I was in Kampung Sawai for some official function for the Batang Lassa project in August 2006. The serenity of the village is shown from the jetty of the Dewan Masyarakat. Across the river is the main village made of mainly Melanaus and some Ibans.
It was early in the morning and some villagers were still doing their washing and obvious biz at the river bank. At this time of the year, water sources is scarce and little choice.
They are dependent on the rain for drinking water. When we were there, we got to draw some from the villagers tank for cooking. We realize their supply runs dry at that time and praying for rain was a must. We bought so many 5 liters mineral water from the village shop. Apparently they do have lots of supply of that at their disposal. I wonder how often the locals purchase those bulky bottles. Imagine staying at these low-lying rural areas when all your surrounding being developed into agricultural activities and no more river to supply your natural source of water. No wonder they resort to purchasing bottled mineral water. But for how long they will have to do that and what kind of income will be able to supplement that? When our guys were there, only a few can take it into brushing their teeth with the river water. The rest resorts to the bottled water as well, including me. heh he.
Yet their nationalism spirit flying sky high as evidence by the flag raised at the jetty.
We also visited SK Batang Lassa at the confluence of Batang Lassa River. See the boys play soccer on that kind of field. No wonder our level of football never depart from such standard. Our national team also plays like that - macam main dalam lumpur kat bukit jalil di Kuala Lumpur. Sungguh kesian. But this kind of area couldn't be any good for football field. I saw all the mud mounts made by delta creatures sprouting all over the place. However, credit to them for keeping a fighting spirit and to help themselves with an outdoor and activity no matter what the hazard. Agi idup agi ngelaban, wai!
Batang Lassa is the Terubok place (the salted fish you guys get from the Satok market, wrap carefully and bring back to Semenanjung by airasia tu lar) where fishermen trap at the river itself. The fish is believed to grow at sea and return to this river to breed. There is an effort to conserve the place as a spawning area for terubok and other sources of seafood like prawns (Seafood lovers must be thankful to the government efforts - jangan lebih, nanti kena ghout).
The small long boat in the middle of the river is commonly used by fishermen in this area. The river is quite wide and brackish.
We manage to jump in and swam a little bit, albeit, at the kampung jetty only. Can't imagin what's inside the murky water. Including large living things. Hey! Air yang tenang jangan disangka tiada buaya. There was reasons that Malay parable was ever mooted.
I believe the peoples had learnt to live side by side with such a montrous creature over decades and centuries of settlement.
Myself, being from the highland interior couldn't have a place like this to live. I still prefer the mountains and the uprivers. May we carry on with our quest for development carefully and taking into account all aspects of sustainability.
Hidup politik pembangunan yang bersepadu dan mampan! Jangan merosak kampung orang.