July 30, 2014

Nang Chong Stories : Logs for firewood

When we were young we were actually trained to watch out for stray logs floating down the Rajang River. They were important to us for several reasons.

Logs then were used in many ways.

they were used to build our pontoons or  floating dor tou.

In 1948 some one took a photo of how logs were used for boats to berth in Kanowit. Until today, logs are used by the people of Sarawak to tie their boats to, or to build pontoons. Even toilets are built on logs.

A pontoon in Bekenu still using big logs,complimented with diesel drums

One important use was to build bridges. The nang Chong area was very muddy and in fact my cousins once remarked that no one should actually plant rubber in that kind of soil. But my grandfather did and the family survived pretty well.

Even in other parts of Sarawak, until today, one of the best and most important uses of logs is still the building of rough improvised bridges. This photo is from Taja Enjok (Lio Mato area)

In the 1950's and 1960's, runaway logs were often "caught" by my relatives in the Nang Chong villages along the Rajang to be sewn up for precious firewood, both for smoking of rubber sheets and for the wood fire stove.

Today, with the arrival of kerosene stoves, cooking gas tanks and electricity, and the fact that wood is very scarce now, people no longer use firewood. Men would not have to paddle right into the middle of the Rajang to "hook" a log and bring it home like a precious trophy.

Those were precious memories that many of my cousins would have of our uncles and their paddle power.
Believe it or not, this is the wood fire stove used by my Second Uncle, the late Lau Pang Kui and Aunty in Tien Chin School in Bukit Lan. I had the opportunity to photograph it during a recent trip to Bukit Lan. They were transferred to Sibu in the 1970's.

Firewood stove is a thing of the past now. Do you have any memory of sawing logs and chopping up wood for your grandmother's stove?


Anonymous said...

we had the stove made from earth. you may no longer find one

Ensurai said...

This was made from bricks and painted RED, a colour probably no longer used...My aunt cooked some wonderful dishes using this stove..Real Foochow dishes like Long Yien (or Fuzhou Egg noodle). Nostalgic. I will try to get a photo of the mud Foochow stove.

Ann, Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪 said...

where have all our timber gone? My Mum's family own the stretch of land up river from the Durin bridge. The river strip was loan to a timber company so they can extract the timber from the internal, and use the land for jetties. Now, this have gone. No more trees.

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