Search This Blog

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Records of a Traveller

As one grows older, he or she may have the urge to pen down his or her thoughts.  And that is exactly what I am going to do now. 

The recent trip back to my hometown in Sarawak has brought a plethora of opportunities for me to explore my home state.  While I did travelled quite a bit when I was a young boy, some of those journeys were travelled by myself, or I was too young to appreciate what I was experiencing.

The trip was also an opportunity for myself to connect with Dad.  We did not have much opportunity to talk before, not because we could not, but both of us seems to communicate better via writings.  In fact, writing is one thing that connect both of us more, far more than telephone calls.  I bet he's going to laugh when he reads this, but he knows it is true.

This is my first trip back to Sarawak after my wife and kids moved to Kuala Lumpur with me.  So it was a very special trip back home.  A good destresser too, as I had not had any long leaves since 2016 Chinese New Year. 

Waiting for our flight back home 

Trip to Sematan
We started with a trip to Sematan, at the southern tip of Sarawak.  This would be my third trip to Sematan, with the first trip when I was 5 years old.  I barely remember the trip, only the sandy beach and a trip across the river over a large ferry.  The second trip was before I got married.  My wife, then my fiancee, joined the trip. 

This time, my mum planned the trip and had booked two rooms at a small resort just after Sematan town.  The journey took us about 3 hours. 

Along the way, I saw the late Tok Nan's (Tan Sri Adenan Satem was Sarawak's visionary Chief Minister, whose service to the state had abruptly came to an end due to heart failure) work has begin to bear fruit.  Matang Jaya was far busier than the last time I was here, with multiple concrete shop lots.

FAC - Federal Administrative Centre
We took the FAC road (short for Federal Administrative Centre), as recommended by Google Map.  It was the first time that we took the road, as previously we would be using the old road.  I immediately Googled what FAC stood for.  Apparently, the Federal Government had planned to build a new administrative centre in Lundu to replace Simpang Tiga Federal Complex as the complex was bursting at its seams. 

Fine, a good move, but why so far away from Kuching?  I decided to check for more information when I realised that the plan was mooted in 1997, during the grandoise era of then Prime Minister Tun Mahathir.  It was an era where the idea was to demolish the old and build new ones, like how they decided to move much of the administrative centre in Kuala Lumpur to Putrajaya, or like how the former KLIA at Subang was demolished so that airlines had to move to KLIA at Sepang. 

In the end, only the highway to FAC was partially completed; the end was blocked off by some construction material, no doubt leftovers from the construction.

But let's get back to the story. 

Along the way, we encountered some very old bridges, where only one vehicle can cross at any single time.  In hindsight, I should have taken photo of these 5 or 6 bridges. 

The rickety condition of the bridges did not stop my eldest child from singing "London Bridge is Falling Down" every time when we were about to cross the bridge.

Ferry Crossing
But there were progress.  The largest ferry which was just before Lundu had since been replaced with a bridge.  While the bridge is a boon to the people of Lundu, I can not but feel pity to the many empty stall owners whose business back then was to peddle their goods to people who were waiting for the ferry.  But that is the price for progress.

Waiting for ferry to cross Rambungan River.

Signboards welcoming us to Lundu.

But we did cross a river over a ferry.  Not all parts of Sematan has been accessible by roads.

Signboards on the Rambungan River ferry. Total of 4 crossings mean you have to wait for at least 15 minutes.

Life jackets.  These are not distributed, but placed on the ferry only to be deployed if something unthinkable happens.

Price of Insurgency
Going through these areas, Dad did mentioned that these areas were once a hotbed for communist insurgency.  True enough, some of the government facilities; radio stations, police stations still have their insurgency era bunkers.

The insurgency had cost not only lives, but progress to the area.  Active communist insurgency only ended in November 1990. Even that, is a distant memory for many Sarawakian youth.

But progress will reach Sematan.  Heavy road constructions can be seen all the way to Sematan.  Many China-made trucks ply the road, carrying road construction material.  In fact, the Pan Borneo Highway which was promised by Prime Minister DS Najib Tun Razak will start from Sematan town itself.

