Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Around Labuan Part 2

On my final day in Labuan, I visited the Labuan War Cemetary.

This is a Commonwealth World War II cemetary where soldiers from India, Australian, New Zealand and Great Britain who died while defending Borneo (including Labuan) from the Japanese Invasion were laid to rest.

There are a total of 3908 graves here, arranged in long neat rows bearing plaques of the Commonwealth Army.

Most of them are identified and bear the names of the deceased soldier, but those that are not, are but "known to God".

A pavilion erected in the centre of the field housed pillars of red brick. On each pillar is a list of the soldiers who died defending this land.

Every year on the first Sunday of November, a special memorial service is held in honour of the war heroes buried here, attended by friends and families who make the pilgrimage from all corners of globe.

Later, we went to visit the infamous water villages of Patau-Patau which looked like a squatter village at the edge of the sea.

The village is inhabited mainly by Brunei Malays, which is a loose collection of peoples from Brunei and coastal regions of northern Sarawak and Sabah.

They are mostly of the Muslim faith and speak a type of Malay language that is phonetically distinct from the Peninsular Malay.

It was low tide when we visited the place so the water village was, in effect, a mud village.

On our way back to town, we stopped by another water village, Saguking.

According to Mark, most households in the water villages own boats instead of cars.

Saguking looked a lot less 'prosperous' than Patau-patau but was no less colourful. The people here was perhaps a lot more friendly and waved happily at me at I took a picture of them.

Some of these dilapidated houses are also hideouts for illegal immigrants from Indonesia and the Phillipines. The leftovers stilts on the edge of the village is proof of governmental efforts to force them off the island but they just keep coming back and build new houses next to the old ones.

Before I knew it, my short visit to Labuan was over and I headed to Labuan's spanking new airport to head back to KL. And as expected, my Airasia flight was an hour late!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice pictures.

Will be back for more.