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Suat Habaa New Straits Times

Keeping Kedayan Heritage Alive

by Rozana Sani

MANY Malaysians would probably draw a blank look if asked whether they know of the Kedayan, even if they have Kedayan blood in their heritage. This is where freelance consultant Abdul Samat Kasah wants to play a role.
by Rozana Sani

MANY Malaysians would probably draw a blank look if asked whether they know of the Kedayan, even if they have Kedayan blood in their heritage. This is where freelance consultant Abdul Samat Kasah wants to play a role.

A Kedayan by birth, the 54-year-old who resides in Subang Jaya has made it his cause to share and impart what he knows about his cultural heritage through his blog, Fast Forward.

“I come from a minority ethnic group called Kedayan (pronounced as Kadayan in local dialect). The Borneo Island is the ancestral land of the Kedayan,” he shares.

The Kedayan are largely found in Brunei, Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan. The majority of the Kedayan in Sabah are found in Sipitang, Labuan, Beaufort and Papar, whereas in Sarawak they are mostly in Lawas, Limbang, Miri (Sibuti and Bekenu) and a small number in Bintulu.

“There is very little information and resources about the Kedayan people in cyberspace. My blog is one of the few resources available specifically designed to focus on the Kedayan cultural heritage written in a different manner and style. It is narrated in such a way shifts the paradigm from the traditional way of writing articles about cultures and traditions as found in most books,” Abdul Samat tells Tech&U.


Abdul Samat Kasah is a true-blooded Kedayan of Sabah origin. He was born in Kampung Mesapol in Sipitang district.

His early education started in 1960 where he attended GPS (Government Primary School) Mesapol. After completing his primary education, he proceeded his secondary education at GJSS (Government Junior Secondary School) Sipitang up to Form 3 and subsequently did Forms 4 and 5 at Sabah College in Kota Kinabalu.

Abdul Samat is an electronic engineering graduate from Brighton Polytechnic (now University of Brighton) in the United Kingdom in 1981. Prior to that, he obtained his Diploma in Communication Engineering from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.

He served Jabatan Telekom Malaysia and Telekom Malaysia Berhad as technical assistant and engineer in various fields, including transmission, switching and civil aviation.

He also served in non-engineering fields such as training, human resource and security management.

Abdul Samat is an associate member of Harvard Business School Alumni Club of Malaysia.

He can be contacted at

A story to tell

AS Kedayan readers navigate through the articles written in the blog, Abdul Samat says they would probably realise that the contents of the blog are reminiscence of their life story and experience, from their childhood days to wherever they are now.

“For the new Kedayan generation who have not undergone the tough and challenging childhood days experienced by my generation, the articles found in the blog would provide them with interesting reading materials that can be verified through their living parents and elders. In this manner, their parents and elders, particularly those who do not have the opportunity to narrate their life story to their grown-up children would be saved from doing so just by reading the articles in the blog.”

The articles depicted in the blog are written in English. Abdul Samat says this is done so as to encourage the new Kedayan generation in particular and other readers in general to appreciate English as their second language.

Getting hits

ABDUL Samat started Fast Forward on Nov 6 last year, which to-date has recorded over 2,700 hits.

“Inviting traffic to the blog is not a simple task, particularly reaching out to the Kedayan communities or individuals in Sabah, Sarawak, Peninsular Malaysia, Brunei and Kedayans living overseas. I used all the available resources and platforms in cyberspace to reach my target audience – community portals, groups, forums, blogs, Web sites, e-mail, etc,” he says.

Abdul Samat finds the response encouraging so far. Fast Forward, he says, must be read together with his other blog entitled

Reaping the Benefits ( Some of the page elements available in Reaping the Benefits are not repeated in Fast Forward.

“Readers would be able to see that Reaping the Benefits is heavily populated with various features. Page elements such as video clips, Web links and friends’ blogs are not featured in Fast Forward. I have featured 19 page elements in Fast Forward all together, from contact form and playlists for Al-Quran, Kedayan songs and background music to Chatter Box and Counters to record hits, online visitors and live traffic feed,” he elaborates.

The reasons those features are displayed in the blog, he says, are simply to make it more interesting.

