From Miri to Marudi

A quick update from Marudi.

The ferry from Kuala Baram to Marudi seems to be off service because of the school holidays, so I went back to Miri and got a ride on a 4×4 instead. 80 km of broken road running through brutalized forest, palms, and hills scarred by erosion. Worst than I would have imagined. Usually I’m not keen on getting all emotional and treehugger but today I found myself thinking that we as a species are a damn cancer. What amazes me is that most people that are logging trees, bulldozing hills and planting oil palm in Sarawak are probably old enough to remember the Sarawak that was, and they can look at Sabah as an example of what Sarawak is becoming. It’s hard to believe that is what they want to leave to their children. But every time I make this kind of thoughts I can’t help but thinking that Europe went through the same process, only that process there is now long completed and we are used to seeing the results. Maybe the next generations of Borneans will look at the geometries of palm plantations with pride and deem them beautiful, as we do in Europe for our monocultures (think of olive tree plantations, vineyards, or the famous hills of Tuscany covered with fields and very little of their original woods). And it will become natural to see the rainforest only in protected or remote areas.

Tomorrow I will try to reach Long Lama by boat. The ferries look like spaceships from a Flash Gordon’s comic book, or, as a friend that rode them years ago suggested, they look as they were built out of old Russian airplanes’ fuselage. I hope the service is active. The information about it is scattered as usual, so I will find out on the spot.