Location : Dusun Simpang Empat, Desa Bengkawan, Kecamatan Seluas, Kabupaten Bengkayang, Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia.
After a good dose of one of the most traditional practices of the Dayaks of Borneo in Kambih village, we requested our host Tomo to allow us to put up a night in the nearby village of Simpang Empat which means ‘Intersection’.
We took a casual hike of 30min through a jungle trail to reach this village. It was an important crossroads in the early days where highlanders of Tamong would stopover on their way to Sebujit, Gumbang or even Pangkalan Tebang in Sarawak to trade. The locals here had a lot of stories to tell of their younger days bringing in stuff to sell to Mr Chin or Ah Phin. Life is a lot easier now.
Our short stay of only two days made us noticed something peculiar here in this village. Almost every household had at least a pair of rectangular block of wood placed side by side in a shed. Come evening at about 6pm the village came alive with villagers, old and young, banging away with wooden mallets on tree barks. These processed tree barks would be sold in Seluas town to traditional craft producers to be made into bags or traditional costumes. During the day when it was hot they would be in the jungle harvesting tree barks from the tarap tree. Interesting backyard industry.
Another remarkable feature here in Simpang Empat was the 2 tier pyramid like wooden structure. Paddy harvested would be threshed at the top tier and allowed to fall through the strips of bamboo floor. The rice would be collected by rattan mats and transferred to the silo or danggau just next to the pyramid. Smart.
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