KOTA KINABALU: Ever wondered where the rice which you eat everyday comes from? Then, visit a unique museum in the west coast of Kota Belud district to find out.
Sabah’s first rice mill museum - “Aloi’s Godown” – has pictures, information on the old methods of pounding and milling rice as well as padi planting equipment dated as early as the 1920s.
The museum was built by Catherine Chu in commemoration of her late father Chu Thien Loi, or commonly known as Ah Loi, who founded the district’s rice mill in 1965.
In her speech at the museum’s opening ceremony recently, Chu said the establishment of the mill was important for Kota Belud some 80km from Kota Kinabalu, being one of Sabah’s rice bowls.
“This museum was built to collect and display important items related to the rice industry such as old pictures of Kota Belud, rice planting tools and equipment, old methods of pounding rice and milling rice,” she said.
Chu said the museum which was open admission-free until end of this month, would be made to accommodate more rice milling items from around the state to make the museum more complete and attractive.
A small fee would be charged from May 1 onwards. The museum is open from 8am to 5pm daily.
“I hope people who still store old rice milling tools and equipment at their back yard to generously bring in or loan them for display here,” she said, adding that it was vital for the youth to understand how padi was processed into rice during the old days.
In this respect, Ministry of Tourism and Culture Sabah office director, Donald Godfrey Aloysius Gomez commended Chu’s efforts in setting up the museum.
He said this would not only boost tourism in the district, but also educate the public the history of rice milling and planting in Sabah.
“This museum will serve as an important tourist stop-over point and a resting place. Apart from learning more about this district and the history of the rice industry here, there will also be plenty of local delicacies for tasting,” Gomez said.
To this end, he said the government welcomes any development efforts such as this, and urges the public to show their support for such initiatives.