Readers can get those features and paste them in their blogs. In other words, the blog is a resource centre for all the needs and requirements of any blogger.

Readers can access the article online by clicking here.

Rise of Silver Bloggers

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Cik Rozana Sani and her Tech&U Team for their excellent research work in tracking down my uniform resource locators (urls) and featuring them in their esteemed newspaper. Thank you.- Blog Administrator



by Tech&U Team



Depicted below is the full article entitled Rise of Silver Bloggers as featured in Tech&U Channel of the New Straits Times newspaper today's edition (Monday, February 25, 2008)- Blog Administrator


QUOTE - Forget coffee shops, gardening and crossword puzzles. Blogging, often considered the domain of the young, is gaining a foothold as a new leisurely option for the middle-aged and senior citizens alike.

Sharing wisdom and experience

THE Internet and its spin-offs such as social networking sites and blogs are not just for the younger generation as the middle-aged and senior citizens, although small in number, are also fast in adopting such modern communication tools for various reasons.

Based on Tech&U’s Internet survey on Web sites and blogs, there are quite a number of blogs belonging to people in this age group. And the topics of the blogs are diverse and colourful, reflecting the wisdom, experience and many moods of these silver bloggers.

Some examples are Seeing Malaysia My Way, Bibliobibuli, Dari Dapur Makcik Kampung and Di Bawah Rang Ikang Kering.

“I enjoy writing and getting things off my chest,” said Tengku Mohd Ali Bustaman, the writer of Di Bawah Rang Ikang Kering (

Pokku, as he is fondly known, is a 63-year-old pensioner from Kuala Lumpur. For him, blogging is one way to inform and entertain his children who are all abroad. He started blogging since August 2004 and has since attracted a string of followers.

“Others have come to appreciate my stories and occasionally my advice and voted my blog as the Best Malaysia Blog in 2004 (,” said Pokku, who writes mostly about his home State, Terengganu, and social commentaries.

Pokku’s love for blogging began with a comment on a post in one of his daughters’ blog.

While most senior citizens might find technology or computers a no-no, this is not the case with Pokku.

“I was computer literate even before the PC became a household item. I set up a national computer club, Commodore Users Exchange, in 1985,” he said.

For Penangite Peter Tan, his blog, The Digital Awakenin (, is a reflection of his life as a wheelchair user trying to enjoy life to the fullest.

A blogger for the past five years, Tan is a peer counsellor for the Independent Living Programme for People with Disabilities in Malaysia and also for the Kuala Lumpur Independent Living Centre.

“In the beginning, it was just about myself. Then my mother who had leukaemia became severely ill. It became a place for me to express my fears, insufficiencies, desperation, helplessness and eventually grief when she passed away,” he said.

The next phase of Tan’s blog chronicles his involvement in the Independent Living Movement that took him on a journey to Tokyo, Bangkok and Seoul.

“Advocacy is part of the Independent Living Movement. It was an awakening and realisation of my place in society as a disabled person and the rights I have as a citizen of this country. It traces my work in advocacy and promoting equality of opportunities for disabled people in the areas of accessibility to public transport and built environment,” he said.

“In between those are stories of my life, issues related to spinal cord injury, my friends, the people I have met, the places I have been to, faith, thoughts, opinions and everything else that caught my fancy.”

For Tan, blogging is a powerful tool.

“Where once disabled people had little avenues to express the frustrations that we face in society, we now can do it openly at very little cost. Our reach has become so much wider. Where once we could only tell to people we meet, now we can tell it to everyone who has an Internet connection,” he said.

To date, Tan has posted slightly over 1,000 entries in his blog.

For Captain Yusof Ahmad, 60, from Kelana Jaya, his passion for blogging started in November 2006.

“I started blogging to record and share my thoughts, anecdotes, life experiences, etc. Lately, I got a bit ‘political’ in light of what’s happening in the country,” said the former pilot superintendent of the Klang Port Authority and pioneer general manager of West Port.

The owner of the blog The Ancient Mariner ( blogs as a means to express himself. “Perhaps this is much better than shooting the breeze with idle kopitiam talk,” he said.

