Category Archives: History

Iban’s Myth and History: Migration from Kapuas River Part 1


In these very early times, because of the presence of spirits all around them, settlers in Borneo frequently discussed the nature and dwelling place of the gods and spirits, to find the best way to worship and pay respect to them. The Muslim missionaries had already started to arrive to trade and spread their Islamic teachings to this part of the country. They had already established their foothold in the islands of Sumatra and Java and gradually weakened the Hindu Majapahit Empire. 

It was at about this time, at a place called Ketapang in Northwest Kalimantan, there lived a very famous Iban ancestor named Bejie. The Muslim missionaries had frequently spoken of the almighty god named Allah whose abode is high in the sky.  The people began to believe that this god is living above all other deities of this world. On hearing this, Bejie thought of an idea to visit the almighty Allah in the sky to ask god personally about the best way for his people to worship and pay respect to god. He called for a large meeting of his people to discuss the construction of a stairway, on the tallest enchepong tree in the country, to reach heaven. They all agreed to his proposal hoping that they could reach god’s house in heaven.

The ladder was constructed from ironwood (belian) trunk. The base of the ladder was planted at the base of the enchepong tree branches to reach the next branch. Eventually, after some years, the top of the ladder stood above the cloud. As Bejie and his men, all dressed up to visit almighty Allah in the sky, made a final climb to heaven. As they proceed up the ladder, the enchepong tree unfortunately gave way due to the sheer weight of the ironwood ladder. Its root had been rotten and eaten away by termites throughout the construction period. As the ladder collapsed, Bejie and his followers fell headlong to the earth. The ladders landed on various rivers throughout the west-central Borneo. Any ironwood trunk which may be found inside many rivers, are known as “Tangga Bejie”, and it is a taboo to use it to construct any part of the longhouse as it would bring bad omen to the house owner.

Before the construction of the ladder, Bejie had assigned his brother named Bada to lead his people. Bejie had also begot a son named Nisi whose praised name was “Bunga besi enda semaia makai tulang”. Nisi begot a son named Antu Berembayan Bulu Niti Berang who was the father of Telichu, Telichai and Ragam. Ragam was the mother of Manang Jarai (or Manang Tuai – the first Iban shaman).

After the death of Bejie, their people moved to Kayung. There were other Iban along the coast at the time, especially at Trusan Tanjong Bakong and in general around the mouth of Kapuas River. After Bejie’s descendant had settled there for quite sometime, Arab traders arrived in large sailing ship from Jeddah. They do barter trade with the Ibans exchanging clothes and spices for rice and jungle products. This was the first time the Iban had ever seen woven clothes. Before then, they had only lion clothes and skirts made from barks of trees.

As more Arab traders and Muslim missionary came to trade with the Ibans, many Ibans were converted to this new faith. Soon, divisions began to appear among the Iban leaders between those who adopted the Muslim faith and those who still followed traditional beliefs. Those who chose to follow traditional ways of life began to separate themselves and moved up river in large number. Those who were prepared to accept Islamic teachings, stayed at Kayung. They began to call themselves the Malay of Pontianak, Sampit, Kayung, Sukadana and Sambas. In time, they began to marry new Malays who had come to trade in Kalimantan, especially the traders from Minangkabau in Sumatra.

Due to the tolerances of the Iban people, no reported incidents were recorded in their songs with regards to this manner of separation or with Muslims in particular. This tolerance has been the major factor that contributes to the prosperity and harmony of the Iban people living together with other people of different races and religions to this present day. Infact, the Ibans thrive well under this circumstance because they are hardworking people, a tribute found in the pioneering spirits of their ancestors. Only those who were crazy for power and wealth brought major conflict to this country, not the tolerant and resilient Ibans.

