A Historical Monument: Limbang Museum
Photo from Sarawak Tourism
Limbang museum is the first museum open to the public in the northern part of Sarawak. It was officially open by the then Minister for Social Development Datuk Adenan Haji Satem on August 27, 1994. The other two museums found in the region are the Baram museum in Marudi and the Niah museum in Miri.
The two storey solid wooden building housing the museum today was built in the year 1897 as a fort by the second White Rajah, Charles Brooke to impose peace and order in the region where warfare among the local tribes prevailed. The ground floor of the building was used as a jail and also a storage space during the Brooke rule. In 1985, the building was gazetted as an official monument. It was used for administrative purpose housing the Resident and the District office of the division and also other government departments before it was gazatted as a historical building.
The presence museum building is a new structure built on the original design in 1991 after the original building was burnt down in Sept 1989. The museum is located within a walking distance from the Limbang town. It is one of the tourist attractions in the border town which is a popular weekend resort for tourists from the neighbouring Brunei Darussalem.
The museum building is located on a hill overlooking the Limbang river. There are a few parking lots in the front compound for visitors’ cars. From the parking area, two flights of stairs are leading visitors up the hill slope to the museum building. At a service counter on the ground floor the visitors are required to register themselves before they enter the museum. No camera is allowed without prior permission. Here, rules imposed by the Sarawak Museum are as strictly adhered to as at any other museums in the state.
Besides the building itself, the two cannons located in front of the museum are part of the historical landmark left behind by the Brooke government. Today, the ground floor of the building is mainly used for administrative purpose with little exhibits except a Malay fishing boat of its original size which is displayed in the middle of the lobby. The boat is equipped with traditional gears and filled with local handicrafts.
The main exhibition hall of the museum is located upstairs. More stairs to climb though before you can get there. From a spacious veranda upstairs facing the road, visitors can enjoy the scenic slow flowing Limbang river and the tranquil Malay villages dotted the river bank opposite. The rustic atmosphere is a big contrast to the burstling town of Limbang.
Inside the hall near the entrance is an exhibition of the archaeological items unearthed from the several historical sites found in the Limbang division. They are namely Pulau Jai Jai, Bukit Mas, Sungai Jukut, Batu Weng, Long Lopong, Long Semado, and Long Kumap. They are obviously the earliest evidences of civilization in northern Sarawak. Pictures of community and political leaders were hung on the walls nearby the entrance. They had during their term of office served the people in Limbang and had contributed to the local social economic development.
Several books and important documents on the local social, economic and political development are also displayed. Further in the hall is a vivid display of the intricate and colourful crafts and arts of the Bisaya, Malays, and Lun Bawang and other communities found in the division.
There are beadwork, musical instruments, traditional customs, basketry, kitchen utensils, harvesting gears, and many smaller items which are usually gone unnoticed by visitors. The local people donated almost all the display items in the museum..
Before you leave, you might want to take a few snaps of interesting and memorable picture to bring home. I think the 5.5 meter long "Pagul" pole erected near the car park becomes a good backdrop. It is made from a whole belian. One side of the pole is curved with the motif of gibbon. The signboard placed near the pole tells you that the original Pagul was found at Batang Pirak in Nanga Medamit. It was erected near the river in honor of Tama Usun, a Tabun chief lived a century ago. The side facing the river has the motif of gibbon.
The "fafan" buidling is located nearby the Pagul pole. "Fafan" a traditional past time of the Tagal people, one of the indigenous group belonging to the Orang Ulu community. The centre part of the "fafan" building floor is lower and is bounceful with several logs placed underneath acted as springs so that you bounce like an aerobatic by jumping on it.
In the traditional game, one or more people can jump to their best in the "fafan" while the villagers sit round the Centre, watch the game, and cheer with the players. The harder the players jump, the higher they spring into the air, and the louder the crowd cheer, and the merrier the atmosphere. The game is usually perform to celebrate the coming of the warriors and important guests.
