Well, it was not exactly the famous feline character of the French literary fairytale, Puss in Boots, but very close to it. I was referring to the mini parade of cats dressed in colourful costumes at the Cat Fun Show held at The Spring Shopping Mall in Kuching, Sarawak. One of the activities of the show was a Cat Fancy Dress Contest, hence the fanciful attires, ranging from a Victorian-era dress to a Japanese-like Kimono, a Pooh bear outfit, a superman costume and so on. My favourite was the purple Victorian dress worn by a lovely white-coloured Persian cat, who incidentally won the first prize.
The Spring Shopping Mall was one of the largest shopping complexes in Kuching, Sarawak, and the spaciousness of the mall had made it a popular venue for companies and businesses to promote their products or services. The Management of The Spring Shopping Mall, Kuching, frequently collaborated with sponsors and interested parties to organize events or activities as a crowd-puller to the mall. The recent Cat Fun Show, called The Spring for the Love of Cats Show, was the third show organized.
I was roped in to assist during the 2-day show, which were held on a Saturday and Sunday… there went my weekend! But being a cat enthusiast, I put my best paw forward. Arriving at The Spring Shopping Mall, Kuching, at 8.30am on the first day, I helped the organizing team to arrange 71 cages on two rows of tables, like a long, narrow island, which was then cordoned off with partition stands, leaving two entry points at both ends for cat owners and officials to enter or exit. This area would be referred to as the show ring. Flat boards were placed in between the cages to minimize any tension or anxieties of the cats placed inside as most were strangers to each other… thus the saying, “out of sight, out of mind”, and it worked as no cat fights ensued.
The stage area was decorated with a huge colourful backdrop. There were plenty of cat food products displayed on a raised platform on the stage. These were actually the prizes for the Cat Fun Show Competition, sponsored by First Choice, a nutrition cat food company from Canada. Other sponsors for various prizes and gifts were from Rhone Ma, which provided cat health and hygiene products, MPH Bookstore, Home & Living, Isuzu and of course The Spring Shopping Mall, Kuching.
After we set up the registration counter, the first batch of cat owners participating in the show began to arrive. Each participating cat received door gifts of cat shampoo and cat food from the sponsors. By noon, The Spring Shopping Mall, Kuching, had become packed with people, all avidly checking out the display of beautiful felines inside the show ring, from longhair to shorthair, local or household and pedigree cats, in a variety of fur colouring and marking.
The pedigree cats at the show included the American Shorthair, American Curl, British Shorthair, Burmese, Exotic, Maine Coon, Persian, Siamese, Scottish Fold and Turkish Angora. I was fascinated by the American Curl breed, which had curled up ears, while the Scottish Fold breed had folded down ears! They were naturally born with these unusual-shaped ears.
In the world, there were 40 popular cat breeds, which encompassed the hairless breed called the Sphynx and the tailless breed called the Manx. In between breaks, I had an enjoyable and interesting time watching the cats. A good number were used to being in shows so were at ease, either resting or even sleeping. Some would stare curiously back at the crowd of people, and a few were a little uneasy and restless.
Horatio from Kuala Lumpur was the guest judge for the Saturday Cat Fun Show Competition at The Spring Shopping Mall, Kuching. Spectators and shoppers began to gather outside the show ring area as the judging process commenced at 2pm. In a fun show, the judge would generally look for the following criteria in the cat: cleanliness, health, alertness, temperament and overall appearance.
However, for the pedigree cats, the judge also had to evaluate how closely the cat conformed to its respective breed characteristics. For example, a British Shorthair should have a round head and round ears, and not a longish head or pointed ears. Wow, being in a cat show was certainly not as simple as I would think.
Other activities at the show included a couple of presentations on cat breeds, cat care, and how to be a responsible cat owner. The lesson learnt was that we have to treat our cats or our pets as part of our family, with love, respect, and provide them with clean water and food on a daily basis. I would agree with that philosophy.
There was also a “Guess the weight of the cat” contest, whereby a participating cat, a local Turkish Angora mix, was chosen to be “it”; and you could try to guess its weight from afar, head to the registration counter, pay a RM1 per guess fee, get a tiny form, fill in the blanks, then drop into the “Guess” box. The winner would be the one who guessed the weight nearest to the cat’s weight.
The first day ended with the anticipated announcements of the winners for the Cat Fun Show Competition. There were 8 different categories with 5 prizes up for grabs in each category: 3 consolation prizes and the 3rd, 2nd and 1st prizes. The winner for the “Guess the weight of the cat” contest was also revealed. It was past 10pm when I reached home, and my feet and back were complaining, not that I blamed them, and I had to be at The Spring Shopping Mall, Kuching, again the next day.
The programme for the second day of the show was quite similar to the previous day; with the exception that the judge on Sunday was Dr. Nicholas, a vet from Kuching, to preside over the Cat Fun Show Competition. There was no Cat Fancy Dress Contest; but the Guess the Weight of the Cat Contest was held again, with a different cat, a pedigree Scottish Fold, being chosen as “it”. Apparently, the contest had gained popularity overnight as a lot more people participated.
The new activity on Sunday was a Kids Cat Colouring Contest for children aged from 7-9 years old organized by The Spring Shopping Mall, Kuching. There were a total of 18 children who participated, with 6 prizes to be won, worth from RM50 to RM200 in cash vouchers and gift hampers. The second day ended once more with the awaited announcements of the winners for the Cat Fun Show Competition for 8 categories as well as the winner for the Guess the Weight of the Cat Contest.
I stayed on after the show to assist with the clearing of the cages and partitions. It had been a tiring 2 days, not only for the organizing team, judges, presenters, cat owners, but also the cats themselves. However, I would gladly lend a helping paw in the next cat show in Kuching, Sarawak, because such events provided a win-win situation for all parties involved, and also created better awareness of our feline friends.
SANTUBONG: The Rainforest World Craft Bazaar (RWCB) was a big hit among locals, especially female entrepreneurs, judging by both the crowd and gamut of goods sold during the 3-day extravaganza.
Among those participating at the RWCB, which was held in conjunction with the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) 2011, were four entrepreneurs sponsored by the Women’s Bureau of the Chief Minister’s Department.
The group’s representative Amal Hussain said this was the first time they participated in RWCB and they were thrilled to bits with the response from festival-goers.
“There are always customers at our booths and tourists just love our local handicrafts,” he said.
Amal said that he and his female friends did not want to miss the good business opportunity provided by the Women’s Bureau to promote their goods.
Among items sold at the bazaar were ceramics, traditional costume jewellery from various local ethnic groups and cakes.
“Most of the things we sold were purchased by foreign tourists because they said they wanted something that reflects the beautiful Sarawak culture.”
Local entrepreneurs sponsored by Women’s Bureau yesterday were Kecobong Qurnia Resources (accessories), Noorhajiah Osman (keringkam), Sarawak Indian Women Association (henna art) and Borneo Ceramic (ceramic-based products).
Besides local entreprenuers, RWCB was also participated by entrepreneurs from Africa, Sabah and Indonesia.
At its final day yesterday, exhibition and product booths were packed with visitors. Everyone seemed to be rushing for pottery, airbrush tattoo, food and drinks and even the dance workshops.