Pan Borneo Highway
I must admit, I was a skeptic when it comes to the Pan Borneo Highway.  I had wrongly thought that the traffic volume in Sarawak could not support Pan Borneo Highway.  And I had wrongly assumed that highway must be tolled.

I had even thought that it was a political rhetoric to get Sarawakian votes.

It was during a Chinese New Year celebration 2016, where I drove from Sibu to Kuching, and Kuching back to Sibu that I saw the need to have this highway.

Construction of the highway has begun with focus on new tracks of land where the road can be made straight.

Even so, I have heard of anecdotal story of attempts to slow down the project.  Grapevine news from a person involved in the project mentioned that the maps from Sarawak JKR did not show full topographic information of the area, with bridges not identified in many of the map.

Somehow, I doubt the story.  More likely some individuals trying to gain favour to have the project slowed down, or just reasons to give later especially if there is a delay.  Nevertheless, most if not all Sarawakians eagerly await for the completion of the road.

Part of the Pan Borneo Highway, Sematan portion.  Yes, we won't be tolled, and no, it is not a train track.

Lundu town - we came here to have a short rest.

Fish Hunting
We went to Sematan with 2 intentions.  First was a time for my parents to have fun with my two children in a relaxing environment, and second for our fish-hunting.  The first was achieved without much fuss, but we did not achieve the second goal. 

First, it was not the right season.  Not many boats were going out.  Second, most of the fish from those that do go out, had been booked by a middleman.  We found out that most of these fish would end up in China.
At least we did have quite a lot family time together. 

Kampung Telaga Air
On the way back the next day, we stopped at Kampung Telaga Air.  We heard that many Kuchingites these days go to this place for their seafood instead of Kampung Buntal near Santubong.  And it was a good decision. 

Gunung Santubong from Restoran Seafood Azzlyn


Sarawak flag flapping proudly.

We had seafood at a restaurant (Azzlyn Seafood) with very nice view.  The food was quite cheap; for 5 adults and 2 kids, inclusive of drinks, it cost us only around RM90.

Here we did finally bought the fish we so wanted to buy.  But we would still be going for another fish-hunting trip in the next few days, this time to Sebuyau.

Trip to Sebuyau
Sebuyau is a very small town located near the mouth of Batang Lupar.  It is connected via Sarawak Coastal Road, a trunk road which was only built some 10 years ago.

Communist Ideology and How it Backfired
Like Sematan, the whole stretch of the road from Kota Samarahan all the way to Pusa, was the hotbed of communist insurgency.  The threat from communist terrorists forced much of the area from needed development; the communists in Malaysia, including Sarawak subscribed to Maoism, which believed that the class struggle should begin from rural peasants.  Hence, by forcibly limiting progress in the area, they believed that this would agitate the mass to be angered at the government for neglecting them and would support the communist struggle.  Instead, their struggle backfired tremendously in Malaysia.

Most of Sarawakian communists were either part of North Kalimantan Communist Parti (NKCP), which is also known as Partai Rakyat Kalimantan Utara (PARAKU), or Parti Gerakan Rakyat Sarawak (PGRS) (PGRS should not be mistaken with Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia or PGRM, a legitimately registered multiracial political party based in Penang).  There was a third communist party, known as Borneo Communist Party, but very little information is known about it as official government records only showed they had 1 member and he was arrested while transporting the party's paraphernalia.

Chinese Support
Majority of the communist insurgents, called San Lo Chu, or Mountain Rats were of Chinese origins.  And they drew their support from many of the Chinese Sarawakian families who were rural farmers, scattered all over the state.  The scattered nature of Chinese population allowed the communists to get both logistics and intelligence support.

Nature of the support provided by these Chinese Sarawakian are contentious.  Those not born during the era, and some former insurgents tend to romanticize the era, as if the support was voluntarily given.  Yet, the opposite is true.  Many instances, support were forcibly given.  It is either you give them what they want, or you're a chow job or running dog that deserved to be executed.  How fearful are they?  

