Timonius in Borneo

This monograph details what is known about Timonius in Borneo, a group in the extremely hyper-diverse coffee family Rubiaceae, that no one has studied since some scattered initial documentation in the past few centuries. Now, all Bornean territories are much more explored, botanically collected from, and ‘developed’. Still, very few studies have been made in Southeast Asia for complex and highly diverse plant groups which can illuminate our understanding of plant diversity and classification, and contribute to a more accurate assessment of plant lineage development and evolution. This is a first step, of many such first steps that will be needed, in addressing the incredible plant richness of the Malay Archipelago, a recognised region of spectacular biological richness.

This account documents 94 species of Timonius, a genus of mostly treelets to small trees still poorly understood throughout Southeast Asia, of which 68 species are newly recognised. Some 96% of the genus is endemic to Borneo, not known beyond this large, physiographically and geologically diverse tropical island, a centrepiece in the biogeography of a vast, biologically diverse region of our globe. The book includes discussions on the morphology, biology and reproductive ecology of Timonius and related plants, and is illustrated by 294 figures and 58 botanical line-drawings.

A Guide to Wild Fruits of Borneo (2nd Edition)

The edible wild fruits, nuts and seeds of Borneo that are found in the different forests from coastal seashores and islands, through the lowlands and hills, to the montane forests, and on different soils, are estimated to be in the region of 500 different species. These were consumed by the many groups of people inhabiting the island, over many decades. They were the ones who had initially discovered whether different fruits, nuts and seeds were edible, and that some otherwise toxic species become edible only after cooking or fermentation processes. Botanists and taxonomists have subsequently provided the scientific names for these plants and classified most of them into their respective families and genera. However, there are still new species being discovered in what are some of the most species-rich forests in the world, and for many genera, Borneo is their centre of diversity. Many species are rare and little known, and over 30% of plant species are endemic to Borneo.

There are several genera of popular fruits that have their centre of diversity in Borneo and these include the Durians, Mangoes, Mangosteens, Rambutans, Taraps, Figs, Tampois and Willughbeia, which supports the saying that Borneo is the ‘Islands of Fruits’, with the highest diversity of fruits in Malesia.

The lowland forests are particularly rich, with most of the species being trees, but treelets, shrubs and herbs also have species with edible fruits. This guide mostly introduces the better-known species, but to showcase this diversity, some examples of rare or little-known species are also included, resulting in a total of 34 families, 55 genera, and 109 species being illustrated.

Many of the lowland forests have now been cleared for the development of agriculture, forest plantations, towns and roads, and the diversity of varieties of some species has become greatly reduced. Though some germplasm has been conserved in agricultural stations and research facilities, much more needs to be done so that those species with good commercial potential can be selected and bred as future crops for farmers. Some species have already been researched, and selected clones made available, but there are still many more with good horticultural potential.

A Guide to Market Fruits of Borneo

This guide covers the edible fruits and nuts found in markets, tamus and roadside stalls in Borneo, that are now both cultivated, or collected from their forest habitats. It does not cover the many imported fruits, that are also sold, though many of these are also now cultivated in the Borneo States.

These cultivated species are found in back-yards in towns and villages, in small orchards on small to large farms, to those planted in and around the villages.

In rural communities, many of the wild species in the surrounding lands or forests, that are in known localities are protected from being felled by the local community, and the fruits when harvested are shared or sold in the markets.

Even in protected forests, nuts such as the chestnuts (berangan) in hill forest, are also collected for sale in local markets or consumed, and only recently is their commercial potential being realised, and they are being brought into cultivation.

In the past, sadly, when wild fruits which were sweet and juicy were found in the forest, the trees were felled for ease of harvesting, such as wild rambutans and pulasans, which has meant that a lot of promising germplasm was lost, and mainly trees with sour fruits is what is left.

Also, with all the recent development of commercial crops such as oil palm, over the last five decades, vast areas of lowland forests have been cleared, and the diversity of fruits subsequently reduced. This is of particular importance since Borneo has been found to be a centre of diversity for a whole range of edible fruits and nuts such as durians, mangoes, mangosteens, rambutans, tampoi (Baccaurea), chestnuts, figs and Xanthophyllum. This diversity gives the potential for breeding and selection of new varieties.

The Governments of the different States in Borneo have now realised that there is this potential, and are now supporting efforts, including joint ventures in providing areas for expanding fruit cultivation to funding, as well as providing marketing and processing facilities for both smallholders and private enterprises, as they realize the vast potential in the export fruits.

