And Its 2009!

The Week That Was

The great news for 2009? My thanks again to Sheila and her team for highlighting my article via email to her about our longhouse at Nanga Beguang Song. It adds to the great start to the New Year 2009.

Click Here to see the Article in its actual size

I have to admit, when one is spending time with the family, its as if time stood still. Thus there was some delay in updating this blog but it made it through week one of 2009! The countdown and the greeting of the year 2009 by the clan was a meaningful one. It was a traditional get together which my family always organises during the holidays and festivities ~ that spirit of gathering with family members. Though not all of our uncles and aunties were able to make it, we (Mum, Dad, Brother Darren & wife Alice, Sister Deb and hubby Johnady, sia Don, Uncle Umpang & Aunty Lin, cousin Awie and nephews Jason & Justine, Indai Cindy & family) greeted the stroke of midnight with our own activities. Thanks for the SMS greetings from friends. Unfamiliar numbers are are also a norm but Sugar Cane can detect who the well wishers are ~ sometimes his sixth sense always helps in solving many cases courtesy of Horatio Caine's guidance via CSI Miami (I have to admit being a big fan of the CSI especially the one called 'H').

The family get together to welcome the New Year 2009 was indeed a blast (two days before midnight at Furama restaurant, Sibu) - there was dancing, poco-poco, almost everyone sang and even cousins Jason & Justine even tried there vocals

New Year 2009 Toast at home ~ we had our own 'Cherry Idol' ala Malaysian Idol contest which comes with a panel of judges, while we waited for the clock to strike 12 midnight, toasting with the Yang Amat Berhormat Prime Minister Dato Sri Abdullah Badawi who was on television, sharing the countdown moments with all Malaysians. My brother in law Johnady won the contest.

Shania loses her baby tooth

The New Year also brought us back to our longhouse in Nanga Beguang Song. Enroute to the longhouse at Semaram jetty point I was glad to be part of a meaningful event. Shania lost her first baby tooth. She was sitting there minding her own business while I was aiming my camera at her and 'Walla' when she opened her mouth her small baby teeth was on her tongue to the surprise of her cousins. She asked us to keep it under a pillow so that the tooth fairy may take it.

Journey to the longhouse ~ when the boat arrive, it was time to get on and head for our 'kampung' (village). Without any roads heading towards our area, this is the only mode of transport we depend on.

We used a motor tungkang boat while some calle it 'Muto Chalo' which means Chalo's boat which could be referring to the owner. I was curious about the steering wheel and the 'sideview' mirror' which was part of the boat's 'accessory'. The boat skipper also had a unique style when steering the boat - I assume that could be the standard for any motor vessel. You do not use two hands on the wheel - it has to be one hand and a foot?

'Welcome to Rumah Richard Nujong' banner greets us at our longhouse jetty - in preparation for a wedding event that was to be held at night

Nanga Beguang remained the same to me ~ when we arrived the longhouse folks were all geared up to celebrate a wedding reception. And to make it more meaningful two VIPs and their wives are expected to come - YB Datuk Ambrose Blikau Enturan, Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri for Katibas and YB Tuan Alexander Nanta Linggi, the Member of Parliament for Kapit. Of course I did bring my PC Notebook so that I can try out the strength of Celcom's signal in Nanga Beguang. However, when my brother tested its presence using his Balckberry Bold - the signal was weak and keeps fading. Tough luck as I had thought of trying out blogging from Nanga Beguang ~ it would be super cool but I think that will have to happen later in the distant future.

Push and Pull - life in the longhouse has many interesting moments as I managed to capture an old lady trying to get her perahu (boat) from the riverbank onto the river with the help of the longhouse kids

Memorial for the late Penghulu Abit Ak Angkin ~ the family took the opportunity to put up a Memorial for our late grandad who was a former Councilor for Kapit in the 50s, Penghulu for Rajang Hilir in the 60s and Member of Parliament for Kapit (from 1968 to 1978). It was also to coincide with the arrival of the two Yang Berhormats Council Negeri member and Member of Parliament whom we hoped would consent to officiate it

The Memorial was in conjunction with the 50th Anniversary of the SK Nanga Beguang Song Primary School built on our late Grandad's land which he gave to the Kapit Local Authority for free at that time (1958) to enable them to construct a primary school.