A Near Miss
Mum told of an incident when my maternal Grandmama was pregnant, and Mum was still very young.  They came late in the night looking for my Grandpapa.  He was hiding somewhere in the house, but going out might mean that he would be forced to join the insurgents.  Mum and Grandmama had to give them some supplies, else they would not leave.  Probably Grandmama's pregnancy saved my Mum, as they did not take her.  But Mum did recognised some of her schoolmates amongst the armed insurgents.  And Grandpapa was lucky that they missed him in his hiding place.

New Hamlet Programme
The then British Colonial government in Kuching, took a leaf out of the Emergency Campaign in Malaya, specifically from Lt. Gen Harold Briggs' New Hamlett programme.  These rural Chinese were resettled in new hamlett in strategically located area where it could be better defended by security forces.  Common facilities such as clinics, schools, town halls were built for the convenience.  In return, they had to live in a fenced up area.

Altogether, I know of 4 new hamlets built in Sarawak, 3 along Kuching - Sri Aman Road (Siburan, Beratok and Tapah), and 1 in Kanowit (Nanga Tada).

IPD Kota Padawan, which is located at Siburan New Village.  Barbed wire fences once lined the area where the small bushes are seen in here.

One of the gated checkpoint that still exist, but no one is manning them these days as the communists had laid down their weapons.

Entrance to Tapah New Village.  Schools were provided to the settlers.

The school.

Signboard announcing Beratok New Village.

Concrete buildings can be found in these new villages these days.

As threats from communist terrorists subsides, these hamlets slowly grew into new townships. With peace at hand, the once towering fences which surrounded these hamlets have since fall apart, reclaimed by nature.

Batang Sadong (Sadong River)
Soon, we reached Batang Sadong.  It is somewhere near Batang Sadong Jaya bridge that Mum was first posted as a teacher. 
It was my first time seeing the school where Mum had been posted to.  A very small school with a very small student population.  I remember Mum telling stories of how she would go near the river bank to hunt for crabs to supplement her food as pay for teachers were meagre back then.  She would shudder when she tell the story as these days, we are now aware of crocodiles in the river.

Mum's first posting.  Batang Sadong Bridge can be seen in the foreground.

I was at awe at the width of Batang Sadong.  For years, I've been crossing Batang Sadong near Serian town, not realising how wide the river would be at near the river mouth. 
Batang Sadong bridge is quite magnificent.  It reminds me of Batang Kemena bridge in Bintulu, in terms of the bridges' design.
Dad mentioned that the bridge was built quite recently (circa 2014 or 2015) and was only officiated somewhere last year.  Before that, people crossing the river had to wait for a ferry.

Another view of Batang Sadong Bridge.

In fact, the road that we were travelling was only built less than 10 years ago.  In the past, it was impossible to build the bridge due to communist terrorism.  But after November 1990, they had put down their weapons.  Surely, the roads could have been built then.  But unfortunately, with a Prime Minister who wanted to build his own Empire back then, nothing much can be done.

But today, a bridge exists. And lives for the people there becomes much better.

We reached Sebuyau township soon after.  I didn't keep time, so I didn't know how long we took.

Sebuyau Wharf

The massive granite hill that had been blasted by CMS stuck out like a sore thumb.  We found the fish market, but nothing much to choose from.  Dad went to a row of shops facing the wharf and found a man selling fresh water prawn.  It has been years since I had these fresh water prawns. 
When I was just a young boy around 6, Dad always went out to catch fish and prawns with my maternal grandfather near my maternal grandparents home.  One of the most memorable fish cooked from these prawns was white rice porridge cooked with these succulent freshly caught prawns.  I remember competing with my younger brother to see who can eat the porridge with the most amount of locally produced white pepper powder.  I won, but that meant I had to endure a very hot porridge.

Dad selected a few prawns without their elongated claws; learnt something new here, as these claws tend to be heavy but have little meat.

As the day was still early and no fish yet, dad asked if I want to go to Kampung Maludam, which is located across the river Batang Lupar.  Without much thought, I said yes.

