a platform for creative individuals to showcase their talent. It’s good to know that the sponsorships for Eclectic Ecstatic are mostly based on trade system.  Hence, Katie King of El Centro provided the space for free and the Sabah naïve art group is giving 30% off profits from sale of artworks. Besides that, there were charitable individuals like Borneo Magic Bead affiliated artist SaijaMarit Wan from Sweden who donated handmade bracelets for sale, and Dstaffwho partially sponsored the sound system.

For more details or information on Eclectic Ecstatic, please visit their official Facebook page at or

Till the next one!