RSS

Category Archives: Discover Borneo

Places and sights

A VERSATILE PALM: THE APONG NIPAH – UN PALMIER FOR UTILE

BILINGUAL – BILINGUE

In coastal and swampy areas of Sarawak grows the very versatile Nypa fruticans Wurmb or Aracacea. In Malay and in Iban language, it is called Apong. Its leaves are used for roofing and fencing; its flowers produce sweet juice for making nipah sugar. Its fruit is edible (eaten like sea-coconut) and the heart of the trunk is cooked “lemak”with coconut milk.

Le Aracacea ou Nypa fruticans Wurmb (Apong en langues malaise et iban) est un palmier très  versatile à troncs multiples qui pousse dans les régions côtières et marécageuses du Sarawak. Les feuilles servent de toitures et de clôtures ; les fleurs produisent du sirop. Les fruits, dont l’intérieur rappelle la noix de coco sont délicieux une fois bouillis et sucrés et le cœur du palmier se cuisine « lemak », avec du lait de coco.

Aracacea ou Nypa fruticans Wurmb

Aracacea ou Nypa fruticans Wurmb

Composition per 100g fresh edible portion*

Apong heart

Energy (kcal)                                          14

Moisture (g)                                           94.1

Protein (g)                                                0.7

Fat (g)                                                        0.1

Carbohydrate (g)                                     2.5

Crude fibre (g)                                          0.7

Ash (g)                                                       1.9

Vitamin C (mg)                                         0

Phosphorus (mg)                                     0

Calcium (mg)                                            50

Magnesium (mg)                                     97

Iron (mg)                                                     0.6

Manganese (mg)                                        8.2

Copper (mg)                                                0.02

Zinc (mg)                                                      0.45

* Collected from Wild Fruits & Vegetable in Sarawak - Research Division Department of Agriculture Sarawak

About these ads
 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

CROSSING THE SARAWAK RIVER: TAMBANGS

CROSSING THE SARAWAK RIVER: TAMBANGS
Tambang Crossing Back to the Square Tower and the Court House on the Waterfront

Tambang Crossing Back to the Square Tower and the Court House on the Waterfront

I love crossing the Sarawak River on tambangs from south to north and back. After all, it only costs 40 cents one way!
The old downtown Kuching is on the south side, the Main Bazaar, the Old Court House (1874), Brooke Dockyard (1912) and the Old State Mosque…

The Old State Mosque

The Old State Mosque

The first White Rajah, James Brooke, built his bungalow (1870) on the north bank . It’s still there and is now referred to as the Astana (the palace) and serves as the Governor’s official residence. While in Kuching, the Rajah was accessible in his house to anyone who wished to see him. It contained one large room, which was his audience-chamber and his dining hall, several small rooms for staff and guests, his own suite of rooms at the side, a bedroom, sitting-room and library, with bathroom underneath.
On the north bank too, there’s Fort Margharita, built in 1879 and named after Ranee Margaret, wife of Charles Brooke, the second Rajah of Sarawak. A definitely more modern addition on that side of the river is the State Assembly Complex which opened in July 2009.

The State Assembly Complex

The State Assembly Complex

These are but only few of the quaint and charming reminders of Kuching’s past. I reckon the tambangs have been crossing the Sarawak river since the early days of James Brooke, or earlier? They may be now equipped with engines, their roof tops may be bill-board for hire, but their charm remains untouched. Board a tambang from the beautiful Kuching Waterfront; not only will you meet friendly commuters, the old folks in baju-Kurong* or Baju Malayu*, the young and trendy in jeans or the office clerck wearing white shirt and tie. Most importantly, you’ll meet the boatman on his vessel; and if you care to be a little observant, you’ll be amazed to find out that his tambang is really his second home.

 

The Tambang as Second Home

The Tambang as Second Home

 

Sources:
THE WHITE RAJAHS – A HISTORY OF SARAWAK FROM 1841 TO 1946 by Steven Runciman. Cambridge at the University Press 1960

Baju Kurong: Malay women’s dress consisting of a long tunic over a long straight skirt.

Baju Melayu ; Worn by Malay men, consisting of a tunic worn over starigh long pants. The hat is called songkok.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 18, 2013 in Discover Borneo

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

WHY I HELPED KNIT A HAT FOR OUR GIANT KUCHING/CAT

Kuching Craft Group

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Fitting on the hat. In the background the beautiiful Chinese gate to Padungan Road.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

THE DRINK STALL – LE VENDEUR DE BOISSONS

Milo

BILINGUAL POST – BILLET BILINGUE

Took this picture on the waterfront. It was a pleasant night when the moon played tricks behind scattered clouds.
Drink merchants sell local popular drinks such as chocolaty Milo, hot or cold; juices made from green-skin oranges, limes and even - my favourite – sugar cane.

