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.”

120 Replies to “Timberrrrrr”

  1. Yo…. I miss those trees too… when i was young, I always lay in the car and look up at the trees when the car passed by that road…It’s like, it feels like home seeing those trees…
    But now it feels so empty and barren and just…. so sad lar… I dunno how to describe it

  2. 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. – Kenny.
    Yup, prepared to migrate to another planet cause it’s damn hot here.

  3. Yes I get what you mean, I’m from KK and I study at PJ Sunway. Sometimes I would rather KK develops slower, because it’s where I call home, my comfort zone.

  4. “Oh well, at least it’ll be faster to get to the airport now.”
    haha,kenny,that’s funny. 🙂
    ahhh chill man,if there’s no development then the opposition will harp the govt not doing anything.lol

  5. heart breaks*** shall chain myself to Batu Lintang tree area opposite Saberkas once fly back… SIEN… 🙁 i am just a tree loving hippie… WHEN WILL THIS END!!!!!!… first it was the airport area… now my own neighborhood… SHOO SHOO TING PEK KING…

  6. hmm… near subang airport there also having the same prob… imagine those trees protecting us and the earth no matter what… but we just chop them off for just CONVENIENCE.. sad…

  7. I pass by Jalan Tun Jugah very often too and that is one of my favourite part in Kuching! It’s like every other parts of Kuching will be so sunny but Jalan Tun Jugah will always be the one shaded from the sun – in a good way. It’s indeed sad to see us human, sacrificing the nature for our own use. 🙁

  8. Yalor, was back home 3 days ago and they are cutting trees. Heard that it’s because of the mini typhoon recently. The trees may pose danger to moving cars on the road during windy weather.
    But still, like what you said, I hope the trees were still there.

  9. just disgusting really…getting rid of trees like that..but that is Malaysian mentality for you..sigh!

  10. i am already missing the trees.
    when pek khing chopped the trees down to build the kenyalang flyover, my heart breaks. now he breaks my heart again. for all i know, he may just chop down my neighbour’s guava tree in front of our house at BDC to make the road there bigger…
    in the name of development, we take out all the greens, the bushes and the shrubs. then one fine day, we wake up and decide….’we need more green lungs…more parks!…more gardens…!”
    well, you air-heads in the local authorities….these trees were there. But now no more. It has taken all 30years or more to have them grow as they did. But it took you only one afternoon to take it all away. Friends from the Peninsular always commented how green and fresh kuching is…partly bcos of how these trees make them feel as they approach the city. Now, all that meets them will be concrete and pathetic looking bunga raya plants by the road side…put there for ‘beautification’ purposes. what bullshit!
    Mind you, 10yrs down the road, don’t let me hear the authorities speak of needing more green lungs, more trees more environment bull-shit cos look what you guys bloody did!
    …many of us Kuchingnites are fed-up with the authorites approach to development.
    chop here, chop there. i won’t be suprise if one day, someone’s head may well be chopped off…

  11. glad u bring this up kenny, actually i’ve been quite upset about this incident, but seems like we can’t do anything about it, i thought they would relocate those trees but i think i am just too naive.
    shouldn’t we have laws n authorities to take care of those big trees? what can we do to prevent such thing happen again in the future?

  12. I guess that’s the price we pay for development. However, I was wondering whether it was possible to widen the road without cutting the trees.

  13. nyiamah betul… those were the trees where i could stop my car metres before the jalan Song trafic light even without car queue in front of me, just to be under the big nice tree shade in some hot hectic noon time… now bo liao… ngaitiii…

  14. ngaiti, our mayor james chan must explain and baron mango tree (baron tree choppings) have to replant those trees providing shade even to flyovers around our beloved cat city!

  15. u want development…u got it…that is the cost of development. many of u guys here nagging on how slow kch in term of development. now, when govt do some project…also bising…if u dont want it…give it to petra jaya area who really in need of flyover…”buat salah, tak buat pun salah ka”..shallow minded. always blame other people. late for meeting/work due to traffic congested pun salah government…government try to do ease traffic flow pun salah. then what da heck is right?

  16. The then “Jepun Lo” is changing. I still remember the same old day I drove along the road and via airport to get home.
    Jepun zhao lo liao…

  17. this is most unfortunate, I’m sure there are 1001 other plans you can expand the road without chopping down the trees.
    Western road in Penang is much the same, they switched it to partly 1-way street instead to avoid having to take down those century old woods

  18. i wonder if the newly build road will do any harm to the students safety at sjk stampin. that was my school!!

  19. YABA. i live right by premier 101. the whole family really behsong now. i mean, i know it’s for the flyover, but cuttin all those trees is a little over laa.

