Photographer's Note

A moonlight work of Tambatuon River with a view of Mount Kinabalu and Mount Nongkok in the distance.

Kampong Tambatuon is a beautiful scenic riverside village nestling near the end of the Kiau Valley. With a population of over 50 families or over 800 Kadazandusun of the Dusun variety, this fragrant rice farming and rubber planting village has been having sleepless nights and worrying days for the last few months. Not from the fast flowing white water river rushing just few feet away from its doorsteps but of a planned and un-collaborated project of the state government itself.

The state government is considering plugging the valley downstream with a dam, inadvertently flooding this village and its rice farming community. The reason for doing this, which might takes a rocket science genius to understand, is to turn the area into a "Rice Bowl". In exchange, the displaced 800 over mild manner friendly rice farmers and rubber tappers would be resettled, somewhere way way up east in Paitan. To those who do not know where Paitan is, you are not alone. The sleepless Tambatuon villagers don't know too. Geographically Paitan is somewhat a remote area along the northeastern side of Sabah and the nearest town in that general area, is either Beluran or Pitas.

The Tambatuon villagers don't want to move or lose their homes for very obvious reasons. They have settled and been farming the plain within this valley for hundreds of years and its forefathers must have had seen Sir Hugh Low and his entourage passing through in 1855 on their way to conquer Mt. Kinabalu.

The nearest major window shopping town is Kota Belud and for that quick run to the store, the nearest moms and pops are in Pekan Taginambur. Most of their secondary children go to SMK. Narinang.

Kampong Tambatuon is one of the riverside villages along the Kadamaian river in the Kiau Valley. From the headwater of Kadamaian river, the narrow steep valley starts with Kampong Kiau followed by Kampong Lobong Lobong and Kampong Kaung before the valley started to tapper wide a bit offering its valley bottom a small plain where Kampong Tambatuon nestled. This village is really at the very end of the Kiau Valley.

Most of the villages before and after Kampong Tambatuon pretty much perched on the hillside. The most obvious landmark of this village, is Gunung Nongkok or "The Son Of Gunung Kinabalu" by the elders of most of the villages in this valley. It's that small shark tooth mountain you see on your left, prominently guarding the Kiau Valley bosom as you drive up to Pekan Nabalu.

If the certain government officials have their projected way, the Tambatuon villagers which for generations are so at home in the cool misty valley, would find themselves sweating and listless in hot sweltering climate of Paitan, wandering and wondering how to start a new life in that strange land and weather while their homes and farmland for so many generations, become the bed of a man made lake.

To visit Kampong Tambatuon, take the Kota Belud-Ranau Bypass Highway. If you are from Kota Belud, after about 20 minutes and into a climb, as you drive up the steep meandering highway, look for a bus stop with a red roof on your left, with billboards beside it warning people about the dam project. If you are from the Kota Kinabalu-Ranau highway, the bus stop marking the village's entrance is on your right, about 15 minutes down from the junction.

From the main road entrance, it is a 4.5km gravel road going down gently the valley to the village. The Ketua Kampong's house is the big house on your right after the bridge and to the Tambatuon Homestead, is that gravel road going left after the tiny grocery store. The person to ask for is Mr. Pangalui who is the caretaker of this riverside lodge and for a night stay, it's just RM25 per person. Bring your own food as this homestead is basically just a hostel with a kitchen.

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Additional Photos by Rabani HMA (rabani) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1133 W: 1 N: 3217] (9645)
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