It was my friend and Kuching Crafthub Director Heidi Munan’s brain child: “Let’s all get together to knit a hat for the Padungan cat”.
Now I have to explain that the said Padungan cat is about 3 m tall, with a 1.98m head diameter. The cat is a statue, the icon of our city of Kuching.
The council men fitting the hat over a wire-meshed cover.
Fast forward a few months to March 2013… here we were, ladies of the “Knitting Brigade” busy fitting The Cat with a gigantic knitted hat and it’s matching scarf, embellished with pompoms made out of recycled plastic bottles.
Kuching City South Mayor Dato James Chan came to inaugurate on Friday 8th of March and was happily surprised to receive a hand knitted hat (by Heidi) with the colours of the City Council: white, blue and red. I gather that Mr.Mayor will have no fear of going skiing on his next holiday!
Mayor Dato James Chan couldn’t wait to wear his knitted hat.
Since then, lots of pictures have been taken both by locals and tourists; a film crew was caught interviewing the big cat (true story). We have received an amazing amount of praise on Facebook and, too, a few negative feed-backs of the unhelpful type; some folks simply cannot look at the bright side of life and frankly, only a show of indifference to our group effort would be a sad outcome. Why?
I will answer with a question: What if tomorrow, you were told that you have cancer? Sadly some of you, too many of you have had to live through this ordeal. Now I want you to imagine for just a second, that you are still a child, a one year old, a two, eight or fourteen year old… can you feel the fear of being diagnosed with cancer? Can you see your mum going through the same agony of chemo treatment? I can, and this is why I contributed to knitting a hat for the cat statue, with the hope that it will bring awareness on cancer stricken children at our Kuching General Hospital and that more people will join our group either to knit, or donate wool, or acrylic wool, or stuffing for soft toys that we make together to bring colour and cheers to sad and fearful children and their mums.
Annette is holding one of the blankets we knit for sick children.
So yes, and to quote Eleanor Roosevelt we “do what [we] feel in our heart to be right – for [we]’ll be criticized anyway.”
Our group meets every Wednesday morning at the Sarawak Museum Shop and Cafe at the Tun Abdul Razak Museum.
We share our knowledge and stories of Sarawak with tourists and new comers to Kuching which, by the way, translates “cat”; which explains the cat statue could not be a leopard, even the rare Sarawak Clouded leopard.
We welcome helping hands, wool (acrylic OK) and synthetic filling for soft toys. All our hand-made products will be given to the Kuching General Hospital Children Cancer ward.
Some of the soft toys we make.
Thanks to all the fantastic and productive ladies of the group (I love you all!), the gigantic hat was made out of generously donated remnants of knitting yarn.
The recycled plastic pompoms on the Big Cat were made by Jenny Chan of Heart Treasures.
from left to right: Heidi, Annie and Rosemary who was responsible for the Big Kuching to have a scarf.
Fitting on the hat. In the background the beautiiful Chinese gate to Padungan Road.