5 things I love about Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

  • Snorkeling – Immerse in the beautiful sea and see the corals
  • Seafood
  • Mount Kinabalu, Kinabalu Park, and Tea Plantations
  • Souvenirs
  • Friendly locals

More pictures here

Just returned from a fantastic trip to Kota Kinabalu with my family. We had an enjoyable time there. One of the highlights of our tour would be the Boat trip. I booked a local operator – Borneo Boats and Beaches Private Tours, whose Boss and the owner is Captain Jonathan Shale. More reviews here. Highly recommended. Punctual meeting time, friendly, respectful, experienced and polite boat crews. They ensured our safety during our entire trip. We also had a nice lunch on board the boat; prepared by the boat crew.

We had a five-hour leisure cruise around the Islands off Kota Kinabalu – Mamutik Islands and several others. Had fun snorkeling, jetskiing, etc. Had the opportunity to see the beautiful corals. My kids were so enthralled that they took almost an hour to snorkel nearby. I managed to capture a short amateur video. We were all first-timers so you can imagine the initial anxiety that we all felt.

Other places that I would recommend to visit

  • Kinabalu Park
  • Mount Kinabalu
  • Pekan Nabalu
  • Desa Dairy Farm
  • The Philippine market, KK
  • Seafood Restaurants
  • and the list goes on ….

We stayed at Grandis Hotel which is just beside the Jesselton Jetty, where most of the boats/ferries start their journey. There’s an attached mall, Suria Mall, beside it. There are some grocery shops available within the mall plus several pharmacies like Watson and Guardian. Fast Food restaurants are also in abundance (Kenny Rogers, KFC, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, etc.). I saw a particular interesting sushi restaurant which had long queues almost every nite. Plus there are other branded stores and bookstores available within the mall premises.

My family has a mixture of young and senior citizens. Therefore I had to take into consideration of our daily tour activities: not too much energy exertion BUT lots of shopping and market tours plus seafood. I also had to balance with the youthful activities which involved my teens and boy – who clamored for lots of swimming and nature walks. All in all, we had an enjoyable holiday; would plan for another trip back to Sabah one day 🙂

Jesseltown Jetty, KK

Blast from the past 1: Jeddah Corniche circ 2009

Been some time since I’ve posted.  Well, to kick things off, I’ve decided to share some of the travel photos during my time abroad.  I’ve decided to start off with pictures that were taken of Jeddah corniche taken in 2009. This was just after I’ve just arrived in KSA.

Now, the place has been transformed into a vibrant area teeming with activities.

 

Jeddah Corniche 2009

2017 Highlights: Life as an Expat Librarian

Alhamdulilah (Thank God). December 2017 marked 8 years of my stint in King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).   Yes, it has been 8 years after I made that leap of faith – moving from Singapore to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  During those 8 years, I’ve learnt a lot about expat life over here.  One of the things that really stands out is the kind hospitality and generosity of the locals.  This, I will never forget.  Thank you my friends – you know who you are.

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Looking back: I’ve worked with and made a number of friends  from different countries; walk of life; varying degrees of work experience and different cultures. We’ve exchanged views, discussed, agreed to disagree; most of the time about work.  Coming from different work cultures and working style, we may have different way of executing tasks but in the end we always have a common goal – meeting our user demands and needs at the same time providing them with the best user experience (UX).

Highlights of 2017:

Alhamdulillah, I’d like to thank Dr Vijay (KAUST Library Director and Acting Manager) for allowing me to attend these conferences and trainings.  The experience had left an indelible mark on my career life.  Made new friends, discovered new information and shared know-how with peers.  I would also encourage my fellow librarians, if given a chance, to give conference presentations a go. Don’t miss it.

On top of that, I gained knowledge and friendship by participating in international library committees and library boards such as Electronic Resources and Libraies (ER&L),  ACM Library Advisory Board, IFLA Asia and Oceania Section as well as IGeLU Summon Product Working Group.

My gratititude also goes out to my parents, my family (esp my wife who has been my bedrock) and close friends.  Alhamdulillah.  Thank you for hearing my joys and pains.  I wouldn’t trade you for anything.

