Tuesday, 27 January 2015


In my last post regarding the Agriculture Station at Tenom, I mentioned about the huge fruit and also the water lily. My friend who read this blog shared a picture which they took besides that tree. This one is more fantastic because it really show how big the tree is. My friend is from the Sabah Golf and Country Club (SGCC) Tai Chi group.

That is big! By the way, the name of this tree is the Cannon Ball Tree. Its scientific name is Courouptia Guianensis. The water lily (in my previous post) is Giant Water Lily or Victoria Amazonica. Both are from South America. I thought it was a local tree, but still..... it's BIG!!

Here are some more pictures of the Agricultural Research Station. This path leads to an exhibition center of the Park.

The first English romance-thriller from Borneo

Monday, 26 January 2015

The Agriculture Park in Tenom

North Borneo (Sabah) offers many interesting places to see. And yet many of us Sabahan either are not aware of it or simply not bothered. There are the famous spots like Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in Southeast Asia and also the wonderful islands of Gaya and Manukan which display diverse underwater creatures. There are also the unknown ones, such as the Imbak Valley and the Kokol Hill. But personally, I consider the Stesen Penyelidikan Pertanian or Agriculture Research Station at Labuk Seberang in Tenom as one of the less known place to many visitors or tourists.

We can reach Tenom by road or the train. It takes at least three hours to drive to Tenom but it takes longer time using train. According to the Sabah Railway Department schedule available on its website, the train leaves Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu) at 7.45am and reach Tenom at 10.30am daily. The train will leave Tenom at 4pm to go back to Kota Kinabalu. But from the Tenom train station, it takes another 20 minute drive to reach the Sabah Agriculture Park.

This is the entrance to the park. It so strange to see a nice building right in the middle of paddy field, rubber plantations and jungle. There are also handicraft shop and cafe all line up besides the entrance. So its quite a welcoming impression as I arrived here.

The park itself is very big. Probably few hundred acres in size. So in order to get around, the Department used this circus train (above picture) to bring the visitors around! I am very sure children will be very excited to get a chance to ride this train. Even adults! The train move on schedule every half an hour. The park is well maintained except some of the plants are sickly and dying probably due to diseases such as fungus and bacteria or lack of nutrients. Had the Department took more steps to replace them, the park would be almost perfect.

My family, including myself, are involved in landscaping business and the sight of the tropical ornamental plants are inspiring. Walking through this park is indeed a wonderful experience. The park also have a tiny zoo displaying deer and there are also a very big lake with comfortable scenery.

 But the climax of our trip with the mini train is stopping near this tree that has such a huge fruits! My friend describe it as "langsat on steroid!" Langsat is a common edible fruit found in Southeast Asia. That huge fruit looks like a coconut without its husk. It cannot be eaten and its totally for display. But it is indeed an incredible experience.

The above picture is another strange plant. That Water Lily is so huge and one of the workers here told me that the leaf can support a baby sleeping on top of it! But I don't recommend people to try that! Hmmm....  Nevertheless its awesome! There is more to see, I assure you. For the locals, do try to make time and bring your family here for holiday. For foreign visitors, you could add the trip to Tenom as one of your activities when visiting The Land Below the Wind.

The first English romance thriller from Borneo

Friday, 23 January 2015


There was a legend told by the elderly, once there was a Brunei royal princess who was denied to choose her own lover by her family members. Feeling dejected, she chose a town and cursed it. Kimanis, will always be forgotten and travelers will never notice its existent. If this legend is true, I don't know why she picked this place. Come to think of it, I can't help but believing this curse because Kimanis is indeed such a sleepy and forgotten town.

But what is more interesting is that Kimanis was actually once leased by American Consul to Brunei, Charles Lee Moses from the Sultan of Brunei, and sold them to William Torrey and Thomas B. Harris in 1865 who renamed the place as Ellena. They brought in settlers hoping to make it a successful town, but eventually, most of them succumbed to the dreaded tropical diseases, and died here. Finally the remaining settlers gave up and left Ellena. Had the town prospered, probably the history of North Borneo (Sabah) could take a different part. Probably North Borneo itself would be call Ellena. And probably, Ellena could end up being the 51st States of the United States. The Americans gave up and sold their right to Baron Gustav Von Overbeck, and he himself sold them to the British in 1880. From that day onward, the history of North Borneo was shaped by the Empire of Great Britain.

Looking at the above pictures which I took myself, I am not sure whether the American settlers had built this wooden building or introduced a settlement at this location, but definitely it is more than 50 years old. There are modifications and repairs going on since then but the architectural design do look colonial.

I am very worried that one day this old heritage building would be pulled down unless there a serious effort made by our government to preserve them. If the authority take the trouble to repair and upgrade the wooden structure with massive soft landscaping works integrated with it, I am sure this place will look wonderful and many people will come here. Then, who knows, perhaps, the curse of the princess might be broken forever.

If the Ellena pioneers had succeeded, Kimanis might become like the wild west in USA 

The lonely train station at Kimanis

The first romance-thriller from Borneo 
Search also THE EURASIANS by Don Peter ebook