I have not been writing a lot about Kuching.
Partly because I’ve been flying all over the place, and partly also because Kuching has always been same ol’ same ol’ to me. But yesterday morning, as I was driving back from the airport, I was amused to find the main road to the city closed off.
It wasn’t until today when I went to Jalan Song for lunch, that I found out what the road closure was for.
The famous line of trees along Jalan Tun Jugah, the road connecting the airport and Kuching city, is now no more.
There must’ve been about 30 or so century-old trees, all chopped down to make way for the road expansion. When I was there this afternoon, workers were picking off the remaining tree stumps with chainsaws.
I go to the airport all the time and I must have travelled down that road multiple times a week. Each time I return to Kuching, it is those majestic leafy trees protecting me from the harsh sunlight, that welcomes me back home.
Kuala Lumpur may be where I party and Singapore may be my favourite big city, but it is here in my home that I find the perfect balance between kampung and city life.
To me, those gigantic trees lining up Jalan Tun Jugah is the symbol of that balance.
Perhaps I am being sentimental, but I suppose as Kuching develops more into a city, we will see more concrete less trees, more street lamps less sunlight, more grey less green.
Kuching, as I know it, is a romantic city surrounded by mountains, rivers and jungle. But bit by bit, the identity of my hometown as a garden city has to be sacrificed to make way for construction and infrastructure.
And that is something that I will dearly miss.
Oh well, at least it’ll be faster to get to the airport now.
Due to my constant travel, I am forbidden from playing with my 6-month-old baby nephew because mom suspects I might have swine flu.
Mom: “You better be careful ah! Now even Kuching got Ah Hee Nee virus ok!”
Me: “Ah Hee Nee? It’s called A(H1N1) lah.”