About Me

I have done a lot of things in my life and have also worked in many different jobs to make a living and to experience life. This blog is just some of my musings, sometimes funny, sometimes inspirational, sometimes sad, sometimes angry, sometimes simple but all the time, it's just me.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Hearts of gold and Big Apple Donuts

Over the Labour Day weekend, my wife, a few friends and I went to Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah, Malaysia. I have been to Sabah numerous times for work since 1992 and have become quite familiar with it's development and politics.

(Before I go on to talk more about Sabah, I just want to be thankful to Mr V David, who has made Labour Day possible for all Malaysians and someone who I had the privilege to meet on numerous occasions in 1992 and 1993. For those not familiar about this great Malaysian leader, read Raja Petra's blog through this link :-

My first few trips to Sabah in 1992 were to cover the state elections that year, post elections and the huh ha the ensued after the elections. UMNO had just been formed in Sabah and put up a strong challenge to PBS who was then the state ruling party but opposition to the Barisan Nasional. Due to the politics of that time and the hoppers, the election saw PBS winning the seats only to see them loose by some hoppers who hopped over the Barisan Nasional.

It was an interesting trip for me as it allowed me to follow the politicians all over Sabah, into the cities, towns, villages and jungles. I have been to some remote areas of Sabah where even Sabahans have not been too. I have driven a four wheel drive over half collapsed bridge, I have gone off the road only to have someone wince me out.

Sabah was not a very developed state at that time but the heart of people was made of gold.

Kota Kinabalu was already quite large at the time but I am not sure if it was considered a city yet. I met with all the politicians and I correctly predicted the 1st UMNO chief minister although he was an underdog at that time. I also met with the great Kadazan leaders and drank with many village chiefs. I was presented with a old antique "parang" by a remote village chief in the jungles of the basin which I cherish until today. This was when I had my 1st Sabahan girlfriend (of course this was before I had met my wonderful wife and she is well aware of it), this was when I broke my ribs, this was when I first had pork ribs and frogs legs (vegetarian of course), this was when I first truly felt love from a non-family member, this was when I felt my heartbroken and many things. This was a trip where a young man turned to become a matured man.

My second few trips to Sabah was in 2001, this was when I was doing a IT project for Sabah Land and Survey department. This time, nearly 9 years after UMNO had taken over the state, I was surprised to see the level of development especially in and around Kota Kinabalu.

The state or at least the city had transformed significantly and I was loving it. One thing that did not change was that the people, they still had a heart of gold.

This time too my colleagues and I travelled as extensively as our rented Iswara would take us, this of course did not include deep jungles and dirt roads but nevertheless, we travelled quite extensively as well.

Sutera Harbour was already built, Karambunai resort was developed and things were looking up. This was when Long Island Iced Tea was our drink of choice in Shenanigans or KK's. This was the time when the waterfront was being developed.

My most recent trip to KK, just a 2 night trip over the long weekend, was again interesting because again I was surprised to see how much more Kota Kinabalu has evolved into a resort city, more hotels, more restaurants including Big Apple Donuts and all types of international cuisine, more use of the waterfront, more shopping areas and upcoming shopping areas like One Borneo and Sutera KK, clearing up of the old boat dock area where you would take trips to the islands and re-development of the old Jesselton Quay and many other areas of development.

Again one thing that did not change was the people, whose hearts are still made of gold.

Now, why can't Miri "Resort" city be more like Kota Kinabalu, a true resort city. I think it is a shame to pride oneself as a resort city when the state of the city is quite an embarrassment. I would not be picking on Miri if it just stuck to the old name and called itself Oil city, because that's all it is.

The only resort in Miri, the Marriot does not even have a beach. The long waterfront is so under utilised. Miri to me is just a small oil town, a little bit of a cowboy town, with prostitution openly everywhere (it exist everywhere but I have never seen it so prevalent in other Malaysian cities), nightlife that is filled with dangdut bars with scantily clad Indonesian girls and other nightlife that is filled with smoke and ruffians, shopping malls that look like a blast from the past, the only cinema infected with rats, luxury apartments that do not come with a gym or swimming pool, haphazard construction.

There are some good things about Miri but for it to truly become great, it needs some vision and goals and someone to take action.

I would gladly offer myself to become a Miri planner or even mayor, but alas, as a Peninsula Malaysian, I require a work permit to work in Sarawak and do not qualify to be the mayor or town planner.

Nevertheless, I have met many people here whose hearts are also made of gold. I do hope that these people will stand up and hopefully, be the future leaders and do something about Miri so that we all can proudly call Miri a resort city and not snicker at the moniker.

Maybe Miri will even have a Big Apple donut shop here one day. But for now, a big thank you to my dear friend Blossom for getting me a dozen Big Apple donuts since I did not manage to bring some back. I am truly grateful.

Take care and be well.

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