Friday, 17 April 2009

The Bathing Place - Our Playing Ground.

The Bathing Place -Our Playing Ground.
My 2 - year - old daughter watched by my brother Upi. This picture was taken during a drought season in the late 70s. During the peak of the monsoon season, the water level could be as high as the wooden bridge behind my brother. On the far bank of the stream, there was once a big tree that we used to climb and jumped from. It is gone now. The big stump in the middle of the stream has been there for as long as I can remember. It is the stump of a bilian tree (iron wood) which is reputed to be stronger than steel. When submerged in water, it can be even stronger and could last a very long time. That stump was said to have been in the river for more than 200 years.
As always and as in the old days, children love the river. I remembered in the late 50s, the river was wide and deep enough for long boats to ply to Bandung and Mawang (Chinese settlements and shops), a few hours down river. Today, most parts of the stream are overgrown with weeds and trees. It is not navigable anymore , even by smaller boats.

The bathing place has been a part of my life. As kids in those days, we would spend hours there, swimming, diving and chasing each other, until we turned blue with cold. An early morning bath there would be unbearable as the water was almost as cold as iced water (our long house is near to the Klingkang Range and close to the International Border with Indonesia).

Today, a mountain stream is channeled to every homes by pvc pipes the long house dwellers had fixed themselves. This has made the bathing place less used and less popular. Nevertheless, every time I went back home alone or with my family, I would never miss going for a swim there. I felt I had left a part of me there.


  1. This is nice...I see another book in the making!

  2. Dear Chang Yi,

    At the moment I just whatever comes to mind. As Hasmadi has said, I could choose a theme and stitch them all together. What is taking shape in my mind is more of a pictorial history around me.

  3. I have the same feeling about the bathing place we had in my Kampung in Bario.When I went for a visit a month ago the place was very small - we used to have boat races in the same river those days but I saw it is only passable by may be 2 boats at a time now.People do not use these places now, they all depend on pvc piped water.

  4. Hi Madoayu,

    Are you a Kelabit? I have a lot of Kelabits friends when I was schooling in Tanjong Lobang School from 1962 - 1967.

    Names such as Gabriel Uking, Henry Lian Aran, Jayl Langub and Jeffrey Pasang Saging must be familiar to you. They were my seniors except of Jayl and Jeffrey who were my classmates.

    I have never been to Bario. The furthest I have ever been were Mulu National Park, Long Terawan and Marudi.

    Robert Rizal Abdullah

  5. RM
    Yes I am. I was in Tanjong 1967 - 1968 (F4-5).
    I read your letters u used to write back to the school.I was very much interested to join the army then but I was wearing spectacles.
    I am Kalang Akup (Wayne' father).I used to run
    with our Prof Hj - but I was really in football then.ZAM was a very good goal keeper and he was also incharge of the scout movement in Tanjong when I was a member. I read the extanjong too.


  6. Dear Kalang,

    Oh Great! We miust have missed each other - I left TLS in early 1967 to pursue an Army Career and you just came in. Haji was my close buddy and we used to run together too - he dominated the long distance while I was the champ for 100 and 200 yards in 1966.

    Please join our TLS forum. I'm sure your friends - ZAM, Haji and the rest will be very happy to hear from you. Just give me your email address and I will register you in a few seconds.

    Robert Rizal

  7. I am already a registered member - think.
    But a silent member.


  8. Dear Kalang,

    Then chip in and surprise the forum and also to test your sending and receiving of emails.
    A belated welcome to you.

  9. noooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!! hahahaha...tak patut tak patut...takdak swimming suit ka masa tu...hahaha

  10. Lin,

    Tak payah bathing suit. Bogel macam tu sangat cute - tunjuk perut boroi dia. Hehehe.