TOURING BORNEO

Thinking about bringing your band to tour Southeast Asia?

How about BORNEO?

We have hosted a few DIY punk bands in the past, but not many since Borneo has always been the ‘side-dishes’ in the touring circuits of DIY (and non-DIY) bands, never as the main course. Understandably, from the small towns that we have here. Borneo is indeed a seldom-trodden path in the touring circuits.

The DIY hardcore punk community in Borneo, much like everywhere else in this region or others, are gaining some undercurrent momentum. Kids with studded jackets and spiky mohawks are an ubiquitous spectacle all around the world. It can even be argued that punk for kids here, meant even more than for the kids dwelling in punk’s place of origin, such as the case in Indonesia. Borneo, a land characterised by their history of headhunting, tribal tattoos, dense forest (well, before they were logged heavily by timber tycoons) and interesting wildlife (well, before they were hunted by poachers) has proven itself as one of the fertile ground for independent music scene, punk or otherwise. We humbly think that the prime time for the DIY music scene in Borneo and around the world is NOW.

If you are looking to play at somewhere that is seldom being granted a visit by touring bands, Borneo is the place to be. We have recently (as of the time of writing) established a space called Phantom Limb, tucked not faraway from the city of Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo, which is able to host touring bands as a venue to perform, a place to crash and a meeting point for individuals around the world with similar passion for whatever- DIY hardcore punk.

We can’t promise any payments or flight tickets but we can provide our Borneoan hospitality, floor to crash and food & drinks to be shared. Come with an open mind and a free spirit: that is all we ask for.

Contact us at:  midinrecords(at)gmail(dot)com

More on Phantom Limb here.

A LESSON IN GEOGRAPHY: KNOWING BORNEO

Borneo2_map_english_names.svg

(Map stolen from Wikipedia page on Borneo)

Three countries share the island/”continent” of Borneo, which once became a major contention for ownership by various colonial powers: Indonesia (largest land mass), Malaysia and Brunei. Provinces in the Indonesian side (known collectively as Kalimantan) are usually referred to it’s orientation- whether it is at the North, (Kalimantan Utara or Kalut?) West (Kalimantan Barat, or Kalbar), East (Kalimantan Timur or Kaltim), Middle (Kalimantan Tengah or Kalteng) and South (Kalimantan Selatan or Kalsel). On the Malaysian side, the land are divided between two states: Sabah and Sarawak. And there’s Brunei. The punk scenes here, as far as we know, denoted by the existence of bands, has established sometime around the 90’s. There is of course the cyclical ups and downs, but from what we observe, it looks like it is going up again, judging by the amount of shows that are popping up regularly across Borneo.

People are of various faith, predominantly Islam and Christianity, but there are other traditional pagan beliefs that are still practiced in small pockets here and there in Borneo. The ethnicity of the people here is also various, as there are also sub-sub-ethnic of each categorised ones- it’s best not to bother about that one- we are all the same. Most of the Borneoans can understand English, which a majority of them could speak and converse in English- or you can learn the local language.

TRANSPORTATION

Flights are available from Malaysian Airlines, Airasia, Royal Brunei Airlines. Domestic flights are relative to the country it is in- you can fly from one place in Malaysia Borneo to another in Malaysia (with higher frequency of flight perday) compared to to/fro flight from Borneo locality under different nation but you can’t fly to Indonesia Borneo from Malaysian Borneo. For example, there is no flight from Sabah and Sarawak to any parts of Kalimantan, once-a-day flight to fly to/fro Kuching-Pontianak but there is also the option of travel by bus, which we would talk about in a short bit.

Good news is, there is a few international airports with direct flights from foreign countries straight to Borneo:

1) Kota Kinabalu (Sabah, Malaysia)

Shenzhen (China)
Hong Kong
Jakarta (Indonesia)
Clark (Philippines)
Singapore and;
Taipei (Taiwan)

2) Kuching (Sarawak, Malaysia)

Singapore

Kuala Lumpur

Pontianak

3) Pontianak

-TBA- researching

4) Brunei

Hong Kong

Melbourne (Australia)

Surabaya (Indonesia)

Jakarta (Indonesia)

Dubai (United Arab Emirates)

Travelling by land, as expected, takes up time, but offers an opportunity for sightseeing. Some part of Borneo is still covered in pristine jungle with various unique flora and fauna. And waterfalls and rivers you can swim in. Travelling by land is impossible for a certain destinations (depending where to and where from)- so you might have contact us if you are planning for a full-on Borneo tour. A small example: There are bus services from Kuching to Pontianak (vice versa), crossing the international border, but there is no accessible road from Kalbar (say, from Pontianak) to Kaltim (say, to Balikpapan). Or this: there is no direct road from Kuching (Sarawak) to Kota Kinabalu (Sabah) without passing the Bruneian border, TWICE.

Some land travelling are by regular bus services which travels a few times a day. Some needs ad hoc chartering. Some needs more planning and might need a boat ride or two in between. It depends.

What else?

FOOD:

Vegetarians/vegan food are available at urban city areas. Borneoans are meat eaters, so outside the city… you will get something to eat, but you can’t be picky. We have great tempes and tofus. There are a handful of vegetarian shops in Kota Kinabalu and in Kuching.

ACCOMMODATIONS:

Floors or hotels. There are cheap and expensive hotels if you don’t like floors. No problem. Quality according to how much you pay. Lonely Planet should have info on that. There seems to be a lot of people offering their couch at Couchsurfers too, but Phantom Limb also welcomes friendly (punk or otherwise) visitors too to share stories, drinks and food.

That is all for the time being.

More info, email us at: midinrecords(at)gmail(dot)com