The cultivators of fruits and nuts have also set up growers’ associations to pass on information on cultivation. In addition, the Agricultural Departments have now put in efforts to select better clones and varieties that have potential in both the local and export markets. Also, Agricultural Departments have expanded services and training for local farmers. With its vast diversity of fruits and nuts found, Borneo deserves to be known as ‘The Island of Fruits’.

A Greenhorn Naturalist in Borneo

A Greenhorn Naturalist in Borneo is about natural history, travel in the tropics, life sciences, and adventure, with the environment always in mind. It chronicles the nine years the author spent with his family on that equatorial island. The book’s humorous style never detracts from the focus on the science, the island of Borneo and its natural wonders.

The story begins in 2007 on top of a garage in Taiwan, where the author kept a greenhouse filled with hundreds of carnivorous tropical pitcher plants. In August of the same year, he attended a conference on these plants in Borneo and met them in the wild for the first time. This triggered an obsession with the island’s legendary rainforest fauna and flora, and he decided to move to Borneo with his family for easier access to the jungle. In a tone reminiscent of Bill Bryson, Douglas Adams, and Gerald Durrell – funny, self-deprecating, but always satisfying for the science-minded reader – A Greenhorn Naturalist in Borneo documents the Breuer family’s adventures with Borneo’s enormous biodiversity: flying snakes, venomous primates, parachuting frogs, pangolins, king cobras, orangutans, masters of mimicry and camouflage, the world’s rarest lizard and the world’s longest snake.

And these are just a fraction of the life forms the reader will meet. Adventure lurks behind every trail bend: toddler-sized monkeys terrorize night hikers, bearded jungle pigs hunt stray dogs, a giant python almost gets stepped on, and other encounters of the ‘not so funny when it happened’ kind. The reader will also meet the people inhabiting the island, such as Asia’s last rainforest nomads, quaint government officials, and former headhunting tribes that still proudly display their trophies above their fireplaces. Inevitably, the author’s life in Borneo also led to first-hand insight into the island’s environmental tragedy caused by decades of severe over-exploitation, a recurring topic throughout the book.

A Greenhorn Naturalist in Borneo puts the reader in a front-row seat to marvel at nature’s wonders in all their magnificence visiting places unknown and creatures unheard of; and it is also an invitation to consider the state of the planet, to take it seriously, and to act before it’s too late.

Impatiens of Thailand

Dr Piyakaset Suksathan and Dr Saroj Ruchisansakun present, in this book on the balsams of Thailand, their revision of the genus Impatiens (Balsaminaceae), a technically competent yet well-illustrated and engaging account of a plant group with very many elegant and exquisite species. For plant-lovers, especially, this comes some 130 years following the description of the first Thai species, Impatiens mirabilis Hook.f., in 1891. Since then, there have been many discoveries, including new records and new species, detailed in this book. The research has spanned over a decade, covering an incredibly attractive and interesting array of species spanning the longitudinally and latitudinally diverse inclusion of Thailand, ranging from subtropical mountains to the wet tropical lowland rainforest regions. Balsams have an impressive taxonomic diversity, their basic floral structure already elaborate, represented by an incredibly large variation in form and structure, amply displayed in this iconic taxonomic account. This beautiful book details 91 taxa including 20 new species and a new variety, with 43 species only known from Thailand. It is a gem not only for botanists and specialists, but also amateurs and plant lovers everywhere.

Helm Wildlife Guides: Birds of Borneo

The world’s third largest island, divided between three countries – Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei – Borneo is home to some of the oldest rainforests in the world, estimated to be 140 millions years old, and an avifauna of around 600 recorded bird species. It is a haven for birdwatchers and a frontrunning biodiversity hotspot. A … Continue reading Helm Wildlife Guides: Birds of Borneo

A Field Guide to Tawau Hills Park

Tawau Hills Park (THP) is a quiet and relatively undiscovered wonder of nature in southeast Sabah. It is located in the district of Tawau and can be reached by car in an hour from the nearest airport. Gazetted in 1979 under the administration of Sabah Parks, the park contains primary rainforest that is protected from the palm oil plantations that immediately surround it. The approach by car involves a drive along roads surrounded by these plantations until you arrive at the park’s main entrance where the desert of plantations ends and the incredible view of tall dipterocarp trees begins.

