Sunday, December 14, 2008

Kuching's Historical Buildings - The Pavillion - Going 100.

The Pavillion
It was somewhat a trip down memory lane for me when I visited the Sarawak Textile Museum during this trip to Kuching ( 1 Dec - 12 Dec). The present building was called 'The Pavillion' in the Brooke's days. The above picture was taken sometime in the mid 1900's when it became the Medical Headquarters.  Years later it became the home of the Education Department before it was renovated to become the Sarawak Textile Museum , it is today.
A plaque attached to the side of the main door today indicates that the building was built in 1909 and thus will be 100 years old next year!
I will have more time to recourse to this building and the stories surroundng it in future. Even though it is now a textile museum, I have fond memories of working in this building for about two years ( 1978- 1979) when as a junior officer in the Sarawak Education Department  I was entrusted to head the Educational Radio section of the Educational Mass Media Service whose main office was at this building then. Comparing the two pictures above it is interesting how intact the exterior character of the building is preserved.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Kuching's Cat Museum

We took time to visit the Cat Museum at DBKU( Dewan BandarayaKuching Utara = Kuching North City Council) Building today. This is the entrance to the museum, located at the ground floor of the Kuching North City Council's Building. The Kuching North City Council's emblem also carries cats as icons.
The DBKU Headquarters with cats as part of the emblem.
BTW, Kuching = Cat in Malay.
Part of the models and relief sculpture of the big cat family of the animal kingdom.
A Cat Burglar at Work.
Stuffed Civet Cats and Spotted Leopard Cats ( in the background)
Cats, cats everywhere.
Children photo cats costume.
Big poster of a theatretical play featuring... Human Cats.
View of Kuching City from the Cat Museum.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Discover the Treasure of Borneo Jungle

Paid a visit to the Pitcher Plant and Wild Orchid Centre at Padawan today, some 30 minutes drive from Kuching city .
Below are pictures of the carnivorous plant called nepenthes or pitcher plants. There are about 30 species on display. From the picture below it is easy to imagine how small insects or animals( e.g. lizards and tiny frogs) can get trapped and drowned before they are absorbed into the plant as food.
Pitcher Plants
Here there are about 40 species of Sarawak or Borneo's wild orchids on display.Below are examples that caught my attention.
Wild Orchids
The above wild orchid is a species of the vanda called Phalaenopsis violacea which is highly scented and raised to the status of the state flower of Sarawak and given a VIP name - 'Normah Orchid' - after the name of the former First Lady of Sarawak.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Santa Claus and his Sleigh

Whiling away their time shopping at the 'Boulevard' shopping mall , visitors are greeted by Santa Claus with his sleigh of reindeers. I find this shopping mall has the best interior display for the Xmas shopping season so far in Kuching. However there wasn't any sign of last minute shopping yet as the crowd seemed quite normal and discounts weren't yet bottoming.

Sarawak State Library ( Pustaka Negeri Sarawak)

Paid a visit to the State Library to return the books I borrowed earlier.  The library is situated on a vast green open space probably about 30 acres . The above picture shows the back part of the library which faces a man made lake.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Shopping for Scarves at Satok

On Location: Satok Market
Take 1 : Mannequins in a Row
Take 2 : Fashionable Scarves On
Take 3 : Scarves named after latest Indonesian box-office film and song by the same title - 'Ayat- Ayat  Cinta' ( Verses of Love )

T-Shirts of 'Kuching'

The T-shirt says it all. Kuching is the capital of Sarawak. Coincidentally Kuching is also the local Malay word for cat. The story goes that when the early British traders set up shop in Sarawak in the middle of the nineteenth century, they used to park their ships and goods at a small river close to the existing Main Bazaar Road. Along this river were found numerous 'Mata Kuching' trees ( Dimocarpus longan malesianus) which bear fruits very much like the longan but smaller in size. These fruits have dark brown seeds that look like cat's eyes. The name 'Kuching' was chosen to refer to this early trading post area and slowly became vogue when the Rajah of Sarawak ( Ruler of Sarawak) built his palace or astana across it.
Today, as I went around Satok to do a little shopping I came across T-shirts marketing those lovable Kuching icons - yes, cats and of course the name of the city itself.
Still interested to know more about Kuching cats? Then you're welcome to visit my special blog about them here.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Kuching Garden Scents

Wooden platter with scented flowers.
Went shopping for a wooden platter yesterday at the Kuching waterfront's handicrafts and sovenier shops. Now you can find lots of Sarawak's multi-layered cakes called 'kek lapis' sold at the sidewalk along the shops too.  The lady on the right sells such cakes. These cakes appear to be an important 'export' item of Kuching tourism currently.
CU View of Kuching's multi-layered cakes called "Kek Lapis" in Malay.
(Note: The price tag is in Malaysian Ringgit currency)
I finally got a wooden platter from one one the shops and  used it to display fresh cut flowers especially scented ones for room or study fragrance.The wood platter costs me RM 15.
The center flower is the white ginger ( hedychium coronarium) with its butterfly-like pure white flowers and yellow shades in the center.  On the right is the pink frangipani ( plumeria rubra) and the left one is the sweetly scented jasmine flowers ( jasminum multiforum) with its star-shaped tiny white flowers formed in a nice little bunch. 

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Afternoon Drive to Petrajaya

Today we took an afternoon drive to Petrajaya, a very modern township which houses the seat of Sarawak government.  The 2020 topiary reminds visitors of  Sarawak's goal of becoming an industrialised state by 2020.
This is my favourite driveway to Petrajaya.  I like the huge rain trees in the central  median. Considered as the main protocol road this stretch is always kept at tip top condition.
I dropped by at the Sarawak State Library to borrow 6 books ( maximum).  I have never seen any staircase like this anywhere in Malaysia.  The steps are made of glass slabs and below the landing are water fountains.
While on the way out of the library's compound I saw a flock of egrets.  The park surrounding the library is huge probably about 20 hectares and planted with hundreds of species of flowering trees.

Afternoon Break by the Kuching Waterfront

Sitting just a table away from the young lady we had a plate of banana, taufu and vegetable fritters for afternoon tea at the Kuching waterfront.  It was raining lightly and took time to sit longer for our afternoon time off.
Just across where we sat was this view of the new Sarawak State Legislative  Assembly building in an advanced stage of completion. Two trawlers passed by the quiet and calm waters of the Sarawak River where the popular Kuching waterfront area is sited.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Bonsai Show and Sale at Mile 7 , Kuching.

My first outing arriving from Bintulu yesterday was to see a bonsai show and sale at Mile 7, Kuching. Situated at a public open space right in the middle of the town, thousands of bonsais were displayed , some in proper vases or pots, while others especially the larger ones were still having their rooting system or plant bases wrapped in gunny sacks.
Another view of the show. In the far background are bonsai pots for sale.
More Pictures of the Different Varieties of Plants as Bonsai
are shown below:

Monday, December 1, 2008

Clouds and Rains Towards Kuching

In the far distance heavy clouds formed and rains have fallen at certain locations.
It has been a full month of November that we left Kuching.  On this 1st of December we took to the road again for a 10 hours journey to Kuching from Bintulu.  The month of November is very rainy in Bintulu and as we drove the only highway that ran the length of Sarawak we encountered heavy rains too especially on the last lap of the journey while nearing Kuching.
The wiper saves the day without which we will not be able to see clearly ahead.
Travelling long distances I prefer some rain along the way mainly to cool off the hot tyres though it somewhat slow down the journey. We can't have it both ways. Too dangerous to speed on slippery roads.