Nanga Medamit has served the timber industry well in a sense but it is a chicken and egg story. Today it is considered a timber outpost. Thus the history of Nanga Medamit isvery much like the cowboy towns which grew up because of gold mines. And when the gold was finished the towns disappeared in the 19th century USA.. Perhaps the real timber industry is now on the decline....
The colonial government provided some social support to this small outpost by the building of one room school - the Nanga Medamit Primary School in the old days. An illustrious son of Nanga Medamit - Cikgu Stephen Bejit was sent there as a trained teacher cum hostel master. There were about 20 students then. In fact all these students are now in their 60's and Cikgu Stephen Bejit still lives in Ng. Medamit.
Fast forward to the 1990's the present Malaysian government has constructed a fairly large secondary school - SMK Nanga Medamit - to provide for the education of the new generation. Many of the teachers are from West Malaysia and other parts of Sarawak.
A road which is full of pot holes reaches this school and Pasar Nanga Medamit from Limbang - it takes more than 2 hours usually over the bumps and pot holes. The road was only tar-sealed very recently. Lots of timber trucks continue to use the road. These days new trucks carrying river gravel grace the road too.
|The ever popular longboat continues to ply the Medamit River. RM10 per ride to go to Rantau Kiran or Tanah Merah.|
|Simple jetty to the old Bazaar of Nanga Medamit All these shops are Chinese owned.|
|Capable Iban boat woman|
|Young lady waiting for her family boat (in the same context as family car) to return home after shopping in Limbang|
|Water is still from the rain.....|
|Besides owning a long boat many families have at their disposal a "land transport" or car|
|Will this outpost shop house continue to survive for the next two decades?|
A Dewan Mesyuarakat (Civic Assemly Hall) has made its appearance and is only used when the local YB comes to visit.
The timber company continues to dominate the scene and 60% of the working force still "belongs" to the company. The local Iban language continues to code mix with English terms like
"Aku besi - truck.." - I own a truck.
" Nuan ka ngirup beer?" - Would you like a beer?
"Aram meh kitai karoake..." - Let's karaoke.
"Nadai news kitu..." There is no newspaper here.
" Ni Baby nuan?" Where is your baby?
"Anak aku udah baduk school." My son has left school.
"Hari tu nadai diesel." There is no diesel for sale today. (We are out of diesel today)
"Aku besi temu Principal XX tadi." I did meet the Principal XXX a while ago....
And naturally many more today also speak a smattering of English but slowly Bahasa Malaysia has become their official language and perhaps one day because of lMalaysia all the kids would be speaking BM only and Iban as a language might disappear because of its lack of commercial value....
Interestingly many of the Ibans here who are in their 60's and above speak excellent English - a remnant effective of the colonial government and impact. You will be surprised how many boat men who can give a good and decent explanation in English to any tourist looking for some out of the normal route tourist spots like the Buda Range...or back packing into the interiors following the small tributaries.....
And proudly some of the younger ones would have a good amusing conversation with you.....
Nadai bukai wai....no difference my friend...Same language? Sama jako. kitai ulih jako...We can speak BM...
Although Nanga Medamit is a complex gathering of different races - it definitely still has its quaint characteristics of a commercial centre like a border market town in Yunnan or Laos...the people are friendly and ever ready to help any one in need....if they are not in a hurry to catch their longboat or eager to send their few pieces of rubber sheets to Limbang.