Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bukit Kokol @ Kasih Sayang Health Resort

Part of this year's mission was to keep exploring Sabah. I was so engrossed with going international before this that I keep forgetting that I'm actually staying on one of earth's most mysterious and breathtaking island. Sabah, Borneo.

This will be a small step in pursuit of my mission. What was supposed to be a "destressing trip" with Ying Ying turned out to be a romantic affair between me and my mum to Bukit Kokol. Situated among the hills of Sabah's crocker range, Bukit Kokol is around 2000 feet above sea level, with unobstructed view of Kota Kinabalu city, temperature meddling around 20degrees, and just about 30 minutes drive from the city, making it perfect for those who wants a quick fix getaway.

As you can see from this map by Sabah Matthew Paul as well, Bukit Kokol should be situated around the red-highlighted area, up hill.

Getting there is the easiest. From the three way junction, between Indah Permai (One Borneo/ Menggatal), Inanam and Tebobon, head to Inanam and keep left. A few minutes later you will see a signboard that says 'Kasih Sayang Health Resort'. Turn in to Jln. Kokol @ Poring and just drive uphill. You are on the right track if you keep seeing 'Kasih Sayang Health Resort' every ten minutes :) Or you can follow the simple map below.

Office: +6 088 246 404
Resort: +6 088 470 866
Resort Mobile: +6 016 8333 3856
Fax: +6 088 246 011
Email: ksreservation@yahoo.com

Kasih Sayang is a health centre. About 30 minutes drive from Kota Kinabalu Airport, it consists of 16 rooms, with the capacity to accomodate about 40 or more people. It has a spacious restaurant, with a huge deck overlooking the KK City and can serve about 80 guests at one time. There's also a function room with karaoke facilities and a mini spa for massages, herbal steam and foot massages. Besides it just being a place to rest and relax, most corporate companies conduct their seminars there as well. (Kasih Sayang Resort)

How to get there? There are no public buses going up the hill, so I suggest you could rent a car (better 4WD, but anything will do cause I did it with my Gen2) among your friends for a night or two or something. If that is too costly for you, opt to take a cab and share it with each other. But coming down would be tricky so you might want to arrange with the cab driver for pickup.

The view driving uphill got immaculate every few minutes. Amazing new sights catch our roaming eyes every now and then, it was a like a feast to the eyes and soul. Everything was just so beautiful. 

And this particular view was the most spectacular to me. 

This is church St. Joseph, the small building next to it is a community Basil church. We wanted to attend the first mass (8.00am) at St. Joseph just to check out how the locals nearby celebrate masses, unfortunately, the mass was postponed to a later time so we skipped it :( 

One might not believe that this was taken in Menggatal, Sabah. Probably "mistaken" it by Rio's world class statue of Jesus Christ, I can only say allow me to slowly experience what this mysterious island has to offer and slowly unveil the hidden gems to you. I envied the lives of some of the kids here, they could just laze around or hang out by the cliff to chill. They have drinks and books with them, and even the animals are taking it real slow. 

When we reached Kasih Sayang, we were greeted by this fella who refused to budge, so we left him there basking the sun :) 

This is one part of the view. Towards the end of this stretch as you can see is a small kampung, must be the residents of some of the staff at the resort. Most of these forests are virgin forests, untouched and untempered. 

There were a few families at the resort at that time - kids running around, parents doing their own share of romantic catchups. It's a perfect family place for a weekend getaway. Other activites including walking down this trail in the picture below and walk around where the greens take you. 

Mum brought papers, I brought a sketchbook and books. Such a serene environment, I fell asleep while reading.

We stayed at the Standard Room (two singles), with THE MOST AMAZING VIEW. Front view of the resort would be the regal Mt. Kinabalu, and behind us is the KK City View. Forget TV, naturally detailed view like this is simply THE way to go..... 

Bukit Kokol's view is amazing. I get all defensive when people say that all sunsets, and all sunrises are the same. Of course... it's not. That feeling of being there at that time and place in the midst of everything else that's happening in your life; can never be replaced by another. Everything is as different as it gets, simply by associations (not only physically) but based on our relations to the situations at that time. "This is where I met xxx, or this is where xxx and I had steamed crabs" No two place is the same. 

As for me, I was high on the feeling "blessed" to have the privilege to experience it :) 

There were chirpings of birds, nibbling of insects. We should constantly remind ourselves how beautiful and calming nature is. Especially while we still can. All these might just disappear in time. 

