A Stroll through Sarawak’s Very Unique History: The Brooke Rajahs

 If you didn’t know already, this event was held as part of What About Kuching 2018 which is drawing to a close. I had the chance to attend the event yesterday at Fort Margherita.

For the uninitiated, there is actually a new gallery inside the restored fort which has been in operation since last year. Aptly named Brooke Gallery, it was a herculean effort that drew little attention (at least among my circle of friends) which led to the creation of what is, in my opinion, a truly wonderful showcase in Sarawak’s unique history.

9 Cardinal Principals – did you know about this?

The stroll is actually sort of a guided tour through the gallery. Led by Paul Gerarts, a volunteer heritage tour guide, we were given a brief but informative insight into the formation of Sarawak.

The participants had the chance to hear about James Brooke’s role in the creation of Sarawak as well the Brooke’s family’s efforts to forge Sarawak into what it is today. To me, it was a very refreshing take the land’s history, which unfortunately has been neglected in the official narrative for far too long.

Many people had assumed that Sarawak went through a period of oppressive colonialisation by western powers. It could not be further from the truth in Sarawak. This explains why until today, you’ll find many native Sarawakians who speaks fondly of the White Rajahs. This is truly a unique aspect in Sarawak’s history.

Why, you may ask? Well, visit the Brooke Gallery yourself and you will find out all about what they have done for what was back then the independentcountry of Sarawak.

All I could say is, Sarawak has a truly unique story compared to other states in the federation. This WAK event, in my opinion, has successfully showcased an important piece of that story via the gallery and many people will come to know the true history of Sarawak as word spreads among the Kuching populace about this still relatively unknown cultural gem.

Participants of the event listening intently to Paul’s explanations.

The event lasted for an hour and a half and Paul did a great job of providing a lot of information within a short time. It would’ve been more interesting if he introduced more about himself at the start though. We left the place wondering who he was and why did he volunteer for the event. Maybe everyone else there knew who he was (which meant that me and my friends were very ignorant, lol).

Would I recommend a visit to the Gallery? A resounding yes. I will pay a visit again sometime in the future just to digest the tremendous amount of carefully researched information and artefacts pertaining to the state’s foundation. 

For more information, do visit The Brooke Gallery‘s website.

GetFood App Review

getfood app

Recently Kuching welcomed another addition to its food delivery app scene with the arrival of GetFood app.

Now we Kuchingites have plenty of options to choose from!

According to this report from Borneo Post, GetFood app is owned and operated by Wahh Innovations Sdn Bhd with support from iCube Innovation. They promise to deliver under 35 minutes upon ordering through the app so I decided to try it out myself.

User interface

Loading time of the app needs improving – it took more than 5 seconds for my phone to fully load the app after opening.

Otherwise, ordering food is easy, just search for the type of cuisine, proceed to order and et voila~ your food is on the way! Payment was a breeze via credit card.

The app features easy tracking of your order status as well as rider location.

I proceeded to order from Chinese Barbeque Specialist which is located at Padungan Road – a good 20 minutes and 8.4 km away from my house.

Time taken from the start of the order until the delivery was about half an hour, which is within what the company promised. Kudos!

Verdict

Another food delivery app to the scene – what’s not to like? This will be a great addition to people who are simply too lazy to drive out on a balmy Sunday afternoon.

I think loading time for the app can be improved though. The app feels significantly slower than its nearest competitor – EzFood. 

Try it today – available on Google Play Store as well as Apple’s App Store.

World Press Photo Exhibition @ WAK2018

I covered another event during WAK 2018 and this time I found myself trudging along the wet field of Padang Merdeka on a cool Saturday morning.

world press photo 2018 kuching

World Press Photo 2018 happening on Padang Merdeka

World Press Photo is an international photography contest that was started in 1955 by a group of Dutch photographers. Since then it has grown into a prestigious competition. The photos selected are essentially visual stories that highlight almost everything you can think of – humanity, environment, contemporary issues and so on. 

