This post originally appeared at http://www.jupiterstudio.com.sg/blog/2016/5/26/short-story-and-photo-series-of-indigenous-people-of-sarawak-1
I did not appreciate black and white photos until recent years that I started to love the beauty of simplicity in this type of photo in delivering a straightforward message to readers. These black and white photos shown in the above figure really bring out the character of a man who focused on his work.
I was on a trip organized by the non-governmental organization (NGO), Baramkini (means Baram Today or Baram Now) during the Sarawak State Election period in early May, 2016. One of the main goals of Baramkini is to promote the political awareness among the indigenous people on environmental protection and indigenous people’s right in the Baram area. It was a beautiful morning and on the last day of the trip at Long Laput (Laput village), I came across this man in the Kayan longhouse who was skilfully repairing the fishing net. I did not take the photo of the man immediately, instead I approached him and chatted with him. I looked at his Tattoo and I said, ‘Wow, is beautiful! What does it mean with the tattoo for them?’. He told that it was for fun only. I looked at his calloused palms and fingers moved so effortlessly as he was repairing the fishing net. Then I took some photos of him after politely asking for the permission.
To the people who have been living in the city for ages, life in a village seems amazingly simple and yet requiring many surviving skills in the harsh mother nature. The Kayan men play many career roles in their daily living of their families as well as in the village. They are the fishermen, hunters, farmers, artists, as well as architect in building their own houses and fishing boats. Just like the black and white photos, we should not see the photo as a simple representation of life in village, but to seek a more thorough understanding of living in village with our hearts (or mind).
Are you willing to know more about the people that is living with our beautiful mother nature?
＊if you are interested to visit villages of indigenous people in Sarawak, Borneo, or you wish to donate for a good cause, please contact the NGO Baramkini.