Location : Sungai Asap (Bakun Dam Resettlement Site), Belaga District, Kapit Division, Sarawak, Malaysia.
Thanks to our friend Ms Alis for the invitation and opportunity to witness one of her friend’s engagement ceremony at Uma Kelap a Kenyah village. Although we missed out on the ‘official’ part the socializing of guests through their traditional music and dance was captivating. It seemed that the older generation was having more fun and ever willing to show off their dancing skills.
The host breaking the ice with her first dance
We continued touring Sungai Asapwith a visit to the Pekan Asap or the bazaar. The shops were all closed for CNY but the vegetable market was still in business with lots of locally grown vegetables and fruits, honey, sticky rice in bamboo (lemang), traditional cakes and locally produced tobacco which ladies here smoke a lot rolled with a type of leave.
Embroidery replacing the beadwork on her headband
We heard that there were 6 coffeeshops, 2 halal ones run by Muslim Kenyah from Uma Kelap and a non Muslim Kayan from Uma Juman, 1 Chinese and another 3 native owned. So food availability is no issue. The one and only hair salon should be thriving very well here. The only problem here is accommodation. Homestay is not very popular here yet. Hopefully, someday there will be a budget hotel. The population here is slightly more than 10,000. The easiest way to draw in the local tourists is through food. With the abundant supply of fresh water fish including the famous empurau and semah from Bakun plus all the wild game meat, Sungai Asap could easily evolved into a culinary attraction. The spinoffs could be phenomenal. The local natives who have worked in restaurants in the big towns should get together to set up a restaurant. ‘Start small think BIG’. Good luck Sungai Asap. Next…..Bakun jetty market.