"Gone but not forgotten, barren but not broken." -- As written as a memorial for the victims of the infamous Death March (WWII) in Sandakan, Sabah Borneo.
25.05.2017 | thursday
we decided to explore after checking in at Kinabalu Pine Resort, drove down to the center of town area & started looking around for the Kundasang War Memorial entrance. it was drizzling & the sky got darker, which made our search difficult. we found it after we got a little lost -- Kundasang is a small town & it's so easy to overlook the entrance if you have bad eyes like me! Google Maps (or Waze..) wasn't helpful at all, by the way. we were in the middle of the road and it kept telling us we've arrived ... (it is located not far from a farmer's market and a big parking lot! it's also easier to ask the locals, almost everyone speak English.)
take a walk with us through these lush greens, before the sight of the memorial grounds unfold. we parked the car & walked up in our raincoats. our visit was brief due to the weather but it was simply breathtaking. i remember seeing the peak of Mt. Kinabalu amidst thick, fast-moving clouds. there was also a sense of sadness in the air, the more i read as i walked through the pathways, the more i knew of what had happened in the past. i'd recommend reading more about it on the net, but being there in person & reading local accounts, it was incomparable. there were few people left to tell the stories, little was documented. this is a memorial to one of the most grisly — yet little-known — atrocities of World War II in the Pacific.
this memorial was built in 1962 to commemorate the brave British & Australian Prisoners of War (POW) who died in Sandakan, and during the infamous death marches to Ranau during World War II. out of the 2700 POWs who marched here, only 6 made it out alive. the memorial is built to also remember the people of North Borneo who risked their lives to help the soldiers.
the the gardens are made up of 4 sections, one for each distinctly different homeland & culture of those who lost their lives, & one for contemplation. there is an Australian Garden, an English Garden, a Borneo Garden, and a Contemplation Garden and Pool. the pool area overlooks the majestic Mt. Kinabalu peak in the near distance, and a huge part of the Kundasang town area.
i guess all i'm trying to say is, this place is a must visit if you find yourself in Kundasang. that said, this is me documenting our adventures :) i wish we'd taken more photos, less-touristy, maybe, but most of these were taken in a hurry because of the weather. i was busy keeping my face & camera dry! K was holding a huge umbrella & made sure i managed to do so. it was pretty funny, now that i think about it. we walked around with muddy calves, in pink raincoats, and slippers. what a sight~