Hot Gawai 2009

Gawai 2009 Celebrated In High Temperatures

Gawai was hot this year...due to the weather. The heat wave made it a sluggish Gawai it certainly did not spoil the family's gathering fun. And it has been a while I dropped by my blog. Not that I did not want to to but I have come to accept the fact that I am not living in a first class modern setting with reliable high speed Internet Connectivity. There is no surprises for me this year with regards to the communications coverage in my longhouse area either. No improvements since last year so its nothing to shout about. Even when I am in Kuching now my 1MB Streamyx Internet Connection is acting up. I leave it to my other Internet savvy brothers out there to bother the Streamyx Hotline. This heaty weather is enough to make tempers boil. Thus I would be posting in batches of blog posts soon after this. The 'Cound Not Connect to Blogger' message keeps destroying my posts when I prepare long posts so allow me to share my Gawai experience soon in more than one posting. Tonight's post especially is just a curtain raiser.

So its balik kampung to my rural longhouse setting which offers me so many different feelings after serving for almost a year in Sri Aman. The people at my place would have love to have those roads like in rural Sri Aman, be it tarred or sealed that can reach the vicinity of their longhouses.

The river is still the main mode of transport for those living along the mighty Batang Rajang. Though roads now has reached most parts of the rural areas in the Sibu Division but the landlocked Kapit Division is still yet to be connected to the main highways. Hopefully this can be realised in the 10th Malaysia Plan.

It has been like this for the past thirty plus years when, as a little boy, I first stepped foot onto Nanga Beguang (my Mum's longhouse). Come Gawai, we try our best ensure that the joy of Gawai is not spoiled by the lack of facilities which is enjoyed by our urban cousins. Playing fireworks is one of the latest additions in our place to mark this festive occassion. Some of my friends have asked me why I do not hold open house during Gawai but I have to apologise to them that it has been part of our family tradition to get together during Gawai and that happens in the longhouse where families and relatives, near and far converge at the place where it all began.

Electricity is mostly produced by the petrol or diesel powered generators but not all night long during normal days, as it is rather expensive. The diesel or petrol here is priced at about RM11 per gallon. It requires almost 5 gallons to generate 20 hours of electricty per bilik/room/family. Our urban cousins would jump up and down if their electric bill is beyond RM100 per month but in rural Sarawak its RM55 per day - and bear in mind that's 24 hours electricity for one door only. Our longhouse has 40 plus doors so during Gawai night an estimated RM2000 worth of electricity would have been consumed.

Every Gawai we never fail to have special guests coming over to witness how we celebrate Gawai and we had the honour of having young Mr. David who came from Kuala Lumpur. He happened to be my cousin Darleena's coursemate while in Kuala Lumpur and they are now both in Canada. Its rather interesting to find out his perspective as he has never stepped into a longhouse before this. Some of the photos in the upcoming blog posts will be David's which he has shared with Nadai Nama Nama blog. He took some good shots while I was out cold due to the 'drinking' sessions..... ooppss... i mean visiting sessions.

In my upcoming Gawai blog posts too I would like to share how we have been practicing the One Malaysia concept. Maybe it is not in the concept drawn by our Right Honourable Prime Minister but looking at it, I believe some elements of One Malaysia is actually alive and well in rural Nanga Beguang. Till we meet again, Cheerios!


Tia said…
yups.... gawai is best celebrated with our relatives in long house... am waiting for the road to be ready to reach Banting, Lingga..
John Goh said…
To me, one malaysia concept can easily been found in our local community, especially during Hari Gawai, Hari Raya Puasa & Chinese New Year. We could found visitors from all races visiting their friends during these festivals, which included Chinese, Ibans & Malays...
But, to the politicians, it looked difference, & was not easy to achieve.......
I missed those days when we still had our longhouse. Now all the longhouses in my kampung were demolished. People are building their own single house. But thank goodness, the spirit of gawai is still strong.
headsteadi said…
Happy Gawai to you bro. Mine was a sober gawai this year.
Darren said…
can place a link to this artcle from site?