April 9, 2015

Nang Chong Stories Plank Walks

These days there are not many structures built by man in response to the erosional effects of tropical rivers like the Rajang. Man has moved further in land, away from the erosive river banks because roads have been built to join many villages and towns. Towns are no longer strictly riverine by nature, and dependent on rivers for transport.

this photo shows an old plankwalk, completely constructed from belian wood which cannot be decayed by water, nor eaten by termite.

This plankwalk found on the west bank of the Rajang, in Nang Chong village is good enough for bicycles and motor cycles and is at least 200 m. long. It is a pride of the Foochow villagers here.

Today only 5 families live along this part of the river. A road further in land links them to Sibu.

However these families require this plankwalk to reach thegovernment built road. Thus kaking their lives very easy. In the past they could use the local motor launches to reach Sibu,within an hour. A motor bike now takes less than 20 minutes to reach Sibu.

When we were young it was usual for us to run all the way along these kinds of plank walk when we wanted to visit our relatives or take a short cut to go to school. If we fell down at mid day, the pain was great because, firstly the planks would be extremely hot and our knees would be scraped.

Besides, at my age today, I fear falling into the river, at low tide, into the mud below, and at high tide, the water is just one or two inches below the plank walk. How fearless we were then.

But a lovely sound was the noise made by our uncle's bicycle over the lose planks...bolok bolok bolok...

And another endearing sound of the bicycle....ngie ngek ngie ngiek if the bike was a bit rusty.


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