Brooke is more than just a name
By:Magdalene Rogers
2nd LEAD - Brooke - 5

No matter where you turn in Kuching City, the name of the first White Rajah of Sarawak will always pop up.

For the uninitiated, James Brooke was an Englishman who first came to the shores of Sarawak in the 1800s.

Charmed by the lush environment and people, he soon made it his home and became their first White Rajah.

Moving forward to the 21st century, there are cafes and bistros in Kuching named after Brooke.

Sitting at James Brooke Bistro and Cafe located at the Kuching Waterfront, writing my article in this place is just perfect to get some peace of mind.

It is surrounded not only by the Sarawak River but there is plenty of greenery as well.

The Sarawak Legislative Assembly and the Istana are just opposite the river and the five-star hotels, the Waterfront and the souvenir shops at Main Bazaar on the opposite side.

The 24-hour bistro serves customers daily from 10.30am to 10.30pm and drinks are only served from 10.30pm onwards.

On its menu are starters such as potato wedges, garlic bread, spring rolls and deep-fried chicken wings to soups, sandwiches, salad, breakfast, lunch and dinner to authentic local herbs and spices dishes such as laksa, beef noodle soup, tom yam, green curry and curry.

Sitting nearby was a foreigner listening to music on his headphones while enjoying his drink. When I approached him for a quick photo and interview, he promptly obliged.

“I’m travelling around Southeast Asia for three weeks,” said the Englishman named Adam.

Adam enjoying himself

He added that Sarawak was his first trip outside of Europe.

There were also several other tourists at the bistro. The sight of more tourists coming back to the city after the lifting of the travel ban due to the pandemic is indeed welcoming.

Minister for Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts, Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah had been reported as saying that Sarawak was targeting 1.2 million visitors back to Sarawak by year’s end.

He said based on the latest statistics of visitor arrivals, the number had surged by 680 per cent to 439,150 in the first five months of this year compared to the same period last year, with more visitors expected to enter Sarawak for the remaining months of 2022.

The tourism industry is back on track, and it is indeed good news for every traveller.

In a nutshell, Brooke was the first “tourist” who overstayed his visit to the state and to him and his family — who resumed his White Rajah legacy until the British colonial government took over — it was all worth it.

The scenic view surrounding the bistro.
Some of the food and drinks on the menu at the bistro.

New Sarawak Tribune e-Paper

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New Sarawak Tribune is a Sarawakian news portal that highlights Sarawak-centric news and other stories of relevance to Sarawak.

Today, New Sarawak Tribune focuses on happenings in Sarawak’s cities, towns and small places no matter how remote these are and events of relevance in other states of Malaysia and other countries.