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Notes on the Geography of Malaysia: Kuching Suburbs

We look here at the administrative district north of the river, then at some commercial and residential neighborhoods to the south.

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Early in 2009, the State Legislative Assembly Building (Dewan Undangan Negeri) was nearing completion between the Astana and Fort Margherita, both of which it dwarfed.

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Set back farther from the river, and in the style made famous (or notorious) by Brasilia, the Wisma Bapa Malaysia houses various government offices in splendid isolation.

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Avenue of approach. No sidewalks.

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An uncomfortable walk to the north brings us to the offices of Sarawak Energy.

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The Wisma Sumber Alam, housing the ministry of Public Utilities and the Forest Department.

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Located in a way that guarantees that nobody will ever arrive on foot, this is the state mosque or Masjid Jamek Negeri Sarawak.

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It's deserted.

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Dome.

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Prayer niche, with floor fans.

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There's at least one very chi-chi neighborhood in these parts. We'll take a look.

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What style?

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The gap-toothed Greek temple.

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Italian Renaissance bringing up the rear.

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Simpler housing, farther north.

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Duplex.

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Simpler still.

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We've jumped to the south of Kuching and to the first big building seen when driving north from the airport to the city.

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A couple of miles farther in, the Premier 101 commercial center echoes New Urbanist principles.

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Of course, the New Urbanism isn't so far from the traditional shophouse: shop down, apartment up.

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Starbucks lookalike.

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This is the tropics, in case you needed reminding.

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A nearby subdivision.

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What would James or Charles or Vyner Brooke make of this? I suppose they'd be stupefied, at least for a moment.

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Kuching's flashiest shopping center.

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Interior.

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Sushi delivered by conveyor.

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Globalization on the march.

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Super-premium globalization.

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Ooh! my favorite brand. The French, they are so civilized.

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That's about USD 80 a pop.

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Proof of the adaptability of the Malay language.

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Local HQ for Yum Brands.

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Apartment building on the river.

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We've come here to juxtapose old and new. Right next to the building in the last picture, a truck approaches with big blocks of ice.

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They're ground up and shunted down to the hold of a fishboat about to set out to sea.



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