Location : Dusun Medeng, Desa Sungkung II, Kecamatan Siding, Kabupaten Bengkayang, Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia.
The casual walk about in Sungkung Medeng / Anep gave us an opportunity to socialize with the ‘Copper Ring’ ladies at a genuine level rather than seeing them as exhibits in a set up hall. We would have coffee with them when invited into their homes and have real conversations.
We have seen on many occasions whether in Sarawak or in Kalimantan where photographers would swarm all over these poor ladies just to catch a snap or two of their external decorations. These humble ladies have always been obliging without ever thinking of asking for money. But as roads are being built from Landak and Bengkayang into Sungkung the days of commercial tourism are getting nearer for these highlanders. For better or for worse we shall see in 2 years.
The Long Necks or the Karen tribe commercialized in northen Thailand should be taken as a precaution for all tourism players and villagers lest they be caught in the money trap. Tourism money can spoil even the most simple village folks and make them unfriendly unless they get paid by tourists. We have experienced such unfriendly behaviors in Pampang, Kalimantan Timur as well as Ulu Kapit, Sarawak. Tourists do not mind to pay for taking photos but they must be informed upfront, possibly with the rates stated in the brochure or signage at the venue like the outside of a longhouse or the entrance to the village.
Whatever it will be, we hope Medeng/Anep as well as the whole Sungkung district continue to open their doors to visitors and share their friendly, simple and humble Bidayuh tribe’s way of life.
Another village tour
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