Locals can enjoy the park’s facilities near the main entrance for recreational walks and BBQs and, at weekends, the area close to the park’s headquarters may be teeming with people enjoying themselves. Yet most people do not explore further into the park’s rainforest, staying near the main rivers, although if they did they would realise that THP is a naturalist’s dream. The park has three sub-stations, Balung, Merotai and Andrassy and has developed a good network of trails that enable extensive exploration of its forests, from the former ‘Tallest Tree Trail’, which is 900 m long, to the main trail leading both to the Gelas waterfall at 2.4 km and to the sulphur spring which is at 3.2 km. At its headquarters, the park offers rented accommodation of 10 basic rooms and a chalet, as well as a beautiful camping ground. For the bird watcher, there is also a bird-watching tower located not far from the Table waterfall which is just a few hundred metres away from the recreational ground.

The Hairy Rhinoceros: History, ecology and some lessons for management of the last Asian megafauna

Species do not suddenly go extinct. Behind every extinction is a long history. Until a century ago, human actions were only a part of that history. Now, preventing extinctions depends entirely on human interventions. The days of small groups of dedicated people taking actions to try to prevent extinctions ended in the 1960s. The management unit that addresses endangered wildlife now is the nation state. Governments make the wildlife policy decisions. But governments are influenced by nongovernmental advisers and public opinion.

Five concepts in population biology show that leaving Hairy rhinos in the wild was never going to be successful in preventing the species extinction: the species-area curve, sufficiency of habitat in protected areas, extinction debt, the Allee effect and ecological tipping points. On top of that, a quintet of human cognitive biases mean that no decisions and wrong decisions are made repeatedly: shifting baseline, risk aversion, us-and-them, fashions and opinions.

Like many other endangered large mammal species, the Hairy rhinoceros is drifting to extinction not primarily because of ongoing and future habitat loss or poaching. Those impacts started hundreds and thousands of years ago, and were the issues of immediate concern in the twentieth century. The issue to address now is paralysis in making the best decisions on what exactly to do about the remaining and mostly non-viable clusters.

Interventions necessary for recovery might include treating all surviving members of a species as a single metapopulation, ensuring that remnant clusters have sufficient quality habitat to sustain viable numbers, putting in place measures to ensure that all fertile females achieve high birth rates, ensuring that every remaining individual contributes its genes to future generations, and addressing inbreeding risks. Such interventions have been too little, too late or, more commonly, are non-existent.

The story of the Hairy rhino, told here from a Malaysian perspective, can help to inform governments on how to prevent further megafauna extinctions, through targeted interventions for population recovery.

A Taxonomic Guide to the Stick Insects of Peninsular Malaysia Vol. 1

This volume is the seventh in a series of Taxonomic Guides to the Stick Insects of South East Asia and the tenth book on stick insects by the author. It is the third book by the author on the stick insects of Peninsular Malaysia. The present book is different from the authors first two books on Peninsular Malaysian stick insects. This present book follows the concept of the first six volumes by the author in this series: which are A Taxonomic Guide to Stick Insects of Borneo (2016), A Taxonomic Guide to Stick Insects of Borneo Volume II (2017), A Taxonomic Guide to Stick Insects of Singapore (2017), A Taxonomic Guide to Stick Insects of Sumatra Volume I (2018), A Taxonomic Guide to Stick Insects of Borneo Volume III (2019) and A Taxonomic Guide to Stick Insects of Sumatra Volume II (2020). This seventh volume is once again lavishly illustrated with beautiful colour photographs of the various species of stick insects being discussed in the book. This book enables anyone with any interest in stick insects to be able to identify any stick insect one may come across in Peninsular Malaysia. This is possible by the use of the carefully constructed keys or with the help of the numerous colour photographs of all described species of Peninsular Malaysian stick insects.

This latest volume, A Taxonomic Guide to Stick Insects of Peninsular Malaysia Vol 1 (2021) lists 14 new species, two new genera, ten lectotype designations, one neotype designation, seven new specific synonyms, eight revised statuses, three new combination names as well as the description of the unknown sex of five species. The number of recognized species in Peninsular Malaysia stands at 136.

This latest publication on the phasmid fauna of Peninsular Malaysia, extends our knowledge of the stick insects of the whole of South East Asia. It will enable conservationists, entomologists and amateur enthusiasts world-wide to better identify, understand and study these insects. Efforts to plan for their conservation as well as for the preservation of their habitats will therefore be achieved in a more scientific way.

