Respect all cultures
Published on: Sunday, March 15, 2020
By: Sylvia Howe
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Culture Club

CULTURE is a complicated thing. It means different things to different people, and everyone  has their own. None of which is any more or less important than another. 

The Brits have Alice in Wonderland (don’t forget the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party on April 19th) and the Queen and scones and cream and The Beatles and gardens and pubs and Scottish tartans and and and. In Borneo you have indigenous stories and baskets and patterns and costumes and skills. 

I find it a pale excuse when some tells me their behaviour is because of their culture. It might be, but it doesn’t mean it is right. For instance, in Sabah, people don’t seem to say when they don’t understand something.  This is apparently ‘the culture’.  Fine, but it means that people don’t have things explained to them, and are not corrected if they have got it wrong. Can this really be taught in schools?

 We all should be respectful of each other. It needs sensitivity and a bit of research. Just because you haven’t heard about an aspect of someone’s culture it doesn’t mean you should dismiss it out of hand. We all need to be aware.

Plastic – not so fantastic

I am always horrified when I go supermarket shopping and every single fresh article is wrapped in clear plastic. Why? Is it not better for our environment if fruit and veg was loose, so we could take what we want, put it in a paper bag, into our trolley and into the bag we have brought with us (haven’t we?). Supermarkets, is it not cheaper and easier for you to sell fresh produce in this way?

Say cheese

I have found some French cheese in the supermarket alongside the Australian and Tasmanian kind. And it aint half bad. Yum yum.  I had some Desa Camembert today, and it was fine. Not as smelly and runny as I would like, but that’s my fault. I need to leave it out of the fridge and let it do its stuff. I am very happy to see and taste it though. Thank you DESA.

Corona Virus? Seems to be doing what has been prophesied. More and more sufferers, and more and more being done to isolate people. News is conflicting, but I saw something today that reminded us that in comparison with dengue fever or malaria or TB it is almost a non-starter. Something to keep in mind. It’s not what we wanted, it will be great when a vaccine is developed, but we are not immune from other diseases, some of which leave it standing.  Let’s all Keep Calm and Carry On. Otherwise life isn’t worth living, is it?

WordPower 2020

Progressing. Website up soon:  Proposals going out, and people being approached to come to Sabah and enrich your lives, o you lucky Sabahans. And they are all accepting our invitation – we just need to work out a feasible way of financing the event. We will. And then there will be all sorts of interesting cultural English events in many venues all over KK, for now.  If we have the money and the energy and the support next year, we will consider spreading our reach. 

 The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

At the Palace Hotel on April 19th in aid of – you guessed it – WordPower 2020. We shall be auctioning a romantic dinner for two at Meet and Wine Bistro, a night with breakfast for a family of four at the glamorous Rasa Ria Resort and Spa down the coast, two bottles of delicious wine from WineCellars, and all sorts of other things. If you would like to donate something we can auction please contact Rachel Yee on +60 16-832 0756 and she will arrange to collect it. And anyhow, just come and enjoy an afternoon of magical tales and fancy dress competitions – something for all the family!

A meeting place to inspire

KampOng Campus is a special place in Sabah about an hour from KK.  It has space for gatherings from 10 – 40 people, who can book the deck that floats over the forest below. I have been there and loved its design, its peace and its surroundings, nestling in nature, with glorious views of Mount Kinabalu and the countryside at all times of the day. I watched the moon rise over the peaks, and the sun set in purple and orange at the end of the day – and felt refreshed.  Sustainable living is at the core of what KampOng Campus teaches and practices. It says it “will build local, regional and international affiliations with traditional, modern and alternative institutions that together weave a holistic learning web: one in which diverse systems of knowledge is explored.”  

Worth finding out about it, surely? Contact Cynthia @ +6 012 8281705 or Hernee @ +6 011 64841043 and they will answer all your questions. 

Fresh Air

MC and radio announcer Ben Uzair and I are going to have a monthly hour-long radio show, Fresh Air, on KK12fm. We are working out a programme that will combine what’s on, interviews with interesting people on the move, places to go and see, a bit of history, books to read, a bit of poetry and philosophy to get you thinking… Watch this space, and I hope we can tempt you to listen when we get going – not long now!

Please let us know if anything interesting is happening in KK. Anything opening? A new restaurant? Somewhere you have been that excited or inspired you – or didn’t.

The V***** Monologues

By invitation only, we held a performance to celebrate International Women’s Day.  The monologues, written by Eve Ensler, and based on interviews with all kinds of women, are powerful and thought-provoking. We were delighted to see the audience completely absorbed in what was happening on the stage, and to welcome questions afterwards. Thank you to those who came for their support and contribution to charities SERATA and WordPower Sabah 2020.


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