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By D’Drift Team
MUKAH, Oct 13: Sarawak’s loopiest, longest, and most hardcore roller coaster ride – the Pan Borneo Fury 1060 – will definitely leave you breathless should you dare to hop on.
This exhilarating ride, located in the Sarawak Theme Park the size of 124,450 square kilometres is definitely not for the kids. Adults, even, would sometimes let out screams of frustrationwhile on the ‘tracks’ usually guarded with ‘red and white railing’.
The suspense when riding the roller coaster is almost palpable because you’ll never know what’s up ahead. The tracks are dynamic – sections of them are always changing. Today, it goes straight and tomorrow, it might be an S-shape detour route.
Another challenge will probably be the extreme bumpiness and occasional potholes that will tilt the coaster train so suddenly and forcefully, it gives riders the fright of their life.
Pan Borneo Fury 1060 is definitely not for the faint-hearted. As scary as it may sound, however, DayakDaily believes many Sarawakians have been on this ride at least once.
If you still don’t get the metaphor, it is referring to the 1,060-kilometre Pan Borneo Sarawak Highway, which is part of the trans-Borneo road network connecting the State with Sabah, Brunei, and Kalimantan.
The mega project commenced in September 2015, and is expected to be completed by 2022. As of now, it is roughly at about 71 per cent complete, but delays are inevitable ever since the Covid-19 pandemic began.
Though as a game-changer for Sarawak road development, it has drawn many complaints, and grunts of resentment from the people due to really bad road conditions, especially for those who have no choice but to use the unfinished road for work purposes – like the D’Drift Team.
We had to spend about three hours on the rocky and snaky Pan Borneo Sarawak Highway as we travelled from Sarikei to Mukah this morning. Making it worse, the reception on the road was bad and choppy. It is almost impossible to have perfect reception throughout a journey on the highway, even with multiple phones running on different telco providers.
All jokes aside, we believe all Sarawakians are praying for the completion of the Pan Borneo Sarawak Highway as soon as possible. Who doesn’t like a smooth ride on the road especially when trips from one district to another would usually take hours in the State?
Arriving in the heart of Mukah following a backpain-inducing ride
At 12.30pm, the D’Drift Team arrived in the heart of Mukah town where we settled into an inn, took a quick lunch of prawn noodles and fish noodles before sightseeing in the district most well-known for its sago production.
Just a stone’s throw away from our accommodation was the infamous Sago Factory Chimney – historical landmark of Mukah’s first Sago factory back in the 19th century. As sago palm thrives in the peat soils of Rajang Delta, local community leaders amassed wealth from farmers who worked to produce sago starch by hand.
In the 20th century, the price of sago flour declined sharply and as a result, the factories were closed down leaving behind a 20-metre tall brick chimney that has stayed intact til this day.
Next to the chimney was a quaint Tua Phek Kong temple named ‘Tai Shan Pavillion’. It was quiet at the temple when we noticed something really adorable – a larger ‘qilin’ (mythical Chinese creature) placing its giant paw on a tiny qilin, seemingly protecting its child from danger.
Under the statue was the word ‘Yu Shun’ which was the second half of a Chinese idom (‘Feng Tiao Yu Shun’) that meant good weather. For a fishing village, ‘good weather’ must be one of the most important blessings the locals would wish for.
At the mention of Mukah, people would first think of either sago or fish. The fishery industry is so important and symbolic to local folks that there are statues of a giant prawn (‘udang galah’) and a red snapper (‘ikan merah’), just in front of the Mukah Fish Market, which is comparable in size to the Sibu Central Market.
By the time D’Drift Team arrived at the fish market and the two adjacent farmers’ markets, most of the stalls were already closed. To shop for varieties of fresh seafood, fruits and vegetables, one must arrive as early as 6am.
Cute encounter with a friendly thief
It was at about 4.30pm when we found Kampung Litong, one of the fishing villages along the coast of Mukah. Side by side, there were other similar settlements namely Kampung Sg Alo, Kampung Bunut, and Kampung Tanjung.
Other than kite-flying that was seen to be rather popular and common among the adults and children in the vicinity, the residents here are mostly in the fishing business. Almost all the houses own a fishing boat each.
One of the locals, who was in the middle of fixing his fishing net when met by the D’Drift Team, said there are more or less a hundred fishing boats along the shore. Every morning at 4am, he added, the sea would be ‘packed’ with boats where fishermen scatter and haul up nets, hoping for a good harvest for the day.
In the middle of a conversation with the 40-year-old chap, a cat that was taking a casual stroll on the sand stopped by to greet us – the outsiders. The cat (which we christened Steve) was most welcoming, like any of the other locals.
Steve demanded chin rubs, belly rubs, and back scratches. After a full 10-minute massage by one of the D’Drift Team members, he sashayed away satisfied before returning later with a small fish in his mouth.
The petty theft from one of the locals’ pool of harvest did not draw the police, but laughter from the small crowd. Obviously an experienced perpetrator, Steve enjoyed his evening snack indifferently, despite our sighs of indignation.
This will be it for D’Drift Team’s log today. More will be coming tomorrow. For now, over and out. — DayakDaily
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