Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Semai house: A study of Semai architecture

AFTER more than 4 years, the aging Sri Semai bamboo house, a traditional house of the Senoi sub-tribe has been completely rebuilt. The new house, built over 30 days by four traditional Semai builders without a formal plan is predominantly bamboo in nature. Bamboo,which grows an inch a day is plentiful in Pos Betau. Bamboo is also use to make water raft, fences, fishing rod,cooking utensils, blowpipes & weapons. Bamboo sprouts or shoot, is also edible.

The floor of the house and its walls are all made of bamboo. So is the veranda flooring. The house structure is made of local tropical hardwood which the Semai can harvest from nearby forest without having to obtain a licence from the Forestry Department. The roof is made of dried Nipah leaves. 

It has five windows which opened upwards. One of the window slides open - a new innovation for a bamboo house. The only 'modern' material used is the ceiling. Canvas is used to prevent leakage over a longer period of time. According to the builder, longevity of the house can be attained when the entire house is given the smoking treatment - smoking the house with a small fire from under the house for a day. Another method used is to brush the entire house with used motor oil to prevent termites.

The Semai house can accommodate between 8-10 people. It faces the serene Betau river with a view not to be missed. Come visit us for a close up of what the fast-disappearing bamboo house is like. You'll probably end up staying for a couple of days.

A traditional Semai bamboo house

The veranda facing the river

A view to die for

View from inside

Picture yourselves here, reading a book on a lazy afternoon.

The house from another angle

The back portion of the simple house

The stairs leading to the veranda made from tropical hardwood

The veranda is a combination of tropical wood and bamboo

The roof is made of Nipah leaves woven cleverly together.

One of the 5 windows which open upwards

A slight innovation - a sliding window with grill.

The floor is made from a bamboo plant spread open. It feel 'rubbery' when you step on it.

The floor of the house rest strongly on a row of wooden structures made from tropical hardwood

The chief 'architect, contractor, and builder' of the house with his Semai son. A puppy also followed them to keep the his child occupied during construction of the house.

The wooden structure of the roof. Canvas ceiling also acts to water-proof the roof eventhough the Semai said the Nipah roof can prevent rain from seeping in.

The inside of the bamboo house

The view from the left of the house

The stairs to paradise...

The 3 'layers' of the Betau river. Normally the sandy beach will disappear after  a rainfall.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ecolife Basecamp: From Vienna with love

Ecolife Basecamp: From Vienna with love: We had seen many European cyclist passing by Pos Betau on their way to Cameron Highlands in Pahang. Most of them traveled in groups of 2-6. ...

From Vienna with love

We had seen many European cyclist passing by Pos Betau on their way to Cameron Highlands in Pahang. Most of them traveled in groups of 2-6. Many stopped by the village before taking the uphill 55km ride to Cameron Highlands. Barbara from Vienna, Austria was one of them. And she cycles ALONE! 

She sets off from Vienna 3 years ago to cycle around the globe, landing in Johor Bahru from Singapore via Indonesia and Australia. She stopped by at the basecamp, seeking only shelter for the night before her scenic ascend the next day to Cameron Highlands - and on her way to Thailand next. 

Ecolife Basecamp is the ONLY place between Pos Betau and Cameron Highlands where one can get proper shelter in a gated compound, complete with running water, electricity, clean washrooms, and a beautiful river to submerge yourself with. We wish her the best. Have a safe journey, Barbara! Do drop by anytime soon!

Barbara (right) and her trusty bike

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Ecolife Basecamp: Year ends with a bang

Ecolife Basecamp: Year ends with a bang: 2013 ended with a bang. In August, a Hari Raya Aidil Fitri Open house was held at the basecamp for the Semai community. It was the 1st t...

Year ends with a bang

2013 ended with a bang.

In August, a Hari Raya Aidil Fitri Open house was held at the basecamp for the Semai community. It was the 1st time such event was held at the basecamp. Organised by the basecamp and contributed generously by friends of the basecamp and SMS Alumni members. It was well-received by the community. We shall try to make it an annual event.

In November,  nearly 60 bikers of all shapes and sizes roared into the basecamp. They were from the Sungai Buluh Prison Bikerzs Club. They stayed for a night, held their 1st ever exhibition in a rural area about life behind bars, had fun in the river and extended their fun in the evening with a BBQ session with the Semai community. They also generously gave away food hampers and used clothes to the community.

The arrival of the bikers club. The convoy of bikes itself was an exhibition to the folks of Pos Betau

Lunch was a big affair every time

Prison club members helping with lunch

Food hampers for the Semai folks

The exhibition attracted even the kids

The folks of Pos Betau came out to see the rare exhibition.

A child asking his father about the exhibits.

Prison officials were present to explain to those who required more infor.

BBQ organised by the club members

The local Semai community were also invited to join the BBQ

One for the album

Nenel Laila, 70, was also presented with food hamper

They traveled in style and they went back in style after an unforgettable outing...We hope they come again.

Towards the end of Nov and early December, UiTM students came for the third time to engage in charity and community services. They traveled an hour away from the basecamp to Pos Lenjang in 4WDs, painted the local public-funded Surau, engaged in telematches with the local Semai community, gave away food hampers and served them meals over 2 days and 1 night. And they did it in style eventhough it rained almost the entire duration of their stay. They were certainly made of sterner stuff and should provide an shining example to other institution of higher learning on how to do a real community service.

The Tok Batin welcoming the students

The sign said it all. The surau was also the base of the student's activities.

The students painting the Surau

Food was cooked almost round the clock to feed the community of 300 Semai.

The Semai kids during dinner

Students helped to serve food to the Semai folks.

It was a real challenge to prepare and serve food  for 2 days and 1 night, but the students did very well.

Food hampers and gifts were aplenty for the folks.

The serene skyline of Pos Lenjang

A day of giving

Students giving away food hampers to the Semai community.

It brought smiles from them...

A token from UiTM to the Tok Batin (Village Head)

The student's mode of transportation

Students engaging with the Semai in Telematches.

The makeshift shelter where food was served.

The Semai turn out in full force to watch the event. For them, it's very rare for students to do charity work at their village. Before this , no students came here to do anything. Bravo UiTM!.

If you are thinking of doing your charity work (CSR), have a good time or simply want the place for your family and friends, do contact us anytime.

Have a great 2014! Peace yo...!