Yasuya Isogai / Kuching Office, Marubeni
Kuching is located in East Malaysia, in the northern part of Borneo, and the capital of Sarawak has a population of about 600,000. Sarawak was long under the rule of the King of Brunei. For his role in suppressing the riots that occurred in Kuching in 1840, the King of Brunei gave the title of Raja (feudal lord) to the Englishman James Brooke, and the Brooke family subsequently ruled Sarawak as White Raja for some 100 years until 1941.
Buildings connected with the Brooke family remain even today in the once capital of kingdom, Kuching, and traditional everyday implements of the ethnic minorities living in Sarawak are displayed in a building completed in 1891 by Charles Brooke the second, which is used today as the Sarawak Museum. Kuching means cat in Malaysian, and there are various theories as to why it was given this name. Statues of cats can be found throughout Kuching, and there is also a Cat Museum in the town hall.
Sarawak is also abundant in resources such as oil, natural gas, and timber, and it is an international production center for palm oil and pepper. Large-scale power plants have recently been built using the abundance of hydropower, and this is attracting industries such as smelting by providing stable power at a lower cost.
In terms of tourism, while it is undeniably lacking in tourist attractions compared to Sabah, which is also in East Malaysia, it does feature attractions such as the world famous caves of the World Natural Heritage Site of Gunung Mulu National Park.
I’d like to close with the local pastimes. Naturally, there is the staple of people stationed in Southeast Asia, golf, but I would recommend the specialty breakfast called Kolo Mee. As shown in the photo, this is a simple dish with of noodles topped with chashu pork and seasoned with flavor enhancer and chilies but this is a simple pleasure I enjoy with my family and business partners in various areas of Sarawak. A lot of business travelers get completely hooked on this taste, and I recommend that if you have the chance to come here, make sure you give it a try.
Marubeni Group magazine "M-SPIRIT" VOL.72 (November, 2012)