Thursday, October 30, 2008

Abstract sculpture to interpret

I took more pictures of the steel sculpture at the Kuching waterfront to understand the concept and meaning of the sculpture. I guess that what's abstract art is meant for. You interpret them at your own risk.
Well, why not give yourself a try at interpreting it........ :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Singing for your heart

Sometimes you come across this handicapped musician on the sidewalk of Satok, Kuching. With a rich repertoire of local Malaysian songs he attracts passers by who take kindly to his public performance by throwing in coins or notes into the donation box. It baffles me how he can manipulate the buttons and controls of the digital keyboard . Well, I guess practice does makes things perfect. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Slicing the Jackfruit ( Artocarpus integer)

On any Sunday at the jungle produce market, ( situated at Satok Road ) you meet native women selling sliced young jackfruits .  A small basket portion of it costs RM 1.
These sliced pieces are ready to be cooked preferebly with coconut milk. The ripe seeds can be boiled and eaten with honey or sugar with grated coconut.
It is the use of the flesh of the jackfruit when cooked that gave the name breadfruit to this plant family and in science the name of the genus:- in Greek, artos=bread and karpos=fruit .
Ripe jackfruit containing starchy,sweet flesh and seed
Locally the jackfruit is called ' cempedak'. It is native to Malaysia and therefore Kuching as well. The ripe fruits which are fleshy and sweet can also be fried into fritters for afternoon tea. Below is a picture of the jackfruit tree.  The tree can easily reach a height of 15 m.  The fruits are cylinderical, about 30-40cm long.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Kuching Klikz, Sarawak receives award from Bandung

Last week I stopped by at the Pustaka Negeri ( State Library) to see a handicraft exhibition. I thought the Sarawak ethnic design drawn on the batik shirt above was beautifully done.

On another note I am extremely thrilled this morning to know that this blog has been given the "Blogging Friends Forever" (BFF) award by Saudara Eki of BANDUNG DAILY PHOTO . PLease visit his posting here:

Well , I am lost for words at the moment...:)

I feel elated. On top of the world. Feel so very honoured and therefore am very pleased to receive it. Million thanks, Eki. As required I'll pass the award ( and the love of blogging) to five others and my choice will be announced in my next posting.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Satok Flyover in full colours

I was thrilled to see the bougainvilleas planted on the Satok flyover showing their best. Satok Road is a major shopping area in Kuching.  You enter it by turning left just like the car in the foreground is doing.  The road is a mile long and is crowded with traditional markets, shoping malls and complexes ,makeshift food stalls especially erected  at night and the ever popular sunday market which kicks off on Saturday afternoon till Sunday afternoon every week.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ethnic design on Sarawak pavement

This is a view of the designs on the pavement at the Kuching waterfront area. This is typical of native designs of Sarawak. A similar design is shown below which I took from a gallery of native designs at the Square Tower which I mentioned in my recent postings here.

The above design is drawn by the famous native designer named Tusau Padan ( 1930-1996) on bark cloth. Typical of such designs, the motifs are mainly floral, dragon-dog designs, lizards, birds or human figures. Anyway it is interesting to note that these designs have a certain harmony interwined in them. Though they seem asymmetrical at times but in the end appear balanced. Even on the pavement the designs seem to grow from spiral upon spiral, branch out of branch. In the end there are no missing links only a natural flow.

Cool ambience inside Square Tower

I kind of like the cool ambience of the cafe which I thought was well decorated. Using ethnic design motifs, objects , materials and paintings the place looked classy and creative. Below are pictures of the small but inviting cafe.

This is another view of the Square Tower situated at the Kuching Waterfront area. The ground floor space is shared by the cafe and a souvenier shop while the first floor showcases the development of the Kuching waterfront area in a form of a mini exhibition and a gallery of native designs.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Kuching's Historical Buildings

The buiding in white is called the 'Square Tower' built in 1879 and is located within the Kuching waterfront area.  Of all the towns in Sarawak, Kuching has the most beautiful and a very sizeable collection of well preserved colonial buildings.  From  middle of the 19th century ( 1842) to late 20th century (1963) Kuching and progressively other towns in Sarawak were ruled and administered by the British. Many permanent buildings constructed then are still standing and in good shape even today. The Square Tower is one of them.
Today, the Square Tower has a gallery located on the first floor showcasing a brief history of Kuching waterfront area and the elaborate designs of the native peoples of Sarawak.
The ground floor space is taken up by a souvenier shop and a beautifully designed cafe.
This is how the Square Tower looked in the good old days when it was first used as a place for detention of prisoners, then as a fort and finally a dancing hall.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Crossing the Sarawak River

