Perhaps, besides Penang being our "hometown" where we head for Raya every year without fail; Jalan Jarret, Kuala Lumpur being the place I was brought up from year 1970 to 1978, Taman Bunga Raya, Setapak being our home and my parents place from year 1978 till it was sold a couple of years ago; UiTM Shah Alam campus being the place I studied from year 1981 till 1984 and later in year 1997 till year 2000; Taman Melati, Setapak being our first home as a family from year 1994 till year 2000; Kuching could be categorised as the most sentimental place that I (and we) had visited with fond memories covering three time frames, as a bachelor, as newly weds husband & wife and as a family.
I first set foot on Kuching soil in November 1983 en route to Miri for my "vocation" training with Sarawak Shell Berhad. How I got to be there was simply of pure luck, resulting from my insistence of having my practical training in Sarawak.
During my college days, we were asked to identify several organisations where we would like to have our practical training of about 1 1/2 month. Unlike others who chose to have their practical trainings at places nearby their hometown, I chose Kuching, of all places.
I actually asked to have my practical training at Kuching Municipal Council (KMC) and in order to get there I was prepared to go there on my own expenses (own here means "parents"). But luck was on my side when at the very last minute Sarawak Shell Berhad offered 2 places for the students. As I was one of those who asked to be placed at Sarawak, I was eventually given the place.
Having a vocation training at SSB was special, special because they sponsored everything, from airfare to accommodation to daily allowances. And if I remembered correctly, we were given RM1200 on the first day we reported for the training.
After one and a half month at Miri, I made a stopover of a number of days at Kuching, staying at my buddy's home at Tabuan Jaya. In fact, the reason why I wanted to go to Sarawak in the first place was simply that my buddies at college were mainly those from Sarawak. Hearing so much about Sarawak made me so eager to see, hear and feel Sarawak first hand. So that was my first experience being there at Kuching, way back in 1983/84.
I made a return visit in 1994, exactly 10 years later. This time around, I was with Mrs. J, on our first ever vacation together.
So fond of Kuching, we decided to make another return trip to Kuching a couple of years ago, and this time with 3 additional members (and the maid)to revisit all the places we have been to (besides the new attractions like the Cat Museum etc.) And Kuching remained to be as exciting as ever, a place that we as a family had really enjoyed ourselves.
More importantly,I managed to visit at least two old friends, Haron and Radzali. Haron, I would think by now is a grandfather while Radzali must be fighting very hard against a serious medical condition he had when I last saw him. Come to think of it, I have not been checking on both of them for quite a while now. Perhaps I should call them tomorrow and ask how they are doing.