  20. sad. going home in a week’s time. i might be quarantined for swine flu. and no huge trees to comfort me.

  21. did you realized that there’re no “chinese” in the first picture of your blog? Look at the sign, where is CHINESE?! Where is harmony? Where is our stand in this country? Where is our chinese dignity? Stupid Malaysia! Hate Malaysia, especially the dumpling head malays!

  22. kratos…those are such a racist remark….do be like that…it will make u one of the….
    btw, KY…yes there is better way to to expand road without cutting those trees. simply by moving out/demolished hose/building with cheaper compensation..u want it?

  23. Of course there are lots of way to expand those road without cutting those trees.
    But do you think they care?
    They got the project, first thing in their mind of course is profit!
    Getting more profit by using low cost methods sure earn them a lot.
    You think they care what can those trees bring towards the environment or whatever?
    It’s sad that Kuching lost her nature once again.
    But this is the development. Destroy and build is the fastest and cheapest way.

  24. oh my god really? ive not been there for quite some time but i love those trees! and i totally agree about the balance between kampung and city life that we have in Kuching. No more will we have them soon. 🙁 Thats so sad.

  25. Lumberjack, maybe we are always concerning the environment deep down in our heart, just that we never voice out loud? what’s wrong with concerning the env?? wtfish. trying to act cool is it?

  26. I so agree kenny, I came back from Perth today after 2 years and great shock, Kuching is now much hotter, much more polluted now. It’s a sad sight

  27. Why are the poor trees being cut down in times where we need them the most??
    We want cool weather and shady places to live in.
    We want the haze to be gone forever.
    We want the rain to fall normally, not too little, not too heavily.
    We just want our nation to be green again.
    Do you know that this is not only happening in Kuching? It is happening at my housing area, my relative’s housing area, my boyfriend’s housing area, my grandparents’ housing area (i live in the peninsular).
    I remember seeing someone sent an article to the newspapers asking why is the local council chopping off trees,AGED OLD-GOOD OLE trees during hot weathers? Same time EVERY year?
    Their reply to this query was “We are afraid that the trees have overgrown. Trees may fall during a storm (did i hear u say a storm on dry weathers? i smell something fishy going on there). We are also concern that the roots of the trees are cracking the walls of buildings and drains (that’s because you people build concrete around the poor trees)”.
    Kenny, I am by no means an environmentalist etc. I just want our country back the pretty cooling way it was. Do you think you can write an entry to enlighten the public about the misdeeds that are happening?

  28. why do they chop down the trees?
    >to build a new flyover..
    why build a new flyover??
    >to ease the heavy traffic…
    what causes heavy traffic???
    >more people buy cars….
    why more people buy cars????
    things can be done in a better manner if only the kuching council open their eyes BIGGER.
    think of a healthier future not for a wealthier future.

  29. Sigh, it’s ok to be sentimental.
    Living in KL(which is hotter)is even worse , juz like wat happened lately, i felt bad to sacrify a tree at side of entrance to my house. The branches were cut, as neighbours were frustated with the dropped leaves littering our surrounding(complaining that this make them hv to sweep the floor loh)
    They rather sacrify shade & greenery or rather than doing little routine work, hmmm

  30. Noooo…not another bunch of ancient trees! (T-T)
    RIP to:
    -Jalan Tun Jugah trees
    -St. Thomas School trees
    -0 Mile tree at Old Court House
    -Jalan Song trees

  31. Those trees were pretty huge even when I was a young child; I’m 22, turning 23 now.
    Real shame to see them go, everytime I return to Kuching something about it changes.
    I agree with your sentiments Kenny, I miss Kuching for all the nostalgic reasons. Nice people, a more peaceful setting. Lots of greenery, especially the inner city roads near the Sarawak Club.
    Sigh, ohh and kolo mee

  32. Yor!!wad happened???!!?? Tis post smacks me in the face and now i feel so traumatised!! i love those trees!!! tis weekend when i fly back i wont see them anymore T_T sigh.how i wish time stays sometimes, so development would never have to take place.

