Hi! My name is Daniel Lim Jhao Jian. Here is where I share my experience, knowledge and ideas. You are welcome to leave comments and follow my blog. You are free to copy anything from this blog. Please recommend this blog to your friends.

Tuesday 28 May 2024

Kluang: A place I will never forget

The first time I set foot in Kluang was in November 2016, as part of my clinical attachments in Stage 3 of MBBS. My impression about Kluang at that time was that it's a small town with many village-style houses. Subsequently, I went to Kluang several more times in 2017, 2019 and 2020. While I wasn't quite impressed with Kluang, I did have some really good memories with my friends in Kluang and I cherished that so much.

In June 2021, I made the decision to undergo my House Officer training at Kluang hospital. In early August 2021, I confirmed my House Officer placement at Kluang hospital. I rented a house at Bandar Seri Impian which is located near Kluang hospital. It's a partially-furnished new house that looks really nice, and the rental price is quite reasonable.

I moved to Kluang on 21 August 2021. In the beginning, I felt rather uncomfortable about living in Kluang, even though the house I rented was quite nice. During my first few days in Kluang, I went to the 99 Speedmart in Bandar Seri Impian and I explored some of the roads in the area. Somehow, the whole place just felt so weird and isolated. I was even unimpressed with Kluang Mall, a big modern shopping mall. Consequently, I became reluctant to explore Kluang further. I didn't know most parts of Kluang and I had to rely heavily on Google Maps every time I drove out of Bandar Seri Impian. The only part in Kluang I was familiar with was Taman Kluang Indah, located not far from Bandar Seri Impian, and I often went there for my meals.

Previously, I had been living in Johor Bahru for 7 years, with the most recent 3 years in EcoBotanic, a really nice residential area. The fact is that Kluang is much less developed than Johor Bahru, and I found it so difficult to adapt to the huge change in environment. I was also feeling really stressed about having to start House Officer training, which I knew would be very challenging. I really missed my Teaching Fellow post at NUMed, which I just left in July 2021. To add to my stress, Malaysia was under a really strict lockdown at that time due to the really bad Covid-19 situation.

As soon as the Covid-19 lockdown eased in early October 2021, the first place I went to was EcoBotanic in Johor Bahru. I relived my great memories there and I really wished I could just go back to staying there rather than in Kluang. It takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes to drive from Kluang to EcoBotanic. In the following weeks, I travelled to EcoBotanic several more times, as I really missed the place. Each time I went to Johor Bahru, I would watch a newly released movie at TGV Cinema in AEON Bukit Indah. There were no major cinemas in Kluang at that time.

In late October 2021, I began getting used to living in Kluang. I had become familiar with the road to get to Kluang town from Bandar Seri Impian. I started exploring some of the restaurants in Kluang and I felt that most of the food in Kluang are quite good. Other than Kluang Mall, Kluang Parade is another major shopping centre in Kluang. I had the impression that Kluang Parade is very old and I didn't bother to visit it at all. In mid-November 2021, a GSC Cinema was newly open in Kluang Mall. Just a week later, I went there to watch Venom: Let There Be Carnage. Since then, I no longer had to go to Johor Bahru for movies. However, I still went to Johor Bahru regularly as I missed EcoBotanic and the food there.

Starting from December 2021, my grandparents came to live with me in Kluang. I often brought them to Taman Kluang Indah, Kluang Mall and Kluang Market. In February 2022, I and my grandparents celebrated Chinese New Year together in Kluang. In March 2022, I discovered another better road to get to Kluang town from Bandar Seri Impian. During my birthday that month, I still went to EcoBotanic, Johor Bahru as I wanted to celebrate my birthday at my favourite place.