Malesian Orchid Journal Vol. 25

The Malesian Orchid Journal, an annual publication, will publish scientific and semi-popular articles on the taxonomy, ecology and conservation of the native orchids of the Malesian—the area formerly known as the East Indies. Malesia traditionally comprises the Philippines, Sundaland (Malay Peninsula, Greater Sunda Islands (Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Sulawesi), Lesser Sunda Islands (e.g. Bali, Lombok, Komodo, Sumbawa, Flores, Timor), and Papuasia (Maluku, New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago, but excluding Bougainville). Many of the world’s biodiversity hotspots are located in Malesia. The flora may be represented by as many as 30,000 flowering plants, including 6000 native orchid species in 200 genera. Approximately 3000 species are recorded from the island of New Guinea alone, while Mount Kinabalu on Borneo, an area of only about 1200 km2, has 850 taxa of orchids in 137 general.

Labuan 1947: The Recollections of Robert Knowles

This book is based on a manuscript presented to the Sabah Museum in 1995, almost fifty years after the events, written by the late Robert Knowles recording his recollections and experiences, after arriving with his wife and two young children, on the island of Labuan, British North Borneo, in July 1947. Knowles, who had previously served in Colonial East Africa, joined the Government Service of British North Borneo as a Customs Officer and Labuan was his first posting. The Japanese Armed Forces had occupied Labuan and all British and Dutch Borneo in early 1942 and remained there until driven back by the Allies in 1945. In 1947 Labuan, like the rest of North Borneo, was still reeling from the deprivations of the occupation and the destruction of infrastructure caused by the Allied counter offensive. Knowles gives a vivid account of the difficulties he experienced carrying out his duties while at the same time providing for the needs of his two children after his wife had to be sent to Singapore for protracted medical treatment. Knowles, a keen amateur photographer, recorded some of the existing infrastructure and the improvements that were being made, particularly the development of the military airstrip at Labuan to serve as the international airport for North Borneo, Brunei and Sarawak for the next decade. The book is illustrated with 67 photographs taken by Knowles.

Pelagus National Park

Pelagus, located along the middle reaches of the Rajang River, in central Sarawak, was gazetted as a National Park in the year 2009. It covers an area of circa 2,041 hectares of pristine and old secondary forests, the latter being reminders of logging activities from the early 1960s. Here, at the heart of Sarawak’s Iban country, visitors can spend a leisurely day or two, walking on some of the nature trails, while on the lookout for birds, frogs and mammals, and enjoying calls of gibbons and hornbills.

Remains of a former luxury resort lend a curious twist to the place, the abandoned structure overlooking the mighty rapids and witness to numerous tragedies involving boats crashing on the rapids. Legends from nearby longhouses say these rocks were formed by a mythological being killed by an Iban warrior, and local communities continue to make offerings to the Rapids to this day.

The current work presents results from a joint Universiti Malaysia Sarawak and Sarawak Energy Berhad project, bringing to the general public information on key groups of plants and animals of the Pelagus region. The goal is to provide information of our natural heritage to stakeholders, management authorities, naturalists, researchers and the general public.

Morning Glories of Thailand and Southeast Asia

Every Thai person, and a great many visitors to Thailand, knows what phak bung (ผักบุ้ง) is. This plant, ubiquitous throughout the Kingdom, is a kind of morning glory and as such phak bung is a worthy ambassador to introduce a large assortment of beautiful and interesting plants. Species classified as members of the Convolvulaceae are found all over the world in tropical and warm temperate climates including every ecosystem and habitat from temperate fields and meadows to ever-wet tropical forests, ocean beaches, dry deserts and high steppes. There are almost 2,000 species known. Thailand has a rich diversity of Convolvulaceae in its flora: there are 147 species documented within the Kingdom’s borders and new species are discovered every year. Some Thai species, like phak bung, are very abundant where people live; others are quite rare and found only in pristine natural areas. All of them are fascinating, many are beautiful, and each has a unique place in the natural world around us. Their stories are told here.

This book combines knowledge about Convolvulaceae from three people who specialize in botany and horticulture. These authors introduce you to the Convolvulaceae world-wide, as garden ornamentals, as food plants, in the unique cultural environment of Japan, and finally through a selection of the morning glories of Thailand. Many of the same species found in Thailand grow throughout Southeast Asia and this book is also a field guide to morning glories throughout the region.

