I recently went on a Rice harvesting experience with Langit, Long Semadoh is a settlement in the Lawas division of Sarawak, Malaysia. It lies approximately 654.6 kilometres east-north-east of the state capital Kuching.
It was not my first time in the Semadoh Valley, it was our last pit stop during Heart of Borneo Highlands Eco Challenge, it was also one of my favorite villages, we’ve stayed at Long Tanid, a quaint and small little village just 45minutes walking distance from Long Semadoh, I was lucky to meet the Langit Founder, Chan Zi Xiang at that trip and found out about what they do. (www.langit.com.my)
It’s quite a journey to get there. I flew from Sibu to Miri, then Miri to Lawas, and once we get to Lawas, it took us about another 4 hour off road drive into the valley. Unlike Bario, which is very much modernised and commercialized by tourists, we were the only tourists at Long Semadoh during our stay. I want to share following log from my travel that time, I spent most of my time either trying to get “line” , and when I get frustrated, I resorted to reading (finished Murakami’s Norwegian wood while I was there), and lots of diary writing. This entry best described the trip for me, I hope you’ll enjoy it too.
23rd Jan, 2018
Rained whole night
Woke up to a Sunny day
I was so exhausted and I slept like a log last night.
After yesterday, we had an idea of what it’ll be like, so we’re more mentally prepared.
I was feeling a little overwhelmed and frustrated, seeing all the paddies being blown down from the wind, it was hard to harvest them that way, we had a hard time picking the good ones from the bad. Uncle Liun probably sensed my frustration, he kept saying : “Tukar tukar kerja lar.” (Switch up your tasks)
We worked from 8.30 to 12pm, then we continued from 3.30 to maybe 6/7pm
After a heavy breakfast, we set out to the fields again. We’ve finished Uncle Liun’s fields, and today we work at Auntie Ribed’s sister’s field. It’s just her alone out there on the massive field. The fields was not as hard as yesterday’s, the paddies are still standing up, it’s much easier to harvest this way, it was muddy and wet, I discard my shoes and went bare foot instead.
We’d take short breaks and when I felt frustrated from harvesting I remember Uncle Liun’s words : “Tukar tukar kerja” so I ended up packing and mulling all the rice, I tried to “bergaya” (act stylish) by carrying the bag over my shoulders like a real farmer, but after a few trips I ended up dragging the bags through the mud.
“That’s real life spartan race right here for the farmers, day in a day out” I thought to myself.
And we’ve finished earlier than auntie’s expectation, she thought it’d take us whole day. We’ve finished at 12.30pm, we sat and ate durians under durian tree…probably not a wise choice (PS don’t worry, apparently ripe durians only falls during the nights, never in the day)
I was so touched when Auntie Ribed told me : “Kita hairan tengok kamu orang kerja, orang muda sini tidak masuk, kalau cuma Uncle dengan saya memang tidak boleh habis”
(We’re surprised to see how you guys work, if it was just us we wouldn’t be able to finish the harvesting work)
I told her of course we’re semangat (enthusiastic) because it was only for 2 days
And I miss her. A lot. 3 days and I’m worrying about her forgetting me. Connection is iffy here…I was feeling so frustrated trying to load her videos
Last night I was thinking about her as I doze off to sleep…the sense of longing was unbearable to a point that I felt like weeping…kind of silly if you think about it. It’s just been 3 days
Having her will never feel real to me…it’s unbelievable to me, I have her and she has me. She’s mine