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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thank you and farewell - until next time

Terima kasih dan selamat tinggal - sehingga masa depan!

And so our fantastic journey has come to an end! We take away with us so many memories of our visit - new experiences, sights and tastes of Malaysia and its vital culture, meeting our orang utan children, visiting special places around Sabah, but most of all memories of the wonderful hospitality and warmth of all the students and teachers of SMK Datuk Peter Mojuntin and their families!

At the risk of overlooking someone, I wish to thank the following people who made our visit so memorable:-
Our wonderful hosts

  • Jane Thecla Bensing Vonih and her family
  • Kimberly Vung and family
  • Sharmaine Suemunie and family
  • Rinie Sheriezah and family
  • Veneda Angelia Joe and family
  • Winnie Jimis, Kely, Deanne and family
  • Nainey Ajik and her family 
  • Pengetua Nurani Fauziah Derin, Pn. Fay Hameliene Mogindol, En. Salehan Timin, Pn. Naimah Hj. Din, Judy Liew, Yap and other staff at SMKDPM
  • The best driver in Sabah, Medi, Max Greater and his family for accompanying us and documenting our many activities with his wonderful photos and all of the students from the SMKDPM trip to Tallangatta in 2011 who welcomed us and shared with us - including the irrepressible Carl!
  • To Badinah and Nainey who filled our days with adventure, laughter and friendship
And most importantly
To my dear friend Suriyati Aziz whose hard work and quiet dedication to our Sister school relationship and personal support has made it all possible!  Terima kasih sentiasa kawan baikku.

Saya memohon maaf jika saya telah terlepas pandang sesiapa yang berkongsi masa mereka dan persahabatan mereka dengan kami.Kepada semua guru dan pelajar di SMKDPM, kita tidak akan lupa anda dan kebaikan anda kepada kita semua. Terima kasih banyak.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Last Day at SMKDPM

Our last day - interesting activities and fond farewells

The day started with an assembly with the morning school students. This included the regular school assembly and presentation of a range of certificates to recognise student participation in a range of activities at SMKDPM.

Surie explained the background to our Sister school relationship and gifts ro recognise the importance and success of the visit were exchanged.  The assembly finished with a performance by the SMKDPM choir.

After assembly with the morning session, we headed towards Special Education Programme (Pendidikan Khas) cabin to have some activities with them. These students attend the school as they all have a hearing disability.
Sewing a lace called "Siling" used to decorate a local traditional dress of Sabah Kadazan ethnic group. The students proved to be exceptionally patient teachers.


After having heard so much about SMKDPM's record attempt at making mudballs earlier in the year it was now time to find out more about the process.
Mixing the solution with EM1 enzyme used to produce mudballs
Mudballs are used to clean dirty water in river or drainage channels.

Beef rendang
We were also taught how to make beef rendang and joined in a meal together.

After activities at Special Education Programme (Pendidikan Khas), the TSC group went to Kemahiran Hidup Workshop to learn the process of producing a garbage enzyme called eMas by the afternoon session of students council.

That afternoon students of TSC enjoyed their time together playing football with 4A class and their homestay sisters.

 Whilst the students enjoyed their game, Con and Janet visited the District Education Office where they had an interesting discussion about the similarities and differences between our education systems with Mr. Richard David, the deputy regional director.

Later that night we had farewell dinner at Beijing Restaurant at Tun Fuad Park.  Dinner attended by TSC group, school administrator, host families, 2011 sister school visit to TSC including their parents and families, Badinah, Nainey, Surie and Medi.

Farewell Dinner Group Photo

*photo credit to Jesson Hintanau, Max Greater and Surie

4th Day : Relaxing With Homestay Activities

Activities with Home Stay FamiliesOn Sunday, members of the TSC group enjoyed a range of activities with their different families. Con and Janet had the pleasure of spending their day with their hosts Winnie and Kely and family and Nainey respectively, as well as Badinah, Steffira and her family and Carl and his family and once again our wonderful colleague and driver Medi.
Sunday was a free activity with host family.  Mr. Con and Janet were brought to Kundasang and Ranau by Badinah, Nainey, Medi, Max's family, Mrs Winnie's family and Carl's family.

