Sunday January 6, 2013
Veterans: Late Iban warrior had an extraordinary sense of jungle trekking
KUCHING: Fellow veterans and friends of the late Temenggong Datuk Kanang Langkau said the Iban warrior had an “extraordinary” sense of jungle trekking.
They said Kanang’s ability to survive, hunt and lead missions in the thickest of Malaysian jungles set him apart.
“He was a role model. A real hero. He was extraordinary. He could ‘sense’ in the jungle. I could not ‘sense’ like him,” said Maj (Rtd) Michael Riman Bugat, who was trained by Kanang.
“To track an enemy in the jungle, people like you and I look out for the obvious things like shoe prints. He had special knowledge. I mean, he could feel the enemy. He had this sense of feeling. Nobody could quite describe it. He was just able to say, that direction, perhaps, one or two hours away by foot. Just extraordinary,” Riman added.
“I feel very close to him. Since 1973, he was my trainer. He showed so much dedication,” added Riman, 70, whose right arm is semi-paralysed after being shot in an ambush by communist terrorists on June 1, 1979.
“It’s quite sad because we’ve lost four Panglima Gagah Berani (PGB) holders in recent years. The late Datuk held a PGB and also an SP. There were 11 PGB holders in Sarawak. There are just seven of us left now. I think I’m the youngest,” Riman said.
PGB is translated as the General of Bravery and Valour medal, while SP is “Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa” or Warrior of Extreme Valour.
Another of Kanang’s friends, Lt Col (Rtd) Fabian Wong, said the Iban warrior’s death was without warning.
“I don’t think anybody, including himself, knew that he might have had heart ailments. Nobody ever thought he would die of a heart attack. It’s too sudden,” Wong told The Star.
Kanang’s wake at Kuching Civic Centre here attracted thousands.
The coffin arrived at 8am from Penrissen Camp’s Bukavu Hall, about 10km away. At 10.30am, most members of the Sarawak Cabinet arrived, led by Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and accompanied by Barisan Nasional backbenchers.
A group from DAP, led by Chong Chieng Jen, arrived moments later.
Kanang’s coffin was placed in the middle of Dewan Suarah of Civic Centre, fronted by white and yellow flowers and with a backdrop of wreaths on a stage.