On Azy's invite, we spent part of Saturday afternoon drawing Chinese shop houses along Padungan Road; one of the older streets al Kuching. It is a precinct of the 'shop-house' - a double storey combination of the 'shop' on the ground floor with the 'house' on the upper floor. All the shop fronts are linked by '5-foot-way' or a street corridor, ideal for keeping up the tropical sun and shelter from afternoon rain-storms. This is a common feature on colonial South East Asia.
More interestingly, (as Victor pointed out) are the near extinct concrete spiral stairs at the rear of the shops - they serve as fire escapes, the spiral configuration is presumably to save space. Adopted at a time when the Fire Department accepted them. This particular one leads to an illegal roof top extension - from the looks of it, it is someone's roof top nursery or kitchen garden as some of the kitchens are on the top floor.