The entrance to Long Selaan longhouse in Ulu Baram.

LONG SELAAN, ULU BARAM: The people of Long Selaan need more funds to rebuild their longhouse which was razed by fire on June 8 (Monday morning) this year.

In that incident, one block of the 12-door 70-year-old housing settlement occupied by 400 residents went up in smoke.

Fortunately, there were no fatalities or injuries during the incident.

Long Selaan is a Kenyah longhouse located at about 10 hours’ drive from Miri. It can be accessed with four-wheel-drive (4WD) vehicles.

According to one of the village security and development committee members, Vincent Bilong Tinggang during a brief visit to the longhouse recently, they are still short of RM700,000 to rebuild the longhouse.

“So far, RM100,000 has been collected , mostly donations from the state government, corporate sector and individuals,” he  said.

Bilong asserted that the longhouse was a symbol of unity for the village folk.

“It is where the heart is, a place we grew up in. I grew up in the longhouse and have many fond memories of it. I was involved in the building of the longhouse when I was a teenager. We built it from scratch using traditional methods and materials,” he recalled.

Bilong’s eyes brimmed with tears when he related his childhood memories of the longhouse.

On the day of the fire, he said, “I was at the riverbank repairing some fishing nets when I heard some of the villagers screaming for help.

“Large plumes of smokes were seen coming out from the longhouse but there was nothing much we could do to save the longhouse and our belongings.”

Donations can be channelled to the longhouse’s saving account at Public Bank (5-0054934-19). For further details, call Dennis Wan at 012-879 6713.