Sunday, October 19, 2014

Children of Mabul

Mabul island has a lot of children. A lot of them. Also, cats. In the village, the children, and grown-ups, roam around the village like time has stopped there since many years ago. The village and its rustic charm.

Right outside our homestay, a Mabul boy swam to us with his prizes from the sea and showed me to ask if we would be interested to buy some. Although we just smiled and told him that we were not buying, he politely thanked us and swam away.

Mabul Kid

Children in the village seems to love patronising this little shop that sell snacks. Even after the sky turned dark and no more snacks available to buy, some children still loitered at this little blue shop.

Choosing treats

Shopping boy


The children are lovely, they are not really camera-shy, and in fact they are not a bit evasive as me to the camera lens at all.

Little Girl of Mabul

Lovely children

As these three girls are just outside our homestay, I got to see them one more time on the last day before we left.

Sweet local girl

Looking at the scene below, it hits the nostalgic part of me. I miss seeing babies being cradled. I guess they no longer do this nowadays in our town. Cats, people, taking afternoon nap in the hot days.

Cradling in early afternoon

Cats, everywhere on the island

It's like smiles everywhere. Sometimes when you are not exposed to too much, you retain the purity and kindness. Also, feel contented easily.


Grocery Shop Toddler

Portrait of a Mabul Family

Interesting sighting. The children are actually gathering to watch a movie together.

TV gathering

Only in Mabul.

Houses on sea

It's a big world

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Our little Gardening works

A soft, well lit corner. Plants, reading are our hobbies.

Recently, we kind of very into these little gardening thing. Glad that we have this little corner where the lighting is soft during the daytime, to place all the little greeneries and take pictures of them, as well as food.

We started with kit sourced from Taobao, like the moss, stones etc from the comfort on our bed, though I wanted to have as much as DIY spirit into the project as possible. I am still not familiar with plants, and don't know what are the moss and plants growing outside our house are suitable for indoor.

I think there is a very easy trick in setting up the base layers. I hope the plants can survive:

Bottom layer: small stones for water to set in if too much water
Second layer: sphagnum moss or peat moss, wet the moss before setting in, I guess charcoal works the same.
Third layer: soil, still learning what's the different soil will do to the plants

Miniature garden

Hanging garden:
Glass container and hanger sourced from Taobao, mosses and miniature toy figures as well. The unknown pretty little hanging plants are transplanted from a bowl of artistic plants which YN found in Kuching. I hope to find out the name of the plant.

Haworthia plant and an airplant

Wind and Air:
Both Haworthia (Zebra desert plant) and airplant are sourced from Taobao as well.

Lesson learnt, air plants can be procured from Taobao but not zebra plant. The tips start to turn yellow. I hope they do survive. Will go out to the local nursery to source for more plants!

Update (2015):
The Zebra plant actually starts to grow bigger in the office, but stay about the same at home. The airplants still thriving, and there is finally a Terrarium with red nerve plant!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Short getaway to Mabul, Semporna

Back in last April, we had an impromptu trip to Semporna region of Sabah, despite a kidnap that just happened in March. We could not resist the super cheap air fare, and bought it. A girl gave up on the trip, but the rest of us persisted. Applause to XT, Alfred, Pan, Gerry and me!


We did not try to hide from our boss that we were going on the same trip. Me and my colleagues / teammates:


Before we reached the town of Semporna, the palm oil plantation from the airport to the town broke my imagination of a Sabah with pristine forest. Deeply saddened to see how Sabah forest has been damaged to this extent. Few years ago, when Marcus drove us all to the Tip of Borneo from Kota Kinabalu, I do not recall seeing any palm oil tree. Two or three hours of journey, and it was all palm oil plantation.

Semporna is a town, that resembles a very typical laid-back Malaysian town. Signs of tourism boom could be seen, with hotels and hostels springing up near the seaside area, and tourists walking in their snorkelling gear or swim suit on the streets. There was nothing much in this town, after dinner we just spent our evening playing San Guo Sha card game that Gerry brought along.

We stayed in Summer Friends homestay, which owned by a Chinese, Mr Yong, and his family of Bajau-Chinese descendants, who helped to arrange for airport transport, boat transfer to Mabul island and the homestay. It's a very homely homestay that is supported by stilts with the Celebes sea just below the floor / wooden planks. The sea just below the homestay was crystal clear too, with a tint of turquoise but I could see that the water was not really clean. How nice if we could let our city mindset that cares too much about cleanliness out of our way and jump into the sea and play like all the children of the Mabul village did.


Mr Yong's son, Xiao Yang, with his friendly charm, who hung out with us and guided us to the snorkel trips.



On the rooftop of Summer Friends Homestay, under the starry sky, we just could not help ourselves to play with all these long exposure photos. On the rooftop with all the stars above us, the air was cool, and we laid down on the wooden planks there and talked to each other. It was one of those quality moments that staying in a luxurious resort doesn't give you.


The Kapalai resort snorkel was actually the best among all the snorkels I had on the island.

Photo 20-4-14 10 28 49 am

Photo 20-4-14 10 26 52 am

Mr Yong's wife, a local Bajau lady was like a kind mother too. While I fainted there, possibly due to heatstroke, Xiao Yang and aunty applied oil and let me drink the rehydration salt solution.


Just outside the homestay, it's Mabul village that is interesting to walk about. The island is very very small, which possibly only took less than an hour to circle the island on a casual pace. Walking in the village was like having an experience of time travelling to older time. The village retained so much Kampung feel. The locals were very friendly too, smiling at us as our eyes met.




Now I know Gerry loves cats.


We wandered into a school, with view like this just beside the school. Do the school children jump into the sea when they feel like it or they risk being scolded by teachers? Feel like I should have brought along a towel so that I can just swim for a little bit here!


Before the trip, I started brain-washing XT and Pan that cold shower is good for health, I think I failed to have their mind changed.