Sandakan: The Nature City

‘Sandakan? Are you going there for work? Holiday?! What’s to see there?’ is the reaction I got when I told some people that I would like to go on a trip to Sandakan. I did and it was amazing.

Perhaps, some folks feel that there isn’t much adventure or experience when travelling to a local place. That wasn’t the case with Sandakan. It has a lot to offer and I guess these folks missed out a lot.

DAY 1 – Wednesday, January 28th.
My friend and I took a flight from KK on the morning of January 28th and upon our arrival we took a cab to Bandar Kim Fung as a friend of ours recommended a Chinese-Muslim Restaurant, Alice. Bandar Kim Fung deosn’t feel like Sandakan at all. Or Sabah for that matter. I felt like I was in China.

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After we had our breakfast at Alice and walked around the area, we took a bus straight to the city. Not knowing where to stay, we immediately checked into Harbourside Backpackers, the first backpackers lodge we saw and it was perfect as it was just in front of Harbour Mall where another friend of ours has a bookshop there.

In another story, prior our trip to Sandakan I suggested that we couch surf. But then, another friend of ours joked that our internal organs will be at stake. Jokes aside, we didn’t couch surf cause we were afraid of losing our organs but the house I suggested was a bit far from the city. Sorry Kak Ros.

Anyway, after we settled, the first stop has got to be Hipsta, our friend’s bookshop. It’s small but it’s full of life. It’s her dream came true and I felt very proud of her. This is also the place that sells my zine, t-shirts and bookmarks.

Later on we went to a shop beside the main road that sells these old school stuff. Hoarder mode on, immediately took everything I want from postcards, to speakers and board games. I ended up being friends with Kak Siti and came back to the shop again and again.

For tea, we went to Ba Lin, a roof top restaurant. We had some cakes and juices. Despite the gloomy sky, the view was spectacular.Ba Lin itself is a beautiful restaurant. I like the concept. I will go back there to try the main dishes. We ended our day with a karaoke session at Bandar Indah Recreation Centre.

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DAY 2 – Thursday, January 29th.

We started our second day with Coto Makassar for breakfast. Mind you, the soup or more like a gravy is so thick, I don’t think it’s for everyone. I on the other hand, despite the heavy gravy, liked it. It was full of flavour but a bowl was enough for me. Burrppp!

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After a trip to the post office and lunch, we drove to Agnes Keith’s House and we only had half an hour to look around before it was closed for the day. It was a beautiful house with beautiful furniture. The gift shop however, didn’t have much to offer. It only has these items that you can see in KK, not a single thing like postcards or magnets that says ‘Agnes Keith’s House’.

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Since the English Tea House was just next door, we decided to have our tea overlooking Sandakan and the sea.

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DAY 3 – Thursday, January 30th.
Our dear friend is a teacher at SK Bongon Besar 1, a school located at Pulau Bongon Besar, about half an hour boat ride from the mainland. We planned some activities for her students like origami and pop quiz. The view on the way to the island was spectacular and the hospitality shown by her colleagues makes you feel right at home. Her students? Adorable!

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Right after our island trip we went to the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre and Lindung. Unfortunately, at that time, Lindung was still closed.

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DAY 4 – Saturday, January 31st.

‘What will we do today?’
‘Why don’t we just chill?’
‘That sounds like a good idea.’

Next thing we know, we’re on a bus heading towards the Sepilok, AGAIN. This time however, we wanted to see the sun bears at Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre. Did you know that the sun bears are the smallest bears in the world? We were the only visitors there at that time and we had a one on one session with Lester (or was it Leslie) who gave us a lot of info on sun bears, rescue efforts, what they eat and when they’ll be released back into the wild.

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DAY 5 – February 1st
We took a 2.00 pm flight back to our real lives.

It was a pleasant and much needed trip for both of us. There are still place in Sandakan that we haven’t been to yet. Perhaps well go there again someday. Besides, Kak Siti kept asking our friend about us. Patience Kak Siti.

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Jetsetters Clothing

As much as I am excited to get Jetsetters Clothing back on track, I’m actually afraid and not feeling very confident about it. I’m afraid that I might go on doing the same thing again and not making any obvious progress. By the looks of it, I am doing the same things, same strategies. I’m repeating the things I did.

March. I told everyone that I would kick start things in March. The thing about that is, I spent more than three months doing nothing to come up with ways or strategies to do something different. It’s the second week of March and as I have said before, I’m heading towards the same direction which leads to nothing.

JCKK - Back on Track

Perhaps this is a failure and I hate to admit it. To be honest, the failure here is me and I still have hope that Jetsetters Clothing could work.

