Thorny irony: Long Bedian named after durian but falls short on the fruit front (Travelogue Day 3)

A large durian sculpture in Long Bedian near the local library. Photo taken on March 13, 2024.

By D’Drift Team

TELANG USAN, March 13: Is it not curious how Long Bedian proudly bears the name of the king of fruits, yet the presence of durian is as sparse as a lone tree in a desert?

This rings true as Long Bedian derives its name from a nearby river, itself named after a solitary durian tree rooted along its bank.

In the Kayan language, ‘Long’ means river, and ‘Bedian’ means durian.

“It’s strange that it was named after a durian tree, yet there was only one (by the river). People would expect Long Bedian to have many durian trees from the name itself,” Telang Usan assemblyman Dato Dennis Ngau told the D’Drift Team today.

The irony behind its name aside, Long Bedian has carved its own reputation in Malaysia by clinching the prestigious first place in the Anugerah Ilham Desa (AID) national competition back in 2001 through the innovative commerce hub nestled within the quaint town.

The commerce hub now houses 38 shop lots and serves as a vibrant shopping centre frequented by the Penan community.

“It is the first rural area with shophouses, excluding Long Lama,” said Dennis.

Kayan folks in Long Bedian display a cohesive, proactive, innovative and progressive spirit—advocating for improvement and always eager to embrace development.

Over the years, they have taken upon themselves to operate their own clinic, set up a firefighting unit, chip in to build a new church, and initiate an organised rubbish collection system to uphold cleanliness throughout the town.

Despite limited resources, they collaborate effectively to realise their vision, the embodiment of the adage, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”.

New tourist spot, the Sungai Merah Recreational Park

Long Bedian is one of the most popular towns in Ulu Baram, with its thriving tourism sector evidenced by the abundance of homestays available.

According to Dennis, a new tourist attraction is on the horizon: the Sungai Merah Recreational Park which is only half-an-hour away from Long Bedian, offering ideal spots for picnics and relaxation.

It is the D’Drift team’s first time visiting Long Bedian, and the journey here took us four hours from Miri. — DayakDaily