Beautifully illustrated with colour photographs throughout there are also illustrations for horticultural practices and propagation techniques that were specially prepared for this book. In total all 27 genera of Thai Convolvulaceae are included and 80 selected species, including several of the rarest and some of the most beautiful among them

Vampire Moths: Behaviour, Ecology and Taxonomy of Blood-sucking Calyptra

The book is introduced with the author’s scientific odyssey in the quest for the secretive vampire moths, initiated more than half a century ago in Southeast Asia and nearby regions. The main part of the book presents a synthesis of three decades of research based mainly on his nocturnal field investigations in or near forest habitats. What would appear as perverted feeding habits in insects generally thought as gentle flower visitors are exposed as sophisticated adaptations developed in a select group of less than ten of the 180 000 known species of Lepidoptera. Calyptra’s unique skin-piercing blood-sucking methods are detailed in photographs and diagrams. The moths’ victims range from elephants and rhinoceroses, to tapirs, horses, cattle, deer and pig, and occasionally humans. Other aspects treated include distribution, behaviour, ecology, phenology, and physiology. An identification key facilitates recognition of all Calyptra species (not all are blood suckers), enhanced by illustrations and descriptions of moth adults, their caterpillars and host plants. The moths’ veterinary-medical implications are discussed in the light of their being among the largest of all blood-sucking insects, combined with their unorthodox mode to bleed their quarry. The book is rounded off reviewing the most probable scenarios of the moths’ evolutionary pathway into blood suckers, and added with a comprehensive list of the subject’s literature.

Birds of Malaysia in Watercolour: The Art of Choo Beng Teong

Birds of Malaysia in Watercolour celebrates Malaysia’s breathtaking avian biodiversity in art with a collection of exquisite paintings featuring 124 species of Malaysian birds by renowned artist Choo Beng Teong. Interspersed through the illustrations are short texts giving background to the pictures and information on bird species. A soaring exploration of our fascination with birds, Birds of Malaysia in Watercolour is testament to the ways in which the intense observation inherent in both art and science reveals the mysteries of the natural world. A must-have book for bird lovers, conservationists and appreciators of art.

Sabah From The Ground: The 2020 Elections & The Politics of Survival

Sabah’s 2020 election was Malaysia’s first pandemic election. While attention centres on the election’s impact on the spread of Covid-19, this collection brings together scholars, journalists and social activists who were on the ground in Sabah to analyse what happened, why and the broader implications of the outcome for Sabah and Malaysian politics. The book is the first in-depth study of a Sabah election. It is also multidisciplinary – with authors from different perspectives and the majority of authors from Sabah. Traditional explanations prioritise the role of the federal-state relationship in shaping Sabah politics. Sabah from the Ground challenges this paradigm, suggesting that politics in Sabah needs to be better understood as a reflection of conditions within Sabah – as Sabahans struggle to navigate and survive on Malaysia’s periphery.
Published by SIRD + ISEA

Pendatang Tanpa Izin di Sabah

Rakyat Malaysia, khususnya penduduk Sabah, mungkin ingin mengenang semula peristiwa yang berlaku lebih kurang 20 tahun yang lalu, di awal ambang millennium. Saya berharap selepas membaca buku ini, kita akan bermuhasabah diri, memberi lebih perhatian dan mempunyai pemahaman yang lebih baik mengenai satu isu yang sudah terlalu lama membawa begitu banyak kedukaan di dalam hati sanubari rakyat Sabah termasuk rakyat Malaysia yang menetap di Sabah.

Buku ini merupakan penghasilan semula koleksi laporan-laporan suratkhabar, gambar-gambar, dan rencanarencana penuh nostalgia dan bermakna yang dihasilkan sepanjang perkhidmatan saya sebagai Ketua Menteri Sabah. Buku ini akan mengetengahkan apa yang rakyat Malaysia, dan rakyat Sabah, dapat lakukan sekiranya ada kehendak politik dan yang lebih utama, keberanian untuk bertindak.

Rakyat Sabah, diterajui oleh pemimpin politik negeri ini, telah sekian lama berasa kecewa dengan pengabaian yang disengajakan oleh agensi-agensi penguatkuasa undang-undang ke atas kebanjiran pendatang asing tanpa izin di Sabah sejak lebih daripada 50 tahun yang lalu. Setelah berkali-kali diasak oleh ahli-ahli politik kita sendiri, akhirnya tertubuhlah Suruhanjaya Siasatan Diraja Berkaitan Pendatang Asing di Sabah (RCI) pada 6 September 2012, dan kemuncaknya ialah apabila Laporan Suruhanjaya (Laporan RCI 1 ) disampaikan kepada Seri Paduka Baginda Yang Di Pertuan Agong pada 21 Mei 2014.

