Location : Rumah Uking Ak Naong, Batu Lintang, Ulu Layar, Betong, Sarawak, Malaysia.
Let me introduce you guys Rumah Uking the longhouse where we put up for 4 days while were doing Bukit Sadok. It is about 7KM from the junction of the main road to Betong. Tuai Rumah Uking is the headman of this 42 door longhouse, a very very huge one! The internal corridor (ruai) is neatly tiled and the widest I’ve ever seen. If you are standing at the external corridor and decides to take a pee, you will have to walk about 60m right to the WC, through the individual unit, at the other end. With all the floor/wall tiles it looks more like a modern linked or terraced house. With the added upper floor it is excessively huge for any family. Surprisingly, each family has only to pay RM18.37 per month for 25 years to Housing Development Corporation (HDC). For the size they are getting that is a very good buy.
But there was something I found disturbing when we were there, that most of the families did not plant any vegetables in their backyard. They buy all their food from mobile ‘veggie vans’. The reason was monkeys would rampage their garden. What happened to their Iban hunting skills? I thought their forefathers had to fight off more monkeys than now. Anyway, maybe they are wealthy enough from the income they get from their rubber, pepper and oil palm estates.
We discovered from the 3 houses we were invited in we noticed lots of antique stuff kept by these families. Most longhouses we have been to have long sold off their heirlooms to antique traders for short term cash. The folks here seem to treasure more their legacy than money. Good for them.
I did suggest to them they that they pool their heirlooms together and turn their empty ruai into a museum. With such fine and large collections I am sure they could attract visitors. Reasonable entry fees could then be charged as a source of income. Spin offs could also come from the sale of more contemporary items like pua kumbu, beadwork wood crafts besides food and beverages.
Private museums in Sarawak maybe a novelty but nothing venture nothing gained. At this point in time, ecotourism here is still not that promising. Perhaps, we should come back and invest more time.
Pua Kumbu making
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