Sandakan is unique and also typically Malaysian. Many of these photos will look just like those I’ve taken in Sebana Cove, or Kota Kinabalu. Ultimately it’s our interaction with the local people that attracts us to Malaysia. They have been friendly and helpful everywhere we go. Sandakan was the same.
Sandakan has a new “wet market” where you can buy almost anything “fresh” you want eat. And if you need some simple, inexpensive colorful clothes, go upstairs and you’ll find rows of stalls selling the colorful tops, wraps, and dresses I started buying back in the Philippines. But Randal and I were just being tourists and not shoppers so all I left with were photos.
Bushels of watermelon.
Of course, lots of fresh fish though; fresh chicken was for sale in the market.
Still Life with Fish. The red fish just caught my eye and it’s easier to see in a large photo.
Randal and I went to the library in Sandakan. We went twice; the first time just to see it and the second time to read magazines and look at art books and fill time. Not a bad collection of books and a quite good selection of magazines including “Foreign Affairs, the Economist, Newsweek; “women’s magazines, sports, something for everyone just like US libraries. They had magazines in all of the three languages spoken in Sandakan; Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and English.
It’s a fairly large building with parking under-the-building parking area.
They had books, magazines, computers, DVDs…. While we were in Sandakan one of the local news papers printed an article about the high cost of books and how readers were worried about having a continuous supply. Comments faulted the library for being too far from the center of town and not having enough of the popular titles so the wait was too long. Randal and I could walk to the library from the city center; but it was at least a 20 minute walk for us and we walk fast. There seemed to be a bus if you knew how to use it but that also costs money for the locals. Wish they had built the library in the town center though it looks to be close to several schools. I guess they save the land in town center for what is always perceived as “profit making enterprises.” I was disappointed in the collection concerning Agnes Keith. When I asked about it, the reference person took me to a locked room and showed me copies of Keith’s books. She pointed to the books and that’s about it and then left me to search around. I wanted an overflowing vertical file folder with clippings and old photos like we had at the RCPL so I could read about her time in Sandakan. I didn’t stay long, not much inspired by what I saw; maybe I just really wasn’t in the mood.
I left local history and went to the watercolor section and learned a few things. The library reminded me of the Public Lending library in Kota Kinabalu. (KK has a newer library just for reference which I visited during our first trip to KK.) The library in Terengganu was new but had fewer books. These libraries get used. You never see them empty. There are always a good number of people reading magazines or students doing work. It’s nice to see. The Sandakan newspaper also ran an article discussing whether the government should censor the Internet. Readers responded and most were the same arguments we hear at home concerning kids and their access to porn. At least they were discussing it and allowing diverse opinions. I was disappointed that the one from someone signing herself as a librarian was mostly concerned about access to Facebook. Good grief: that’s definitely not the most important internet access issue for sure! Having said that, in a world where people don’t travel so much, Facebook could be a way to see and interact with a wider group of people and ideas. And almost everyone at home now is on Facebook as a way to communicate with family and friends. It will be interesting to see what happens here in Malaysia with Internet access.
The library was just next to a wharf area of fishing boats. We walked over but hesitated to go into the gated area. The fisherman saw us and waved us in so we went.
Scenes from the fishing wharf. The huge lights are used for night fishing and make night cruising interesting. Our radar is set with a 3 mile radius and these lights can be seen from much further away. So you see lights but nothing on the radar.
I’ll send one more Sandakan email: showing the local kids.