Pesta Kaul 2008
Click on the Sago Worms :) to enlarge your appetite
Interestingly on touch down in Mukah I was overwhelmed with Melanau traditional food consiting of Sago Worms and Umai (raw fish in lime) of various varieties eaten with sago (pronounced 'sagu'). I had my first Sago Worm experience during dinner (maybe my one and only as I am not a Fear Factor material.
Pantai Dana was decorated with various celebration structures
The Right Honourable Chief Minister of Sarawak Pehin Sri haji Abdul Taib Mahmud officiated the opening ceremony
And the show began with various contigents marching and performing in front of the VVIP stand
The Sibu Melanau Association introduced their 'Swan' mascot which amused the crowd especially the kids
The traditional performance group Warisan had this dance named Dango which won first place for best group performance
The Chinese community in Mukah was led by the local Chinese Ketua Masyarakat
The Mukah Sarawak Dayak National Union comprising of the various ethnic groups also participated
SDNU Mukah performing in front of the VVIP Stage
The famous Pesta Kaul 'swing' which is the symbol of the Festival
One thing I must admire about our State leaders and administrators is their ability to make full use of the day. Two other events of equal importance was taking place at Mukah that day and that included the Bicara Tani with YB Dato Mustapa Mohamed which focused on the country's urgent need to have a new 'rice bowl' for the country and the Three Rivers Mukah Alumni Dinner held at Kingwood Hotel Mukah.
Press Conference after the Bicara Tani Seminar
In the afternoon The Right Honourable Chief Minister officiated the closing of the Bicara Tani at the Dewan Suarah Mukah which was followed by the press conference above. However at this point in time I checked for further information regarding this bicara tani business at their BicaraTani website and discovered that the website has not been updated as the Minister shown there was still YB Tan Sri Muhyiddin Hj Mohd Yassin.
The Three Rivers Cake Cutting Ceremony during the SMK Three Rivers Alumni Dinner
The cake for the SMK Three Rivers Alumni Dinner organised by the SMK Three Rivers Alumni Association
In summary, I would have to say Mukah is quite a unique place to visit - especially with it being one of the gowth nodes for the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy or SCORE. It would be interesting to see if it can maintain its identity once the roads and accessibility is improved. It has all the makings of a perfect getaway for a different experience. Maybe a busy executive who just wants 'timeout' to relax the mind - Mukah has that; and also the unique Melanau dishes - Mukah definitely has that.
Much hype has been put into the free WiFi provided via Deconnexion available in Mukah. Though it was announced that maintenance was ongoing in all hotzones on 24th April 2008 I managed to get some signals on 26 April 2008 and test out the Internet speed there. I am happy to report that if the signals are reliable it is quite fast. However the signal tends to appear and dissappear which is really frustrating. Either its because of the ongoing maintenance or its because that it just hates me. I would say I have my experience with SACOFA Wireless Broadband as I am amongst their first users in 2005 and my comment is that they have been using the term 'upgrading' ever since. So if you see the message saying ''Could Not Locate Remore Server' or 'Error' around the Hot Zones - just remember this - its 'Free' so do not complain. I was a paying customer last time (before I moved to 3G & Streamyx) so I guess they tended to my needs promptly then.
Mukah Bridge (Click to enllarge)
Mukah's Internet DeConnexion - Now you see it Now you don't
In summary - what I am trying to convey here is that in opening up Mukah connectivity is very important. The accessibility made by the completion of the Mukah Bridge (which replaced the ramp ferry) has started the momentum of development in this once sleepy fishing village. The improved physical connectivity and Broadband connectivity should have translated into increased cyber activities. UNIMAS E-Bario and another E-Bario effort connected the Bario Highlands to the world. Miri City has access to the free Wi-Fi and the cyber activities there (in terms of Miri Bloggers showing significant cyber linked activities and meet ups) are on the rise. Mukah with its aim of being the next Smart City should follow suit as we see how this free connectivity brings about positive development in transforming Mukah (more Mukah initiated websites and news/community portals). At the momemnt one can find in the Internet and online photo albums that most of the pictures and news uploaded are done by visitors from outside Mukah like myself. Taking the cue from our Right Honourable Chief Minister in the Borneo Post this Sunday "Preserve Culture for The World to See" I believe there is no other better time if not now as the 'free' Internet provides that opportunity - but that connectivity has to be reliable and user friendly.