Kini, enam tahun selepas terbitnya Laporan RCI tersebut, kebanjiran pendatang asing tanpa izin di Sabah terus menerus berlaku tanpa sebarang usaha untuk menghentikannya. Koloni setinggan haram terus tumbuh seperti cendawan selepas hujan. Sumber berharga negeri, air dan elektrik, berterusan dirompak tanpa mempedulikan undang-undang negeri ini, serta langsung tidak menghiraukan penguatkuasaan pihak berkuasa air dan elektrik negeri.

Mengapakah kita harus terus dibebankan dengan masalah yang tidak berkesudahan ini walaupun sudah begitu lama kita merayu, meminta malah memberi kata dua kepada Kerajaan Persekutuan? Malangnya, ketika kerajaan sedang sibuk mengenakan fasa pertama Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan (PKP) bagi membendung wabak COVID-19 daripada terus merebak, media melaporkan terdapat lebih 400 rakyat Filipina telah meninggalkan Sabah melalui laluan haram iaitu Jalan Tikus.

Siapakah sebenarnya yang bertanggungjawab sehingga menyebabkan terjadinya kebanjiran pendatang haram yang kita kenali sebagai ‘Ibu kepada segala masalah’ ini dan siapakah yang berkuasa untuk menyelesaikannya? Adakah Kerajaan Sabah ataupun Kerajaan Persekutuan? Adakah ini tanggungjawab pihak kerajaan tempatan? Ataupun pasukan keselamatan? Bagaimana pula dengan pemimpin politik kita yang telah kita pilih untuk mengurus negeri kita dan mewakili kita di peringkat persekutuan di Putrajaya? Atau adakah ini kesilapan diri kita sendiri sebagai rakyat Sabah, yang terus menerus memilih ahli-ahli politik yang menganggap tugas mereka hanyalah untuk bersuara ketika menjadi pembangkang tetapi menikus ketika memegang jawatan Menteri?

The Illegals in Sabah

Fellow Malaysians in Sabah, particularly fellow Sabahans, may want to reminisce what happened some 20 years ago, in early 2000. Hopefully, after reading this book, we all can self-reflect, be more focussed and have a better understanding, over a subject that had caused untold pain in the hearts of Sabahans including Malaysians who called Sabah home. It is the illegal immigrants or “the Illegals” in our midst.

Reproduced in this book is a touching and nostalgic collection of past newspaper reports, photos and articles published mostly during my two years as the Chief Minister of Sabah. This book will show what Malaysians, and what Sabahans, together, can achieve if there is the political will and more importantly, the courage to act.

Sabahans, spearheaded by our State political leaders, had long deplored the wilful neglect by our law enforcement agencies for the influx and massive presence of the Illegals in Sabah for over 50 years. The persistent nagging by our own politicians finally resulted in the establishment of a Royal Commission of Enquiry on Immigrants in Sabah (the RCI) on 6 September 2012, culminating with a Commission’s Report (the RCI Report1 ) presented to our King, His Majesty the Yang Di Pertuan Agong on the 21 May 2014. (RCI Report: p.4).

More than six years after the RCI Report was published, the influx of illegals into Sabah continues unabated and with total impunity. Illegal squatter colonies continue to flourish and expand by the day. Our State’s valuable resources, water and electricity, continue to be illegally connected with blatant disregard for the law, and with contempt for our Water and Electricity Authorities.

Why should we face such a never-ending problem after years of pleadings, representations and even ultimatums to our Federal government? Even right in the midst of the first phase of our recent imposition of the Movement Control Order (MCO) to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic, it was reported that over 400 Filipinos fled Sabah through the backdoor!

Who actually is responsible for causing and resolving this “Mother of all problems”: the influx of illegals into Sabah? Is it our State government and/or the Federal government? Is it the various local governmental authorities? Is it the various law enforcement authorities? Or is it our own political leaders whom we have voted in to run our State and to represent us in Kuala Lumpur, now Putrajaya? Could it even be us, fellow Sabahans, for repeatedly putting into office politicians who think their job is only to air complaints and to groan when in the Oppositions and be muted when becoming Ministers?

