Joanna Funk

music, gardening and my dog

Playing for Datuk CL Chan’s book launch – audio

I was so pleased to be able to play background piano for the book launch for Datuk CL Chan’s book ‘Family Ties’, which is a history of five generations of his family, from their journey from China to Sandakan to Kota Kinabalu.

Datuk Chan is the founder of Natural History Publications (Borneo) and he published my book SabahSong: Contemporary Music in Sabah. So it was very special for me to be able to play for his personal book launch.

Datuk CL Chan signs copies of his book ‘Family Ties’ 📷 Stephanie Wee

The event was at the Hyatt Regency, it was an elegant, very well-attended private event for family members — many of whom had flown in from other parts of the world — and close friends. Senior family members made speeches, as did eminent members of Sabah societies associated with flora and fauna, and history, who have worked with Datuk Chan over his long career as owner of publishing house Natural History Publications (Borneo). This includes Prof Datuk Dr Danny Wong (the go-to historian for information about North Borneo). Yap is taking me to his event: The Name of Sabah: the Shaping of a Sabahan Identity next week. I’m really looking forward to that!

The book is beautifully bound, three big volumes, with gorgeous calligraphy done by a local artist, who was at the launch. Right at the end of the presentation of his book to family members and others, the Datuk even had a book for me. Here I am going up to receive it.

Photo courtesy of Dtk CL Chan
Receiving my copy of ‘Family Ties’, photo courtesy of Dtk CL Chan

I’m going to figure out how to get it back to Australia, since it weighs almost six kilos! I will probably ship it. Even though it’s written in Chinese and I can’t read it, there are thousands of old photographs of Sandakan, some which have not been published before, and I know that will be great to have. SabahSongs is also mentioned in the third volume, which recalls many of the publisher’s book launches over several decades.


Here’s a little audio from the end of the event, when people are eating and mingling. Occasionally someone speaks with me, but I can’t say I’m much good at playing and chatting at the same time! I must work on that! At the end Yap rocks up and asks me if I want to eat, and I can wrap up because it’s past 5.00 pm. I could have edited that out, but it’s nice to keep things real.

Playing background piano for the event 📷 Stephanie Wee

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About Joanna

Joanna is British Australian. Her early career was in financial news in London. That ended in 2008. Joanna moved to Sabah, her parents’ birthplace, where she wrote a blog about musicians, which became a book. Joanna came to Australia in 2012 and started this blog — her second. These days, she writes mostly about music, her garden, and trips to Sabah. Oh, and Wookie the Havanese.

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