Koompassia Exelcia in a bank of Sarawak River: in front of Astana

Kompassia Exelcia in a bank of Sarawak River
ASTANA, Sarawak

The tapang tree, also known as "Kompassia excelsa" in scientific language (Latin), seems to have a unique place in your language or culture, and it appears that there is no direct English equivalent for it. 

It's not uncommon for some indigenous or local plants, especially those found in specific regions, to lack a direct translation in other languages. In such cases, they are often referred to by their scientific or Latin names to avoid confusion.

Unfortunately, "Kompassia excelsa" has now become a rare sight in Borneo. This sacred tree, often home to honeybee colonies, is dwindling in numbers. 

Whether due to deforestation for plantations or old age, some of these trees, which are hundreds of years old, are not being replanted. Therefore, the trees that shade the Astana area in Kuching have become an exotic and historically valuable environmental sight.
Sarawak takes its name from a river that flows from the Penrissen to Kuching and meanders its way through a wide alluvial plain until it reaches the South Sea.
As you entered the courtyard of Astana on the banks of the Sarawak River in Kuching, you found yourself admiring not just the tapang trees but also the rich history, buildings, and the overall area.

If you are a true adventurer who wants to uncover the intricacies of how Sarawak became what it is today, go to Kuching. Your curiosity will be satisfied when you witness firsthand various aspects related to ethnic history, Rajah Brooke, the Bidayuh tribe, and the Iban community. You will also come to understand how Kuching and Sarawak, despite their proximity to Indonesia, exhibit quite distinctive differences.

One of the historical legacies of the "White Rajah," Sir James Brooke, is the Astana, situated on the banks of the Sarawak River. Its beauty is truly extraordinary. Viewed from the Waterfront, it is not only a majestic area but also stunning, with a vast expanse of lush grounds shaded by typical tropical rainforest trees.

Astana is an integral part, inseparable from Sarawak and Bidayuh — there was the Bidayuh Revolt against the Sultan — where the Rajah pretended to be helping for a different intention.

In the historical horizon, I also want to know: why are the Iban called the “Sea Dyak of Borneo?” –one of the books I read was by Edwin Gomes Seventeen Years among The Sea Dyaks of Borneo (Seeley and CO Limited, London – 1911).

Sarawak takes its name from a river that flows from the Penrissen to Kuching and meanders its way through a wide alluvial plain until it reaches the South Sea.

The Astana, also known as the palace, was constructed by Rajah Charles Brooke in 1870 during his marriage to Miss Margaret de Windt. It was a bridal gift to his wife. In fact, the Astana consists of a set of three spacious bungalows.

In 1931, the Astana underwent renovation, and skilled craftsmen from Hong Kong were employed to adorn the ceilings of the main rooms with ornate plaster stucco.

Read also Koompassia Excelsa: Natural Beekeeping For The Dayak People

Since Malaysia Day, the Astana has served as the residence of the HE Governor of Sarawak.

At the time of my visit, the Astana was not open to the public, so I was unable to enter and explore its interior. (Rangkaya Bada)

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