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Jan 26, 2016

1/1/16 THE ERODING SIMUNJAN nan hilang.

Saya yakin, bila Al Quran menyatakan (lebih kurang):"Aku turunkan para nabi dan rasul dari di antara kamu, untuk memberi pertunjuk jelas kepada kamu..." namun terlalu sedikit di antara kita mengertikan bahkan telah ditidakkan sehingga tanpa sedar kita telah "melanggar perintah Alla" sehingga hukuman dariNya juga tidak kita sadari sedang kita lalui. Kita juga kian lupa betapa "Segala sesuatu itu terjadi, semua dengan pengetahuan dan keredhaanKu, dan tidak ada yang bersifat sia-sia" sehingga kita melihat musibah sebagai kecelakaan bukan sebagai suatu cabaran untuk menemukan kebijaksanaan dan kebenaran yang sebenar. Allah, saya yakin menjadikan Simunjan menghadapi hakisan yang sangat hebat, lantaran Dia ingin melihat bagaimanakah caranya manusia-manusia Simunjan akan menyelesaikan permasalahan mereka serta menemukan nikmat Allah yang jauh lebih besar darinya. Sesungguhnya, saya juga yakin, di zaman Taib Mahmud, rakyat Simunjan telah banyak dinafikan hak mereka. Paling ketara adalah di dalam bidang kepimpinan. Saya amati, Simunjan tidak pernah diberi kesempatan optima untuk benar-benar dipimpin oleh anak tempatan yang berwibawa tulus dan berkebijaksaan meluas. Bagi saya hakisan di Simunjan adalah petanda musibah besar yang akan berlaku kepada masyarakat di sana jika Simunjan terus-terusan mahu dipimpin ala era James Brooke, Jepun bahkan Feudalisma Melayu. Hakisan hebat yang melanda Simunjan punya hikmah yang sangat besar.

Simunjan, is a district within the present Samarahan division. Indeed in the 1970s, Simunjan used to be referred as Lower Sadong in relation to Serian which formed the Upper Sadong. In the olden history of Sarawak, Simunjan is a state by its own, known as Kerajaan Sadong. Since 1980s, both districts are now referred as Simunjan and Serian. Simunjan, Serian and Samaharan indeed departed from the larger Kuching divison to form the new Samarahan division. Sadong is kept to name the river that transcends both districts. Indeed today, Serian has departed from Samarahan to form a Division by its own making Serian dominant Dayak Bidayuh and Samarahan more Malays. Indeed administratively, Simunjan territorially had been swaying between the larger Simunjan and Samarahan district. In 1990s, Simunjan lost the Sadong Jaya sub district to Asajaya to justified for the upgrading of Asajaya from a sub district to a district. Instead of having four sub districts, Simunjan is now left with only two which is Sebuyau and Simunjan per se. Even with the upgrading of Serian into a division, Gedong which form the Upper Sadong sub district of Simunjan is now being alienated as a new district by itself and to be part and parcel of the Serian division. Simunjan seem continues to lost its territories to her neighbours enlargement justification. In term of political delineation, Simunjan is now to depart partially with the Sadong Jaya. My Kampong (together with six other villages) is now part of Simunjan political division rather staying with the whole of Sadong Jaya. In a sense, administratively such arrangement is great yet in the long run economic wealth, Simunjan could be on the disadvantage position. To me if Simunjan is to be divided, be it on political and or administrative ground, it should be clearly demarcated by the natural boundary. Simunjan should be dedicatedly designated as area to the East of Batang Sadong, while those to the West should be lumped as Asajaya.

(2) Based from the local Iban native narration, the name Simunjan was derived from a name of a bird called Munjan. This species of bird was abundant within the Gunung Ngeli-Buri natural mountain forest. Today, the bird is hardly seen as the roaming area had been extensively disturbed by the shifting cultivation, logging and oil palm plantation development. Indeed it is a very wise move that the Council had made an effort to erect an arc of the Munjan birds at the Simunjan Town Square for the present and future generation historical acquittance. Personally, I had never known that Simunjan is named after the Munjan bird, and worst still I for sure had never seen the bird alive.  Only upon my late enquiry of the arc that I was informed, those were the source for the name of Si-Munjan (which means the Munjan).