It was starting from April 2022 that I really enjoyed living in Kluang. I began to appreciate the fact that Bandar Seri Impian and the house I rented is actually a very nice place to live in. My House Officer training was really stressful, but I was glad that I could rest and sleep in a nice house after work every day. Bandar Seri Impian has lots of nature scenaries and it felt great to be close to nature. There are also some pine trees in Bandar Seri Impian which made it feel like I am overseas. I also realised that Kluang Mall is actually a very nice shopping mall. Since then, I no longer went to Johor Bahru that frequently. On that month, I installed Astro's high-speed WiFi service at my house in Kluang.

One day in May 2022, I went to the Kluang immigration office to renew my passport. I had just finished working a night shift on that morning and the passport renewal took the entire day. When it was finally done, I was so tired and hungry. However, I suddenly couldn't think of where I should go for my dinner, as I still didn't know many restaurants in Kluang at that time. After contemplating for quite some time, I eventually went to a Chinese restaurant in Taman Kluang Indah.

In August 2022, one of my friends who grew up in Kluang introduced me to several more good restaurants in Kluang. Since then, I could enjoy a better variety of food in Kluang. At that time, I also found another shorter road to get from Bandar Seri Impian to Kluang town. In November 2022, my friend brought me to a steamboat restaurant in Taman Tasik Indah. Taman Tasik Indah and the neighbouring Taman Kluang Perdana are located in a new part of Kluang which looks really nice, comparable to EcoBotanic to a certain extent. However, as the place is quite a distance from Bandar Seri Impian and there wasn't a wide variety of food there, I didn't go there very often.

In January 2023, I once again celebrated Chinese New Year with my family members in Kluang. Around that time, I discovered the Kampung Paya Wet Market. It's newer and nicer than Kluang Market and I often brought my grandparents there since then. In March 2023, I celebrated my birthday in Kluang for the first time. In May 2023, I finally visited Kluang Parade for the first time. It turned out that it looks better than what I had expected. The interior of Kluang Parade looks like some of the older shopping centres in Kuala Lumpur, while the Parkson supermarket inside is quite nicely renovated. However, as it didn't sell much groceries, I didn't bring my family members there often.

In October 2023, a new Lotus's supermarket was open in Kluang, near Taman Tasik Indah and Taman Kluang Perdana. I and my family members like it a lot and we went there regularly. In January 2024, a huge Bin Siang food court with a wide variety of food was newly open in Taman Kluang Perdana. Since then, I went to Taman Kluang Perdana even more often. There was another nice Target Grand supermarket in Taman Kluang Perdana and I went there with my family members several times.

Throughout the entire 2023, I only went to Johor Bahru twice. I realised that Kluang actually has a lot of good food that are even better compared to those in Johor Bahru. Some good examples are Penang Hokkien mee, curry fish head, yam rice, bak kut teh, beef noodles, dim sum, lok lok, pork noodles, wan tan mee, curry mee, nasi kandar, nasi Briyani, nasi Arab, satay, apam balik, lemon chicken and grilled fish.

I successfully completed my House Officer training at Kluang hospital on 6 January 2024. I had planned to leave Kluang to pursue my dream specialty after the Chinese New Year in February 2024. However, I later found out that I had to complete my compulsory service with the Ministry of Health first before I could pursue my dream specialty. As a result, I continued working in Kluang hospital for my floating period as a Medical Officer. I requested to remain in Kluang hospital beyond the floating period.

Unfortunately in April 2024, I was informed by the Ministry of Health that I would be reallocated to Sarawak starting from 6 May 2024. I tried submitting an appeal but it was unsuccessful. That meant I had to work as a Medical Officer in Sarawak till I complete my compulsory service. However, I was allowed to defer my start date in Sarawak till 27 May 2024. I had been treasuring every moment of my stay in Kluang. I made sure to go eat at every one of my favourite restaurants in Kluang before leaving. Despite that, time still passed so quickly.

On 25 May 2024, I finally had to leave Kluang for real. Needless to say, I feel very emotional about this. I have been living in Kluang for 2 years and 9 months and I definitely have a lot of great memories here. I really look forward to the day I complete my compulsory service. If I can pursue my dream specialty, I will get to return to Kluang regularly.

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