Gawai 2012 Journey
Wishing All A Safe Gawai 2012 Journey
Gawai 2012 will be in a few days and already I am able to see the exodus of people making their way back to their kampungs, longhouses and villages towards the rural corners of Sarawak. They are not confined to the ethnic Dayak community who will be the ones celebrating Gawai Dayak but the other Malaysians mainly Sarawakians who will take advantage of the holiday season. After all it is the school holidays. Bearing in mind that Gawai is only celebrated in Sarawak, so the holiday fever is not felt in other parts of Malaysia. Except for information about it and with occasional advertisements on television and video clips, not much is known about Gawai Dayak by other fellow Malaysians. The younger generation sees it as a time to be merry and reunion and some yamseng (oohaaaa bottoms up) moments. With plans for the Right Honourable Prime Minister Dato' Sri Najib to visit a few longhouses here in Sarawak, it will presumably get more attention.....hopefully. Anyway, I will not go into the academics part of it. My main intention is to convey to all Nadai Nama Nama readers.....Please Please Please be careful and take extra care during your Gawai 2012 journey home.
Arrival of many visitors this Gawai be it those outside or within Sarawak is made more convenient as most major towns in Sarawak is accessible by air
Those who are staying in the urban centres are quite lucky in a way as they would be located near major transportation hubs, be it airports, bus and taxi terminals and the only grievances that they may have is the traffic jams and overcrowded shopping malls. However this holidays some of the shops will have to cope with minimal workforce as most of their manpower comprise of the Gawai celebrants. So one can say its not only during Chinese New Year that one will see a momentary pause in the economy but also during Gawai Dayak. This is mainly because the longhouses from where they originate from are, if I may say in layman terms, many mountains and rivers away, inaccessible by road.
It is good to note that the road (and bridges) infrastructures are making its way to the rural areas making the hardship of inaccessibility a thing of the past soon. As of now the river transport is still the significant mode of transport for many, especially those in the central interior part of Sarawak. The mighty Rajang River still witnesses heavy traffic of river vessels of all shapes and sizes.
So come this Gawai, the major rush will mean that people will be trying to get on whatever transport that will be able to bring them back home. It is during this time that unscrupulous boat operators may take advantage of their customers to make quick profit and disregard safety. It is hoped that authorities like the Sarawak River Board takes extra effort in ensuring that boat operators and boat users take precautionary measures to ensure no untoward incidents occur during this festive season. But that will not be so easy I guess as the riverine folks have their own 'four wheels'.....in other words, longboats. I do sympathise with the enforcement agency as it is not easy to convince these daring river dwelling warriors that the river highway is a dangerous mode of transport even if one is a strong swimmer.
This has got to be a premium longboat transport ~ one of the longest I have seen. This requires good cooperation between the jaga luan (front navigator) and the boat driver ~ watching out for dangerous floating logs and debris that can colide with the boat causing it to capsize
The mini version (Porsche) of the longboat but if its heavily laden with passengers and items it can be quite risky also
Those with road access are considered more lucky as they will have options to use 2 wheels or 4 wheels or 6 wheelers vehicles of their choice. Bearing in mind that the Sarawak roads are still not that advanced yet unlike the two to four lanes highway we have in West Malaysia, a single mishap as seen in the picture above can make your one hour journey into a twelve hours nightmare.
So Nadai Nama Nama again stresses this ~ do not let this be your last celebration. Most accidents are avoidable and the Don't Drink while Driving on the road, Steering a Boat or Holiday Cruiser or Flying an Airplane applies here. Try to resist the temptation of replying the SMSes on your handphone while driving too. In the past month I had lost a few good friends on the road and a relative in a river mishap. Do not let the sun set on your life. Be Safe This Gawai Dayak 2012.