Friday, 19 July 2013

kundasang...the valley of life (3).

Ethnically the majority of Kundasang people are of Kadazan Dusun origin and most of them are muslims and christians. As we are approaching the Heritage Resort, we'll be passing through a mosque located at the lower ground of the hill ascending towards the resort. I guess this is the main 'town mosque' witnessed by the construction materials of the mosque which were made up of bricks, steel frames, glass doors and windows. Most of other mosques and suraus around are made up of wooden structures.

My guess is right. The mosque is the central mosque of Kundasang and is called Masjid Jamek. In 1980, an Arab Prince personally donated RM500k and MUIS spent another RM1.5mill. to complete the whole development on a 5 acre site in 1988. It was declared open by YB Tan Sri Kasitah Gaddam, a Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister Department.

Sabah is now developing. Hopefully more budgets will be pumped by the Federal Government to increase the standard of living, more infrastructure projects like roads and the community facilities including religious institutions, educational facilities, health and so forth in order to minimise the gap between regions in Malaysia. The establishment of 'economic corridors' through out Malaysia is actually to develop regions with potentials of local identity on economic and physical developments.

Sabah has four 'economic corridors' namely Western, Eastern, Northern and Southern corridors. Kundasang is in the district of Ranau thus falls under the Western corridor. If properly plan with highly exclusive and implementable blue prints, Kundasang can become the gateway and the getaway mountain resort of highly commendable, sustainable and eco-friendly resort township. Maintain the natural beauty, rural setting, ambience, environment and develop in a control manner complimenting the nature. 

Cameron Highlands/Pahang and Lojing/Kelantan  have already been spoilt with uncontrolled hill cuttings, massive "developments" done 'unstatutorily' with illegal farmings and now becomes the 'art of devastation'. May be that's what they called that as 'development'.

Avoid Kundasang be another victim of unscrupulous people who's only thinking about dollar and cents without placing the importance on preserving nature. A proper 'Development Plan' is a must to protect our only heritage. Mount Kinabalu was declared by UNESCO in year 2000 as the World Heritage Site. It's one of the 20 most prominent mountain in the world.

A surau at Bundu Tuhan, in a sad state of physical appearance. This is a common phenomena and some kind of a 'norm' in the interior parts of Sabah. I hope the government can come up with a 'Strategic Master Plan' and give some priority in providing aids in physical, economic and spiritual developments. It's high time for a 'paradigm shift'. This is the place where people find 'solace' to up grade the spiritual values. The physical, economic and spiritual values should come hand in hand in a 'holistic' way.

This is a typical Kadazan Dusun house found in Bundu Tuhan. Houses are made up of woods with asbestos roofing. Luckily this area is a cool environment with the day temperature around 20 deg. celcius, thus no need for air conditioning systems. Some houses are not supplied with electricity, same goes to water supply. Coming to areas like this is actually opening up our eyes and minds on how to view life from another perspective.

Types of sundry shops found in the locality. I notice there is no proper transportation systems available. There are things which are not available at these village sundry shops. Some items have to be purchased at the Kundasang or Ranau town which offer varieties of household items. Pity  those old folks have to carry things especially after dropping off at the junction settlement of the main road leading to the houses in the remote interior of this Bundu Tuhan settlement.

Sabah is still lacking in those facilities mentioned above especially the fundamental basics such as transportation linkages. Most parts especially the interiors are not easily accessible. Most township and settlements are located far apart from each other, especially those of interior regions. Geographically, it's due to the suitability based on landforms which some parts are of hilly and mountainous areas.

This is a typical kampung settlement at the hill sides found in Bundu Tuhan. Still earth road not even with laterite. Transport service is not available at this kind of settlement so people have to make do with whatever transport that is available or else have to be on foot. Just imagine the school children have to wake up very early at the wee hours. They have to walk miles every morning and afternoon to and from school. What about the emergency on medical treatments especially night time?

One funny thing that  I notice what is a common thing here and uncommon/strange for us from Semenanjung/West Malaysia is that most houses (with the availability of electricity) in these remote parts of Sabah are 'fitted' with parabola discs. May be it's legal in these areas due to unavailability of TV channels/Astro and so forth. Anyway the people here are more open to many channels which we only have to 'admire' their privileges. Well, our strength is their weaknesses and vice versa.

I've spoken to some girls working as waitress at the Puncak Borneo Hotel and they are some of the lucky few that land a job at the resort to make ends meet. Otherwise they have to make do with tilling the land for agriculture in the farm helping the parents.

How much can they make working in the farms, but that's life, a norm in this kind of settlements. Most of these girls have never been to Semenanjung especially Kuala Lumpur, and they're some sort of admiring us coming from Kuala Lumpur. If they know how tough life in the city is, they will regret and 'yawning' for home coming.

On positive note, people of the interior are more healthy, much tougher and less infected with modern diseases such as obesity which is largely found on urban folks. In this area, there is 'none' fast food restaurant, no KFC's, McD's, Burger King's what else Pizza. They are consuming organic food at the back yard or at the compound of their houses. But life is always challenging and alluring people to try different things. We urban folks are so fed up and trying hard to escape to another environment that we think fit for a healthy and peaceful living. On the contrary, other people, especially those of interiors are trying hard to 'taste' urban life which actually does not secure what they have imagined. Some folks came back after a short stint as a city dweller.

to be continued in part 4.