Monday, December 15, 2008

Sarawak's Legendary Princesses

Sometimes in August this year I went to visit my auntie who happened to stay at the foothill of Mount Santubong. Here I sat with a marvellous view of Mount Santubong as backdrop.

There is a legend about Mount Santubong known here as 'Santubong Sang Puteri '. This area was the abode of two princesses who descended from 'kayangan' which is a mystical place far in space where its inhabitants were deemed to have special powers. The two princesses were beautiful and having all the superlative femininess . Princess Santubong was an expert cloth weaver while the younger sister, Princess Sejinjang was adept in pounding padddy. For a long time they lived harmoniuosly until one day they met Prince Serapi whom both adored. In their attempt to compete for his love, they fell into endless arguements and quarrels about who's the fairest of them all. Their quarrels broke into fighting , thus breaking a vow that cursed them into stone.

The legend explained that as a result of their fight, Princess Santubong's face was hit hard by Sejinjang's pounder to look like the Mount Santubong it is today. In return Princess Santubong smashed her sister's head with her wooden weaving blade creating Mount Sejinjang and other smaller islands like Pulau Kera ( or ' Monkey Island ) nearby Mount Santubong.

There is a local song composed and written by the ex-Director of RTM Sarawak ( Madehi Johari) that I knew narrates this legend.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Initial Notes

Kuching history is unique in that it jettisoned from being a backwater province of the last days of the Brunei Sultanate to a modernising town under the dynastic leadership of the British private autocracy in not a too distant past.
In my life I have occasioned Kuching as a student passing by the town on the flights to and fro to study in West Malaysia during the early 70's.
Towards the end of the 70's I worked in Kuching for a very short spell in a unique building reminiscent of the Brookes's era, which housed the Educational Mass Media Services , EMS in brief where I worked as a junior officer. This opportunity of a lifetime made me more involved in the literary and cultural activities of Kuching.
Built in 1909 this building called the 'Pavillion' housed the Educational Mass Media Service section of the Sarawak Education Department in 1978.
Note: Above picture taken in 1909 when it was used as Medical Headquarters.
( Ref: Photo taken from pg.198, British Colonial Rule in Sarawak ( 1946-1963) by Vernon L. Porritt)

Then in the 80's I frequent Kuching and sometimes bypass it in my travels and visits being a senior government officer stationed in Bintulu.
The 1990's were important too for the fact that as a businessman I looked to Kuching as an important source of business procurement.
The years of the new millenium brought me even closer to this capital city of Sarawak in that I have set up home in Kuching.
This blog will chronicle my years in Kuching and hopefully reflect the times and moods of the years gone by and the excitement it is today.