Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Jungle Bells of Long Pasia

Located more than 250km south of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah is a remote highland village of Long Pasia, in the district of Sipitang. It is only about 10km to the border of Kalimantan of Indonesia. With an altitude of more than 1,000 meters above sea level, the Christian dominated villagers of the Lundayeh tribe wakes up to the cool mist that clouds the panoramic lush greenery mountainous rainforests of one of the most beautiful village in Sabah.

Morning mist envelopes Long Pasia even at 9am

Located at a convergence of two rivers, the river Matang and the river Sia, which combine to form the source of the river Padas, the main economic activities of the villagers are fishing, farming, hunting and handcrafting. The name ‘Long Pasia’ means ‘the mouth of the red river’ in the Lundayeh language.

Rice fields in Long Pasia. 

It took us almost seven hour to drive from Kota Kinabalu to Long Pasia via the Sipitang town. Two and a half hour on tarmac road and the remaining on gravel roads. We passed through some rubber, banana, tapioca and paddy fields along the way. It was a back-breaking ride on the last one hour drive as we drove through a treacherous muddy logging road. It was December and it rains almost every day in Malaysia, so the bad road condition was pretty much anticipated. However, the breathtaking sight and cool fresh air of the scenic village that greeted us washed away our fatigue and tiredness almost instantly.

It was only about a week away from the big day of Christmas. The stack of firewood behind the Borneo Evangelical Mission communal church tells of a big feast coming to the quaint village of Long Pasia. A host of activities such as football matches, singing and dance rehearsals has been lined up prior to the big event. It involves the locals as well as the family members who just returned from the cities.

A game of soccer is one of the favourite activities. 

Long Pasia village chief, Mudin Sia was one of the happiest person. “I am happy to see the younger people coming back with their families driving new four-wheel drive vehicles, bringing back with them goodies for their families and the community. Christmas is a very heartwarming get-together occasion that we look forward to every year”. 

Stack of firewood behind the church.

There are no roast turkeys for Christmas in this part of the world but there definitely will be a lot of cooking. The spirit of gotong-royong (cooperation among many people to attain a shared goal) is practiced on a daily basis in Long Pasia, so preparing a big Christmas feast was never a daunting task to them.  

Celebrating Christmas in this remote area of Sabah is definitely an experience by itself, devoid of all the commercial hypes normally associated with it. But as with any other Christmas around the world, one thing will remain in common. It’s the ringing of the church bells on the morning of Christmas day. For the Lundayeh Christians in Long Pasia, it is truly a community get-together that is firm in heritage, values and beliefs. Jungle bells are here to stay. 

For more info on Long Pasia, please contact the followings: 

Tourism Malaysia (Sabah Office)
Lot 1-0-7, Ground Floor,
Block 1 Lorong Api-Api 1,
Api-Api Centre,
8800  Kota Kinabalu,
Tel:  +6088-248 698/ 211 732/ 447 075
Fax:  +6088-241 764

Sabah Tourism Board
51 Gaya Street,
88000 Kota Kinabalu,
Tel:  +6088-212121  
Fax: +6088-212075  
Email: info@sabahtourism.com
Website: www.sabahtourism.com

1 comment:

  1. A very good scene..kampung life very calm..thanks for the info.


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