Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Kuching, a boring city?

It was sometime ago a debate was sparked in the world of Twitter regarding the Cat City of Sarawak, Kuching. Well it wasn't so much of a debate; rather it was more statements of disappointments and frustration from a certain individual. Some of these key statements include the need for more events in Kuching on a monthly basis,  having new and improved products to attract tourists and locals alike and more importantly, the need for the relevant authorities to pretty much "upped their game" in making Kuching, well, less boring per say.

And I can perfectly understand the point the individual was making; I too once had the very same thoughts and reactions to the status of Kuching. When I was younger doing tertiary studies, I would be back in Kuching for Chinese New Year, and each time I returned to celebrate there was never a chance for a new place to visit, a new form of activity or an interesting event to enjoy or even a new franchise to check out. Each time I came back I asked "When will Kuching ever be developed into the likes of Kuala Lumpur, or just the satellite cities Subang Jaya, Damansara or Bangsar?"

That was circa 2002 to 2006. Now though, I looked back at my own thoughts with some regret. Of course Kuching will never be like KL in so many ways. Number of population, number of events, number of shopping malls and clubs, number of major financial investments...there isn't much need for explanation really.

To say the relevant authorities are not doing enough for Kuching isn't accurate though. Being in the tourism industry myself, I know the authorities are doing what they can to make Kuching a more happening place. The Government didn't build BCCK for nothing (save the political conspiracy please).

If one needs to compare Kuching with the rest of the world though, Kuching seems like a decent place after all. According to Simon Busch, MSN Travel UK editor, these are some of  following places best described as boring and dull:

  • Britain (with special mentions to Luton and Lincolnshire) - "It's cold, grey, violent and the population is completely controlled by the media."
  • New Zealand - "We moved to New Zealand for a change of lifestyle. We certainly got it; we felt like we've moved into semi-retirement." 
  • Finland - "freezing cold for eight months and [swarming with] millions of mosquitoes in the damp summer."
  • Switzerland - "Beautiful scenery but by God it's dull. Even in the centre of Zurich the bars are all shut by 11pm. The national pastime is growing 'interesting' moustaches." 
  • Canada - "like a giant shopping mall with a huge car park and McDonald's every 50 metres."
  • Weedsport, New York - "It is only a street"
  • and even the MOON. 
Now if you asked me, I can't agree to all of that being boring! I've been to New Zealand and I love the fresh air, the food and the people and I would love to return again for the thrill of adrenaline rush the country takes pride on. I've plans to visit Britain (specifically Manchester) for English Premier League and for the English pub culture. Canada too for the Montreal Just For Laughs Festival. Surely Finland and Switzerland aren't that bad either! The only one I'm not certain is Weedsport. And maybe the moon.  

Then again, if I worked there long enough I could possibly agree to such?

Despite the above, or the fact the sources came from a not-so-credible MSN Travel UK (the Moon, seriously?), Mr. Simon made a powerful statement:

The most boring place on Earth is the place next to you.

Let me just copy and paste the paragraphs for this statement:

If our discussion of the world's most boring places illustrates anything, however, it is that dullness is relative. It depends, to a large extent, on you.

One user, Bert Bretherton, sums it up honestly: "I am a 67-year-old, grumpy, twice married, twice divorced man. The space next to me – wherever I am – must be the dullest place on Earth."

Redundant and Happy puts it this way: "If you live in a small place far from anywhere, with one pub full of old men, then it will seem dull if you want a city centre party atmosphere. On the other hand, if you want peace and quiet and to live happily with your partner away from all the [loudmouths] who make our towns no-go areas in the evening, then rural living is anything but dull."

The whole paragraph sums up the whole point of what I am trying to say. You can either make the place exciting, or the place boring. Ultimately, it's the company you keep and how you interact with others that defines the attractiveness of the place.

To each their own.