Monday, September 26, 2005


Life in IMU, break into semesters:

Sem 1 - Started with anticipation & anxiety. New learning enviroment, staying away from home, new found freedom, new friends, new exam systems... One of the most memorable time of my life.

Sem 2 - Frantic coping with unfamiliar syllabus. Unlike the earlier syllabus in sem 1 which has been taught for the past few years in secondary school & pre-U, subjects like General Pathology, Immunology, Microbiology and Pharmacology are totally new sunjects to us. Took quite some time before I managed to adapt to these whole new stream of knowledge.

Sem 3 - Chronic long-term exam stress. Struggling vainly to memorise all the details of everything we've learned in Sem 2 and the current sem in preparation to face the infamous EOS 3, the 'Great Filter' which determines who among us will ultimately become a doctor (at least that's wat the seniors say). In the end, I can't managed to cram everything into my head in time for the exam... yet thank God I made it thru!

And now...

Sem 4 - Juz started a week ago. There's no new environment, no new fields of knowledge, no major exams to worry about... and therefore the total absence of any sort of challenges! I have been slacking all the way since the first lecture, and I still kinda dread going to the lectures in the near future... Argh, I need some form of stimulus!

I was hoping that coming back to IMU will be more... dramatic. Meeting up with friends that I haven't meet for almost 2 months, checking out enthusiastically what everyone has been doing for the past 7 weeks and share some of my experiences with them, and not to forget meeting all the new faces of the new Sem 1 students...

But it turns out as if everyone juz picked up the burden they've left behind somewhere after EOS 3 has ended and continue on with their journey to become a doctor... It is as if that wasn't any 7 weeks gap in between the sems, as if nothing has happened since we rejoice over our results! I find it so... odd and dull! Sheesh...

Hopefully I'll be able to built the momentum up as the Endocrine System Assessment approaches... in 3 weeks time. >=)

Saturday, September 17, 2005


1. Tanjung Aru Beach
(sorry, no pics available)

Went there on the very 1st night I was at KK. A surprisingly heavily-commercialized yet decently not polluted beach area with lots of stalls and even a huge garden nearby. It was a wonderful start to my 2 weeks stay here. The night breeze from the sea is juz envigorating, and the calm black sea that disappearing in the horizon contrasting with the busy crowd on this side of the shore is really interesting. The place confirms my belief that this 2 weeks trip gonna be hell lot of fun, like an oasis in the midst of my desert-like holiday! Lol.

2. Kinabalu Park & Poring Hot Spring

Along the way to Kinabalu Park, I almost went crazy with the awesome beauty and majesty of Mount Kinabalu. I actually took more than 30 pictures of the mountain in different angle and time of the day! Lol. Here's some of the better ones (hell the pics really dun do the mountain justice):

Oh and mind u these pics are taken FROM A HILL! So Mount Kinabalu here isn't juz a mountain among flat lands, it's like a king of the mountains there!

After we arrived at Kinabalu Park, we have a short jungle trekking tour. And I actually met one of my friend from Klang there, whom I haven't seen him for a long time since he's studying in Sheffield! Wow, think about the chance of us meeting one another at that spot wei... It really is a small world after all! Lol.

Here's some pics of the interesting flora and fauna there!

This is one of the picture I'm proud to have taken!
Don't the orchid looks cute? >=)

Too bad all the real Rafflesia haven't bloom yet...
Oh well, this will have to do for the time being!

A great view of the villages down the valley.

After the jungle trekking and lunch, we went to Poring Hot Spring, which is situated nearby (actually it's about 45 minutes away, but considering that we're traveling thru the hills, that's considered close! >=P) When we arrived there, we went for the canopy walk 1st above the trees of the forest - 41 meters above the ground!

41 meters above ground! Gasp!
I can't even see the ground from the top!

It was an amazing view... and a scary one too! Lol. We then proceed to the hot spring area, where man-made "bathtubs" were built and where everyone wait for their chance to secure a "bathtub" for themselves. Seeing how crowded the public baths are, some of us opt for private ones, which cost RM 15 per hour. Well, it's a great deal for the privacy, and I jumped for 1 straight away! Sorry guys, no pics to share with u all for that 1! =P The hot spring bath was juz awesome. I feel so relaxed & energized at the end of the hour! Lol.

3. Labuan

Went to Labuan for 2 days 1 night. We left KK Jetty in the morning and arrived there after a 3 hours ride, where Sarah pick us up at the jetty there. Good 'o Sarah. She brought us all over the island, and many thanks to her family too, for their hospitality and generosity in belanja-ing us all the wonderful meals! Well, the places of interest in Labuan are mostly historical sites, like Surrender Point, War Memorial etc. Here's a pic from Surrender Point:

The sunset view on the beach near Surrender Point is beautiful too, so I took the oppurtunity to ask for a pic!