Looking forward to 2018: for new adventures, new discoveries, new inspirations. InshaAllah.

Never forget the 3 important keywords: Patience, Perseverance and Resilience.

2017 Reflections in Pictures:

And here’s to my library comrades:

Library Day 2017

My kid first roller-coaster ride

I have to admit that I am terrified of roller-coasters.  I tried a few: one in Gold Coast, Australia and another in Taiwan.  I almost fainted taking the one in Taiwan, cause I didn’t inhale and exhale 😉 while I made a fool of myself in Gold  Coast – shouting at the top of my voice while taking the tiny roller-coaster.  The couple in front turned back to check who was the hysterical guy losing his head 🙂

So here’s my son’s first roller-coaster ride in Legoland, Dubai.  My kids are thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies hehehe …… now let’s wait for 6 flags …

Frozen in DC

I attended the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) conference in Washington DC 2016. Stayed at Capital Hilton which was quite near the White House. Weather wise: Freezing cold but no snow.  Flight in was good with no delays.

Before the conference started, I had the chance to discover DC.  But due to time constraint, I only managed to walk to the White House and the nearby streets.  It was not like in 2010 ALA conference where I had the chance to visit the mall and the nearby Library of Congress.  One incident which I won’t forget is the hotel evacuation due to a fire incident sometime during 4 am.  It was freezing cold.  Had to stand with the others in the streets, watching the Fire Brigade or Battalion in action.  However, the hotel informed us that we could wait in the nearby hotel lobbies or chill@Starbucks.

Back to the conference stuff.  There was a bunch of interesting project briefings given by various universities.  The ones that I attended were:

  • Research Software Preservation/Sharing
  • Cost of Open Access: Pay it Forward
  • Scholars@Cornell: Visualizing Scholarly Record
  • Expanding Research Data Services
  • The Future of Finding at Oxford
  • Institutional Learning Analytics

Below are some of the CNI conference videos:

The Cost of Open Access to Journals: Pay It Forward Project Findings from CNI Video Channel on Vimeo.

Makerspaces, Virtual Reality, The Internet of Things at alia Stories from CNI Video Channel on Vimeo.

In the nutshell: It was my maiden conference for CNI.  I found it useful as there was a lot of takeaways as well as insights topics new to me.  Given my interests in Web Discovery and Virtual Reference, there were several briefings that caught my attention.  One of which was “The Future of Finding at Oxford”.  They have published their report online.  It’s very comprehensive, outlining their aims, objectives, project methodology and related matters.  (I am still reading this).

I also googled for previous CNI briefings in Youtube and discovered an interesting talk on Virtual Reference:

One more thing: I should have listened to my wife on bringing just a few clothes for the conference (I was there for about 4.5 days). The custom officers were looking at my ‘huge’ luggage and decided to take at look at it.  Out came the Nescafe coffee bottle, sugar sticks, 4 sweaters, biscuits and so forth.  Before clearing me, the officer commented that I should be well insulated during my stay there 🙂

 

What I have been up to….

Working

It had been a whirlwind period – Dec 2016 till Jan 2017.  I was not able to post due to lots of stuff that had taken place recently.  In the nutshell, here’s a quick overview:

  • Attended CNI (Coalition for Networked Information: CNI) conference in Washington DC in early Dec 2016.  One of the nights, me and the other hotel guests had to evacuate due to a fire. Spent more than an hour in the freezing chilly DC morning
    (4 am).
  • Flew back to Singapore to close the deal for our new home. Yes, as last, I got a house. (Alhamdulillah).
  • Down with flu for most of my vacation leave in Singapore Dec 2016 – Jan 2017.
  • 2017: Preparing for my panel session as well as paper session for SLA AGC 2017 inshaAllah
  • Completed the first phase of the electronic resources management system project, now leading the implementation phase.

Stay tuned for my upcoming posts.

Beyrouth, 2011

One of the interesting places that I have visited.  Unforgettable places, people, and historical sites.  Spent 5 days there and stayed @  Le Vendome .

Check out these places:

There are others as well.  Here are some of my travel pics:

Flight, Food, Zzzz

 

Cable cars, Cedar Trees, Local Food

Pre-historic stuff

Cedar forest