The Ibans then moved further up the Kayung until they reached a place called Ulu Landak. After settling there for sometimes, some of them migrated up the Melawi River. After settling along the banks of Melawi River for three generations, their leaders, Raja Ningkan, Sagan-Agan, Bedali and Jugah called for a large meeting to discuss further migrations. They agreed to migrate and separate from their relatives, and they built many large boats with the help of those who wished to remain behind. It is also to be noted that all the material wealth or properties that the Iban people value today is the same as that which was valued by the people of Malawi in the past, especially the old Chinese jars and brasswares.

From Melawi, they separated and moved to the Sintang River where the passed a large areas of farmland. They looked for the owner of the farmland and were told that the farmland owner had moved to Pontianak and that they could farm there that year only as the informer could not guarantee that the owner would not return to reclaim the land. They started to plant padi that year and had a bountiful harvest. After the harvest, they left the area to live at the mouth of Sintang River for one year.

From Nanga Sintang, the Iban went up the Kapuas where they meet other people. They found that not many people had settled along the right bank of the Kapuas River, as majority of them preferred to live along the more fertile land of the left bank. From the main Kapuas River, they went up the Sakayam tributary. From the mouth of this river, all lands on both banks are owned by the Mualang Dayaks. It took them two full days to reach the first Mualang Dayak Longhouse from its mouth. They stayed only a few nights in the Mualang Dayak Longhouse.

In their conversation with the Mualangs, Jugah and Bedali told the Mualangs the story of their movements since they left the Kayung settlement. They told the Mualangs that they had separated from their relatives who had been converted to Muslims by the Arab missionaries to avoid conflict and religious persecution. They told them that they had lived in the Melawi and had migrated down the Sintang River to look for new lands in which to settle. They asked the Mualangs whether they might give them land to live on. The Mualangs told them that although there was still a lot of virgin forest on both banks of the Sakayam, as the Iban had seen, all the land belongs along both banks had been claimed by them from its mouth up to the settlement they had reached.

The Mualang further told the Iban that all the lands above their settlement belonged to the Chengkang Dayaks, and then further up to Balai Kerangan, the land belonged to the Sebaru Dayaks. All land beyond that belonged to the Remun Dayaks.

The Iban told the Mualang that they did not want to migrate further and wished to settle alongside the Mualang there. The Mualang agree only if the Iban agreed to live in the same longhouse with them. The Iban finally agreed to live in the same longhouse with the Mualang. They lived many years with them, and a great number of them intermarried, becoming Mualang.

After the Iban had greatly multiplied; they separated from the Mualang and moved to the Sanggau River. Here they lived much closed to the Bugau Dayaks. After some years of staying there, the moved to Semitau under their chiefs, Raja Ningkan, Jenua, Jugah, Rawing, Jimbun, Sagan-Agan and Jengkuan. All these chiefs were brave men. Due to their bravery and aggressiveness, all other Dayaks were afraid of them.


Iban’s MYTH and History: Migrations and the Origins of Iban Culture

In ancient times, when the island of Borneo was still only sparsely inhabited, those who dwelled there lived in fear of many kinds of demons, dwarfs and spirits. These beings might either look after men or else punish them with death if they broke taboos.

As spirits (antu) were everywhere, men had to be very careful in what they said and did. They could not speak arrogantly when they fished the river or hunted the forests. If they did so, boasting that they could easily obtained fish or game, their efforts would come to nothing. 

Then, this is where, we have ‘Jaku Kelaung’ (indirect), which the spirit couldn’t understand.

Instead of 
1. Aku deka nginti pagila (Im going to fishing tomorrow) – Which is wrong (Direct, the Spirits understand them)
We use,
2. Aku deka “Bemain Ai” (Nginti/Fishing) nganti hari “Bekalih Batang” (Pagila/Tomorrow)

Similarly, an individual was strictly forbidden to mock other living things; if he did so, the spirit would destroy him with kudi, a violent supernatural storm in which a culprit and all his belongings were turned to stone (batu kudi).
Houses and human beings believed to have been petrified in the past can still be seen in many places in Sarawak.

