Notes from Sri Aman

Perhimpunan Belia (Youth Gathering) 2008

I note with interest the concern by many readers about Alice in Sri Aman. In the next few weeks our office will be coordinating a flurry of activities to highlight its plight and its significance to Sri Aman's existence (formerly Simanggang's history aka Sarawak as a whole). That being part of the agenda we hope for some good feedback. It was quite unfortunate that I was unable to meet up with the grandson of our former Rajah, Jason Desmond Brooke when he visited Fort Alice last Monday. I am wondering how I missed that. Its quite a challenge to gather up to date information now. Unlike in my former Office with the State Secretary where information was ready at our fingertips. Here I have to develop that database on my own. Nevertheless its only been a month here since I reported for duty and I am still fine tuning my office with field visits and meeting the people. Weekend activites are a norm for our official functions as it allows us to invite the public to participate. Last weekend Sri Aman hosted the Minggu Perhimpunan Belia 2008 on 2 - 3 August 2008. The event was graced by the Minister for Social Development and Urbanisation YB Dato Sri William Mawan Ikom. It was competing with the launching of the Sarawak Regatta in Kuching at the same time but we managed to get good response.

YB Encik Francis Hollis, the Assistant Minister for Land Development Sarawak kicked off the early morning with the Berambeh Ceremony at the SMK Sri Aman on 2 Aug 2008

VIPs trying a hand at the famous Poco Poco Kenyalang dance at the old KPSU Field in Sri Aman

The Police Force was kind enough to add the excitement of some anti crime action which was topped up with some realistic shootings and acrobatic stunts including helicopter manouveurs

It was a bloodless battle and the message was clear - crime does not pay

An anti drug K9 by the name of Suai shows the Sri aman folks how it is able to detect drugs in packages and concealed bags

The main event for the Youth Gathering celebration was held at the Dewan Suarah where the YB Minister Dato Sri William Mawan officiated the event including presenting the Tokoh Belia awards

A view from above - The Dewan Suarah in Sri Aman is where most of the official events are held

The former Sarawak sprint King: Our former speed King Mr. Watson Nyambek was one of the recipients of the Tokoh Belia ~ he works with the Majlis Sukan Negeri Sarawak now

The audience were thrilled by the programmes especially the dances performed by the youths - the younger kids showed their ability to do the 'shuffle' whatever that is

Like any Daddies, I also tried to get my daughter to come along to witness the more exciting events (Futsal competition) - being so used to City life I wanted her to get used to my routine in Sri Aman away from the television and on line computer games and Internet

Well - she slept throughout the whole game amidst the cheers and noises created during the competition...zzzzzzzzzzzzz

Turun Padang (Ground Visits)

Ground vists or turun padang is a norm ~ its part and parcel of the Resident officers' duties. My officers and I wasted no time in doing our rounds in this vast Sri Aman Division. We do so with the knowledge that the momemtum of development is in full swing with the Wawasan 2020 goals set by our National leaders just 12 years away. One can either look at that timeline and lament that it's just impossible to achieve with their neverending 'chicken and egg - which comes first' argument. For me I do not know how long I will be serving Sri Aman but I stress to my officers that we should work hard and make incremental improvements in moving forward and not backwards - Wawasan 2020 is a goal to work towards to and not shy away from. The first in the list for us would be the restoration of Fort Alice and the rest of our development efforts will follow. We will normally have our critics but I advice them to filter the constructive criticism from the vindictive ones. By the way I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Indai Mau another blogging Government Officer serving as Sibu Resident Office - currently she is the Acting Deputy Resident as indicated in her blog. Girl power :)

Visiting the Engkilili Sub District Office - at the moment this small office houses the Sarawak Administrative Officer in Charge and his staff

The officers here work in trying conditions doing their best to serve the people of Engkilili while the new office is under construction

The new Engkilili Sub District Office under construction and expected to be completed by the middle of next year

One for the album: From left is Paul Joring, Bryan, Nadai Nama guy, Tuai Rumah Roy, Rickson and Edward

One of our few rounds was Lubok Antu Town

Posing in front of Lubok Antu District Office which used to be Fort Arundell - Paul, Me, Rickson and our driver Abang Yusof

This goes in my list of observation - the undergrowths at the fences are not part of the deco at the Lubok Antu Playground area

Bird's playground ~ another point to discuss with the relevant agencies is the state of the observation tower at the playground which was full of yeechy bird droppings

Its the other end now - at one time we used to write and vet speeches. Now I have to deliver them and sometimes impromptu ones too. Something I have to get used to. The view from the stage is always a lonely one as public speaking is never my forte.

Reading competition in Bahasa Malaysia organised by the Lubok Antu Distict Council for primary school students in Lubok Antu/Engkilili closing ceremony (The District Officer Mr. Nelson Mujah and the Lubok Antu Disctrict Council Secretary Mdm Lolita looks on).

