By ALEXIUS KHUNG AND LEE SHAW WEI
KUCHING: The souvenirs and handicrafts being sold at Main Bazaar attract not only foreigners but also locals alike.
There are numerous shoplots that sell a variety of souvenirs and handicrafts such as T-shirts, weave baskets and bags, wallets, beads, woodcarvings, keychains and many more.
According to the shop owner of Soon Lee, who prefers to be known only as Mr Tay, he said that his products were either imported from Indonesia or locally made in Kuching.
“The best-selling souvenirs are the woodcarvings, especially among tourists from Western countries,” he said.
The price range of Tay’s wares can be as cheap as 70 sen to RM400 and above.
A tourist from Perlis who prefers to be addressed as Azyantie, 39, said that she visits Kuching annually, especially during the Hari Raya holidays, to buy T-shirts and other souvenirs like wallets and rings for her children’s school teachers.
“The price of souvenirs here are reasonable and I would usually spend around RM100 every time I am here in Kuching,” she said.
Nur Azlina Bakar, an employee of UD Siburan Jaya Sdn Bhd, said that their products are either imported or locally made in Kuching, and further added that their silverwares, keychains and beads are among their top-selling products.
A local customer who wanted to be known as Norlia said that she frequently goes to the above-mentioned shop to buy souvenirs for her friends in Kuching and West Malaysia.
When asked how much she usually spends, Norlia said, “I usually spend around RM100 to RM200, from beads to weaved handbags, and necklaces.”
According to the Sarawak Craft Council’s website, the council was founded to promote local handicrafts so that the indigenous people living in rural areas have an alternative source of income other than farming.
The council said that their industry is doing very well at the moment in terms of marketing.
Their non-profit organisation promotes Sarawak’s rich diversity of traditional handicrafts that reflects the different cultures and traditions of its multi-ethnic society.
The council also provides training on how to market their products digitally online, offering an easier route for the locals to sell their products online.
Additionally, they also provide training for locals to learn the art of Sarawakian handicrafts.
The shop lots at the Main Bazaar generate income from both the locals and tourists and foreigners for Sarawak, which is vital for the state’s revenues and for future developments to improve the image of Kuching.