Museums of Kuching – Part 2

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Things get a little less serious and bit more selfie-focussed…

Back in March, the tourist season had not started when I visited the Sarawak Cultural Village in Damai. As a result, I turned out to be one of the main attractions on a rainy grey day, having been the only European there. I was invited to feature in a lot of people’s holiday photos. From now on when this happens, I am going to ask for a photo too, it seems only polite.

The Cultural Village is a living museum representing the main ethnic groups of Sarawak through a type example of a traditional dwelling, crafts and food. Then through song, dance and comedy in the fly-me-round-the-world-and-call-me-Blackpool, variety show at the end of the visit. Allegedly, the people demonstrating in each house are from the group they are representing. A highlight for me was the Punan luthier making a sapeh, whilst charging his smartphone and tablet and chatting to a strumming hipster. Also, the coconut and sago pancake. I learned that I’ll need to find the coastal Melanau people if I want to get my hands on another…

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Skipping forward a month, my friend Jenny and I took ourselves off to The Borneo House [selfie] Museum. It is Interactive, 3D and Educational you know. We were being followed around by the staff which put us off photo taking a little, until we realised they were in attendance to take photos for us. I have more to learn about protocol in selfie museums. Anyway, content wise, it was great that local artists had been commissioned to paint the murals and each one had a bio next to it. It was also faintly representative of Sarawak culture in that at least half the exhibits were about local makan (that’s food folks, it makes the world go round).

Last and most surreal was the Cat Museum. Kuching means cat in Bahasa Malaysia. Yet, Kuching is not named after cats. It was either named after the Chinese for port, the Malay for a Longan fruit or an extinct river tributary. From what I know of place names elsewhere in the world, the latter seems likely. I have not yet found out which is true.

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So far, so sensible…

There are a lot of interesting varieties of cat here though, both domestic and wild. So, I guess the Cat Museum’s presence here sort of makes sense. It is housed in the North Kuching City Hall, one of the city’s OTT civic buildings which make extremely useful driving landmarks. They deserve their own blog, but I’ll have to wait till the new museum has been added to the skyline (2020) to complete the set…

The Cat Museum feels like they had a big old space to fill, and a theme, and just went for it. It was quite charming, totally overwhelming and a credit to human ingenuity. In that so many cat-related topics were thought up, and exhibits cobbled together to represent them. It is affiliated with the museum department though so there are some reasonable exhibits about native wild cat species and an interactive about the very interesting local domestic cats too. I’ll let some pictures do the talking.

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There were 2 large showcases given over to cat food…
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This was from the temporary exhibition entitled Cat Fighting & Cat Mating…
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Kitty heredity also covered…
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Just one of the many many cat-related topics covered in the museum

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