Location : Kampung Gahat, Serian Division, Sarawak, Malaysia.
From KLB Garden we decided to drive to Kampung Gahat a village we visited only 3 times in ten years. Nothing much has changed except the noticeable increase in the number of houses. The road leading into the village was still the same with nice flowers and plants lining both sides of the road.
We have always been fascinated by Gahat’s unique wooden structures of their ‘bari’ and ‘kajang’ or paddy silos and paddy dryer. Thanks to their continuation of paddy cultivation these bari and kajang are still kept alive.
We have seen similar structures in Kampung Payau at Tebakang as well as Kampung Pueh at Sematan.
Paddy silo in Kampung Pueh, Sematan
Sadly, they have disappeared in Padawan, Bau, Singai and Siburan areas even though rice is grown there. I guess the reason may be due to scarcity of land as both the bari and kajang need to be built seperated from the main house for safety reason. So that in case of fire in the house the paddy will be spared.
The ‘A’ shape kajang is usually built on top of the tanju with its collapsible roof specifically designed for the drying of paddy which can easily go moldy under the moist and humid atmosphere of the village.
The function of the bari is basically for the storage of paddy. Technically built on 4stilts about 6 ft off the ground with metal sheath and a big wooden disc sitting on top of each stilt to stop rodents from climbing in to steal the rice. Challenges of village life inpire such interesting innovations. Let us hope Gahat folks maintain this traditional practice.
After Kampung Gahat we paid a short visit to Daha Kisau (check out our post on Gawai visiting at Tebedu here) and continued driving to Mapu Tantu (check out our post on Mapu Tantu waterfall here) where we met a villager struggling with his wheel barrow and sacks of freshly harvested paddy. He was huffing and puffing pushing his paddy from his field to the roadside when we met into him. We offered to help him fetch more sacks from his farm which was 5min drive away on a gravel road passing through an oil palm estate. Driving him, his paddy and wheel barrow to his village made him very happy indeed because that saved him a lot of time and energy. He complained how his son was too busy drinking to help. Sad. Oh well, that was how our day ended on the first day of CNY 2021.