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happy days in Sabah in the 90´s – today these kids are effected by the clash between Malay military and Philippine militia – photographed by FREE LANCE television journalist Susanne.Haerpfer@bits.de

According to the Washington Post the Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah meets with President Obama at White House. 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obama-to-meet-next-week-with-bruneis-sultan-hassanal-bolkiah-at-white-house/2013/03/06/db3216e8-867e-11e2-a80b-3edc779b676f_print.html

„Sky falls“ over Borneo – 

military clashes take place right at the neighborhood of the Sultan of Brunei. 

Shell Brunei extracts oil from the South China Sea at the coastline of Brunei and Malaysia since centuries. There are still oil reserves estimated worth three trillion dollars. 

Fish for 100 million $ is caught by and for Japan. The last prestine rainforest is located in the disputed region. 

Shell Malaysia owns stakes of German and other European branches, thus Germans are directly effected of what is going on in Borneo – not only as tourists.

The area was given to the Sultan of Sulu as present in 1704. He rented it to the Austrian Baron Gustav von Overbeck. 

This may sound exotic but is of serious concern. The Malacca Strait is disputed by China, Singapore, Hongkong, Taiwan and Vietnam as well. Since spring last year US naval flleet came to help.  This was tight. Malaysia has calmed German public by announcing regularly the amount of piracy attacks were about to decline. Whereas the statement by the Malaysian representative at the satellite conference taking place in Munich in 2008 should have alarmed every country to the utmost: they were going to install a system enabling the control of who was going to be allowed to pass the Strait of Malacca and who was to be left out. This was nothing less than warning of closing down the free passage of the sea. 

Now the centre of interest is endangered from the landside in addition: Philippine militias intruded into an area that has been Malaysian over years: Sabah. 

In the 90´s I have been traveling in the Philippines (Luzon and Mindanao), Sabah and Sarawak, the Malay mainland up to Thailand as well as Brunei and its coastline. 

My photos and articles have been published by GEO special, Swiss magazine Facts, Frankfurter Rundschau, taz, Deutsches Allgemeines Sonntagsblatt, Neues Deutschland, Cosmopolitan, Natur, Zeit, Wirtschaftswoche and NDR television. 

Now I would like to report about the background of the conflict. Assignments and publishing agreements please contact me! Susanne.Haerpfer@bits.de

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Silk souvenir from travels in the region – ownership and photo: Susanne.Haerpfer@bits.de