Monday, June 28, 2010

Some Sights of Mukah

During a not-too-hot looks-like-its-going-to-rain-in-the-evening type of afternoon, I embarked on another 25 mins walking journey to the heart of Mukah town.  Mukah town is divided into two main part: the old town and the new town.

Here is a Chinese temple in the old town. It faced the river, hence must have quite good fengshui. Alas, no mountain nearby.


A chimney, the remnants of a sago factory, an artefact of a once flourishing sago trade. Now it is just a part of history and a place for parasitic plants to grow.


A fishy symbol to tell everyone that the seafood in Mukah is a must-try. The ‘batang Mukah’ or Mukah river is just behind the petrol station. You can imagine how fresh the fishes are…  


Hmm, maybe the colour of the river will make you think twice. But I’m pretty sure they caught the fish in the south china sea not very far away. 


Part of old Mukah. Well manicure shrubs, clean roads and colourful buildings.


Of course then there is the kampungs also. Just a reminder that Mukah is just being developed…


This is the boulevard that sort of separates Old from New. 


The I believed ‘was once beautiful’ garden parallel with the boulevard. Like many things in Malaysia, it was a victim of poor maintenance and left to flounder at the mercy of an unrelenting Mother Nature.


A quite big sized mosque with the hat-like top. A lot of buildings in Mukah have this kind of top. Most probably a symbol of this town.


A minaret/tower in the middle of a roundabout in front of the mosque. Mukah does not have a traffic light and no rush hour traffic. 


But they do have a big KFC and also a Sugarbun.


That’s all for an overview of the place I am going to stay for at least 2 years…

Sunday, June 20, 2010


There is this saying, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Assimilation is by no means easy, especially when I am now at a place where the people are predominantly Melanau. To my untrained ears, Melanau might as well just be an exotic foreign language. Ironic, to think in Sarawak we can find Japanese classes and not the Mother tongue of our local brethrens.

Today I made my first foray into the wet market in search of local delicacies. Tasting what they eat, I felt, is a good first step of understanding their culture. The market was situated next to the river, coloured a muddy yellow and dotted by wooden boats of various shapes and shades. Here fresh fish were found aplenty; once hauled abroad dry land they were deftly dealt with skilled knives and packed into transparent square containers. This is the famous local sashimi, fondly known as umai. 

A teary old man stood nearby, chopping onions into uniformed shreds. A younger one packed them into small plastic bags with a few slices of chilli, and tied it together with another plastic containing limes. This, together with a small jar of belacan, is a DIY umai kit. Not cheap too, the whole set costs me RM18.


Back home, I prepared the umai as instructed by the fish monger.  This is the result:


Fish sashimi with belacan enjoyed with my bittergourd fried rice. 


The taste? Heavenly. Succulent and chewy, with the natural taste of the sea. Comparable with the fresh salmon I had in Australia. Wonder why we all still go to sushi kings eating defrosted salmon rather than indulging in fresh fish available from our own backyard. Surely there exists tremendous market potential for this?

Anyway just to show you all where the pharmacy is relative to my house:

The pharmacy as seen from the doorstep of my house. Literally just a stone throw away. 


Vice versa, my house as seen form the front of the pharmacy. I lived in the top left hand corner of a quartered bungalow.  


The out-patient pharmacy


My shared office.


Looking forward to my second week in Mukah. Next step, learn the language. No, I’m not leaving here as the same whole pebble thrown into the stream as I’m now. By the time I leave, I vow, there will be ridges and crevices to hold the rich memories of the place.    

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Home in progress

And so I moved from the relative luxury of Kingwood Hotel


to this:


Moved into my quarters at last. Been busy the last few days buying things to make it liveable and also cleaning it.

Still only half done but here’s a few pictures of my new abode. Even though not as nice as Kingwood, it is not bad for RM125 per month with free internet. =p


Living room where cleaning is still in progress


Kitchen with the sink and stove


Food cabinet and fridge




Another bedroom. I got it all for myself =)


And here’s my first ever self cooker dinner here. Life is not bad in Mukah… what’s left to deal is TV, Astro, aircond and a car..

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A day at walk (Part II: Mukah)

Here’s some mukah pics. Just a sneak peak. More specific and in-depth posts in the two ensuing long years.

Mukah airport:


Kingwood Hotel, where I’m currently living comfortably in:


Modern concrete shop houses



Juxtaposed with quaint kampung houses: one for the human;


One for the sparrows.


My place of work,


and the facade of the 1 divided into 4 bungalow where I will be staying soon.


Mukah is, better than expected.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A day at walk (Part 1: Miri)

Today is not my ‘working day’ because it was considered as my ‘travelling day’ – a day given for me to get from where I was to where I am going to. It transpired to be a ‘walking day’ instead and indeed I do really ‘travel’.

The day started off with a plane trip to Miri. Reached there 8am. As the connecting plane to Mukah only flying off 1pm, I hopped into a taxi to have a quick tour of this oil rich city.

First stop: Miri City Fan. Beautiful scenery.



Walked pass Imperial Mall


and stopped for breakfast at a place called Hai-Ou cafe which was filled with lots of old people.


Some pictures of Miri Town



Me walking aptly in the middle of the road like a Teo Chew along Jalan Teo Chew,


Before I ended up shopping in Bintang Mall.


Around 1130am its back to the airport at last, where I enjoyed a last cup of modern sophistication


before going into this miniature plane.


What happened after that is another story altogether.

Oh by the way, the area enclosed in red is roughly Miri as I travelled it in 3 short hours of taking bus number 11.


