Saturday, 16 June 2012

Middle Oyan Primary School


Oyan Somersault
Middle Oyan. Get it? Middle of nowhere is more like it. Yes. It's SK Oyan Tengah or SKOT. I used to called it SK OHSEM TAW just to express how "awesome" the school is. Pay close attention to the word awesome.

It is a school situated near Oyan River and it is around 50 - 60 km from the nearest town which is Kapit. In case you didn't know where is my school, here is a map.

How far is the school? Ignore the yellow dot. I made it up as there are no straight road to my school.
The school? 16 teachers and 40 students. A class for each standard. And in a week, I managed to get a hold of everyone's name. Jukri, Thierry, Fhandy, Lawrence, Raveena, Ranti, Susie, Diesmond, Jones, Nora, Nantie, Gulin, Ugom, Muncih, Justin, Jeffrey, Geloria, Eliana, John, Muna, Jelayan, Sabrina, Aman, Juna, Sara, Linsa, Tracy, Jeshua, Alas, Severina, Magdeline, Esterina, Emilia, Ilan, Nyangau, Greg, Hebrew, Johan, Bonny and Maxwell.

Still unable to define what is this
Students here are quite ok with their behaviour. My death stare works like charm. I guess I don't have to throw their desk outside. What about their English? I guess I was sent here just for the job. English had taken a toll on the students and from my observation, they are just not interested. Well, I'm gonna put some meaning in your brain my lovely students. I managed to pick up words that they often use and get them to use English instead. Here are some examples.

Apuuu!  =  Oh my god!
Nda nemu  =  I don't know
Ngai ku  =  I don't want
Bedau  =  Not yet

And everytime I'm about to reach the class, students will go "Oh my god!". At least there's some English.

Le me room
I got there and I believe I am staying in the most dangerous place on earth. Bee hive in the wall, spiders as large as my palm, giant lizards and scorpions. Three are in my rooms and one just outside the door. My first month there, I was stung by scorpion and more by bees. Its like everyday I am being stung by bees. But after a while, I got immune to it and another stung are just like another ant.

Le school
As I'm into photography especially macro photography, I was like in heaven. The school is full of exotic insects. Most of them are unknown even to the locals. I don't even know them but I know 1 thing. If they move when I'm taking a shot, I'll kill them. Seriously. Seriously I'm kidding. I don't even dare to touch them what's more to kill them. One night I saw one insect as big as my arm! I'm frozen in terror. Seriously. Luckily I just went to the toilet. If not, I would wet my pants.

Storm during one evening in school
Electricity is from a generator set and unless it's going to be a holiday for at least 2 weeks, the one in charge will not turn it off. Internet? Its worst. Though we have a satellite dish, still a no-no. So my plan is to sleep at 8 or 9 and wakes up at 2 or 3 and get connected.

Underwater macro shoot at water reservoir
Water comes fresh from the waterfall somewhere around the area. However, the pipes are quite old and sometimes, male teachers have to travel deep into the interior to clean up the rocks and stuff that was stuck in the pipes or the area around it. To get to the water reservoir area, we need to get across the river and walk along the stream connected to Oyan River. Its around this time of the year that the pipes need maintenance. We just cleaned up the pipes on Tuesday morning and I believe we will do it again and again.

Headmaster worried about the water supply
Foodstock is very important. Never take this very lightly. No food, you die. No one to pity you in the jungle. You are on your own. If you are lazy to buy food (like my housemate), you can eat dust or beg from others. I always buy foodstock around 20-30kg that will last for 3-4 weeks. Don't pity others who bring nothing as they never pity you carrying all the food by yourself until you are about to break your bones. I'm saying this so people will realise how to be responsible. If you don't know how to cook, at least buy some stuff to be cooked. If your teacher never taught you how to be responsible, THIS TEACHER WILL TEACH YOU HOW! It's either you suffer first or you die later.

Shallow water means PUSH!
Students mother tongue is Iban and I'm very lucky to have a lot of Iban friends. Everyday I keep learning the language and I'm very excited to learn it. I can't make a full sentence but at least I can understand and reply with confidence. Students here already think of me as an Iban teacher and started to converse in Iban. I understood them but I still reply in English and Malay.
Le kids during assembly
Up until now, I never consider any of the difficulties that arises as problems. I love the challenges here and everyday is a new day for me with new challenges. Be it stung by bees or depleted water supply or even unable to get connected to Facebook, I can always do a lot of other things. Photography and swimming are the two that I enjoyed the most.

I hope to write more but being unable to get connected made me frustrated. Apuuuu. Oh well. All well, ends well.


Thanks for reading.



  1. Awesome read! Sounds like you're loving what you do!
    Keep up the good work!
    Perhaps we'll meet in Kapit or Sibu. =)

  2. Hi, i am one of the student come from this school.If you read my text,please add my facebook: Jackie Anak Amar.