Kuching Heritage Race raises RM20,000 for worthy cause

Abang Abdul Wahap presents the RM20,000 cheque to Breakthrough Network Centre representative Alfred Puah.

Abang Abdul Wahap presents the RM20,000 cheque to Breakthrough Network Centre representative Alfred Puah.

Race participants pose with a surprise volunteer Jason Brooke in front of the Charles Brooke Memorial.

Race participants pose with a surprise volunteer Jason Brooke in front of the Charles Brooke Memorial.

KUCHING: A total of 156 participants took part in the inaugural Kuching Heritage Race, a travel industry-led event that raised RM20,000 for a worthy cause last Saturday.

The 42 teams of two to six people came from all walks of life and from far and wide: family and friend groups, tour guides, bloggers and associations such as the Sarawak Society for the Deaf.

Among the participants were visitors from New York, Paris, Tasmania, China, United Kingdom, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Some were drawn by the promise of cash prizes for the first three placements, some by love of heritage and others just for a fun day out with friends and families.

Participants were given clues that led them to 16 stations around Kuching’s heritage core, from Wayang Street to Brooke Dockyard.

At each station they were given a challenge; for example, at the Courthouse they tried their hand at the sumpit; at Gambier Street they tested their knowledge of Sarawak’s spices; at the Chinese Gazebo they went back to their childhood with a simple game of ‘guli’ (marbles).

At the Brooke Memorial there was even the chance to take selfies with a surprise volunteer, Jason Brooke, the grandson of Anthony Brooke the last Rajah Muda of Sarawak. With each challenge completed, the participants received a stamp in their race passport before continuing to the next challenge.

Once all the challenges had been completed and the appropriate stamps collected, they returned to the starting point and, for the fleetest, the possibility of one of three cash prizes.

Generous sponsorships from Web in Travel (WIT), ACCORplus, Sarawak Tourism Board (STB), Borneo Adventure and the Sarawak Convention Bureau (SCB) gave a boost to the event, which married some of the key heritage sites of Kuching with fun cultural activities and challenges.

Sarawak Tourism Federation (STF) president Philip Yong said apart from increasing the awareness and appreciation of heritage and raising money for under-funded charities, what’s important was to participate as a community.

“By knowing and loving our city and country, we can be better tourism ambassadors.

“Sarawak is a destination for travellers and we have the goods to attract them – these may be seen in our heritage buildings and be experienced though our food, dress, customs and dispositions.

“What was quite amazing about this race is the participation from people of all walks of life; the event cuts across age, ethnicity, and backgrounds. There were bloggers, visitors, nurses, students, families and industry players all enjoying the day,” he said in a press statement.

DBKU Datuk Bandar Datuk Abang Abdul Wahap Abang Julai who attended the event in his typically low-key way, praised the participants for an inspiring display typical of Kuching’s status as ‘a city of unity’ and gave his commitment to support the next race.

The inaugural event raised RM20,000, which was presented by Abang Abdul Wahap to Breakthrough Ministries, who will administer the funds for ‘Meeting Needs’, a local organisation supporting children with disabilities from underprivileged families. This donation will provide much-needed customised wheelchairs.

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