I am impressed with myself ^^

Friday, June 04, 2010

Who is in the wrong? The other side of the coin

The most viewed story in The Star today is about the apathy of two petrol kiosk attendants, resulting in the indirect death of an accident victim. Read the whole story here.

To summarise, the kiosk attendants refused to lend out their fire extinguishers to a good Samaritan who desperately need it to rescue a girl trapped in a burning vehicle. Due to their actions, the girl was subsequently burnt to death.

It is not hard to predict some minister will speak up and condemn the attitude of the two attendants tomorrow and announce some form of retributions. In fact, netizens are already condemning them online. They are, without doubt, the villains in the news.

But will they actually analyse what is actually the root of the problem? Are the petrol kiosk attendants solely to blame? Or the kiosk owner who set the instructions “not to open the door after hours”? Or the thieves who frequently target these petrol stations, making the attendants suspicious to any claims or pleads?

My two cent’s worth on this is that this incident can be primarily attributed to a failure of communication – and with that, a failure to understand human nature on the part of the good Samaritan. It may sound nasty to be condemning a person trying to do the right thing, but we need to be level-headed here.

These are excerpts from his personal note about the incident, being posted on Facebook. You can feel his anger in the first line: FUCK BHP!!!!! FUCK BHP!!!

“then i shout at him, i need it! i want it! someone is pinned inside the car and its started to burn!”

“then i started to amuk kicking the kiosk and punching the glass of the kiosk.”

“Then i start shouting and yelling at them with bad words saying dat if the girl dies you two are the murderer.”

Predictably, “then the 2nd BHP attendant shout back at me.”

As pharmacists, we know that the first rule in dealing with an angry customer is don’t lose your cool at him. Getting angry with him would only make the situation worse. No one will cooperate and nothing will be done if both sides are angry and involve in a shouting match. I know the situation was desperate, but being angry will make it worse. Anger is a primitive action that will throw all reasons and rhymes out of the window. Our mind shut down. We are focused solely on who can shout louder and not on how we can reach a solution.

The good Samaritan also failed to see things from the viewpoint of the kiosk attendants. Remember the “boy who cried wolf?” They may have previous experiences where similar request resulted in their kiosk being robbed. They may have a boss who is fierce and lack understanding. Those who worked the midnight shift usually are sole breadwinners of their house and have hungry mouths to feed. They won’t risk a sacking for a tale they can’t verify as true when their family’s survival depends on them. He didn’t search for the primary reason for their refusal.

What the Good Samaritan should had done is to calmly reason with the attendant. He should had tried address their need, to allay their fears. It was also reported that “the attendant cannot see the fire.” As seeing is believing, he should have led the attendants to a vantage where the accident can be seen.  They will surely be more willing to help if they themselves can see the incident.

Perhaps this can be a lesson on human behaviour for the good Samaritan and all of us. A lot of people will scoffed that this is an emergency and that we have no time to think straight in one.  However, understanding human nature and learning how to adapt and response to reach a favourable conclusion is what we should had practiced everyday. By the time an emergency happens, it should had been a second nature.

The Good Samaritan should be commended for doing the right thing. The only regret is that if only he had done it the right way, the outcome just might had been different.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

A pause and a write

The scarcity and paucity of my writings can sole be attributed to one single demon: work.

Not that I don’t like work. In fact that is an understatement. Actually I loved my job – the adrenaline rush, the calamitous din, the smile at the end of the day – but like the sloughy tar tasty food can leave on your blood vessel – work clogged up whatever impetus and sapped up whatever energy I had left at the end of the day  to write. Hence the silence of the pen.

I am writing something now because I am in the middle of my 10 day holiday break. In fact by looking at my blogging trend, you can safely bet that if I had written something, I am having the day off and you can ask me out for coffee. I am currently recharging my battery for a longer journey into the wilderness of Sarawak, while constantly battering and smouldering the urge to go out for another yumcha session.

Going out with friends is fast becoming an addiction. The laughter, the gossips, the coffee till the night is old fueled the craving for more . They are dangerous because like an addict who ran out of more meth, they amplify the silence when you have none. Being alone becomes a torture, staying at home becomes a punishment.   But what should we do then, about the saying “enjoy it while it lasts?” Another silly paradox of life.

Can fate be changed twice? But before that, the question asked should be, is the fate you think is you fate is really your fate? Not long ago I was getting ready to go to NZ for further studies, but a sudden afternoon heat and a telephone call later, I ended up in Australia. This time I had a premonition that I will be going to Daro before it became true, but a morning breeze and a brief chat later, I was switched to Mukah. I survived Australia and enjoyed it thoroughly, and would that be the same with Mukah? And of course I will have to live with the constant niggling thought, would I had enjoy NZ even further? Ditto Daro? Really, the path not taken all over again.

Yesterday, I turned a quarter of a century old. For those who have taken the pain to organise and turn out for my birthday dinner, I say a big ‘Thank You’. Thank you all also for rummaging through your whole wardrobe for that piece of pink to wear. Pink is really really a nice colour and you are all really really nice people. =)



Ah, the plain pleasure of seeing English flowing beautifully from pen to paper, figuratively speaking; or from keyboard to computer screen, literally speaking. If only English is a maiden, she will be the most beautiful lady I had even known in the whole wide world.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010



好久没用华文书写了。忙碌无休的工作使我早已忽略了的汉字的美妙,忘了笔画的拿捏。 不知为何今日心血来潮,拿起了钢笔,抄写了一篇描述文,从新找回那些埋藏在脑海已久的回忆。写完后甚至有种津津自喜的感觉。



Whew, at last managed a decent three paragraph worth of Chinese characters. Not sure whether they make sense though. Nevertheless, am proud that I still can construct some sentences in Chinese. Happy. =)