Cultural Immersion

On our trip to Ulu Belait, the main transport we used were the 4WDs owned by some of the local drivers who volunteered to drive us to Ulu Belait. We met them at Kg Sungai Mau, parked our cars there as our cars were not suitable for the puddles and muddy road up ahead; and joined them to a 2 hours 50 minutes drive to Kampong Sukang.

“Most of us were fascinated by the scenery along the way to Kg. Sukang. Literally, we were surrounded by the jungle.”

Photo by: Aqilah’s Iphone

“Just look at that beautiful scenery! Hidden gems located in Ulu Belait.

Just gonna put my hands up for having #motionsickness along the way to Kg. Sukang.” #greenface

Photo by: Aqilah’s Iphone

Kampong Sukang

The time when we finally arrived at Kg. Sukang was exactly during midday. Our first stop was the village headman’s house which is one of the longhouse located in Kg. Sukang. We managed to have a sit-down conversation with the village headman himself, to ask about the history of the village. Where he shared about the history of when they decided to name the village as Kg. Sukang. He shared the name ‘Sukang’ came from one of our local durian species called 'Sukang' that is growing well in that area.

He also shared that there are 3 particular tribes living close together in Kg. Sukang; Dusun, Iban and Penan and nowadays, there are few left still living in Kg. Sukang as most have migrated to the city (Bandar).

“The outside view of the headman’s longhouse in Kg. Sukang.”

“A bright sunny day to be walking on a bridge towards the Penan’s longhouse. Seriously we can't experience this in Bandar, but only in Kg. Sukang - a place hidden from the outside world”.

History of Kampong Sukang

In the past, the first two tribes to set foot in Kg. Sukang were Puak Dusun and Puak Iban. Hence, based from the information that we got, Puak Iban first came to Brunei in 1943 all the way from Malaysia. Eventually, both the Puak Dusun and Puak Iban are known to be the first indigenous people that have been living along the Ulu Belait and Ulu Temburong areas.

The headman also mentioned that their staple food or the main produce of the village is sago from the Rumbia tree, known locally as ‘Ambulung’; a well-known Bruneian traditional dish.

Penan’s Longhouse

Our second pit-stop was the Penan’s Longhouse, which is located on the other side of the river from the headman’s longhouse in Kg. Sukang. On our way to the Penan’s longhouse, we took a quick boat trip across the river.

“The Penan’s Longhouse - located in a remote area in Kg. Sukang. A very quiet place only surrounded by the voice of nature.”

Photo by: Aqilah’s Iphone

“Sun-kissed and few mosquito bites, we managed to snap our photos wearing the handicrafts made by the Penan people”, #toomuchVitaminD

Photo by: Nazurah’s Iphone

“We also received a warm welcome from one of the elderly and he is 100 years old! He is in fact the last descendant of the Penan people that came from Malaysia.”

Photo by: Nazurah’s Iphone

“Creativate team in Action! A photo that we took outside the Penan’s longhouse.”

From the right: Bell, Nurul, Aqilah, Sara and Michelle.

Photo by: Michelle’s Phone

“A photo of the Penan’s Longhouse from across the river. How pretty is that?! Only in Kg. Sukang.”

Photo by: Aqilah’s Iphone

“CREATIVATE TEAM! A photo in front of the Penan’s longhouse. A treasured experience with fellow team members of Creativate filled with mind-blowing experience and great scenery.”

From the right: Nurul, Aqilah, Nazurah, Bell, Chai, Sara and Michelle.

Photo by: Chai’s phone

Penan/Punan People

From our understanding, Penan people originally came from Malaysia, thus, they migrated from Malaysia since 1943 and they are known as Puak Iban. Whereby their usual living quarters are in a longhouse, together with their extended families; a place where most important events took place such as ‘Ari Gawai’ and several wedding ceremonies. However, during our visit, we found out that there were only few of them still living in the longhouse and most of them were elderly. In addition, most of the houses in Kg. Sukang including the Penan’s longhouse have no electricity and they experience shortage of clean water for daily activities, therefore, they only rely on the river water for washing dishes, doing laundry and bath.

The main highlight of our visit to the Penan’s longhouse was that, we were introduced to some of the merchandise handcrafted by the Penan people, such as, the Iban’s blowpipe (a requirement for hunting) the Penan people called it as ‘Ipuh’, Candas (traditional chopstick), wooden spoon for Ambuyat, bracelet made of ‘Ratan’ and Iban’s traditional headpiece.

Sadly, most of the Penan people have migrated to the city due to interracial marriage, whereas, Penan people are mostly married to people from Bandar. Some shared of better life conditions in Bandar, such as better job opportunities, and even as simple as having access to day-to-day household items.

As a result, it would be very devastating if the Penan people cease to exist in the near future, as even now the majority of young people do not know about the Penan people exist in Brunei. Therefore, few changes must be made especially in making a substantial improvement to the village facilities such as better phone line services, access to clean water for everyday use, electricity, renovations for the Penan’s longhouse, better education system, better health facilities (health clinics) in case of emergency and better access to household grocery items.

Kampong Melilas Longhouse

As we arrived at Kg. Melilas longhouse, we met with the headman’s of the house, Pehin Dato Pekerma Dewa Hj Mohd Ali. We also received a warm welcome from the headman’s wife and she showed us around the house. There, they even sell some of their handcrafted merchandise.

“Tapak lama Kampong Melilas.”

Photo by: Aqilah’s Iphone