The first time I travelled to Mukah was the year Three Rivers School organised the Soft Ball tournament for schools. Our school team under Miss Fries got very excited as we were to travel by river boat and we would be away for more than four days. And for that, many of us were to be away from home for the first time with school mates and staying in a school in the rural area. Many parents were not too willing to let us go.
And furthermore we were to sleep in classrooms, and not in homes. There were not hotels in Mukah for any one in those days.
To travel to Mukah by river boat , we had to sail down the Igan from Sibu and then take the small man made canal called Kut to Dalat. And from Dalat we sailed down the Oya River for about 20 km, to the river mouth and then we sailed fairly near to the sea coast for another 20 km to reach Mukah. It was quite a long journey. Luckily none of us were sea sick and we did not even ask Miss Fries if she felt comfortable or not. We as kids just thought that adults fared better than us!!
Actually the Sungei Kut is just a very short canal and it is just about 50 feet wide.
But in those going to Mukah by river motor launch was like going to the other side of the world. We girls in the Softball team will never forget our trip to Three Rivers School.
Map showing The Igan, and the Oya Rivers.
Today, almost 50 years later, the journey may still be the same, but we have several choices : by boat, by road and even by air, from Sibu to Mukah. There is a good road from Sibu to Daro, then Matu, and from Matu one can drive up to Igan, Oya and finally Mukah. It will take less than a day to reach Mukah. In those long ago days, it took one whole day from Sibu to Mukah. If the tide was low, a bigger motor launch would have to wait for the water level in Sungei Kut to rise and passengers might even reach Mukah about midnight!!
Today Sungei Kut is lined with small wooden houses or huts and they are all so pretty to photographers.
The distance between Kampong Kut and Sibu is only 90 km, while the Igan will reach the South China after it has meandered around for 130 km from Sibu!!
Today, Kampung Kut has a Chinese primary school called Pai Yuk founded in 1957. The two rows of 15 shops are all Chinese owned. These Chinese are Hokkien, Foochow and Teo Chiew dialect speaking people. The primary school has a population of 100+ and it has only one pure Chinese student!!The rest are Malay, Melanau and children of mixed Chinese Malay or Melanau backgrounds. (Ref : Steve Ling)
|Photo by Steve Ling. This is a Hainanese man who has been operating the only coffee shop in Sungei Kut for over 40 years.|
Today there is a new road and it is on the other side of the kampong.
Passengers from Sibu, using speedboat will stop at the jetty in front of the shops. those who wish to come over to this side of the stream, have to jump into a long boat, and drive over, which is just a few meters away!!
this is Sungei Kut's lifestyle!!