Mum is the cutest thing when she whips out her camera. She would extend her arms about a metre long, and starts squinting over the LCD Screen. But believe it or not, despite her cartoonish ways of doing so - she takes some really mean pictures. 

Shower Room

We had dinner at the resort's restaurant with the picture perfect KK City as our view. 

I 'm glad the food wasn't expensive - in fact, some were even cheaper. Mum loved the broth, while I had some carbonara to chomp it all down.  

Nothing was hiked up so dramatically, and they have these amazing healthy drinks that tasted so delicious and supposedly to be good for you :) 

Before I dozed off, I sketched something that I thought was the most beautiful scene of the day. My drawing is fugly, but the scene and my memory of it isn't :) So I insisted. I was busy colouring it, drawing all the lines like I was Picasso or something. 

This was what I tried to drew; My adorable mum looking out on the sunset, simply living in the moment. Love, love. 

With the beeping of night creatures to lullaby us to sleep; I slept like a log that night after the sketch.

And then, there was the sunrise. 

The gorgeous sunrise. The rays that creep upwards the sky for a newer day and newer promises. 

The buffet breakfast was adequately done up. There were the usual coffees, teas, eggs, hotdogs, meehuns and toasts - all the right things to make a good breakfast :)

After breakfast we decided to head to the St. Joseph church to take more photos and extend our exploration. 

The ever so beautiful St. Joseph church of Bukit Kokol. From this point, you could also see the whole city of KK, Pulau Gaya and other islands. 

This place is beautiful and is just so welcoming. I could almost just sit and stare at the static sight of absolute perfection all over me, all day long, but then I won't be able to share with you any of these and let the pictures do the talking :) 

Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Friday, February 24, 2012


It was on a casual Tuesday morning that I discovered what my biggest fear in life is. 30 Seconds to Mars was playing in the background, and what I figured would be the usual ears-breaking song, the next number, ironically gave me a fuller sense of emptiness. The 100 Suns was playing, and I subconsciously lost myself in it. I wasn't working then, and getting used to a whole new environment here in KK after 6 years of the hustle and bustle needed more than just time. I needed motivation, some sort of inspiration and a whole load of ambition. I needed goals to look forward to. 

It is a haunting song. Lyrically, conceptually. Then and there, like a snap conclusion, I found out what is my biggest fear in life:

Which is to live like an empty vessel. 

To not have any goals in life, nor ambitions, motivations, inspirations and love. That fear I developed, was becoming. I was sending mum to work, fetching her, while I had so much of love for the people and things around me, I am pinned to the situation of not knowing what I wanted in life (then) and how I wanted them. Like there was no outline. I used to think catching sunsets at my favourite spot here by the beach was all that. It was, it made me want to catch it every evening the next day, and the coming days - but having just one thing to look forward to was hazardous. What if it rained on other days? 

I sighed, and drank myself to sleep. 

Days after the discovery, I stopped feeling pity for myself. And did eventually outlined all the things that I want to do now that not only do I have more time for myself, I stay in an amazing island of Borneo. That if everything else fails, I would focus myself on travelling inbound as well and meet a lot more new people to colour my days. 

And it worked. I started going out more, I started to venture into other things, and I got a good job that I loved, and contributed so much to. 

I drew these bunch of stick ladies on one of my "unmotivated days". It wasn't something I had in my mind, I picked the sketch board and started doodling these three girls. 

#1 - A young lady whose favourite activity or pastime is reading. Not travelling, not partying, just by the bed, and with a paperback. 

#2 - A young lady that is in love with everything in the world. Most importantly, she is in love with love. She preaches to people about the importance of loving herself, the earth, its inhabitants and the idea of accepting other worldly different cultures. She is just full of love, and just plain harmless. 

# 3 - And last but not least, a girl who's on board with modernism. She is very competitive, highly well versed, educated, and articulated. She believes in connecting and networking, and is very in touch with the business and development surrounding her and her lives. Absolutely open to all kinds of ideas and is willing to learn and bend backwards just to keep in touch with everything around her. 

Well yes, you guessed it. They're all me. I couldn't put a name to these three ladies. I realized, the only name they should be carrying is Jacqkie. I am the compromise of all these three ladies. 

So this weekend, my mum and I are going to check out Kasih Sayang Health Resort. Apparently, it's just a half an hour's drive from the city. Nice. 

