Shutter Happy in Sibu

That’s right. You’re look­ing at a spank­ing new blog post on Betcha didn’t see this com­ing did ya? Okay. I’m gonna refrain from point­ing out the obvi­ous about my blog’s inac­tiv­ity and how it all hap­pened — busyas­sign­mentsand­pro­ject­shavey­ounootherex­cuses? But really, blame the pho­to­blog.

So — *slaps on a 3-foot-thick face* — dur­ing the mid-term break five uh, weeks ago, the fam­ily tagged along Dad to Sibu where he had offi­cial duty. We spent the night at Betong before con­tin­u­ing on the jour­ney along the Trans-Borneo high­way to the third largest city of Sarawak.

The famous Sibu Express Boat Wharf - 3 exposure HDR

The famous Sibu Express Boat Wharf — 3 expo­sure HDR

Almost six whole hours on the road later, we found our­selves in the midst of the bustling town of Sibu. Dad took us straight to the famous express boat wharf  — a nos­tal­gic sight I haven’t seen in some good 10 years. And boy had this laid-back town changed over the years, most promi­nently with the addi­tion of Sarawak’s tallest build­ing — the Wisma Sanyan.

Wisma Sanyan - tallest building in Sarawak

Wisma Sanyan: The tallest build­ing in Sarawak is not in Kuch­ing, mind you.

Inci­den­tally, our hotel was right next to this tow­er­ing mono­lith and the country’s largest town square it looks upon. We sighed a breath of relief when Dad pulled up onto the lobby of RH Hotel, which was thank­fully a uni­verse away from the bare-boned one we spent the night in back in Betong.

The room

The room — and my work­sta­tion through­out the stay

So this was where we spent the next 5 days.

The corridor with the family

Hang­ing out in the corridors

Sis and Me




My Sis and I was also lucky enough to find access to the exec­u­tive floors one bored morn­ing. We lit­er­ally explored every cor­ner of that 14-storey build­ing. Funny thing was, the lift blocked access to the exec­u­tive floors the next time when we tried to bring Mom and Dad up.

RH Hotels Executive Rooms

RH Hotel’s Exec­u­tive Suites

Because the rooms came with com­pli­men­tary break­fast at the hotel restau­rant for two, we took turns to head down every morn­ing for a scrump­tious buf­fet breakfast.

Breakfast was never this good

Break­fast was never this good

When not eat­ing in the hotel, we’d head out. I must say though, RH Hotel has the most strate­gic loca­tion. It was just a stone’s throw away from the Wisma Sanyan mall and the humon­gous Sibu Town Square. Not to men­tion, only a walk­ing dis­tance from count­less eater­ies of Sibu’s CBD. Seri­ously, you have to be really lazy to stay hun­gry there.

Through­out our stay, the rain gods were kind enough to spare their light­ning spears and water hoses. For it didn’t rain even a sin­gle drop in the five days we were in Sibu. The clear skies all day long even­tu­ally led into beau­ti­ful sun­sets over the Rejang River. Ones that scream for you to get out and shoot.

Sister in Sunset

Sis­ter and dusk at the Sibu Town Square — 3-exposure HDR

Which was exactly what I did.

Mom and Sis at the Sibu waterfront park

Mom and Sis at the Sibu water­front park

We also walked over to the  really well-kept Sibu water­front park for an even bet­ter view of sunsets.

On the last day, we had lunch at the Sibu Cen­tral Mar­ket. Dad recalled of how they dis­play live­stock for sale in the mar­ket — all wrapped up in news­pa­per tubes with only their heads bob­bing up and down. It was a must-see.

Live chickens in the Sibu Central Market

Live chick­ens in the Sibu Cen­tral Market

It didn’t take long for us to find the live chick­ens. While ini­tially amused at how they were left with their heads excit­edly bob­bing, some of these poor birds just hung their heads low — as if in hope­less despair. I felt a tinge of sym­pa­thy as I shot them through my viewfinder. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not turn­ing veg­e­tar­ian any­time soon. Chick­ens are..well, chick­ens. It is their fate, how­ever unfortunate.

Nonethe­less, we headed up to the 1st floor of the mar­ket to savour some authen­tic Sibu food for the last time. Not miss­ing, of course, the oh-so-overrated kom­piah — dry and hard oven-baked lumps of flour sprin­kled with sesame seeds. I never under­stood how could peo­ple eat them as-is. Other than its bland taste, its dry and rock-hard tex­ture could seri­ously break some teeth.

Sibu kompiah stuffed with minced meat

Sibu kom­piah stuffed with minced meat

But, when you slice a kom­piah in half, stuff some juicy minced meat into it and deep-fry it into some golden-brown good­ness — you’ve got the best del­i­cacy 60 cents can buy you (prices may vary). It was the first stuff we ordered as soon as we sat down.

