Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fundraising for Bengoh villagers' mini hydro go public!

Joachim Leong recording for a video `Make your vote count'

The Bengoh film finally is exposed to the public in Sarawak itself via a report in Borneo Post today! (See attachment below). It is the only film about Sarawak in the Freedom Film Fest-and made by Kuching born director Joachim Leong, Niloh Ason of Simunjan and also Lee Zhi Eng of Bintulu! A quible by the director on the report is that he did not quite put choice of candidate as `the major' factor' behind the voters choosing a dam-supporting candidate in Bengoh. He clarified that he only said that the factor could be a reason for that happening, in a context where there is little information on how democracy can work for voters benefits.

Update one: public fundraising for Bengoh villagers' mini hydro is now open! If you are interested to donate, please contact organiser through

Update two: as of now the gross amount of fund raised is closed to Rm4k!

So: Malaysians -do come forward to show you care to take Bengoh villagers out of the darkness that engulfed them thus far!

Film director to get generator for Bengoh folk

Posted on October 30, 2011, Sunday

KUCHING: Joachim Leong, the director of independent film `Ulu Bengoh Darum Piin’ (Upper Bengoh Under Water), hopes to get a mini-hydro generator for the villagers affected by the Bengoh Dam when they moved to their resettlement areas.


Leong, a non-practising lawyer, said the cost of the mini-hydro generator was between RM50,000 and RM100,000, based on the quotations he had received thus far.

He added that the installation cost could be as low as RM20,000 if the affected villagers lend a helping hand during the installation process.

Leong, 25, said the required funds would be raised through selling the film’s DVDs at RM12 each. As at Oct 21, he had raised about RM3,000.

The three villages directly affected by the dam are Kampung Taba Sait, Kampung Pain Bojong and Kampung Rejoi. Although Kampung Semban will not be flooded by the dam water, the government had decided that it had to move as well to the resettlement area at Kampung Semadang.

The RM310 million Bengoh dam project affects about 1,500 people from 250 families.

Among others, the 20-minute film showed that villagers of Kampung Taba Sait, Kampung Pain Bojong and Kampung Rejoi who refused to move to Kampung Semadang were in the process moving to other areas of their choosing.

Leong said the main reason for making the film was because he wanted to know why the affected villagers still voted for the BN in the last state election even though many were not happy with the dam project.

“Yes, I was surprised with the election result. This is because all the mainstream media reported that Bengoh was a hot seat but in the end, nothing had changed,” he said.

He said he believed the choice of candidates by the opposition was a major factor which had influenced the decision of voters, apart from the lack of awareness on the dam’s issues.

The film showed that none of the three opposition candidates, namely Willie Mongin of PKR, Richard @ Peter Margaret (SNAP) and Wejok Tomik (Independent), had visited the affected villages during the election campaign.

Dr Jerip Susil of the BN retained the seat with a majority of 3,646 votes.

Leong said he hoped his debut film would spur more people to get involved in the democracy movement.

“As you can see (in the film), the people (the villagers) don’t see how democracy could apply to them. So, it is a bit of a pity as Malaysia is a democratic country. But, surprisingly, there are some who are doing what they think is right,” he said.

On his next project, Leong said he might be filming something fun.

‘Ulu Bengoh Darum Piin’ was one of eight independent films shown at Harbour View Hotel during the Freedom Film Festival (FFF) here yesterday.

FFF was organised by Komas, a human rights non-governmental organisation (NGO), and funded by the European Union (EU).

For more information on Leong, his crew members and their projects, log on to

If you want to donate to

the mini-hydro generator project, email

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