Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Easier Research With Online Directories
By Ellen Whyte
WHEN you are told to write an essay, instinct says typing keywords in a search engine will deliver the goods. But while search engines are useful for finding a specific resource, it may help to take a step further and sift through the layers of a directory.
Directories can tell you at a glance how much cyberspace is devoted to a particular topic. Let's say you are given an instruction to write 2,000 words on any World War II personality. If you are not a fan of history, this is the time to refer to a directory to see what's available online.
Two excellent directories are Yahoo at and the Open Directory Project at
Surfing through Yahoo's categories such as Arts, Humanities, History, By Time Period, 20th Century, Military History, World War II, will reveal pages devoted to leaders such as Sir Winston Churchill, Benito Mussolini, Adolph Hitler and Chiang Kai-shek.
Oddly, Hideki Tojo who ordered the fateful attack on Pearl Harbour and Mao Zedong who was fighting Chiang Kai-shek are not on the main list.
Malaysian heroes such as Albert Kwok who led the Kinabalu Guerrillas in the west of Borneo, and Datuk Mustapha who resisted the Japanese in the northern part of Borneo don't occupy enough Web space to rate a mention either.
These two snapshots of what's available online suggests a researcher looking for easy, quick results should stick to Churchill, Chiang Kai- shek, etc.
If you decide to focus on someone not mentioned on the big lists, looking for enough facts to write 2,000 words will be a much tougher project.
For example, a quick check with Google for Albert Kwok Kinabalu Guerrillas reveal just 70 matches, most of which are duplicates with very little information. A Google for Tun Datuk Haji Mustapha looks more promising with 911 matches, but a closer look reveals duplicates, plus lots of pages which focus on his subsequent career in politics - interesting, but not useful for our hypothetical project.
When seeing what the directories have to say, it's important to note that counting resources just shows quantity of information, not quality! Where subjects seem to have equal coverage, you will have to investigate further before determining which is the better option for your needs.
In addition, directories are a good way to find out what topics are the focus within a certain discipline.
Let's say you are interested in architecture but don't know anything about it. To find out what's hot, visit the directory of your choice, click on architecture and then browse through the sub- categories to find out more about the different schools, which buildings are the most written about, etc. Surfing a directory this way gives you a bird's eye view of a subject.
While Yahoo and the Open Directory Project are consistently rated as top directories", these two alternatives are worth checking out as well:
* The World Wide Web Virtual Library at
Edited by volunteers, consisting a number of academics or experts their own particular categories, this the oldest directory on the Web. It was started by Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of hypertext markup language (HTML) and the Web, and remains an excellent resource for older researchers looking for information for college and university projects.


Bob Reece: Masa Jepun: Sarawak under the Japanese 1941-1945. Sarawak Literary Society. Kuching, 1998. 258 pages, RM80/- paper; RM150/- hardbound.