Know­ing all so well one can­not leave Sibu with­out a large bag of kom­piahs, we headed to the old Sibu Mar­ket after lunch to get our­selves some of them freshly-baked from authen­tic kom­piah bak­eries. If you’ve never seen how kom­piahs are baked, here you go:

Fresh batches of kompiah in a traditional oven

Fresh batches of kom­piah in a tra­di­tional Chi­nese oven

The bak­ery work­ers wasn’t all that happy about me point­ing my cam­era into the kitchen as he swiftly moved into the frame to com­pletely block my view. As if I’m plan­ning to copy and patent their space-age tech to mass-produce kom­piahs in my mega kom­piah fac­tory. Although that isn’t such a bad idea. =)

So armed with a huge bag of steam­ing hot kom­piahs we embarked on the jour­ney back home with only Dad to thank for bring­ing us along for this trip while he worked is ass off. This is my Dad for you. Thanks pops!

by shenghan in General, Life, Photography on 5th June, 2009 at 1am, Friday, June 5th, 2009 01:08 am GMT +8


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  1. MiKa said

    i saw a typo (last paragraph):

    .…with only Dad to thank for bring­ing us along for this trip while he worked *is* ass off.”

    besides that, nice HDR! :D

    • ember said

      Woah. Sharp. A 2-month hia­tus on blog­ging does have its effects.. =(

      Okay really, I make bloody lit­tle typos All. The. Time. My absent mind just con­ve­niently skips them while proof­read­ing. I must’ve got some kind of dis­or­der or something. =|

      Neways, thanks! Will do the cor­rec­tion when I get home.

  2. I thought my reader was wrong.. but yeah.. finally!! Nice shots!

    • ember said

      Cyril! It’s been awhile eh? Well there’s noth­ing wrong with your reader that’s for sure! =)

      Sorry I haven’t been com­ment­ing on your blog man. I still do fol­low your blog — just haven’t got the time to drop something.

  3. Chien said

    Nice pho­tos! I can’t remem­ber my last trip to Sibu though, it was more than decade ago and that time I’m still a tiny kid :\

    • ember said

      Thank you! Well that makes us almost the same then. It was at least 10 years before I my recent trip to Sibu and was also a kid back then, haha! You should so go back there, that place has changed so much. =D

      But rest assured, their kom­piahs are just as good. =)

  4. Latrina said

    You actu­ally blogged? *gasps!* Hehe, good to see you’re well. Always enjoyed your blogs, lovely pho­tos as always!

    You and you’re fam­ily seemed to have had a good time. Such lovely pho­tos to cap­ture the time spent with your fam­ily too! I espe­cially admired the photo of your mom & sis­ter behind the flow­ers. I love the focus and also that your mother’s shirt matches the flow­ers beautifully!

    Btw, woot for Dell! Your lap­top looks exactly like mine. Is yours a 1420? Mines dark blue. :D

    • ember said

      Oh yes you bet I did, Lat­rina! Well I’m never bet­ter — although my Project 365 is run­ning into a lit­tle back­log but rest assured, its still going on thanks to loyal vis­i­tors such as you! =D

      We cer­tainly had a good time! It was our first fam­ily vaca­tion in quite some time. Although Dad had to work for half a day, we’d usu­ally explore the town together dur­ing the afternoons.

      Glad you liked that photo! And hey, great spot on my mother’s shirt match­ing the flow­ers. I wouldn’t have noticed that, haha!

      You’re actu­ally using a 1420? What a sur­prise! Mine’s actu­ally a 1520 but hey, they’re still very closely related! *high fives!* :D

  5. Max said

    Finally you have come out with a new post. I have been wait­ing since your last post. =) I been to Sibu sev­eral times but I never knew it is such a lovely place. The pic­tures tell me it is. I per­son­ally like the pic­tures very much. Well done. Keep it on ya.

    • ember said

      And you’ve finally com­mented on my blog. =P

      Sibu is a lovely place. I’m sure your brother can tell you that. =D Glad you liked the pho­tos, hehe!

  6. Vyz said

    Wow…never thought Sibu still pre­serve the antic Kom­Piah Bak­ing method! I thought old bak­ing method like that could only be found at Ipoh or Penang .
    I really love some of your pho­tos, would you mind to share the orig­i­nal res­o­lu­tion of the pho­tos? :
    1 — sibu09-BoatWharf
    2 — sibu09-WismaSanyan
    3 — sibu09-HotelRoom
    4 — sibu09-SisAndMe
    5 — sibu09-CoffeeTable
    6 — sibu09-ExecFloors
    oo…looks like I’m ask­ing too much =p , ouch…

    Not for­get­ting, I really love read­ing your blogs…any typos are noth­ing com­pare to the excel­lence of your blog… love the word­ing “busyas­sign­mentsand­pro­ject­shavey­ounootherex­cuses” haha…very cre­ative! keke… and also the idea “…their space-age tech to mass-produce kom­piahs in my mega kom­piah fac­tory.” haha! Maybe we could have mega tehCpeng fac­tory, gagaga!!! =D

    • ember said

      I was sur­prised when I dis­cov­ered the tra­di­tional oven too — it looks so biz­zare. I thought it was a — sorry — toi­let bowl at first, haha! But yeah, I was very, very wrong about that. =D