This year Kuching is hosting the prestigious event for the first time. It is actually an open air exhibition and open to the general public without any fees. 

world press photo

Poignant displays of various issues that will surely make you think

This year’s Photo of the Year was won by Ronaldo Schemidt who took this moving imagery of a protester on fire. José Víctor Salazar Balza  was set alight when the gas tank of a motorbike exploded. He survived the incident with first- and second-degree burns. Click here for more info.

venezuela crisis

Venezuela Crisis – Image credit to Ronaldo Schemidt

It’s definitely an interesting event not to be missed especially if you are an aspiring photographer. The photos really do make you pause and think about the stories and the message the photographer was trying to get across. 

Some of the photos are quite explicit though, but I am sure Kuchingites are more than mature enough to contemplate the issues and messages instead of taking offence.

Do check out the event until 28th October 2018 at Padang Merdeka. You can also read news article about it on Borneo Post.

What About Kuching 2018 Food Safari

What About Kuching 2018 included a new event called Food Safari which is currently being held along Jalan Padungan. The organisers are Meritin Hotel and Batik Boutique Hotel.

padungan road

Lots of hidden artwork for you to explore along the street. Jalan Padungan takes its name from what was back then the largest Malay village in Kuching. The villagers moved way for the construction of the road and shophouses. Earliest settlers were wealthy Hainanese and Teochew towkays who got rich from the rubber boom.

I represented Sarawak Bloggers to cover the event yesterday during the opening day and went along the street to sample some of the foods. Got our passport from Meritin Hotel (but apparently you can get it from any one of the 60 vendors listed).

food safari

This booklet is super informative! Contains very detailed information about the event and a full list of the vendors with descriptions.

First port of call? Ming Hong Kee. This family shop has been around for more than 60 years and is one of the oldest businesses on the street. We tried the kolo mee which was delectable.

kolo mee

Tried the traditional kolo mee and kolo mee kosong with a bowl of meatballs in seaweed soup. Yummy!

Sampled some char siew buns from Abee Traditional Buns. Delicious! Too bad didn’t take any photos. Went on to Hong Kong Noodle House for the missus to tapau some roasted duck noodles.

roasted duck noodles

Roasted duck noodles

Visited Hock Hai / Fook Hai Cafe and sampled the kolo mee there. I found it quite different – the meat was really tender and juicy, quite unlike other char siew meats you usually find on other kolo mee places. Needless to say, their steamed char siew buns were really delicious too – they’ve been in business for more than half a century!

Kolo mee at Hock Hai / Fook Hai Cafe. Heavenly!

I daresay, one of the best steamed char siew buns I’ve ever tried.

Went back to visit Taiwan Siao Jou too. This chain of eatery needs no introduction – very good place to go if you’re looking for something home-style cooking.

Tons of dishes to choose from to go with your rice or porridge.

Will definitely check out the rest of the shops. There are over 60 vendors listed in the event!

You can get your passport stamped with every purchase at the participating outlets, but do note that some of the vendors may have their own terms and conditions (e.g. Hong Kong Noodle House will only stamp if you purchase more than RM50).

Gather 20 stamps to redeem a WAK 2018 fun pack, and get 40 stamps for a surprise goodie bag. Food Safari ends at 11.59pm on 28th October so you still have about a month to go sample all the foods.

What About Kuching is back!

Kuching is truly a wonderful place to be, and I’m extremely grateful to live here. There’s always something new to explore.

What About Kuching is a festival that aims to showcase Kuching’s arts, culture and lifestyle and will be a month-long event starting from 29th September 2018 until 28th October 2018. It’s actually the second edition this year. I foresee it to be a huge thing that will be an important annual event for Sarawak, on par with Rainforest World Music Festival.

This year I will be officially covering a few of the WAK events

  • Food Safari – 29th September, 8am – 6pm @ Padungan Street
  • World Press Photo 2018 Exhibition – 29th September, whole day @ Padang Merdeka 
  • A Stroll Through Sarawak’s Very Unique History – The Brooke Rajahs.  6th October, 10 – 11.30am starting from Fort Margherita.

Stay tuned for more updates!

For more info do check out: