2012 in review

Happy New Year 2013!!! 😀

8 as is a good date as any to write my first post for 2013, but as usual before things can start, others must end…

Thus here are the milestones of my 2012 (both in the blogging world & off)

At the beginning of 2012, I said I would live in the moment & trust God more and I think 2012 was just that:

I came to a more concrete realisation of my dreams of being a writer (quite unplanned)

By February, my blog was chosen as Blog of the Month and an article of mine appeared in a local (Sarawak) paper. And though not because of my writing (but it was print media so it denotes an honorable mention :P) I also made an appearance in a Brunei local paper.

In April, I applied for a travel writing scholarship and though I did not get that, I did get 2 awesome opportunities (major highlights of my year!) – I had the opportunity to actually cover 2 big-scale events on a media pass!

See me in the press pit? 😉 STILL one of my fave photos of the year!

They were the Borneo Jazz Festival in Miri in May & the Rainforest World Music Festival in Kuching in July – these 2 events encompassed all that I love: music, travel & writing. It was awesome!

Through a series of events, I also sat for a journalist exam with a local paper. If it is to be, I will be called for an interview next. Trust God. 🙂

Living in the moment meant I was up to whatever life presented…which led me to some very interesting things..

In April, I joined a Run & ran 5km – with less than 1 week of training at that! 😉 If future me had told me in January 2012 that I’d be running in 3 months I wouldn’t have believed myself.

On a whim (bought the tixs the night before I flew), I finally went to Kota Kinabalu (prior to this it had always been just passing through) in August & in September, for the first time, I stepped foot in Penang. While the former can be checked off as “done”, Penang requires another more proper visit. 😀 And since I’m on the subject of travelling, Labuan was “done” in April 2012 and Bintulu in February.

With those, I guess 2012 was a “Cuti-Cuti Malaysia” year for me…plus the multiple trips to Miri & at least 3 trips to Kuching.

Life & work caught up with me towards the end of the year (thus my blog was on halt from Sept-Dec) but if I could summarise those months into a blog title it would be: “3 Weddings & a Conference” – 1 of those weddings was that of a very dear friend of mine. :’) Congrats to all 3 couples!

And so ends my review of 2012 (in general).

It had been a great year filled with memories & experiences money can’t buy…no matter where I went or what I did, it was those who were with me (be it physically or in spirit) that made them special.

Thank you for journeying with me in 2012 & I look forward to more adventures together in 2013. 😉

Leaving you now with a review of Perfect Imperfections for 2012 from the guys at WordPress.com:

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 11,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 18 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

RWMF 2012: Highlights

The 15th Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) has ended, but apart from the fact that the Festival was (and always is) AWESOME – see and listen for yourself:

Video source-superadrianme1 : intro by Le Trio Joubran followed by Danyel Waro playing the kayanm/kayamb or as I described it – “winnowing” 😉 , Diplomats of Drum, Le Trio Joubran playing the oud, the String Sisters, Khusugtun‘s throat-singing, Raiz de Cafezal, Cankisou, Mamadou Diabate’s Percussion Mania, Kanda Bongo Man and ending with the Finale!

 it’s also the experience and memories made there that make people come back year after year.

I had expectations (and for the record, every single one was met! 😉 ), but personally, it’s the unexpected that made the sweetest of memories! 😀

Like when meeting new people and they end up being good friends:

(L-R) Fiqah, Fatimah, me [Photo c/o Ben]

The @SWKBLOGS media team! I know who to look for the next time I’m in Kuching! 😉

Or bumping into/meeting old friends you hadn’t seen in a while, mainly by chance:



Fab & Domi

I was at RWMF with Fab 4 years ago, and it was good to see him again on Day 2. Apparently, he has never missed a single RWMF for something like a decade! WOW! Au contraire, this was the first time for his friend whom I just met, who was involved in the Capoeira Workshop.

Other first-timers included:

My own sis-in-law (and bro who took this photo)

And Ben, who went with me this year:

By the looks of it…

…it won’t be his last either. 😉

There were a few others like my ex-colleague, friends from Brunei and friends-that-are-practically-family, but I forgot to snap a photo with them. Heh.

But the most unexpected and most memorable experience happened on Day 3.

I had just arrived at the Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV) and was waiting in the performers’/media van to take me to One Hotel Santubong (OHS). A few minutes later, a performer climbed into the van and he sat beside me. It was a Hey-I-Just-Met-You moment. 😉

As the van brought us the short distance to OHS, I managed an unofficial interview with him. I was gushing about how talented a sape player he was and he was very humble about it. He shared how “someone” had brought a sape back to the States and how he had learned to play it and that it is not played like a guitar and that these instruments should not be played as if they were one and the same. Care to guess who he was?

Meet David – incredible sape player and Zee Avi‘s bandmate! 😉

And he was so kind to introduce me to the “someone” who had brought a sape back to the States – Zee Avi herself! 😀

As you probably know already from Day 1, I really enjoyed their performance so it was quite an honour to meet her in person. Fondly referred to as Zee, this Mirian singer-songwriter, guitarist & ukelele player is a Sarawakian treasure, putting Malaysia (and especially Sarawak) on the musical map – all the way from the United States where she is based.

Zee & her “sapelele” (sape-designed ukelele)

Apart from a photo with her, I also got her autograph. 🙂

And if that ain’t enough, I was even able to chat with her for a bit – she’s such a sweet lady!

Prior to the RWMF, she was in Miri for a Homecoming Concert but before that she said she’d been away for 13 years!

Zee Avi & JC, her bass player

Those few minutes spent with her was priceless.