Iban’s Custom and Cultures: The Origin of Adat Nguai

Previously, I’ve posted the post about ‘Nguai’ in Iban. So I thought of, its about time to translate them into English – And add up a little info that I missed in the sister post. – Where did Nguai tradition came from?

          In the ancient days, the Ibans were very particular about their daughters and sons going to marry. This was because ‘nguai’ was a very important issue in the social and economic system of the Iban people.– In the modern day of Iban, though the ‘Nguai’ system seems not so significant anymore, but its a tradition that will take place during the wedding ceremony. And mostly, people nowaday will choose ‘Tengah Hari’, means not ‘Nguai’ to anybody.

Basically, there are 2 adat exists in the ‘Tikah Iban’
1. Ambi Indu – (Take the women – The women will ‘Nguai’ to her husband.
2. Anjung Lelaki – (Send the man – The man will ‘Nguai’ to his wife.

Some you may wonder, what is this ‘Nguai’ anyway? 

          Nguai is a practice to decide whether the woman should stay with her own family (Not Nguai to her husband) or not (Nguai to her husband) after the marriage, and VICE VERSA. 

          Should an Iban family has only a daughter, her intended husband and his family should agree to let him live with the girl’s family. His social status would then be of a son-in-law who becomes a part of the family – physically, socially and economically. If his family did not agree with the terms and conditions, the mariage will not take place and the girl’s family will have to find another suitor. However, if the man is the only son in the family, then his family sets the rule. The marriage would not take place if the girl’s family did not agree with his rules. 

So, where did this practice came from?

          There is a folktale pertaining to the tradition which has passed down in Ulu Skrang. 

          Lemiah, a fair Iban maiden, came from a good family who owned a lot of jars, padi fields, silver ornaments and brassware. They were well-known for their generousity. She was an only child and it brought a great deal of sadness to the family as they had to be on a look out for a son-in-law who could stay with them. From a very early age, Lemiah demonstrated her intelligence and friendliness. She had made friends with all the children in the long house, particularly, a good boy named Assan who had a little limp. All the children helped in the padi fields belonging to their own family. Both Lemiah and Assan were the best little workers in the padi fields and everyone admired them for their speed and diligence. 

          Soon, it was time for Lemiah’s parents to decide with whom Lemiah should be married to. A young man from another long house was selected and the family and kinfolks were over the moon. There could not have been a better choice. Lemiah, however, was disappointed that Assan was not the chosen one. Her famiy thought Assan was not suitable for her. Worst of all, he could not leave his house to live with her family as he too was the only child.

          Assan was sad when he heard that Lemiah was to marry someone else and went into the jungle to hunt. After many days of travelling, he was weakened by his sorrow. However, his guardian spirit came to his aid in the form of a hornbill. The hornbill understood his good intentions and deep love for Lemiah. So he told Assan to ask Lemiah to follow him to the waterfall next to the long house on the next full moon before she was to be married. Assan was not sure what would be the outcome, but he believed in his guardian spirit and did as he was told. On the night of the full moon, Lemiah left the long house only too willingly to follow Assan. 

However, just as they reached the waterfall, the gongs in the long house were sounded and the villagers came afterthem. They had broken the customs and Lemiah had broken her marriage vows. The anger of the families permeated the whole forest and caused the leaves to tremble. The sound of the gongs echoued through the hills. Lemiah and Assan were trapped as they could not cross the waterfall. At last, they jumped into the water. The villagers were shocked by this desperate act and returned home empty handed. Lemiah’s parents were heartbroken for they had lost their only child. Assan’s family too was saddened and they took the blame for causing this shame. 

          They had to pay their fines and also had to move out from the long house. Such was the punishment dealt out by the headman.

The People of Panggau Libau

I am sure, most of us ever heard of Keling, the hero of Panggau Libau, and Kumang, his wife from
Gellong. I am sure too, alot of us have this question popped off our head, who are these people of Panggau-Gellong? Gods huh?
No, they weren’t Gods, but people with special power, above ordinary human like you and me, or I can simply put them this way – Angels.

