Kuching. Capital of Sarawak. Kuching means ‘cat’ in Malay (old spelling). Present day connection with the name consists of cat statues littered around the city. The origins of the city’s name can be found here.
This is probably one of the most delightful Malaysian cities. Nestled on both banks of the Kuching river, Kuching is great for strolling. It is relatively unpolluted (that is until the haze starts) and the streets are very clean. The trees line the waterfront promenade with wonderful shades and makes for an idyllic walk. It is amazing that I can walk along the river in midday, in the scorching sun and feel that I can enjoy myself. That says a lot about how much I like the city since I don’t take to heat well.
Across the river, the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly building sits prominently on top of a small hill. Just a mere few months ago, the Sarawak’s state elections was a much-watched event for the nation’s pundits and political players.
Not far from the State Legislative Assembly hall is the Astana. It is the official residence of the Governor (or Yang di-Pertua Negeri) of Sarawak. Unlike the Malay states on Peninsula Malaysia, Sarawak is a state without a traditional monarch. The Governor’s role is largely symbolic. Legislature is made by the State Legislative Assembly which is elected by the people. The executive branch of the Sarawak government is made up of the Cabinet headed by the Chief Minister.
After enjoying a scenic walk along the river, crossed the road to Carpenter Street or some call it Chinatown. Today it is a historic old town area catered mostly to tourists. But it is charming and houses some small eateries where we filled our tummies.
Right at the end of Carpenter Street stands the Old Court House complex, built in 1874.
And does anyone here remember James Brooke, the Rajah Putih (a.k.a. angmoh chief) of Sarawak from their history class days?