  33. so sad … first they chop the ones by the side of the road a few years back … now they chop everything else also … the road never looks the same ever again. why couldn’t they think of another way …

  34. I love those trees so much! I’ve always thought that that road had the most unique type of trees. It was a waste to see it chopped down. Sigh… I was shocked too. There’s a tree in Sekama that blooms pink and white flowers when the time is right. Another unique nature of Kuching.
    Oh.. and I saw one night at Picadilly’s… haha…

  35. kenny sia! my brother is going to study medic in Kuching for 5 yearsssss starting this Friday WTFFF!!! i miss my brother already & i don’t like your meow town. *sulks*

  36. i guess some big gun or small gun in town is goin to benefit from this! the timber from the poor trees are goin to be made to support their ‘coin box’ … too heavy lah….;p

  37. they should relocated the tree rather than cut it down ( Poor Tree ), why don’t they just cut the planner head instead, Kanasai…low grade planner’s brain, should more thinking about conserving before planning, Idiot……

  38. tHose trees had been there ever since i could remember…. hVn’t taken that route much recently so this is such a shocker…… i Used to love driving along that road while looking at the leaves on those lush green trees swaying in the breeze…… tO see such fate for those trees truely breaks my heart…

  39. I miss those trees too…it is what makes Kuching a city yet a greener and less stressful one…poor trees…

  40. my heart just broke when i saw the pictures.
    how dare they. how dare they cut down such beautiful trees. i loved those trees so much.
    was there not a better way of doing it without chainsawing such majestic and beautiful symbols down?

  41. Kuching: ‘is a romantic city surrounded by mountains, rivers and jungle’?…Ah Hee Nee! You’re flattering me,Kenny…Hee Nee!

  42. somebody must put up a wiki for the massacre of the trees at jalan tun jugah. record all the coming mishaps who travel down that road!!!
    bad, bad feng shui I’m telling you all.

  43. Well, frankly i thinked the chopping of timber has its pros and cons. Indeed, i love kuching and am myself a nature lover, however i still think something have to give away to development and better infrastrutures. Kuching is damn slow and sort of neglected in development, job opportunities are not much, and not diverse, more and more people are leaving to bigger cities to work. Kuching to me, have not really change at all for the last 5 years. So i thinked development especially roads and flyovers are neccessary to expand the city and ease the traffic congestions. WHAT i thinked the goverment should do is replant trees in other areas and wherever possible to maintain the numbers of trees and parks, and upgrade the public transport system ALOT MORE better and consistent.

  44. What a shame. No wonder Kch looks more and more unfamiliar to me every time I go back. I hope those chopped trees are offset by the plantation of more trees somewhere else. But with our sort of government, I doubt that’d happen. Sad sad…

  45. Those trees are innocent, why chop them. Maybe they can consider relocating them somewhere instead.

  46. Malaysia is in the tropics where JUNGLES grow.
    JUNGLES means there are lots and lots and lots of big, tall, fast growing, leafy trees here, there and everywhere.
    The trees were nice, and provided some shade when they were there. But there are plenty more jungles everywhere else. So, shed a tear if you feel like it, and move on.

  47. Nin-na-bu-ei ….
    Better those trees can move freely & get those guys chopped …
    Human & trees also living thing mah …

  48. you know, i have this strange feeling somebody made a handsome profit from selling the timber.
    While in China, beautifying the city with trees and flowers is one of the main priority. here in Malaysia, we chop them down for development?
    Sad, chop chop chop, corruption corruption… why do the white raja need so much money for?

  49. flyover is great, i only hope that they will replant all the greens that the chopped off somewhere nearby, so that 30 years later they can chop it off again….
    nola, i really hope that kuching will always be structured as a garden city…hopefully…

  50. Hey Kenny! I just noticed it last night as well. Thought I was lost or something. Gosh, really different now that the trees are no longer there kan? 🙁

  51. Saw a first incident today around 12noon involving a car and motobike. Bad wind really coming on that stretch of road!!!

  52. i just can’t understand what the hell are those government servant’s thinking & planning… although it’s not about the sentimental value for chopping off the trees, but just think of the environtmental value lah… people start planting the trees now but they start to chop off… mahai…

  53. glad that u blog bout this. saw a forumer talk about this issue few days back, and make me to realise the change. Please do something to let them hear our voice. we don wan to live in desert!

  54. Another fucked up project on the way by the fucked up govenrment. Fuck they never plan properly and now the trees are all gone :S wtf!

  55. few years back,when there is new development where there is big trees,the contractor cut the un needed part then pull the tree out of the soil than transfered it to anothetr place where the tree can liv elonger and our kuching can become more greener..
    i think maybe this tpk contractor need to move fast and the only way to make it fast is just chop the tree off..
    1 big tree equal to 100 aircond
    so how many tree are chopped lately? our place getting hotter and hotter…

  56. sad, wasn’t it? we were quite upset 3 years back when they chopped down the trees along the airport road to make the flyover, and last week they chopped down even more just to make another flyover! Can’t they think of a way to preserve those trees? I mean, didn’t those idiots who decided to chop down those trees were grown up in Kuching?
    Perhaps we could conclude here that global warming doesn’t happen in Kuching and voi la, and trees and jungles can be demolish anytime anyhow 🙁

  57. I wonder do anyone of them take into consideration for the COST of replanting.
    Kuching may lost its charm if this form of development continuously exercised in the city. What make Kuching different from other cities is the GREEN! We may love the flyovers and other infrastructure…. but losing the city’s Charm is something irreversible.

