The Grand Opening

11am, 23rd August 2008.

Rain­drops smear the win­dows of the shut­tle bus as I looked out into the chilly morn­ing weather. As the bus bat­tles the traf­fic try­ing to get on the Sim­pang Tiga inter­sec­tion, I felt some­what alien­ated from the city around me. A city I’ve spent 9 years liv­ing in.

Yet some­thing felt dif­fer­ent. Per­haps it was sit­ting in the bus, the feel­ing of inse­cu­rity of being deprived of dri­ving a car. Per­haps it was the chilly weather. Per­haps it was the fact that it was the campus’s big day.

As the bus whizzed past fly­overs and high-rises, the tow­er­ing blocks of Swin­burne Uni­ver­sity of Technology’s extended cam­pus came into view. It was almost majes­tic. It cer­tainly didn’t feel like it was the cam­pus I see and study in everyday.

It was then when I won­dered if, just if, this is how inter­na­tional stu­dents in Swin­burne first expe­ri­ence Kuching.

It was after all, the Grand Open­ing Cer­e­mony for Swinburne’s new extended cam­pus. Due to the event, the multi-storey carpark was restricted to invited guests while we stu­dents had to park at the off-campus carpark in Kenyalang with shut­tle ser­vices to and fro cam­pus though­out the day.

You see, I had vol­un­teered to be part of the Stu­dent Press team for SwinTalk, Swinburne’s spanking-new com­mu­nity blog to cover the event. I would like to thank Saad for the oppurtunity!

The cam­pus had been lit­er­ally draped with gor­geous yel­low and black cloth ahead of the event.

By 1pm, the VIPs, invited guests and dig­ni­taries such as this one from China started pour­ing in. So did the sky, which haven’t yet decided to hold back on the down-pour (pun not intended). =P

Inside the Multi Pur­pose Hall, the guests were seated while the hall waits for the VVIP. I’d like to thank Woonyien for bring­ing me in! If not for her, I’d be stand­ing out there with­out the slight­est clue. =\

Sorry, panorama removed due to old and bro­ken code used to dis­play it. If you still want to view the image (and you really should), click here.

The hall was eas­ily filled with pro­fes­sion­als from all over. Not to men­tion being lit­tered with scores of pho­tog­ra­phers and TV cam­era­men from the media.

At around 2pm, fol­low­ing an announce­ment by the MC, the VVIP arrives — none other than the Chief Min­is­ter of Sarawak. So here’s a measly shot of him look­ing away. Lol.

A cul­tural dance cour­tesy of the Sarawak Cul­trual Vil­lage per­formed at the VVIP’s arrival.

After the speeches by both Bill Scales, Chan­cel­lor of SUTS and the Chief Min­is­ter, they both pro­ceeded up the stage for the sym­bolic light­ing up of the torch to sig­nify the offi­cial open­ing of the extended campus.

The torch was well..fake. Some­thing hap­pened dur­ing the torch light­ing though. Halfway through the torch-lighting, every­one sud­denly heard a muf­fled tum­bling. Turns out one of the pho­tog­ra­phers who bravely invaded the stage tripped over that yel­low fence you see at the back­drop and fell smack on the floor, DSLR and all. LOL.

That was when all the other pho­tog­ra­phers below the stage where I was broke into laugh­ter. Luck­ily the CM didn’t seem to notice anything.

A cam­pus tour was due for the CM right after that. So here’s another measly shot of him exit­ing the hall.

My cam­era doesn’t like our Lord White Hair at all. =\

After the cam­pus tour, the VVIP and the VIPs were treated to refresh­ments with a view of stu­dent per­for­mances at the open air area between block B and E.

The African per­form­ers were note­wor­thy though, with their freestyle raps and hiphop songs. Here’s a photo of my fel­low course­mate from Nige­ria, Abdul­lahi doing his thing yo. I didn’t catch the title of their song but the lyrics were really catchy. It didn’t take long before every­one was singing and cheer­ing along.

Damn I never knew he could pull off a per­for­mance like that!

After a few per­for­mances, I got tired of stand­ing and went around the cam­pus for more pho­to­graphic oppor­tu­ni­ties. When I spot­ted this:

For­get Terengganu’s recent Mer­cedes buy­ing spree. Check out Sarawak’s line up! Here we have the Chief Minister’s Rolls Royce Sil­ver Shadow, a Jaguar XJ believed to be the House Minister’s and an unknown E-Class Benz in the dis­tance. Wowzers.

There were even more BMWs (Alfred Jabu’s sleek 7-Series), Mercs, Accords and so on paraded right behind these three vehi­cles belong­ing to the state’s big shots.

Any­way, the CM left at around 5pm shortly after the stu­dent per­for­mances ended.

Check out SwinTalk for a review of the cam­pus! As of writ­ing, its not up yet though.

All I can say is that the new cam­pus is awe­some. Swin­burne feels much more like a Uni­ver­sity now, as opposed to that sin­gle block we had before this. There are of course, insuf­fi­cien­cies for being new.. but I’ll keep the pros and cons for another day.

As for now, con­grat­u­la­tions Swinburnites!

by shenghan in Happenings, Varsity on 25th August, 2008 at 6pm, Monday, August 25th, 2008 06:43 pm GMT +8


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  1. nuTt said

    Gosh. I think I saw my head in on of the pic­tures you took. lol

  2. ember said

    Which one? =D

    I guess I took a lot of heads in those pic­tures. Hahaha.

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