The red 'sampan' or small boat ferries local residents and tourists across the lazy Sarawak River.
 At the time of writing this post I am actually in Bintulu, some 600 km away from Kuching.  I have spent three weeks in Kuching. And now that I am at Bintulu , I would probably spend a month here before returning back to Kuching.
In the meantime, I've taken lots of shots in Kuching which I will continually post here.
Friends, you are invited to travel with me to Bintulu ( virtually i.e.) and discover my hometown by visiting this blog:
Thanks for dropping by and see you in Bintulu.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sarawak River Cruise

Sitting by the waterfront I noticed at a distance the cruise boat bringing tourists to enjoy the evening sunset was moving slowing through the calm waters of the Sarawak River. Time was approximately 5.30 pm.
It passed by a mammoth building under construction. Once completed it will function as the new Sarawak Legislative Assembly building here called Dewan Undangan Negeri or DUN in short. The Kuching waterfront area has plenty of attractions for tourists to see and experience. The slow moving river keeps me reminded of the regular need to step back from the hustle and bustle of city madness. Go holiday .

Friday, October 17, 2008

Durians are back in season

Oh, my....!?*$$$$^^!!!..The Durians are back in town. To me, the fruit of a thousand perfumes. For more ... just open here.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Jurassic-like tree ferns

These tree ferns ( Cyathea ) look like a leaf from the Jurassic Park landscape. But at the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre they grow well, thanks to the high humidity, plenty of shady locations and rich and moist tropical soils here .

Look at the height. Wow, it could easily be 20 m high at the umbrella-like crown up there. There are a variety of these tree ferns which are native to Sarawak and they can be found near beaches, swamps, jungles or in the highlands of Sarawak. In all there are 600 species distributed in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world . An interesting plant for our tropical garden not least for its dramatic qualities.

Borneo's Man of the Forest

What would you do if you meet a 130 kilos heavy weight 'man of the forest'?
 Today around 3.00 pm I joined a group of tourists to observe 'the man of the forest' at a nature reserve some 30 minutes drive from Kuching city where the 'orang utan' ( Pongo pgymaeus) literally to mean ' man of the forest' in Malay are allowed to roam. Some have been brought in ( after being rescued from pouchers or people who keep them as pets) while a lot of them here are born in the nature reserve itself. There are now about 28 of them around the reserve being rehabilitated  before they go freely on their own accord into the real jungle out there.
Visitors are advised to be quiet and remain at a distance. It is meal time at the feeding station and slowly one after another emerged from the jungle. But the star of the today's show is undoubtedly...Ritchie.
Ritchie's biodata looks like this: Full grown male orang utan ,weighs about 130 kilos,1.5 m tall, 28 years of age , wears a beautiful cloak of golden brown, king of the tribe, favourite menu - coconut, bananas, tapioca, sugarcane, papaya ( recipe for healthy living and longevity) , intelligent and not to be messed around with.
The crowd of tourists clicking away to bring home memories of their encounter with Borneo's  'man of the forest'.
A sign at the nature reserve welcoming visitors.( 'Selamat Datang' means WELCOME in Malay). Entrance fees for adults is RM 3 per person.
This is one tourist destination you must not miss if you are happen to be in Kuching,Sarawak,Borneo.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Walking around the Sarawak Museum Garden

View of the Sarawak Museum from the garden located at the back of the building.
The Sarawak Museum is an institution in Sarawak.  Ask anyone who has gone to Kuching if ever he or she has gone to see the museum. If the answer is in the negative, it means that his or her  visit is not yet complete.
Built in 1891 by Sir Charles Brooke, the White Rajah of Sarawak it was initially meant to house the handicrafts and stuffed exhibits of the rich wildlife of Sarawak.
Today it a famous tourist destination in Kuching city. Many other attractions are added lately to make the visit longer and more memorable in terms of learning the history, culture, anthropology and natural resources of Sarawak.
This is a LS view of the cascading fountain at the museum's garden.
Both sides of the water cascade are lined with  a small collection of the official flower of Malaysia i.e. the Hibiscus  sometimes commonly known as the shoe flower ( Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) which I managed to take a few shots of them in full bloom and in various colours.
Finally, before leaving the grounds I came across this group of statues located at the entrance to the aquarium.
"Now, let me guess?"