          Intermediate between humankind and the petara in the sky is a third major category of supernatural, the Orang Panggau. 

          These are the heroes and heroines of the mythic Panggau-Gellong world. Their domain is said to lie between the visible world and the sky. Thus in myth and ritual liturgy, those who journey to visit the gods and goddesses frequently pass through the Panggau-Gellong world to make their way to the homes of the petara. 

          Like the gods, these heroes and heroines possess supernatural powers and are believe to be capable of metamorphosis. Being great mythical heroes, they are credited with exemplary physical ability, beauty, creativity, skills in craftsmanship and other attributes of humankind. 

          They are, for example, the patrons of women weavers and male warriors. Their prowess is the subject of vast oral epic literature among the Iban society. Like the gods and goddesses, the Orang Panggau are beneficent and acts in ways that further human purposes and this makes them the invisible intermediaries. 

          During major Gawai festivals, they represent the gawai sponsor in inviting, welcoming and entertain the gods and goddesses whom the human bards have called down from the sky to bless and participate, unseen, in the ritual work of the Gawai.


Adat of Birth

For the Iban, a child’s introduction into ritual life is graduated. Thus ‘Ngetup Garam’ signals the first enlargement of its relational field beyond the bilik. – Anang ngelaban sida ke tuai, sida dulu Ngetup Garam.

          Through ‘Ngetup Garam’ the infant is removed for the first time from the confines of the bilik apartment and is introduced to the basic temporal dimensions of the Iban visible world, to daylight and the orbiting sun, and, at the same time, its presence is made known to the gods into whose care it is placed.

          The principal gods invoked are those responsible for the main constituents of its newly created person: namely, its visible body and its unseen soul. Finally, the journey from the bilik to the tanju’ and back to the bilik is seen by the Iban as a movement between areas of minimal and maximal spiritual danger, and back again, within the longhouse.

          The main rites of birth conclude with the infant’s ritual first bath (Meri Anak Mandi) at the longhouse bathing place. Ritual bathing gives recognition to the child’s social persona within the community, while similarly locating it ritually in a beneficent relation with the spiritual forces believed to be present beyond its threshold. The rite opens at dawn with the preparation of three sets of offerings on the family’s section of the longhouse gallery. When prepared, one set of offerings is carried into the bilik apartment. 

          There it is presented to the family’s guardian spirits (Tua). The other two are carried to the river side where, as part of the bathing ritual, one is presented to the spirits of the water (Antu Ai), the other to the spirits of the forest (Antu Babas).

          As soon as these preparations are completed, the bathing party assembles on the gallery and is formed into a procession. After making a complete circuit of the gallery, its pathway strewn with popped rice, the procession, bearing the child, descends the entry ladder and proceeds in file to the river bathing place accompanied by the music of drums and gongs. At the ‘Penai’ the offerings to the water spirits are cast into the river. The chief ritual officiant then wades into the water. Standing in the river, he pronounces a complex invocation (Sampi) in which he calls on the spirits of the water to form a parallel, unseen procession in the realms beyond the longhouse threshold.

          The spirits are described in his invocation as arriving at the penai’ from both upriver and downriver, from the river’s headwaters, its many branching streams, and from its mouth at the sea. Like human beings, the spirits, although unseen, inhabit ‘this world’ (Dunya tu). The invocation is characteristically structured as a dialogue in which the officiant becomes a number of different characters, both seen and unseen. 

          At first he self-reflexively describes the purpose of the rites and the intent of his own actions. Then, as they assemble, he assumes the identity of the spirits. These include the spirits of turtles, crocodiles and river fish. The spirits, through this dialogue, announce their arrival in processional order. Speaking through the officiant, they describe the magical blessings and charms they have brought to distribute among the bathing party and declare their intention to look after the infant, preserving it particularly from drowning. The guardianship of the river spirits, established at first bathing, is believed to continue throughout an individual’s lifetime. 

