WHEN one mentions longhouses, the first impressions that comes to mind are wooden houses on stilts with no modern facilities. Never would we imagine luxurious five-star like accomodation with chandeliers, wall to wall air-conditioning and the works. Well, this is exactly what one would get if they visit one of four luxurious longhouses in Sarawak.
The first would be the beautiful Rumah Panjang Jangu Ladong Tahir (Ulu Sebauh) located at KM15, Jalan Ulu Sebauh, not far from the Bintulu-Sibu highway in Sarawak. This Iban longhouse was first built in 2000, after the former headman Tahir Kalau moved the community from their settlement on the banks of Sungai Tebas so that they would have access to amenities such as roads, electricity and water.
Deputy headman Sidin Dian, said the double-storey longhouse, which was built on a 3ha piece of land, was to replace their former rundown wooden home. There are 34 rooms in Rh Jangu Tahir to accommodate the 225 residents in the community. Originally built to protect the people from enemies, the longhouse now protects its occupants from their biggest threat, fire, which occurs almost every year.
He added that as a preventive measure against fire, the kitchen area in the longhouse was built separately from the main living area. At the same time, the different parts of the longhouse are connected by semi-fireproof material such as metal,” said Sidin, who works as an assistant construction superintendent with an oil-and-gas company in Egypt. Reports in Bernama said a unique feature of the longhouse was that it fulfilled the safety requirements and each room could be separately insured.
Pictures from iloveborneo.my
Next, we visit Rumah Panjang Andrewson Ngalai in Sibu. At a glance, this longhouse looks like a row of houses in a housing scheme.
Actually, it is a modern concept longhouse located in the Sekuan Housing Relocation Scheme. Andrewson Ngalai was in fact an Iban singer who was popular for the song “Bekikis Bulu Betis”.
Now, the legacy of the longhouse, which resembles a modern bungalow, is carried on by his son, who is also a singer, Rickie Andrewson.
The other luxury longhouse is located in Jambatan Suai, Niah in Miri. Not much information is available on this longhouse though pictures of it’s luxurious interior have often been splashed on social media.
Another such longhouse is Rumah Panjang Linggang in Merampu Pakan. Images of this superb looking longhouse were uploaded by a Facebook user, Chrisroyston Bakum who said he came across the place while riding his motorcycle with a friend.