English: There, here and over there. Basically, in a sense, to mean restless. A collection of thoughts, musings and ramblings...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Twestival Kota Kinabalu 2011

Tweet. Meet. Give.

That is the punchline for Twestival, a worldwide effort by volunteers to raise money for a cause that they believe in.

Charities and community / environmental issues have always been my sort of thing starting from the very first day I joined the Kelab Pencinta Alam way back in my school days ;-p And after that, my interest in WWF, in RSPCA Qld, in PADI Project AWARE and more recently, the White Ribbon Day campaign. I call it an obsession to save the world and all living things ;-)

And so I am very proud to be a part of KK Twestival 2011 as the PR manager! I just found out about Twestival by chance from Jackie, whom I met while I was on the roll with my White Ribbon Campaign. It is just awesome how you build contacts and networks from organising events/projects :-D

At first I didn't understand what Twestival was about, except that it sounds like some carnival with clowns and animals etc, LOL! I later read up more on it, after getting interested reading Jackie's posts on Twestival on FB. Jackie was the organising chairperson for last year's Twestival, which raised over RM6K for Concern Worldwide (http://www.concern.net/), to help children from impoverished backgrounds to go to school. Check out what a blast they had here http://www.jackiemiao.my/2010/04/kk-twestival-2010-short-documentary-film-feature-now-out/

What is even more awesome is that Twestival isn't even an organisation, but just a group of big-hearted volunteers who want to sacrifice their time and effort to help people (and all other creatures) in need.

This year, we are going local. Over the last few weeks we have been busy thinking of local charities who deserve to receive money from the fundraising activities. We thought of 3, then we opened to the public for ideas and received another 3 nominations! So now we really need to decide who deserves the money and YOU are going to help us decide! :-)

Feel free to vote for your charity of choice at


No strings attached, it's not an invite to an event, all we want is your vote. Voting closes on 20th February 2011!!

And here are all the 6 the nominees.....! Please do go to the links as they provide a lot more helpful information.

Nominee #1 - St Theresa Hostel
There are 50 orphan kids in the St Theresa Hostel aged 6 to 17 years old. In a report sent to us, they appear to be in acceptable health but are too young to carry out any maintenance work. However, they need funds to repair their run-down building and upgrade their facilities
For further info and photos, go to http://kotakinabalu.twestival.com/blog-entry/216/nomination-1-st.-theresa-hostel.html

Nominee #2 - Sabah Women's Action Resources Group
According to Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), 39% of Malaysian women are estimated to have been abused by their partners. From a national survey conducted by WAO, it was estimated that 1.8 million or 39% of women over the age 15 were abused by their husbands or boyfriends. Only 909 women actually reported violence to the police.

Sabah Women's Action Resource Group (SAWO) were formed in 1985 to join the universal struggle against violence and injustice against women and children. It was initiated by a group of women and men who were particularly concerned about the increasing incidence of violence against women and children in our society.

Working with other NGOs in the country, SAWO launched the Campaign against Violence against women in September, 1986 with a two-day public workshop cum exhibition and has since, continued to work and lobby for better protection and assistance for women and children.

For more info and photos, go to http://kotakinabalu.twestival.com/blog-entry/231/nominee-2-sabah-womens-action-resource-group-sawo.html
Nominee #3 - Sabah Society for the Blind

The Sabah Society for the Blind estimates that close to 90% of the blind and visually impaired persons of working age registered with the Welfare Department Sabah are unemployed or without consistent and reliable source of income. In general, they have very limited opportunities for work and a large number of the blind in Sabah rely on welfare benefits from the Government as their main source of income.

For more info and photos, go to http://kotakinabalu.twestival.com/blog-entry/237/nominee-3-sabah-society-for-the-blind.html
Nominee #4 - Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Kota Kinabalu (SPCA)
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) is an international network of animal welfare charity groups whose operations include protecting and providing shelter to animals in danger. The SPCAs are non-profit organisations that campaign for animal welfare and take in abused or abandoned animals, and help them to get adopted. The SPCA is a group that helps protect sick and injured stray animals and animals in danger. Its mission is simple but vast: Advancing the safety and well-being of animals.
For more info and photos, go to http://kotakinabalu.twestival.com/blog-entry/263/nominee-4-the-society-for-the-prevention-of-cruelty-to-animals-kota-kinabalu-spca-kota-kinabalu.html

Nominee #5 - Reef Guardian Sdn Bhd

Reef Guardian is a private and non-profit organization that appointed to fully manage Sugud Islands Marine Conservation Area (SIMCA) with close cooperation with Sabah Wildlife Department. Reef Guardian's main objective is to manage and control human activities within conservation area. SIMCA is to ensure the balance between the need to utilize resources for the eco-tourism industry and conserve the coral reef and marine life.

