Subayang River for the Upstream People

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Subayang River as the only transportation way

Subayang is one of the tributaries of Kampar River, the largest river in Riau Province, Indonesia. Its headwaters are springs of forest in a Wildlife Preservation area named Bukit Rimbang Bukit Baling.  It flows to Kampar Kiri River, the bigger tributary, before joining the Kampar Kanan River and form the large Kampar River.  It is administratively located in sub-district of Kampar Kiri Hulu, district of Kampar, Riau Province. Subayang has very important roles for the people who lives in its upstream area, such as a transportation line, fish stock, part of the culture, etc. The most important function is its role as a transportation line, as a connector between the upstream villages and outside worlds.
There are 9 villages in the upstream area. Their names, sorted from the most upstream, are Pangkalan Serai, Salo/Subayang, Terusan, Aur Kuning, Gajah Betalut, Tanjung Beringin, Batu Sanggan, Muara Bio, and Tanjung Belit. Since the colonization era, those villages have been united in a cultural unity named Kekhalifahan Batu Sanggan consisting of six regions named kenegerian.
Subayang is a shallow river, its maximum depth is only 3-4 meters. In the dry season, the depth is shallow and sometimes it constraines the boats which pass through it.  On the other hands,  in the rain season the river is deeper and sometimes flood occurs. When it happens, people are afraid to go to the river so the transportation is really stopped.
The main problems in the upstream are the absence of land transportation and minimum infrastructure facilities such as electricity. The only tranportation line is Subayang River and it’s  very expensive. This also becomes a reason why the economic activity is less improved here. The people depend on their livelihoods on rubber farms.
Thera are a lot of fish in Subayang and the people use them as daily food. The people buy other kinds of foods, such as meat, tofu, rice, etc at a seller who comes to the village everyday but the price is relatively expensive.
Subayang is also part of the culture. Lubuk Larangan is the name of local wisdom that is very famous in the region of Kampar Kiri. Lubuk Larangan is a regulation which manages the location in the river where the people cannot catch the fish in a certain time. Lubuk Larangan is opened when all of society’s components agree to open it. Then fishes in it are collected and auctioned. The money will be shared to culture institution, mosque, youth organization, and village government.
People said that this tradition gives them a lot of benefits. Aside from money, it also tighten the relation between the villagers both who still live in and outside the village. When the opening of it, a lot of villagers who live outside the village will go home.  It becomes the bond between people and the homelands.
Those are the important roles of Subayang River for the upstream people. It’s not only for economic benefits but also cultural usages. The development of infrastructure and people’s economic must be done by the government to improve the people’s life and also to conserve the natures, both forest and river. 


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