Explore Kuching City Central
This feature is about a young student's fun university project on Kuching city centre. It highlights the widening gap between youth and heritage culture and the need for awareness. We hope to see this project materialize on a commercial platform. The thought of roaming around Kuching city centre with a map and quest cards in hand... sign me up please!
Q and A Interview with Teo Pek Sze
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
B: Borneo Art Collective T: Teo Pek Sze
B: Could you describe the selected project in brief?
T: Explore Kuching City Central is a project to promote the city centre of Kuching. It is a tourism guide with quest cards and map.
Objectives of this project:
- To promote Kuching City Centre and its culture
- To show youngsters that our cultural heritage is a treasure and needs to be diligently preserved
B: Why and how did you start this project?
T: This was actually my final project at university. We were asked to identify a problem and design a project to address it. I used to help my family out in their handicraft shop which uses locally sourced materials, and during this time often heard many interesting stories about Kuching. This led to my plan on promoting Kuching and its cultural heritage.
Also, there are young locals who have no knowledge of the stories of our city centre, nor have they ever stepped foot into these places. I think it is important to spread the awareness of these treasures amongst our youth, so that the future generation can protect them. Why do I say that they are treasures? Because of their invaluable history, these inherited old buildings are filled with stories and culture, they are the soul of Kuching, and we should protect them.
B: Who/what influenced you to begin this project?
T: James Brooke. During the 19th century, James Brooke had made his first historical mark in this place until the Japanese invasion. Most of this heritage was centralized in the capital. Kuching capital city was known by many for its rich culture, history and lifestyle. A peaceful, warm, unique and relaxing city with full of great culture, history and attraction to share. All of these are treasures.
B: What was on your radar when you created this project ?
T: My radar when I created this project? During those times, I was a bit confused and wondered how I could contribute to this project. I used to know of stories about places when I was younger and now those stories are a bit blur in my mind and I can hardly recall some of them. So I decided to draw out the map of the area and walked through all the places where I knew the stories. I also distributed a few questionnaires around Kuching City Centre, and researched about Kuching through the internet and books, particularly "Sarawak Cultural Heritage" by Lucas Chin. I also gained the tourists' and locals' perspective on Kuching from blogs.
I wanted to make learning interesting and after chatting with friends, I recalled the 'station game' that we used to play in high school and in some entertainment shows. That was my inspiration.
For me, it was important to have thorough understanding of the city's histody and culture before starting the project design.
B: Where do you see yourself or your project evolving in near future?:
T: I hope this project becomes a way to promote Kuching City Centre and hope it encourages the locals to love our city. I want to bring out the soul of the city and allow youngsters to learn and understand their heritage so that we can continue to protect our treasures.
B: How do you see Borneo Art at the moment?:
T: Interesting art waiting to be discovered.
B: Please recommend three stories/projects/individuals/groups that we should reach out to in order to expand Borneo Art Collective network.
T: Sarawak Cultural Village - they showcase a lot of different ethnicities and tribal cultures, Sarawak Museum, and one may also step into the rural villages to experience their way of living or follow groups that share their stories.