Tiyung Dayak – “The Sour Dayak Apple” in Bidayuh Politics

For the Greater Glory of Bidayuh Politics

An expedition to the “down under”…

The following “photo-essay” will show you some of the photos that I took on July 26, 2009 (Sunday) during our joyful boat ride along the Rejang River and its Baleh tributary, i.e. from Sibu to Kapit to Putai in the Upper Baleh.

 

 

The not-so-awesome “choreographed” combo photos, which were taken during my second “state visit” to Kapit – another beautiful town by the Rejang River... My first visit was in 1992 and yup!; after more than 18 years, the town has changed a lot!

 

 

 

People who are living along the Rejang River (including Upper Rejang (Balui tributary) and Upper Baleh (Baleh tributary)) depend on express boats as their major transportation mode. Shown here is the real, “day-to-day operations” at Kapit Wharf Terminal. The boats were fully loaded with people and goods and some people are risking their lives by sitting on top of the boats. It happens all the time, anyway! Well, I would say that this situation is similar to India and some African states’ “pitiful” public transportation!

 

 

 

The ye-olde, blue color “express” boat that serve to transport people and goods to and fro Kapit. Was there any life jacket on board?! I’m not sure!

 

 

 

A signage at Kapit Wharf Terminal, showing the travel distance to four “popular destinations” up river... Yup; Putai is the last destination point in the Upper Baleh. By the way, did you see what I saw? Yup; the tagline “Safe, Clean and Natural Rivers”... Well, it’s too good to be true!!!

 

 

 

As shown in this photo, there is no rail guard attached at the edge of the “walkway” of this express boat! So, the applied rule of thumb is “walking at your own risk” lah...

 

 

 

The lucky, Malayan teachers were on their way back to a school. It is assumed that the school is located nearby the longhouse...

 

 

 

I zoomed in my camera and as a result, a blurred photo was produced for your viewing pleasure! The above photo is showing five secondary school teachers were on their way back to SMK. Baleh (Baleh Secondary School), which is located by the riverbank. It’s post-payday actually, so they took the same boat with us – all the way from Sibu. If I’m not mistaken, there’s a ye-olde, small (cargo) ship wreckage at a river bend (half submerged) not far from that school!

 

 

 

The two express boats were berthing at one of the logponds along the Baleh tributary to unload its passengers and “priceless” cargo – mostly machinery spare parts – transported either from Sibu or Kapit.

 

 

 

The unloading of “big and small” passengers, including goods. Some of the passengers are timber workers (including their family members) and some are the kampong folks. The timber logponds are the major transit points in connecting most people who are living in the remote area to Kapit and Sibu.

 

 

 

An innovative but risky way of unloading, “heavy metal” goods using a crane at one of the logponds...

 

 

 

This photo is showing the other bypassing express boat that was fully loaded with people and goods. The two, narrow exit doors (left and right sides) are located in the middle of the boat.

 

 

 

The following photos were taken on August 1, 2009 (Saturday) during our memorable trip down the Baleh tributary, i.e. on our way back to Kapit and Sibu…

 

 

This photo was taken during the “ai langkang” (the low water level) season, which is very common in July/August during the drought season (according to reliable sources). The “dried” river bed as shown here was “filled” with rotten, “sinker-type” wood debris. Some of these debris were originated from the logponds (in the form of bucked logs and were discriminately disposed by irresponsible logpond operators into the river). By looking at this photo, I would say that a large quantity of debris might come from the clear felled areas for new oil palm plantations, which are the biggest culprit in contributing rotten wood debris that finally caused a massive logjam on October 7, 2010! Believe it or not, business people and their “minions” seldom care much about the river anymore (particularly in setting up riverbank buffer zones), as long as the money comes in!

 

 

These log rafters found it hard to move their logs due to shallow river. Well, they might be part of the illegal logging team in transporting floatable logs along the Baleh tributary to a nearby logpond (or a standby barge)... Yup, right!; these folks does have rights to earn their living from diminishing Sarawak timbers...

 

 

During the “ai langkang” season, this part of Baleh tributary isn’t navigable by overcrowded and overloaded express boat(s). The passengers have no choice but to walk down among the rotten wood debris for about 500 m down the river before they could continue with their journey down to Kapit...

 

 

I’m not bluffing, folks! This is part of the “material evidence” presented in here! Luckily, I brought my GPS device; tracked the “rotten wood debris” trail and uploaded it into Google Earth. The walking distance was about 524 m (more than half a kilometer)! I’m sure that some readers might be familiar with this area.

 

 

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October 29, 2010 - Posted by | 03 Miscellaneous

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