On Sept. 9, 2018 at about 2pm an electrical fire started at the Tioman Cabana. The weather was a beautiful clear day, and the light sea breeze carried the fire over to the neighboring Coral Reef.
By the time local fire fighters arrived, both Cabana and Coral Reef were burnt to the ground. We were lucky nobody is injured, only the buildings demolished.
Tioman Cabana was more than just a place to get an amazing burger or beach front accomodation. For many tourists and locals, it was better than home. The people there were more than just staff or workers, they are our family and friends. They exemplified island community and compassion, and have become known as the #1 business on Tioman because of their heart.
They don't just sell holidays. They teach you how to enjoy them. They organize and sponsor our annual surf event, beach cleanups, and island conservation programs. They live and share true island spirit, and true human passion.
Just hours after the fire was extinguished, Sham was sitting there with a smile while I tried to hide my tears. He had just lost his business, his livelihood, his baby. How could he smile? I asked.
Because he felt honored and loved by the support shown by the community. When the local firefighters failed to even show up, the locals made a bucket brigade and put out the fire. Tourists ran into his burning building and helped pull out surfboards and gear before it was burnt.
Even after losing everything, Sham feels better because he sees how much we all care for him and his business, our home.
We have watched these guys work damn hard for over 10 years to build Cabana into what it was. More than a structure, they built a home for all us wandering souls.
They gave us a place to laugh, cry, sing, fall in love, fall down, get back up, learn, share, grow.
That's worth more our heart than any money. Let's help rebuild the Tioman Cabana. Let's give back what little we can after being given so much by Sham, Azri, Dan, Apek and all the guys.