(3) Simunjan is my district birth place. My ancestors who migrated out of Java, Rhiau, Sumatera and Kalimantan (Brunei) at the Dutch colonization, had made what in those day called Sadong, their new found land. My Javanese-Rhiau maternal ancestors initially resided at Pendam and now renamed as Sadong Jaya while my Sumatera-Kalimantan paternal ancestors resided in Simunjan. Though I started my primary schooling at my maternal place ie at Sg Putin Primary School (nothing to do with Vladimir Putin, the Russian President) , but I finished off the primary education at my paternal side of Simunjan (Sekolah Rendah Abang Man). I left Simunjan to pursue my further education in Peninsula Malaysia and upon my return in 1986, I decided to reside at Kg Terasi, Sadong Jaya to this day. I choose to reside among my Javanese-blood maternal family in order to connect myself and In Shaa Allah my future generations with the Javanese culture. Keeping the Javanese blood to flow in the family to me is important, for who knows, it will have its own future merit. One immediate advantage that I could foresee by doing so is to keep the Javanese culinary alive and to be the family commercial wealth. Allah indeed had made the world so diversified, and I think we should manage things as He had wisely created. Indeed the very tenet of our creation is to be the caliph to manage all His other creations for the good of all mankind.

(4) With the presence administrative and political delineation of Simunjan, the district seem now is made of vast flat peat land stretching from Sebuyau, Ngeli and down river to my village. With the upgrading of Serian to a division, Simunjan lost the rich mountainous hinterland of Klingkang Range to the former. The vast flat peat land, can be of great economic advantage, yet it can also be of great disadvantage. Nonetheless, the disadvantages are not to be taken negatively, as Allah had clearly stated in the al Quran, all those indeed are mere his testing to our piety, Iman. The very challenge of the peat land to Simunjan is the current danger of erosion to
the Simunjan town (Pasar Baru). As I remembered, in 1960s, when I was a boy, the distant between the river bank to the present town square was at least 500-700 meters away. In those day, both portion of the town was only connected with rough surface thin tarmac road. When my father used to take me to town, walking from Pasar Lama to Pasar Baru was always a hell life to me, a barefooted Kampong boy walking on a rough tarmac at the middle of the day. My feet burnt. I used to cry by the road side, that made my dad look hopelessly sorry. Today, I would say, the river bank is catching fast to the town square, leaving about a mere 200-300 meters in gap. The old Simunjan town (Pasar Lama) had totally eroded about 10-15 years ago. Wharves after wharves and even river embankment after river embankment had been made to slow down the erosion, nothing so far I could see is fruitful. All indeed had made the erosion becoming worst.

(5) The late Bujang Ulis, the Parliamentary representative of Simunjan (now Batang Sadong) had made an initiative to strengthened the river bank. An engineer from Korea was brought in to study the embankment possibility. But still nothing could be done. Indeed later he made an effort to divert the flow of the river, by cutting a canal from Lubok Buntin to Lubok Seteman, but again since then he was on the opposite side of the Government, his effort stopped with the stoppage of his political career. I'm not a geologist. I'm just a botanist whom had diverted into Development Planning and Management, but keeping deep interest in botany and being a farmer. My childhood observation to this day, Simunjan river bank strengthening won't help. It will be continuously a failure. Even
today (last two weeks), when I visited Simunjan, those effort being currently initiated has a clear sign of failure. I was informed about RM30.00 million had been allocated for such purpose and RM3.00 million had been spent. The erosion is not heeding. The weight created by mounting pile of sand begs and heavy machinery movement had further weaken the river bank. Worst I was informed, that the old day Regatta is coming back to Simunjan. All these indeed will create the unnecessary pressure onto the river bank. Erosion will be much serious.

(6) Batang Sadong in the 1960s was very famous for its logging industry contribution. The vast peatland on the coastline provided the best ramin timber species. Ramin in those day was in high demand by the Japanese furniture market. Today, I would say, ramin had extinct. I'm not sure if the State Government effort to re-establish ramin species in Meludam and Sedilo Forest Reserve is a success. Indeed the ramin fruits were always associated with ikan labang the sort of salt water patin. My step grandfather used to take me to fish ikan labang with the ramin fruit bait. Batang Sadong is to this day well known for ikan labang and udang galah in view of its large tract of mangrove vegetation. The hinterland mountainous area of Simunjan was rich in hard wood timber. Belian iron wood, meranti, kapur, selangan batu, etc used to be harvested from these mountainous region. In those days, at king tide period, lots of tug boats will be towing the timber down river to the waiting sea vessel for enroute to mostly Japan.  The flourishing of the sawmills at Bintawa, Kuching was mostly attributed to the logging industry in Samarahan, Simunjan and Lower Saribas. The sawmilling was also the key contribution to the early out migration of the Malays from those coastal area to enrich the overall Malays population of the now Kuching.

