The Great Kuching Blackout

If there’s any­thing bad that could come out of Beijing’s spec­tac­u­lar open­ing cer­e­mony last night, it would be that every­one in Kuch­ing seems to be blam­ing it for the city-wide 3 hour-blackout. So goes a mes­sage from one of my friends, “The open­ing cer­e­mony sucked all of our juice!”

Well as of writ­ing, it’s been 3 hours and there’s still no sign of the lights. I have approx­i­mately 1.5 hours remain­ing off my laptop’s bat­tery and what’s left of my Dad’s iPaq, which is what I’m using to hook up DiGi’s EDGE network.

The can­dle­light flame in front of me burns as still as a nee­dle, a stark reminder (if I even need one) of just how still and stuffy the air around me is now. Mos­qui­toes are cir­cling around me for that oppor­tu­nity to dive and attack. The nerve!

More to come.

It all began at around 6.30pm when my lap­top went kaput in front of my eyes. Along with the power sup­ply of the whole neigh­bour­hood and report­edly, major cities in Sarawak. Think­ing it was just going to be a minor annoy­ance I decided to sleep it out, as black­outs in Kuch­ing has hap­pened a few times, albeit in short inter­vals through­out the year. I soon found out how wrong I was.

A nap proved impos­si­ble with all those mos­quito bites. Dis­traught at the idea of spend­ing the night at home in the dark with those bloody insects, we decided to head out for din­ner. It was then when mes­sages started stream­ing in from friends ask­ing about the black­out. It didn’t took long for it to become appar­ent that it affected the whole of Kuching.

We headed out any­way and sought to have din­ner “where the lights are” unquote Dad. Thing is, every­body had the same idea when roads every­where became rivers of lights in the midst of the pitch-black sur­round­ings. The usual glit­tery LEDs and sign­boards of 3rd mile were plunged into dark­ness, even the flashy Boule­vard Mall stood gloomily in the dark.

Big bad jam off the 3rd mile fly­over. Photo taken off a video frame, hence the quality.

That bright spot­light to the left you see in the photo above was the golf course at Jalan Kere­tapi, that area, how­ever weird, was the only area as far as our eyes could see to have power sup­ply. Need­less to say, we ended up hav­ing our din­ner at Aunty Lily’s in the vincin­ity of the golf course.

Thor­ough­out our din­ner, the huge traf­fic jam in our view on the main road didn’t ease at all. It was clearly pitch-back just across the road and beyond.

It was approx­i­mately 8.00pm, almost 2 hours into the black­out when the lights sud­denly went off at Aunty Lily’s, join­ing the rest of Kuch­ing in darkness.

The traf­fic out­side became increas­ingly chaotic as sirens blare through. As we counted, we heard two ambu­lances, two patrol cars, and a bloody firetruck rush­ing past that road that night alone.

It was chaotic in Aunty Lily’s too when.. well, we couldn’t bloody eat with­out lights right?

Hi Mum! =)

We resorted to using my camera-phone’s LED flash­light to make sure we wouldn’t gob­ble down a spoon­ful with lizard crap on it.

At around 9pm, power mirac­u­lously returned to Jalan Kere­tapi, allow­ing us to fin­ish our din­ner and head back home.

To our dis­may, by the time we arrived at 4 1/2 Mile, it was appar­ent that my neigh­bour­hood was still deprived of power. Boule­vard was still in its piti­ful pitch-black state. So was our house, when we arrived home.

10:20PM: Power in parts of Kuch­ing are already restored as of now, but still not here where I live! =(

10:40PM: Every­thing in 4 1/2 Mile is still nice and dark. It should be 4 hours since we last saw the lights. I guess I’m gonna get off my lap­top now and try to sleep. If the elec­tric­ity comes back, I’ll update. 57 mins of juice remain­ing. Sigh.

By the way, it seems the whole of Sarawak is expe­ri­enc­ing this. No idea how far has it restored though. Check out this news report from The Star: Black­out in Sarawak

10:51PM: Wooooooots! Lights are back! =D ..after 4 and a half hours.

by shenghan in General, School on 9th August, 2008 at 10pm, Saturday, August 9th, 2008 10:20 pm GMT +8


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  1. vIn said

    hi there. It is due to bin­tulu gen­er­a­tor set cat­a­stro­phed. And some­how it is affected the whole sarawak. tsk tsk tsk

  2. ember said

    Woa. and to think Bin­tulu wasn’t affected when it was clearly the source! =(

    Thanks for the info!

  3. cdason said

    the black­out made me real­ize that I’m dead with­out elec­tric­ity, and I need wire­less broadband..

  4. ember said

    Aren’t we all? There are just so many things we can’t live with­out these days. Elec­tric­ity being the most impor­tant of them all.

    Per­haps we’ll need con­stant reminders like these to be more appre­cia­tive of what we always take for granted. ;)

  5. Hans L. said

    No, what we need are hand-crank gen­er­a­tors! And clockworks!

  6. ember said

    Another idea for my final year project! =D