review by Otto Steinmayer

SOON after the Japanese Imperial Army captured Kuching on Christmas Eve, 1941, they hung a large propaganda poster from the corinthian columns of the General Post Office in (then) Rock Road. A Japanese soldier stands upright and grasps the right hand of a Malay man beneath him, as if to help him out of a ditch. Letters in Jawi above read: ‘Yes, Allah! We have been saved by the Japanese soldiers!’ Behind them the battle-flag streams in proud glory. This picture Prof. Bob Reece chose to be reproduced on the cover of Masa Jepun may chill one person and arouse bitter and sad feelings in another—those who lived through the Japanese Occupation. Younger generations may find it a remnant of an irrelevant past. Yet nothing better sums up with striking brevity the terrors, hopes, and ironies of the Japanese Occupation in Sarawak. I say ‘hopes’ advisedly. When the occupation ended most Sarawakians were content to wipe the four years from memory. People talked little about it, and when they did handed down tales of unrelieved darkness and suffering. But as Sarawak was a backwater of the war—no great battles were fought there, no large scale massacres occurred—the occupation-period, what it really was, remained a dark hole in Borneo history, largely unexamined. Now Prof. Bob Reece, the foremost historian of 20th century Sarawak, has with this magnificent book not only restored this empty time back to the calendar of Sarawak history, but brought it to life in a breathtakingly vivid way. Reece searched through the archives and libraries of half the world for written accounts, but the most fascinating stories are told by Sarawakians of every race whom Reece interviewed. From these hundreds of voices emerges a picture of the Occupation that looks strikingly more mixed than the simplistic Iron-Heel-Crushing-the-Helpless view. The Occupation was not such a strictly black and white affair. Those who lived through it describe it in color, and for that reason the story is all the more complex—and tragic. The main events, the outbreak of war, the arrival of the Japanese, and the course of the occupation are familiar to all Malaysians and I need only sketch them here. On Monday 8 December (our time) the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and Malaya. The same day the staff of the oil fields at Seria blew up the wells and machinery. The Japanese captured Miri on the 16th, bombed Kuching on the 19th, killing many civilians at Ban Hock Road, and took Kuching on Christmas Eve. Fortress Singapore’s guns might have pointed the wrong way, but Sarawak lay completely naked. By the end of January the country was entirely in Japanese hands, the white officials of the Brooke government had been interned, and an era had closed for good. The Japanese were in the beginning determined to make the best of their conquest. Japanese propaganda was that they were sama kulit with the Malays and natives and that they had come to liberate the oppressed races from the European yoke. These at first appeared to be more than words. The Japanese busily moved to establish order, re-constitute the civil government, and stabilize prices. The cultured and liberal Lieut. General Marquis Toshinari Maeda was picked to head the Borneo Defence Force. His friend Setsuo Yamada, a ‘pleasant and informal man’, governed Kuching following a policy of continuity and attempted to smooth the transition from Brooke to Japanese administration in such a way as to minimize confusion and gain the good will of the people. The Japanese kept the local elite in their jobs. The datus, the foremost Chinese such as the Ongs, and prominent Iban such as Phillip Jitam and Charles Mason received prestigious positions in the administration. Through them the Japanese governed much as the Brookes had. The Japanese also tried hard to increase productivity. They needed oil for their war effort, but a top priority was to make Sarawak self-sufficient in rice. The planting of padi was encouraged—conscript labour proved necessary— and eventually Sarawak was producing 70% of its needs. The Japanese instituted a vigorous policy of Japanification in culture, hoping themselves to enjoy the prestige that the British knew before, and by insisting on their kinship with Sarawakians as fellow Asians, to make them sharers in Japanese imperial pride. At the same time the Japanese kept a respectful attitude towards Islam and kept their hands off the Iban and other natives, as long as they did not make trouble. Despite these pretensions to progress, Japan was at war and Sarawak suffered the grim subjection of a conquered nation. The kempei-tai dealt ruthlessly with any hint of anti-Japanese sentiment. The Chinese suffered the worst. The Sarawak Chinese knew very well the horrors that the Japanese had been committing in the mainland since 1937, and many had been active raising money for the China Relief Distress Fund. The Japanese considered the Chinese, unlike the other races of Sarawak, their enemies, and one of the first actions of the kempei-tai was to launch a operation of arrests and terror against them in particular. Residents of Kuching were brought to witness