Bon Voyage Mang
Last night my cousin Mang flew off to Canada via KLIA to pursue a degree in International Relations at McMaster University Canada. Its quite sad because I was unable to send her off but her parents and so was my Mum and Dad, brother and sister in law and of course Grandma with a great number of Uncles and Aunties were there. I had known her when she was a little girl and now she's all grown up and getting ready to go to dimension in her educational pursuit. The Maybank advertisement about an Iban girl going overseas kept ringing in my head. I had wanted to deposit some token pocket money into her account before she left yesterday. As I don't usually drive in this small town of Sri Aman, I sweated it out in the hot sun looking for this beloved Maybank which has supposedly 450 branches worldwide.
Maybe its my ignorance or that I took for granted that Maybank (with its 450 or more branches worldwide) could be found in Sri Aman that I never did ask any Sri Amanians as I passed them during my quest to look for it. After all, how hard would it be to find Rimau Bank as the Maybank advertisement had guaranteed me that it has 450 branches worldwide). I passed by Agro Bank, BSN, RHB Bank, EON Bank, CIMB Bank which I would say has less than 450 branches Worldwide. Ummm....after an exhausting Explorace around Sri Aman on foot did I finally ask a Chinese Towkay where this Rimau was hiding. What I feared most came true when I was told there is no Rimau (Maybank) in Sri Aman. I just shrugged my shoulders in amazement...450 branches worldwide and I discovered Sri Aman is not part of that Worldwide Network. Gosh!
Sibu troop send off at Sibu Airport
Mang at the Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam (JPA) Office with her parents, Awie her younger brother and Grandma
As usual our family never fails to have a feast before Mang leaves - its going to be a different set of menu in Canada. A new discovery for me too as I see most of my family have converted from the regular Rimau (Tiger) Beer to Guiness Stout!
Mang's Dad with Apai Telu - yeap definitely Guiness Stout converts
From Left: Grandma, Dad, Aunty Lyn (Mang's Mum) and my Mum - Grandma will probably miss her most as Mang spent her childhood years with her at the longhouse
Tearful farewell - its hard to describe. I feel sad myself coz Canada is at the other corner of the world. I would love to drop by one day
Work in Sri Aman goes on as this morning I attended one of the Merdeka (Independence) Countdown event which is the Kembara Merdeka Jalur Gemilang organised by the Information Department. The convoy comprises of eleven (11) Four Wheel Drive Vehicles - one representing each Division in Sarawak. The reception and send off event was officiated by YB Francis Harden Hollis the Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri for Simanggang (Sri Aman) at Kampung Sabu, Sri Aman.
Tourism Potential in Sri Aman
As our waterfront is being developed (Tidal Bore Watch and Watch Tower) minus Fort Alice, Sri Aman now lacks good tourist spots to attract visitors to come into town. The benak comes at certain odd hours which may not be to the tourist's convenience. This situation hopefully is expected to improve once all the mentioned tourism infrastructures in the town are completed. At present just the Mount Hosanna Chapel which is about 34 KM outside the town looks grand enough for the tourists who wish to capture the unique design in their collection. However it is only open on Sundays.
Mount Hosanna Chapel signage
Mount Hosanna from another angle
Pak Keria: Click to enlarge - Santa Claus look alike rolling down the hill at high speed
Anyway I do spot some unique tourism attraction that comes rolling by like the benak every afternoon. Pak Keria (Zakaria) a well known textile trader here with his three wheelie at Jalan Astana cruising downhill. Its a steep hill I can attest to that and if you roll down with free gear, it is very risky but Pak Keria does that elegantly - maybe its because of his years of experience. Anyway - Bon Voyage to you Mang ~ may we have lots of Canadian Tourists heading Sri Aman way :) starting with Celine Dion!