Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A trip to the Tip

I was not working last weekend. It was indeed a great breakaway, having the weekend free. Extended the break on Monday and Tuesday. Will be back to work tomorrow.

Met up with some friends from Keningau. They were in town for a Missions Seminar at the Methodist Headquarters. Joined them for the night sessions on Thurs and Fri night. Enrolled for a special program called "The Journey" on Saturday. It was good! I think the program was developed with Wycliffe Malaysia; it's something like a step-by-step station-game detailing the experiences that a Christian worker goes through on entering cross-cultural field. There were stations like Comfort Zone, The Call, Passport Application, Sending Agency, Bible School, Language Class, Culture Class, VISA application, Church Commissioning, Ticketing Agent, Airport, the Flight (complete with Captain Kirk and air turbulence), Customs (with rude officers asking for bribes)... whew! Actually I've gone through many of those experiences when I went to Nepal many years ago through Interserve's facilitation. The organisers arranged a Rungus chap, a Lundayeh lady, and an Orang Sungai to teach us some local words and try out sayur kampung... a first cross-culture experience for many of the city Chinese folks. You should see how their eyes pop out on discovering that tapioca leaves can actually be made into a tasty dish. I biasa sudah.

Yesterday we made a trip to Kudat. Needed to get out of the city, go back to the districts and be in touch with nature. It was a day trip. Two friends from Keningau came with us.

We left the city early. Arrived in Kota Belud for breakfast of Meehoon Sup Ayam. Kota Belud is a very cramped town with narrow roads and haphazard parking.

From the we continued towards Kudat. Made a stop in Matunggong town, where most of the Rungus community dwell. There were a few of tourist attractions there, under the One Village One Industry concept. We visited the Honey Bee Farm and the Traditional Rungus Longhouse, leaving out the Gong Factory and Beads Industry.

The Rungus Longhouse was really worth a visit. Have a look if you pass that way. They sell some really nice handicrafts and reasonable prices. Foreign tourists often stay overnight there for a longhouse experience.

Made our way to Kudat. Drove around the district hospital.

In town, we searched for a stall named 2899 located behind the fish market, which a colleague says cooks good and cheap seafood. We found the stall and verified his claim. We had fried Gong-Bo Fresh Scallops, a steamed Sek-Ban fish, a generous plate of steamed Pai-Kut, with Sayur Manis, drinks and rice... all for just RM 40 or so.

After lunch, we went to buy some local delicacies at the nearby dry market. It was told to us that Kudat is famous for it's rice biscuits and friend peanuts. And so we came, we saw, and we bought. Then we went to explore the fruit market, and found some interesting stuffs.

We then drove to the famous Tip of Borneo, or known by the locals as Tanjung Simpang Mengayau. That's the north-most point of the Borneo island, one of the taller of the two horns if you look at the map of Sabah.

The road to the Tip was BAD. Gravel and mud. I thought my little car enrolled for Camel Trophy Challenge. We knocked down a dog along the way.

Made a brief stop at Pantai Kelambu before going to Tg Simpang Mengayau. Pantai Kelambu was pretty nice and calm, good for a quiet picnic and beach BBQ.

Tg Simpang Mengayau was magnificent. The Tourism people made it into a very nice attraction. Words alone will not be enough. Go see the photos HERE.

Made it back to Kudat town for another meal of seafood. After that, drove 3 hours back to Kota Kinabalu for a good night's rest at home.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Little boy is getting big

The Methodist pastor in Keningau said that little babies change a lot with every single day. Well, little boy has grown quite a lot for the past 3 months. He is now 6kg, doubling his birth weight. Quite an achievement considering that he is surviving on fluid diet alone.

We give thanks to little boy's Creator that He has, in His grace healed little boy of his initial illnesses (the yellow, the urine infection...) and has added much fat and muscle to little boy. Little boy has grown so much that he could hardly fit into that basin. He is now much stronger, fatter, noisier, and manja. Pray that little boy will grow to be a person who loves his God and his neighbour.

Here is the Lundayeh granny, Nenek Remut, who took care of little boy when he was still small and fragile, and his mummy was recovering from the delivery. See how big Ryan is. Gosh!

To see more of little boy's photos at 3 months plus, click HERE.

