Thursday, September 9, 2010
Here is a view of part of Canada Hill. That's right ... Canada Hill and it's not in Canada!
How did it get its name? It is said that in the early 20th century, many Canadians came from Alberta to work as drillers and engineers in the newly discovered oil well sites. Many died as well, due apparently to the mosquito-infested mangrove swamps of those days (None remain to this day) and unsanitary health conditions. Yards or meters away from the hill is a quiet churchyard, filled with graves of these poor unfortunate foreign workers who lost their valiant lives in this forgotten remote part of the world, far from their homeland.
A stroll amongst the lonely graves today will allow one to see that one of the early deaths was in 1910 and that was the year when oil was discovered in Miri. Unfortunately, as one strolls here, one could see that the ravages of time has taken a toll on the historic gravestones. Some are broken and others are scattered all about... Others remain in oblivion forever buried in piles of grassy mounds...
Anyway, one can still enjoy the sights and sounds of historic Canada Hill. An elderly Chinese sinseh (medicine man) once remarked to me that the hill "is a dragon that will bless Miri City eternally" but he also warned that "any action on any part of it will spell disaster for the city". That was way back in 1978, a time of pain for me after I got hit by an oil worker in a speeding Toyota that was leaving the SHELL offices downtown.
Canada Hill, of course, will be very special for my family. It was the very hill where my youngest son, Leximus was born enroute to the General Hospital ... and he came into our world at the back seat of my Proton Wira, meters away from the house of my close Canadian buddy, Mike of Calgary! Perhaps one day, I will change my kid's middle name to Canada Hill!
Frankly speaking though, our kids' names should in fact be a little Russian as we have evidence there is slavic blood in our distant family tree (This explains the fair complexions of some of us, including relatives) ... and that's another amazing story!
Pics from left to right: unusual bird constantly jabs on very old gravestone (My third time to witness this activity on three different occasions) & part of Canada Hill today.