What happened to “overcoming the turbulence to achieve all you goals and dreams”? Honestly, I don’t know. Until I can get a breakthrough, Jetsetters Clothing will be where it is. Stagnant.

What do you think?

Suicidal Tendencies Part I

Let me go into the darkest corner of the room, out of sight
Lie lifelessly in the emptiness and slowly die
Cause I’ve given up and lost the fight
I don’t bother to rise up and try

I want to disappear and leave no trace
Forgotten from existence, I’ve fallen from grace
I’m so tired, I’m driven into madness
Just let me die, in this darkness

Written on October 21st, 2014. 

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That’s How Much I Miss You

I put your picture as my wallpaper
Read your messages everyday
Giggle to the things reminded me of you
Recalling the tone of you voice
Sometimes mimicking how you speak
Looping your smile in my head
Rubbing my fingers as if I’m caressing your hair
Taking a deep breath to catch your scent

That’s how much I miss you

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I Never Felt Like I Lost You

I sang the same song over and over again
I just couldn’t cry
I wasn’t feeling sad enough
To have tears rolling down my cheeks

I wonder if I should cut myself
To feel the hurt I have inside
But it would be a waste of blood
As your absence don’t hurt me much

Maybe I should shave my head
Just to let off some steam
But I was never angry
When you walked out the door

I never felt like I lost you

I know you’ll return
And here I’ll wait for you

Unwilling

I would go to the mountains
Let my love for you echo when I scream
Let my desire for you rustle through the trees
Flowed by the stream
Whispered through the wind
Sang by the birds
How wonderful you are to me
How beautiful it is when you’re with me

But with our love it is not possible
Where we are it is just difficult
I have too much love inside me that it hurts
Eventually my heart will burst
I hold back not to get killed
Little did I know inside it kills
Our love is forbidden
Unwillingly hidden

A Hobby That Takes You Worldwide

Going through all my mails and reading all the letters and cards I received brought back loads of memories. Receiving a hand written letter or card from someone kinda makes you feel special and I love the surprise I got when I open my mailbox and there would be a letter waiting for me.

That is how Postcrossing is like. You send a postcard to a random person anywhere in the world and be surprised to receive a postcard from a random person from anywhere in the world.

At the time of writing, there are 464,575 registered users from 216 different countries. Since the Postcrossing project started there have been 21,678,492 postcards received. In Malaysia alone there are 3,292 members and 165,097 postcards sent.

I signed up for a Postcrossing account four months ago when I met a Postcrosser Gladys David on Twitter. A Postcrosser is someone who sends postcards to all over the world through Postcrossing. I saw her updates on Postcrossing and decided to check it out. After four months of having Postcrossing account, I only sent my first batch of postcards to Russia, Germany and China last week.

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Miss Gladys David.

While eagerly waiting for a postcard from a stranger from anywhere around the world  I decided to ask Gladys on her experience becoming a Postcrosser. Introduced to Postcrossing by her cousin, she started being an active Postcrosser since 2013, last year.

Why did you signed up for a Postcrossing account?
I love sending and receiving things through snail mail. Letters take too much time but postcards are simpler. 

So far, how many have you sent and how many have you received?
I’ve sent 70 postcards and received 73. I have a colleague who registered later than me but she has sent hundreds of postcards already.

Wow. Her postcards must’ve arrived their destination fast. That’s why she can send many.
[Laughs] I think I’m the one who’s lazy. If I’m busy, I put Postcrossing on hold and only start to send postcards when I have less workload.

For first time users, each user is allowed to send five postcards and when the recipient receives the postcard and enters the Postcard ID written, and then only a user sends another. The number of postcards allowed to travel at any single time goes up the more postcards a user sends.

How do you feel when you open your mailbox and there’s a postcard waiting for you?
Of course I feel excited.

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Usually how long will a postcard reaches its’ destination?
It depends on the destination. It doesn’t take too long if the destination is in the South East Asia like Thailand or the far east like Japan. Postcards to Russia will take some time though, according to my friend, @yAn123. [Laughs]

I see. Where have you received your postcards from?
Everywhere! But I haven’t received any postcards from the Middle East.

Gladys shares her statistics.

Did you become friends with the person you sent postcards to o the one you received postcards from, like adding each other on Facebook?
So far I haven’t add any Postcrossing friends on Facebook but there are some whom I became friends with for a regular swap. Basically regular swap is two friends sending postcards to each other without using the Postcard ID.

I see. The extent of your relationship with Postcrossers is sending each other postcards?
Yes. I haven’t had a Postcrosser friend whom I really became friends with.