As we reached the ferry point, we noticed the queue was quite long.  So Dad drove to the starting of the queue to see if water was high enough.  There, we saw a ferry named Harapan, trying hard against the tide.  The Batang Lupar water mouth is quite wide and it is here where bena, or river tide, can be found.  Bena is a naturally occurring tide at river.  Globally, it is said to be found only in a few countries.  The town of Sri Aman celebrates the occurrence of bena on annual basis with their Pesta Sri Aman.  This event has yet to be fully capitalised by those responsible for tourism.

The ferry Harapan. Pulau Triso is in the background.

The spare ferry, in case one breaks down.  The ramp is sometimes submerged, forcing the service to stop.

The walkway where passengers can seat.

After confirming the water level was high enough, we drove back to the queue and waited for our turn.  Driving onto a ferry is like driving on a bumpy road.  It is very difficult to describe.  But once you have experienced it, you will see how much a hassle it is to have a ferry instead of a bridge.

Ferry services do not operate 24-7.  It is very much dependent on the weather, and as mentioned earlier, the tide level.  If you fall sick on the other side of the river after  operating hours, you're probably in a deep shit.  Emergency services have to take the much longer route because of this. 

No, these were not thrown by passengers waiting for the ferry but rubbish brought by the high tide.  The ferry will not be able to operate if the tide is too high as the road and ramp are submerged.

River bank next to the ferry.  Tide too low, no one can cross.

The ferry also creates unwanted delay.  Smaller rivers can be crossed faster, but wider rivers, like that of Batang Lupar here requires about 30 minutes.  While the ferries traverse the river, long queues of vehicles formed behind the line.  I remember the days before Rajang River bridge in Sibu were completed.  Every festivals, we would be queuing up for at least 2 hours just to wait for the ferries.

Ferry services are not really 100% safe too.  There is always a danger of accidentally driving into the river, or a vehicle falling into the river.  In fact, it nearly happened to my family in 1994.  After driving onto the ferry, the car suddenly lurched backwards when the ferry started to move.  Dad quickly pulled the handbrake when he realised what was happening. 

After we boarded the ferry, we exited the Unser and went up the gang-way to the "upper deck".  It might be the only ferry that has an "upper deck", consist of a long row of seats on both portside and starboard of the ferry.

We took our place and Dad began to point out the geographical landmarks in the area (Dad was a Geography teacher).  Out at the sea, he pointed out Pulau Burong.  The island is an important geographical landmark that can be seen as far as Kuching in the south and at least to Tanjung Manis in the North.  Hence, the Government operates a lighthouse on the island to guide seafarers. 

Pulau Burong in the background.

Somewhere in the middle of the river mouth, is Pulau Triso.  This was where the wreckage of ill-fated helicopter carrying 2 elected representatives was found. 

Faraway, we saw the silhouette of several mountains.  We began to speculate which mountains these silhouette belonged to.  And which of these are likely to be dead volcanoes.

While Dad was explaining about the geographic features, I could not help but to eavesdrop on 3 young flashy looking young men.  They were wearing the same t-shirt emblazoned with the word "duocrypto".  One of them, wearing a pair of dark reflective sunglasses, extolled the virtue of the new business venture that they had joined.  It was an investment into a new cryptocurrency which I have not heard of. 
Even here in the rural area of Sarawak that cryptocurrencies are making a headway.  Many of my friends too are crazy about cryptocurrencies.  It is however, to my belief that cryptocurrencies are a fad, and is a very risky venture. 

Cryptocurrencies are issued by private ventures.  They are called cryptocurrency as they are converted into a new currency value which are stored in computer codes.  You are given some authentication code as proof of ownership.  This authentication code encrypts data of your ownership in computer codes which are called as block chain.

