Friday, June 21

What About Kuching poised to become iconic city festival


Abdul Karim (centre) together with WAK 2017 festival directors and representatives from various participating groups after launching the festival yesterday. — Photos by Mohd Rais Sanusi

Abdul Karim (fourth right) launching What About Kuching 2017 yesterday. Also seen are festival directors Donald Tan (third right), Marina Foo-Tan (right), and others.

Abdul Karim (third right) stopping by to learn about one of the participating groups of WAK

Local tourism industry players, participating groups and media members attending the media launch

KUCHING: The state government and the Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Ministry will provide all the necessary support to ensure that What About Kuching (WAK) 2017 finds success and will become an iconic festival for the city in years to come.

Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah lauded the effort behind the community-initiated festival that celebrates the arts, culture and lifestyles of the people of Kuching.

“This is not something by the government. They (Kuchingites) came up with the proposal themselves,” he said during the official launch at the Old Courthouse compound yesterday.

Abdul Karim said that his ministry will give the festival its full support, and will try to put aside protocol to help the private sector realise their intentions with WAK 2017.

He acknowledged that Kuching can seem a little quiet during some parts of the year.

“It is the responsibility of Kuchingites to come up with ideas to make Kuching a happening place,” he said, adding that when people are flying in to attend events, the rest of the tourism industry benefits as well.

He also urged all talented Sarawakians to seize the opportunity and send in a proposal if they have something to share with Kuching.

“I have been informed that the organisers will be accepting proposals up to a week before the event.”

Also present were Kuching Resident Shukarmin Chasemon, festival coordinators Donald Tan and Marina Foo-Tan, Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) commissioner Datuk Wee Hong Seng, Sarawak Museum Department director Ipoi Datan, Plaza Merdeka Holdings Sdn Bhd managing director Steve Ng, and other tourism industry personalities.

What About Kuching (WAK) 2017 celebrates the arts, culture and lifestyles of the people of Kuching by creating a platform to share the abundant talent here, and throughout the state of Sarawak.

It was developed by numerous communities in Kuching City through their own initiative, coming together to state their respective content under a common festival umbrella called ‘About Kuching – Celebrate Arts, Culture and Lifestyle’.

The month-long event, beginning September 30 to October 29, will encompass every genre from visual to performing arts; from traditional to contemporary arts;  and from static exhibitions to active outdoor pursuits.

October is traditionally a ‘slow’ month in the tourism calendar, but WAK 2017 hopes to lengthen the tourism industry season and benefit the mushrooming tourism infrastructure in the city by both private and public sectors.

To date, over 20 components have already been committed by various groups, with more to come. With that, the event has already achieved something not seen locally – an inspiring community effort.

The heart of WAK 2017 will be along the Kuching Waterfront, radiating outwards to encompass the city centre and both sides of the river.

Locals and visitors alike can look forward to events such as the Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival 2017, Asia-Link Sketchwalk: Kuching, 5th Borneo International Beads Conference, and Sarawak Adventure Challenge 2017.

WAK 2017 can be accessed on Facebook and Instagram, as well as through the hashtags #WAK2017 and #aboutkuching.

Its website is

If you want to be part of the festival, send in your proposals to [email protected]