Kuching for me is where old meets new, traditional meets modern, and diverse cultural boundaries intertwine with one another. As the sleepy town acquired city status, many of the old historical monuments stands side-by-side with the many modern developments mushrooming around with the aim of becoming a developed nation through Vision 2020. This can be seen extending from the city centre to many parts of Kuching’s suburban areas. Seeing people from all walks of life, young and old, buying groceries and wares, merchants peddling their wares and citizens having their meals together with friends of different race at a local coffee shop. It is also my motherland, my home and my pride. A place where diverse race and culture eat together, have fun together, live together and celebrates the festive seasons together disregard of which religion you practice. And not forgetting amidst all these things, we also have a crazy love for all things cats. From the one of a kind cat museum, shops lined with cat souvenirs and even our streets covered in cat motifs from wall painted graffiti to statues of cats. It is a place where street photography is at its best.
I love how the city has new developments yet retains the old feel of the sleepy town. Areas around Gambier Street, Carpenter Street and Main Bazaar are where the town grew from, and nearby, a modern shopping mall incorporates colonial look to blend with the surroundings making it look like it is part of the area. Even with the new Sarawak State Legislative assembly building which stands out yet blending in harmony with the natural surroundings, making it a beautiful scenic icon where it becomes a photographic attraction for tourist and locals alike. At Carpenter Street, where the many backpackers lodging and new watering holes (drinking places for the uninitiated) are mushrooming, they still retain the original look of the buildings they reside in. All these historic buildings should be preserved as they are unique and are one and only ones in the world. Even as far as Siniawan, the old wooden shop houses which were built decades ago still stands while owners still go about on their daily business, giving the place a very cowboy-esque feel, and unaffected by the rapid development of modernization.
There is something about Kuching that makes it unique. To others, it might be the food, the people, or just the place. But to me, one unique thing I find about Kuching is the quirky weather we have. It can be all sunny and sweltering hot in the morning, and the afternoon, it is pouring cats and dogs. Even growing up here for nearly three decades, I still find it amazing as well as frequently being caught off guard when it pours without warning. But hey, the cooling rain is always welcoming as it plays its lullaby on the zinc roof of many shops and houses but deafening when one is in the car. Aside from the the rain, there is also the beautiful sunset if one catches it during a perfect weather there are lots of clear sky and a little scattered clouds to capture the sun’s ray.
And that is how Kuching for to me. There may be more but these are what I feel makes Kuching, well, Kuching!