'Nyabung manok' in Batang Ai
The bushfire of by-elections has finally arrived at the shores of my home state Sarawak. It will threaten to burn all the way to the Iban heartland of Batang Ai under the shadow of the mountains that separate Sarawak from the Indonesian territory of Kalimantan on Borneo Island.
The Batang Ai river system has often been described as the Ibans' ancestral home. When the Ibans followed upstream the Kapuas River on the Indonesian side, climbed over the mountain range, the Batang Ai territory was the first place they settled down God knows how many centuries ago, before they moved throughout all other parts of Sarawak.