11 May 2010

My Personal Tribute: Sandakan The Nature City

I reported to work on May 12, 2007 and that was exactly 3 years ago today. This entry is my personal tribute to Sandakan -The Nature City.

SANDAKAN is the district that I’ve been staying in for 3 years now and the place that I have actually grown quite fond of. Being the very last district that I had set my foot into, little did I know I’d be posted to work here up until today.

Contrary to what most people might believe, Sandakan is actually quite a sprawling city and it is said to be the second largest town in Sabah after, of course, the mother city Kota Kinabalu. But if the city of Kota Kinabalu is not made of a combination of those smaller townships such as Inanam, Donggongon and probably Putatan, Sandakan would have simply outsized it hands down. Sandakan town is at least, Sandakan as a whole.
The only thing that makes Sandakan smaller in the eyes of most people is probably its places of interest or rather the lack of it. I mean, for some reason, people don’t really come down to Sandakan town centre. I don’t even go there unless I really have to.
Most of the locals would prefer to do their businesses on the ‘satellite’ townships such as Bandar Kim Fung of Mile 4 and IJM New Township of Mile 5. These so-called satellite towns have got just about everything that the city center has.
Oh well, when Kenny Sia blogged about his visit to Sandakan and how he described Sandakan as under-developed for the inexistence of high-rise buildings, rest assured for him now that the new 26-storey building right in the middle of the town center is very much now under construction.
Upon completion, this building would for sure be higher than any building in HIS Kuching or at least equalizes the Wisma Sanyan in Sibu, which is the tallest building in, again, HIS Sarawak.
Being the capital city of Sabah before the current KK, one has to expect Sandakan as a town with a very long history. Sandakan has quite a number of attractions, be it in terms of historical places or wildlife sanctuaries. When a friend of mine and his wife came down to Sandakan a few weeks ago, I was quite dumb-struck when he hopped into the car and said ‘Show me what Sandakan has to offer’.
I was suddenly put into a situation where I had to do my own pick. After having Nasi Kuning for breakfast at one of only a few Malay restaurants in Sandakan that I frequently visit, I took them over to Sandakan War Memorial Park.
Being the exact location of the detention center for Prisoners of War (P.O.W) during the War II, it was probably the only place in Sabah that ‘had seen it all’. It was here where the Japanese showed to the world how they were in for a serious business. The POWs, mostly from Australia and British, were tortured what could have been beyond our imagination nowadays.
I can’t help not to tell you this, but it is said to be one of the most haunted places in Sabah. A friend of mine who was staying very much in the vicinity told me how he kept seeing people in army uniforms marching around in the park. Oh well, there were a lot of other sightings he is actually thinking of selling the house out. Interested?
Errrr, I hate to tell you this because I am not really a paranormal freak but there was one time when I took another friend of mine for an evening walk here when I suddenly saw something like a plump of smoke that took the shape of errrr, somebody, flew its way past me. It was so obvious I actually shivered and returned home falling sick for at least the next 4 days.
Out of the haunted POW World War II campsite, we drove over to one of the most visited places in Malaysia, right here in Sandakan, the one and only Orang Utan Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre!
We were there during a school holiday so Sepilok as expected was swamped out with visitors. All of them were eager to watch the world renown Orang Utans. But it was just an unlucky day for them. Those orangs wouldn’t show up.
I had never seen the rangers to be so frustrated in any of my visits before.The culprits?
These ‘other visitors’ came to conquer the stage, scarring the core actors and actresses away.
Seriously, I could have gone up there and strangled each of them to death. Grrrr!
To tone down the frustration that was intensifying among the visitors, some of the Orang Utans had to be dragged in.
Oh well, some of them didn’t quite have the right size to take to the center stage and had preferred to stay off the stage as onlookers.
Feeling quite frustrated, we made our way back to the exit when there was no sign of the hairy beasts to show up at all. Oh well, Sepilok is probably one of the only few places where you get to see mat salleh work as volunteers. I don’t blame them. Our local people simply don’t work for free.
After taking them to check in at the hotel and to have lunch later, I took them to the Pu Jhi Temple. I actually have blogged about this place right here before.
It really is a beautiful place to see the ‘gapping mouth of the dog’. Errr, just check out the map of Borneo Island and you’ll know what I mean.
When I first came to Sandakan three years ago, one of the very first things that I heard about was its famous ikan bakar (grilled fish). And it cannot be anywhere else but right here – Pasar Makan Sim Sim!
They say, your visit to Sandakan would never be complete if you didn’t get a taste of the famous Ikan Bakar in a place called Sim Sim. It was said to be ever more famous back in its heydays that people were queuing up just to get a SINGLE seat here.
The way I was told about it, whoever came to eat a grilled fish would keep wanting to cum back.
IT had actually remained so UNTIL this story about the well-known ulamak Dr. Fadzilah Kamsah’s visit to this place had spread mouth-to-mouth around. Story tells it that he hardly took a seat yet when he suddenly asked to be excused. What made him leave immediately?
Again, the story tells how he saw genies PEEING on each of the fish to make them taste ‘paranormally’ good.
Those genies were unseen to ordinary people and true enough, Dr. Fadzilah Kamsah, whom I am a big fan of too, is not just an ordinary person. Story tells it, again, that he sees things.. 
Oh well, people can say about anything. We can never be assured of the truth.
People can make up stories for whatever reasons. I REFUSE to succumb to any of them and WTH.
What we don’t see doesn’t really hurt us. Mind to tell you that you can have as much rice as you wish for free and those foods in the small plates are actually complimentary. All you have to pay for is the fish.
Oh well, they wouldn’t provide you with spoons and forks unless you insist to so you’d expect to get messy.
YUCKSSS! LOL! Having done with the grilled fish, there was at least one place that I wanted to bring them to before we called it a day.
Oh well, I have also blogged about it right here.
Located on the rooftop of Nak Hotel, it is probably the best place to get the night view of Sandakan town center.
Comfy couches, slightly windy but refreshing and a good 360 degree panoramic view of Sandakan Town Centre right down your nose, it gotta be the best combination to make your evening here in Sandakan more relaxing.
Returning to the hotel later, I let them took a decent night sleep before continuing the tour the next morning..

