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The Letter

Extract from Uncle Tan’s letter to his son and daughter-in-law describing how Uncle Tan’s B&B started and the first group of visitors he brought to the Kinabatangan.

January 2, 1989

"Dear Suzie & Gene,

I should have written to you as soon as I got back from West Malaysia. I got back to K.K. and [---] hotel was in a mess. With the storms and flood – it was upside down. The first thing the boss told me was "with so much trouble here and you are away promoting your tours business!" This I could not take. I said I was only the marketing consultant – as long as sales go up I have done my duty. He was very furious and said he wants to buy up unique tours – I told him to go to hell... However, I spent another 2 weeks in K.K. to really promote the tour packages and made some contacts before getting back to Sandakan.

Luck would have it. While spending the two weeks in K.K. I contacted the people who were organizing the 11th Congress of the Asian Photographic [Out.]. I managed to get 17 Japanese and Koreans to be interested in a trip to Sepilok and the Kinabatangan area to photograph wildlife. So I got back to Sandakan on 3rd Dec a day before the group came to Sandakan. You will remember – I closed the restaurant to move to a detached bungalow house – very large and was empty for 4 years. The owner had repainted it and it is very comfortable with the main building – 2 rooms upstairs and a very large open area down stairs and a small attached unit with 2 rooms and separate toilet. This is now Uncle Tan’s Bed & Breakfast. Just before the Japanese arrived I managed to get some mattress and made some beds. So when they got in on the 4th December, I was able to accommodate all of them in the Bed and Breakfast.

I was in the jungle area for four days and the photographer had taken more than 30 rolls of film each. Some took telephoto shots, some even interested in micro-photography and spent hours and rolls of film just photographing millipedes! Many of the members want to come back again in the finer weather this year.

I managed to make enough to furnish the B & Breakfast. Since my return the B&B in December had excluding the group of Japanese and Koreans 48 man-nights from other budget travelers sent in by the T.D.C. So at [M] $15.00 plus breakfast I feel I can cover my operation cost of rental, water and light. The rent is only [M] $ 400.00 for this mansion! Some say the place is haunted - well – I am glad. Whoever is haunting the place is kind to me! "

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