J’ai pris cette photo sur le Waterfront du fleuve Sarawak à Kuching. La nuit était déjà tombée, la température était bien agréable tandis que la lune jouait à cache-cache derrière les gros nuages de saison.
Les vendeurs de boissons vendent du Milo chaud ou froid ; des jus d’oranges locales qui ont la peau verte, des citrons verts et même… mon choix préféré… du jus de canne à sucre.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

MV EQUATORIAL

MV Equatorial

MV Equatorial

BILINGUAL POST – BILLET BILINGUE

The Sarawak River has a long history of merchant navigation. Ships used to sail up to what is now the Kuching waterfront, with cargos from Singapore, Malaya ,England…  James Brooke, the first White Rajah, had to navigate the mighty river in 1889 to where he would later establish his capital; and Chinese rebels crossed it to attack the Astana, the Rajah’s residence.

Very few vessels still call at Kuching. A barrage controls the traffic, only allowing ships no longer than  100m , not wider than 23m, no deeper than 6 meters and no higher than 13m.

The Sarawak River has become a leisure site for the annual regatta and water competitions; floats parades and of course river cruises.

Le fleuve Sarawak a une longue histoire de navigation marchande. Les navires remontaient jusqu’à ce qui est désormais le Kuching Waterfront, chargés de marchandises en provenance de Singapour, Malaya, l’Angleterre… En 1839, James Brooke, le premier Rajah Blanc, avait du naviguer le grand fleuve avant de découvrir  le site qui allait devenir la capitale de son royaume ; et les insurgés chinois l’avaient traversé pour mener leur attaque sur l’Astana, la résidence du Rajah.

Désormais, très peu de navires viennent jusqu’à Kuching. Un barrage contrôle le trafic et ne laisse passer que les embarcations de moins de 100m de long, 23m de large, 6m de tirage et 13m de hauteur.

Le fleuve Sarawak est devenu un lieu de loisirs qui accueille une grande régate annuelle et des compétitions de sports aquatiques ; des parades de bateaux illuminés et bien sur, les croisières pour touristes.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 4, 2013 in Decouvrez Borneo, Discover Borneo

 

Tags: , , , , ,

CHICKEN ANYONE? DU POULET? QUI VEUT DU POULET?

Chicken a la Malaysienne

Chicken a la Malaysienne

 

Translation Bahasa Malaysia – English – French

Nasi: Rice – Riz

Ayam: Chicken – Poulet

Goreng: Fried – Frit

Mayonis: Mayonaise!

 

 

 

Tags: , , ,

DURIANS FOR CHRISTMAS

Durian

Durian

December’s back and here I am, on a regular thirty something degrees Celsius pre-Christmas day, standing in my neighbor’s chilli-peppers field. I came specifically to shoot a Durio zibethinus (a Durian tree) with my camera and collect a new picture for my blog. Standing near me and my tripod is Ah Chai, the chilli-peppers grower who is frankly disappointed with the scarce number of oblong golden fruits which we can see, hanging from the huge tree ahead of us. “This season is not good” he laments. As I recall, the previous one, half a year ago, was not any better; climate changes?

Durian Tree

Durian Tree

I seldom have the opportunity to talk to my neighbours; they are all farmers and our family is of the urban kind, “wannabe” hobby farmers. We commute in and out of the small country drive, we wave, we give way to motorcyclists, sometimes to a van, yet we rarely stop. The only friendship we have developed is with Ah Peck, which by the way is not his real name, it really means “grand-father” or “old man” in local Chinese. We don’t know his real name; he’s never told us and he seems to enjoy us calling him Ah Peck. It was easy for us to become good neighbors simply  because he and his family are the only planters here who actually live on their land; the others are daily farmers.                                                                 Today happens to be a busy field day for most of them, a fortunate coincidence, and a chance for me to finally meet them on my walk to that large durian tree down the drive where Ah Chai, and by now three other men, have gathered around my strategic photo-shoot spot. Right now, with them by my side, I can witness the legendary and amazing power of the durian: the power to attract and unite people. This is exactly what is happening here, in the midst of chilli-pepper plants for two Hakka and one Bidayuh men and I, a French woman. The powerful spell of the durian spreads through South East Asia, Indonesia, the Philippines, southern Thailand and Malaysia. No other fruit I know of can get people together to enjoy a splendid time like this one does. No-one would ever fuss so much over a pineapple, a bunch of bananas or even a jack fruit.

