20 Mar 2011 – Kampung Bawang Assan/Sibu

Breakfast before 0700hrs so as to make the most of this last day in Sibu. Quite a sad scene at the coffee shop, a young boy about age 6, washing cups with an older guy yelling at him on top of his voice. Controlled the tears but left as soon as I could shallow the last bit of noodles. Gratitude and thoughts to grand-uncle and grandfather for having the courage and guts to venture out of their poverty and for making a fortune so that we were given the opportunity to an education!

In archaeology and anthropology, a longhouse is a type of long, proportionately narrow, single-room building built by people in various parts of the world including Asia, Europe and N America. Many of the Dayaks in Borneo live traditionally in buildings known as a longhouse, Rumah panjang in Malay. They are built raised off the ground on stilts (best accustomed to jungle life) and are divided into a more or less public area along one side and a row of private living quarters lined along the other side. It is kind of like a village on stilts!

About an hour by car from Sibu crossing the Batang Isan Bridge is the Bawang Assan Village longhouse/希望在马来西亚,砂拉越诗巫, home of the Iban people who were into headhunting until as recently as in the late 1940s. In some very remote locations there may even still be the odd beheading but no worries will not be going in that direction 🙂

These 100yrs old foundations of the houses are made from Belian hardwood, the only wood in Borneo capable of being submerged for a long time. Appreciations to Catherine Eyut Ak Pasai (who is younger than me but has 5 children, 13 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren!) & her family for sharing their lunch and for showing me their home. The ayam pansuh=chicken cooked in bamboo and ikan pansuh=fish… tasted heavenly!

Thanks to her family and the locals who so graciously allow to be photographed. And thank you to beautiful old trees 🙂

If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of ten years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people – Confucius