Night in a longhouse | Mr. Prime Minister please read this
Belaga Travel Blog› entry 34 of 52 › view all entries
January 18th, 2010 – by: herman_munster
There are many Kenyah and Kayan longhouses along the Balui and Belaga rivers( where Batang Rajang River ends and branch into Balui and Belaga), and along the Rajang river are the Punan, Sekapan, Kejaman and Tanjung longhouses.
We didn’t know where to start upon arriving Belaga Town. The town that comprises of 2 rows of shop houses. Haven’t had lunch, we found Malay restaurant called Hasbee Enterprise, the only Malay food I could have in town. Turns out the owner knows someone that arranging longhouse experience tour. It was Daniel Levoh, who’s name exactly mentioned by Lonely Planet,Gerrit been carrying all along.
We finished our lunch and walked behind the shophouse row to his building’ Daniel Corner. As always this people trying on suggest the itineraries that reimburse him the maximum pay out he could. Typically 4 days guides of 2 nights longhouse experience, boatride to Bakun Dam -the remotest Borneo interior of hydroelectric lake the size of Singapore, and 4x4 drive out to Miri town cost us RM800(€160) each! That’s too much money I have no desire to spend.
So we dropped our bag at his building.And picked up necessary items for an overnight such as mosquito net, torchlight, Gerrit mosquito stick (like deodorant stick). Daniel has been remodeling his 2 storey building to house a dorm type accommodation to cater this sort of remote Borneo experience. We had a peek at the rooms. Later our guide took us in wooden longboat , drove for for 15 minutes reaching Rumah panjang Orang Ulu (Upriver Tribe longhouse).
The distinct features of longhouse is long porch and big including extended family staying in the same block.
The host family, Joseph his wife and 2 kids(one of them staying in boarding school during weekedays) been living in the longhouse for couple of years. The 20 years old previous one located next to current one was burned down by unknown cause. We were sleeping in Joseph daughter’s room. Later on the longhouse chief named Lutep joined us chatting. Gerrit continued wandered around the house the kitchen,living and communal area whislt I was escorted by Lutep to give portion of our tour payment to the in-need family as a donation. While strolling down the long porch, one of the occupants invited me inside his long overdue renovated house and had brief conversation and the wife brought drinks (tradition to serve guest coming over) , that later on I realized the convesation swayed into a political agenda LOL.
Whilst I was from Peninsula Malaysia, and presumed I’m there to help them, he eagerly asked me to write a report of their life condition to Malaysian Prime Minister HA !.
So Mr Najib Tun Razak, if you reading this, please fulfill your promises to the Orang Ulu Tribe ! You have taken major part of Borneo to built Bakun Hydroelectric but not even a tiny electrical power been channeled to the longhouse. They been using generator ! The only background noise that forms a life in the dark.
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