Originally envisioned as a way to keep money away from prying eyes of authorities and to send funds anonymously, today's cryptocurrencies have now diverted far from this objective.  Many of these cryptocurrencies are now used as investment vehicles by people who speculate the value of these currencies. 
The problem now is that these currencies are basically fiat money without any securitization.  In a way, this is not too far different from normal currency issued by sovereign countries like Ringgit, Dollar, Rupiah, which are also fiat money.  But a key difference between national currency and a cryptocurrency is that national currencies are backed by sovereign guarantees, while cryptocurrencies do not have any national guarantees.  This might change in 2019 when UK is poised to launch their own cryptocurrency.

At any rate, though Bank Negara has yet to explicitly mention it, investing in cryptocurrencies in speculative nature potentially breaks 2 laws, Financial Services Act 2013 and Anti Money Laundering Act 2001.  That would be something I would rather discuss in another different writing.

After reaching the other side of the river, we disembarked and went on the journey.  We stopped at a small wharf where Dad has become a regular customer and he introduced me to the fishermen here.  But the fishing vessel hasn't arrive yet.  So he asked the fishermen to leave some fish.
It was soon that I saw the signboards proclaiming the area as Kampung Pendam and Kampung Maludam.  But we did not turn into Kampung Maludam.  Dad was looking for a certain man selling cassava by the roadside.  It took us quite some time, but we did manage to find him, planting new shoots and harvesting the grown cassava.  After some haggling, Dad paid him for the cassava and gotten some of the shoots for planting.

The Cassava Seller

Petrol Suppliers
Along the way, we managed to pick up quite a bit of produce.  We bought some coconuts from roadside stalls for about RM2 per coconut.  The stall selling coconut was by the roadside.  On a closer inspection, the stall was also selling petrol which are kept in plastic bottles and jerry cans.  The same sight could be seen along the whole of the coastal highway.  I mentioned to Dad on this and said that anyone who opens a gas station along this route will definitely have a captive market.  Which he replied to me that I am wrong.  The volume at these locations are still insufficient to support a petrol station. 
Filling up the tank.

See the bottles on the road?  Those are filled with petrol.

Another roadside stop with petrol.  Later, I saw a monkey leaping from one of these stalls onto the roof of a car.

More petrol filled bottles.
Reaching Kampung Maludam on the way back, Dad asked if I would like to see the village has any fish to sell, which I agreed.  It was a sleepy village, and when we arrived, the villagers were just about to congregate at their local mosque. 

We found the village's shop houses.  The shop houses were facing the river.  At least 1 was operated by Chinese.  But most if not all of the village's population are  Malay.  Most of the shop houses were not open, and the fish are not the type we were looking for. 

Another reason why I wanted to go to Kampung Maludam was the name kept on popping up in my memory.  I recalled reading about the Kampung and that of Kampung Pendam.  It was only when I return to Kuala Lumpur that when reading Datuk Seri Wan Junaidy's book titled "The Police", that I realised where I had read about the villages. 

DS Wan Junaidy was born and bred in Sebuyau and Kampung Maludam.  In fact, the quarry in Sebuyau was his playground during his younger days.  He elaborated his family's origin and his childhood.  A good narrator, I could even visualise what he wrote. 

Now looking back at the quarry in Sebuyau, it explains why he was adamantly against the Penang Southern land reclamation project.  While the quarry in Sebuyau did bring some money to the town, but the town did not progress much.  Yet, nature had been scarred forever.

Ikan Lumek
We returned to the wharf where Dad had introduced me to the fishermen earlier.  The fishing vessel had arrived.  But we were beaten to it by the middleman.  Most if not all of the good fish had been selected.  I could only ruefully see the men packing the ikan lumek with ice.  There were other ikan lumek, but these were smaller in sizes. 

I have a long history with the fish.  When I was a toddler, Mum had always fried the fish and braised them later in soy sauce for me.  Later, she found that it taste better if the fish is cooked for a short while in boiling soup with coriander leaves and some black pepper.  These days, we even added ikan lumek fritters into our repertoire.

Ikan Lumek at the fish stall at Sadong Jaya township.

Ikan lumek that we bought half way.

When I moved to Kuala Lumpur, this was one fish that I had always hunted for.  So far, I've seen the fish being sold in Taman Muda in Ampang, and Sri Rampai night market.  I also know that one of the jetties in Penang has this fish as a specialty, as it had appeared in 8TV's Ho Chiak.

