Sibu to Kapit
As my journey continues, I used a bigger express boat, sitting in the first class which cost me about RM 30.00 which I cannot differentiate the specialties compare to second class and the economy class. As usual, I think the special is that the seats are less than the second and economy class.
As I go further, it discovers the different view from my first journey. The fishermen boats are almost none, tug boats carrying everything; vehicles, logs, construction materials, etc…take place. For Kapit are totally not accessible by roads, rivers still play the important roles here. With the expensive cost for transportations, the end users have to pay more for the products. And they are the Kapit folks.
The towns civilization is slowly disappear for the first half an hour, longhouses becoming dominant and appear on the left and right of the river. Speedboats are also disappearing, and the longboats, which accommodate about ten passengers take place. Some of them had seen having their bath on the riverbank and on the other side another man fishing for his daily meals. It is common view from Sibu all the way to Kapit. More and more log ponds also appeared, taking off the treasure of Sarawak. The river is now more congested, similar to the view on the highway. Smaller boats and long boats plead on nearer to the riverbank, meanwhile, the bigger boats on the middle of the river. There are no special traffic rules here, I guessed.
About one hour, the surroundings are change, from the type of plants to the topography. Hills are everywhere, and the river is getting narrower. There are no plantations, but the small farms of pepper, paddy and mix fruit trees are the common marks that there are settlements nearby. Kanowit and Song are two major towns on the along the “highway”, unfortunately, I don’t have any special stories to share on this two towns. As I pass by the towns, I didn’t see any specials. The towns however are full with longboats on its jetties.
Finally, I reached Kapit, a small town in a rural area which I believed has lost his identity as a natural world as per my first impressions. However, the journey for the river is not yet finished. As informed to me, it needs another three to four hours journey to Belaga, the nearest town on the upper stream. Here, other tribes in Sarawak, the Orang Ulu which compromising of few smaller tribes are dominating. As for this trip, I spend my valuable three days here, at Kapit.
Kapit is the only major town in Sarawak that not yet connected by roads. Roads is there, constructed by the logging company for their own used but not advisable for public used. The hope is there, that one day the people in Kapit will enjoy the same facilities as in other Divisions. To date, river is the only mode of transportation to Kapit. I keep questioning myself. Is the treasures of the jungles and other Sarawak natural resources still not enough to built roads to Kapit? Perhaps, Kapit needs more attention on road developments, and Sarawak itself needs attention on the roads upgrading. If the topographical is the reason, I dont understand if the engineering technologies today cannot overcome the problems. I better keep silence or somebody will axe me..
The natives are still depending very much on the rivers for their daily activities. In most places along the river, human activities on the forest have shown the effect. Land slide seems on the riverbanks, and some are right on the longhouses. As the forest is getting less and less, I believed that the river will be crueler on his riverbank in the future.
As reported in newspaper past few weeks, fish are dying, floating at one of the river in Kapit. For unclear reason, there might be possible that the river will also finally kill the human populations. Kapit is still popular for his trademark “Empurau”, which cost about RM 300.00 per kilogram. For my third visits to Kapit, I haven’t seen this “gold” fish and I wish some day I will meet them alive, playing on the clear water of Kapit. It might be impossible to see them at Batang Rajang, but other virgin rivers are haply still there and welcome them as their permanent living creatures.
After three days in Kapit, I return back to Daro on the same route. My conclusion is that, river is really need protections, the peoples and the other living creatures on its surroundings need to be protected as well.
As more developments needed for Kapit, we cannot deny that the natural beauties have to be sacrifice. However, let we balance the developments and the nature so that it will be equilibrium on it. As all the tribes in Sarawak are crying for the equals among them, the river perhaps crying the same so that they will be more appreciated as part of this world and not the victims of cruel and greedy human beings.
Not yet finished?... Kapit is not the ending point for Batang Rajang. Maybe some other day, Gold Arawan journey to discover another beauties of Batang Rajang...