Monday, April 18, 2011

Time out in Kenyalang Park

Kenyalang Park is one of the oldest housing estates in Kuching and today still bears the hallmarks of its modern planning such the creation of pedestrain links and a self sustaining communal centre. The architecural langauage is similarly Modernist with its blade-walls as fire-breaks in between the terrace (row) houses and the terrazzo sun-shades in the neighbouring shophouses.

Since its inception in the 1970s, it has created its own identity and even its own sub-culture. This is been surpassed by the recent influx of shopping arcades but once every so often the local Kuchingite still venture to Kenyalang Park especially during Chinese festivals. Paper lanterns during the Mooncake festival; fire-crackers, banners and flowers for the Chinese New Year.

It is the underbelly of Kenyalang Park that I enjoy; the selling of privated DVDs, the seedy kopi-tiams (coffee-shops) selling cheap kopi-O to the horse-racing bookies and their clientele. The smell of desperation mingled with cigarette smoke is a powerful narcotic to many - judging from the number people clustered around the heavily tatooed gentlemen with handfuls of money.

I spent a little time and even less money (on cheap coffee and a Stabilo Point 188 pen) and sketched the shops with their terrazzo fins and glass (and aluminium) louvres in between for ventilation. The face brickwork adds colour and texture to the simple concrete framed structures. Later I wandered towards the traffic gardens and sketched the terrace houses flanking the park; there were children playing badminton in the streets, some flying kites.It was 6 pm; someone is frying fish for dinner and the smell reminded me that I was hungry. 

Time to go home.


  1. Hi Min - Lovely drawings of a special place in your (and my) heart. Your blog showed up on a Swinburne (Design Real)group page on FB posted by my colleague, a resident and another lover of Kenyalang Park - Kristian Lee. We are working on a project - ICOGRADA DESIGN WEEK 2012 - and would I think like to talk about how your work/site might be linked in to the planned and developing a local web portal for the event in October. My email - - will find me if you were available for discussion? - AFW