Follow me as we continues to our second day of exploring this wonderful town of Sandakan.. coming soon..


aud said...

Sandakan has so much potential, the town centre just needs something extra hopefully the new developments will achieve this.

Eeeee, this is the first time I heard about the 'genies peeing' story..you mean toyol kah? Haven't tried the ikan bakar yet.

Ba Lin! Love this place. (Jipp - ada typo, the hotel name is NAK hotel bah kan?)

Murphy said...

if i'm not mistaken, the volunteers in sepilok pay thousands of US dollar to work there. Yes, not only they work for free, they pay for working there!

i think u would agree that mat salleh loves our wildlife and nature more than sabahans do. when visiting the park, they pick up rubbish which is thrown by sabah people.

Kelvin said...

Dun like the idea of dragging the orang utan just to satisfied the "customers".

JIPP said...

thanks Aud, corrected [why the heck did i put nang? LOL]
Murpy: Ohh, didn't know they pay. But seriously, we are so thankful that they are here (at Sepilok). They really look like they do it with passion.
Kelvin: Errr, I wasn't actually sure if they did 'drag' the orang utans so for the visitors, but it appeared so but I can't be sure. :-)

kenwooi said...

sighs.. reading past those
paranormal paragraphs give me goosebumps.. haha.. i dont like it.. really.. =P

i've never been to east malaysia.. hopefully one day! =)

JIPP said...

haha. yaa, it's pretty scary huh? But that's what happened. It probaby is time for u to consider coming over Kenwooi. U see, we always look forward to see things (that are) far abroad but we miss what we've got. :-P

Matju said...

more info about Sandakan at http://sandakan2u.blogspot.com/

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