Astana in a bank of Sarawak River

Pohon Tapang in a bank of Sarawak River: in front of ASTANA.

The tapang tree is our language. What is the English equivalent? I can’t find it! Only found in the repertoire of scientific languages, namely Latin: Kompassia exelcia.

Entering the courtyard of Astana on the banks of the Sarawak river in Kuching.  I admire not just the tapang trees but all of this history, buildings and area. 

I came to Kuching for the purpose of researching many things related to the history of ethnicity, Rajah Brooke, my Bidayuh tribe, and the Iban which have been my research topics for a long time. I have written many articles and two books about the Iban, one of which is the historical novel Keling Kumang (2015). 

I really understand that Astana is an integral part, inseparable from Sarawak and Bidayuh — there was the Bidayuh Revolt against the Sultan — where the Rajah pretended to be helping for a different intention.

In the historical horizon, I also want to know: why are the Iban called the “Sea Dyak of Borneo?” –one of the books I read was by Edwin Gomes Seventeen Years among The Sea Dyaks of Borneo (Seeley and CO Limited, London – 1911).

Sarawak takes it name from a river which flows from the Penrissen to Kuching, and meanders its way through a wide alluvial plain until it reaches the South Sea.

The Astana, or palace, was built by Rajah Charles Brooke in 1870 at a time of his marriage to Miss Margaret de Windt: a bridal gift. In fact, the Astana a set of three spacious bungalows.

In 1931 was renovated, skilled craftsmen from Hongkong were employed to decorate the ceilings on the main rooms with ornate plaster stuccco.

After that, since Malaysia Day, the Astana now is the residence of the HE Governor Sarawak.

In the day I come,  the Astana was not open to the public. So that I can’t entry…

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Masri Sareb Putra
Articles: 729

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