LOVELY KUCHING, BORNEO
Kuching in Malay (Malaysian National Language) means cat. One story is that Kuching is
named after the Mata Kuching or cat's eye fruit tree, a close relative of the lychee that grows widely here.
The population of Kuching is around half a million. Chinese is the predominant group
with Malays come in second. The other groups are the natives; Bidayuhs, Ibans, Melanaus,
Kenyahs, Kayans, Kelabits. Though Malay is the national language, English is widely spoken.
Kuching history is basically Sarawak history. In the early 19th century, it was under the
control of Brunei Sultanate. The people of Kuching revolted against the Sultanate in 1836. It
was at this time that James Brooke, an Englishman arrived with his well-armed ship. The Sultan
asked for his help and the rebellion was put down. As a reward Kuching was awarded to James
Brooke. Kuching (or rather Sarawak, one of the States in Malaysia) under the Brooke's rule gradually expanded to its present size.
In 1941, Japanese invasion ended the Brooke's rule. After the Japanese's surrender in 1945,
Sarawak became British colony. In 1963 Sarawak gained independence by becoming one of the States of the new country, Malaysia.
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