And it is life giving as well as the best means of transport for the people living and working along its banks. It is not huge like the Huang He or the Ganges but it is equally important and well loved.
If you have heard of Borneo you would have heard of the Rajang - home of the Iban Headhunters or the Melanau people or the Chinese who created a town out of a swamp in 1901.
Kapit originated as fort or garrison town created by the Brooke Rule in 1880. The lovely Fort Sylvia has attracted many tourists in recent years..
In the 1960's it was normal for a student to return home from Tanjong Lobang in Miri or Three Rivers in Mukah to catch a movie in Sibu (as a holiday treat)- after a two day boat journey- and then stay the night in the motor launch with blessings from the boat owner. Early the next day the motor launch would chug its way up the Rajang to Kanowit or Song or Kapit making a whole day and whole night trip. From Miri to Kapit then would take more than five days by water transport for a poor student. Friendly shop keepers in Kapit would offer free lodging in their store room.
Today a trip to Kapit from Sibu is roughly 3- 4 hours with the new special speed limit and also the power of the express boat.
What is life on the Rajang today ? View these photos...
|30 years ago...no cars in Kapit. Today people have the means to own some very luxurious cars and lots of Kancil of course. A man lifting a tyre from the express boat. Life styles have changed in many ways.|
|A man lifting his own boxes and walk up the hundreds of steps from the express to Kapit.|
|The ubiquitous plastic bag which can be seen even at Heathrow and here in Kapit.|
|A woman driving a longboat to welcome home a son or daughter. From the Express to the Long boat is a normal riverine activity every day!! An outboard engine with 40 horsepower is the dream of many Iban women. I too would like to own one.|
|Basket of Hard Boiled eggs ..for sale..Good whole some food for the journey|
|A lady hawker trying to make a few ringgit selling soft drinks and hard boiled eggs on board an express.|
|Gasoline!! In plastic jerry cans or drums....|