Irene's birthday

Little boy's mummy's birthday came on the 7th of July. I was on-call that day. So we went out for dinner at a simple steak house two days prior. Here is little boy blowing birthday candles with his mummy.

And it so happened that little boy's cousin came to the world on the 7th of July too! My brother's son Aden Hoong Xiang Jann arrived with 3.5 kg.

To see more of little boy's photos at 2 months plus, click

The work here

Hectic, tiring, tensed... and leaving me weary and tired.

It's a big culture shock moving to a busy city hospital. It wasn't like that when the O&G Department was still housed in the old Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Since they moved to the hilltop ex- Sabah Medical Center, workload has increased by folds. It is said that the more well-to-do folks and Chinese ladies are coming back to goverment hospital because of the nice setting and good reputation of Hospital Likas. Who cares that the staffs there are working like dogs (as uttered by an O&G Specialist).

Well, during normal working days, I start work at about 7.30 am, and reach home about 6.00 to 7.00 pm. My colleagues who stay in other parts of KK add another 30 minutes of travel time if they are caught in traffic jam. Delivery rate here is about 850 to 950 a month (4 times that of Keningau). So imagine how heavy the workload is. On top of that, there are presentations, audits, statistics, teaching sessions, case discussions etc... to be prepared. A lot of juggling work there.

While staffs in Keningau get to smile as they work, people here are at most time tensed and weary, sometimes even hostile. So much things to be done, so little time, with not a minute to be spared. (Hmmm... I may be exaggerating here).

The standards are high. We try hard to provide a high level of care and patient satisfaction. With that come along audits and reprimands. And so come along the blame game. My colleagues say, biasa already la kena marah-marah. Not a very healthy working culture I think. Do something good, and nobody will notice; make the slightest mistake, and everybody will jump at you.

O&G Specialists from Likas visit Keningau regularly to see how are things getting on. When they are doing district visits, they are smiley and friendly and relaxed. But see them work in Likas, most of them conjure more an image of a super-efficient-working-machine than a human being. While we instruct junior staffs to show compassion to patients, let us not forget about compassion to our own staffs.

OK, sorry for having to bear with me. Thanks for listening/reading. Well, I am still in the adjustment phase, I am biased.

Things will get better. Yes it will.

Where we are staying

We have been staying in Kota Kinabalu for just over a month now.

It has been a great change and a time for many adjustments for us. In Keningau, we had close friends and great neighbours. We had good fellowship with the big family of God's people. Things are familiar and easily within reach. In KK, we are starting all over again... getting to know people and places, making friends and seeking fellowship. I am stuck at work most of the time, and little boy is with his mum at home... I am sure they're bored too. Drop by and have tea some time when you're free.

Anyway, here's where we're staying. A humble double-storey house in Ujana Kingfisher. It's just about a kilometer away from Hospital Likas where I am working. So, usually I just hop onto the motorcycle to get to work (they don't have covered parking lots for lower category staffs). We brought some furniture from the house in Keningau, and bought a couple more in KK. Just simple stuffs, coz we're only staying in a temporary dwelling until the time comes to move on. (on a larger scale, aren't we all just passer-bys in this world until we settle down in our permanent dwelling place called heaven?). Ah yes the nice little oven came along, but there is little time to bake bread and cakes nowadays.

It's all rows and rows of houses around us. Haven't really got to know the neighbourhood yet. From what I learned, many houses here are rented out to university students of the nearby UMS. You can pick those out by observing the rows of motorcycles parked in the setting of untidy house compound (hehehee... I once lived in a student house too). The other houses, I heard, are mainly occupied by local Sabahan bumis. Well, they say the Chinese live in more upclass housing estates in the adjacent. Security ain't too good here. Just last week our next-door neighbour (a group of nurses I think) got robbed at knifepoint in the middle of the night.

Do you see any trees in the neighbourhood? I don't. The one on the right is at most a decorative plant. Ah, I miss my longan tree and ciku tree and mango tree in Keningau. I am not much a city person, probably will not ever be. There was a song something like "where have all the flowers gone, long time ago...". I am now typing this post in a cybercafe in Tenom. We took a short break back to kampung coz "it's good to touch the green green grass of home...".