However, it was in early millennium when I was first time drive through the only “highway” in the State of Sarawak. That is almost 10 years ago, and i am not very sure either the situation and administration boundary being shifted. I can imagine that most of the travelers will think that there are reach Oya once they drive through the area, just like my first impression on Oya. And I start to think that Oya must be a popular town, with all the facilities and entertainments! In fact I know Oya earlier than Dalat, the “big brother” of Oya Sub-District. And I got wrong!
Oya is actually situated about 25 km from Mukah Town, and about 15 km from Dalat by land transport. By clicking my calculator, it is about 200 km from Sibu by land! Than imagine, how far it is actually from Stapang Town! Through the topography, it is actually correct that the area is under the administration of Oya Sub-District. Don’t get me wrong, I am not querying the administration boundary indeed! Actually it is just an introduction to the Oya Town, an old cowboy town which located at the central of Mukah Division.
By judging on the location, I cannot believe that Oya is a cowboy Town; it is surrounded with crowded and well planned settlements which could contribute the good business for the traders. In extra, Oya as a central of Mukah Division is along the main road which connecting all the four district in Mukah. In my point of view, Oya is a one stop for the travelers, the copy of Serian Town in Samarahan Division.
Anyway, the locals’ business on foods and drinks was excellence when the government ferries operate at Batang Oya, the only road leading to Matu and Daro District. However, with the construction of Oya Bridge, the businesses are gone! This should be a sad time for the traders. This is actually not an excused.
The Government in fact has contributed lots of infrastructures development to help the Oya folk. They built Pasar Tamu Oya on the old ferry point, chances for the farmers and fishermen to trade their products. They built a beautiful, modern secondary school to upgrade the children’s’ education. They built new Food Hawking Centre at Puncak Saujana, where I myself have tried the delicious fresh seafood! They even built paved roads, which link the main road up to their front door. They built few GDW (Gerak Desa Wawasan), to stimulate the economy and easier for Government to provide the basic infrastructures. They promote Kampung Senau as a homestay to promote tourism. So, the Government has provided multi-million of RM for the development and locals’ welfare. But still, the Cowboy Town is still in place.
Oya was once connected to Sibu through rivers, and the historic wharves and jetties are still in place to tell the story of how important the rivers to Oya developments. Once the roads constructed, the travelers preferred to go to Mukah or Dalat where they can buy everything! But not at Oya Town. I am wondering if there is any fuel station in Oya, emmm… I just cannot remember.
In primitive thinking, seems that Oya is hopeless town with nothing to serve!
Inreality, Oya has everything to serve, a potential town to develop and it is just another matter of hope and realizations. For me, Government has done their part, paving the basic infrastructure for future developments. The only missing part is the effort by the locals. Don’t get me wrong again; I am not blaming the locals directly. Bumiputeras (just like me) has the same habit, always waiting for others to lead them. I keep asking myself, they do themselves, hang on the visions, and kick off extra effort to grab the opportunities. The unanswerable question and shall be a perplexity to the leaders!
I drove at night time through Oya recently; I can guarantee that Oya is not a sleeping Town. By 9 to 10 at night, the youngsters are still busy on their burger stall. The roads are lightening up with streets lighting as other town streets. Through my open wind-cond car, I enjoyed my cigarettes and could here the screaming of joy of the children who enjoyed their modern life.
If somebody ask me both Oya is really a sleeping town, and this is my answer; yes, for the time being! But it will be awaken sooner, it is on its way for becoming an awaken town!