Thursday, September 27, 2012

This is Kuantan

This is Kuantan as seen from the Shahzan Inn. The large letters by the river denote the name of this town on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Kuantan, or Kampung Teruntum, as it was called, is said to have been founded in the early 1850s by Haji Senik. In 1854, a group of Malays from Sumatera, Indonesia, arrived in this land through the river and named it Kampung Kuantan, the place where they came from. Today it has been shortened to 'Kuantan'.

It has come a long way since then!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pahang State Mosque, Kuantan at sunrise

Adjacent to the field at Jalan Mahkota sits the Pahang State Mosque. I photographed this great Kuantan sight from the 10th floor of the nearby Shahzan Inn. Although I had to zoom considerably with my little point-and-shoot, I'm quite happy with the images that came out.

What sights do you enjoy photographing in your home town?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Teluk Chempedak beach - Contrasts and Variety

Teluk Chempedak beach in Kuantan sits at the base of a collection of hills. I love the variety of sights including sky, sea, sand, rocks and vegetation.

How does variety in life enhance your existence?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Teluk Chempedak beach - Looking out the window

Life is full of windows.
What do you see out of your window?
Do you see another long day at work? Or the flowers on the way to work?
Do you see another headache with the children? Or a beautiful learning experience with them?
Do you see the dark, grimy buildings where you are, or go and search for the nature down the road?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Teluk Chempedak beach - Making the Most of the Path

We are all walking our own path in life. Sometimes I think that if we focus too much on the destination, we may miss the sights along the way.

(Teluk Chempedak beach, Kuantan)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Teluk Chempedak rocks and reflection

Yesterday we went to the beach in the morning. It still wasn't too hot or busy, so I was able to snap some pictures in relative comfort! Teluk Chempedak always charms me, particularly the amazing rocks.

How often do we ponder in the pool of reflection? It tends to make things appear much clearer.

Friday, September 14, 2012

My Journey to Kuantan - Part 5 - Welcome to Kuantan!

If you've been following along throughout this week, you'll know that I've been documenting the story of how I arrived in Kuantan, dating back from the early years of my life, right up until the moment I first set foot in Kuantan.

If you have missed any of the previous parts of this story, you can catch up here:

PART 1 - RAISED IN ENGLAND (1982-2002)



PART 4 - LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT (2005 - 2006)

After our wedding, Fidelia and I flew by Malaysia Airlines from Manchester to Kuala Lumpur, and then on to Kuantan.

Fidelia soon resumed her studies at Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP), (formerly named KUKTEM) by driving along this road in the picture above for about 35 minutes to Gambang.

Kuantan was a new and strange town to me at first. I wondered how I'd ever be able to make it and get started with work. Since 2006 until the present day, I've been teaching English to people of all ages, slowly building up my reputation and number of students, from zero until over 65 today.

You can learn more about our company and English teaching at our business blog

I quickly got to know Kuantan, the roads and services here, and gradually fell in love with it.

So for the final part of my journey to Kuantan, I'd like to take you on a little Kuantan blog tour. Would you mind coming along?

In this tour I'm going to show you (or remind you who follow my blog closely) some of my favourite places in Kuantan. 

It took me 24 years to reach Kuantan, from the day I was born in Leicester, England, passing through a series of important events which swung my path eastwards and set my destination to Kuantan.

I'll give you a link at the end of this post. When you click it your tour will begin. You will find similar links at the end of each post on the tour, which will take you around Kuantan and finally back to this post.

Thanks for taking the time to do this and I really hope you enjoy the Kuantan blog tour!!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Journey to Kuantan - Part 4 - Love at First Sight

This week I am sharing a series of blog posts explaining how I ended up where I am today - in Kuantan. If you have missed any previous posts, you can get yourself acquainted with them here:

PART 1 - RAISED IN ENGLAND (1982-2002)



I came back to Malaysia for my second holiday in a year in May 2005. This time I went alone and for a period of 3 months. I had planned all the places I was going to visit and the people I wanted to see, including Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, Kuching and Singapore.

However, just a few days into my holiday, on the island of Borneo, a girl called Fidelia threw my plans upside-down in a matter of seconds!

Meeting Fidelia one night in Kuching was completely unplanned. I didn't even know she was around. It was her younger sister Florina, who made the call and engineered our meeting.

It was after 10pm and Fidelia was coming back home from work. She walked through the door of a friend's house and it was love at first sight!

I don't know how it happened but I just thought silently in my mind, "this is the girl I'm going to marry!"

This was a picture we took on that first night we met each other. We look good together already!

