Another boring update

with 2 comments

The purpose of me having my own blog in the first place, was for me to have a sort of diary, either in the conventional sense of recording what had happened in my life and the unconventional written record on my state of mind- what were my thoughts on certain matters and how did I define what I see at a certain point of my existence.

Life have been full of ups and down for me around this time in this new chapter in Sarawak. Sometimes I have the time to arrange words in a nice arrangement with perfect grammar, but sometimes I am too absorbed with life itself that I am better off not spending my time writing.  Now it is more on the latter.

For the purpose of record; I have just came back- first, from my short holiday back home to celebrate my dad’s birthday along with many catching ups with friends that I have left when I decided to take the job offer here- life has make a 180 degrees turn for me since I am here.

There are suddenly so many new possibilities and unfamiliar frontiers laid within reach for me to explore- which brings me to the second trip I made to Kampung Sadir, right up the famous Annah Rais village, the village offering home stay and hot spring attractions to tourist.

Straight ahead from the (in)famous Borneo Heights one will reach Annah Rais village, not far from the Indonesian border. The village here are mostly made up from population of Bidayuh ethnicity. Kampung Sadir existed roughly four generations ago when Annah Rais village was too crowded and some of the villagers resettle on the higher grounds.

My guide was my colleague, famous for his ethnography work and village savvy acumen. KEJ is the best guy to look for if one plans to have the real home stay in villages, not the sort prepackaged for tourist with traditional dance, nice food and whatnots. We eat what they eat here, whatever that the jungle has to offer on a certain day.

I will just keep this short- I went to the village for a 3 days 2 nights stay, the offer came right after I told KEJ that I have heard of his reputation. He soon told me that he was in fact going to a village on the weekend, just 2 days after I came back from the peninsular- you can actually imagine the state of my living place now- all piled up in a mess of things that I have unpacked and a tall hill of dirty laundry.

We ate few interesting things. Had a kijang and pelanduk meat with padi huma rice (hill rice) for our first meal, dinner, there. The night followed with and continued for every waking hour thereafter, with a long series of langkau consumption. The first night end up unfortunate with me vomiting all the good things that I have eaten the night, including the 8 ulat sagu that I have eaten- what a fucking waste.

Ulat sagu, maggots from rotten palm tree producing sagoo, one of the main staple of carbohydrate for indigenous people in Sarawak, is a rare delicacy that is not always available, consider yourself lucky when you chance upon it and never miss the chance to eat it- its fucking delicious. The one I had was cooked in a broth with rice and garlic. It should not be cooked for too long as it will ruin the tenderness of the maggot’s flesh. One of the special characteristic of the maggot is it produces its own oil when cooked, so no other oil is needed. I took a few minutes of thinking before I finally sunk my teeth to that rare delicacy, and I didn’t regret it. The head of the maggot could also be eaten, it has a small shell on its head that could also be eaten, where it is filled with other matters which will burst once bitten.

The next day started with langkau for breakfast, I can safely say that I was in an intoxicated state all throughout my stay here, we brought langkau even to the waterfall in the afternoon the day. I followed one of the villager to run some errand and bought two big bottle of langkau from mom-and-pops shop here who produces their own langkau– cooked in the jungle because there are a certain pantang that you should not cook the langkau at where your home.

The waterfall we went was one of the four waterfall here near the village. I proved to be the clumsy urban kid- I brought back wound from falling while going downhill towards the waterfall, in addition to the earlier wound I got from stepping on aged bamboo flooring at the long house. The village hunter cum our host for our stay, gave me some medicine to apply, which he later showed to me a jar containing hempedu, some rare herbs, some rare insects and a snake. The medicine burned my wound up.

Above all, other than the expected cultural learning that I get from this trip, this trip most of all made me humble. Upon seeing the simple livelihood of these people, I wonder myself whether I could detached and desensitize myself from all the urban socialization that I have been getting all throughout my life. Their life could be simply summed up from the local favourite hit song, ‘Bujangan’ that says ‘hati senang walaupun tak punya uang’- the heart is happy although one has no money. Sometimes it makes you wonder, hippie like, what the hell have we been busy with? Do all our obsession with IKEA furnitures, BMW cars, iPhone and NYSE really matters?

Rather unfortunate that I don’t have any camera now but although a picture is worth thousands of words, the experience of being there yourself and perceiving things with your 5 senses are infinity compared to that. So what are waiting for?

Hempedu: Andrographis herb.  Bitter as fuck.
Langkau: Local distilled liquor made from rice.  Very potent stuff, doesn’t come with a label informing on the alcohol content.
Ulat sagu: Maggots from rotted sagoo tree.  Yum.
Pantang: Taboo.  The DON’Ts of the locals.


Written by yuenkokleong

December 11, 2007 at 4:47 am

2 Responses

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  1. you really tried them!! haha..


    February 22, 2008 at 7:03 pm

  2. OK..what are you referring to?

    The ulat sagu? Yup, as stated above. It was fortifying. Creamy (lemak). But leaves a certain soft shells, like a thinner version of fish scales. Plus the heard is hard too, but soft on the inside.

    Langkau? Yes, but not really a fan. Real harsh stuff.


    February 29, 2008 at 1:24 am

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