The Murum dam, located about 470km inland from Miri, is the first of 12 new dams that are to be constructed throughout Sarawak The Star online, 29 Jan 2010
in 2008, we did a Sanitation and health promotion project among the Iban folks down the river of Batang Ai, Lubok Antu, Sarawak. specifically, we were in Ng. Delok (nanga (river) Delok), some 2 hours boat ride from the jetty of Batang Ai Hydroelectric dam.
if you can imagine a small island of approx 5 km in diameter, put the longhouse (of 14 doors) (approx 5mX15m per door) at one corner, you're imagining Ng. Delok. it used to be the pinnacle of a hill, but, ever since the 'flood' in 1985, their hill has been reduced to a small island as it is now. these people are those who refused to relocate. (and, i guess, those who chose to relocate, fare no better).
the Batang Ai dam is a water catchment area and a hydroelectric generating dam. ironically, no electricity, no clean, treated water for any of the settlements scattered over the vast artificial lake.
i spent about 3 weeks with those folks down river (in 3 visits). they are the most contented people i'd ever mingled with. they tap their rubber for little money, catch fish, hunt for meat, take the jungle produce (whatever little left for them- they're living in a buffer area of a National Park), tend to their patches of paddy field and make tuak. (O! i survived their merriment procedure with my dignity and mind intact).
but somehow, somehow, i wish, instead of wasting time and energy arguing about the legality of some words to be used for certain group of people. maybe, its time to consider giving people more choices/ options in life. like, maybe giving those folks down river options of having or not to have electricity/ treated water, and maybe the options to keep on writing/ calling the name of God in any way suited to ones liking.
i know, those folks down river wont mind a change or two. electricity will mean all night through karaoke session with an opening prayer to Al lah Ta'ala (God in Iban)
i sincerely hope, Sarawak will listen to the voices of its people and not being bullied by a white hair ape or the trans-sea-monkeys, and certainly not being pressured to win the rat race of so called development. in the end, we're only trying to give people more options in life. its up to them to pick their choice.
(this morning i was presented with a choice to pick a red/yellow rambutan, i took both. we can be too selfish, sometime). and yesterday i picked KWSP instead of pension option (to the dismay and stringful of good advices (against) from our PT). and now, i'm doubtful over my choice.
the latest story of Bakun Dam