Malaysia Day Surf
It has been an amazing experience helping Antony Colas achieve his benak (tidal bore) surf goals. There you are with a foreign visitor whose intention was to enjoy Sri Aman's Batang Lupar Tidal Bore by surf boarding the wave, and also doing recce for the tidal bore surf community so that they may know we have this thing called benak. At same time you are responsible for his well being and safety and that the notorious crocodiles of Batang Lupar behave themselves. The heights did not stop another Frenchman, Monsieur Alain Robert from climbing our twin towers. Anthony Bourdain, the famous travelling chef who is also an American of French origin was not perturbed by the wild environment of Borneo when he tasted our food. Even my tales of the notorious Bujang Senang did not distract Antony from his goal. He tells me that the waves to him are like 'candies to a kid'. Good analogy. A better analogy, its like what Jessica Alba is to me and maybe I will surf that wave if she asks me to (when she was still single...). So in Malaysia's peaceful calm environment, Antony Colas would not only duel with the benak but he will have to contend with the famed crocodiles of Batang Lupar river and the water snakes that occasionally appear along the surf trail. "You tell me" is his other favourite expression apart from showing that 'Shaka' sign before he surfs and also the "Yeehaa!" yell before he jumps into the water. "You tell me", that's how he gets his information about Malaysia and also Sarawak. I did warn him my history was a wee bit better than my information on 'Le Crocos'. At the same time we did our utmost best to promote Sri Aman and the Batang Lupar benak. He also kept asking us about the '1' symbol of 1Malaysia which is prominent in our official banners and newspaper articles. Yes, that '1' symbol is indeed an eye ctacher and it was easier to explain to a foreigner on Malaysia's aspirations in that '1'.
The fishermen enjoying the calm of Batang Lupar river before the benak arrives
Malaysia Day Holiday: 1Malaysia Surf
On the day (19th October 2009) that our Rignt Honourable Prime Minister, Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak announced that Malaysia Day would be a holiday, Antony was making preparations for his final surf. We explained to him that Sri Amanians here, like any Sarawakians are proud Malaysians and we would like him to promote 1Malaysia while surfing the benak. Its our way of saying thank you for giving due recognition for such a meaningful date. Antony obliged and he would do so wearing our 1Malaysia cap which was provided by Malaysia's Sime Darby. While it was reported that our former Prime Minister laughed his head off the Malaysia Day holiday declaration, it took a Frenchman and Malaysians in Sri Aman to appreciate this meaningful gesture. After all, was it not in Sri Aman that peace prevailed throughout Sarawak when the North Kalimantan Communist Party (PARAKU) headed by Bong Kee Chok laid down its weapons after signing the Sri Aman peace agreement with the Malaysian government on Oct 21, 1973. That event happened 36 years ago. During that critical period Sarawak had to deal with our neighbour's Confrontation against the formation of Malaysia where armed communist activies were at its height between 1963 to 1973. It was a trying time and the state's development was seriously stunted. Anyway what is this small town's welfare to the wise Tun as Sri Aman has not even got a decent hospital from him during his Prime Ministership term while the Twin Towers were constructed and the 'Crooked Bridge' was planned. So the Sri Aman folks' will drown Tun Mahathir's VIP 'Ha Ha Ha' with our own excitement of 'Yeee Haa' benak surfing in celebration of Malaysia Day holiday announcement.
Antony Colas signals - this one's for you 1Malaysia.
Surfing 'BSA' - Benak Sri Aman
The Sri Aman crowd at the completed Tidal Bore Observation Station an eye catching structure just below Fort Alice
Sri Aman folks gathered at the waterfront for the surf event and the town experienced traffic jam that day - its like there was a Pesta Benak being celebrated
With a smile of satisfaction for our benak, 'Its done!' Antony's 1Malaysia Surf
The final day event finished with the Sri Aman Resident, Abang Shamshudin Abang Seruji who thanking Antony Colas for his feat and achievement. The Resident also recieved the surf board as a token of appreciation from Antony.
Winning the hearts of Sri Amanians, Antony posed with his instant fans
Special Thanks to the Photo TeamThe adventures of Antony Colas would have not been made known without the help of a special team of photographers who risked their expensive gear trying (and lives to a certain point) to capture the wonderful shots of Antony's surfing. Starting from Day 1 the size of the photograther community in Sri Aman grew during Antony's day to day surf. Here are the additional pictures taken by the photo team which they wish to share with Nadai Nama Nama readers. It also includes Antony's quest to try out Sri Aman food.
1Malaysia! Photographers Dilah and Siti of abadiphotography provided the great shots for this post
Tasting the famous Dabai at Tandang Sari Restaurant, Sri Aman
To Antony this is Le spagetthi or better know as Mee Kering in Sri Aman at the MDSA Market.
Antony is quick to adapt to our cultural activities including the 'Tandak'. He showed smooth moves on stage also and not only on the benak waves. Antony gets the approval to be an instant Benak Ambassador from the crowd that night.
Enjoying the moment with Sri Aman's Deputy Walikota who instantly became Antony's guide to Sri Aman. Thank you Councilor for being a great host and good sport. Reagan (in yellow) of JKR also provided us the speedboat on the final day).
Smooth surfer - Some unique moves shown by Antony captured by Rozlan
Yeehaa! He's riding the wave.
Set to go again - waiting for the benak wave
Rozlan & Thomas - the courageous crew that accompanied Antony during his surf adventure
Benak surfing with the kampung (village) scene in the background
The sun's golden sparkle is reflected on the Batang Lupar river was captured by Abadiphotography team
Abadiphotography managed to capture this gorgeous wave coming from the back and powering Antony to surf smoothly above the water
1Malaysia set to sail
Dilah and Siti Zamrud of Abadiphotography
Finally, if someone asks - "how high is the Batang Lupar benak in Sri Aman?" show them this photo of Antony's 1Malaysia surf on the benak at its highest on 19th October 2009 bearing in mind that he is more than 2 metres (more than six feet) tall. Looking at this photo 'You Tell Me'.
Nadai Nama Nama also wishes to thank all to those who provide the logistics and safety team (the Jabatan Pertahanan Awam JPA3, DID and JKR) for their 100% cooperation to making this a successful event.
Cheers to all! The French way of doing 'Bottoms Up' ala Chinese 'Yamseng' ala Iban 'OooHaaaa' is 'Usek'. Then you turn whatever bottle glass or bottle you are drinking down to show its empty. One thing Antony and I learned is that if the crocodiles don't get you, the Tiger or the Chivas Regal Scotch Whisky will knock you down. Ouch...its been a hangover but fun!