. Aluis Hamri, operator of Niranur Upside Down 3R House.

An upside down house is no stranger in Malaysia, including in Sarawak. Many upside down houses have been built as a tourist attraction because of Its unique and Insta-worthy concept. However, Aluis Hamri, operator of Niranur Upside Down 3R House did not expect the opening of his version will get a warm response from visitors.

Be the first and think outside the box

By NURULDAYANA MOHAMAD RAFIEE

Located at Niranur Agrofarm, Jalan Seacom, Kampung Sungai Kilong Sematan, Sarawak — close to the Sematan Palm Beach Resort — Niranur Upside Down 3R House is the first inverted house built in the district.

The exterior of Niranur Upside Down 3R House, made from recycled plastic bottles.

It was officially opened on March 1, 2020, but had to stop operating for a while due to the movement control order (MCO) on March 18. The house then opened its doors for visitors again on June 17 in full compliance with the standard operating procedures (SOP) set by the government.

To maintain privacy, only one group is allowed to enter at a time so that visitors can take pictures in the house freely and to maintain physical distancing with others.

Vintage household items and furniture decorates the interior of the house.

According to Aluis Hamri, operator of the house, they received a very encouraging presence in the first week of opening and and went viral on several blogs and social media sites. The house is usually crowded with visitors on weekends or public holidays, but now, it is also packed on weekdays.

Niranur’s inverted house comes with a fresh concept, that can be considered as the first one in Malaysia. Taking seriously the issue of plastic pollution, the operator took the initiative to build the house using the 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) concept.

“The 3R concept is not very widely introduced in Sarawak but with the presence of this house, at least visitors can see and be aware about it,” he said.
Aluis added that the house is a combination of the concept of 3R education with agro-tourism. “We hold activities for children here that promotes the 3R concept, such as finding unique, marked bottle caps as well as finding bottles filled with different ingredients.

“So, while doing house tour, they can look for the goods at the same time which they can exchange for a gift later,” said Aluis.

He stated that the objective is to spread awareness to the younger generation.
The house is also as a place for the locals to commercialise community goods, where Aluis has set up a one-stop centre in one of the rooms. He aims to help the community in Lundu and Sematan districts in particular, to improve their economic status.

What’s so unique?

Usually, in an upside down house, the arrangement of the furniture is inverted and that is the common image that plays in our minds. However, have we ever imagined an inverted house made of recycled materials?

About 99 percent of the plastic bottles used in building the house are filled with sand while the rest are filled with rubbish such as cloth, leaves or wood dust.

That makes the house as not only the first in Lundu, but also the first upside down house in Malaysia built using recycled materials.

Thousands of plastic bottles filled with sand form the walls while the old traditional furnitures belong to Aluis’ family.

In addition to presenting the unique construction concept, each of the furniture inside has its own story to tell.

“For example, a bicycle inside the house tells the story of our grandparents who used to ride bicycles for eight to 10 hours from here to Tanjung Serabang because they work in a pepper plantation there.

“Once, a visitor came here an entered the house. She then suddenly cried seeing an old lamp in the house. When asked, she replied that she suddenly thought of the time of her mother’s passing during her studies.

“She left without taking a single picture in the house because she said, being able to see the lamp was enough for her. So for me, the place has the ability to evoke memories of the old days.

‘Crazy ideas make people go crazy’

For the young people in pursue of their dreams, Aluis advises them to go “crazy”, not in the literal sense but to think outside the box.

“If you have a crazy idea, go for it. The ‘wow’ factor will intrigue most people, and when they start to take interest in it, you’re already halfway there.

Visitors in traditional garments posing in front of the house.

“Don’t try to be the best, but try to be the first. Find rare ideas that people have never thought of, ” Aluis said.

His determination to be ‘crazy’ with his idea puts the Niranur brand where it is now and his brand is still growing.

Aluis revealed that he once had his own construction company, and before that, he tried his hands on various jobs. However, he did not found the satisfaction that he was looking for and had to be away from his family. Instead, he became stressed and then came the critical moment his life.

The death of his son became a major turning point for Aluis. He became so burdened with sadness and tried to find a way to earn without having to be away from his family.

Initially, he wanted to open a ‘Madu Kelulut’ business and suggested it to his father. But he his father doubted the idea.

The backyard garden cum farm houses over 200 nests of 14 different bee species.

“My father once asked me, who would want to see forest goods? Bees and honeys are everyday items.

“My father never thought about city folks that has never lived a village life. What we see everyday, is foreign to some. Some people don’t even know what ‘kelulut’ is, or what raw honey looked like,” he recalled.

A benefit to others

After five years of running the “Madu Kelulut” business, he then suggested his crazy idea to build an upside down house using bottles close to home. Aluis added that by being able to work close to home, he can spend more time with his family and work becomes more fun.

Now, he manages the “Madu Kelulut” business and the upside down house full time on his six-acre land.

Visitors at the Madu Kelulut farm trying out at the fresh Madu Kelulut. Photo credit: Facebook Niranur Upside Down 3R House

Aluis was also selected to be the first individual from Lundu to appear in the upcoming 2021 edition of “Britishpedia — Successful People in Malaysia” magazine, along with the likes of Tony Ferrnandes, for the Third Edition issue.

For him, the success that he pursues is not in the form of a plaque or recognition, but the benefits that he can give to the public.

“Whatever success we achieved, if it doesn’t benefit others, is just useless,” he said.