Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Visiting Bawang Assan Iban Village

Bawang Assan is an area west of Sibu town,further down the Chinese village of Sg. Bidut. It is just about 30 km from Sibu Town centre if you drive there via the Igan Bridge.Alternatively you can also reach the place by boat, but the boat service is rather not regular these days.

The main attraction of the area is the community of 8 Iban longhouses,the oldest of which was built more than 100 years ago. Several of the longhouses are located along the Rajang River and the Sungai Bawang Assan, a small tributary of the Rajang. Apart from the main 8 longhouses, there are also numerous individual houses built near to these longhouses.

This wooden bridge across Sungai Bawang Assan links the communities together and it is also a landmark for the village which has roughly 1500 people. If you stand on top of the bridge, it gives you a beautiful panoramic view of the entire village and its surrounding areas.

Most of the villagers are working in the town area or outstations. Life in the village is still slow and easy. Although the surrounding rivers are badly polluted, they still provide certain amount of fish and prawn as food and cash income for the villagers.

The small prawns here are for making "cincaluk", a popular sauce among both the Ibans and Chinese.

Fishing is a favourite pastime and it is mostly done during the high tide. Fishing nets,hooks and some fishing traps are the most common tools. You notice a cute little shinny ball attached to the fishing rod in the above picture. That is some kind of bell which will alert the anglers once the fish starts pulling the line.

Bigger fish are hard to come by nowadays. However even a small one like this is enough to satisfy the anglers.

This is Mary (not her real name) a beautiful and friendly Iban lady. Although she still shy away when people ask her personal things, she manages a big smile for my camera.

And this is Irene, an extremely affable and helpful lady. Irene previously worked for the church in Sibu and she has wide contacts. People who wish to visit the Iban longhouses in Bawang Assan can contact her via the Sibu Visitors' Information Centre (Tel:6-084-340980). She will ensure your visit to her village a happy and eventful one. Homestay programe can be arranged if you give advance notice to her.


Anonymous said...

The bridge reminds me of the Rialto in Venice. When was it built? Can we ask them to name it as Rialto?

kenergy said...

very nice pic! Love it!

cc said...

I really like small town like this. Gives me a sense of peacefulness and serenity.

suituapui said...

The first and last time I was at the longhouse was in 1969! Gee! Where were u then? Primary school? LOL!!!...Oh, we used to catch those shrimps in the streams...and eat them raw with sambal!!! So sweet and nice! Won;t do that now...cos the water may not be clean!

Tony Hii said...

Philip, this village has potentials to be a tourist attraction. We talked about CAN way back in 90s for the central region. I think Bawang Assan fits in well.

rubberseeds said...

anonymous:Yes, it looks like Rialto in Venice and also some of the bridges on Seine River, Paris.Have to check the year it was was there already during my first visit in the 80s.How about we name it Rialto Assan and ask the Tourism Minister to have a launching ceremony?

Kenergy: Thanks for dropping by.Wow!, you have a nice blog too and that is the first one I read in Iban language. Ulih nemu mit mit aja! Is my Iban correct?

cc: You are correct. Perhaps as we grow older we all want peace of mind. I always dream of living up on the forested hills, beside a beautiful and clean mountain stream.NZ is a really wonderful place I think. You are lucky.

stp: Did you take any photo of the place in 1969? Was that bridge already built? Haha, I was in primary school that year...but not your student.

Tony: CAN was a total failure in the central region.Government was partly to be blamed, but the private sector, especially the inbound tour operators should bear the bigger blame for its failure.It's a long story and I strongly urge those selfish members of the tourism body (is it the Federation Of Sarawak Tourist Association?)to quit and give way to more dynamic and younger people.

saoirse said...

hey rubberseed, I really love your pictures. Show me the long house, I always cannot imagine how it looks like. Does the Iban look different from Malay? What dialect they speak?

rubberseeds said...

saoirse:May I invite you to come to Sarawak for a visit to the Iban longhouse? See for yourself how their longhouses look like and how do they look. They speak the Iban language, quite different from the BM. But now it's already mix.

Chris AngelicDemon said...

hey, that's my kampung :-)

rubberseeds said...

Chris: Hi, thanks for dropping by. Sure you know most of the guys in the photos. I want to visit your kampung again, when are you going back?

Wesley said...

Wow, thats my kampung 2...and more specific the guys i the photo were from my long house (Tr. Ujoh) that time. Nice and thanks for the visits to my kampung.