Malaysiakini NEWS

It's not easy being a Penan

K Kabilan
Published:  |  Modified:

Long Lamam is a Penan village located in the remote interior of Ulu Baram in Sarawak. The village sits on the bank of the clear running, rock-filled Sungai Selaan.

This river is also the main link from this village to the outside world. A 60-minute upstream boat ride takes the villagers to a timber track road. From there, the nearest town is a place called Long San, some two hours away. Miri is another four hours away from Long San.

Long San is the place where the Penan children go to school. It is also the nearest place with a doctor, the police or any government agencies.

NONE There are some 200 people in this village, with approximately 55 households ( pintu ).

The village head is Balang Tui, a small sized man with a soft voice and a ready smile.

A small field stands between the village head's house and the river, and from his house Balang can see anyone who comes to Long Lamam through Sungai Selaan.

There are other houses nearby but most of the villagers live on higher ground, located about 200 metres behind Balang's house. There is also a small church at the higher ground.

Long Lamam is located in a valley surrounded by a thick jungle, making it easy for the villagers to go hunting with their blowpipes and to collect wild jungle fruits and jungle products. Some of them have cleared the jungle for farming purposes.

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