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Get to know the symbols of towns in Sarawak

Most towns in this world have at least one thing that they are known for, be it an agricultural product or a wildlife species that also calls their respective regions home.

This symbol usually can be found as a landmark or statue in the centre of the town. The same thing happens here in the Land of Hornbills.

If you get the chance to travel to each and every town of Sarawak, pay extra attention to the roundabout or the main entry road leading into the town. These are the common sites to find the town’s symbol.

Here at KajoMag, we want you to get to know all the symbols of the towns in Sarawak:
Kuching

There are plenty of stories about how Kuching got its name. The most popular one is that it came from the word ‘Kucing’ or ‘cat’ in Malay.

However, this theory is usually rejected as ‘cat’ in Sarawak Malay dialect is ‘pusak’ not ‘kucing’.

Nonetheless, this animal has become the symbol of Sarawak’s capital city. You can find plenty of cat statues around the city. There is even a museum dedicated to felines.

Some cat plates that could have been from Harry Potter’s Professor Umbridge private collection at the Kuching Cat Museum.
Lundu

Situated in the western part of Sarawak, Lundu serves as the gateway to Gunung Gading National Park and Tanjung Datu National Park.

There are two symbols of this town; Normah orchid and Rafflesia flower.

Normah orchid (Phalaenopsis belina) is Sarawak’s very own state flower while Rafflesia tuan-mudae is endemic to Gunung Gading, Lundu.

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Bau

The town of Bau was historically known for its gold mining industry. Hence, it was only natural that the symbol of the town would be its miners.

There is a landmark in Bau depicting three miners with sculptures of Normah orchid and pitcher plants on top.

Serian

Serian town is home to – allegedly – the most delicious and best quality of durian in Sarawak.

There is a giant monument of king of fruits in the middle of Serian market place.

Sarikei

This town is known as the food basket of Sarawak. However, the symbol of this town is not a food basket but a pineapple.

At the Sarikei waterfront, visitors can find a 3.6 high pineapple statue.

The history of pineapple planting in Sarikei goes back to the 1970s. At that time, the locals started to plant pineapples n the Sungai Sawang, Parit Tengah, Parit Bugis, Sungai Salah, Sungai Sageng and Bukit Kinyau areas.

Sri Aman

Although the town is now called Sri Aman, the older generations in Sarawak still call this town Simanggang to this day.

After it was renamed as Sri Aman or town of peace in 1973, the symbol has been a pair of doves.

Betong

The symbol of this town is the rubber tree. This is because Saribas district was one of the first districts in Sarawak to plant rubber tree back in the early 20th century.

The landmark of Betong, a rubber tree statue.
Sibu

Do you know that Sibu is also nicknamed the ‘Swan City’ of Sarawak?

Legend has it there was a famine in Sibu, which ended when a flock of swans flew through the skies of the town.

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Bintulu

Bintulu is the energy town of Sarawak. While most visitors might expect the symbol of this town to be a liquefied natural gas plant, the symbol of this town is actually an egret.

There used to be a landmark of several egret statues in downtown Bintulu which, unfortunately, no longer exists.

Miri

Miri Municipal Council picked the seahorse as the town’s official symbol after it was proposed by then Sarawak chief minister Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud.

It was introduced as part of the “I love Miri Campaign” in 1994.

The seahorse is chosen reportedly because of its beautiful and distinctive figure with gentle and graceful motion just like the multiple ethnic and cultural identities of Miri which live in peace and harmony with good values of life.

Limbang

In the rural parts of Limbang, buffalo are not just used for sources of meat but also in paddy farming, exchanged as dowries and in their famous buffalo races.

The symbol of Limbang town.

With plenty of buffaloes around, it is no surprise Limbang picked it as its town symbol.

Lawas

According to Chang Pat Foh in Legends and History of Sarawak, the famous landmarks of Lawas are the sweet corn and apple.

Sweet corn is the most popular crop planted in Lawas while the apples planted in Ba’ Kelalan in the 80s was a success and has become famous since then.

Patricia Hului
Patricia Hului is a Kayan who wants to live in a world where you can eat whatever you want and not gain weight. She grew up in Bintulu, Sarawak and graduated from the University Malaysia Sabah with a degree in Marine Science. She worked for The Borneo Post SEEDS, which is now defunct. When she's not writing, you can find her in a studio taking belly dance classes, hiking up a hill or browsing through Pinterest. Follow her on Instagram at @patriciahului, Facebook at Patricia Hului at Kajomag.com or Twitter at @patriciahului.
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