The Borneo Post
July 4, 2010, Sunday
KUCHING: The parking lot of the Civic Centre here was transformed into a party ground of sorts on Friday evening when thousands of hashers gathered for the Sarawak Rainforest Interhash 2010.
It was a spectacle to behold as a staggering 90 per cent of the 4,500 ‘party-goers’ were foreigners! This three-day international event is believed to be the only one ever organised in the state which was able to bring so many foreigners into the city.
“Not even the renowned Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) can beat this,” enthused organising chairman Gary Goh, who observed that most RWMF-goers were Asians, rather than westerners. The biggest group was from Australia. There were more than 1,000 hashers from Down Under.
“The rest are from the United Kingdom, the United States, Indonesia, Ghana, Japan, Korea and some other countries,” Goh told journalists after Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit officiated at the celebration.
Goh added that over RM2 million were sourced to make the event happen for the hashers from 64 nations.
In his speech, Dawos said most hashers were nature lovers and the participants this year would get to experience the biodiversity in the state.
“I used to be a hasher and I know hashers run in the forests, cross the mountains and rivers. They love nature and in Kuching all of you will get to see nature and wild animals,” he said.
Dawos believed that this international event would help heighten awareness on climate change.
“The sea level has risen because of climate change. And Sarawak has an increase of 30 per cent more frequency of rain,” he told the huge crowd.
Dawos, who is also the member of parliament for Mambong, was pleased to note that the participants would get to experience nature in his constituency.
Seven rou tes have been drawn up for them, and the longest one, stretching 23 kilometres, covers Kampung Sitaang and Kampung Bangau. The other routes covers Kampung Mambong, Kampung Bawang, Kampung Kuap, Kampung Pesa, Kampung Apar and Kampung Semadang. A fireworks display followed the official opening on Friday.
The participants were then entertained by, among others, a thunder-drums troupe and lion dance performances.