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lundi 13 février 2012

The Sweet Peasures of Travel: Rashid and Co at Hilton Kuching

Coming to Kuching in Sarawak, Borneo is an anthropologist’s dream. Physical characteristics of the people betray their isolated and historical existence of stopping point in between The Sea of Sulu to the Javanese Waterfronts to the Bugis sailors of Sulawesi..
Not to mention our illustrious Zheng He  who must have stopped at the mouth of this river for provisions and meet with the local princes..
When I arrived at the Hilton Hotel around 1 pm, after an interesting morning at the Sarawak Museum with Anthropologist Dr Peter Kedit and Curator of the Beads, Heidi Munan of the Culture Shock Malaysia fame (I have her other book: Beads of Borneo) and the congenial, Zakeria and Abdullah.. Petros at the desk accompanied me to the upper floor of the hotel and there deposited me to the care of none other than Rashid..
Our conversation that began as a polite chit chat developed into a long discussion into the history of this region, The Sultan of Brueni, The Sultan of Pontianak, The Sungei Mata  Kuching (the brooke which used to flow near the Chinese temple, now underground), mount and port of Sindabong where Zheng He might have landed, the fishing technique of the village attributed to the Bugis but perhaps brought over by Zheng He and the recent archeological find of a Hindu temple near Killan..
He is a treasury of knowledge and our conversation went on and on, Iban, Badayu, healing practices and I told him, please I want to take back with me the White Jerangau.. which will protect me from the Ghosts and not the red one, which assists in assimilation of Alcohol.
thank you so much Rashid, like every one else in this region showing the racial mixture of antiquity tht bestows the tolerance of the races.

has been a day of learning for me, meeting people of native and new comer mixes, Malays as we know are recent comers to this island compared to the Indigenous people.. friendly and accomodating, it is a good lesson to learn...
Dr K did bring a point of urbanization and conflict, of wanting to maintain ones culture but having to adjust to another culture and their values, imposed or not. We do find that among Urban American Indians, who have to struggle to maintain the cultural identity as Indians on face of the onslaught of the majority bombastic culture..
Pleasing to the eye was the vista of the river, the colour of the Amazon, snaking its way to the sea, mountain range in the horizon...
a down pour, the tropical burst of energy, peel of thunder..
Two recent South Korean graduates of the School of Hospitality were present, finishing their training before they go back home, to add to the pleasantness of this floor at the Hilton Hotel Kuching as new and old, in architecture as well as culture, coexist outside this large window...
Good Luck to you Daisy and Aileen!