Despite his age, technology is never an issue for Yusof as he has been quite computer savvy since his working days.

“I was quite active writing in a number of alumni and professional e-group Web sites and thought I might as well go ‘solo’ by blogging where I can command a wider international audience,” he said.

Freelance consultant Abdul Samat Kasah may only have some five months under his blogging belt, but he already has four blogs running. The 54-year-old, who hails from Subang Jaya, cites time as his major constraint in blogging, and not technology since he is an electronics engineer by training.

“What drives me to blog is my passion about Internet technology, my aim to document my life story, my ethnic cultural heritage and of course, to share my working experience with others. Depending on time availability, I update my blogs daily, weekly, fortnightly or even monthly. You can see the transaction from my blogs,” he said.

The uniform resource locators for Abdul Samat’s blogs are, which focuses on current affairs, cultural heritage, religion, etc;, which is essentially about his life story;, which focuses on his working experience; and, which is on his ethnic group done up in the Kedayan dialect.

The Kedayan reside in Brunei, Labuan, Sabah and parts of Sarawak on the island of Borneo.

Convenient and cheap way to keep in touch

Ismail Omar seems to view the hype in blogging today as a natural progression from earlier tools made available on the Internet combined with convenience to communicate with friends and relatives.

“I started blogging since 1994 on the Geocities site. I am not a serious blogger as I really do not have much to tell the public, unlike some of our famous bloggers,” said the 68-year-old electrical engineer who has been residing in Kuala Lumpur since 1970.

His blog, Teh Tarek Kurang Manis (, mainly focuses on his family and friends and their golfing achievements.

He confesses that he seldom updates his personal blogs, but he updates two Blogspot pages regularly for two Toastmasters clubs where he is a member. He also runs a Yahoo group and a Google group for some of his friends.

“I like seeing my work published online even though I know no one else reads it. It is also a means of keeping in touch with friends and family. I think more people should take an interest in this aspect of keeping in touch. It is a very cheap method. You just need a PC and broadband connection, and the rest takes care of itself,” Ismail said.

For “bokjae”, a retiree and full-time home caregiver to his stroke-survivor wife, blogging is a means through which both of them can reconnect with others in the world.

In his early 60s, bokjae created a blog in late November 2006 at the encouragement and help from a good friend, Doris, a much younger work-at-home mum who hosts a couple of successful blogs.

Listening..Learning..Living ( is about living, and sharing bokjae and his wife’s life experiences as well as their journey through a stroke from a survivor’s angle and a caregiver’s viewpoint.

“As a full-time home caregiver to a stroke survivor, we are very much home-bound. Places that we used to go are no longer easily accessible. I am not saying that we have a lot of spare time. In fact, it’s the opposite – caregivers never have enough time.

“However, blogging provides an avenue where one can keep in touch with other people and learn from others who are going through similar experiences and of course, make new friends through social networks, all from the comfort of your home,” bokjae said.

Another enticement, according to him, is that through blogging one can make some pocket money.

“To me, it’s better than spending all the time on golf courses, mahjong tables, chatting at coffee shops, which I notice many retirees tend to do and this often leads to arguments. As I venture into blogging, I begin to realise that it is also a place for ongoing learning.”

Bokjae also pointed out that blogging does not need much technical know-how.

“It’s a matter of interest and desire to learn. Age is not an obstacle. Of course, English being the language on the Internet, it would be easier for those who know English. However, there are blogs in other languages, too!”

On how often he updates his blog, bokjae said he does not follow any hard and fast rules, but advice by top bloggers is to write every day, not blog every day.

“In the whole of 2007, I had done 393 posts, so it averages to one post a day. At times, I do a couple of posts in a day, but at times nothing for at least a week. Of course, if you neglect your blog for too long, then your readers would leave or think you have ‘closed shop’, so to say.” - UNQUOTE

Readers can access the article on line by clicking here.

Suat Habaa The Star

Cyberspace filled with excitement over historic flight

The STAR newspaper dated Thursday October 11, 2007

QUOTE "PETALING JAYA: As Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor headed for outer space yesterday, Malaysian cyberspace was abuzz with excitement over the historic event.

