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Sole world traveller touched by support
Published on: Sunday, July 16, 2017

Labuan: The 70-year-old sole traveller, Jonathan Selby, who is crossing continents in a handmade boat, received overwhelming support from Labuanites upon arriving here last Monday.

Local, Asmad Dobi, voluntarily helped to make adjustments on the motor of his house-like boat so that it could move deeper in shallow waters.

"I was struggling to do it with my old rusty handsaw…but five minutes later here, Asmad and his friends helped me to chainsaw a part of my boat for adjustments.

"I have posted this in a video on my Facebook and I have put up a new slogan for their noble gesture in helping me out as 'They get the job done in Labuan!" he said.

Selby, who prefers to be addressed as Uncle Jon, was also surprised when he passed a foreshore seafood restaurant and was instantly recognised by customers there.

"They recognised me from way down here. I did not think I was that famous," he said, while receiving a special treat of a seafood dinner from the restaurant owner.

He also posted on his Facebook page saying he needed some assistance in getting fuel and a local here immediately responded.

One of the locals, Darlene Clement, became his personal tour guide. She brought him to local historic sites while others helped fix his boat. Darlene and the Director of National Unity and Integration Department (JPNIN) Labuan, Mimie Duasah, then proceeded to help him with his immigration affairs to ease his journey.

"Malaysians are kind and generous in helping me, particularly buying fuel for my boat, providing food and accommodation when I stopped by at some places in Sabah and now in Labuan.

"I am deeply moved by this special treatment and in ensuring my immigration matters are attended to," Selby said.

On the last two nights of his four-day stay here, he docked his boat at Kampung Patau-Patau and was offered free accommodation at the Patau-Patau Homestay by the locals.

Locals also provided him with provisions, food and gifts to bring along his journey.

"Thank you Labuanites but I can't carry anymore gifts!" said Selby, in his Facebook posting, and attached a picture of all the gifts given by the islanders.

After finishing his conquest in Borneo, Selby will continue his journey to Indonesia before proceeding through the Malacca Strait up to Thailand, India and the Middle East until he decides his next destination.

"There are indeed many good people in this world who are willing to offer help regardless of race, religion and origin," Selby said. - Iffah Dilaney

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