Sunday, September 27

‘Home away from home’ feel at Sarawak Foundation House in London


HOME AWAY FROM HOME: Zaidel and Maureen during a photo session at Sarawak Foundation Home in Willesden. — Bernama photo

LONDON: Many Malaysians, especially those studying in the United Kingdom, will have fond memories of their stay at the Malaysia Hall here.

Likewise, the Sarawak Foundation House at Willesden offers an equally ‘home away from home’ comfort at affordable rates for Sarawakians visiting the British capital.

Since the Sarawak Foundation (Yayasan Sarawak) House acquired the double-storey detached bungalow at Brondesbury Park in 1991, many Sarawakians, including state dignitaries, have opted for the Sarawak Foundation House during their short stay here with their families.

Long-time London resident Mohamad Zaidel, 62, who is from Kuching, sees to the day-to-day administration of the property for the Sarawak Foundation House but said priority would be given to students and civil servants on official duties.

“There are roughly about 150-200 occupants a year, especially during the busy period between May-July during university convocations and September when new students arrived,” he said when met by Bernama here recently.

Having worked with the Malaysian students department based at the Malaysian High Commission here from 1973 until 1988, he said, the accomodation at the house was a preferred choice, not only because it was fully equipped with kitchen facilities, especially for favourite Malaysian fare, but also because it was within walking distance for takeaways, including halal food.

Only about five kilometres from Central London, he said it could be reached via the subway from Willesden Green station, adding the rates were also very cheap at 15 pounds per person per night, which was comparable to a bed and breakfast .

With mostly foreign embassies being housed at Brondesbury Park, the neighbourhood here was safe, noted the grandfather of four, whose wife, Maureen, is a Londoner.

“I hardly ever lock the gates at night.”

However, the premises had also been used to hold official receptions by visiting ministers from Sarawak, while Sarawak Foundation chairman Tan Sri Adenan Satem made it a point to stop-over during visits here, he said. — Bernama