The Sarawak Review

Kuching is magical even when it rains

As I drive by Kuching City, I wonder what will happen to it next.  The city seems to be growing by the day with news of new malls taking centre stage of every development news featured in media.  In the Simpang Tiga area alone, there would be over four malls by 2016, with room for even more malls seemingly to be made available for yet-to-be-released development.

Kuching is magical even when it rains
Kuching is magical even when it rains

Even the unlikeliest areas to have a mall such as Kota Samarahan and Siburan, would now have either already boast of a shopping mall, or will soon display one to the public.

Kuching's skyline is changing.
Kuching’s skyline is changing.

And it doesn’t stop just there yet with plenty more other developments taking shape around the city. From what I’ve heard, other major cities such as Bintulu, Sibu and Miri are also experiencing similar fate, which is actually a good thing.

The thing is, Sarawak’s true potential was never in being a shoppers paradise. We are known for our lush greenery which offers excitement and adventure. Our rainforest has music on a yearly basis, thanks to the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF).

The RWMF is something we all are proud of
The RWMF is something we all are proud of

Our beaches aren’t as pretty as what Sabah has to offer, but we take pride that it is happening with our very own version of beach parties, which surprisingly can happen quite often, and our rivers showcase the unique Tidal Bore which is known to be very selective of where it appears. This of course does not include the world famous pinacles in Miri, the thousands of flora and founa, and the great warmth provided by the people whom are always proud to be called ‘a Sarawakian’. Oh, not forgetting the tech-savvy youngsters who made the social media scene in Kuching so lively during Tweet-Up Kuching, that I heard some others are envious of its success.

Tweet-Up Kuching also made Kuching grow
Tweet-Up Kuching also made Kuching grow

Sarawak is indeed an awesome place to visit, and these new shopping malls are really a good addition to the state, with tourist in particular able to do more than just enjoy our nature.

But one thing does bother me as the state moves forward in development; Will the warmth of the people, in this place I call home, remain?

Driving through traffic alone reveals how Sarawakians are not as polite as they used to be five years ago. Nowadays, drivers honk more often than usual, they squeeze where there’s room, and they drive on and block the way when they know someone wants to reverse. It does not end there as I’ve noticed cue cutting and rubbish throwing being more rampant.

Smiles which used to find its way on every Sarawakian seem to slowly fade, with smirks replacing them. Religion and race seem to be slowly gaining prominence in a Sarawak which was previously blind of these two words, and sometimes, meet-up with friends which used to be a ‘casual relaxed session’, turn into a ‘heated business oriented’ conversation.

It’s indeed a changed Sarawak, and I’m sure pointing fingers to anyone wouldn’t fix a thing at all. Education works, but I do find it rather hard to stress the importance of being ‘polite’ and ‘nice’ when I read in papers that some leaders are asking the police force not to take action over traffic offenders as it’s ‘a burden’ to the people.

Zee Avi, one of the many proud Sarawakians out there
Zee Avi, one of the many proud Sarawakians out there

But hey, maybe I’m just being paranoid with the slightest of change I see happening, or maybe I was just unlucky to encounter these ‘bad apples’ in the thousands of wonderful and loving Sarawakians.

Either way, I do always keep it in my prayers that Sarawak remains peaceful, and that my home remains a place I can always be proud of. #SarawakSemalanya (Sarawak Forever)


  1. Development is inevitable, so do our attitude. And all those musical events are seasonal, so could not attract tourists on daily basis, so like u said, shopping malls will create a niche for their activities. But again, i’m doubtful that they actually come here for shopping. Have u seen them shoppin in the Spring? 🙂

  2. While it developing, just hope the nature and culture part of Sarawak won’t be lost with it. Hopefully it will turned out into Thai or Japan where culture and urban blends together but with touch of nature that the two kinda lacks.

    Then again, I always feel that our land has so much attraction to offer and kinda under utilized/promote to the world.

    There are so many things to offer, the different culture especially if we break the orang ulu into their respective ethnics instead of showing just the major groups. Interesting history, a Caucasian king and the romance stories etc.. Can even retell the Sarawak Dayak folktale or Melanau folktale etc in a performance show.. Have an annual culture parade like Brazal showing dances, custome of all 27+over ehtnics..

    ahh…my wishful thinking..

  3. If you take detour from main road, you’ll be suprised that there are lots of untapped and potential tourist locations..Caves and mountain in Serian and Padawan, river safari, jungle trekking, night in the jungle, rainforent animal hunting,etc..RWMF is just part of the entertainment aspect. But I personally don’t think shoping arcades are wooing the tourist (go to KL instead), they are for local craving for shopping experience.

    I’ve been to 1 tourist location in Sri Aman(180km from Kuching), it just a farm planted with pepper. In just within 2 hours of my observation (11am-1pm), 4 fully loaded tour buses with 40 passengers capacity and 6 fully loaded tour vans comes in and out. So, tell me what does these tourists what to experience – a taste of development or experiencing what Sarawak is all about?

    • Kuching indeed has plenty of potential. Just that we fail to realize it, or better still, those owning the land do not realize it.. =(


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