I was supposed to go with Ying Ying (possibly my hardest working colleague, she reached her KPI for a year in just 2 months), but she cancelled on me because she has... surprise surprise, work.

So I told her I'm going to kill her, and that she owes me another date :)

Till then.

Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

New Profound Mission

International countries will be put on hold.

Sabah is next.

Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Labuan '12

Last I went to Labuan was 14 years ago. Or so I think, could be longer. To think I stay just about 3 hours ferry ride from Labuan, and have not been there in ages is hilarious and because of it being so long ago, I actually didn't remember much about Labuan :( 

So last week, Michelle, Ingrid, Yen Ling and I decided on an impromptu trip. Just cause. 

Labuan is a very small island. It is a federal territory in/ of East Malaysia. An island off the coast of the state of Sabah. So much of the language and culture here in Labuan intermarried with Sabahan's culture, like their conversational language. Labuan's main economic source is it being an offshore financial centre, both domestic and international. Labuan IBFC is reknown for being an offshore support hub for deepwater oil and gas activities in the region. Apparently, it is a tourist destination for people going or transit to go to Sabah and /or  Brunei. Labuan derived from the Malay word 'labuhan' which means anchorage. 

You know, I might sound super smart from all these information, but they're actually from Wikipedia. Hehe. So here's where you can read more about the little quaint island that is Labuan. 

I was told that Labuan has tons of kuai los. Due to the international shipping companies. So most of the engineers, usually big bosses are the Westerners. Besides the kuai los of course, from my personal observation, Malay and Chinese make up the most of Labuan's main demographic. In fact, I think I see a lot more Indians there in Labuan as compared to KK as well. So the downside was we were only there for... ONE NIGHT. 

We had a beautiful seafood dinner by the beach, for five of us for only RM 108. We had tons of salted egg crabs oh my God, it's delicious! We were lucky that dinner was on our Labuan friend Terry :)

Here's why everyone likes about Labuan, it's duty free. One can take out only a bottle of liquor or a litre of everything mixed combine. Everything else that is more will be taxed. Chocolates, perfumes and everything else? They are a LOT CHEAPER. I bought my mum some imported cookies and my brother some ice wine. 

One of my happiest buy is this pack of 6 Shots for only RM 30, so that's RM 5 a shot! Other drinks and liquors go as cheap as RM 30 per bottle. These shots will be saved for special occasions, e.g my birthday or something like that. Something for myself. 


We stayed at Labuan Inn. It kinda looked dodgy but it was very, very near to the club we headed and good restaurants. So location was alright, room was well no complaints. As for the rate, we paid RM 138nett, for a Queen Size and a Single Bed (Family Room), fitting for four of us girls, inclusive of hairdryer, TV and a really good shower system. Hehe. Spacious enough too. 

It was literally a 30 seconds walk to the club, hangout spot that we went. I quite like the place. It felt very, erm, united. There were people from all kinds of races and backgrounds, and everyone there seemed to be very nice to each other. It was kinda cool. 

Yen Ling, Ingrid and Michelle. 

Other things to do: 

Labuan is apparently famous for Wreck Diving. So instead of fishes and a lot of colourful sea creatures to look at, you guys can opt to see something different :) 

Beach and seafood. Because the whole of Labuan is like a step away from the beach, so it's very famous for some sun and fun. So if you're thinking of relaxing, maybe you can just hang out by the esplanade, pier or some beach. 

Personally I think Labuan is still underdeveloped. The potential needs to be maxed out, especially since they're a lot of schools, international unis and local matriculations, something to pull other students from other West Malaysia states and other countries for that matter. Especially those who'd like to try living in East Malaysia for a bit. 

Left Labuan the next day at 1PM. A little bit hungover but it's all good. That's all. A little simple, but a good weekend together with my bestfriends :) 

Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012


Met with so many people this month. In the midst of all, I was worried I could no longer keep tabs of their significance in my life. And I do not like that. I like to put some sort of gravity on the person that I've met, may it be strangers or colleagues. Whether I've had a minute or two of experience with them, or I've worked closely with them before this, they should hold some sort of significance.

I was tangled into a very interesting group just lately. I remembered specifically a man, who broke it down (I would say another word is question of) "religions'" aspects of life. One can be so sure that this man, is an Agnostic or Atheist, basically one who doesn't believe in any 'beliefs' or 'faiths'. But I didn't asked. Neither did I poked him about anything that he was arguing about. I was busy listening intensely.