Where do you get your postcards? Do you buy or your print them?
I bought my postcards most of the time. I print occasionally and I made a handmade postcard once.

Oh. I would like to go back to your previous answer, “I haven’t had a Postcrosser friend whom I really became friends with”. What are the points of the postcards if you haven’t made any friends?
I didn’t spend time nurturing my relationship with other users on Postcrossing. Maybe the point is to have a great personal statistics? [Giggles] You get to know some tidbits from the sender’s country or hometown and I like to see my postcard collection growing. That’s why I keep at it.

Some users have preferences on what type of postcards they like to receive and don’t like to receive. Do you send a postcard that meets the user’s preference or you just send any type of postcards?
[Laughs] I once send a user a postcard he dislikes. Usually, if I have a postcard that a user wants or if I can do something about it, I would meet the user’s preferences. I stick lots of stamps if a user stated that he/she likes stamps. For instance, normally I would use a RM 0.50 stamp, if he or she likes stamps if would use RM 0.10, RM 0.20, RM 0.30, RM 0.05 stamps that equals to RM 0.50. Different images on each stamp.

Postcrossing gave me a user’s address to send my postcard to and in her description box she stated that she is afraid of standard, touristic city views, monuments and art postcards, written in capital letters. Why would someone be afraid of a touristic city view postcard? I’m not sure why. 

What happened with the user whom you sent a postcard he doesn’t like?
Nothing happened. He didn’t say anything in the message box when he registered the postcard I sent.

Do you have any preference on what type of postcards you would like to receive?
My only preference is, the cards must be 4 inches x 6 inches in size so that the postcard can fit in my folder. [Laughs]

[Laughs] No wonder when I look at all your postcards, they’e about the same size. What do you usually write on your postcards before you send them?
Sometimes I write about the weather or any events that’s currently happening. Sometimes I write random stuff pretty much like tweeting.

Gladys’ postcard collection.

Speaking of stamps, how much do you usually spend on stamps for a postcard?
RM 0.50. Maybe more if he/she likes stamps but not more than a Ringgit. So far, I haven’t had any postcard that doesn’t reach its’ destination due to insufficient stamps.

RM 0.50 is quite cheap for a postcard travelling anywhere around the world. Adding that to the price of a postcard, the cost of sending a postcard all around the world is only RM 1.50. That’s what I had in mind when I was at the post office. I was surprised when I was charged RM 2 for a postcard travelling to Russia but I didn’t bother to ask why. While sitting at the corner sticking stamps on my postcards I heard a couple who ask the officer in regards of the price of sending a postcard.

“Why does it cost so much to send a postcard to Singapore?”

It turned out that any postcards that are 15 cm x 10 cm in size or smaller, stamp price will be RM 0.50 to all destinations. Any postcards larger than the size mentioned, the price of stamps will depend on the destination.

Top Left: Mt. Kinabalu postcard; 15 cm x 10 cm in size. RM 1 from Borneo Books, Wisma Merdeka.
Top Right: Random photo postcard bought at the post office for RM 1.
Bottom: KLCC postcard. Much larger than the previous two which stamps cost will depend on the destination.

Do you know any KK Postcrossers? Have you sent any postcards to someone in KK or anywhere in Sabah?
I’ve exchanged postcards with @rungitom who is also a Postcrosser but not through Postcrossing. Some of the Postcrossers I know are @glaydavid, @y4n123, and @sorbesque. Mariah Doksil is also a Postcrosser too.

After having that conversation with her I can’t wait to see the reaction of the user who’s afraid of certain postcards because I sent her a quite an artsy postcard I bought in KL. I would like to receive a postcard from the Pitcairn Islands. But unfortunately, with only population of 46 people (at the time of writing), there are no Postcrossing users from the island yet.

Want to start sending postcards? You can get your postcards from most bookstores at RM 1 each. There are stores you can get six postcards for RM 5 like Just For You in Wisma Merdeka. Most of the postcards being sold in KK are the typical touristic, scenic and cultural if not, orang utan postcards. There are various animal postcards in Times and Tai Yang Bookstore but they cost a lot. As for the artsy fartsy ones, so far I haven’t found any of them in KK.

Or you can always print a postcard by yourself or develop a picture you took and use it as a postcard. Opt for a more environmental friendly approach by reusing old boxes or envelopes and turn them into postcards. There are some concerns as well on Postcrossing leaving an ecological footprint. However, there’s a list of making Postcrossing a greener hobby on the website. Phew!

Fancy a postcard from me? Well give me your address then!

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