“Balit sitok gik kelak. Iboh tunggu 13 tahun…” I said as I left her to enjoy her privacy. 🙂

*in the local Sarawak Malay language, meaning, “Do come back again. Don’t wait for 13 years…”

Thus, I would like to thank Sarawak Tourism Board and Sarawak Bloggers again for making the experiences of the 15th RWMF a possibility for me!

While going for all 3 days was nothing impossible in itself, the media pass really opened up a whole new side of the Festival for me.

Perks of the “job” – I LIKE!

Too bad I wasn’t able to claim the free drinks from Day 1

Then I’d get 3 of these instead, but 2 is cool. 🙂

The only photo taken inside the Heinekebana apparently. 😉

For a more in-depth coverage of the 3 days (and a behind the scenes look), do check out my RWMF 2012 series of posts and for videos, do drop by my youtube channel. Last but not least, here’s a photo that I think says a lot about the spirit of the RWMF:


Photo source: Travillion’s FB compilation album


RWMF 2013 anyone? 😉

Note: ALL photos/videos in my RWMF 2012 series of posts are those taken by me, unless otherwise stated as that from the Sarawak Tourism Board, the @SWKBLOGS Media Team or other sources.

RWMF 2012: The End is The Beginning

I regrouped with the @SWKBLOGS Media Team  at the Performers’/Media Camp* for dinner. It was the final night of the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) and we were all excitedly looking forward to the performance that night. *Photo c/o Yvonne

Soon enough, we all found ourselves right at the front of the Jungle (main) stage where Drums of Malaysia warmed the crowd up with an energetic performance:

Photo c/o Garner

But THIS was what I was waiting for…

Thanks Ben for this photo!

Photo courtesy of Sarawak Travel (got this from Yvonne)

HATA (made up of musicians from Korea, Malaysia, Turkey, Taiwan and Azerbaijan) takes to stage as the first act. Why was I looking forward to them? Just check out their opening!

Photo source: Travillion’s FB compilation album

I love that big drum…and doesn’t this just tingle down your spine? 🙂

The other instruments were also cool!

Photo c/o Ben

Meet Samuel Dass & his sitar (Awesome!) – Malaysia’s contribution to the ensemble

Photo source: Travillion’s FB compilation album

Here’s a more upbeat piece by them:

But in the end, it’s still the drums that do it for me! 🙂

Especially him…hehehe

Next up was Oreka TX from Spain!

Photo c/o Ben

I was left mesmerized by the txalapartas – how can wood and stone (and apparently ice too from the video they showed in the background) make these melodic tunes?! – just WOW!

Listen for yourselves:

Now at this point, I just thought they were showing-off (in a good way 😉 ):

However, we were getting hungry (and the Heinekebana was calling) so we went off – which was why, once again, I missed seeing the Mongolian throat singing of Khusugtun when 1 of them came on stage to perform with Oreka TX in the last 15 mins! 😦

Thanks Lindy for this photo!

At least I could hear him through the speakers set up throughout SCV loud and clear this time though. 🙂

Looked like Hiro of Heroes here. 😉 [Photo source: Travillion’s FB compilation album]

Next was Rhythm of Borneo, Samuel Dass (yes, he was the one with HATA earlier) & Prakash (Malaysia) and the Carimbo Drums of Brazil. No photos/videos though as after we got back with food and a can of chilled Heineken each (apparently, you could choose to have draft beer at the cabana or “take away” 😉 ), we were content to just sit down (in view of the stage of course), hang up our cameras and just enjoy the music. 🙂

After that was Mamadou Diabate’s Percussion Mania of Burkina Faso – now that was something!

Photo source: Travillion’s FB compilation album

Video source: xmambang

We made our way through the crowd and back to the front of the stage again then, as we were pumped up and ready for the final act and grand finale, but before that was the Native Chanting and Sape & Warrior of Sarawak.

Native chanting [Photo c/o Ben]

Photo courtesy of Sarawak Tourism Board’s RWMF album

Finally, the long-awaited final act for the night shook the main stage, literally!

Kanda Bongo Man – now they’re all about the shaking! 😉 [Video – Manaweblife]

You ready?

No, this is NOT a stick-up. 😉 [Photo source: Travillion’s FB compilation album]






I searched high and low for this video (cos I was too busy dancing to take my own) so thanks to sildjune for uploading this! 😀

I did manage to take these 2 videos though:

Dontcha just wanna sway…? 

And doesn’t he just remind you of King Julien of Madagascar? I LIKE! 😉

But alas, all good things must come to an end. With that final performance, they welcomed back all the performers for the 15th RWMF back on stage for the Grand Finale:

I just love how they’re all just enjoying themselves!

Khusugtun – they don’t just throat-sing, they party too! 😉 [Photo c/o Ben]

Time to bring on the Confetti!!!

Here’s how it was like as we walked away from the main stage:

Yes, some people were wrestling in the mud. RWMF is apparently never complete without it…

Photo c/o Ben

Where did the mud come from? Your guess is as good as mine, especially considering it didn’t rain throughout the 3 nights… 😀

With that, the 15th RWMF has come to an end, and yet it is only but the beginning of the countdown to the next – Yes, we have the dates! The 16th Rainforest World Music Festival will be held on 28-30 June 2013. 😀

If you’ve never been to a RWMF before, I hope my RWMF 2012 series of posts has made you realise that it is absolutely worth going to (don’t worry about the mud, that’s purely optional and it’s fine if you don’t roll that way, neither do I 😉 ) but if you’re still not convinced, I’ll just leave you now with what my crush from HATA thinks of the RWMF:

For the record, this is an exclusive shot as he especially posed as such for my camera only! 😀

Up next, the final post on my own personal highlights of the RWMF 2012. 😉

Note: ALL photos/videos in my RWMF 2012 series of posts are those taken by me, unless otherwise stated as that from the Sarawak Tourism Board, the @SWKBLOGS Media Team or other sources.