Firstly, most of us has made that term religion sounds so rigid. Like a block of wall. So difficult to penetrate from the outside. So unwelcoming and a little intimidating. 

He spoke of so many points, both brilliantly supported (with science and experiments) and biased. Excellent choice of words, but some shallow. I guess it is like that when you're passionate about something. You blindsight other perspectives leaving almost no room for healthy rebuttals. 

And then I figured, everyone could argue about faiths or religions all night long, till the sun rises, or till the stars come down, whichever, but a religion, a belief, some sort of faith, has no absolution of black, or white. It is called faith afterall. Science can provide us the answers especially the creation of things, but what about something innate? The things that we feel strongly about. The things that make us comfortable? Or not? Certain words used in a sermon or certain gestures used by certain people? How do we black and white these? Certain things that we agree on, and certain things that we don't? How do you define, which is emotionally right and which is isn't?

I would rather choose to accept the concept of "religion" as a whole. Actually, I cringe at the mention of the word Religion, let's use Faith. Jews, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Paganism and so many other beautiful faiths in the world have beautiful common core of teachings. Peace, love, humility and family.

I believe everyone who has some sort of belief or disbeliefs for that fact has a valid structured reason to why they have so and most importantly stick through it. Everytime someone asks me about my religion, I am brought back to a really long journey.


I was born a Catholic.

That window of growing up from a baby to a kid, was the beginning of me being surrounded by churches while resting on my mum's arms. The priest's sermon was an accommodating voice, the hymns were familiar soothing sounds. And then I attended Sunday Schools. Where I learned the works of these people called Jesus, Moses, etc etc. I had trouble remembering their names. But I learned it anyway. The stories were amazing. It helped that I like to read. That I was inquisitive in nature. And people started asking me to read the bible in public. I asked my dad whether I should, and he said yes. And mum was to train me. So ever since I was a kid, I already knew of the stories. I learned a lot of it and grew fond of the miraculous things one could do. Everything was interesting. If there was one thing that was rather suspicious or innocuously intimidating was the fact that there were so many things to remember! But I liked the lovely scripted words so I remembered it effortlessly. And ever since I was a kid, I learned that one "Catholic" had to receive the seven sacraments, which the classes were to help. Back then, it was everything that shaped me. Like clay, I was moulded by these teachings. 

But it was only until I reached college that I understood knowledge was indeed power. I learned a lot more. I opened my eyes and ears to the different perspectives, different religions, different lifestyle, Agnoticism, Atheism, the science in life, and the list just goes on. There were so many things to understand from. I was like a blank canvas, I wanted to reserve all judgements before actually learning them. And I was still inquisitive in nature. I learned a lot, and I learned too many. 

The only difference between someone who chooses Product A, over Product B is the information that they're exposed to and their preference or judgement over those information that they receive. It doesn't mean Product A is any better, it just means it has certain things that one might prefer e.g Walnuts. And then Product B would have, say blended Walnuts. I personally like the chunky ones, and my friends would like the blended ones. It's their preference. 

With all the information I picked up, I began to fond yet remain unsure at the same time of all faiths. They were amazing in their own ways, but I was beginning to rethink about the Product that I have been using all these while. So I paused certain church visits, and stopped learning so many things. Just to get my bearings straight, and just to pin down what would be good for my soul. 

I picked up being humble, I picked up being moderate, I picked up believing in miracles. These were the things that I picked up from all the things that I've learned and wanted to call it my own. But calling your own is like organizing a field trip on your own, most happiness is real when it's shared but everyone was either unhappy with their faiths, or too happy or just did not want to be associated with any. 

After Australia, I reached KL with the biggest of dreams. I got a good job in a big social media company in KL, and everything was glorious. I wasn't sure who to thank to. I had paused some faiths, so I thanked my mum, my family and the tangible people around me for being there when I needed them. But life restaged another side of what I missed when I started hanging out with my sister and more people who were really humble. Where simplicity was just beautiful. Like a crystal blue sky, or untapped forests. Innocence, graciousness and kindness were familiar kinds of comfort. 

And I remembered back all those things that we had to learn as a kid. How life and world were created in such beautiful details, down to your friend's personality, to the colour of the ladybug. I envied our lives as a kid when we were carefree and dramas were miles a way. I really missed that. I missed having some sort of guidance. I miss picking up on certain words in Sunday's sermons that I like to live on. Like "I don't know who holds tomorrow, but I know who holds my hand." It was a simple sentence, but I personalized it and quietly agreed.