          In the poem of lamentation following death, the souls of the dead leave the familiar world of the longhouse by way of its bathing place, travel by river to the Otherworld (Sebayan) and pass the homes of their former spirit-guardians. As they come to each of these homes in turn, they release the spirits from guardianship and bid them farewell. Later, in rituals that involve the souls return from the Otherworld (Sebayan), the souls again pass these homes just before they reach the ‘Penai’ of the living. The spatial imagery thus locates the river spirits within the living world but beyond the boundaries of human society, its outer limits defined in this ritual construction by the ‘Penai’.

          As the infant is bathed, a chicken is sacrificed and its blood is allowed to flow into the river. The final set of offerings is then presented to the spirits of the forest. If the infant is male, these are hung from a spear (Sangkuh), if female, they are hung from a shed-stick (Leletan). Why spears and shed-stick? Spears (Sangkuh) and shed-sticks (Leletan) symbolizing the pre-eminent gender roles of men and women: warfare (Ngayau) for men and weaving (Nenun Pua Kumbu) for women.

          As these offerings are being set out the procession reassembles and, bearing the infant, returns to the longhouse gallery. Here the mother and infant undergo a secondary bathing rite called ‘Betata’, literally ‘to drench’ or ‘sprinkle with water’. The mother and child are seated together on a gong (Tawak), covered by a ritual ‘Pua Kumbu’ cloth, at their family’s section of the upper gallery (ruai atas). Here they are individually touched with water by other longhouse members and the family’s guests from neighbouring communities. ‘Betata’ thus dramatizes the end of the mother’s and child’s confinement and their ritual reintegration into the community.

          In the series of rites that follows birth, beginning with ‘Bekindu’ and ending with ‘Betata’ each rite makes use of a different socially demarcated area of the longhouse and its surroundings. As a result, the series as a whole is constituted as an ordered movement through the longhouse community at large. 

          This movement ritually effects the progressive engagement of the newborn infant in an expanding series of social and ritual relationships — moving outward from the bilik to the longhouse and beyond to the larger river system that encompasses them both — and from confinement within the spiritually secure bilik apartment to location within an all-embracing, but increasingly dangerous cosmological order. 

          Spiritual danger is spatialized and through the ritual organization of the longhouse, this danger is progressively confronted as the infant journeys through the community, becoming in the end a source of efficacy and spiritual protection. Finally, these journeys are always, like the internal ordering of the longhouse itself, bidirectional, returning to the source from which they began. Thus they move from inside to outside the longhouse, to its veranda and river bathing place, then back inside again, first to the bilik, then to the communal gallery; hence, not upriver and downriver but along its opposite, life-symbolizing east–west coordinates.

The Rites of Iban’s Birth

I’ve asked my wife (Dr. Majorie) about the significant of the Iban-after-delivery tradition called ‘Bekindu’ and the part of ‘Penti’ have to do with the medical science. She explained that ‘Bekindu’ meant for warming the mother’s body – which is explainable. But, the part of ‘Penti’ however remain mystic – Unexplainable, through a scope of health sciences.

          According to Iban’s tradition – Following delivery, the mother is subject to a period of heating called ‘bekindu’ (literally ‘to heat’ or ‘warm by a fire’) which traditionally lasted from a month to forty-one days, its duration formerly reckoned by the use of a string tally. During this time the mother heats herself by an open fire kept continuously burning inside the bilik and is treated with ginger (Lia) and other heating agents so that her ‘body is made warm’ (ngangat ka tuboh). 

          At the same time, members of the bilik-family observe a series of ritual restrictions (penti). These have a disjunctive effect, temporarily setting the family apart from the rest of the community whose members are not subject to the same restrictions. Similarly, heating itself places the mother and infant in a ritual status antithetical to other longhouse members.

