Augustine Jose Duna

Rest in Peace Sir

This week has not been a particularly good week for me as I had to say farewell to a comrade in arms. This blog of my farewell dinner before I left for Sri Aman Resident Office should have been up earlier but due to my hectic schedule in moving to my new station it just stayed unpublished. Now it saddens me to mix the events in this blog post as the late Mr. Augustine Jose Duna, the Director for Administration Unit, Chief Minister's Department, was laid to rest on 14th September 2009 after a long illness.

The late Augustine Jose Duna with his wife - the last I met him during REDEEMS 2009 Carnival on July 2009. He was lining up to welcome the Right Honourable Chief Minister. It was his trademark to be around in the midst of action - whenever there is an important official function (including unofficial ones) he would be on the ground to ensure that everything goes on well for the event management. Being the Director of the Administration Unit in the Chief Minister's Department is no easy task. One may assume that the official working hours is from 8:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m but the late Mr. Augustine goes beyond that most of the time, always seen in the office during weekends when there are many important events be it coordinating the State Disaster Relief Committee, Dewan Undangan Negeri Operations Room and even the State Election (Parliamentary and Dewan Undagan Negeri) Operations Room. He was also active in the Dayak Bidayuh National Association being the association's deputy, thus he would be present in most of the Bidayuh Cultural Events, including the Pesta Birimuh this year held in Serian. Puan Joyce has the Pesta Birumuh covered this year

I had met the late Mr. Augustine as early as 1994 (when I first joined service) when he was with the Ministry of Industrial Development, but maybe if I was to rewind the clock to just over a year ago, I can remember him organising an Appreciation dinner cum Farewell ceremony for me when I was transferred to Sri Aman. When I was serving the State Secretary, my welfare and the smooth administration of the State Secretary's Office was part of his Unit's responsibility. He made sure that I got the best support and speedy response from his office - sometimes with verbal approvals to overide the beauracratic processes - that was a high level of trust which I enjoyed which is to ensure schedules and targets are met efficiently. I returned that trust by making sure I do not take advantage of my position. During difficult times he would not let me carry the burden of responsibility alone and if its backup one needs, the late Mr. Augustine will be there for you - armed with whatever is within his jurisdiction to solve. He would be straightforward in his advice and what can be solved today will be handled today - a message he delivered again during my farewell dinner.

You do not get many fun and easy going Head of Deprtments who would mix and enjoy with the staff. During the Farewell dinner, the late Mr. Augustine rendered us a song too. Though he is known to be a strict administrator but when its time to mingle around, work related matters can take the backseat.

Funeral services for the late Mr. Augustine was held at his house

Paying the last respect during the church funeral service at St. Joseph Cathedral, Kuching

The late Mr. Augustine was a tough man and is known for his ability to handle many difficult situations, so when I received news that he was admitted into the Normah Specialist Centre, Kuching in mid August 2009, I thought he would be able to shake off the cold bug in a jiffy. He was supposed to visit his daughters in Australia a few days before but that never happened as he went into coma later in that month. I only got to know he was still undergoing treatment in early September and when I visited him he was already on life support.

The Lord is merciful and it was on the evening of 12th September 2009 that I recieved an SMS informing me that Mr. Augustine had left us.

I was lost for words, it was Honour to Serve together with you - Rest in Peace Sir.


Sad to hear of his passing. May his soul rest in peace.
Anonymous said…
i miss my uncle dearly..Thank you for posting
kym said…
i, on behalf of his family would like to say thank you so much for writing this blog. He was indeed a great person.. Thank u once again.