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 KINO HERITAGE 
A musical take on Sarawak’s living heritage
 BY FR. ALVIN NG, SJ 

GRACING THE PORTICO above the iconic General Post Office in downtown Kuching is a crest. Below it is emblazoned the Latin words, Dum Spiro Spero – As I breathe I hope.

It is the motto of the Brookes of Sarawak and one can spot these same words sitting gracefully at the foot of the badger-topped, family coat of arms.

The words capture the quiet confidence that, as along as humanity has breath, it has hope. It also speaks of a certain boldness and sanguinity that only an adventurer such as James Brooke would possess when he left his native Bath, England to come to Sarawak in 1839.

The boldness to go to the frontiers and sail on unchartered waters is perhaps the spirit behind the creators of the original musical, The White Rajah of Sarawak.

Conceived and put together by a group of energetic young teachers from St. Joseph’s Family of Schools, Kuching, The White Rajah of Sarawak features an original script accompanied by 9 songs, 6 of which are original compositions.

Balancing historical accuracy and artistic creativity, the musical chronicles the life of James Brooke, the first white Rajah of Sarawak.

There is adventure, intrigue, romance and comedy as there are songs, dance and music. An all- student cast, accompanied by the school’s orchestra and a chorus of singers completes what is the school’s biggest stage production since its inception in 2012.

The production is a musical take on the rich, living heritage of Sarawak and her people. As Sarawakians would say in the local lingo: “Kamek orang Sarawak.” Celebrating unity in creative diversity, the musical hopes to open the performing arts scene in Kuching to new vistas, where originality meets with innovation; timeless traditions with contemporary interests.

To the knowledge of the teachers, there is, to date, no such play or musical in existence although there is news of a film being made based on the same theme.

Continuing the emphasis to promote the performing arts amongst students and in keeping with the desire of imparting education beyond the ordinary, the production of The White Rajah of Sarawak has student development and learning at its heart.

It is hoped that the musical will:

  • Allow students to experience staging a full-scale drama  production
  • Develop an interest in drama and stagecraft among the students
  • Give an opportunity for students to realize and develop their talents in acting and  other creative endeavours
  • Expose students to the rigours of staging a musical production while supporting and allowing  them to learn from the process
  • Spark an interest in local Sarawakian history, literature  and dramatic arts among  students in the school

Joseph’s Family of Schools is pleased to present The White Rajah of Sarawak from 3 to 5 August 2017 at the the Archdiocesan Curia and Cathedral Parish Centre (ACCPC), St. Joseph’s Cathedral. Tickets priced at RM80, RM50 and RM30 are available for purchase at St. Joseph’s Private School office located at Jalan Nagor, Kuching. For more information, please call 082-414575.

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KUCHING IN & OUT magazine has been birthed out of the desire of Kuching residents to explore and discover more about all the unique places, activities and resources in this region that make Kuching such a special place to live.

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