 War Memorial Park, Kundasang, Sabah

One of the most moving parts of the trip was our visit to the War Memorial Park at Kundasang. This war memorial is dedicated to those Australian and British servicemen who died as prisoners of war during the Sandakan to Ranau death marches during World War Two. These marches took place between January and July 1945 with the forced movement, in 3 separate stages, of British and Australian POWs held at Sandakan to the area of Ranau, a trek of about 250 kilometers through some of the most difficult and inpenetrable jungle on the island. Of the 2434 prisoners imprisoned at Sandakan, 1787 were Australian and the remaining 641 were British. Six Australians who escaped from the Sandakan Death March were the sole survivors of this atrocity.

The War Memorial Park at Kundasang pays tribute to these men and to members or the local population who risked their lives to try to assist the POWs.
Memorial displays at Kundasang
Fruit, vegetables and food goodies at Kundasang

Janet with Steffira's mother

* Photo credit : Max Greater, Homestay Sisters

Mr. Hamdan's family with Emily

Monday, September 24, 2012

3rd Day : Saturday Outdoor Activities

Visit to Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre at Shangri La Rasa Ria Resort.

A golden opportunity and good luck when we were able to take pictures with the 2 years old Orang Utan baby during the handing over certificate of Orang Utan Adoption programme to Tallangatta Secondary College.

Both Sister Schools of Tallangatta Secondary College and SMK Datuk Peter Mojuntin have adopted three female Orang Utan, named Katie, Wulan and TenTen. TenTen is also a 2 years old baby Orang Utan which is the same age as the baby Orang Utan named Timbang in this photo ....

SMK Datuk Peter Mojuntin also adopted a Koala in Australia and has collected fund for the Koala.

This was a great chance to learn about the rehabilitation program at Rasa Ria and also observe the two older Orang Utan  - Wulan and Katie - at the feeding platform. It was interesting to see the work being done to educate the young people of Malaysia about the importance of protecting these animals and their habitat. After a short walk to the platform, it was obvious that these beautiful animals were quite comfortable to be observed at the feeding platform and to entertain the crowd gathered to see these remarkable creatures - amongst the most endangered in this area.

We were lucky to be allowed to have our photo taken with Timbang for the presentation of our sponsorship certificates and photos of our 3 "adopted children".

TSC group with Badinah, Nainey, Medi - Sabah's best driver- and Danila and Vera from the Environmental  Club

Afterwards the TSC group went to visit the Upside Down House or "Rumah Terbalik" at Tamparuli.  Everything is upside down including a car parking in a garage.

Georgia hit the gong as an official announcement that visitors are going to enter the house.

 Group Photo

Enjoying Barbeque Coconut (Kelapa Bakar) and Barbeque Mussels at Sepanggar

We also drove to Signal Hill to view Kota Kinabalu from the lookout.

Students once again returned to their families, whilst Janet and Con had the pleasure of attending a dinner at the Gayang restaurant with members of the school administration, including Principal Madam Fauziah, Sister School Coordinator at SMKDPM Surie Aziz, Assistant Principal Fay, Judy Liew, Badinah and Nainey.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

2nd Day at DPM

Meeting with the Students Council

Students from the Majlis Perwakilan Pelajar (MPP) to explain their role in the school at SMKDPM and the important contribution they make to the smooth running of the school. Although some of the activities and roles they make to the running of the school are similar to the role of the Student Leadership Team at TSC, these students, along with the prefects and class monitors, play a far more active part on a daily basis at SMKDPM.

 Souvenirs from DPM's Students Council
 TSC joined local dance
Sumazau Dance
 Group Photo with Prefects

Visit to SK Sri Gaya primary school in Kota Kinabalu
SK Sri Gaya is a primary cluster school of excellence with niche areas in Mathematics and Dance. Its students have performed at a wide range of dance festivals, including major functions in London.
 Group photos with administrators of SK Sri Gaya and the students dancers.

 Headmaster of SK Sri Gaya, Tuan Hj. Nordin presented a souvenir to TSC Assistant Principal, Mr. Con Madden.
With students of SK Sri Gay in their class

Students of SK Sri Gaya showed steps of a Malay dance

Played Angklong with students in Music class

The school draws students from families including government ministers and profession backgrounds. Students are "streamed" from as early as Year 1, based on screening tests conducted at the age of 5 years of age.
Outstanding hospitality shown to our group included a dance performance by the older students, a presentation about the school and exchange of gifts (thanks for being organised for this Badinah & Surie), a morning tea and a tour around the school as shown in the photos above.

The day also included a visit to the Sabah Museum and traditional village and a short tour around the University of Malaysia Sabah, including their aquarium. Students then returned to their homestay families for the evening.

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