Many local blogs and websites posted news of the event as well as messages of congratulations and good wishes for the first Malaysian to go into space.

“I hope it will inspire our children and youth, especially the younger generation of Kedayans to achieve similar things,” A. S. Kasah, a Kedayan from Sabah living in Subang Jaya, wrote in

Bloggers among the colleagues of Dr Sheikh Muszaphar from Hospital UKM also took the opportunity to write about the space-bound orthopaedic surgeon.
“We are praying hard for (his) safety ... and I am so proud and glad that he is from the medical profession,” said Dr Ezura, who works at the hospital.

The mother of a two-year-old said in her blog, A Mother’s Discovery (, that her daughter has just learned the word “angkasawan” and expressed her hope that she would become the first Malaysian woman astronaut.
Faridah Ariffin, who blogs at, wrote of her nine-year-old eldest son who was “very interested in science, especially space exploration.”
“He’s always wanted to be an astronaut, but I asked him ‘what for?’, macam tak logik pula (it doesn’t make sense). But I would never have expected that Malaysia would send an explorer into space today,” she said.

The gushing pride and enthusiasm in the space mission is a relatively recent phenomenon in Malaysian cyberspace, which in the weeks and months leading to the launch was dominated by questions on the rationale of spending money on a space programme, as well as on Dr Sheikh Muszaphar’s designation as a real astronaut.
But explanations on the important scientific experiments that Dr Sheikh Muszaphar will conduct has helped to win over many sceptics and generate excitement in the programme.

Many readers of The Star also took the opportunity to congratulate Dr Sheikh Muszaphar online via a special website set up by the newspaper- UNQUOTE"

To access the article online, please click here.

China People's Daily Online

People’s Daily Online dated October 11, 2007
(Peoples’s Daily Online is a China online newspaper url:

Malaysia filled with excitement for its first astronaut
url :

As Malaysia's first astronaut headed for outer space on Wednesday, the whole nation was abuzz with excitement over the historic flight.

Malaysia's orthopedic surgeon Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Sheikh Mustafa, 35, blasted off Wednesday evening from
the International Space Station from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, the same launch site for the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin, in 1961.

The astronaut, selected from more than 10,000 candidates, blasted off with Commander Peggy Whitson of the United States and Russian flight engineer Yuri Malenchenko on board a Russian Soyuz TMA-11 spacecraft.

In Kuala Lumpur Convention Center (KLCC), Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi lead more than 1,800 people, including 500 school children, to witness the first astronaut's flight to space.

In Independence Square, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian people crowded to watch the launch on the giant screen.

Even in restaurants, the dinners' eyes were glued to the TV screen as they had their meals.

The King, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin and the queen, Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Nur Zahirah congratulated Sheikh Muszaphar for being the first Malaysian to go on a space mission.

"This is a historic occasion for all Malaysia, especially when the country had just celebrated its 50th anniversary recently," the King said in his special address at the Istana Negara on Wednesday.

Malaysians now "stand a few inches taller," said Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak after the first astronaut was lifted off on Wednesday.

"We must do what we can as a small country but with big ambitions," Najib added.

Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who is recovering from coronary bypass and wound debridement surgeries, also watched the live telecast of the launch.

"What he will share with the people will be a source of inspiration for the coming generations," Mahathir said in a statement.

Many local blogs and websites posted news of the event as well as messages of congratulations and good wishes for the first Malaysian astronaut.

Dr Ezura, a colleague of Sheikh Muszaphar, wrote in his blog that "I am so proud and glad that he is from the medical profession."

"I hope it will inspire our children and youth, especially the younger generation to achieve similar things," A. S. Kasah, who comes from eastern state of Sabah, wrote in his blog.

Malaysia's first astronaut will be kept busy doing work for three space agencies during his 10-day sojourn in space.

He would conduct experiments on tropical disease microbes for Malaysia, eyesight and muscles research for the Europe Space Agency, tests on the effects of radiation in space for the Japanese Space Agency.

Source: Xinhua

Local and Foreign Media Quoting Reaping the Benefits

The Star Online :

People’s Daily Online

China Economic Net


China Academy of Space Technology