Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tangkuban Parahu, Bandung


It's been another long silence from this page. My family has purchased an AirAsia ticket KCH-CGK im March 2008 for a November trip. So many things happen in the between until we were not really sure of flying though. However, after checking with many friends, we decided to go forward with trip and booked our hotels through GoHoliday also of AirAsia.

We boarded a delayed flight from KCH at 10pm and arrived at Soekarno Hatta 10.40pm West Jakarta time. We put up at Alpine Hotel, a small cosy place at city centre. However, we were only there for a few hours due to a planned tour to Bandung we bought on the internet. The local agent of Bistur's Tour Mr. Yudi met us at the cafe at 0810 am. We just proceed to Bandung via Bogor-Puncak-Cianjur.

Along the way was the cool mountains surronding Bandung where we saw a lot of tea plantations as well as small farms and orchards. Everywhere were agriculture of all sizes. But the trip to Bandung was capped by the visit to Tangkupan Perahu. The story follows as detailed by our driver cum-guide Mr. Yudi.

Tangkuban Perahu:

There was a the King Padjajaran, the king of Java whom has a princess named Dayang Sumbi. One fine day the princess went to wash in the river and lost one of her embroidery. So the king issued a decree that whoever finds the embroidery will be rewarded by marrying him with the princess. Therefore, all men from all over Java went out to search for the lost item. However, one poor dog named Tumang found the embroidery downriver and kept it. Thence, the gods of the mountains turned Tumang into handsome young man and he went to deliver the embroidery to the king. As decreed, the king marry her princess Dayang Sumbi to Tumang.

After awhile, a prince was born to the couple and he was named Sangkuriang. But Tumang was however turned back into a dog and Dayang Sumbi never tell Sangkuriang that Tumang is his father. One day, when Sangkuriang was a young boy, the mother yearned for deer's liver for a meal. Eager to meet her mother's wish, Sangkuraing launched into the forests to hunt for a deer with Tumang, the dog. After a whole day in the forest, there was no sign of a deer and Sangkuring could not let her mother down. Out of desperation, he aimed his bow and arrow towards Tumang and killed him. He took his liver and brought it to Dayang Sumbi whom did the cooking for dinner. Dayang Sumbi did asked the whereabout of Tumang but Sangkuriang just kept quite.

After dinner, thence Sangkuriang told the mother that he did not find any deer and told his mother that it was Tumang's liver he brought home. Upon hearing that, Dayang Sumbi hit a the back of Sangkuriang's head and he fainted. He was sent to a remote forests of Java. When Tumang is back to his senses he grew up from places in the forests of Java and learned from the wise men and the learned of the island. And soon, when he is a young handsome man, he move back to his root at the Padjajaran City. There he met the ever young beauty Dayang Sumbi and fell in love with her. While courting her and getting into serious dating, Dayang Sumbi accidentally touche dthe back of Sangkuriang's head and realised that it is her son, and told her so. But Sangkuriang does not believe and he insist of getting Dayang Sumbi as her companion. Therefore, Dayang Sumbi set a requirement for their relationship to go on, which is to build a boat overnight. Sangkuriang, being a learned person and expert of all things, he got the services of the genies (ghost?) and satans to work for him at night. The spirits men were very hardworking and Sangkuriang is very confident of completing the boat overnight.

But knowing that Sangkuriang has employed the spirits of the dark to build his boat, Dayang Sumbi asked the villagers around the forests to start working mid-night grinding rice using the 'alu and lesung' which produces great sound of morning and the roosters start to roosts as if it was morning. Upon listening to the rooster and the grinding of rice, the genies and satans employed by Sangkuriang thought it was almost daybreak and refuse to work. Sangkuriang persuaded them to continue working but in vain. The spirits men are so scared of day time and the left the boat halfway completed.

Seeing the boat left in that state, Sangkuriang was infuriated and kicked the boat to the mountain and it turned upside down and settled there and named Tangkuban Perahu.
- the end -

Therefore Tangkuban Perahu is still furious to this date and see the smoke arises from the crater. Well, if you happen to be in Bandung, don't miss this place. It's one of the rarest volcanoe crater that you can drive to and photo yourself at the bank.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Politics and Development - Baram constituency in a nutshell

My friends from Baram,

Now the Malaysian parliament already dissolved and there is a lot of political talks taking place anywhere around town and villages. Not sparing one of the biggest constituency,the Baram parliamentry, we can't help but talked about it in political term and development of the area. The incumbent MP is most of the time in Kuching. As a voter from one of the station there, it is heartening to see the whole situation of Baram.

Starting from Marudi: it is almost a dead town, surviving on its own and there is minimal inputs from outside maybe since a decade ago.. The local bizmen got to connect their own road (15 km?) to a plantation road (owned by ex-timber co.) in order to reach Lambir and to Miri. And you've got to have super 4wheelers to go through especially rainy days (often holiday seasons as well) and got to pay twice the service of private ferry across Bakong and Baram river. If the river is swolen, you are to leave your 4wheeler in marudi or got to transport it by barge via Kuala Baram, extra cost again. Now, the express boat service is so poor, the operators can't provide decent boats anymore. The last time we 'tumpang' express boat Marudi-Kuala Baram sector, i saw a Swaylin poster (Iban Artiste - lady singer) pasted on the wall at the back seat, believe me, that poster is seen in one of my late mum's photo taken with our headman on the same boat a decade ago. Meaning nothing change much on that boat, including the seats cover, all torn already.

