Crying voices from Murum, Sarawak

“Our way of life is living in a forest without borders” says Laping Sureh, age 50 plus.

“Our fruits are destroyed by water, our farmland, forests and rattan destroyed because of the dam. How are we to live ?” said Bujang, age 40 plus.

“Better we die from hunger than to suffer the indignity of being bullied. We Penan are not animals. Better we die here (at the blockade) than to see our homes sink under the Murum Dam,” Senang Kallang age 27.

The following images are taken at the Long Jaik Rumah Panjang. Long in the Penan language  refers to the place where rivers meet.

Each morning the Penans set out into the forests or farmland to forage for food, hunt small animals, collect rattan and sago and medicincal herbs.

Even though this longhouse is 40km away from the Murum Dam, the Penan residents here have been ordered to shift to other areas.

Sunrise over Long Jaik, a Penan longhouse about 40km from the Murum Dam.
View of the rainforest surrounding Long Jaik.
This Penan lady from Long Jaik is her way to the forest to gather food for the family.
This Penan couple from Long Jaik on the way out to the forests early in the morning.
The Penan longhouse at Long Jaik. Television keeps the womenfolks entertained at night when the generators are running.
Clothes to wear. They seem to be the main material possesion of the Penan besides their cooking utensils.
Much of their rainforest are being destroyed by timber logging and the growing of palm oil.
A logging road carved out of the forest to transport timber.
The only benefit accruing to the Penan are some of these smaller laterite roads built by the logging company leading to their longhouses.

 

Related stories CJMY: Penan vows Murum blockade to stay.

Full Story Malaysiakini: Penan vows Murum blockade to stay.