But we did get some crabs instead.  As these were freshly caught crabs, they were very aggressive.  In fact, one of them managed to undo the strings tying down its claw, and would later with its dying breath, clamped hard onto Dad's hand.

At the ferry, we noted there was quite a queue.  Enterprising locals had set up some booths along the roadside to take advantage of us travellers.  I bought some cassava fritters and a couple cans of Nescafe for Dad and myself. 

Grandpa's Journey
As we returned to our Unser, Dad mentioned that there's a lot of monkeys in this area.  True enough, I saw a monkey jumping onto the roof of a car.  The monkey found here are the proboscis monkey, also known as the big nose monkey.  Some also calls the monyet Belanda, as the long nose made it look like a Dutch with a long nose.
When the ferry arrived, Dad drove up the ferry ramp and it was another 30 minutes of ferry ride.  I took the opportunity to ask Dad about Grandpa.  Grandpa came from China somewhere in 1930's.  He came to Sarawak probably with MV Rajah Mas with his 4 siblings, a sister and his eldest daughter.  Not much that we know of his journey, but they had probably stopped somewhere in Singapore, where my grand-aunt left and moved to somewhere in Johor. 

When Grandpa arrived in Sarawak, he moved around the state, even all the way to Miri in the North.  It was in Bau that he had met my grandma's family, and he took her as his second wife.  Somehow, they would later move to outskirts of Serian township. 
Altogether, Grandpa and Grandma had 13 children.  Or it could be more, I can't recall as Dad often told of an elder sister that was given up for adoption.  Life was very tough back then.

Grandpa did went back to China once, but he returned back to Malaysia.  Probably his heart was no longer there as most of his children are in Malaysia.  Only the eldest son was left in China.  But by the time he left China, he was still too young to venture to Sarawak.  The next time he saw the son he had left behind in China was some 50 or 60 years later in 1994.  Most recently, I got to know he had since passed away, thus severing our ties with China (I never got to know my cousins or their children).

Grandpa worked and toiled on the land that he had bought for a living.  He had also reared some farm animals.  Dad once mentioned that life was so hard that when they bought refuse, usually rotting fish from the market to be used as feed for the pigs, they would pick through the refuse first to find if there are still edible fish.
Pigs were reared not only for their meat, but also for their lard.  The lard were usually separated and later roasted over hot fire.  The resulting oil would be kept for cooking, and the pork lard made into garnishing for other cooking.

When my Dad was of schooling age, he was sent to an English medium school.  This had caused much trouble to him with his cohorts as many of them were educated in Chinese schools.  They speak Mandarin, while Dad didn't.  He ended up in quite a few fights because of this. 

But the decision by Grandpa to send Dad to an English medium school was not an easy decision.  He was being pragmatic.  He was balancing the needs of the family against potential threat against the family.  Communist insurgency was growing in Sarawak and many Chinese families were forced to assist these insurgents.  However, they often steered clear of Chinese families whose children were educated in English medium schools. 

So Dad grew up not knowing how to speak in Mandarin.  But along the way, he did pick the language, but is reluctant to use the language.  After all, we are Hakka people, Khekh ngin, not Mandarin people.

In a way, the communists did not dare to disturb our family.  A few relatives did get caught up in their struggle, and ended up in 7th Mile detention camp.  But altogether, the family escaped relatively unscathed. 

My Root
I can still remember Grandpa when I was a young boy.  He was a strict disciplinarian.  But he loved us his grandchildren.  By then, he was around 80 or 90's.  I recalled at times he would sing some old songs, the words and melody which I could not remember.  Grandma said that he sang Old Mountain Songs, Lau San Ge.  Either he was missing his family he left in China; his mum, his eldest son, his first wife, and 2 brothers (1 was killed when a buffalo gored him to death and another was executed by rebel forces for trying to escape from being conscripted), or he was reminiscing his former home in China (which an uncle had described as a very beautiful rural village in Chentianzhen, Swatow, Shenzhen.