Durians on the tree, beware of falls!

Durians on the tree, beware of falls!

Despite its thorny nature (“duri” in Malay means “thorn”) the durian actually creates bonds, at least between locals. As a general rule though, sharing a durian with a non-Asian without any prior briefing may result in the end of a beautiful friendship. Although there seems to be a growing number of Caucasians who claim to love the custard-like pulp that covers the large seeds encased in the inner compartments of the spiky shell, even for those it is still an acquired taste; most of them react by running off, literally, or like my friend Elsa did, by diving head first into a river.                                                                                                                    As controversial as a durian can sometimes be, and as much as it can test East meets West friendships to the brink, here in Sarawak, as everywhere else in the region, it is, truly, a diplomatic fruit which has been unanimously crowned KING of FRUITS, by both genders of all ethnic groups and regardless of their religious faith. Call a few friends to join a durian hunt all the way to some remote kampong (village) and you will find yourself leading a caravan!

Durians are good business too, and many shrewd farmers set up makeshift stalls on the roadside, the ultimate temptation for drivers to make an impromptu stop and start a “durian ritual”: pick a few fruits, sniff them with gusto the way a French would a truffle, shake them like a maracas, close to the ear to listen to the dull, subtle knocks that tell the tale of a ripe to perfection durian. Buyers even like to exchange savvy comments with total strangers on how to select the best fruit (yet not before they have finished choosing their own) and finally negotiate the price with the seller.

Except for its look, I used to hate everything about the durian, its taste and its odour; then without me even knowing, my nose, first, got used to it, and what I had first perceived as a revolting stench, I came to identify as a familiar call to get together with friends and have fun sharing a fruit I have grown to actually enjoy!  Mind you I do have a preference for the orangey pulp rather than the whitish one. I am picky.

The durian happens to be particularly nourishing; it is loaded with vitamins and minerals, a real bonus to animals and for this reason humans actually have to seriously compete to get to it first while it is still hanging from the branch.                           I remember an Iban legend that tells the story of an unfortunate young woman who had been abducted by a randy Orang-Utan and owed the success of her escape only to the fact that the big ape had let himself be distracted by the sight of a few durians that had fallen to the ground, long enough to give his sweet heart enough time to run to her rescuers’ long boat.

The KING of FRUITs does come with some dangers though. Although it never seems to drop onto the heads of those patient fellows who spend whole nights waiting for their prize to fall from the branch (they’ll tell you it just never, ever happens.), it does have bad chemistry with alcohol.

Yes, it’s almost Christmas and back on the French Riviera, my brother and the whole family are probably feasting on tiny and cute looking, irresistibly flagrant Corsican Clementines (a winter fruit), while I am ready to bet with my husband that the almost 30 centimeters long, 15 centimeters in diameter and well above 2.5 kilos orangey durian that dropped last night, from one of our trees, is going to taste like the perfect KING of FRUITS, and tomorrow morning, I’ll walk down the drive again, to talk about it with Ah Chai and may be with a few other neighbors too.

Have a splendid festive season!

Ready to be eaten!

Ready to be eaten!

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

HOMES & GARDENS OF KUCHING 3

HOMES & GARDENS OF KUCHING 3

4962X

 

Link to the story

 

The hair salon Kampung style -  Le salon de coiffure

The hair salon Kampung style – Le salon de coiffure

 

DSC_4982 X

 

Today's laundry - La lessive du jour

Today’s laundry – La lessive du jour

 

3 Kuching

3 Kuching

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 5, 2012 in Decouvrez Borneo, Discover Borneo

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

HOMES & GARDENS OF KUCHING 2

 

Link to the story

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 28, 2012 in Decouvrez Borneo, Discover Borneo

 

Tags: , , ,

HOMES & GARDENS of KUCHING

I recently shared one of my favorite activities with my Tasmanian friend Rosemary; we spent one whole morning strolling the more quiet streets of Kuching which have retained a rural atmosphere. These are pictures taken in what used to be a Malay kampung (village) and has now become part of the big city.

A decouvrir, les jolis quartiers de Kuching.

 

 

Abundance on the street

XXX

 
2 Comments

Posted by on November 28, 2012 in Decouvrez Borneo, Discover Borneo

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 214 other followers