Taman Wayang Street to be rejuvenated, incorporated under Old Kuching heritage programme

Hilmy (fourth right) flanked by Wee (on his left) and Yong (on his right) photographed with others during light switching ceremony at Taman Wayang Street, Kuching on Feb 17, 2024.

By Shikin Louis

KUCHING, Feb 18: Taman Wayang Street or Wayang Park, a lesser-known mini park located in the heart of Kuching, will be rejuvenated under Old Kuching Smart Heritage (OKSHe)’s Heritage Trail Programme, which brings tourists along historical routes in the city.

Aware that not many people know about the existence of the mini park, Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) Mayor Hilmy Othman said he had gathered some good feedback from the local community leaders on how to bring the place back to life.

Lanterns at Taman Wayang Street, Kuching on Feb 17, 2024.

“Maybe some of the lanes here will be converted into a night market and so on.

“Additionally, I think we have very good suggestions from the Kuching Hokkien Association (KHA) on renovating the buildings, including the Hong San Si temple, and our duty is to upgrade the pavement here so it will be a blend together.

“We will look into this matter slowly so that the other areas will be covered with that sort of joint effort by DBKU and the community at large,” he said after officiating the Pre-Chap Goh Mei Chinese New Year Lantern Lighting Ceremony held at Taman Wayang Street here yesterday (Feb 17).

Also present were KHA president Dato Richard Wee, Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Kuching Branch chairlady Datuk Lily Yong, as well as the ceremony’s organising chairpersons Kapitan Lim Chuan Chan and Kapitan Kho Pek Choo.

A tree decorated with lanterns at Taman Wayang Street, Kuching, on Feb 17, 2024.

Despite being a small garden, Taman Wayang Street has a miniature fountain with a water hydrant next to it that happened to have a spooky tale to tell, according to a monument erected at the place.

It was believed that in the 1830s, the first Rajah of Sarawak, Rajah James Brooke, was passing by the Hong San Si Grand stage and saw a little boy of about seven years old playing with water at the site.

Later, Brooke enquired about the little boy to the locals, but no one knew who he was. Some even believed that the little boy was the manifestation of the Deity Kong Teck Choon Ong.

Out of respect, Brooke erected a water hydrant next to the Hong San Si temple for the little boy with the hope of bringing prosperity to Kuching, but it was later dismantled to make way for development.

In 2005, Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Kuching Branch chairlady Datuk Lily Yong who was the then Padungan assemblywoman, helped reinstall the water hydrant and build a garden to allow the legend to live on. — DayakDaily