Making Satok Suspension Bridge a love lock bridge?

The padlock that was removed from the Satok Suspension Bridge. Photo: Sarawakku Sayang

KUCHING: Would you put a padlock at a bridge to symbolise your love to your significant other?

The City of Love, Paris, has a very famous love lock bridge, namely, Pont des Arts, built between the year 1802 and 1804 over the Seine River.

There, couples write their loved ones’ names on padlocks which they attach to the beautiful pedestrian bridge.

The trend was reported to have started in 2008. Before that, it was illegal to do so.

According to a news report by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the Paris city officials removed close to one million padlocks weighing 45 tonnes in 2016 to prevent further damage to the bridge.

Today, the popular European trend has thus made its way to City of Cats — Kuching — with the very first love lock attached on the just completed new Satok Suspension Bridge.

The bridge, originally constructed in 1923, collapsed in 2004.

It is unknown who had put the padlock there but images of it being removed have gone viral on social media of late.

When contacted yesterday (Sept 14), Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) mayor Datuk Junaidi Reduan confirmed that it was not his enforcement team who unlocked the love padlock.

“DBKU did not remove it (padlock) at the bridge. We are not sure who did it,” he said.

He also explained that DBKU had no authority over the bridge yet as it was still under the control of the Public Works Department and was expected to be handed over to the commission in the near future.

Asked whether the new Satok Suspension Bridge should be transformed into a love bridge, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah pointed out that the bridge was constructed for the people to walk on and recall the past.

“I have no issue about the padlocks but they must not spoil the aesthetic value of the bridge,” he said.

Abdul Karim added that in Japan, there was a specific movable structure for lovers to place their ‘locks’ and take pictures.

“This can be considered at this bridge but it must not be permanent because some locks can get rusty. If too many are placed there, they can become a nuisance to others.”

Nevertheless, the minister promised his ministry would look into the matter and see how it could “make everyone happy”.

“In the meantime, enjoy the walk and scenery on the bridge. Take lots of pictures for memory.

“Please do not vandalise the bridge. It is our bridge and we must take good care of it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Port and Development (MIPD) Tan Sri Datuk Amar James Jemut Masing said that the Public Works Department too did not take away the padlock.

“In fact, MIPD (Ministry of Port and Development) encourages people to put the padlock on the bridge to signify their love,” he said.

The Deputy Chief Minister mentioned that many bridges in Europe have padlocks hanging from the steel rods on the bridges for such purposes.

“Let it be a bridge that signifies love,” he said.