October break has begun so Shaun and I are off exploring more of Malaysia. We’ve started in Kuching, the capital of Sarawak state on the island of Borneo. Imagine our surprise when we learned the city has the world’s first cat museum (yes, there are others).
The museum itself was located up a hill in their modern city hall building. We were perplexed until we learned the story behind the city’s name. Years ago when James Brooke, the first English sultan, arrived here from India, he attempted to name this the port city “Kuchin.” Unfortunately the locals thought he was saying cat city “Kuching”and it made sense because there were a lot of cats by the river. So the name stuck.
“The appreciate of cats is engraved deep in the human soul, and is of ancient origin.” – entrance to the Kuching Cat Museum.
Once inside we weaved our way through hordes of school children to view the ceramic cats, cat movie posters, bios of famous people with cats, stuffed cats (by what appeared to be student taxidermists), photos of cats dressed up and playing in a rock band, and of course, a giant display of Whiskas.
We learned superstitions such as:
“Cats must be prevented from rubbing its body against a corpse lest the evil influence
present in the cat’s body enter into the corpse.”
And “One of the most effective methods for rain making is to soak a cat in a pan of water until it is half drowned and this will surely produce an abundance of rain.”
Both of these old wives tales are accompanied with photographic reenactments. No cats (that we know of) were harmed in the making of these photos but the verdict is still out on the corpse.
Now we’re off to Mulu National Park and we don’t know what “Mulu” means . . .