a mass public execution. The kempei-tai continued to torture and murder suspected persons up to the end of the war, and the jikeidan, a vigilante network, ensured that there always informers and suspects. The sinister mansion which housed kempei-tai headquarters still stood, shunned and crumbling, up to a few years ago on Jalan Jawa. Even for those not in danger of being hauled to the cells, the Japanese presence inspired fear. Anybody could be slapped or beaten for not bowing to the lowliest private; people could have their homes entered, and their food taken away, or even their daughters and sons to serve in brothels and in forced labour. The Japanese in Sarawak reached the pinnacle of their glory in July 1943 when Prime Minister Tojo came to visit. From then on, things declined swiftly as the Allies pushed forward in the Pacific and destroyed Japanese supply lines. Japanese currency began an inflationary spiral; the term duit pisang still goes the rounds as a bad joke. Food and other necessities disappeared and life became harder for everyone. The agonies of the Occupation did not end without blood. In March Allied guerrillas parachuted into Bario. The Dayaks, and especially the Iban, were encouraged by increasing signs of Japanese weakness to abandon their neutral stance and declare war upon them. The Iban, as Temenggong Koh later stated, became principally responsible for driving the Japanese from the interior of Sarawak. We would never have known the scope and intensity of the Iban campaign, what they themselves call perang jipun, if Reece had not gathered eyewitness narratives. Reece’s careful reconstruction of perang jipun makes very exciting reading, for the Iban responded to the liberation of Sarawak with the full energy of their martial tradition. Iban tell some of the most interesting stories in the book. Tedong anak Barieng, the brother of Tun Jugah, was an enthusiastic leader of the fighting. His account of the capture of Kapit by the Iban is appallingly vivid. Meantime in Engkelili, Soichiro Suzuki, a person of genuine goodwill towards the Iban, summoned remarkable courage and single-handedly dissuaded Pengulu Jimbun and his followers from further hostility. Japanese voices speak too. As defeat loomed for them, many Japanese suffered terribly as they retreated unprepared into the jungle. The account by the two survivors of the Seria unit as they fled from Seria cannot but make us feel pity for them in their ordeal. Reece has rescued many other heroes of the occupation from oblivion. The ill-fated patriot Albert Kwok, a Kuching-born doctor, raised a guerrilla force that caused alarm to the Japanese in North Borneo until he gave up his life to end reprisals against civilians. Andrew Jika in Lundu took lesser risks, and in palming off inferior timber on the Japanese managed to preserve his people’s valuable engkabang trees. Reece tells the stories of dozens of other men and women who persevered. The Occupation had been harsh, but it taught some valuable lessons. Reece tells how Sarawakians managed out of their own ingenuity to devise substitutes for kerosene and diesel out of rubber, and medicines out of jungle products. Chinese towkays who had fled to the countryside learned to grow vegetables and rice. Entrepreneurs like Baki anak Resol traded stealthily with Sambas, others sailed to the Natunas. In outlying parts the old ways came back to their own. With shotgun cartridges gone, Dayaks again hunted with sumpit and spear, made cloth out of tree-bark and used piston-lighters instead of matches. For the Iban, the Occupation was a cultural renaissance. Unable to travel, young men returned to their longhouses and to their parents and grandparents. In this time Iban scholars such as Benedict Sandin and Gerunsin Lembat acquired their deep knowledge of poetry and myth. Æschylus says that learning is through suffering. It is not a complete irony that the hardships of the Occupation taught the lesson which thoughtful people remembered as the most impressive, that if you stand on your own feet and work hard, you can look after yourself, that in a place like Sarawak no-one need starve. The Japanese themselves set an example of hard work and discipline. Though in the end their claims of being brothers and liberators of fellow Asians proved hollow, their ideal of self-reliance genuinely benefited the people they had ruled so briefly. With complete justice Masa Jepun can be called a panoramic book. Reece has put a photograph on nearly every page, and together they illustrate every aspect of the Occupation and show us the faces of many participants, great and small, Japanese and Sarawakian. Some of these portraits, such as that of G.R.H. Arundell and his Iban wife, must have been extremely hard to find. The portrait of Tedong that captures his character so well is worth the price of the book. Masa Jepun is at the same time scholarly and eminently readable. Reece not only gives us the facts, he also makes us feel the poignancy and pathos of life under the Japanese. Masa Jepun is a major new contribution to Sarawak history and will give much opportunity for thought as well as the pleasure of an epic story.