Boarding a 'Tambang' boat at Kuching Waterfront

I was attracted to the yellow advertising board on top of this small boat that residents on both sides of the Sarawak River use to cross its relatively calm waters daily.   There are plenty of pontoons where these boats locally called 'Perahu Tambang'  are berthed on the Kuching waterfront area. A one way trip costs RM 0.50 ( 50 sen) and takes less than ten minutes. The small boat is fitted with a tiny powered  propeller engine that makes it glides almost noiselessly through the river.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It's Elvis at Kuching karaoke

Last night we went out for sea food and then karaoke singing. I was pleasantly surprised when we went to a karaoke lounge ( The Sapphire ) and saw this photo of Elvis. Apparently the karaoke lounge offers a considerable list of oldies and evergreen numbers and that night I saw one local Iban singer looking like Elvis in height, hair style, dress and voice singing..yes , Elvis songs.

Fresh Chicken meat at RM 8.50/kilo

I dropped by at the Satok market and bought one whole piece of fresh chicken meat. The sellers here will chop and slice the chicken into smaller parts according to the requirements of the buyers as part of the added service to customers. All inclusive the fresh chicken meat costs RM 8.50 per kilo. The whole chicken I bought costs me RM 16.00.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Grilled fish in nipah leaves

On the way to Santubong we dropped by at Buntal fishing village. The half hour drive from Kuching city was well rewarded by this grilled fish wrapped in the leaves of the 'nipah' palm( Nipa fruticans ) sold at the roadside stalls as we entered the small village road. A piece of these costs RM 1 and contains two small fishes that tastes really fresh and well marinated.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Night scenes in Kuching

I sent my daughter off to Kuala Lumpur this evening after spending her Hari Raya holiday here.
What surprises me was the long cues of passengers checking in at the low budget carrier counters. I imagine there will be more cues in future as more people are opting to travel the cheaper alternative in view of rising costs of living, inflation and more point to point travel. I understand beginning of next month there will be more direct flights to and from Singapore utilising Malaysian as well as Singaporean low budget carriers from Kuching. Presently there are direct flights from Kuching to Jakarta ( thrice weekly), Penang,Johore Baharu and Kuala Lumpur by the local budget carrier, Air Asia.

Then on the way back from the airport me and my Mrs stopped for 'Roti Canai' which is equivalent to a pancake at a corner restaurant. But surprise! there is an outside extension to the restaurant just across the road where customers can watch TV projected on a big screen and under a canopy just in case it rains.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Shadow puppets lantern

Shoppers at the newest shopping mall in town called the ' Boulevard Shopping Mall' located at Mile 4, Kuching -Serian Road, will be delighted to see the shadow puppets figures on lanterns as part of the atrium's decoration.
I find the use of these traditional shadow play puppets images, often called ' wayang kulit ' in Malaysia effective as more often than not these figures are familiarly seen against a much wider thick cotton screen than inside a lantern.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sarawak River in late afternoon sun

Time is around 5.00 pm when I strolled along the Sarawak River and noticed the late afternoon sun hitting the backdrop of tall buildings at the far end of the Kuching waterfront area.

Storefronts at Kuching waterfront

The Kuching waterfront is fast becoming a must visit destination and one of the attraction at the place are the rows of handicrafts and sovenier shops that line the road parallel to the water front area. I caught a glimpse of two this afternoon, while shopping for Sarawak or Borneo designed T-shirts.

Cruising by the Sarawak River

The Sarawak river cruise boat is parked at the pontoon by the Kuching waterfront area. The late afternoon sun casts its silver rays on the still waters of the Sarawak river and against the backdrop of hotels and apartment buildings that line up the waterfront area.

Some foreign and local tourists are aboard on the top deck of the cruise boat admiring the scenery. The cruise boat operator charges RM 48 per pax for a two hours journey along the river to see the sunset, river scenery,food and drinks and music and dance performances on the boat.
Tourists by the bus loads line up to board the cruise boat in the late afternoon sun i.e. around 5.00 pm.