We thanked our two Yang Berhormats who agreed to grace the Memorial's launching as they had not been informed earlier. Not that it was intentional but the family was not that sure that they would be able to come, and the launching event was on 'standby' mode. In his speech, YB Tuan Alexander acknowledged Granddad's contribution and also highlighted on how grandad, at that time, had already realised the importance of education when he gave it to the government. On top of that YB Tuan Alexander voluntarily promised some additional funds for enhancing the Monument. Thank you YB Datuk Ambrose and YB Tuan Alex!

After the launching of the Memorial Monument we proceeded on with the wedding reception party for Mr. & Mrs. Andrew Kana. Mr. Andrew is the son of Mr. Ambrose Abong, who is the KEMAS chief for Kapit Division.

Fun all night long ~ And so the wedding party kicked off with a blast with the participation of our VIP guests. YB Datuk Ambrose and YB Tuan Alex were accompanied by their spouses.

Picnic at Sungai Beguang ~ there was time for a picnic at Sungai Beguang (where the original settlers of the longhouse first started their settlement before moving to the present site) and the family had a swell time at the site. The adventurous journey via longboat which took 20 minutes was an additional treat

When we returned from Nanga Beguang Song, dad brought my brother and me to survey the site of the family farm land which was set to see rapid development as the Tanjung Manis Road is set to pass through it. In contrast with Nanga Beguang Song, the area in Bawang Assan, Sibu is set to benefit with the construction of the Tanjung Manis Highway, and electricity and water supply is already available

Visiting the farm land - getting set to make Sarawak the Rice Bowl of Malaysia. Trying to do something about the longhouse folks economy

Overall it is set to be an exciting 2009 - like I mentioned in the email that was sent to Sheila Rahman of Malay Mail - the impending economic gloom is set to hit us soon and we have to make preparations in our own way. For some, it has affected their livelihood, with the closure of some of our electronic giant like Western Digital at Samajaya, Sarawak. A lot of my friends are set to be without jobs in March 2009. Economists are constantly painting a bleak picture of 2009 which is why we can't just sit still. I remember a book by Robert Schuller which I read during my University days. It gave me strength during my trying moments as an undergrad then ~ its title was "Tough Times Don't Last, But Tough People Do". It won't solve the economy but reading it will help one prepare for the tough times.


Pn Hamidah said…
It's amazing to note how some inspiring blogs that provides interesting and outstanding reading materials like yours get featured in the media's column several times. A remarkable achievement that would serve as an inspiring read to others.Your earnest efforts in defining your visions and desires to bring about essential developments into those rural areas in itself is a worthy and a noble cause to be considered and that's at least my personal take on this.We obviously cannot deny that technology will continue to integrate itself deeper into our daily lives and a weblog like is hopefully here to stay for significant updates.Just let me add here from a song" When The Going Gets Tough,The Tough Gets Going "On that note, all the best and TQ my friend.
Unknown said…
Thanks for the inside regarding your family break. It remind me so much about my own home and longhouse. Especially the pic regarding the old woman n the boat. It really a nice pic.
blueheeler said…
Great post. Nice to see your Granny still as strong as ever. I would've liked to go up Sungai Beguang with you la! After the wedding, did you lean over the balcony suspiciously?? Haha. Danny
Hamidah & Rose ~ thanks for your comments as it will guide me in maintaining the Nadai Nama character. I have been pressured to change the nature of the blog but encouraging words provided by readers like you gets me going.... for Hammy, Donna Summer's song "I will Survive" would be featured also :)

Danny - Its not balcony, its called 'tanju' in Iban or verandah. I did lean for a moment as I was looking for you as I remembered someone sleeping suspiciously like you on the tanju.... hehehe...
Lady Kiana said…
you made it to the wedding!! hehe.. but i did not made it.. bisi pengawa ditu gak.. only parents kin in the end..

apu, terpeda ke Kanang, the last time i saw him was he was still way shorter than me.. Then, maia pengawa ba rumahpanjai kami ari nya before christmas, saw him again, he's way taller than me.. in a span of few years.. Kids grow nowadays..

you must be proud rh panjai beguang being featured in news.. :) good job.. Hope youngsters will know how to jaga our cultural and heritage..
Tia said…
Mr Sugar Cane, what a beautiful long house u got there! How long is the journey from Song town itself?
nicksuneo said…
Such a nice views from Song, Kapit :-) I wish to be there in the future
Ruis Jugah said…
apoo deh bujang, rami amat kita dia.

I still remember the late YB who was our MP when I was in primary school.
Lady Kiana - anang irau, Gawai tau datai :)

Mama Belian - From Sibu its a two and half hours boat express ride

Nick - the future is another seconds away

Charcoal - Bah, nganti nuan nyenguk Nanga Beguang kaban! :)