The Kinabalu Guerrillas a local underground resistance group led by Albert Kwok staged a surprise attack on the Japanese on the eve of October 10 (Double Tenth) in the year 1943 in Tuaran and Menggatal and marched to Jesselton before they were finally defeated. 176 of the Guerrillas were massacred on 21 January 1944 and buried at Petagas.
The remaining 131 were sent to labour camps in Labuan. In 1948, the remains of the 122 Kinabalu Guerrillas who perished in Labuan were brought back in urns and buried next to their heroic comrades. The burial site is now the Petagas Memorial Garden and each year a morning Service is held on 21 January to commemorate their heroic sacrifice and the tragedies suffered by their families.



SHAH ALAM: A chemist told the High Court here yesterday that he did not carry out DNA analysis on four bone specimens collected at the place where Altantuya Shaariibuu was allegedly murdered because he was informed that they belonged to one body. The four bone specimens were labelled spine, lumbar, pelvic and humerus. J. Primulapathi, 54, who is the Petaling Jaya Chemistry Department’s head of forensic division, said he relied on the police about that fact and verified it with Kuala Lumpur Hospital’s forensic pathologist, Dr Mohd Shah Mahmood, who had examined the specimens before they were handed over to the Chemistry Department. “I had a talk with him and he told me all these bones belonged to one body from his examination,” he said on the 48th day of trial for the murder of the 28-year-old Mongolian woman. On Monday, the defence contended that the bone fragments could have been from different sources as Primulapathi had decided to conduct analysis only on pieces of skull bone which were also found at the scene. In previous preceedings, the chemist testified that the skull borne came from the biological daughter of Setev Shaariibuu and Altentsetseg Sanjaa — the parents of the victim. In re-examination conducted by DPP Noorin Badaruddin, Primulapathi said he was only able to obtain DNA profiles from a piece of tissue and a piece of bone but was unable to get any from six other tissue samples and two bone fragments. He also dismissed the defence’s suggestion of a mix up or contamination in the exhibits and said that his team was the only one analysing the exhibits on this case but there were other chemists analysing different exhibits for other cases in different parts of the laboratory then. Primulapathi was also asked to explain on a probable cause of a scenario where a person’s DNA profile was found on a jacket belonging to another as the court was earlier told that a DNA profile found inside Sirul Azhar’s black jacket matched that of Altantuya and not Sirul Azhar’s. “Probably, I would say the second person whose DNA was found in the jacket had either handled or worn the jacket. The fact that I could not find the DNA profile of the owner of the jacket could indicate that the jacket had been washed or cleaned prior to being handled by the second person,” he said. Meanwhile, the prosecution also called another chemist to the stand. He was Shaari Desa, 40, the firearms unit head of the Petaling Jaya Chemistry Department’s forensic division. He said he received 70 case items from investigating officer ASP Tonny Lunggan on Nov 17 last year analysis. At this point, Noorin applied for the items to be produced in court and marked as exhibits after the Aidilfitri celebration. Justice Datuk Mohd Zaki Md Yasin agreed and set Oct 22 for the trial to continue.


KOTA KINABALU: Over 1,500 eligible smallholders from Bagahak and Silabukan of Lahad Datu, who took part in a joint venture oil palm plantation project with Sawit Kinabalu Group, received their advance payment, yesterday. Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman presented a RM3 million cheque for the Bagahak smallholders while RM120,000 for Silabukan smallholders on behalf of the Sawit Kinbalu Group, a government-owned company. The Government is well aware that the rural communities are not able to develop the land allocated to them, therefore a joint venture I project was introduced, and the capable and commercially focused company, Sawit Kinabalu Group, was appointed to undertake the project. Through the project, the smallholders could have their land developed while they own shares in a well-managed project that generates long-term and sustainable income, thus discouraging them from selling their land for quick gains. Both the Bagahak and Silabukan smallholders are the first recipients of share ownership in this pioneering Government-initiated development venture. According to Sawit Kinabalu Group managing director Salim Mohammad, over RM10. 5 million had been paid over the past seven years. The Bagahak Estate is expected to record a pre-tax profit of over RM50 million which is RM35 million more than that last year, while Silabukan Estate is expected to make a profit before tax of RM1.5 million compared to only RM700,000 last year. Musa thanked Sawit Kinabalu Group for a job well done. “I am happy to see the good management and performance of the project despite having to face increasing cost of diesel and labour and at the same time frequent flooding due to severe weather conditions,” said Musa. He advised all smallholders in Sabah not to leave their land idle. “Emulate the Bagahak and Silabukan smallholders who are now continuing to reap the fruits of their joint venture,” he stressed.