Move to Long Lama: Formerly the transit for timber transportation via Baram river, it should be upgraded with a rural growth centre (rgc)in place, it's just a dream. After the state election a couple opf years back, the majority votes for BN dropped, maybe that is why the rgc doesn't move? We also have this road issue been going on for about a decade now. We hardly benefit in the development of the state. Since the timber biz move out from this rural bazaar (to Lapok, Tinjar) there is only the secondary school providing a 'viable' biz community here. Bleak future if the road not coming in the next Malaysai plan.

Back to Lapok: The longest road to build (there is also a story of 'the longest bridge' to build) is an eyesore and heartbreak. I always lament the fact that this is one of the the worst part of public access road in Malaysia. I pity those guys who labored much to keep some cash, purchase any japanese twin-cab 4wheelers on loan for max 9 years and utilize it to venture into rural transportation biz. Within 2 to 3 years, the vehicle couldn't stand the 'roughness' of the road. There are still many years to go on the loan!! But when can we have simple access road crossing this big district (the size of the Pahang?) to Lawas to complete the so-called "Pan-Borneo Highway"? Which highway are we talking about?

Rural areas in Bakong, Tutoh-Apoh, Tinjar, Upper Baram: There is nothing to be proud of, except they were formerly timber producing areas and now host to giants oil palm plantations and planted forests, of which, i believe, does not really benefit the local populace in the long term. Major changes in the policing will have to be done in the future to avoid permanent damages to the societies in years to come.

There comes a corridor named SCORE, and Baram is listed there for a hydro-power project. Maybe there is a good point to look into. Major project like this may bring better economical impact to the peoples. But lets put it into perspective when a community leader said this in a public meeting few years back, "beginilah Tan Sri, kalau ada jaraya dibina sampai ke kawasan kami, apa pun kita boleh buat jika kita berusaha. Kalau tidak ada jaraya, ada kereta pun, kita tidak ke mana bah..". That statement was greeted with an applause from the other rural leaders present. I don't remember if Tan Sri responded to it. I guess this is already five years since and it seems that public meeting is yet another campaign for another election.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Tragedy in Bintulu, Again and Tiger Won, Again, but Federer Outclassed by Serbian Djokovic


At this point of time last year, i wrote on the helicopter crash in Bintulu. This time it is the two schoolboys from my old school (Tg. Lobang College, Miri) swept by undercurrent at the Similajau National Park while swimming at the beach.

At the same time it is Tiger Woods phenomenon again at Dubai. Leading the first day, losing it two days latter and only to frustrate the other guys, especially Ernie Els, with a stunning comeback final day. Imagine the 'big easy' had a 4 strokes advantage at the eve of the final round and Tiger cancelled that by chipping in, and made huge, long putts. No wonder his name is tiger.

But the same does not carry in tennis world as Federer was ousted at the semis of Aus Open by eventual champion Djokovic, the first Serb to win a grand slam. At the same Aus Open, the Serbians couldn't celebrate a champion in the women section as pretty girl Ana Ivanovic is outclassed by in-form Sharapova. It's had been a couple of years running, my family is stuck to the tv watching the Aus Open, tnahks to the time zone we had with Aus. Good to note here that the game provided us entertainment as well as source of inspiration. At the semifinal level, we had seen some best tennis for years in clashes like Djokovic vs Federer, Tsonga vs Nadal, Ivanovic vs Hantuchova and Sharapova vs Jankovic, another serb pin-up girl.

Golf and tennis, these games had been a test of grit and determination. Some losing guys are not losers. They stayed there for another battle in the next tourney. They are really good. Same applies to our will and determination. Not to fail but continue to improve on what we are already good at.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

2007 summary and year-end family gathering

Year 2007 was indeed full of surprises at many angles of life. Our employer, the Malaysian Goverment service ugraded their pay structure but by differrent rates for different grades. A mockery for those studying hard to get to the greater positions. Worst still is the price hikes for fuel announced that year (twice for diesel) which contributed to the price increase for all other essentials. Thus, the pay increment given to the government servants merely covers the monthly fuel consumption to enable their travel to work by cars. To attain a better living standard, they are to forgo a lot of other things, maybe cycle to work!!

We are also surprised by the fast deterioration of the health of the late mum. Within a month of complaining of irregular bowel activities, she was soon hospitalised for two weeks, treated and another week of critical condition at Sarawak General Hospital, Kuching.

Fifteen years after our late father, our mum was called to be with the Lord on 17 October 2007. She had had her lives well and fruitful to the optimum thinking of where they came from. She was a cause for the children to gather and remember the struggles put up by both parents in bringing us up from the interior of Borneo until we settled in the towns and make a living for ourselves as part of their legacy. On 28 December, the family visited the completed grave of the late mum and prayed together in her remeberance.

We were in Marudi for Christmas and it is also the time for my eldest brother to retire (Christmas eve). He had laboured for 37 years with the government as an extension officer for agricultural activities in the rural areas. He is well known in the interior of Baram and it is easy for us, the younger siblings to identify ourselves in that community by saying "I am his brother". They will answer, "Oh! patut awak macam rupa dia... tapi dia tidak cakap Kayan.. etc". In conjuntion with our family gathering and dinner on 28 December, he is honoured by the family to speak on our inheritance and future undertakings. Rather important to note here, he is in the opinion that there is only customary rights land inhertitance left by our parents and all those are in Long banga and therefore should be shared perpetuity by the Odaus.

The year-end family gathering is only the second in the series after 1997 Brighton Beach photo taking and dinner at Grand Palce. After ten years, we had the chance to celebrate at Imperial Hotel with a Danum function room available for us. We had good time in the rememberance of our late mum, honouring the works of both late parents and listing the children and grandchildren. The flow of wine and beer was rather smooth and we ended the year as a family reminded to stick together and look after each other in various circumstances and more importantly to build a pace to stay in Long Banga in the coming years.