(7) Indeed from my simple geographical point of view, for those who are interested to save Simunjan from eroding, I would suggest they should just go back to the simple geography of the Sadong River. Nonetheless, during the WWII the Japanese indeed had succeed in containing the Simunjan erosion. But the Japanese managed to do such by reason of taking Gunung Ngeli to the river bank ie they excavated the coal from Gunung Ngeli, whereby while robing those coal back to Japan, they also used the coal for dumping to withhold the erosion. In the 1960-1980s, the left over of the Japanese Coal Railway were still in existence and of great help for people to fly between the Gunung Ngeli to Simunjan Town. During my kid days, together with all my other boys relatives in Kg Nanas, Simunjan, we used to row in those simple kereta suar. Indeed my grandfather with his Sambas folks was among the pioneer to open up Simunjan (Kampung Nanas and Sageng) and he was even being appointed to the rank of Mandor in the Japanese Coal Mining Camp at Gunung Ngeli. The Japanese coal mining and later followed by logging industry had attracted people to opened and resided in Simunjan. Nonetheless with the Japanese defeat in the WWII, the Simunjan coal mining ceased accordingly, and thus the river bank then eroding badly. Thus, if only anybody could copy the warring Japanese of the 1940s,  the crazy solution to Simunjan Erosion Mitigation is by meant of taking Gunung Ngeli to Simujan or the tide will take Simunjan to Gunung Ngeli. Now, Simunjan erosion phenomena indeed is the great testing by Allah, a challenge to humans' intelligent and patient. The pertinent question is now; should Simunjan be just abandoned and the town or should we employ financial and political investment to keep Simunjan to where it is? Indeed among my last public contribution to Simunjan during my 25 years serving the State Government was in helping Nordeen Matjais, the local political representative to come up with the masterplan of the Simunjan New Township.

(8) Indeed, when the Masterplan was been prepared for a new Simunjan Township development, the thought at such point in time was to move Simujan Town from where it is to the much hinterland which is about three kilometers from the existing location ie closer to the foothill of Gunung Ngeli. Nonetheless looking at it from a much Strategic Economic Perspective, today I would say, such intent should be of a second option. To me the best economic option would be to keep Simunjan to the existing location. The very reason is simple. Simunjan had been established to serve the coastal and riverine area of Batang Sadong. With the construction of Batang Sadong Bridge, Simunjan will be much needed to serve the riverine and coastal area of the region. Simunjan should be kept to its historical location, role and advantages. A smaller service center could be developed to serve the hinterland ex-Simunjan (which is now part of Serian). Nonetheless, the erosion problem affecting Simujan must be resolved. Such effort would require to put together both geo-technical and geographical consideration. Geologically, Simunjan is located on a very weak soft ground. Peatland where Simunjan was founded is considered a very loose and weak soil structure. Hyper hydraulic king tide water pressure would shaken the river bank foundation and thus erosion is naturally unavoidable. The reason for this is simple. Let look closely at the physical formation of Batang Sadong. The above map should be of good help. Sarawak, Samarahan, Sadong, Lupar and Saribas rivers' mouth formed the Muara Tebas Bay. The Muara Tebas Bay indeed is a shallow sea bed (shelf). The term Muara Tebas which literally means killing field indeed signifies the dangerous big wave for coastal boats created by the moonson in the area due to the shallow nature of the bay. During the king tides period ie the 13-17th and 27th-2nd lunar of the Muslim Calendar, the concave bay and shallow formations of the Muara Tebas Bay made the ocean water (tide) rush into the area. This phenomena is just like pouring water through a cone shape funnel. The tide rush then take in the form of hyper hydraulic forces that swaps all the way up river. In both Sadong and Lupar, this hyper hydraullic forces then turned into the tidal bore phenomena. The circular hydraulic force created by the tidal bore indeed I believe is the main vibration force that weaken the river bank foundation. River bank erosion is always highly associated to this king tide tidal bore rush in both Sadong and Lupar rivers. And if one cares to closely observe the formation of the Sadong River, the river indeed is very winding. Not only it is winding, the river seem to have a sharp narrowing as its goes upriver. Definitely in Allah engineering perspective, the winding nature of the Sadong River has its advantages, hikmah. My best thought is its facilitates to contain the sea water flooding to the hinterland and as well as to slow down the tide rush. Nonetheless, the tide slow down is benefiting to the further hinterland, not to the advantage of Simunjan Town. Simunjan Town indeed suffer badly from the winding and quick narrow drop of the river. Despite such, let then take it as a challenge from Allah of our intelligent mind and people patient serving heart on how to resolve the people suffering from the effect of this phenomena.

