Tuesday, June 30, 2009

University Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) revisited

Last Sunday afternoon was my first glimpse of the Unimas campus in 5 years. The last time I was there, it was still pretty much under construction.

Do forgive me for the dull-looking, cloudy skies. I do intend to return here when the skies are better next time.

The Chancellory (where all the ''big-shots'' of the university reside) doesn't really catch my eye as a sophisticated and elegant building in its own right. I feel the architecture could've been much more promising here as a flagship building of the new campus.

The architectural language uses quite a number of simple geometrical shapes; blown to oversized proportions, along with the use of a few primary colours very sparingly.

Just in a short span of 5 years, the buildings seem to have aged so much, due to the detrimental effect of monsoon rain on soiling any white surfaces exposed to the elements. Such a pity.

Going up this flight of stairs to the building with the colourful beams will lead you to the library.

Perhaps the use of natural concrete colours could have off-set this issue, and gave these buildings a more classical ''louis kahn'' appearance.

Art displays made from scrap metal are also displayed around the campus.

Oh god, the transformers-mania has already taken Kuching by a storm.

The figurative expression of a stream running through the campus is realised to some extent here.

It would've been good if the wind was blowing all these flags up high.

Amenities abound throughout the university. To the right is the RHB bank and a cafeteria. If you continue walking down the steps, you may pay a visit to the University's bowling alley at rm4 a game (thats cheap!)

A pedestrian bridge links both sides of the University together.

If you can observe to the right, there's a tiny island in the middle. In fact there are 3 of them which can be seen in the lake. If I was told correctly, there are some graves still located on these little islands which the contractor never dared to relocate during building works. They had better leave the islands (and their ''clients'') in peace..

Thats all for now. Cheers.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Site visit to Borneo Convention Center

My boss has been trying to set up a site visit to the Sarawak Convention and Exhibition Center for some time, so today was an appropriate time to have go.

The concept for this hall is simple (according to wikipedia) - "The centre’s roof is shaped in the form of a “ririg” leaf, a rainforest plant that plays an important daily role in the local indigenous cultures. Rainwater will automatically be channeled down the central vein of the leaf on the rooftop and collected for irrigation through a sub-surface ecological drainage system."

You can see the entire roof structure sloping towards the large drain to the left of the building.

This is a RM200 million project, so it better be worth what we tax payers pay for it (excluding under table / kopi-O fees, of course). After walking up a large ramp (presumably for VVIPs, such as the Prime Minister of Malaysia), we are greeted by a large entrance.

Its indeed a wonder that Malaysian contractors take a bloody long time to complete this project (compared to their Japanese / Western counterparts), but all seems well so far. Most of the current site work is on the interior finishes, which my colleague is involved in.

Everything here is elegantly painted in white. I am interested to see how long can this building stay white, knowing that anything exposed to our regular torrential rain starts to get dirty after a few years.

This is the interior of one of the smaller banquet rooms, which can be used for wedding functions, etc.

While we were there, the workers were happily listening to japanese anime mp3s. Hmm..

This is the entrance to the largest column-free exhibition space which is 2,500 square meters. The transfer beams to support this hall must be freakin' huge.

Inside the hall is still a mess of concrete dust, timber shavings, steel scaffolding and everything else that is common to a Malaysian construction site. Simply put, we Malaysian don't give a damn about site cleanliness (unlike the Japanese).

Bright lights have been installed to help the workers to do their duties in an otherwise pitch-black environment.

Here is another view of the large ''gutter'' thats supposed to channel rainwater to subsurface drains.

As you can see her, a very literal interpretation of tree-like columns are used to support the large steel roof.

This is a view of the Sarawak River you can see from the terrace of the Convention Center.

As my boss says, seeing a physical product of months of hard labour finally before your eyes is something to look forward to always.

You can imagine that for a building this complicated, it requires miles and miles of mechanical and electrical services.

Other parts of the building dedicated for services are semi-enclosed with steel louvres.

Finally, the building is suspended my numerous pillars to house a large carpark below.

After the visit, we headed off to the Pending Seafood Center for lunch.

''Midin'' is a stirfried vegetable dish unique to Sarawak.

We also had stirfried calamari rings...

... & prawns.

I do not know what is this, but it looks like deep-fried cakes of some sort.

We also had cockles...

and a kind of shell (aptly called ''cucup'' due to the sound you make when you try to suck out it contents).
Hopefully when the Convention Center is finally built, I would be able to get a lovely sunset picture of this building beside the Sarawak River.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

World Harvest Festival 2009 - Miss Spring

Before the World Harvest Festival finals at the Sarawak Cultural Village, the Spring management in conjunction with the Sarawak Tourism Board organised a pageant on May 17th to pick out one of the contestants to represent ''Miss Spring'', which is kinda cool, I guess.

For the first part, all the contestants wore traditional Iban dresses.

Janet Bennet needs no introduction here.

Wan Noorsabila

Jeniffer Carterina

Durin Ak. Edward Jalani

Anglia Hendry

Mylene - the only international contestant (she's from the Philippines).

Atiqah Nur Fatma - the most capable singer of the lot.

Suziella Adiela hails from Miri, hence reinforcing my perceptions that Miri has some pretty looking girls too.

While waiting for the judges to make their decisions, the performers from the Cultural Village staged a little show.

This dude is picking up a 20 kg ''lesung'' with his bare teeth and danced around with it.

I love my teeth too much, so no thanks from me to do something like this!

The traditional Iban warrior fills his blowpipe with poisonous darts on a hunting trip.

The hornbill's feathers is prized for its numerous uses, including making the fans used by this artiste.

And.. we're back! The girls look quite relaxed and formal in their jeans and mini-T attire.

I like those big curls Jennifer is sporting on her hair.

And as expected, Ms. Janet wins the title of Miss Spring once again.

Gosh.. I love these skin tones.. I'm missing Kim once again :(


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