KOTA KINABALU: Sepanggar Member of Parliament Eric Majimbun has urged the State Government to address the Sino-Kadazan issue urgently. Eric, who was the District Chief of Kota Kinabalu for 17 years, said he had already submitted a comprehensive report on the bumiputera status in Sabah way back in 2004. “All the works that we had done had already been handed over to the State Legislative Assembly for deliberation and approval but until now nothing has happened,” he said when met at Kampung Likas here on Monday night. Eric, together with Likas Assemblyman Datuk Liew Teck Chan, SAPP President Datuk Yong Teck Lee and other SAPP leaders, distributed Hari Raya goodies to the needy at the village in conjunction with forthcoming Hari Raya celebration. “I appeal to the Local Government and Housing Ministry to really bring this matter up to the State Assembly because some of these people have been until the third generation unable to hand down their property to their grandchildren because the latter don’t have the Native Certificate,” he said. “If we don’t have the Native Certificate, the status will be grey because the Land and Survey Department needs the certificate to prove that they inherited the land,” he said. Without the certificate, he said the land or property will still be deemed as belonging to the first owners or the great grand parents because the land titles are still in his or her name and cannot be transferred to the next generation. “Because of this problem, even though we encourage the natives to develop their land, it has remained idle because they cannot use the land as collateral to secure bank loans,” he said. Under the Native Laws, it is interpreted that so long as one of the ancestors is a native and the descendants practise the culture, they are considered as bumiputera because the name of a person does not really reflect the status of the people. Meanwhile, Yong said there are appropriate laws in place to address the Sino-Kadazan issue and he hoped it will continue to be used. Yong, who is a former Chief Minister under the rotation system, said the issue is actually an old subject dating back to the Berjaya Government times and because of abuse, they decided to suspend the issuance of the certificate. “This matter has been going on and off for more than 20 years. So, if we need some rethinking on the subject, I am sure the leaders in the Government today will consider all aspects, including the history and present situation. I am sure they will consider all factors,” he said. Meanwhile, Yong said the visit to Kampung Likas on Monday night was the last round of SAPP’s visits to villages in Inanam, Karambunai and Likas constituencies to distribute goodies to the needy people and join them in the breaking of fast in conjunction with the Ramadan month. Because of the close cooperation among the community leaders and Barisan Nasional component parties, he said the visit had been successful as the spirit of unity and harmony continue to prevail.


