Archive for the across the South China Sea Category

Weekend artist-wannabe

Posted in across the South China Sea, arts on July 28, 2012 by twotwoeight

20120728-094227 PM.jpgI fell in love with Coplu’s work after seeing it for the first time. The bright colours and simplicity of the subjects speak volumes and somehow, you will find yourself drawn to it. And since I can’t afford to own a Coplu in the next many many years, I resorted to painting one of my own. They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery, no? 😉

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Besides, I can’t think of a better way to kill time here! 😉 Fingers are still a bit rusty…I haven’t held a paintbrush in many many years.  I can still recall my first set of real paintbrushes — a set of 4 black brushes that my sister and I both had.  Wow…that was a long time ago.

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Hehe, and now I have my own “Coplu” sitting on my table!  Am glad that the weekend has been fruitful…maybe it’s time to rekindle my love for the arts.

Have a good Sunday everyone! 🙂


A weekend touristy-trip to Sibu

Posted in across the South China Sea, gastronomical delights, professional tourist in the making, Sibu, through the lens on July 10, 2012 by twotwoeight

Sibu is about an hour’s drive away from Sarikei and it’s where one goes to stock up on groceries, to eat McDonalds (have yet to do that!), maybe for a spot of retail therapy and to satisfy cravings for Japanese food or other more fanciful cuisine!

So when Joyce dropped by for a visit, it was only fitting that we paid Sibu a visit.  The drive there was pleasant although a little bumpy. We met up with Arthur at Noodle House after we checked in.  Arthur was kind enough to bring us to buy the famous Foochow red wine and after he led us to Sungai Merah, we roamed around on our own.

Spent a bit of time at the Wong Nai Siong Memorial Park and the surrounding area at Sungai Merah. The memorial park was much smaller than I expected though, but I was fascinated with a row of shophouse there and the way the reflections played on the river.

We drove back to the town centre and proceeded to roam the sights and embark on the “food trail” I had planned.  If you asked me to describe Sibu in one word, I would say colourful!

The multi-coloured buildings make even snaking around in back alleys a source of surprise, discovering hidden Kodak moments.

Of course, back alleys are always where good food is hidden!  We stopped for ding bien hu, which has been described by some as ‘sick-people-food’…but I love it.

After lunch, we walked towards the waterfront area where the Tua Pek Kong temple was…

and the port area which was bustling with comings and goings of people and cargo.  The signboards on the boats make them appear as though they are floating coffee shops…which is kind of a cool idea, I thought.

One of the famed swan statues of Sibu is also located nearby…and if you’re wondering why swans are associated with Sibu,  it was believed that once upon a time, swans saved the people here from famine.

We ducked into a cafe called The Ark for some air-conditioning and had the pork satay and fried beehoon with cangkuk manis which was nothing to shout about, but at least it provided respite from the blistering heat!

After that, we walked to the Sibu Heritage Centre which was right in the middle of the town centre — there was a display on the history of the people of Sibu on the upper level, but otherwise quite deserted.  If you were wondering why they dedicated a memorial park to Wong Nai Siong, then you will be able to learn about his significance and role here.

We enjoyed dinner with Arthur, his wife and his friend at Ruby Restaurant — of course we had the midin and cangkuk manis 🙂

After dinner, we went to the night market but there wasn’t much to see, probably because it rained heavily that evening, so we dropped by Payung Cafe for a snack!

The next morning, we rose bright and early (early by my standards anyway…) as breakfast was beckoning! Kuay chap!!!  Complete with all kinds of porcine spare parts you can think of — super-duper yummy!!!

After a satisfying breakfast, we went to the Central Market as my friend had a worm craving!  Although the market was crawling with people, it was worth the visit as there were plenty of interesting wares for sale — the most unique being the tamu section of the market.

And of course, the main agenda for the trip…the sago worms! *shivers down my spine* — nope, even if nobody likes me, I’m not gonna eat some woooorrrrrms!!!

With the worm-eating out of the way, we left the market and walked towards the Rejang Port Authority and Museum Memorial Hospital area.

After that, it was one last kampua noodle and pien seep (I still can’t figure out how this is different from our wantans…) for lunch, and then it’s time to say bye-bye to Sibu…for now!

A nice relaxing call-free weekend.  Definitely will be back for more explorations and eating expeditions. 🙂

This is my temporary home…

Posted in across the South China Sea, doctoring tales, professional tourist in the making, Sarikei, through the lens on July 7, 2012 by twotwoeight

it’s not where I belong,

windows and rooms, that I’m passin’ through,

This is just a stop, on the way to where I’m going…

– Carrie Underwood

I hear this song almost every night as I doze off as I haven’t gotten around to making a new jukebox CD and radio channels here are limited.  Funny thing is, this immediately came to my mind, when I sat down to write a little about Sarikei.  Maybe because this is precisely what Sarikei is to me now, a temporary home.

