The Great Sibu Flood

I hope I didn’t shock anyone with this entry’s title. 🙂 I just got back from Sibu, and man… what a trip that was! My flight from Kuching to Sibu was definitely one of the most terrifying flights I have ever been on.
Sibu Aerial Shot

Sibu from air. The town of Sibu reminded me of Kuching ten years ago, when there were more trees than buildings.

Sibu is located about 30 minutes north of Kuching by flight. My flight departed Kuching airport 5:30pm on Sunday. By 5:50pm, the captain PA-ed through advising us that the flight is due to be landed shortly. Everything was SOP (standard operating procedure) up till this point.
Safety demos

In-flight safety demos: the only thing preventing me from becoming an air steward.

As the Boeing 737 began descending onto Sibu airport, we experienced a mild turbulence which progressively grew in magnitude. Before long, the entire aircraft was shaking and dropping uncontrollably. Few passengers were already making use of the air sickness bags for reasons other than stealing Malaysia Airline’s cups and cutleries.
Looking outside the window, I could see, amid thick clouds, that we were close to landing. I held onto the passenger seat in front of me, expecting a bumpy touchdown while cursing myself for ignoring the pre-flight safety demonstrations. Then suddenly, instead of landing, the aircraft picked itself up and climbed back onto air. Sensing confusion, the captain advised us that we were unable to land due to bad weather. We circled the air, waiting for the weather in Sibu to clear up.
Departure hall

Scene of chaos at the departure hall, Kuching

After 2 hours of circling Sibu’s airspace, we were running out of fuel. The aircraft flew back to Kuching to re-fuel and dumped the passengers in the departure hall. It was 8:00pm and we hadn’t yet had our dinner. Starving, I sauntered to the only cafe opening at the Kuching airport’s departure hall only to find out that a RM2.50 kueh tiaw costs RM8.40. I politely declined, instead purchasing RM8.40 worth of biscuits and chocolates which I shared with my five other workmates.
Lights dimmed
By 9:00pm, we were back up in the air en-route to Sibu once again. That was another equally horrendous bumpy ride that only the West Malaysians who have experienced the earthquake could understand. The astonishing thing here was that there were passengers stupid enough to get up and go to the toilet in the middle of a major turbulence. Its amazing to see an ah-mah trying to balance herself holding onto the seats on a bumpy air-ride, whilst asking people where the toilet is. Until that dat, I have never seen an air stewardess shouting at passengers to get back to their seat.
Departure hall

Ah-mah: “But I wanna pee-pee. :(“

We touched down at 9:45pm with a hard and solid thud, followed by cheers and applause and mobile phones ringing because I forgot to turn mine off before boarding (oops!). My workmates and I exited the departure gate only to realise that our driver had conveniently left us to go home and sleep. 🙂 Anyway, we flagged a taxi and checked into Li Hua Hotel.
Sibu at last

Sibu at last.

I only got to see the effect of heavy rain the day after.
Sibu, flooded

Sibu, flooded.

Water in the drain spilled over onto the roads. Roads became rivers and cars looked more like boats. There were no shortage of stalled cars by the roadside and residents looked on as if its just another day in Sibu. There was so much water everywhere, I’m beginning to suspect the people of Sibu might actually be amphibious to be able to live in a condition like this.
Sibu, Waterworld
I noticed that the drains in Sibu are all extra-ordinarily wide. In fact, they looked more like the water canals of Venice.
Sibu, Venice
Even then, the drainage system was still no match for such force of nature.
I was put off by the brown-yellowish colour of the drain water. I doubt the sewerage system of Sibu is functioning, so God knows what’s beneath the water. A mixture of mud, shit, soil, shit, urine, shit, etc most probably. Ugh. I tried not to think too much about it. So I visualised the brownish water as Teh Ais instead.
Sibu, Teh Ais

34 Replies to “The Great Sibu Flood”

  1. Interesting post, I’m abroad now n heard my parents are back in Sibu the past few days for “Ching Ming”, hope they got back to KL safely..
    Actually I remember it being this flooded when I was a kid returning there for hols. looks like some things never change eh.. =)

  2. Kenny, the first delicacy of Sibu is actually Teh Peng ah?? LOL… I really hope you enjoy your Teh Peng… LOL… Looking forward to more news on Sibu!

  3. Kenny, I was with E flying from Kuching to Sibu, it was raining really hard….. I said to E… we have to board this plane?? shit, i don’t want lah. Anyway, I was in Sarawak for two months, flying here and there… I salute those pilots that they got guts to fly in tropical rain storm. My american friend was visiting and he too was totally scared of flying during the tropical rain storm. We were holding hands, closed our eyes like we were going to crash and die!!! Blackwidow

  4. hey dude, ha ha ha, I love the waterworld entry, they speak “kaliew Kaliew “? . Blackwidow is right, the storm even scared the shit out out a Karate black belt, esp we were on a 747a few hrs before the Kch-Sbu Fokker flight.

  5. Haha, enjoy reading ur blog.
    It’s so horrible, but you can depict the story as if very exciting, very enjoyable.

  6. A very common sight for us Sibureans already! It happens every so often. And yes, the sewage system in Sibu is crap! I don’t understand why the municipal council spends so much money constructing the roads until they become so un-drive-able (excuse my french)instead of doing something about our sewage system. Afterall, if the floods keep coming back, the water spill onto the roads are going to destroy their roads no matter how well-constructed are their “mighty” roads! And finally, a loud shoutout, I MISS SIBU! Home is still where the heart is! Muahaha!