Just a month later we were engaged. Can you believe it? Neither can I!

Here's where I proposed to Fidelia with a poem I wrote. Can you tell she said "yes"?!

We held a very simple engagement party at Fidelia's home. Didn't cost much but it was a nice evening spent with family and friends

Can you spot the mystery hovering paper plate?!

I briefly went to Ipoh but didn't last long there as I missed Fidelia too much! I swiftly returned to Kuching! The rest of my holiday was spent with Fidelia in Kuching and then in Kuala Lumpur.

At church in Kuching

We came in 2nd place and won RM100 in a blowpipe competition in Kuching! (How good does Fidelia look?!)

At Mid-valley Megamall in Kuala Lumpur

Our favourite picture together at KL Tower

We had a great day out at Sunway Lagoon water park. Later we spent some time on a children's train, and chocolate tasting at Sunway Pyramid, Subang Jaya, West Malaysia

Here's where my holiday came to an end. I was shortly heading back to England. Fidelia was returning to her studies at university near Kuantan.

I racked up a hefty RM12,000 phone bill during the period of August 2005 - April 2006. Gave my mum a cheque each month to cover it. At times it was worth it, but at times we drove each other crazy by calling at all sorts of hours (because of the time difference) and worrying about things that didn't really need to be worried about! These months were torture!

 We decided to get married in May 2006 and we would find a place in nearby Kuantan as Fidelia's university was 30 minutes drive from there.

Here are the home-made wedding invitation cards I designed. Didn't pay a penny for them!

On 2nd May, 2006 we registered our marriage at the Kuching register office, and came back to sign the papers on 4th May

To celebrate our marriage we simply booked a nearby restaurant for a small sum of money. A good-sized group of family and friends attended and it was a very nice evening. There was no huge cake, no lavish setting, no photographers, no expensive clothing code, just us and close family and friends. That's all we spent and it was worth it because we needed the money for the start of our married life, paying rent and bills etc...

We took some great photos at a studio in Kuching for a good price, and here are a few of them:

In traditional Iban attire

The second part of our marriage took place in England. There we were married inside a LDS temple, which event is kind of like going to Mecca and circling the Kaaba for a Muslim. To find out more about Mormon temples, you can follow this link:

Here we are at the London England temple grounds

On the steps of the London England temple

We had a small gathering at my home in Leicester for family and friends and that was it.

My journey to Kuantan is almost complete!

Don't miss the final installment tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My Journey to Kuantan - Part 3 - Missing Malaysia

If you missed earlier parts of the story, you can catch up by clicking these links:

Upon returning to England from my 2-year volunteer service, I went through a short period of depression.

Such was the extent to which I had fallen in love with Malaysia and Singapore and its people, that I just couldn't live without it.

I remember stepping off the small propeller plane which had carried me from Frankfurt to Birmingham, and feeling the sheer and utter cold in stark contrast to the warm, tropical conditions of Asia I had become so accustomed to.

It was horrible.

And it was NOT good to be "back."

I sat at home doing nothing. Constantly thinking of my friends in Malaysia, of the myriad great experiences, of the emptiness I now felt in England.

I feel sorry for my mum. She missed me immensely for 2 years, but during that time I had changed to a different person and found a completely new home.

From that moment on, England was just never going to be enough for me.

So in July 2004 I swiftly returned to Malaysia and Singapore and brought my whole family along with me. Seeing my beautiful friends again so soon, and introducing them to my family was a wonderful time!

At Sunway Pyramid, Subang Jaya, West Malaysia

On the skybridge at Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur

Meeting friends in Kuala Lumpur

Friends in Ipoh, West Malaysia

At the Sarawak Cultural Village, Kuching, East Malaysia

At my favourite restaurant, Fu Bin Seafood Restaurant, with the staff, in Kuching

With Florianna and Florina, who would later become my sisters-in-law!

Between September 2004 and May 2005 I began working in England. This was a welcome relief because it kept me busy and I was able to earn some money.

I also spent time hanging out with my friends whenever I could.

Met with a fellow volunteer in Malaysia who served with me. Took my best friend with me to Manchester to meet her

Meeting people became interesting as conversations always turned to Malaysia and Singapore and my adventures there.

Met some new friends on a trip to London. It was cold!!

In May 2005 I stopped working and embarked on a second holiday 'back home' to Malaysia, this time for 3 months. 

The truth is, I never stopped missing the Far East...

And that's where the most vital part of my journey to Kuantan occurs!

Stay tuned to find out tomorrow!


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