This year, we welcome the Year of the Rat and wish health, happiness and prosperity to our friends.
Our accompanying image is of Siniawan Old Town. It was in this area that three communities actively came together under Brooke rule. Siniawan was rebuilt by Singaporean carpenters who settled there in 1858 at the invitation of Charles Brooke. The Malay village across the river from the Chinese shophouses sprung up around the same time while the Bidayuh of Peninjau guided travellers from the landing point at Siniawan to the Rajah's cottage on Mt Peninjau.
Siniawan has been revived over the last decade from a sleepy hamlet (bypassed by the construction of a highway) to a popular tourist destination due to its vibrant weekend night markets - a testament to a highly engaged and united community that comprises families who are descended from those early settlers.