Organiser hopes for better turnout in next Heritage Race

Yong (seated, second right) and members of Kuching Heritage Race 2018 organising committee pose for a group photo.

KUCHING: The third Kuching Heritage Race, set for flag-off on Jan 27 next year, will highlight the city’s rich heritage through the introduction of a new route.

The theme for the next event will be ‘Culture Meets Nature’.

According to Kuching Heritage Awareness Society chairman Philip Yong, the next race aims to continue the success of previous editions.

“The primary focus for the next race is on the elements of heritage and nature incorporated  together and expressed in our buildings, activities and culture. The race aims to continue introducing residents and visitors alike to our vibrant heritage, giving them better understanding on the need to manage it for future generations.”

He said the ‘treasure-hunt’ format would require participants to follow a treasure map, decipher clues and answer questions about the city’s heritage.

“By following these clues, teams will navigate their way along some special heritage features across the city, throughout which they will also need to answer questions or perform tasks before moving to the next stage.

“In keeping with the theme, the questions and tasks to be performed will be related to Kuching’s heritage and nature. This is more than just a treasure hunt – proceeds from it will be channelled to worthy causes; often those overlooked, under-funded or least known,” he said.

For the record, the Heritage Race 2017 raised RM50,000, which went to support three organisations.

One of the beneficiaries of the proceeds is the 10 Ringgit Club – a local charity body based in Miri that provides support to local weavers, the majority of whom are women.  The weavers are able to earn money working at home and proceeds from their sales go out to support the ‘Noah’s Ark Kindergarten’ – a school for marginalised and underprivileged children in the state’s northern region.

It is said that the school now accommodates more than 60 children.  Another recipient is Kuching-based ‘Heart Treasures’, which seeks to empower youths with special needs.

The body aims to encourage these youths to become more self-reliant and able to live dignified lives, through therapies, identification of artistic talent and sales of crafts made by them.

The next recipient is the Friends of Sarawak Museum (FoSM), a non-profit non-governmental organisation (NGO) that works with Sarawak Museum Department to increase awareness of and participation in local culture and heritage.

At present, the Segu Bungalow at Park Lane houses the FoSM office and a small resource library.

The proceeds from the Heritage Race series are being used to carry out structural repair and restoration works on this historical building, which incurs quite a significant damage from termites and years of neglect.

For next year, the Heritage Race organiser aims to raise at least RM60,000 to support three community programmes – Community-based Rehabilitation Centre (PDK) for underprivileged children and those with special needs, the centre in Kampung Buntal near Santubong that houses those with learning disabilities and also serves as a daycare centre for underprivileged children and those with special needs; and Catama Borneo, a social enterprise that collaborates with rural artisans towards preserving and promoting local handicrafts, as well as opens income-earning possibilities through the sales of these crafts.

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