A Taxonomic Guide to the Stick Insects of Sumatra Vol. 2

This volume is the sixth in a series of Taxonomic Guides to the Stick Insects of South East Asia and the ninth book on stick insects by the author. It is the second volume to report on the stick insects of Sumatra. This book follows the concept of the first five volumes by the author in this series: which are A Taxonomic Guide to Stick Insects of Borneo (2016), A Taxonomic Guide to Stick Insects of Borneo Volume II (2017), A Taxonomic Guide to Stick Insects of Singapore (2017), A Taxonomic Guide to Stick Insects of Sumatra (2018) and A Taxonomic Guide to Stick Insects of Borneo Volume III (2019). This sixth volume is once again lavishly illustrated with beautiful colour photographs of the various species of stick insects being discussed in the book.

A Taxonomic Guide to Stick Insects of Sumatra Volume I (2018) listed 170 species, from 64 genera or subgenera, with 60 new species or subspecies and 4 new genera from Sumatra.

This latest volume, A Taxonomic Guide to Stick Insects of Sumatra Volume II (2020) lists 21 new species or subspecies, one new genus, the designation of 3 lectotypes, one neotype designation, one new synonymous genus, 9 synonymous species, 5 revised specific statuses, 20 new combination names, the description of the unknown sex of 7 species, and 3 new records for Sumatra. The number of recognized species in Sumatra listed stands at 190.

This latest research on the phasmid fauna of Sumatra, and indeed in the whole of South East Asia will enable conservationists, entomologists and amateur enthusiasts world-wide to better understand these insects and plan their conservation as well as the preservation of their habitats in a more scientific way.

Reflections of a Curious Victorian Lady in North Borneo: The Short Stories of Ada Blanche Pryer

This delightful and surprising book provides a window into the founding of Sabah through the eyes of a rather curious lady, Ada Blanche Pryer, who arrived in January 1884 as the wife of the first Resident of Sandakan. Ada is already well known by scholars of SE Asia for two earlier publications, the book A Decade in Borneo and her diaries, Mrs Pryer in Sabah, each of which extoled and tackled colonization through a different perspective from what we know from her contemporary white male adventurers. However, Ada also wrote numerous vivid articles and short stories some of which were published in the newspapers of the day but others, the short stories in particular, have never before been published. These writings were rooted in Ada’s passionate appreciation of the cultural complexities of Sabah’s east coast at the time of colonization, complexities that are now of more interest than ever to Sabah’s people themselves. Accompanied by maps, contemporary water colours and the author’s own prints, this book consolidates these hitherto unknown writings together, and provides the biographical context in which they were written. These articles and stories delicately reveal the colonial lifestyle in the town of Sandakan, the eccentricities of the members of her household, observations of native customs from travels into the interior, and life on a Bornean estate where her husband was pioneering plantation crops. She weaved her observations of native customs into her short stories about man/women relationships in the setting of Sandakan Bay where the beautiful raven-haired women although shy and ostensibly demure were able make their own choices in life just as she did.

[cg_accordion title="Who is Ada Blanche Pryer?"]

Ada Blanche Locke was born to middle class parents in Newport, Wales on 26 October 1855. Her father, an engineer and inventor at the Dos Nail Works in Newport, was well respected in his field and her mother was a member of close-knit enterprising family, the Thornes. Her father died when she was aged 11 and the family seemed well-cared for after his death. She was educated at a girls’ establishment equivalent to a Dame School and had sufficient income not to have to seek employment.

At aged 28, she received a proposal of marriage from a widower she barely knew, William Burgess Pryer, for which she would have to move from her comfortable Victorian existence to the frontier territory of North Borneo where her future husband was the chief administrator. They married in Singapore in 1883 and Ada came into her own in the newly established port town of Sandakan, becoming a prominent member of that society in a loving and caring marriage

Not having any biological children of their own, she and her husband “adopted” two local boys (Pongholo Stanislaus Dominic and Bunny Soo Ah Yin), parenting them through childhood and supporting their careers. She backed her husband in his ventures in plantation agriculture, in his squabbles with the less able British administrators who succeeded him, and expounded his conciliatory views on the infamous rebel Mat Salleh. Her husband’s illness later occupied much of her time culminating in his untimely death in 1899 after which she returned to live in England while remaining close to the “family” and the business interests she left behind. She died in 1916 and remembered in her will her relatives, her “children” and her business partners and advisers.