          For the mother, this status ends when she resumes river bathing at the ‘penai’, a ‘cooling’ act that marks her resumption of normal longhouse life. ‘Heating’ and ‘bathing’ are ritually antithetical categories, and before the mother resumes ordinary river bathing, she is first given a steambath (Betangas) inside a mat enclosure at the tempuan bilik in which she is steamed with an infusion of medicinal leaves meant to induce heavy sweating. ‘Steaming’ in this context can be interpreted as a mediating act between ‘heating’ and ‘bathing’. 

          For the infant, on the other hand, its first bath at the penai’ is made the focus of a longhouse ‘Gawa’ rite. This rite, the most elaborate of the series surrounding birth, gives social and ritual recognition to the infant’s entry into the longhouse community. 

          Following its first bathing, mother and child undergo a secondary bathing rite on the longhouse gallery marking their ritual incorporation. The movement represented is thus from seclusion to incorporation, from heating to cooling.

          What is significant here is that this series of rites is enacted as an ordered movement through the longhouse itself: 

1. beginning in the relative security of the bilik apartment; 
2. moving outward to the open-air veranda, 
3. the zone of the house most removed from the bilik; 
4. then journeying in ritual procession from the gallery to the river bathing-place, at the outer threshold of the longhouse, and back again; 
5. and ending in a rite of incorporation on the communal gallery. 

This movement gives cultural construction to the infant’s entry into the social and cosmological world — an entry signalled, at its beginning and end, by a fundamental ritual polarity: heating and bathing (or cooling). 

          This polarity recurs at other life transitions as well, including death, and is an integral part of the rites that preserve the longhouse as a ritual entity, symbolized especially by its hearths and posts — the one a source of heat, the other of cooling.

Kayau Indu and the Iban’s women social status (Ranking)

We’d all known that the Headhunter bravery (head count) and the numbers of tattoos (design) place them in a higher rank of their society. 

          But, do you know how to determine the social status of Iban’s women? – A Head Hunter for man, and a Weaver for woman. Great combination isn’t it? Indeed!

          Iban weaver’s competence and skills place her in her community. I will explain and elaborate the meaning behind the title of Iban’s women according to their rank in the community.

1. Indu Takar Indu Nyar
A competent women, and a women who know how to mix and to use the vegetable dyes successfully – For Pua Kumbu.
          The whole dye-process is called ‘KAYAU INDU’ or Warpath Of The Women; thereby stressing the important that weaving and dyeing is for women in the Iban Society – Just as Headhunting is for men!
          Only those who ranked Indu Takar Indu Nyar will involve in the process of ‘Nyangkah Antu Pala’ ritual – Welcoming home the Headhunter’s

2. Indu Nengkebang Indu Muntang
A women who produce her own design (Many believes that the idea of the design came from the God/Spirit who spoke to them through dream – Kenyap/Mimpi)
          She has tattoos on her fingers and wear a porcupine quil with cotton strand. 
          For the omen design of pua kumbu which portray a design of ghost/spirit (Antu Gerasi) for example can only started by these group of lady, before the rest complete them. This is done as a precaution to overcome the bad luck (Alah Bulu).

3. Indu Sekat Indu Bebat
A skillful weaver, but they’re not producing their own design, and not allowed to weave certain omen design as I mention above.

4. Indu Temuai Indu Lawai
Some called them Indu Asi Indu Ai – a good hostess homemaker.

5. Indu Paku Indu Tubu
An ordinary housewife

          The women who falls into the top 3 categories and her status is accordance to her in the “Adat Mati” or obituary according to the “Adat Tusun Tunggu”. The “Adat Tebalu” given to the husband of a weaver is also higher than that given to the husbans of an ordinary Iban women. 

