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Only after the last tree has been cut down;
Only after the last fish has been caught;
Only after the last river has been poisoned;
Only then will you realize that money cannot be eaten.
- Cree Indian Prophecy

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We Were Accomplices

(c) by Forest Ang

....I am truly sorry....... Bank! A shot was heard.

“Calling 9W2TY, 9W2TY….this is 9W2LWS!” I heard over my radio.
“Did you hear a gun shot just now?” said 9W2LWS.
“Yes, but not sure where it came from!” I responded.

Ten minutes later, I joined the front party. They had arrived at the base camp earlier. I was shown a Giant Red Squirrel. My heart sank!

The night before, we had a dinner hosted by the Ibans. We had advised them that tourism is a good prospect to upgrade the standard of living in their remote riverside longhouses. Tourists visit jungle to enjoy nature and see wildlife. By killing wildlife, there won’t be any to see and tourists will shy away from the area.

Our words were applauded……but their actions were otherwise.

Most of our guides and porters carried guns. They were licensed to carry one. They were the modern indigenous people of Sarawak. Most orang asli tribes of Peninsular Malaysia carry blowpipes. However, the ibans in Sarawak carry guns for hunting.

The indigenous people are no more a part of the ecosystem. True indigenous people kill only for food. They only take what is necessary. They kill only with weapon made from the jungle. They are part of the ecosystem.

The few nights in the jungle made me nausea and sick. The sights of dead barking deer were chilling my stomach. We were fed with wild meats cooked in bamboo. There were meats from deer, frogs and squirrel. I hardly eat. Due to hunger, I gobbled rice with fish and some barbecue meat with extra salt.

It was a horrible experience. An experience I will remember for life.

The Toll
Our trip to the interior of Sarawak had caused 3 dead barking deer, 1 dead Giant Red Squirrel and several dead frogs.

We were the accomplices. If I had known…..I would have avoided the trip. I am truly sorry.

For gallery please click Sarawak - The Untamed

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