Another landmark in the museum compound is a solid buffalo status fenced in by iron railing. Buffalo plays an important part in the daily lives of the Lun Bawang, and Kelabit community especially in the olden days. Buffalo was used as a means of transport, dowry, source of food, in the field, and as a sport. It was so useful that in the past every family owned at least one buffalo. Buffalo was an indication of wealth and social status. Today buffalo is still an important beast to the Lun Bawang and Kelabit families residing in the Bakelalan and Bario highland areas.
By NT Lau 13.10.98
Copyright All Rights Reserved
Article recreated with permission for MiriResortCity.com from author.
Borneo Jazz Festival is a yearly Jazz festival event held every year in Miri. Latin Jazz, contemporary Jazz, Caribbean Jazz, Asian Jazz and much more, different genres of jazz music find their way to the northern most city in Sarawak for an outdoor international festival with the ambience of intimate Jazz clubs.
The Borneo Jazz (previously known as Miri International Jazz Festival) event is usually held every May at the Pavillion at Parkcity Everly hotel.
Only limited tickets are available, so plan and book early if you wish to come. For more information, visit BorneoJazz.com
The Miri Peninsula is a piece of land that is bordered by water on three sides but connected to mainland Miri, split in between by Miri River. Spanning about 7 kilometers along the coast, the peninsula has a great history and many features and areas within.
Right from the beginning as a village during the 1900s, the peninsula had long been a sore point for shipping to Miri port within Miri River. The shallow sea leading up to the river required smaller transfer boats to offload any large cargo by sea, before entering the river, and even so they would have to navigate further out around the tip of the Miri Peninsula, which had very deceptively shallow sandbanks that protrude for a long distance out of the tip. This article is from the web site miriresortcity dot com - this sentence is here to prevent blatant plagarism. And if that wasn't enough, the whole process was tide dependent, which meant that at low tide only the smallest boats were able to enter the river.
To complicate river traffic, the use of the Miri Ferry crossing at the tip of the peninsula in the 1970s made for delicate maneuvering and timing for boat captains entering the river.
The Miri Golf Club was established on the peninsula in 1924 with 6 holes. Today the golf course sports a full 18 holes and covers a majority of the peninsula.
The first Miri General Hospital, built by Shell and then handed over to the Sarawak government, was located at the tip of the peninsula. The use of Miri Ferry was important for any ambulance needing to cross the river to town without using the Piasau Bridge, which was the long way around.
The Long Jetty was built and maintained by Shell Oil for easier access to offloading supply and personnel from boats, when the tides, currents or sea conditions were not favorable. It now no longer exists.
Piasau Camp, a residential area for the Shell Oil company in Miri was built along the peninsula in the 1950s and the area is filled with very serene Casuarina trees. The housing are built mostly in single story houses with a porch, while only some are double story. The area was marked for redevelopment in the late 2000s but was eventually overridden due to pressure from the public to designate the area as a Hornbill Nature Reserve, as wild hornbills are found inhabiting among the Casuarina trees and the natural environment.
The Piasau Boat Club is located on the Northern end of the peninsula, near the Piasau Bridge.
The Piasau Bridge served as a link to the peninsula from Piasau area. Originally built as a Bailey Bridge, the bridge was a secondary link in to Miri town. The Miri Ferry was the main link to town in the 1970s to 1990. The bridge marks the end point for larger boats into the river due to a height restriction.
The Lutong Airfield was located after Piasau Camp, right in front of the Lutong beach. Utilizing nearly the full width of the peninsula - which is the thickest part of the peninsula - the airstrip had a long history.
Lutong town sits at the end of the peninsula, marking the point where the the peninsula spreads out merging into the mainland as the Miri river makes a 'U-turn' along that area.
The river mouth was dredged many timesin recent memory, projects meant for allowing bigger vessels to enter the Miri River mouth easily. In the beginning of the early 2000s, the start of the land reclamation project meant a complete remodeling of the section of the Miri river mouth and peninsula tip. Seawalls were built, the river mouth was relocated, and a marina was constructed.