KUCHING: Miss Hong Kong 2005 first runner-up, Sharon Luk, has fallen in love with Sarawak so much that she has drawn up a formal proposal to promote the state to people in her home state.
Luk, who turned 32 yesterday, said Sarawak is “a place filled with mystery” and likened it to a “mini Amazon”, but unfortunately very few people in Hong Kong knew about the state.
However, many of her friends in the entertainment industry are quite knowledgeable about Sabah, especially Kota Kinabalu, she said when she dropped by The Borneo Post office here yesterday. She is on a sight-seeing tour of the state and would be leaving on New Year’s day.
According to official data, some 20,000 people from Hong Kong visited Kota Kinabalu this year, but only about 200 made their way here.
“Kuching is a city with far more interesting tourist attractions than Kota Kinabalu,” opined Luk, who is the vice-president (Sales) of 4Home Group International Co. Ltd.
“A lot of Hong Kongers love cats and they should be introduced to the Cat Museum here. I have been to the museum and it is great!”
Luk, who used to be an actress, believed her people would be mesmerised by the local cultures and mystic settings at the Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV) in Santubong.
“Apart from the Cat Museum and SCV, I will soon be experiencing the River Taxi and orang utans in Semenggoh Wildlife Centre. It is the local culture and wildlife that grabbed my attention, not the shopping malls.”
She believed that people in Hong Kong would be interested in the cultures and traditions of the many ethnic tribes here as well because many Hong Kongers had visited Africa and South America to rub shoulders with ethnic tribes there.
“They thought Africa and South America are the nearest places to experience ethnic culture, and they did not know Sarawak is even nearer and more affordable.
“This has something to do with the marketing strategy of Sarawak Tourism Board (STB). I am afraid the board has forgotten to see things from the perspective of foreign tourists, who want more local cultures and colours.”
Luk disclosed that a formal proposal had been handed over to Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Abang Openg for consideration in opening up the tourism market in Hong Kong.
Discussions are also being held with the Sarawak SEDC to help Sarawak make its name in Hong Kong.
“Sarawak is very unique in the sense that tourists get to see wildlife and the flora, not to mention mingling with the various ethnic groups and experiencing their respective dialects,” she enthused.
“Hong Kongers are quite into wedding stuff and ideas. They usually have their wedding reception in Thailand. The reason they keep making Thailand the destination is because they have no clue about where else to go.
“If they know about Kuching and Sarawak, I am pretty sure they will love having wedding groups here.”
However, Luk conceded that the lack of direct flights between Sarawak and Hong Kong was a minus factor.
“That is why we want to create awareness on Sarawak among Hong Kongers before pushing airlines to operate the direct route,” she said in a positive tone.
“Without direct flight, visitors would have to make do with connecting flights and that would take a couple of hours extra in travelling time.”
Luk, who has also been to Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Malacca and Cameron Highlands, said she was also in touch with TVB (Television Broadcasts Limited) with the hope of bringing the crew of Miss Hong Kong Pageant here for filming purposes.”
TVB is the second over-the-air commerical television station and the first free-to-air television broadcaster in Hong Kong.
She proposed that some charity events be held in conjunction with the proposed filming so that proceeds garnered could be channelled to selected organisations in Sarawak and Hong Kong.
“Perhaps a charity dinner can be organised to raise funds for charitable organisations here and in Hong Kong. I am an active member of Wai Yin Association, and we can work closely with Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) to make it happen.”
Wai Yin Association is the official organ for all contestants of the Miss Hong Kong Pageant, especially those who made it into the semi-finals. Established in 1982, it is a registered charity to reach out to citizens of Hong Kong.