On Labour Day I managed to pay a visit to the new Sibu - Kuching Express Terminal near the Kuching Port. This is the alternative Public Transport that is quite popular in Sarawak. I remebered that I had great diffculty in explaining this mode of transport when I was schooling in Semenanjung Malaysia. It was basically due to miscommunication at that time.
In Semenanjung, when you say that you are travelling by 'Express', it means Express Bus. Being a Sibu boy and growing up in Sibu, I was accustomed to the term 'Express' describing an Express Boat. So imagine the two young minds, one from Sarawak and the other from Semenanjung when they both try to describe this form of public transport.
Naik Express? I was that thin 20 years ago!
Semenanjung Guy:Banyak Express tak di Sarawak?
Sarawakian Guy:Banyak....tapi di sini tak nampak Express lah?
Semenanjung Guy:Eh..., banyak la Express, cam Transnasional tu dah berapa biji.
Sarawakian Guy:Oh...Belum nampak satu lagi...
Semenanjung Guy: Ya ke..di sini berlambak la....
Sarawakian Guy:Oh macam tu...rindula nak naik Express..macam balik Kampung
Semenanjung Guy:Ya, kita orang selalu pegi balik kampung naik Express, murah dari Keretapi atau Teksi
Sarawakian Guy:Ya ka. Di Sarawak kadang kadang penuh sangat Express, penumpang kena naik atas 'perabong' (roof), barang pon kena bawak naik atas.
Semenanjung Guy:Weh...dasyhat orang Sarawak, boleh naik atas Express lagi tu...
And so that is how it went years ago. Express Bus travel was not yet the "in" thing in Sarawak at that time. Its just relating my experience - after a while I realised that its the Express Bus they meant. I was too used to the term 'Green or Blue Bus' or just 'Bas' in Sibu. Culture Shock lah. But it is very much significant now when we deal with the Federal Government Departments. We have to paint to the guys there, the right pictre about Sarawak, especially the planners and politicians who never step foot here- do they really know what its like here when they do the planning for us. Currently to overcome this there is two ways communications. Sometimes when they want to impose the Nation's Law on the State, we are usually reluctant to oblige, more so if we in the State Government feel that not enough planning and consultations have been done.
The inside of the Express Boat - Pretty Comfortable & Air Conditioned
Another view of the top of the Express
Funny, the Express's Captain looks familiar
Boat about to depart
Set to go
The sideview is quite impressive as the boat turns to Sarawak River's mouth to head to sea
You would probably love the toilets in here as it is quite well maintained
The express I believe is a unique Public Transport alternative that we rely on so much in Sarawak. The trip takes about five hours and it stops over in Sarikei before it proceeds to Sibu. The facilities at the wharf are quite okay........except for a few things. If you are easily sick or sensitive, please I warn you, do not proceed to see the pictures I am about to share.
Don't stare too long - some unflushed poops (Malaysian bad habits).
A close up version - God knows what this person has for his meals....urgh!
The basin where you supposedly want to clean your hands. It is less than impressive - dirty and I doubt you would want touch anything there.
The moral of the story is: If you do decide to take the Express Boat should you travel one of these days, make sure you do your toilet business early (way before you wait for the Express Boat to depart because its a long walk to the nearest Public Toilet). I will do my part in reporting this nasty experience to the Sarawak Rivers Board. The Express Terminal's cleanliness is supposed to be under their supervision. Oops...will I get in trouble by commenting on another Government Agency? Its back to the Prime Minister's call - we have First Class Facilities but yet we have Third Class Mentality.