  7. Yucks….i can’t believe that you can actually associate the drain water with teh see peng! This trip must b really an adventure for you…hehhe 🙂

  8. Shit that reminds me of when the Air Asia plane skidded off the runway here in KK last december during a terrible storm.
    Good to hear you made it alright tho. Cheers

  9. Lainie, the unfortunate thing is that its not all good now. 🙂 At least not yet.
    Diana, don’t worry – the flood isn’t life-threatening at all. More like, annoying.
    KLJS & Jason, food and other delicacies will be up next.
    oblique, thank you come again!
    Blackwidow, yea it was truly terrifying. I was really quite shaken up during the initial descent and all I could think of was my family and my gf and how sad its going to be if my family were to lose me (choi! choi!) whilst my father is battling cancer.
    Chrissie, *grins*
    e, times like these I considered myself lucky I wasn’t flying a fokking fokker.
    SK, why read newspapers when you can read 😛
    Selina, common sight? Heh. Then I think its no coincidence that I saw so many 4WDs on the roads of Sibu then.
    Justina, wasn’t exactly an adventure since I was stuck at work. But that plane incident was indeed the scariest.
    Shan, and a light plane skidded off the runway in Kuching the day after my incident. Lucky I wasn’t on that plane.

  10. nice air stewardess u’ve got there……i wonder how she actually look like behind those 3 inch thick makeup…..
    oh ya, nice flood u’ve got there! my fren’s bro was hurrying bk to kch already, while u’re so anticipating going to sibu..

  11. Thank God that flights from Kuching back to KLIA are considered as “International” flights… ^_^
    I think that tunas in a can have more space than what you had in the Departure Hall that day… o_O

  12. Come back again and see the way they just dump more tar on to the road to make it higher to avoid the flood. Talk about a good drainage system. Sibu is located on a low lying area and some parts are actually swamp. There is no systematic planning. Things are built as they like. Even until now when the powerful people mention about a Singapore like city. It is still a very long way off until and if Sibu becomes like Singapore. Know why the Sibu drains are so wide ? Because they just scoop up the earth with the tractor without any planning and they just scoop wide and deep; that’s all. Sibu is nothing but a playground for the powerful people to play on. As such, it will remain just a board of games. They don’t care about the people in Sibu. They think that people in Sibu all think the same. When they like it, they do something. When they care less, they themselves fly off to Singapore, Australia and elsewhere. Sibu is an experimental town and the Sibu people are guinea pigs to be experimented upon.

  13. Sibu nickname is ‘Gangster Town”. Like is or not, it still a wonderful destination if you want a different kind of holiday…ie. if you do not mind trading for traffic jam, resorts, high buildings. Try the ‘Pian Bian Gu” located in a small alley near mission road.

  14. Hi, I’m from Sibu, but have been away for ages since all my family migrated out from Sarawak.Well miss Sibu very much, it’s a nice and cosy place to stay.My favourite food of all is the “tian mian gu”.i reckon u must try it when u are at Sibu.

  15. poor kennysia, it is not a sewerage system, but drainage system. sewerage system is to tackle shit tat u discharge everyday fr ur ass….

  16. Please support Datuk Tiong King Sing on recent comments in fight against Gangsterisn in Sibu.
    Robert Lau is supporting Gangster. He is part of the MAN behind all those gangster.

  17. I really enjoy reading your postings.
    It is one of my windows to Sibu whenever I am alone, lonely and getting nostalgic about Sibu.
    Having left Sibu for more than 20 years I really like to get into the throes of it sometimes. I read Sibu news in three languages and still cannot put a pulse on my hometown.
    Visiting your blog is like going back home and getting the real news/stories !!
    Thank you.

  18. Hate those ppl who get up nwating to pee when it is unsafe..
    They put the air crew’s life at risk by doing that..

  19. RM 500 per vote. Not RM 50. That is too cheap. If each Sibuian saves this RM 500, then Sibuians can make a good drainage system out of that election money. Think of it. These day you cannot buy much with RM 50. RM 50 these days is like 10 cents in the olden days. That is why Sibuians and all Barisan Nasional voters MUST demand to be paid RM 500 PER vote. Remember all you poverty stricken, neglected Sibuians, when the Barisan Nasional politician comes knocking at your door, just say politely you need some quality lubricant that cost RM 500. Remember RM 500 per vote and not less. Remember this ! Or another thought, make them construct a real efficient lasting drainage system BEFORE the elections before electing the old blood in again.

  20. Hi, i guess i am late. I was doing a general check on how was Kuching when i stumbled on this story.
    I was supposed to be on that plane. But my brother who missed his flight that morning missed home so much. So we swapped tickets, he had mine and i had his and he ended up on that plane. what luck!
    I am at the moment working in singapore. I have decided to go back to move back to Kuching. Do u think this is wise? How is Kuching generally? Is it a place for retiring?

  21. hello dear sibu frnd
    imr thomas tio at kl wrk 10 year already now sibu area i no sure no sibu town how have any gangster fighting sibu area for me very back i at kl sri sinar this area very good my cnt:0166077728

  22. hello dear sibu frnd
    imr thomas tio at kl wrk 10 year already now sibu area i no sure no sibu town how have any gangster fighting sibu area for me very back i at kl sri sinar this area very good my cnt:0166077728

  23. hello dear sibu frnd
    imr thomas tio at kl wrk 10 year already now sibu area i no sure no sibu town how have any gangster fighting sibu area for me very back i at kl sri sinar this area very good my cnt:0166077728

  24. hello dear sibu frnd
    imr thomas tio at kl wrk 10 year already now sibu area i no sure no sibu town how have any gangster fighting sibu area for me very back i at kl sri sinar this area very good my cnt:0166077728

  25. hello dear sibu frnd
    imr thomas tio at kl wrk 10 year already now sibu area i no sure no sibu town how have any gangster fighting sibu area for me very back i at kl sri sinar this area very good my cnt:0166077728

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