Saturday, June 19

WAK attracts 56 creative groups staging 99 events


Abdul Karim hits a drum to reveal WAK 2019 calendar. Also seen from left are Hii, Tan and Sharzede (fourth left).

KUCHING: Locals and visitors can look forward to many activities at What About Kuching (WAK) 2019 from Sept 28 to Oct 27.

Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the unique festival driven by the community for the community is a true partnership between the public and private sectors exemplifying our cohesiveness as Sarawakians with passionate creative talents coming together to stage exciting events for a growing local and visiting audience.

“The third edition of WAK is the largest with 56 creative groups staging 99 different events with a total of 315 daily activities.

“It is wonderful that we can now look forward to What About Kuching (WAK), a month long festival which has gained its place as Sarawak’s major platform for the celebration of arts, culture and lifestyles.

“My ministry will continue to work with the organisers to make WAK an iconic global arts, culture and lifestyles festival akin to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in the years to come,” he said at WAK 2019 Calendar reveal at the Old Courthouse Friday.”

He hoped that the event will draw youths to join in to showcase their talents to community and make Kuching a more pleasant place while molding youths to be more responsible citizens.

“Released with a two-month lead time, the Calendar Programme has something for everyone so I urge you all to plan and book your flights, bus, boat tickets and come
to Kuching to immerse yourselves in a month filled with fabulous arts, culture and lifestyles.”

Meanwhile, Festival director Donald Tan said WAK calendar booklet is the guide to the festival which celebrates arts, culture and lifestyle.

Speaking on the festival’s Open Access concept, Tan said that WAK accepts all proposals submitted.

“The ‘Call for Proposal was announced by our minister on April 15 and closed on June 14. We are thrilled at the number and variety of proposals received.”

WAK is also excited about the opportunity to activate Location X-traordinaire, the building that was once Ting & Ting Supermarket. Tan said that both the previous and new owners were supportive about the premises being utilised as an art space while it was in transition.

“It will be a venue for a variety of events, including the WAK Music Portal, and new components such as the WAK Big Jam and WAK Open Mic.”

Popular comedy shows with familiar names such as Joanne Kam, Bibi K Poh, Kavin Jay, Malaysian Association of Chinese Comedians (MACC), and I Laugh KL will be here to keep the laughs going all month, along with local funny guy SaraLawak.

Theatrethreesixty is back to premiere Lost/Found before taking the show to West Malaysia. Local production house Stars Aligned Theatre will be staging Blank Space, while Art Street Kuching will be taking their theatre act to the streets.

Life coach Asha Gill, author Gina Yap Lai Yoong, and spoken word poet Jamal Raslan will be here to collaborate with local content providers.

The sixth Borneo International Beads Conference will once again bring bead experts and lovers to Kuching, while the Swinburne International Festival will be back to feature the rich culture of their international student body, he said.

He hoped WAK will become the regional platform for South East Asia and beyond. With that in mind, the festival has reached out to bloggers and influencers from regions with direct connectivity such as West Malaysia, Sabah, Singapore, Pontianak and Brunei to help put more eyes on Sarawak.

WAK 2019 festival packages are available from the Association of Sarawak Inbound Travel Agents (ASIA) at

For further information, visit Facebook:, Instagram: @aboutkuching, Twitter: @aboutkuching.

Also present were STB chief executive officer Sharzede Datu Salleh Askor and the ministry’s permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee.