Special thanks to Life in Borneo for this report on our fundraising event last Friday:
BSBCC ‘Bear Necessities’ Fundraiser Event
Posted by Xander on November 20th, 2008 in Events, Wildlife
Friday, November 14th 2008 marks a historical and monumental day in which the first major collaboration between conservationists, several corporate companies and the government took place. The BSBCC (Borneo Sun Bears Conservation Center) Fundraiser Event was held at the Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa at 6.30 pm and it was attended by the Chief Minister of Sabah, Yang Amat Berhormat Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Datuk Masidi Manjun and Kota Kinabalu Mayor Datuk Iliyas Ibrahim.
It was a night equivalent of the Grammys night where all the distinguished guests and the socialites from all over Malaysia graced the event with their presence. The stage was set in an extravagant and picturesque manner identical to the forests of Borneo and the ambiance imbued throughout the grand ballroom was unlike any other.
An event as opulent as this would not be complete without the participation of celebrities, musicians and artistes. The hosts for the evening was television personality Daphne Iking, and actor/playwright/comedian Jit Murad. Also hosting was talented actresses Ida Nerina, Joanna Bessey, and Lina Teoh (Miss Malaysia World 1998 Winner, Miss World 1998 2nd Runner Up). Seeing these glamorous and talented people gracing the stage that night was indescribable and they made the whole event inordinate and ostentatious as it already were.
The show would not be complete without the talented and multifarious assortment of musicians that came on stage on that night. They started the evening with a performance by Amir Yussof, Rafique Rashid and Badar. They sang a song titled “Calling On You” which was specially written by Amir, a song beautifully composed for the Sun Bears. Rafique and Badar was also joined later by Albert Sirimal to perform a wonderful song called “House in Pooh’s Corner”.
The night didn’t end with there, more performances ensued the whole night including musicians like Roger Wang which did an acoustic piece of the song “Imagine” by John Lennon. One song which took the crowd into a very jovial mood was a ”re-write” version of the famous tune ‘Bear Necessities’ which was performed by Rafique Rashid and Roger Wang. All of the musicians that night was simply ingenious, exquisite and exceptional to say the least.
Also included as the highlights of the night, special auctions was held for the guests. Items included art pieces from exceptional and prominent local artists such as Mariana Musa, Wong Siew Lee, Wolf Sungmanitu Peters, Cede Prudente, Tony Gonzales, and Sarah Lim. Most art pieces such as the sculpture named ‘Obama’ from Wolf Sungmanitu Peters started the bids at MYR 1500 onwards. The highest bid made that night was Sarah Lim’s painting titled “Wake Up Call” which was around at MYR 40,000+.
All the proceeds that night including the auctions would go to the construction and maintenance of the BSBCC which will be situated at Sepilok. An infrastructure dedicated to keeping and studying the endangered Sun Bears, in which Borneo is its last hope for survival due to the fact that all over the region of South East Asia, their numbers are in fast decline.
Wong Siew Te, which is also known by some as the ‘Sun Bear Man’ took the stage and told tales of Cerah, a Sun Bear which is one of the bears under his care. Cerah means ‘bright’ in the Malaysian language. Executive Director of LEAP, Cynthia Ong also came on stage to show a planned infrastructure for the sun bears which is located near the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Center.
The MoU on BSBCC was signed by Laurentius Ambu of the Sabah Wildlife Department, Datuk Sam Mannan of Sabah Forestry Department and LEAP by Cynthia Ong and was witnessed by YAB Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman. In his speech, he also announced a government match of one to one on total donations.
It is a milestone event in conservation history for it is the first time such a major collaboration ever took place in Malaysia. An estimate of MYR 1.3 million was raised that night towards this project and it shows that cooperation between the conservationists, large corporate companies and the government is not only possible but also can be very overwhelmingly successful.
A night of elegance, cheers and jovial ambiance within a spectacular event all for a very important cause - the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center. With such a monumental event, it was also gracefully ended as all the artistes and musicians took center stage and sang, ‘Conviction of the Heart’.