Long Akah Fort – The Forgotten Cultural Heritage

I pressume not many of us knew the existence of Long Akah Fort. During the old days, the Long Akah Fort is better known as ‘Kubu’ among the Orang Ulu community along the Baram river. For the record, there are 2 forts built in Baram area – Long Akah Fort and Lio Mato Fort (located at Lio Mato-the further Kenyah settlement along Baram river). Both are still standing until today but in a sad and bad situation; it left abandoned and that breaks my heart. 🙁

Back in the 70s, during my early childhood (5-7 years old), I was raised here. My dad was posted here back and there is a small Agriculture Department station built next to Long Akah Fort. I still remembered I used to play hide and seek in the fort and the surrounding areas. Later, after a decade, my dad was re-posted at Long Akah in the 80s. So, coming back to see the fort again is such an emotional feelings for me.

Based on the record, the Long Akah Fort was built in the year of 1929. It was built during the era of White Rajah to administer the area and also to deal with any uprising matters at Baram area. As per told by my late grandfather (from my mom side), apart from being the base camp for the British soldiers who were back then defending the Baram area from the Japanese invasion, they were taught on how to write and speak basic English. They were also been trained on how to operate guns instead of blowpipes. That explain why there are few remaining of bunkers in front of the fort that still can be seen until today.

Based on information obtained from Mr. John Ting of University of Melbourne and Mr. Mike Boon, President of Sarawak Heritage Society, 3 different trails has been set up and Long Akah Fort falls under the Lesser Rajah Fort Trail apart from Fort Limbang, Fort Hose, Marudi and Fort Lio Mato. It was found out too that in 2008, Long Akah Fort has been proposed to be gazetted as Sarawak Cultural Heritage under Sarawak Culture Heritage Ordinance 1993.

On the way back to Long San from Long Beku/Lewe, I specially requested Mr. Penghulu to drop by at the Long Akah Fort. I just had this strong urge of feeling to go back there and until today, I can’t explain why. Maybe, the fort misses me all these years. ;p

parking our boat at the river bank

As the fort was built on top of a hill, one will mesmerized with the beauty of the scenery (maybe it’s just me). Along the way up, you are like entering into a bamboo forest.

when i looked up, i feel like im in taiwan

on the way up to the fort

this is how steep the hill is from above

Finally after 10 minutes of going up the hill, you’ll get to see the long forgotten fort.

side view of long akah fort

front view of long akah fort

this area used to be administration section

the staircase going up to the court room

this is the judge 'cage'

classic design of a sliding window pane (below) and natural air ventilation panel

you rarely get to see this classic door know nowadays

After exploring the 1st floor, we went down to take some shots and I had this eerie and spooky feelings but I kept it to myself for fearing it might scared the rest.

this is the bathroom

this room believed to be the prison

Feeling un-easy, I stepped outside the fort just to ‘tone’ myself down but something has attracted my attention. It was the fort’s kitchen.

that's the pathway toward the kitchen

the nearly collapse kitchen's front entrance

holes on the roof

After exploring the Long Akah Fort, I wanted to explore the Long Akah ‘downtown’ shop houses but as it was getting late, we ended up passing by the area. However, Terry cheered me up by refering me to a forum site where one of the forum member been to Long Akah old shop house and had taken some photos of it.

 the long akah downtown, this place once used to be the busiest trading centre point in baram during the 60s, 70s & 80s

 'sri akah' was left abandoned at akah river bank not far from the downtown. today, 'sri akah' is covered with bushes.

The only thing that I regretted for not able to document in this post is to re-visit my dad’s 2nd posting working place – Long Akah Agriculture Department post based at Benyu. The place is just about 5 minutes walk from the Long Akah ‘downtown’.

But what matter the most, I just hope the Sarawak government would take the relevant action to maintain the Long Akah Fort within the soonest time possible. Should the Baram dam project is officially executed in the near future, the fort would sink forever along with my childhood memories. 🙁

say no to baram dam project in the name of culture heritage

3 Comments

  1. Ng You

    21 April, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Nice piece of article. When will you set off for another Borneo trip again?

    1. ladybirdmollyz

      21 April, 2011 at 12:40 pm

      well it was a short term research project (2009 & 2010) and will only go back there if there’s any research project in hand.

      wanna team up for such alike research project in the future? 😉

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge