Saturday, 2 January 2016

A Road Trip With Mom To Rediscover My Roots

Mom and I are currently on vacation together in Sarawak. It was Mom's idea to reacquaint me back to my family roots because Granny was originally from Kuching and Mom had spent her days as a little girl in Sibu and Kuching.

Our trip was a whirlwind of visits with so many relatives, some I never knew I had. 

In Sibu, I got to visit Uncle Cameron and Aunty Shirley and realised Uncle Cameron had a crazier hobby than I had.   He collected replica guns and rifles and all sorts of military paraphernalia.

With Uncle Cameron and Aunty Shirley

Uncle Cameron's collection of military paraphernalia 

I visited a grand aunt who at her age, had remembered me, but I could not remember her. It was so embarrassing.

My Grand Aunt from Sibu

And I met another Uncle and his Wife. He also has as crazy a hobby as I have. He rears fighting cocks.   

Uncle Ah Siong and his Wife 

Uncle Ah Siong's fighting cocks

In Kuching, my aunts were our tour guides.

With Aunty Ah Meng and Aunty Sharon.  Without them and their trusty little old car, Mom and I would be quite lost.

As I had visited Kuching with Mom and Granny when I was 4 years old, I still had vivid memories of my grand uncle's home, running around his huge compound and  watching him tend to his orchids.  Grand Uncle often brought me out for walks by the river too.  Returning to grand uncle's home today opened the floodgates of memories for Mom and I.

At the veranda of Granduncle's home..same spot, same person, 40 odd years apart.

             Granduncle's home

We took the opportunity to see the rest of Kuching.  Many places that my aunts took us to was a first for me.

At Ching San Buddhist Temple. Granduncle and Grandaunt took Mom here often when she was younger.

Admiring the waterfall at the temple grounds

At Kubah National Park. I love the smell of the forests.

 For Mom, I was glad some of the places we visited was a first for her.

Kubah National Park

Tengah Air

Textile Museum

The cousins at the Chinese History Museum

We originally travelled to Semenggoh Wildlife Reserve but was told that because of the fruit season, Orangutans could hardly be seen in the vicinity. So we drove in the opposite direction and visited Matang Wildlife Reserve instead.

Matang Wildlife Reserve.  This guy's name is Dr. Kok.

Of all the places I had visited, the Fairy Cave was the most magical place to be at. I enjoyed it most. The trek up to the top of the cave was not Mom's cup of tea so we had decided to climb halfway up and head down again.  A torch and proper shoes are needed for this visit.

We climbed up the Fairy Cave situated in a little town outside of Kuching called Bau.

Throughout my entire stay in Kuching, the Fairy Cave was my Favourite visit

Next time I must remember to wear my trail shoes and bring a torch.

The gold mining town of Bau still has gold left to mine. Some areas were protected by armed Guards. Nonetheless, the lake was beautiful.

Tasik Biru or Blue Lake was a gold mining haven before. In fact, the town of Bau is still a gold mining town.

Is there gold in there?

We drove through ate old town of Siniawan. Let's say, I was expecting a horse and cart parked nearby. The street was like the set of an old movie. It looked also like 1950s Singapore.

Part of the old town of Siniawan just outside Kuching

It looks like 1950s Singapore. Very quaint.


We browsed through rows of local produce at the Sunday Market. Besides selling the usual fish, meat and vegetables, it also had plants, flowers, birds and cooked food.

 Mom bought a lot of Sibu-grown olives at the Sunday Market.

All manner of local fruits can be found here

Rows of local produce 

Plants and flowers sold at the Sunday Market. Looked like a garden centre.

Even birds are sold at the market. Yes, they are sold to bird lovers as pets, and not for food. I checked.

Wow! These birds are so beautiful! So elegant.

I believe these are quails. Quails eggs are nutritious

Weird looking local vegetable called Bidin.

Even wierder local vegetable. Unidentifiable.

