11:21 AM

The Oil Town Part One

Posted by Mr.Clive |

I went to Malacca a few weeks ago,on a short trip with some friends to see what the so-called historical city has to offer. There's two words that I can use to summarize the whole journey there at Malacca: interesting & dissapointing. While the city of Malacca has indeed preserved well some of the old buildings like Christ Church (correct me if I'm wrong), A'Famosa and so on-i don't really remember the names of the places I went. But still,when it comes to the way Malaysia handles things,it will end up as Malaysia as well.Apart from the main part of the city where these historical buildings are grouped together,other parts of the city weren't really seducing me. The bus stops are confusing,the buildings are scattered.Now now,my article is not about Malacca,that we can straighten out. No,it's still about Sarawak and this time,I'd like to touch again about my hometown, Miri Resort City.

I would like to illuminate the word resort by the way.It's interesting to live in a place where the particular place is being developed and built for the sake of tourism.So,we should expect looking at Paris,Rome,Sydney for examples,no?I've just reached Miri last Monday for the semester break and then,the very next few days,been spending my time going around the beloved city of mine.Yes,I can see more and more developments are coming around. But I suppose it's even more dissapointing than Malacca.But at least Miri is more organized and not scattered like Malacca. I think it is agreeable to say that Sarawak is not really short of money,right?So,based on newspapers and internet reading,our ministers kept on saying that tourism contributes lots of money to the country.So,why hesitate on developing more tourist areas and not only that,we should also be serious maintaining them as well.For instance,in Putrajaya.It's a multi-billion project by the government of Malaysia-yes,yes,lots of beautiful and creative builidings,but a walk around the place just dissapoints me .Simple as that.The grasses are long,the flowers are not properly maintained,the paints on certain buildings started to wear off,I mean,why so?If they really are serious about the whole tourism business things,then being user-friendly should be their main objective!

So,back to Miri. I think this beautiful city has lots more to offer than it seems.But like I said,because of poor planning and procrastination,well,here we are,still slowly progressing.When I'm at the airport like Miri Airport,there's a brochure promoting the tourist destinations around Malaysia and yes,there's Sarawak and open Sarawak,there's Miri. So,some of the things we can do?Gua Niah,Gua Mulu,scuba diving etc etc.But the activities should be expanded more aggressively so only by doing that,more tourists are interested to come and that would indirectly lead to businesses booming and eventually,more Mirians decide to stay for the sake of the promising future and not for the sake of Shell.Perhaps I'm being too impatient,perhaps I'm expecting too much. But just look at the two statues of seahorses,the mascot for Miri in the middle of the roundabout in front of the Wisma Pelita building (google it if unsure). The flowers are not properly trimmed,the grasses are long.I mean,this really gives bad impression.Speaking of bad impression,the other day at Malacca,I took a bus from the Malacca bus terminal going to the city. But the condition of the bus with its aircond only releasing hot air instead of cooling the passengers,small and dirty-you can smell the sweat from the people sitting around you and surely,put yourself in the shoes of the tourists,or me(im a tourist,right?)what would they think?what did i think?the same goes for the roundabout.

And then there's the beach called Tanjong Lobang(err,is the spelling right?)It's a very nostalgic place for me.I love going there when I was a kid,running along the beach,eating Longans and rojaks,but now when I came visiting the place every now and then,there are rubbish everywhere,plastics,food containers,and nasty writings on the wall of the toilet and so on.

I lived in Miri for a very long time already.I've seen many things taking place in this oil town and I really love this place.But it can be better,for more aggressive expansion,aiming to be on the same height of other famous tourist destinations-maybe not Paris,maybe not London,but at least aiming to be like them.Reduce crimes in Miri,that is also one of the most critical things that should be considered seriously by the government.

If you ever come to Miri and a random walk around the place,you're bound to notice that there are lots of loan sharks' offices around the city.What does this imply?Gangsterisms are at large.This is also one of the things that make me feel reluctant about coming back to Miri sometimes.It doesn't feel safe walking in the city as soon as the night arrive,having late night supper at some chinese restaurants-somehow,I feel threathened.Night clubs everywhere and the lack of police presence just increase the paranoia even more. It's not false alarm,I can assure you. Reading the newspaper-Borneo Post- in the morning,chances are we'll find stories that touch on gangsters' fights,killings.It just doesn't feel safe,damn it!

I love this city.That's all I hope for.A bright future for the oil town.


Anonymous said...

Tourists like to see or rather experience history too. While Malacca and Penang and other commonwealth cuntries are maintaining and nurturing historical sites, Sarawak government has been renaming roads, educational institutions and some buildings with local non-relevant names. Is that negative practice good for tourism?

Anonymous said...


rename sri aman back to simanggang ;-)

anyway, the loansharks i think come from sibu n the buang daerah from malaya