“Where on earth is Sarikei???” — I get this response so often whenever I tell people where I’m working, that after awhile, it didn’t surprise me anymore.  Some even ask if it was in Malaysia! Oh yes…from Timbuktu to Japan, the guesses have been rather interesting. I guess most people fell asleep during Geography class back then, huh? 😉

So, where IS Sarikei actually?

It is very much in Malaysia — Sarawak, East Malaysia to be exact. It is one of the 11 divisions of Sarawak and relatively small.

If Sarikei is new for you, then Julau, Pakan, Meradong, Entabai and Dabai (just to name a few) are new for me.  These are areas surrounding Sarikei and the reason I know them is because some of my patients are from here.  We always have this practise of asking where patients stay and how far they are from the hospital for discharge planning purposes, but I find that whenever I ask the latter here, I always follow up with the question “Balik rumah ambil masa berapa jam?” (How many hours does it take for you to get home?) because they will tell you “Rumah tidak jauh”  (My house is not far)…but actually it’s a couple of hours away. Distance is relative…bear that in mind.

You can go and Google all about the geography and history of this place, I won’t elaborate on that.  I will tell you some random observations that come to my mind, as a temporary resident.

The pace here is slow.  No one is really in a hurry to get to their destinations, barring emergencies.  Motorcyclists and cars cruise on the road, sometimes at 30 kmph and the rest just follow behind quietly.  Occasionally, you do see one or two ‘crazy’ drivers ;).

The town itself is concentrated around a few streets where most of the shops are located and one can cover the whole area on foot at a leisurely pace.  The place exudes an old-world charm…possibly due to the feeling of having traveled back in time when you walk along those streets.

You may want to think twice about lugging around a huge DSLR taking photos here though, because even when I whip out my trusty iPhone while marketing or walking around town, I garner quite a lot of stares. 😉

Actually, to be precise, my temporary home should be Hospital Sarikei, seeing as I spend maybe 90% of my time in the hospital grounds, so let me tell you more about the hospital.

The current hospital is a new one, having being operational since 2006.  It is located across the river (Sarikei river) from the town centre, and any place across the river is considered far.  The grounds are spacious, and there is ample space, not to mention parking!

The landscaping is gorgeous…from palm tree-lined roads…

to well-maintained plants…

to colourful flowers in bloom…

and even midin (wild edible fern) gardens at strategic locations! If you knew where to look, you will be rewarded with gorgeous views.

Of course, having no tall buildings for miles gives you an unobstructed view of the clever cloud formations,

sunrise and sunset.

(I can’t say much about sunrise seeing as I’m never up early enough to witness it, but I can tell you sunset here is gorgeous beyond words– the way the colour gradients subtly change is a joy to watch).

The people here are very friendly and greetings along the corridor are a routine.  Even the canteen auntie is extremely nice and her food is beyond canteen standards!

This hospital is probably one of the cleanest hospitals I have set foot in.  Every morning without fail, I see the cleaners wiping the countless numbers of window panes and I must say, I bump into cleaners here more often than I bump into doctors or nurses or even patients!

Our hospital has a capacity of 212 beds, but currently, due to lack of manpower, we are only able to utilize 168 beds.  Hopefully, in time, this hospital will be developed to its full potential.

So……..feel like coming to Sarikei for a visit yet? 😉 If you still need convincing, here’s something to whet your appetite…

Did I mention the food here is kinda great? 😉 Well, more on food next time!

Caffeine heaven — that’s where I am

Posted in across the South China Sea, caffeine, Nespresso on June 25, 2012 by twotwoeight

After months of pondering, I finally decided to get myself a Nespresso machine and thereafter was the period of indecisiveness — which model to get.  Well, I finally decided, did the needful and voila, I got a call asking me to collect my package today!

The conversation with the customs officer is another story….but suffice to say, I walked out of the Pos Laju office beaming! Couldn’t wait to get home and make my first cuppa…and was it worth the wait??

You betcha! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Oh yes…incidentally, I obtained this “drug” box awhile back and now it has found its true calling! *grins*

I am super-duper happy…now excuse me while I “drug” myself into a caffeine-induced coma! Muahahahaha  😉

PS/ Thanks to Su & John for all your help! Will patiently wait for John’s review on the coffee with special ingredient soon 😉


Posted in across the South China Sea, kindred spirits, the box of chocolates known as life on May 7, 2012 by twotwoeight

Was catching up with a very dear friend and marveled at the similarities of our lives at this moment — of journeying into new unknowns and wondering what uncertainties lie ahead.  Pondering over the meaning of life, (as clichéd as it sounds). Well, at least this time I didn’t bug her with my favourite “Where do you see yourself 5 years from now” question! 😉

There are thousands of quotes on life, love and all that jazz on the internet, but every once in awhile, you come across one that makes you smile and think to yourself — this is exactly what it feels like.

This is one of those “Exactly” ones.  Time to just enjoy the ride then. 🙂

Procrastination and hallucination.

Posted in across the South China Sea on May 5, 2012 by twotwoeight

I wish I may, I wish I might,

Have a penguin delivered to me tonight.

(or a moving-fairy, whichever is quicker)