Friday, March 29, 2013


Jesselton (now Kota Kinabalu)

In 1963 I had to venture out of Sandakan. The year before I had completed my Senior Cambridge Certificate. The only schools which ran Form 6 classes then were located in the capital of North Borneo. For the next two years, I would be a full-board student at Sabah College.

This post will include scenes taken about half a century apart in and around the West Coast, mainly at Jesselton/Kota Kinabalu. 

1. HSBC Bank and Tong Hing Cold Storage

This two commercial buildings remain intact after half a century, although major renovations have been carried during the decades separating the two scenes.

Back in the 60s, bicycle was still a major transportation item. Those bicycles under the rain tree probably belonged to the bank's clients or workers.

One cannot see any sign of bicycles these days. Instead, we have the KK Bypass on the right with cars zooming past.

This giant rain tree across the road from HSBC fascinated me then. It still does today. It is a blessing that the Local Authorities allow it to stay there.

After 50 years, it still stands proudly, even though some of its lower branches have been trimmed off to avoid hazards, as can be seen from this and other photos below.

Every now and again, the old rain tree will come alive with a profuse bloom of dove orchids, in tandem with the onsets of thundery weather. 

2. Reunion With Classmates 

By December, 1964, I had completed my Form 6 (Upper) education in Sabah College, Jesselton. I had sat for my Cambridge Higher School Certificate Exams and had returned to Sandakan to await the results. In February, 1965 I embarked on the first leg of a journey to pursue my tertiary education in New Zealand. I flew to Jesselton to receive the final instructions and to collect my tickets from the Education Department for my flight to NZ under a Colombo Plan Scholarship.

On 13 February, I visited Sabah College for the last time. There I met two of my former classmates, who, like me, would be heading for universities overseas. We chatted and had a group photo taken outside Turnbull Hall, where we had attended weekly assemblies and other educational, cultural and social activities during the past two years.

Cheng (left) would be one of the 6 students heading with me (right) for various destinations in NZ, whilst Wu (centre) was scheduled to enter an institution of higher learning in the United Kingdom later on in the year.

Half a century has since lapsed. We have accomplished our educational targets, worked at our respective professions, and have mainly retired. It was a chanced encounter that we were reunited again for a memorable group photo, almost 50 years 10 days to the date of the above photo. 

Venue: E-West Cafe, Kota Kinabalu
3. Sending off a St. Mary's Classmate 

    (Click to enlarge)

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( be continued)

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