But of all the cool places in Labuan, it's the mysterious Chimney that caught my attention the most. Built on top of a hill, the seven storey brick structure is 32.5 meters high, and at its base, about 4 x 4 meters. The reason behind the construction of the building is not known. Many assume it to be a ventilation shaft for the coal mining tunnel underground at first, but recent excavation shows no tunnels underneath the structure. Some suggested that it is used as a chimney to burn the coal, but there is absolutely no signs of any burnings in the inner walls. Some said it's a light house, and the locals claimed that it used to be a bell tower signalling the arrival of ships to the port. Till this day, the actual purpose of the tower is still shrouded in mystery...

That means, we have our very own Stonehenge in Malaysia! Hahahaha... I always like mysterious structures and all. And the Chimney do have an enigmatic aura surrounding it... Here's some of the pics I took there!

Pic taken from the interior of the tower,
facing upwards.

Doesn't this remind you of the tower of Orthanc,
Saruman's tower in The Lord of the Rings? >=)

Of cuz, a trip to Labuan will not be complete without buying all the tax-free stuff there... No I'm not talking bout alcohols, I'm talking bout CHOCOLATES!!! XD I spent more than RM 100 on the chocs alone! Lol. Some of them are half the price compared to those sold in other places! Went back with KK with a big load of chocolates! Lol.

4. Manukan Island

The trip to Manukan Island is a relaxing one. We juz go there and lazying around at the beach. There were lots of water sports and activities offered there, from snorkelling to kayaking to banana boat to paragliding... all at a cost, of cuz! But well, both me and Keat are juz not in the mood to do all the stunts that day, so we juz enjoy the beautiful scenery, bathe in the seawater and have fun burying each other with the sands of the beach! Lol.

On my way to the island on a speedboat.

Pulau Manukan, juz a few km offshores of KK City.

Ooooo colourful fishies everywhere,
all around my legs in the water!

Keat standing before the beautiful sea.

2 decapitated heads found along the shores of Manukan...

This is the proof that even sexy chicks and
gorgeous hunks are not immune to heat stroke! >=)

5. White Water Rafting

Of all the things I do in Sabah, this is the one I enjoyed the most. I've been longing to try out White Water Rafting for years, and now I have the chance!!! We travelled all the way to Sungai Padas, deep within the jungle, by an ancient 100-year-old train, still powered by... I dunno, coal? Lol. Here's some pics of the train itself.

The long long ride to the site of the white water rafting is horrible. We were melting under the intense heat in the interior of the train, and the ride there was incredibly bumpy. Some twenty med students from UM joined us in this outing, but they're juz not sociable enough to care about our presence. =P But I was excited throughout the journey as I saw all the crazy rapids along the river, and I tried to imagine how it's like to raft on top of them... Little did I know not only did I do juz that later, but I actually swam on the rapids themselves!!! >=)

Upon arrival on the starting point, we were divided into groups of 6 or 7, all under a guide, and we have a short briefing there on how to use all the equipments and all the what-to-do's & what-not's. Then, we're off to the crazy river! Man, the experience was just undescribable! It's like riding a rollercoaster ride, but this is much more exciting bcuz the rapids are totally unpredictable! Crashing thru the rapids are juz exhilaring! And swimming on the rapids is juz crazy... but hell I enjoy it all the way!

I'm the guy with the blue helmet, black jacket and red shirt!

Crashing into a strong rapid! Lol.

And there u have it, all the fun highlights I have in Sabah! I'll add one more entry on the food there and some misc. photos tomorrow ler! >=)

Heard that there's a White Water Rafting site near KKB... Anybody interested? >=D

Friday, September 16, 2005


There I was, struggling at the same spot for the past few days (which span to about a month if u include the long break when I'm in KK), juz trying to get it. My nose bleeds, I'm constantly out of breath, my back aches... but still I juz can't get it. I felt as if all my labour and perseverence meant nothing at all, and I hated how ungraceful I must have looked to others...

After many attempts, I gave up. I informed him that I wish to learn the last technique there is to learn, and learn the current technique later if I have the time... He agrees, but said we'll only start that tomorrow. Since there's still time left, I continued with my feeble attempts on mastering the technique...

Then suddenly, something happened. I kicked differently this time, and it felt more like an error from the usual routine kicks I've done... But somehow, all of a sudden, things start to make sense... I managed to repeat that for three times, and when I surfaced, I received the best news I've have for the past few weeks:

"Awak punya dolphin kick sudah jadi!"
(Your dolphin kick has worked!)

Finally, after all the struggle, I've taken the 1st step towards mastering the butterfly swimming technique!!! I'm so close to given up, and I'm really glad and relieved that all the labour paid off in the end, that they're not in vain! Yay!!!

