On one fine morning, I received an expected email.
My name is Kenneth and I got your email address from Robert. He gave me your name saying that you are interested to join me doing fieldwork in Niah. Thank you.
Let me tell you a bit about our research and its location. I am working with three other researchers in Denmark (one is a Soil Scientist, one is a Geography Professor and the other one is a GIS Consultant). We have been working under this program called the ‘Sustainable Land Use Systems’ (SLUSE) for more than ten years and this is another one of our research together. The program generally looks at how local communities manage their land, especially in relations to their traditional agricultural activities over the years and how this has been affected by external land development agencies. Our research area is along Niah River.
In 2002, a group of Malaysian and Danish students conducted a 14 day multi-disciplinary research in Niah, at three different longhouses. Both groups were under the SLUSE program. Last year, we revisited the same Iban longhouses and wanted to go to the third longhouse at Ulu Niah but it was flooded. So, we settled for the other two longhouses located at downriver.
This year, we will go to the third longhouse. It’s a longhouse with about 70 bileks and unlike the two longhouses downriver. I have already spoken to the headman last month informing on our visit next week. He will accommodate us at his bilek.
For this fieldwork, you will help me with the individual bilek interviews. There are about 70 bileks altogethers, not counting the new bileks that have popped up within the past 10 years and if possible, we want to finish the fieldwork within 5 days. You’ll be given some allowances. Accommodation, food and transportation are paid for. The questionnaires are ready and I will brief you on it when I get to Miri this Sunday. I have the list of names of individuals and they are the ones that you will be interviewing.
That will be all for now. If you do have any questions, please let me know via email or my phone.
I was smiling to my ears while reading it and I know it’s a golden yet rare opportunity for an aspiring greenhorn researcher like me. I am pretty excited about this upcoming project especially when you get to work together with two reputable universities.
Can’t wait for my project briefing this Sunday and I just love field trips. 😉