The new year 2018 was ushered by durian politics rather then realpolitik in Sarawak

Durian stall in Matang, Kuching. Pic Sanib


THE YEAR 2018 WAS USHERED QUIETLY by durian politics here in Sarawak rather then realpolitik.   Even though the 14th General Election is just around the corner, Sarawakians seemed more interested in durian politics.  The debates were raging through out the state on what seemed to be a surprise bumper harvest of durians after waiting for about 2 years.

The Best Durian from Kampung Pasir Pandak

Durians now are found in almost every towns in Sarawak.  The fruits in the state are mostly from semi-wild garden just in the vicinity of the wild forest of Borneo.  In term of the physical appearance the fruits are in all kinds of sizes and colours of green and yellow.  Being close to nature some have been damaged by insects.  However, they taste heavenly if you are fortunate enough to get the best one.  However the best durian is not from the wild forest but from Pasir Pandak, a Malay coastal village, just about 20KM from the city of Kuching.

Just Suck the Flesh

My wife and I are durian lovers.  As a kampung boy, I can say I am an expert in choosing the best fruits.  The best durian is one with strong smell while the flesh should be yellowish and thick and evenly soft with a small seed.  The heavenly taste is difficult to describe – not too sweet, creamy fudge feeling with the tangy smell.  Just suck the flesh from the seed and lick it clean.

Price Wars

Price war

In the city of Kuching up-teens spots to buy durians; the more famous ones are at the carpark behind eMart in Matang, Jalan Merdeka/Tupong and the Pasar Satok/Kubah.  Barely a month ago the fruits were very expensive where a small cost RM20.  In the first week of January 2018 a price war started and customers could chose price ranges from RM5, RM8, RM10 and RM20 roughly based on size only.  Some sold by the ikat or tompok (bundle) and even per basket.

Eat All You Want

Eat all you want for RM10!

Unlike poster wars during the election, there is ongoing price wars.  Yesterday I received a whatapp message that said a seller in Jalan Merdeka was offering RM5 to RM8 each with the assurance of that bad fruits could be returned and replaced.  Later there was another message with a picture of a placard in Asa Jaya declaring eat all you can for only RM10!

8 Months of Durian Season

Duriang dinner at Sibolang, Medan, Indonesia

A month ago my wife and I were in Medan, Indonesia for a conference.  When we were informed that durian season was around, as durian lovers, we searched for the fruits soon enough.  We were told there are two spots to find it and we chose to got to Sibolang where it sells durian like in a cafe – properly seated and served.  We had our durian dinner for two consecutive nights.  However, the taste was not as good as the durian in Sarawak.  The durian season here, were told, lasts for 8 months.

Let’s forget politics while the durian season lasts!


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Studied History as my major from the University of Malaya, in particular history of Sarawak for BA, MA and PhD. My writings come from the English literature and my stories are from history. I have written several books, among them are Malay Politics in Sarawak (Oxford, 1985); Melayu Sarawak: Sejarah Yang Hilang (UNIMAS, 2013; 2nd ed. Saramedia, 2016).

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