I am no close to a "perfect Christian", I bow down and humbly admit. I commit sins all around, all forms. I am a birthchild between the marriage of modernism and teachings that were manmade thousands of years ago. And in most cases, I follow the wave to keep afloat. 

But I refuse to give up on masses again. They were like foods for my soul. The degree of connection I have with my faith is mine, and mine alone. So whenever I hear people talking about 'faiths, religions, beliefs' I would kindly reject any sort of invitation to debate, because in all honesty, I believe in everyone's. And I believe in their reasons. I believe in our disagreements and I'm happy with the state I'm in accepting everyone's. 

So think before you debate about faiths, religions, or beliefs. Do you disagree for the sake of disagreeing it?

The beauty of faith is to bond, and unite. It really isn't to divide and conquer. 

Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Big Company

Most twisted, but also the most beautiful thing about a big organization is that you passed through so many different people everyday. But if you take the time, to embrace the individualism in the ones that you've passed, you will find yourself an amazing view of the frictions between these two.

And the beauty of it all is when you decide to make an exception from the big organization's rule. Because frankly, learning from people is far greater than reading books and experiencing things yourself.

I love talking to different people :)

Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

The Chinese Man who Never Celebrated Chinese New Year

On the first day of CNY last two Mondays ago, I came to work to take photos of the celebration in the hotel. Coming to work on a public holiday is a common thing in the hotel industry, in fact we are the busiest during public holidays for well, obvious reasons. When you're on a break, we will serve you instead :)

So as I was walking up towards the lift I saw one of my Chinese Chef, walking towards the lift like the usual blank canvas that he is. If he were a colour, he would be blue. Calm, serene and humble. I was a little surprised for a veteran like him to be there on the first day of CNY, why doesn't he get the CNY off? Or why doesn't he take offs on CNY? Doesn't he celebrate Chinese New Year?

I had so many questions in my head. And we walked into the lift together. We had an awkward moment for the first 10 seconds. I broke the ice, and asked him. Aren't you suppose to be celebrating Chinese New Year? 

He looked at me, emotionless. It was as if I was just some noise at the background. Looked at me, as if he was looking at a white wall.

No. I don't.


How come? I braved another question.

For 31 years that I have been working, I have always spent my Chinese New Year working.

What came out next, I guess was something unexpected of him from me. Because I continued, with a simple Why like little kids curious on things surrounding them, on the bird, on the dog, things like that. He looked at me after the question, still. Nothing written on his face. Not a crinkle, not an eyebrow raise, not a smile.

And finally said, because I simply never did.

I must admit despite his cold hard answer, I continued regardless. Why not? 

I have not been celebrating Chinese New Year since I started working, and it has been for 31 years now. It has been my tradition. Maybe I will stop when I'm 55.

There were so many things to argue about on his tradition. I'm so much of a lover that I find this way of celebration refutable and just plain lonely. I bit my tongue, trying hard not to say anything that might be offensive or argumentative. It is Chinese New Year after all. I knew arguing with him on however one celebrates Chinese New Year was a struggle cause. And neither would I want to. So I told him my opinion. I think you should celebrate when you go back home. Don't wait till 55. 

He looked at me. Blinked twice, nodded, and walked out of the lift.

He just simply nodded.

For someone who has so many questions bottled up inside of me, and so many things to argue about on him not celebrating Chinese New Year, a nod is like a tease. What does that mean? Does he hate my guts now? Will he recognise me? Does he think I'm trying too hard to be friends with him?

I have never seen him smiled to anyone before. He is the kinda guy who would sit early for lunch usually around 11.30 am as opposed to 12.30pm, with the familiar plastic bottle, and alone. He would stare at the TV like it meant something to him, like he was following any of the shows. Quite frankly, I don't think he does. He would walk up and leave immediately after his last spoon, he would never lean back on his chair, stay for a couple more minutes to chat, he seemed like he never had relaxed luncheons.

Before this I knew not of his existence.

Ever since my talk with him, he has greeted me numerous of times. He has shown a little of emotion. He has smiled a lot to me, but most importantly he acknowledged me. I don't know whether I will ever get to have my questions answered on whether did he ever came home and "celebrated" CNY that day, but I was glad I talked to him. I am glad I approached him :)

If it didn't matter to him, I think it mattered to me.

Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.