KOTA KINABALU: It has never been a normal life for a group of 16 special children who were born with a chronic heart disease. Apart from the disease, they all share another thing in common, that is they come from poor families, and their chances of undergoing a life-saving heart surgery were very slim due to financial constraint until a Korean charity and hospital extended a helping hand to them. The Seoul-based Bucheon Sejong Hospital will operate on all the 16 selected children under a RM1 million charity programme involving several organisations and funds. Eight of the children whose names were on the waiting list of a treatment scheme under the Institute Jantung Negara (IJN) flew to South Korea at 12.30 am yesterday to undergo open heart surgery that cost roughly RM50,000 per individual. The remaining eight children will fly to Seoul next Tuesday. Each of the children is accompanied by one of their parents, mostly the mother, and they will remain at the hospital for three weeks before returning to Sabah, according to Program Coordinator, Pastor Daniel Chin of Kota Kinabalu Bread of Life. The whole project is mostly sponsored by a Korean-based charity fund known as the Gift of Life Fund and Sung-An Heart fund, Chin said. Korea Food For the Hungry International (KFHI) is the main coordinator who put together various NGOs and Bucheon Sejong Hospital for this project, he said. The programme also involves assistance by various local charity organisations and NGOs, including Sabah Agape Counseling Association (SACA), S.O.S Heart Fund, Lions Clubs and many more, he said. One of the children’s parents, Zapail Malakin said he is happy and thankful that his daughter Faradina, 8, was chosen for the programme. The 29-year-old Rungus from Kudat said his income is simply not enough to pay for the treatment needed by his daughter who has been suffering from heart disease for years. “Unlike normal children, she always looks pale and tired. Nevertheless, I managed to save some money to travel to Kota Kinabalu every six months to take her for check up and treatment at Hospital Likas,” he said, adding that the oldest child in the family also did not do well in school due to her illness. Every trip from Kudat to Kota Kinabalu would cost him around RM250, a small amount to many of us but it involved a lot of sacrifices for Zapail to save it as he has to provide for his wife and three children with his RM480 monthly income as a farmer. Another child, two-year-old Sarah Rninh from Penampang, was diagnosed with a hole in her heart when she was 10 months old. Her mother, Alinah Bimbir, 38, said she is grateful that her daughter will be treated and live a normal life, but she is worried about the risk in the surgery. Alinah, who is five months pregnant, is flying to Seoul with her husband. “At first, we didn’t know. We thought it was just a normal fever and we were shocked when the doctor told us that our daughter has a hole in her heart. Hopefully she will be cured,” said the couple when met last night before leaving for Seoul.


BAIKONUR (Kazakhstan): Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor has been chosen by the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos) as Malaysia’s first angkasawan (cosmonaut) to join a space mission today. The 35-year-old orthopaedic surgeon from Seremban will spend 10 days on the International Space Station (ISS). Joining him are Commander Peggy Whitson from the United States and Russian flight engineer Yuri Malenchenko. The spacecraft that will take them to the ISS will lift off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 7.2l pm local time - (9.21p.m Malaysian time) Science, - Technology and Innovation -Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jamaludin Jarjis said Dr Sheikh Muszapha - I was selected based on Malaysia’ original recommendation to - Roscosmos naming him as - first-choice candidate and Capt Dr Faiz Khaleed, 27, as the second choice. He said the Roscosmos selection panel studied all reports submitted by the various training units which had prepared the two men for the mission.
The minister told Malaysian journalists covering the space mission that Dr Sheikh Muszaphar, Dr Faiz and their respective team members were present when the announcement in the was made,
He said the selection panel which met for 30 minutes also agreed that Dr Faiz be included in the 2008/09 space mission and allowed to undergo training at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Star City, Moscow. Dr Jamaludin said he would inform the Cabinet about the panel’s recommendation pertaining to Dr Faiz. The minister, however, did not rule out the possibility of changes in the crew line-up four hours prior to lift off.
“On behalf of the Malaysian Government, I would like to say thank you to Russia for making this mission possible. It’s going to be a truly historic moment for Malaysia which is celebrating its 50th anniversary of independence this year. “It’s also a significant event for Russia as this year marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of the first man-made satellite (Sputnik),” he said. Dr Jamaludin also thanked the Russians for having assisted Malaysian scientists in making preparations for the research work to be conducted by Dr Sheikh Muszaphar during his space sojourn. He said Dr Sheikh Muszaphar and Dr Faiz also addressed the selection panel in Russian. The programme to send a Malaysian to space was conceived in 2003 when Russia agreed to send a Malaysian to the ISS as part of Malaysia’s RM3.4 billion purchase of 18 Russian-made Sukhoi jet fighters-