Grieving son decries water shortage during mother’s farewell in Serian’s Kampung Krusen, even after 92 years

The funeral ceremony of Peter's late mother at Kampung Krusen, Serian on Feb 28, 2024.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Feb 29: “My heart aches as I reflect on my mother’s life, born and raised in Kampung Krusen during a time devoid of basic amenities. As she departed last Tuesday (Feb 27), at the age of 92, the absence of water supply compounded our grief,” lamented Peter Sibon.

Peter, a resident of Kampung Krusen in Serian and a former chairman of the village’s Land Development Committee for 10 years (2006-2016), emphasised these grievances while expressing disappointment towards the authorities responsible for water supply amidst their mourning.

The disruption has persisted in Kampung Krusen for the past week, exacerbating the community’s challenges.

The settlement, comprising three villages of Krusen Kranji, Krusen Siyu and Krusen Mawang, has over 1,000 population with over 200 houses.

Peter’s mother, Theresa Namben Manjung, peacefully passed away on Feb 27. She was born on Nov 18, 1932, in Kampung Krusen, where she lived a life rooted in her beloved community until her final moments.

“When we arrived home with her remains, we were met with dry taps and we can’t do anything, causing significant inconvenience for funeral preparations like cooking, washing and sanitation. The situation is undeniably frustrating,” he conveyed to DayakDaily today.

Peter (holding a microphone) delivers the eulogy at his mother’s funeral in Kampung Krusen’s church on Feb 28. 2024.

Recalling the words of one of his sisters, he added, “Mother entered this world when basic amenities were scarce, and as she departed, the village grappled with the absence of a fundamental necessity like water supply. It is sad.”

Peter questioned why, after 92 years, the conditions in the village could not be better, especially now in 2024, an era marked by digital advancement, with Sarawak nearing its target of achieving developed status in six years.

“What’s happening? We’re on the cusp of developed status, yet water shortages persist. Despite being connected to piped water, dry taps remain an all too common occurrence,” he queried.

Despite his frustration, Peter expressed gratitude for the deployment of a water tanker yesterday (Feb 28), the day of his mother’s burial, with his house being given priority.

Peter’s relative fetching water from a tanker deployed to Kampung Krusen, Serian on Feb 28, 2024.

Noting there is alternative water source from the Kayan-Sadong river, Peter however pointed out that the water is not only dirty and murky due to rain, but sightings of crocodiles have made it too hazardous for anyone to risk bathing in the river.

Furthermore, he raised that villagers also suffered from the lack of digital connectivity, despite the presence of a telecommunication tower.

“But, it is naked and there is no coverage. I have had to switch telco providers multiple times, from Digi to Maxis and then Celcom, yet there is no connectivity. In this digital era and economy, please solve the problem.

“Effective communication is essential, particularly during times of bereavement,” he urged.

Peter implored authorities to empathise with the community’s plight, especially during periods of mourning when communication is vital but unattainable. — DayakDaily