With the Bengoh Dam completed and the inundation of the Sarawak Kiri River looming, the Bidayuh of Upper Bengoh faced the decision to either leave their homelands or stay.
Actually, he’s a driver… a driver for hire, but still lives in the forest, or what’s left it it. We stopped to take tea on the way to Long Suit. I asked, “Are there sounds from the forest you no longer hear? Sounds you were familiar with that you just don’t hear any more?” He described a soundscape of birds, where they would make certain sounds and during which season.
The full 30 minute version of Sarawak Gone – The Bidayuh and the Dam. The Bidayuh, one of more than 40 sub-ethnic groups in Sarawak, face threats to their livelihood, traditional lands and culture with the development of the controversial Bengoh Dam.
Seven generations of music are said to be held by a Sape Master living in the Bakun Dam resettlement scheme, 180km southeast of Bintulu.
The Sape is one of the more well known traditional instruments of Sarawak, but few remain who can perform the music of former generations and in the style that represents that heritage.
On the 23 October 2007 Kelesau Naan, the Headman of the Penan village, Long Kerong, left his wife at a rest area in the forest to check on his traps. He never returned. Two months later his remains were found scattered across the Segita River.
Bidayuh travel to the Bakun Dam resettlement scheme and hear from the resettled Kenyah at Sungai Asap and see first hand the results of relocation. They also meet with Iban at Rumah Agi who fought to retain customary right to their own land in the face of palm oil exploitation.
In The Forest and the Dam we review the Environment Impact Assessment prepared prior to construction of the Bengoh Dam. We look at the anticipated loss of habitat and bio-mass, and the inundation of protected and endangered species found in Upper Bengoh, Sarawak.
The Penan, one of the more unique of indigenous peoples of Sarawak, live in the forests of Ulu Baram. Some are still nomadic, whilst a hand-full have resorted to living in squats.
Sarawak, along with Sabah, is a state of Malaysia on the island of Borneo. It is home to over 40 different sub-ethnic groups.
Many native communities, such as the Iban, Penan, Bidayuh, Kayan, Kenyah and Saban are still dependent on the remaining forests that they live in. However, they are under increasing pressure to leave or surrender their customary lands to forestry industries, palm oil plantations or dams.
Like the forests they inhabit and have been custodians to for generations, Sarawak’s native groups may also perish, along with their traditions, countless generations of cultural knowledge, their dignity and their rights.
Those that have already lost access to their customary lands and rights are finding uncertainty and cultural poverty the legacy their children will inherit.
- Download the trailer (MP4 26.1 MB)
Sarawak Gone is a micro-docs series raising awareness to the gradual decimation of the indigenous life and culture of Sarawak, the native land rights at stake and the rapidly decreasing habitats that are also home to countless protected and endangered flora and fauna.