Sarawak elections: Score own goal (10)

By LC Bulan
What do you put into this? Cooking stove in Long Wat. With major parcels of land in the hands of Samling and Shen Yang, the community has had to resort to asking for firewood from these companies each week. As Tuan Penghulu explained: “We have little money, we need a forest to survive. Loggers take our fruit trees, our firewood, our wood for boats, whatever is in the forest. They are like a great wave taking everything with it. Here we have close to nothing, we are reduced to begging.”

In Kampung Mudung Abun, a Kenyah woman poses next to the turbine that will be installed in the small microhydro facility that will supply electricity to the longhouse. When asked why the community decided to build the microhydro system when they were so close to Bakun, he said, “Bakun is for Peninsula Malaysia, for Sabah, for Brunei, but not for us.” Prior to the microhydro project, the community had been relying on diesel generators.

Community barbeque with some members from Rumah Daro. Despite the hardship they face, the men we spoke said that they were grateful for the close ties they had with their family and expressed optimism for the future “because there’s no life without hope.”