Kuching for me is home. Being born and raised in Cat city has certainly moulded me into who I am today. There are a lot of fond memories as well as bitter ones that always reminds me how exciting it is to be in this city. Kuching is the state capital of Sarawak and one of the major cities in Malaysia. Among all the cities in Malaysia, of course I find Kuching the most special of them all. What’s so special about Kuching you may ask? Every city has their own attractiveness and so do Kuching.
Nestled in between two iconic mountains, the legendary Santubong Mountain and the towering Serapi Mountain it creates a scenic background for the city. Kuchingnites like myself truly appreciate these two mountains because it creates a place to escape from the hustling and bustling of the city. Since it is not that far away from the city which is almost an hour’s drive for both mountains, it is really convenient to go there. For me, I would say it is a must for every Kuchingnites to climb this two mountain and reach the summit. I would also recommend to spend a night on top of the summit and enjoy the scenery whereby you could see the bright lights emitting from the city. The fresh cold streams and waterfall, the fresh air and sounds and smell of the jungles really makes you feel relaxed in peace and serenity. Apart from that, the city is cut across by the mighty Sarawak River which gives a romantic setting where couples would have a short walk along its banks. Used by our ancestors as an important route for transportation and business, it is now becoming a place for uniting people. Every now and then, at the waterfront located at the city centre, there would normally be held gatherings, functions, exhibitions, concerts, water sports and various activities. Back when I was in secondary school, I remembered I used to take one of the small boat or ‘sampan’ to cross the river and people still do it till this day. It is also the best playground a Kuchingnite could have. As for me, I join the Sarawak Regatta where categories from long boats, dragon bots and kayak competitors race each other out to be the best in that year.
Besides being blessed by its beautiful and magnificent landscape, Kuching inherited many infrastructures, houses and buildings from the colonial era. Thanks to the local efforts in preserving those architectures, younger generations like me are able to appreciate these historic and iconic monuments. It was a privilege for me to have the opportunity to study in the oldest school in Sarawak which was built during the Brooke era. To beautify as well as taking care of the school was certainly part of the contribution in preserving one of the iconic monuments in the city. It is really wonderful to see that many Kuchingnites are appreciating these buildings by taking care of it. Some of the bigger buildings are used as government offices and museum. Most of the smaller ones especially in the business districts are turning into restaurants, cafes, bistros and other F&B outlets which brings both contemporary and vintage ambiance for their customers. Some of the coffee shops still remain as authentic as it was and you could somehow fill that you are taken back in time while enjoying some of the most delicious favourite Kuchingnites delicacies.
That brings me to the place where I live to eat. Tuck away in the corners or alleys in the street, you could always find good comfort food to replenish your hard day’s work. There are the mouth-watering and spicy Sarawak Laksa which could tantalise your taste buds for more. For a quick but yet fulfilling meal, I would normally go for the Kolo Mee or Char Siew Pau and for a hearty meal I would go for the Bak Kut Teh. These are just a few local Chinese delicacies that are abundant especially in Padungan, Petanak or Carpenter Street. There are also the Indian and Malay delicacies such as the Nasi Briyani, Nasi Ayam Penyet, Roti Canai and countless of dishes equipped with spices that really makes you want for more. What’s special in Kuching is that Kuchingnites also get to enjoy Dayak cuisine. It is now becoming popular among food lovers especially those who longed for home cooked dishes or ‘kampung cooking’. Besides local dishes that are widely available across town, it is also convenient enough to find some international cuisines such as from the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Korea, Japan and not to forget western dishes that are produced in restaurants by both local and international talents.
What’s interesting about Kuching is that although it is a city, somehow you would bumped into someone you know. Besides that, being a multiracial city what’s special is that almost everyone could speaks or understand a few local words from different races. Some of the most well-known local language that is widely spoken is the Sarawakian Malay. I think almost everyone in the city could converse in this dialect followed by Iban language and Hokkien. As for myself, I fell very lucky to be able to immerse myself in the multicultural society which is packed with diverse traditions and beliefs. Many of my friends and families in Kuching are from various ethnicity which is why make it so special especially during celebrations and festivities.
As time flies by, Kuching is progressively becoming a modern city where skyscrapers are slowly increasing in numbers and high rise shopping malls are becoming a trend. In the wake of modernization, Kuching still manages to keeps its authenticity by preserving its heritages as well as introducing and merging the old with the new. For that I believe Kuching will always be the city I know from my childhood because some old memories could still be relived today. For that I will always find comfort in the city I call home, Kuching.