Friday, July 08, 2005

UMS Residence Guide: Kampungs

Residential Tips for UMS students

By now the new students to University Malaysia Sabah (UMS) would be completing their one week of orientation @ Minggu Suai Mesra (MSM). After being brainwashed and given a flowery sugar coated version of campus life, they’ll be getting about to register for their first year’s course and embarked anew on their new life after a transition from school life to university life. Congratulations on those fortunate enough to secure places in the local universities and also tough luck for those that still think that being sent to Sabah without actually putting it down as a choice in their forms is a form of bad luck (it’s not so bad actually, Kk isn’t too far off civilized society). Now let’s face reality.

I won’t be giving too much of a horror story yet lest you all run off and call home stating you want to go back. Each university has their own set of unique problems and so it’s true for UMS as well. But life in uni can have some semblance of normalcy and you can get some good university memories and good learning in the course of your ¾ years of studying here. So the first thing I would like to give some tips on is about university housing, especially the options first years have and a guide on where to go, who to ask and what is good among the places students can potentially wind up after their first semester.

First years, yes I don’t really know what policy they have set in place for this new year since we do have a new Vice Chancellor and the housing policy never remains static yearly but if I’m correct all first years would be situated within the university’s Kampungs (Villages) since adequate new Kampung blocks (E) have been made ready this year and should accommodate the new influx of students readily. So let’s begin there.

The Kampungs.


Kampung A block H, a typical hostel residence within the campus, apartment style lodging with communal facilities and oh yes segregated.

This will be the first residential setting that students would be housed in. During the MSM students would be assigned to various Kampung blocks. Situated just under a kilometer from the main campus and within the campus grounds itself there are 5 Kampungs to speak of (A to E). Distance to the main campus varies with Kampung A being the nearest while Kampung E is located the farthest. The approach to the Kampung is mainly hilly with Kampung A situated on the highest hill meaning expect a lot of climbing to get to your dorm and god bless those with heavy luggage. Kampung A & B can be accesed easily while Kampung C & D is a distance away and lastly Kampung E is isolated by itself in the farthest reaches.

The Kampungs itself is divided into different blocks and the sexes are segragated on different blocks. Each block has communal toilets and baths on each floor and rooms are on a four person sharing basis with basic furniture supplied. Kampung E has twin sharing options with private toilets and baths as well as other facilities not found at the older blocks. Facilities like coin operated laundry machines can be found in the bathrooms. Each Kampung has their very own canteen as well with varying quality of food and as many will attest Kampung E has the best food anywhere in the whole campus and even serves mamak style dining. Kampung A has the best view of any of the blocks and the 'Anjung' is always a good 'pak toh' (dating) spot with a clear view of the city. Each Kampung us administered by a 'Pengetua' and depending on your luck you either get an overzealous rule pusher or a more laxed person.


The horrid stairway leading to Kampung A from the main entry point. Kampung B can be seen in the background.

Campus bus services stop at the various bus stops situated within the Kampungs with two types of services, the blue uni buses that only ferries students from the dorm to the campus and the OMO bus service which connects the Kampungs to around campus as well as to Kota Kinabalu. For people thinking they can save money by walking to campus, I give you a week before you give up and decide the bus service is a better option. The surau is just within walking distance away.


View of Kk as seen from the Anjung at Kampung A, lovely spot to go dating (try not to get caught).
  • Very cheap cost of living, fees paid for hostel are minimal compared to what you'd normally fork out to rent outside.
  • Little need to walk far for food, whether it's good or not is another matter of contention.
  • Electricity bills minimal, RM10 per appliance (specified in your guide book) for a whole semester.
  • Instant bus service around campus as well as access to bus headed to town.
  • Sleeping in will not be too much of a problem since distance is not too far and you can still make a mad dash to your facualty in no time (if you're desparate enough).
  • Near to library meaning you can always use free internet bandwidth late into the night before turning in.
  • Free cleaning crew that maintains the hallways and clears your rubbish so you don't have to do it.
  • Tighter security as guard posts are manning the main entrance as well as regular patrols around the campus.
  • Nearby to certain facilities such as photocopying shops, laundry, car rental and surau.
  • You are directly under the supervision of a pengetua and any rules and regulations he fancies no matter how obsurd are applied to residents.
  • If you're thinking of co-ed activities forget it, segregation means no boy girl mix within residences.
  • You are liable to find people knocking on your door at midnight for spot checks.
  • You might suddenly find yourself enlisted at the various campus activities (which you are compulsory to attend if you wish to remain in the hostels).
  • Going out to town can be a problem as curfew remains which include leaving your block to visit other friends.
  • Inability to cook in the room or to own certain applicances such as a fridge or washing machine.
  • Might get bored with no entertainment around (there are Astro channels at the canteen but you have no say of the channel and also its usually too loud to hear anything anyway).
  • No gurantee your mail will ever arrive safely as they are stacked within a communal pigeon hole.
  • Administration people and felos can be arses at times.
  • No Streamyx installation possible or having a private internet line.
  • Small living space, communal facilities and little space for personal belongings.
  • Guard shack at the road leading to the hostel not always manned.
  • Owning transport can be a hassle as there are few places to park them especially cars.
  • Dating within the grounds can be hazardous especially if your pengetua is a person who find no qualms shouting aloud through a loudspeaker at couples who are too close together.
  • Constantly moving between semesters and having to store all your stuff at the store which are liable to get lost at times.

Continues in Part 2: Kurnia Perdana


Adrian said...

Ah... the loooooooooooong staircase. Heh I hate it very very much! :p

Keen said...

Hmm. I've always wondered how UMS students stay there. Didn't think there were hostels on campus, but then again I should've expected something like that from such a huge campus. Incidently are there a fair amount of people at Tmn. Kingfisher?

5xmom said...

hahaha, pengetua shouting over the loudspeaker?



Kervin said...

Adrian: Yes especially if you have a gigantic luggage that you need to lug up.

Keen: There's a huge number of students staying at Kingfisher as it is the nearest housing area to UMS, either renting out or living under the Uni.

5Xmom: I know people who actually kena as such.