Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Week In Sabah--Part 2

American writer Agnes Newton Keith lived in this house between 1934 to 1952. It was here she wrote her first book "Land Below The Wind", published in 1939.Two other books she wrote were "Three Came Home" and "White Man returns". "Three Came Home" was published after the WWII in 1947 in Victoria, British Columbia.This bestseller which was a detailed account of her imprisonment in Sandakan and Batu Lintang in Kuching together with her husband and son and also the hardships of the POWs, was turned into a Hollywood motion picture in 1950."White Man Returns" was completed in Sandakan after she reunited with her husband in 1947.

The original house where the Keiths lived was destroyed after the Japanese invading forces retreated. Upon their returned, the Keiths rebuilt the house over the ruined foundations and named it Newlands. Agnes's husband, Henry George Keith was first posted to Sandakan by the North British Company in 1925, serving as Conservator of Forests and also the Director of Agriculture. In 1934 while on leave in California, Henry re-met and married Agnes, bringing her with him to Sandakan the same year. Their first son, George, was born in Sandakan.

The Keiths returned to British Columbia in 1952 where Agnes died in 1982 at the age of 80. Newlands was occupied by subsequent Conservators of Forests and other high ranking government officials until the early 1990s when rumours of the house being haunted frightened away all the occupants. The Sabah Museum finally stepped in and converted the house into a museum in memory of its most famous occupant, Agnes Keith.The museum is tastefully furnished with a reproduction of colonial furniture and displays the works of Agnes Keith and some local artefacts. It is located on top of a hill at Jalan Istana, approximately 20 minutes walking distance from the town centre.

Not far from the Agnes Keith House is the English Tea House & Restaurant serving excellent tea from different parts of the world and authenic English scones. The restaurant also serves local, oriental and western dishes while its bar offers fine wine and liquor.

You can choose between dinning indoor or outdoor under the gazebos where you can have a panoramic and tranquil view of Sandakan bay while at the same time watching a game of croquet. The once very popular lawn game of English croquet first came to Sandakan in 1870.

We discovered from some tourist literature a beer garden on top of Hotel Nak in down town Sandakan. It claimed to offer the best spot to view the sunset. But we were not lucky enough to watch the sun setting over the Sandakan Bay as heavy rain set in before evening.

We had 4 jars of Tiger Draft which only costed RM108 during the happy hours.It was still drizzling when we left for another round of seafood feast and more beer at our hotel, the Swiss Inn.

This picture of the lovely beer garden (above) was taken before the sky turned ugly, and in the below picture from another angle we could see half of the Sandakan Town.

In the good company of the hotel chef and manager, we emptied another 4 jars of Tiger draft. However, we could no longer finish the fish, the cockles and 'Dong Fong Lo'. We called it a night early as morning call was at 5.30 am. I would continue my journey to Tawau while my two other buddies would be flying home early in the morning.


suituapui said...

Lucky you! Went to English Tea House in the daytime. Beautiful place! I went at night! A bit expensive but an exclusive experience!

-eiling- said...

so is that how sabah gets its name as Land Below the Wind? Wow... got scones and English croquet somemore! so english!

Philip said...

stp:The night view of the harbour and Sandakan Bay must be nice and romantic! When did you go there?

eiling:Ya, that is a very English place..but it is nice. I am not sure, probably that's how Sabah gets its name. Have yet to look for her book,not to mention read it!

Anonymous said...

The wind(typhoons)are very active North of Sabah(latitute)...somehow always miss Sabah when they cause hovoc in The Philipines..Taiwan..HongKong etc etc ...Hence The Land Below The Wind.Kpenyu

Anonymous said...

Very very deceptive protrayal of Sandakan bro.If the late A N Keith were to write a book today it will be called The New Philipines. kpenyu

Bengbeng said...

Hey, u r on mylongkang's wall of fame :)