Tanjung Aru Perdana Park

Perdana Park - Tg Aru 20140107

Perdana Park in Tanjung Aru is slowly turning into one of my favourite parks in Kota Kinabalu (not that there are many). I came here yesterday after work for a run, and after that, headed to the nearby beach to relax. Beats getting stuck in traffic anytime.

Officially called Perdana Park at Hone Place, the park was opened in 2011, and was built and donated by Timatch Sdn Bhd (the company owned by the very charitable Datuk Victor Paul), as part of the Chief Minister’s efforts to turn Kota Kinabalu into a world-class city. Most importantly, the park is well-maintained. Even after four years, the facilities are still in good condition.

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Basically, there is a jogging track surrounding a lake, with two playgrounds for children, and a reflexology path. Also, there are a few restaurants, including one which sells delicious cakes. (So you can pile on the calories after your run?).

Although the jogging track is not that long (It takes me 4 minutes to go one time around the lake), it is a good track. And when they start playing the music, it will just pump you up and make your tiredness disappear. I almost raised up my hands Rocky Balboa-style as I reached my targeted time. And the bonus is that after your run, you can head to Tanjung Aru beach to catch the sea breeze or to watch the sunset. No other park give you that!

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The highlight of the park is of course the musical fountain in the lake. Starting every day at 7pm-ish for about 15 minutes and repeating every half an hour until 9pm, the fountain dances to the tune of music varying from local folk tunes to classical music to the very patriotic “1-Malaysia” song (The fountain shoots straight up like the number one!). The arrangement of the music is different at different times, and I find the last performance at 9 to be the best (that’s when they stop playing the Malaysian songs, and focus on the classic sentimental tunes). Not a bad spot to take your girlfriend to for a cheap date. (The park is free 🙂 )

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Perhaps one thing that has not been highlighted too much is that the park is also good for a bit of bird-watching. Not just garden birds, but because of the lake in the middle, there are also egrets and little herons. I spotted 7 species yesterday evening. Come in the morning and you’ll get to see the striated heron baits its prey using bread crumbs.

 

Opening Hours:

Monday – Thursday : 6.00am – 10.00pm

Friday – Sunday : 6.00am – 10.30pm

Musical fountain: daily 7:00pm – 9:00pm (9:30pm on weekends)

Entrance: free. Parking costs RM 1

Links: http://www.sabahtourism.com/destination/perdana-park

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The Sininggazanak

What is it? A statue in a field

Where is it? Kinarut, Sabah

Should you go? ** for something different and a chance to stretch your legs in a local town

Lost ratings: ***** Ask a local sitting next to you in a bar in KK, and you’ll probably get this response “A sinin what?”

I have always wanted to look for a sininggazanak ever since I first read about it in Rough Guides. While the name evokes images of a cheeky leprechaun-like spirit, it is actually just a wooden statue. A sininggazanak statue is carved by the blood relative of a Kadazan man or woman who has died without heirs. This is to commemorate the dead person as well as to stake a claim on his or her land. According to Kadazan tradition, land should be passed on to a person’s child, and if that person is childless, then it should be passed on to a blood relative. That is to say, a man’s land should be inherited by his brothers or sisters and not by his wife or wife’s family. Likewise, a dead woman’s husband does not inherit her land. A sininggazanak in the middle of a paddy field signifies that the field still belongs in name to the dead person. It is also believed that spirits inhabit the statue and is the guardian of the paddy field.


A tradition which is found only in the Penampang – Putatan – Kinarut area near Kota Kinabalu, sininggazanaks are difficult to find these days. The most famous one was at Kampung Tampasak in Kinarut. To preserve this heritage, the Sabah Museum authorities negotiated the purchase of the statue for the sum of one water buffalo, one pig, one chicken (RM230) and RM50 cash. A vital part of the agreement was for the authorities to carve a stone replica of the sininggazanak and put it at its original location. The original used to be displayed in Sabah State Museum, but is now kept in the storehouse instead. A replica of what the statue looks like can be seen on the pillars of the arch at the entrance to the museum.

Much better is the real stone replica at Kampung Tampasak. Tampasak is also another name for the Tembesu tree. This tree is a good timber tree and the heartwood is strong and durable. Sininggazanaks used to be carved from this wood. Not sure if the name of this village has anything to do with it though.

Getting there: This village is located about 30 minutes walk from Kinarut town. Between the 2 rows of shop houses, there is a road that crosses the railway track. Follow that road until you come to a T-junction. Turn left to get to the main road and then turn right. You will see a field down below. The stone replica can be seen beside a tree in the middle of the field. It can be difficult to find on your own and my directions are not that accurate, so ask around in town.

It’s an interesting piece of carving and makes a good photography subject. The statue is that of a female and the whole figure including the pedestal stands at 2.6m. The actual figure is 1m tall. The surrounding countryside is also a good place for a stroll on a cloudy day. But watch out for the numerous buffalo dung that dots the trails.


Further reading: Traditional Stone and Wood Monuments of Sabah by Peter R Phelan provides a detailed explanation of sininggazaks and other monuments.

Cemetery with a view

Nirvana Memorial Park, Kota Kinabalu

A place on a hill with sea-view and only 20 minutes from the city?

The dead has never had it better.

Welcome to Nirvana Memorial Park, the most beautiful (and expensive) cemetery in Sabah. Located in Telipok, about 20 minutes north of Kota Kinabalu, the burial plots range from a couple of thousands to half a million ringgit only (for a large plot for two dozen family members). If you can’t afford one, blackmail your children. According to Chinese customs, the feng shui of one’s ancestors burial plots affect the fortunes of their descendants.

Even if you are not nearing your death-bed yet, this is a good place to come for some peace and quiet and to maybe read a book or two? As long as you don’t mind the invisible eyes peering over your shoulder. :p

Who needs heaven when you have Nirvana?

Where is it? Telipok, Sabah

Should you go? * Not exactly a tourist attraction, but if you’ve never seen something like this before...

Lost ratings: **** all the peace and quiet that you could want, unless it happens to be All Souls Day

 Getting there: 15-20 minutes by taxi from KK