Kuching for me is home and like all our homes, there’s a lot of love and hate in the relationship, but you live with it, and go through a mesmerizing journey together.
I would not deny that there were moments in life when I wished Kuching had more to offer because like everyone, I will compare my home to others.
The serene beaches of Kota Kinabalu, the modern skyscrapers standing tall in Kuala Lumpur, the huge malls dotting Johor Bharu and the impressive mix of food offered in Penang sometimes get the best of me, hence allowing that slight envious feeling to sneak out with a huge wave of sigh coming soon after.
When a major football club or artist comes down to Malaysia, those sighs get heavier because I live in Kuching, a place far from all the action, with the most happening thing coming in the form of the the annual Rainforest World Music Festival.
But as I grew older, settled down and became a father, the little ‘problems’ I had with Kuching started to become ‘advantages’ with myself realizing that the character and environment of a place creates what one should define as ‘home’.
While many will continue to argue that Kuching can’t beat other major cities in Malaysia, I love the fact that Kuching is not pretentious and has continued to allow its residents, myself included, to feel that we belong and are welcomed here.
The relaxing pace of life in Kuching gives me time to enjoy vast moments with my family and friends regardless of race or religion.
While Kuching may not have many major events just yet, that’s a blessing in disguise because when a major event happens in town, everyone goes there hence making it like a family affair of Kuching people.
Driving in Kuching is also a breeze because there’s little stress and traffic jams. In Kuching, traffic jams last for an hour, tops, and every destination is within a 30 minute drive. Deciding what I want to do needs little planning as everything is just a stone throw away. In fact, I can decide to watch the latest movie or go shopping practically instantly because parking and moving around town is so easy.
Speaking of shopping, Kuching also has a lot of massive wet markets which offer a great variety of fresh food and jungle produce. These markets are complemented with supermarkets and shopping malls which are just the right size for a lovely shopping experience. I’m not sure about you, but I dread large shopping malls because I only end up tired from walking!
I have also come to realize that Kuching does compensate in what it lacks in great length.
The tranquil Kuching Waterfront makes up well for the lack of a seaside in the city and the unique variety of cuisine matches, if not trumps any local food Penang has to offer. In fact, despite being further from the sea if compared to Kota Kinabalu or Penang, seafood in Kuching is so much cheaper and yummier!
The growth of Kuching has also been well planned with the good old colonial era streets still allowed to flourish alongside the new modern ones.
Granted we could really do away with our colonial era public transportation, but with that put aside, Kuching has undoubtedly transformed itself to be a stunning example of how a city should grow without neglecting its past and its people.
So if one were to ask me why I love Kuching despite the fact it may seem lacking if compared to other major cities?
The answer my friends is because Kuching is home, and home is where the heart is.