Showcasing Our Hometown through Fresh Eyes

“If you had a day in Kuching, where would you go?” Probably the mall. A typical Kuchingite would stay away from touristy places as far as possible. So when given a task to promote the city, how do we showcase Kuching in a different way?

Any typical tourism posters and banners would show the ubiquitous orang utan and hornbill with large letters spelling out “VISIT SARAWAK YEAR”. The SMG team, which consists of director/DOP Amirul Afiq Hussain, music composer Abdul Farouq Moustopha and yours truly as the writer, was tasked to produce a corporate video for Old Kuching Smart Heritage or OKSHe. 

From the Director’s Chair

I asked Afiq, what did he envision when planning for the video. 

“I wanted to visualise something differently, to stray away from the normal flora and fauna and traditions. Yes, Kuching is rich with culture, but I wanted to show them all in a fresh, contemporary style narrative,” the 28-year-old Swinburne University graduate said.

Considering the short attention span of audience who are used to watching videos on YouTube and TikTok, Afiq decided to showcase Kuching’s hidden gems and popular spots in a video. It is fast-paced, in-your-face style to impress people ranging from first-time visitors to old-timers of Kuching that there are plenty of things to see and do in Kuching.

Music that Honours Tradition

To compose the background music for the corporate video, Farouq studied the people and places featured in the video and used Sarawak musical instruments like the gendang and sape’. Gendang (drum) is the main instrument used in the ‘bermukun’ culture of the Sarawak Malays meanwhile Sape’ is the traditional music instrument of the Orang Ulu, initially a two-string instrument but later evolved to more for commercial purposes. This composition highlights the soothing tunes of sape’ and vibrant beats of gendang. 

No Time for Writer’s Block

The final task was to accompany the video with a voiceover. That task was assigned to me. Initially I was stuck, how exactly do I piece together all the different footage? The connection was vague. It started with the Reservoir Park, then artisans at Carpenter Street, and a slew of everything Kuching: the terung asam, Sarawak laksa, terubok fish, houses of worship, silat, music festivals, ending with a couple doing their shopping at a mall and strolling at Waterfront. 

After countless repeats of watching the corporate video and rewriting the drafts, I saw Afiq’s vision of compiling the countless things to do in Kuching, and realised curious visitors cannot experience them all in a day. That’s when the question “If you had a day in Kuching, where would you go?” came about. The theme and the thinking behind the video aims to feature the many things Kuching offers, but it is up to the viewers to choose the adventure they would like to go on.

Watch the OKSHe Video here:

After spending six years in George Town, Penang, Nurul Amarlina Yap or Un now resides in her hometown Kuching with her husband and son. She would like to open a food bank someday, write an Oscar award-winning movie script, and join The Avengers. 

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