I did try searching for the town in Google Map, but the village shown with the name is not our hometown, as it was located near the city area.  The Chentianzhen in Swatow that my Grandpa had left behind was at the foot of a mountain.  Who knows, one day I would trace my roots back to China. 

I must credit my good friend, Jamalee Bashah whose good with The Patriots NGO (not to be mistaken with the Patriots, another NGO with the same name led by Retired Brig Gen Arshad Raji), whose insistence to research back Malay history had inspired me to understand my own Chinese heritage.  Seeing how much lost history of Malay civilisation that he and his team had helped to bring up to the attention of Malaysian public, it had inspired me to look back to my own roots, if there are stories to be uncovered. 

Some members of The Patriots. I'm in the red shirt, while the President is Jamalee Bashah

Writing an article on the launch of the first Maharajalela class LCS back in August, brought me to learn about the history of Dato' Paduka Maharajalela, a Perak aristocrat that was involved in the killing of JWW Birch.  Knowing that the ancestor of Capt (R) Abdul Rahmat aka John F Seademon is a conspirator that was involved in the killing, I wondered if my own ancestors were involved in such intrigue in China.  But alas, my ancestors came from a teaching line, a less exciting, but equally important role in any society. 

Looking back at Grandpa, when he migrated to Sarawak, it was an era where one's loyalty is dictated by his or her race.  Back then, every single Chinese man, woman and child is expected to be loyal to China.  While Chinese in Malaysia did gained our rights to citizenship upon independence, true independence for overseas Chinese, or Hua Chiaw, was only obtained in the early 1970's, when then Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak had managed to convince Chairman Mao Tse-tung that Chinese of Malaysian descent now owe our loyalty to Malaysia.  Hence, the Chinese government has no rights over us.  This overarching agreement, not only removed the shackles that binded Chinese Malaysians to China, but also all oversea Chinese.  Hence, when it comes to loyalty, my loyalty is to Malaysia, to His Majesty Yang DiPertuan Agong.

The same agreement also led to slow erosion of influence of MCP and other communist parties in Malaysia.  Recognition of Chinese Communist Party as the legitimate ruler of China, and that People's Republic of China (PRC) as legitimate heir successor to China instead of Kuomintang and Republic of China (RoC) had led to China to reciprocate by recognising the sitting government's legitimacy, and thus reducing and eroding Beijing's recognition to the communist parties' legitimacy.  Funding were slowly removed, cutting them off critical funds, while making sure that these parties did not take off and switch their allegiance from Maoism to Leninism.  While the end result did managed to force these insurgents to lay down their weapons, the subtleness of this move is obviously lost to the current generation who largely did not know of this internal upheavals in the world of communism.

Reaching Home
Now getting back to our story.  While the journey back was uneventful, we came across many roadside peddlers, selling fish, crabs, prawns and plethora of seafood.  And I managed to get my ikan lumek.  We managed to buy some fresh razor clams, also known as ambal.

LRT for Kuching
Reaching Kuching around 6pm, I got to see heavy traffic building at some locations.  Dad, sensing I had some questions, told me that the traffic are rather bad these days, and these are parts of the areas identified as potential LRT route. 

The current Chief Minister, DS Abang Zohari, better known as Abang Jo had mentioned that he's wants Sarawak to have our own LRT line, which will operate all the way to Serian town.  Seeing the traffic I'm stuck in, I see his wisdom.  Perhaps, I had been too long not being in touch with the reality of ground situation in Sarawak.

Reaching home that night, we had a big feast.  Mum's cooking is still the best.

Fresh prawn
Fresh Ambal

As a traveller on God's own land, I can only thank God for His Abundance and Providence.  There are many other stories that this traveller would like to share.  Such as the possible connection between  Pulau Sibu of Johor, with Sibu, Sarawak, and that of Cebu Island of the Philippines.  Also, are there any links between Kampung Melayu Panchor of 27th Mile Kuching - Serian Road to that of Panchor, in Johor?  For another time, perhaps. 

No comments:

Post a Comment