  58. I’m glad you talk about this here, Kenny. I felt sad and angry to see these trees go down. Sad that these trees that have been with us for so long is gone. Angry that in the name of development, more and more trees in Kuching are chopped down, and no new trees are planted to replace them. No, I don’t consider those decorative palms as trees! They don’t provide SHADE!
    No wonder Kuching is getting hotter! I wonder if we can get the council to plant more leafy trees along the roads and car parks. They should replace the trees with new ones! That’s the only right thing to do!

  59. i live in jakarta n dats what i miss out of my town too.. the balance of the trees separating the roads and the buildings besides the roads..
    it felt so nice to see the greens..
    i study in sydney n i feel sick of sydney’s streets and roads that only hv few trees on the side of the road..
    hopefully our leafy cities in tropic countries won’t goes like new york or other cities that felt sooo cold.. too commercial..

  60. indeed, i also feel sad to see how sadly the road looks now…balder, less lively and not very kuching. i grew up with the trees as well..as much as i’d like kch to be developed, but is this the only way to developed kch? the road was expanded not long ago..it was already hard to accept the changes and now, another SHOCKED? i really wish TPK could try to plan better in the future instead of working on the same zone TWICE…such a waste of money and resources….i’m sure many many people are moaning for the loss except for one person…sigh

  61. Oh crap. That really sucks. I’m gonna miss those trees when I go to Kuching for my family reunion this Christmas.
    I wonder what’s next to go? All the landmarks/icons I remember Kuching by are slowly going away!

  62. Ting pek king better plant those trees back, so hot without the trees. I think the main reason he chop of the trees is so that his 4 points hotel can be seen far far away….seriously, now can be seen far far far far away

  63. dear kenny,
    i glad you brought this up in your blog. it’s so heart breaking to see those trees gone that i don’t use the road anymore and it’s not easy since i reside in Hui Sing Garden. It takes just a day to cut trees that had been growing there for 20-30 years. they were there ince i first came to kuching to work in 1990. so sad to see them go, wish town planners can plan better when development involves our environment.

  64. they kill all the trees from jalan song to airport.. really a bad idea.. now the road to airport has no more trees… (Garden City, huh? Where are the trees?) I can only see street lamp now…

  65. I cannot believe they chopped down those trees!
    end of this year when i go back to kuching i won’t get to see them anymore?! they were symbolic!

  66. NO! You bastards! You Killed the Airport Trees!
    They didn’t even try to replant them. Messed up.

  67. I bet MBKS will plant those generic shrubby plants in their place. So sad kuching is definitely losing its charm and uniqueness. Stupidlah! I remember those trees so well even though I havent been back home for several years.

  68. I don’t know how many people really need that flyover in such a short distance from the airport to downtown.
    Or maybe for those people want to settle into their presidential rooms desperately just after the touch down.
    GoodBye the Garden City.

  69. i actually wouldn’t mind getting stuck at the traffic there cos it’s so shady…i can’t believe they cut off the trees…first, the stretch of road from bdc to airport and now this…hurm…

  70. malaysia govt has no second thoughts when cutting down trees. same thing is happening in my town, so many good shady old trees were cut down, and now, it’s just damn hot hot hot in my hometown, and not in a good way… so sad~~

  71. I notice that many blame the govt on the trees cutting. well, who wouldn’t? but to put blame on the govt alone is what a simpleton would do. sorry, but it’s true. Now that the flyover project is postponed and the trees are gone for nothing. TPK, u better plant those trees back! I wonder why the project is abruptly postponed (myb cancelled?). hmm.. TPK, what hv u done this time ah?
    ** for those who hate their own country ; i mean malaysia; this is my words to u – U R AN UNGRATEFUL BRAT! SHAME ON YOU!**
    well, of coz not u kenny, u clearly love ur country.

  72. Oh No!!!
    I was just back in March and there were still there! I love Kuching for all the nature. Modernization doesn’t mean cutting down trees and our rainforest. It’s so sad to read about those darn dams and the destruction that they are causing to our rainforest.

  73. Arrgggh!! just got home to Kuching and I thought the same too!! Where’s the trees???? Heard TPK just chopped it off without JKR prior approval(although he’ll get it anyway)…
    Kenny, please start some sort of movement to oppose the stupid Plaza merdeka project near Central padang! STUPID project…everything about kuching will disappear if we don’t act! I’ll definately lend in a hand but dunno how to save Kuching from “irresponsible” “development”

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