Reef Guardian protect coral reef ecosystem, implemented sea turtle monitoring program, enforce no-take regulation within SIMCA, provide education and awareness to publics and enforce sustainable and environmental friendly development to resort operators. Reef Guardian staff are trained as Honorary Wildlife Warden that reside permanently on the islands to conduct beach patrols for turtle nestings, and to enforce no fishing regulations in the vicinity of the islands to reduce destructive fishing activities.

These actions are expected to lead to decreased egg poaching and decreased reef habitat destruction from blast and sodium cyanide fishing. Minimizing the intrusion of fish trawlers within SIMCA also reduces the probability of sea turtles encountering fishing nets and becoming trapped and drowned in them.
For more info and photos, go to http://kotakinabalu.twestival.com/blog-entry/266/nominee-5-reef-guardian-sdn-bhd.html

Nominee #6 - Emmanuel Homes
Emmanuel Homes offers underprivileged and orphaned children from very poor backgrounds, the opportunity for education which will assist them in breaking from the cycle of poverty. Most of these students are from the Kudat & Pitas region, which is regarded as the poorest region in the country.
Emmanuel Homes (or Emmanuel House as it was known then) started 6 years ago with 3 girls and a single house. Six years later, 46 children have ventured off to obtain their diploma/degree from various institutions around Malaysia. There are now 5 houses under the Emmanuel Homes umbrella (3 in Kudat, 1 in Pitas and 1 in Kota Kinabalu) housing 82 children.

The facilities in these homes are basic and all the staff are volunteers. They do not receive funding from the government, all funding and contributions are from individuals and private organisations who organise fund-raising events.

Funding goes to paying the utility bills, food and other basic necessities of the respective houses and the children.
For more info and photos, go to http://kotakinabalu.twestival.com/blog-entry/280/nominee-6-emmanuel-homes.html


Sweet Valentine Memories

I don't know where some people get the idea that Valentine is all about promiscous sex (they should get their heads examined!), but for me Valentine is about sweet, romantic love. Or about crushes. I think Valentine's day is something that is a great part of teenage life. I remember the first time a guy sent me roses for Valentines. I was 15 at that time.
It was a guy who had a massive crush on me. I actually never ever met the guy before in my life. And still haven't. All I know is that he is the guy who would be sitting on the same spot every single day whenever my school bus passed his house. I don't know how, but he got my home phone number (Thank God there were no such things as mobile phones back in the day) and would call me now and then. I however, had a crush on someone else, so I wasn't really interested in this poor guy. Even if he sent me cards with Garfield hand-drawn on it (How the heck did he know Garfield was my favourite comic character????)
For my mum, that Valentine was probably the funniest ever in her life. For me.... well, not my finest hour (at least that time, haha!). On the evening, a big van rolled over to my house and out came a bouquet of pink roses. I was watching upstairs in horror shouting 'Nooooooo!', while my mum downstairs was receiving the roses on my behalf in comic amusement. LOL!! But really, I should thank the guy for being the first (and bravest) to send me Valentine roses. For it was many years after that I actually had a reason to celebrate Valentine's day. Can you believe I have never ever ever had a real Valentine's dinner? And I really wondered how it would be like. My ex-husband was completely unromantic. I could be the really romantic type (I love spoiling my man!) but... it is really no fun when you're on it by your own. And if the other person doesn't really know how to appreciate your gestures.
It was only until when Danish guy came along that Valentine's day was fun for me. As a long-distance, still no Valentine's dinner, but the day is a lot more fun... especially since he was about as soppy as me when it comes to romance. Hmmmm... one year I gave him candles (for our candlelight dinner - it is possible.... in front of the computer screen! ;) Thank you MSN!) and Hershey's kisses (to represent real kisses). He gave me a book of vouchers that he made himself. Voucher for a massage. Voucher for a home-cooked meal. Voucher for a romantic video night.... you get the idea. He even cut and pasted his own paper hearts. :-D Another year he burned a special CD for me with his own personal video messages, which were really really creative and must have taken a lot of time. And my gift to him? I made him a CD where I sang for him (he loved my voice, LOL!);-P Of course it was these gestures made me feel so special. And these are the kinds of things I feel are the essence of Valentine's day. Appreciating your significant other.
This year? I am not sure. All I know is that I did make some preparations...... shhhhh, secret! ;-) But at the end of the day, I know that my back-up plan would be to spoil myself, because who else is there to love, if not yourself! :-)

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