We left Kuala Lumpur for Miri in 1996. Dad was posted to Miri for the Sarawak Land & Development Berhad (SLDB) , me thinks. But what I can remember is I was seated next to Dad and Uncle Razali from Shell (later became Dad’s friend).
After several years in Miri, Melaka and Seremban, Dad got posted in Pontianak, Kalimantan and we stayed in Kuching.
I have the best memories in Kuching. I went to school in Kolej Datuk Patinggi Abang Haji Abdillah (13 October 1862 – 21 November 1946) , who I read at Brooke Gallery (last weekend) was Sarawak’s independence patriot. He fought peacefully against the British colonisation of Sarawak after World War II.
19 years on, I’m back in Kuching for the weekend.
Here’s my take on some of the places I went:-
- Sarawak Cultural Village
We got there on a Sunday at 11:00 a.m. Vaguely remember the last time I was here but it just looks smaller as compared to before. The lake was smaller and looks unkept but maybe it was a Sunday?
But here’s an amazing view of the waterfalls; definitely Insta-worthy!
Took some photos of the houses;
- Rumah Melanau
Ethnic Melanau makes up about 6 percent of the total state population of Sarawak. A majority of Melanau professes the religion of Islam and the ethnic is commonly associated with ethnic Malay. Their concentration is quite restricted to the central coastal region of the Rajang River delta in towns such as Oya and Mukah.
It is built some 40 feet above ground that you will wonder how these tribal people, isolated from common modernity, were able to build such a behemoth. The main reason, according to the literature that I read, is that the coastal areas where the Melanau live are prone to frequent pirate attacks from the sea, hence the tall house is some sort of protection against these perpetrators. Not to mention, the river delta that the people call home is also subjected to occasional flooding that having a house with the floors raised considerably above ground is a necessity rather than a cosmetic pursuit.
There are staircases provided for visitors to enter the tall house. The first staircase will bring you to the first floor where the display of tools and utensils associated with ethnic Melanau is available throughout. Surprisingly, there is another staircase made of tree trunks to the second floor where the bedroom models are showcased. Climbing these trunk-staircase is an acquired skill on its own and caution should be exercised. (The Malaysia Hotel Review)
2. Rumah Orang Ulu
The Orang Ulu Longhouse is built on raised floors some feet above ground amidst lush tropical greenery.
The term Orang Ulu is not ethnically correct per se, mainly because it consists of various well-distinguished ethnic groups such as the Kayan, the Kenyah, the Kelabit (found in the famous Bario Highlands), the Lun Bawang and to a certain extent, the Penan. Nonetheless, the term Orang Ulu is associated with the tribes living in the inaccessible interior regions of Sarawak rainforests. In fact, orang (means “people”) and ulu (means “interior or up-river regions”) is often useful to signify the “up-river dwellers” who often settle in the middle and upper reaches of Sarawak’s many great rivers. (The Malaysia Hotel Review)
In general, the Orang Ulu are famous for their unique musical instrument called sape, elaborate beadworks, extensive body tattooing, sword-making (or called parang ilang), exquisite totem poles and intricate native arts. The sape is also my favourite instrument in Federal Highway traffic.
2. Carpenter’s Street
Took a walk in the rain with my trusted hotel umbrella and the cap (just in case I lose my umbrella, which is bound to happen). There’s so much to see here; jewellery shops, vintage, dressmaker, hipster cafes and Yeck Sung Frame Makers.
According to Uncle co-founder (we didn’t get his name lol), he came to Kuching in 1947 from Hong Kong to manage the shop from his elder sister. He is now 86 years old but he looks fitter than you and me.
That’s the end of Part 1 of my Kuching trip.
Meow you later! ❤