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Choo Tse Chien | profile | all galleries >> View My Galleries Here >> An Island Off Semporna, Sabah tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

An Island Off Semporna, Sabah

A tropical island paradise for most of us viewing this on broadband but the grass is always greener on the other side.

Imagine if you were born and marooned on an island barely 6 hectares in size and barely 2 meters above sea level.....

Surrounded by warm tropical turquiose & azure sea.....
A crystal clear coral reef chock full of Giant Clams, Soft Coral, colourful Parrotfishes, Clownfishes & Anemone at your doorstep....Giant Starfishes, Sea Urchins & Sea Cucumbers lie in the shallows.

Now, imagine if the island has no source of freshwater...
and no form of any basic sanitation or sewerage...
nor is there any power or electricity...

Now Imagine if you and your family are Stateless....
and you and your family have no access to Education and are thus unable to read, write or count.
Nor do you or your family have any access to Basic Healthcare
...none of you have been vaccinated
nor can any of you receive treatment for any ailments or injuries.
Expectant mothers have no prenatal checkups or nutrition.
Babies grow up into children without any advanced infant DHA formula.

and that your daily existence is hand-to-mouth because of lack of refrigeration & storage. What you catch in the morning is food on the table for the day. A storm or choppy seas could mean several days of starvation (we city folk call it "fasting").

To make things worse....you stay on private land and constantly face the danger of Eviction. Because you are Stateless, you are very much at the mercy of "circumstances", all of it well beyond your influence & control.

Imagine that you and your family earn an average of USD 25.00 a month. Now imagine if your family keeps expanding.

Imagine if all that were True.....because it is.

And yet, I have seen more Contentment & Happiness in the expressions of the young. It is a place where the value of currency & material possessions are diminished (down to perhaps their truthful value). It is a place where companionship & comradeship are deemed more important than currency because it truly takes Teamwork to survive in an environment as marginal as this. There is no place for politics, bickering and pettiness.
Child Of The Seas - a young Sea Bajau girl.
Child Of The Seas - a young Sea Bajau girl.
Wandering The Day Away
Wandering The Day Away
If I told you that this is Moonrise, would you believe it?
If I told you that this is Moonrise, would you believe it?
Harvesting Sea Urchins For Dinner
Harvesting Sea Urchins For Dinner
Moonrise On A Coconut Grove
Moonrise On A Coconut Grove
Seagrass Garden Of The Sea Bajau
Seagrass Garden Of The Sea Bajau
Seagrass Garden Of The Sea Bajau
Seagrass Garden Of The Sea Bajau
Fun With Giant Starfish
Fun With Giant Starfish
Fun On An Outrigger Canoe
Fun On An Outrigger Canoe
Monkeying Around In The Azure Ocean
Monkeying Around In The Azure Ocean
Raised Houses Of The Suluks
Raised Houses Of The Suluks
Children Of The Sea Bajau
Children Of The Sea Bajau
Houses On Stilts At Sunset
Houses On Stilts At Sunset
Spider Conch
Spider Conch
Sandflats At Low Tide
Sandflats At Low Tide
Sea Bajau Children
Sea Bajau Children
Not In Picture : Malnourishment & Lack Of Basic Healthcare & Education
Not In Picture : Malnourishment & Lack Of Basic Healthcare & Education
Nomadic Lifestyle Of The Sea Bajaus
Nomadic Lifestyle Of The Sea Bajaus
A Scorching High Noon Moon
A Scorching High Noon Moon
Mr. Sandman
Mr. Sandman