Kuching wins prestigious Unesco gastronomy award

Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah. Photo: Ramidi Subari

KUCHING: Kuching won its second prestigious tourism award in the form of Unesco’s ‘City of Gastronomy’ Award over the weekend.

“This is Kuching’s second award from Unesco after the Cultural Heritage Award. We are very pleased,” Sarawak Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah told the media here on Tuesday (Nov 9).  

He also announced the launch of the Sarawak International Festival of Music and Arts (SIFMA) 2 to be held on Nov 20 and 21 at the Dewan Undangan Negeri Sarawak (DUN) here.

“Kuching is the only city being recognised for the gastronomy award and it is not easy.”

Similarly, Abdul Karim also welcomed the announcement of the bubble travel between Kuching and Singapore recently and said the ministry would look into the matter as soon as possible.

SIFMA 2, organised by the International Music House Kuching (IMH)and sponsored by the ministry, is the second to be held after its inaugural event in 2019.

Abdul Karim added that it aimed to revive and highlight the dynamic field of music and arts on the world stage by bringing communities together.

“SIFMA 2 will feature a two-part live concert. Firstly, it will bring Sarawak to the world covering a storyline of a musical journey to SIFMA from all major ethnic communities of Sarawak.

“The ministry welcomes the event as part of the steps to revive the state’s tourism, arts and culture industry as many programmes have been put on hold due to the Covid-19.

“We believe that we all share the same vision, that is, to revive the music and the arts scene, especially during a pandemic that brought the world to a standstill.

“Music and arts can connect people of all ages and walks of life, and researchers have found that music and arts are good for mental health and wellbeing, particularly during the pandemic.”

Among the performers from Sarawak are the Sarawak Chinese Ensemble, led by Kenwy Ho Khong Wee, Russel and Randel Dance Company, Kuching, the Karya Terindah Performing Arts Kuching, arts and cultural dance troupe.

“Part Two will also feature top performers, including the renowned Bolshoi Ballet Dancers from Russia, award-winning conductor of the Suc Song Moi Ensemble, Quang Vinh Dong; singers from the National University of Singapore (NUS), the Visayan cultural troupe from the Philippines and more.”

He added that the highlights of SIFMA 2 would include an ongoing forum called “Let’s Talk” featuring inspirational stories and advice from professionals and enthusiasts within the music and arts industry.

“Another highlight is ‘Be a Host’ which invites the audience to enjoy the festival’s live virtual showcase with friends and family via a watch party hosted virtually from anywhere in the world.

“If anyone wants to be a watch party host, all he/she needs is a venue, whether it is in his/her home or an event space like a cafe or mall.

“The two-day hybrid event will be presented live at DUN and live streamed via Facebook and YouTube (@sifmaofficial) on Nov 20 and 21 at 7.30pm with a virtual show on Nov 21 from 5pm to 7pm.”

Those interested can sign up at http://www.sifma.com.my/register.php#