The rainy season is approaching (Northeast monsoon). Musim menanam padi telah tiba - paddy planting season has arrived.
Very beautiful scenery; reminds me so much of Ba’kelalan, except that it’s very hot here! Even though the sun was behind clouds, it still felt really hot, “biting-hot” as we like to call it. Without proper sun protection, one would burn easily. The local farmers working the fields and slopes are often seen wrapped up in long sleeves and long pants. They’ll also use towels to cover their heads or faces. Large straw hats provide further protection from the hot sun.
Padi huma or padi bukit (hill paddy). Unlike rice grown in flooded paddies, padi huma does not require plenty of water to grow well. Therefore, they can be planted on dry land and are often grown on hill slopes.
Did you know that before the arrival of padi sawah, padi huma was planted throughout Malaysia? Today, hill paddy is still being planted in many areas in Sarawak (and I think Sabah too?) especially by the Ibans and Bidayuhs. I suppose this is because of the many hilly areas throughout the state (another reason why pepper plants are widely grown in Sarawak, they require well drained soil).
Two elderly Bidayuh ladies tending their hill paddy and doing some weeding to keep their rice patch free of invasive weeds. The nearest village from this hilly area (about 7 or 8 hundred feet above sea level) is about 1-2km away. I can only imagine how tough it is to trek up and down the hills everyday just to get to your farm! I guess this also makes them really fit and strong! They were kind enough to let me snap some photos (I took only a handful as I did not want to disrupt their work) and the lady in the foreground even flashed a smile for the camera! :)
The photos in this entry were taken in 3 or 4 different places, all in the month of October (2011) and all in South-western Sarawak.