      Whoah, that’s quite a list but I’m more than glad to send ‘em to you ASAP. No prob­lem at all! =D

      Haha! A mega tehCpeng fac­tory doesn’t sound so bad! Now you’re mak­ing me crave a for a cup — no thanks to the hot weather. =P Speak­ing of which, maybe I’ll make one myself, hehe. Glad you liked the post! =)

  7. William said

    My home­town!! i didn’t real­ize that it was such a beauty until now! lolz…

    • ember said

      Ah, I kinda for­got you are from Sibu. =)

  8. Caity said

    Wow! Your pho­tographs are fan­tas­tic! I can only hope to be half that good one day. I’m a super fan of Canons. I’m glad you had a nice trip. It cer­tainly looks like it.

    • ember said

      Why thank you! And hello there Canon fan! =)

      Yeah you bet I had a nice trip. Don’t do that pretty often with the fam­ily now that I’m in cam­pus and all. So yeah. =D

  9. I missed Sibu, I was there for 2 years and now trans­ferred back to Kuch­ing liao. Miss the Kong Pia too!!haha!! By the way, your pic­tures are great! very pro lor :)

    • ember said

      Wow. 2 years is quite some time to really get attached to a town. But yeah, Sibu’s a great place to live in. Glad you liked my pho­tos. =D

  10. Teddy said

    I can’t believe it took me so long to com­ment on your lat­est entry. Glad to see you blog­ging again! I really miss your writ­ing. Sorry to hear about the busy times which is now caus­ing a con­flict of inter­est between stay­ing focused and main­tain­ing a pho­to­blog, but I believe you’ll get it sorted out soon. Don’t worry too much!

    I always love your post-processing — high con­trast and sat­u­rated colours. The camwhor­ing pic got me laughing!

    Live chick­ens in the mar­ket always make me heart turn cold. I’m still haunted by the hap­less screams (?) of the chick­ens when­ever they get slaugh­tered. The fact that the chicken ven­dor parks his truck in front of a cof­fee shop we fre­quent and did the slaugh­ter­ing there didn’t help.

    Your HDRs really caught me atten­tion. Lovely ones, espe­cially the one fea­tur­ing your sis­ter in the park. I was nearly blown off my seat!

    p/s: Have you con­sid­ered sub­mit­ting your works to Dig­i­tal Cam­era Mag­a­zine Malaysia? You stand a very good chance of get­ting your pho­tos fea­tured, you know!

    • ember said

      Hah, don’t worry, Teddy. I bet you didn’t see a post com­ing after this blog went on such a long hia­tus. And thanks, cer­tainly hope I’ll fig­ure out how to straighten out post­ings on both of my blogs. =

      Oh I can cer­tainly remem­ber the hor­ror when I first saw how they slaugh­tered chick­ens. Ugh. Really sucks that you have to hear to them so often, Teddy. =(

      Thank you. I really loved how that shot turned out too. I’ve been want­ing to take a HDR por­trait like that one for a long time. There was no bet­ter place than the vast grassy open spaces of SIbu’s town square!

      Haha, I’m really flat­tered you think so. =) I’ve con­sid­ered sub­mit­ting before this but I find it rather hard to meet their sub­mis­sion themes. You really should try your­self too, Teddy!

  11. Joann said

    I just skimmed your web­page because I’m new to it and I think I’m envi­ous of your web­page! I admire your pho­tog­ra­phy 100%. I think it gor­geous and you’re very tal­ented. Sec­ondly though, the design is stel­lar and you’re from Sin­ga­pore! I think it one of the most splen­did places in Asia to visit. I only have to show a bit more bias to Malaysia because my par­ents are from there! Your pho­tog­ra­phy though… it’s jaw-dropping!

    • ember said

      Actu­ally I’m not from Sin­ga­pore, but Malaysia — like your parents.=D I agree — both Sin­ga­pore and Malaysia are great places to visit. I take it that you’ve been here? If not — you really should! =)

  12. Billy Kong said

    Your blog are amaz­ingly done!!
    I like your photo’s a lot, you are great pto­tog­ra­pher.….….….….…
    Why don’t you take some photo of Swinburne?

    • ember said

      Why thank you! =D Inter­est­ing why you ask that ques­tion. I do take pho­tos in Swin­burne — a lot of them — only we’re in the mid­dle of the semes­ter break now, so not so many trips to cam­pus. If I do post pho­tos of Swin­burne though, it’ll mostly be on my pho­to­blog. =)

  13. Not to men­tion that this blog is really cool in design.. I won­der how much expe­ri­ence have you got in the design field.. you r really cre­ative i must say. cool effort..

    • ember said

      Thank you! Glad you liked it. As for expe­ri­ence, I can’t say I have a lot — I haven’t really been into the whole design field. This theme you’re look­ing at now is only the 2nd one I’ve designed for my blog so far and although I’ve worked on a few projects — that’s pretty much it. =)