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Snippets of old Jesselton town

Phew… it’s been getting harder and harder to find some time to sit in front of the computer for some personal time. Most of the time when I’m not working and running after Nathan, I just wish I could crawl into bed and stay there until I’m ready to pop.

But I would never miss my monthly date of story time with my parents.

Through this little project, my dad has discovered a huge network of long lost relatives in our family tree we had never known of before. It’s definitely been a very exciting journey.

I remember when we first started this project, my dad insisted that he had nothing much to write about. But since then, numerous stories and accounts have just been pouring out.

One account he wrote which I really enjoyed reading was this one about making a big trip from KK to Pulutan (Menggatal) to visit his grandmother. He likened the whole journey as being just like flying from KK to KL today. I cannot imagine what the contrast would be like for my kids in the future.

As I caught these little snippets on what KK and its surroundings was like in my father’s childhood days, it made me think back to one special day years ago when he took me for a walk around site of his childhood home to see what it was like.


I was maybe around 13 or 14 years old then. My dad and I happened to be out driving one day near the Signal Hill observatory. On a whim, my dad pulled over the car near one of the small off-roads along Jalan Istana. Back in his day it was known as Harrington Road.

The small road led into a what seemed to me like a jungle of trees and dense undergrowth of bushes. The path curved downwards and led us down into a little valley. In the clearing, we saw a few wooden houses scattered about, occupied primarily by some Filipino and Indonesian immigrants.

This was roughly the sight we saw that day on that little impromptu excursion;
Much of the hill site has been pulled down or eroded due to development…

My dad pointed out the bearings around the area and showed me the little path that led further down toward the town centre, while I slapped the mosquitoes gathering thickly on my arms and legs.

Here is a snapshot of the typical scene would have greeted my dad’s eyes whenever he walked down to bustling and happening town of Jesselton in his boyhood days…

GayaPhoto Source:

My dad recounted how he and his brother and friends on rare occasions used to walk down the forest-covered path to the town centre to catch a movie at the old Capitol Cinema. James Bond, a.k.a. agent jilo-jilo-jeven was a big favourite even in those days!

But there was the odd occasion when they unwisely opted to watch an evening horror flick. After which they had to brave the harrowing walk through the dark jungle path to get home. With hearts beating wildly, they would tear through the dark and narrow path at top speed to escape the ghosties and ghoulies pursuing them from behind.

I laughed out loud as I pictured the funny sight of those boys tearing through that jungle path in hot pursuit by the ghosts and zombies of their imagination.

Imagine having to walk through the thick ‘jungle’ pictured on the
left side of the image below every time you want to get to town…

As I looked around my jungle surroundings, I thought how glad I was that I was spared from having to brave dark jungle paths at night after a night out at the movies with friends.


To step further into the history pages, you can read the following stories recounted by my dad…

Paying a visit to grandmother’s kampung home

About my Kadazandusun great grandmother

The man who married a Dusun – Part 1 and Part 2



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