Cooked food were sold at the market too. These are rolls of rice steamed in banana leaves.

Kueh Lapis or Layer Cake in a multitude of hues and flavors

With my Cousin Dennis,  our trusted tour guide who brought us for a drive to the outskirts of Kuching.

Jong's crocodile farm was a delightful visit. There were more animals than crocodiles that were provided as natural a habitat as they could have, so they could thrive in the grounds. It was like a mini zoo with a Sun Bear, Bear Cat, iguanas, monitor lizards, tortoise, civet cat, owls, monkeys, and all kinds of birds.

This guy was saved from an Indonesian trader. His name is Pak Indon.

Siesta after lunch.

The Dwarf Cayman- The small fry opened his mouth pretending to act fierce.

Pea hen?

The Bear Cat - Schizophrenic animal. Looks and behaves like a bear as well as a cat.

These peacocks were wuite aggressive. One of them got Mom in a fright when it started to fly and howl.

This was a friendly chap. He came by closer to say hello.

Iguanas in different Colours.

Crocodile nursery

Another Favourite place of interest for me was the Rancan Waterfalls in the tiny town of Serian. The waterfalls and the surrounding greenery were so calming and watching the children swimming in the Rancan pool was quite fun.

Rancan Waterfall at Serian

Mom and I ate a storm in both Sibu and Kuching.

Kam Pua Mee

Kuching Laksa

Kueh Chap

Carrot cake

The kueh chap stall from Mom's childhood days when granduncle and Grandaunt took her here for a meal.

Fish ball and Tofu soup


Kedondong Juice

The stall that sold the fishball soup and satay at the old Teochew temple or Lao Ya Keng. 

Kolo Mee. It looks like Sibu's Kam Pua Mee.

Thunder Tea Rice, a Hakka delicacy of rice, vegetables and herb and vegetable soup

Gong Pia. I called it Sarawakian Hamburgers.

Red Wine Vermicelli 

Tomato Mee

Kacang Ma -OMG! My favourite! Mum's best though.

Belacan Bee Hoon

Our last dinner in Kuching was at an old fashioned restaurant called Sweet Happiness Seafood,  We did not have seafood as we could get that back in Singapore, so we ordered  locally grown wild vegetables like Money Vegetable, pumpkin fritters with salted egg, Bidin, bitter gourd and a chicken soup steamed in coconut.
A wild vegetable dinner

Ice cream from Sunny Hill. My aunts grew up on it.

Playing tourists and visiting the relatives in Sibu and Kuching was certainly fun.  However, as an inquisitive soul,and with my interest piqued by Granny regaling her childhood stories,  I wanted very much to understand my familial roots from the Borneo side of the family.  

I am currently putting the pieces of the puzzle together from chats with all my relatives here in Sibu and Kuching.  So far, the story pieced together sounded like that American sitcom from my childhood days, Dynasty. In fact, this was possibly more colourful so I would reserve that for my next blogpost.

About The Writer

The writer of this blog post is a Marketing and PR professional for over 20 years.  Due to her love for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), she is also a freelance sports writer on the side, contributing MMA-related articles to several sports media.  She works in partnership with her husband, David Ash, who is an avid sports photographer from  She is passionate about Boxing and nurtures a dream to fight competitively one day when her coach stops making fun of her.  She is also a psychic intuitive by birth and runs a consultancy that does tarot and numerology readings under her brand, Sun Goddess Tarot.  This blog is affectionately called "The Crazy AngMo" as she is married to one, although she has not yet explained to THE Ang Mo that when translated, he has been labeled  “the bloke with ginger hair”.  


  1. Beautifully written. Bring up a lot of old memories and nostalgia.

  2. Really like what u wrote. Have never been tp Puket. Am waiting for you to introduce me to it.

    1. Mom and I love Phuket usual I like the sun, sea, surf, Muay Thai. Mom like shopping, food and taking Long bus ride into town