Visiting indigenous communities in Indonesia keeps my faith in human nature.
I was as happy as a brat to have this opportunity : making a documentary of a tribe living in South China Sea near Batam. So the crews and I flew from Jakarta to Hang Nadim Airport in Batam, and with help from local government we were guided to Galang Baru Island where we can rent a boat to reach the Abang Islands. Do not imagine a public harbor like those you can get in Batam City, because you can't even mention it as a port. We had to wait for about an hour in this private dock where finally a chinese fisherman came by to load and unload some things. We negotiated the budget and got a ride under the drizzle to Abang Islands, home for The Laut Tribe.
Laut in Bahasa Indonesia means Sea/Ocean. The tribe named Laut because their ancestors live in a wooden boat in the middle of high seas. For the ancestors, land is where the evils nest. While the ocean is where all the good things (feed and others sea products) show up. Laut Tribe (in Dapur Anam, Abang Islands, Riau Islands Province) which we visited are those who has already occupied a floating houses, they head seaward just for getting food or reaching neighboring islands for supplies.
|Our first contact with Laut Tribe in Dapur Anam, Abang Island, Batam, Riau Islands Province, Indonesia.|
Living in the middle of high seas is tough. The excessive heat and malignancy of the sea has to be faced since young age. I was amazed by the old women and kids' daring capability in controlling their boat against tide with just a wooden paddle. And you should not ask about their skill in fishing, with their impressive skill to be underwater 5-7 minutes name every sea creatures you want them to catch, they'll dive down and get you one.
And the Laut kids love me so much! They were really attached to me wherever I went. The advantage was they are easily briefed when I had to take a picture of them for the filming. The disadvantage might be the farewell, it was sad to see a little kid cried when you left.
So, here is my story with the ocean tribe.
|Feeling Atlantis or Water World?|
|The boat named "Sampan" and the plaited leaves roofs called "kajang". They can cook, keeping a dog, and breed on Sampan in the middle of high seas.|
|The difficulty of documentary-filming the community who lives on a boat was : We had to do it day and night, from wooden boat to wooden boat, and soaking wet in the middle of the sea. What an experience!|
|People from neighboring islands were coming to meet so-called celebrity!|
|Getting as much information as possible. Action!|
|Taking picture for memorabilia. Notice my 'sleeve-line' and 'watch-line', I singed! And that swimming google had to be always on my neck, because when they needed someone to be in the water-I had to quickly jump into it.|
|It came to be a very entertaining activity for the kids when I asked them to take self-potrait using my cell-phone.|
|Finally, please accept the best regards from U'ang Laut (Laut Tribe in their local language)|
See you when we see you!