3 more classes to go... Must master all 4 swimming techniques b4 class starts!!! =D

Friday, September 09, 2005


To the victims of Hurricane Katrina, you have my deepest sympathy. It is admirable that so many countries, including Sri Lanka which is still recovering from the tsunami damages, pledge to offer money and provide assistance to the victims. I have faith now that there's still compassion in humanity...

But to the racists and bigots who were secretly enjoying the plights of the victims of the tsunami and especially to those who are involved in the creation of The Tsunami Song, I hope u learn ur lesson: it can happen to any of us. If only I can see their faces when they realize what was happening when the hurricane hit the shores of their country...

And to those radicals and jihadists that rejoice over the expense of the suffering of the people, I would have wish all of you to suffer thru wat these poor guys are going thru, if not for the countless innocents that stand in between u guys. Can't u get pass all ur bigotry and prejudice and see that these people, as "evil" as u perceive them to be, are humans juz like us, are our brothers in sisters? You guys juz make me sick. I hope u'll get wat u deserve one day!

Thursday, September 08, 2005


Here's something about my impression of Kota Kinabalu for the 2 weeks I've been there.

As you can see from the map of Kota Kinabalu (click here for a larger image), the city is quite small actually. It's less than 2 km stretching from one end to the other, and only half a kilometer in its width! So why it isn't called a town? Well, quite a number of tall structures here than u'll only see it commonly in cities, not to mention lots of high-end restaurants and lots and lots of world-renowned chain stores: Coffee Bean, Burger King, KFC etc, and not juz one each in the city mind u, there's many of them! And there's also the airport, the jetty, the state library and all kinds of infrastracture. So ya, it qualifies as a city, eventhough its tiny size may say otherwise!

As for the population, there's mainly Chinese, Malays and Kadazan. Throughout my 2 weeks stay in KK, I've only seen less than 5 Indians, and I've only seen them in a mamak store, and they're all the workers there! As for the Kadazan, I have problems recognizing them. They look like a cross between Chinese and Malays, so it's pretty hard to tell sometimes whether are they Chinese, Malays, or Kadazan! Lol. The general culture around here is pretty similar to my hometown Klang, therefore I have little problem adapting there!

Around 5-10 km away from the shores of KK, there's not 1, but 5 small islands: Pulau Gaya, Pulau Manukan, Pulau Mamutik, Pulau Sapi and Pulau Sulug, all of them under the umbrella of Tunku Abdul Rahman Park. Although I've only been to Pulau Manukan, i can safely say that there's plenty of fun things to do around the beaches here, from snorkeling to paragliding to kayaking to even sea-walking (a helmet-like thingie which u can walk literally under the sea after wearing it, even wearing ur specs while preventing ur hair from getting wet)! The locals are pretty lucky I must say, living so close to these wonderful islands while at the same time can enjoy the infrastructures of a city. I still remember how surprise I was when I saw the sea immediately after I past by a more-than-10-storey-high building! Lol. KK is truly a coastal city!

One last thingie. I juz found out that the Chinese locals called KK "ya bi", which, according to my "tour guide" Keat =P, is directly derived from the Malay word "Api" (fire). Apparently there was a great fire once in the city, and the locals have been calling it Api ever since... Well, I dunno how true is that story, but I juz realize that recently, all Chinese textbooks have officially called KK "ya bi". Well, juz another interesting trivia that I'm so into... Hahaha...

Gonna post about the fun stuff I've been doing in KK and Sabah next. Watch out! >=)

Monday, September 05, 2005


I can't help but feel it... This small tinge of sadness and regret, how time seems to pass by so fast, how little time I have left before I have to return back to my mundane life back in my hometown with almost absolutely nothing to look forward to. In less than 48 hours, I'll leave Kota Kinabalu... A place that I'm starting to feel attached to in the brief period that I'm here, a place that I can actually call... home...

Somehow I feel a connection with this place... A place that is too small to qualify as a 'real' city, too developed to be known as juz a town... Tall buildings, upper class shops, but seems curiously underpopulated... An old urban area with a modern feel... A place where the locals live their everyday life alongside with the nature-loving foreign tourists...

There's juz this irresistable charm with this city (guess it is 1 considering it's called 'Kota Kinabalu') that makes me fell in love with it... Which is why now that the time I'll still be here is short, I can't help but longed to remain here more often before I go back home... When will I have the oppurtunity to come back here again? Sigh...

Nevertheless, I do believe I'll come back here again one day, not bcuz Air Asia is cheap (I'll try that 1 day), but bcuz there's a majestic, almost mystical entity that beckons me to have a closer look to its gorgeous beauty - Mount Kinabalu. And also, there's the Rafflesia flower, one of the greatest treasure in the flora world, which I have unfortunately unable to appreciate it in my current visit bcuz it's not the flowering period currently...

I guess those are worthy enough reasons for me to come back here again someday... Well, till then, I'll miss this quaint little town called Kota Kinabalu! >=)