August 29, 2011

Maswings in Marudi

Lovely and bird like - just nice for Rural Sarawak
Very light weight and fit....
Luggage is taken out by an old four wheeled trolley.
You can carry plastic bags of goodies and even a life chicken in the olden days
You get a bit worried when the pilot starts to read his manual.

The rural flying service of Sarawak has been documented by many people in the last 50 years. Many articles have appeared in the Borneo Bulletin and the New Straits Times and more recently in The Star. The flying service is very essential in the largest state of Malaysia which still lacks good roads.

Twin Otters have always been a household name amongst Civil Servants and politicians who often have to travel for their official duties. And in fact many people have become familiar with is special engine sounds. In Bintulu a friend would always run into her house to cook her lunch when she hears the Twin Otter coming at mid-day....and leave the gossip at the fence for the next day!!

I still remember some long ago days that if the Twin Otter did not arrive we would not get our post!!

That was life in Sarawak in the old days.

Today in places like Marudi or Claude Town (a town initiated by the Brooke Government in the Barama) the legends live on and individuals would build memories of their own.

On a flight  to Marudi or from Marudi you can meet a newly wedded couple still fresh from the mid day wedding feast...with the bride still wearing her thick makeup and the groom reeking with XO Brandy!!

Or you could be sitting next to a local longhouse headman who has a jar of preserved fish in his hands.

I once sat next to a lady with a new born baby on a flight to Marudi. She had tears in her eyes because her daughter died at the baby's birth in Miri  She had been made grandmother but she lost a daughter on the same day. She was unconsolable and she was so alone in the world!! I believe that the droning of the Twin Otter in the future would always remind her of that day and her great loss.

Marudi is still the same after 20 years of my travelling up and down the Baram.....It is the Twin Otter which makes my day...for I can go home after a good day's work ...running for the last flight...and missing that...I would have to stay a night in one of the small Marudi hotels.

That's another story for me tell you in the future.


Ann said...

hehehe we both went in small planes.

Ann said...

so sad about the poor mum whose baby died. Were you talking to her? I was also talking to a young Indian bride. usu I dont talk to strangers on the plane.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Ann...I love the Twin Otter. I had a memorable flight from Miri to Limbang after my wedding in 1974...But I did wash off my bridal makeup!! I started teaching the next day....So that's another reason I love the Twin Otter. It brought me to my first school and rirst year of teaching.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Ann...I did try to console the young grandmother. However it was her cousin who told me the whole story. It was very sad to hear about young mothers dying from haemorrhaging at child birth.

My own paternal grandmother died in the same way in the 1910's. If only I could speak the lady's language I could have said so many consoling words. Instead I just shook her hands after we landed as it was very appropriate to do that.

William said...

CY... I think that tiny plane is the Islander ( Twin Otter is much bigger and was introduced much later.

It takes only 8 passengers and I used them from Limbang to Miri. The experience was good and interesting. I felt like I was "nearer" to the cloud! Oh, you weigh in the luggage and also the passenger.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

William...I took the Twin Otter to Limbang most of the time.

These photos were taken during my recent trip to Marudi and the electronic ticket I had in my hand says Twin Otter. I better check then.


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