30 May, Malaysia – ‘All Over The Place – Asia’
Caught a flight to Borneo this morning (things like that look so ridiculous when I write them down). We all left super early and Ben and I rode to the airport in our fantastic fixer H’s car. It was really interesting chatting about his background and seeing how the grass is always greener on the other side. I’ve been thinking how nice it would be to live in a country with a warmer climate like this, and apparently his 12 year old daughter hates it and is already plotting how she can escape one day to somewhere where it’s cooler and less humid… like the UK. Human beings are never happy are they?
Once we got to the airport it turned out our flight to Kuching had been cancelled and we’d been bumped to a flight an hour and a half later. This instantly turned another one of our days into a hassle, as we were supposed to be filming in the Kuching Cat Museum that afternoon (the only one in the world, people).
Kuching is also known as “The City of Cats”, mostly because the name of the city sounds like the word “cat”. When we arrived around lunchtime it was raining, but by the time we got in front of the camera on a roundabout covered in giant cat sculptures the sun had come out and we got a little taste of rainforest humidity. Luckily the rest of our filming was to take place in the museum itself, so we took a short drive in the bus, noticing along the way how the landscape had changed from this morning. You get the feeling that the city is only just keeping back the jungle, and everything’s more low rise and there seems to be a bit more of a Chinese influence in the architecture.
The collection itself is housed in the large modernist glass town hall on a hill overlooking the city. It’s pretty big. It was the private collection of someone who used to work at the town hall, and seemed to have one defining criteria – if it’s in any way related to a cat, it’s in. There are cat sculptures, mummified cats, posters for cat food, posters of films that have cats in them, breeding charts and tables, the list goes on. My favourite corner was an area given over entirely to stuffed cats that had been run over and brought to the museum by their owners to be lovingly (and not altogether realistically) restored.
Our museum representative was very enthusiastic and slightly nervous, and Ben and I tried our best to put him at his ease, although he must have been wondering what on earth was going on, as we spent the first half pretending to be cat obsessed fashionistas and then I dressed up as Gameshow Man, with all the insanity that that normally entails.
As we exited the museum through the giant cat’s head built around the doorway we felt pretty pleased with ourselves to have got it all in the bag. In fact, you could say we felt the cat’s whiskers. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!