(Enlargeable photo) : One for the album after the prize giving ceremony. A point to note - looking at the winners I was thinking about the might of girl power in this schools.

Sometimes site visits to check on the progress of our social projects and programs in the rural areas are necessary. This is the dicey part - we time our visits so that all the government agencies are able to make it to the longhouse in what we term as 'Civic session' where we explain the Government policies

Longhouse hospitality is something I have to note in the Lubok Antu area. I would not have mind if I can just drop by at the Tuai Rumah's house and discuss about development issues but 'ouch' I forgot that being a Deputy Resident, 'dropping by' is a big item for them as our office has been coordinating a lot of social amenities and village road projects to the area and it terms of official hierarchy I am the head of that delegation. I only realised that too late - I can't drop by anytime unannounced according to my whims and fancies. The longhouse folks will not like it if they are caught unprepared for the occassion.

The Penghulus of the Engkari and Lemanak area and Tuai Rumahs of nearby longhouses came in when they heard of our 'familiarisation tour' and a simple visit turned into a full scale Gawai reception session involving several longhouses - I have to say being the Deputy Resident does not allow much freedom of movement. A point to note - once the party has started its hard to leave quietly.

I was fortunate to have the support of the Lubok Antu Distict Office staff including the District Officer who made the 'introduction' session less painful for me. Bearing in mind my knowledge in 'ground level' administration is still shallow and my familiarity with the area is still scant. They even guided me in the poco-poco dance steps

Ngajat session - Other than poco-poco, the Iban ngajat its something that I will have to learn and learn it fast because the end of the discussion sessions are always performed by the guest of honor..... I'll say i was terribly embarrassed for not performing it properly.

Ole Sri Aman!

To sum things up - one month serving Sri Aman, I am experiencing a totally different setup. After 14 years of serving in Headquarters, witnessing things at ground level actually helps to tie the loose ends in the circle of development - the conceptualization part, the planning, the implementing and execution of plans, monitoring and evaluation. So to Mr. Nelson Brandah, former Development and Planning Officer of Betong Division, who is serving the State Planning Unit now serving, in my former Social Development Unit - I will need all his support for those much needed development funds for the 'Civic' sessions....hehehe

On the food part ~ Someone actually asked me what is Sri Aman's best food that I have tried so far and I will say the discovery this month is the pulut panggang which was served during the Poco-Poco Kenyalang function.

The pulut panggang - Sri Aman's secret recipe

Yummy yum yum - super delicious and juicy that it was completely taken up in just 15 minutes by the participants. Definitely it was the preferred choice though other dishes were served.

The ijok tree - my brother-in-law Johnady who hails from Lubok Antu himself insists this is the unique product of Sri Aman especially the Lubok Antu side and that I include it in this blog post. This is where the famous ijok drink originate and I have to attest to its ability to knock me out after two glasses. My Uncle Umpang enquired of the possible economic value it can reap in to Sri Aman Division's GDP. I am open to such ideas - after all Cuba was able to export their Cuban Cigars.

The new craze (or old?) for the younger generation in Sri Aman -Young kid doing the shuffle. In my time it was the breakdance. Kids here nowadays are into this 'shuffle' thingy. I would love to try it but i am afraid that I may break a few bones as I turn 40 years old soon

Finally ~ that 'shuffle' kid actually won something!


Indai Mau said…
Hi TR Sri Aman,
Welcome 2 the club & selamat 'turun padang'.
cyrildason said…
Wow!!.. You'd be very busy it seems.. and I guess life would be different now that you are someone 'big' in Sri Aman....

Watson does look too healthy.. heheh
Ahock said…
Dear Sir, I have read yours post about Fort Alice. It is very nice we can restoration Fort Alice in the future. I have been there on June this year. I also go to Engkilili to find Fort Leonora. But the local people tell me it is broke down already. Do you know what happened to that Fort? Thanks!

Solid said…
No maintenance is provided for most buildings and parks in Malaysia. The Civic center in Kuching is really dirty and sub standard. Don't even mention about the toilet.
Tia said…
Wah... makin maju dan berkepentingan
enda lama agi bisi can nyadi YB..
Anyway, been ur silent reader all this while. Worked in WBM before and bisi berpansa kita...

Keep blogging!!
Elsa Gabriel said…
you really bertambah busy now a days...and keep up the good work ya :)
skinnylatte said…
:) I'd been to Engkilili and Lubok Antu on my way to Entalau. I really want to come back sometime.

Unknown said…
saya ad tengok satu gambar pembinaan bangunan daerah baru dekat engkilili, yang ditulis disitu akan siap thn depan, tapi sehingga tahun 2011 masih belum siap dan tidak boleh diguna