(9) In any of Allah creation, He indeed always shown a solution  to all the challenges that He put forward to us. In the Al Quran, it is said all of His creation is always in pair. I would believe, then it is left to us to recognize such solution. Accordingly it is always Allah methodology to look at thing firstly from the macroscopic view.  Microscopic view is only relevant once the macroscopic view is well understood and or visualize. In the case of Simunjan, let take the macroscopic view of Allah creation of the river. I had said the river is winding, experiencing quick narrowing, and built on soft peat basin. The river mouth is wide, which is part and parcel of a large concave and shallow Muara Tebas bay. Such river mouth formation created hyper hydraulic rush in and rush out tide phenomena. From the microscopic stand point, Simunjan indeed was built at the weakest point of the river formation. I can't blame my grand father for this choice, since he and his friends had chosen Simunjan based on the familiar nature of their births place ie Sungai Musi of Palembang and Sambas of Kalimantan. Simunjan is at a point of high attack by hyper hydraulic tide forces either on it way up (red arrow) and down river (yellow arrow). This hyper hydraulic forces attack fasten the destabilization of the Simunjan river bank. Since Simunjan is made of soft peat alluvial formation, so much so, erosion is inevitable. My life observation, tide rush in and out is always the highest at the second and third quarters of the tide period, meaning, the mid level of the river bank is the most vunerable to the king tide water rush attack.

(10) What would then be the solution? Again let take a bird eye view of the Sadong River formation. One will easily notice that the winding river had form three main isthmus or capes. Tg Beluku, now named Cape of Good Hope (Tg Harapan) is to the sea most location, Tg Tanglong is right to the opposite of Simunjan Town and Tg Palay to the immediate upriver of Simunjan. If one again observed closely, indeed the Tanglong Isthmus is the most interesting Allah engineering in relation to the Simunjan erosion problem. The Tanglong Isthmus is greatly being eroded at two weak points ie Lubok Seteman at down river by the incoming tide and Lubok Buntin at upriver by the out going tide. Indeed the point around Kg Sg Ba is considered the most weakest point. Based on Google Map observation, the distance between Kg Seteman to Kg Sg Ba is only about one kilometer. I would assumed, by the next 100-150 years, this portion of the river will be naturally cut off, and Tanglong Isthmus will then be an Island. This engineering works of Allah had two significances hikmah. Firstly to inform today Simunjan people, that they must be looking forward to the creation of Tanglong Island. The creation of this Island will give Simunjan a very diferrent future urban dan economic development Simujan indeed as I could see it will be a very beautiful Eco-Tourism City Development in the next 30-50 years into the future. Secondly, with the cut off of Batang Sadong at the Sg Seteman-Ba, the Sg Sekenduk ie the Batang Sadong Tributary to the mountainous Klingkang Range will be of great Water Source for Simunjan and its coastal environ. The cut off will reduced the salt water intrusion to the Sekenduk River. Accordingly, by having this Sekenduk Water Catchment Development, all those alluvial land could then be developed into fruitful rice plantation area. These areas are currently used to plant rain fed paddy farming.

(11) Therefore, it is pointless to spent huge amount of money to re-enforce the Simunjan River Bank, when indeed Allah, I strongly believe is signalling a very different wisdom to the problem. I would beliecve, construction of a bypass canal cutting across Lubok Seteman to Lubok Buntin not only will solve the erosion problem, but most significant I would say is the creation of better land mass for the future better Simunjan Eco-City Development and Water Supply for the Simunjan Coastal and Riverine area. The late Bujang Ulis had started it, but due to poor conception of the Plan (as well as political squabbling) I would guess was the reason for the main stoppage and or failure of his initiative. A proper Drainage and Irrigation (DID) Scheme would turn the idea into better economic initiative. While serving the State Planning Unit (SPU), I was only able to facilitate the DID Scheme up to where it is now called Block IV South of the larger Asajaya DID Scheme. Further extension of the Asajaya Block IV South, I believe would help to realise the development of the suggested canal. Accordingly the present Matang-Bengoh Water Supply Sytem, I would say will experiencing great  pressure in serving the fast population and industrial growth within the current greater Kuching. Simunjan and its coastal area, must be ready to face this water issue in 30-50 years time. Accordingly, a solution must also be think on how to solve the yearly fresh water  flooding that affecting places such as Gedong, Balai Ringin and even Serian due to the slow subsidence of the year end moonson rain. The Seteman-Buntin canal, I would say will help to reduce all these challenges.

(12) Indeed, through Simunjan Erosion, Allah gives us a broader wisdom to solve our greater future problem ie Water Supply, except probably we are too Roman Popular Capitalist-Political Incline that the greater Al-Mighty Allah wisdom we never want to explore to the best. SubhannaaAllah.

Simunjan, Sarawak
26 January, 2016


balqis wilson said...

Assalamualaikum .

Selamat menyambut ulangtahun ke 7 blog Saudara ( 14th. Feb. 2016 ) .
Pelawat yang melebihi 100.000 , membawa arti kejayaan penulisan , memberikan
banyak sumbangan idea kepada kami sebagai pembaca .

Selamat ke 56 ( Feb 18th. 2016 ) , sentiasa sihat sejahtra , Selamat Maju Jaya .

Simunjan yang terhakis ...menghakis ... TQ .

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