Iban – Ukai Lanun, tang Pengayau. (Iban – Not Pirates, but a Head Hunter)

Pengawa aki kitai bansa kelia ke ngayau mulau lalu ngulihka pala munsuh semina nyadi ka buah kenang buah randau bala kitai nembiak rebak baru diatu. Kitai temegah ka diri peturun raja berani – tang, naka ni penemu kitai entang pengawa ka dikumbai orang ngayau? Nama kebuah Iban kelia ngayau? Nama kebuah bala Rajah (Brooke) ngelar kitai Dayak Laut (Sea Dayak), lalu lebih agi ngumbai kitai Iban kelia – Lanun.

Bala kitai Iban kelia ngayau laban ketegal ka deka begiga ka dengah enda patut amat dikumbai James Brooke perumpak tasik (pirates/lanun) rambau maia nya suba.

Pengawa ke bepumpung ka pala munsuh nya siti isu ke balat amat sensitif lalu jarang bendar dikenang nembiak rebak baru diatu. Taja pia, nadai kebuah kitai nyeliah kediri ari ke bekenang ke pekara ke semina tinggal kenang nyadi sejarah sereta legasi aki ini kitai dulu menya.

Kebuah pia, taja pan kitai Iban agi temegah ati ngembuan tusuk enggau tampun (jaku kelaung kena nyebut pala munsuh ke udah disalai atas pedilang) pala nya mina nyadi ka tanda penuduk aki ini kitai kelia ke udah bulih dengah, tau kayau tauka tau serang.nyadi ke lambang tauka ke tanda kitai tu meh purih turun raja berani.

Taja pan antu pala nya agi mayuh digantung ke sebelah ruai rumah panjai kitai (bisi sekeda disimpan ba atas sadau, lalu dipantaika semina maya pengerami), mayuh macam bengkah ga bala jerita bisi ditusui bala sida ke tuai, tang agi mayuh mega kitai bansa empu sereta enggau raban bansa bukai bedau tentu nemu nama kebuah aki ini kitai kelia gagit matak kayau enggau serang, lalu ngejungka iya nyadi siti adat asal ke balat dikemeranka bansa kitai iban rambau maya nya kelia.

Sagam ati aku, enda kelalu jauh enti aku madah ke kitai rebak kediatu endang mayuh deka nemu enggau silik serta dalam ke agi nama kebuah aki ini kitai kelia balat bendar gagit deka ngayau, ngiga dengah mumpung pala munsuh.

Nyadi pala tu besai bendar guna ia, ka mayuh bengkah pengawa enggau pengerami asal kitai bansa iban. Enti bala diri sebilik bisi mati tauka lesi bebadi ninggal ka diri sebilik, mina pala ke baru diketas ulih kena muai ulit, nyadi nyak adat lama kitai menya. Kemaia ari tu kitai nadai belandik ke adat baka nya agi. Nyadi lebuh maya ke ngulit, semua utai enda mujur dipejalaika kitai Antu pala nya mega ulih diguna kena ngenselan rumah panjai ke ngulit nya. Mayuh agi pala, manah agi ga taun umai, bulih agi ga padi.

“Antu pala nya mega enti nitih ke pengarap lama kitai iban,ulih dikena kitai nyaga rumah panjai nya ari semua utai jai. Lalu lebuh maya bisi gawai tauka pengerami, bala sida ke indu deka bebaika antu pala nengah ruai enggau tempuan laban ngayanka pemerani apai enggai menyadi lelaki sida. Rambau maya nya kelia, sigi enda dipalik sida ke dara enti bala bujang nya nadai dengah bedau kala mumpung pala munsuh.

Atur ngemeranka pengawa ngayau sereta bepumpung pala munsuh, siti ari adat asal kitai Iban kelia ke balat kena sebut sereta nyadi siti pekara dipebasa lalu ngemesaika bansa Iban rambau nya, nya siti pekara ke nentuka pemerani sereta penuduk bala lelaki rambau nya.

Bala lelaki ke udah bulih dengah dalam kayau senang ngiga indu ka bini. Kelimpah ari pengeran enggau pengering ati bala Iban deka bepantap ngelaban munsuh, antu pala nya mega tau ngenataika kuasa enggau lebih agi pemerani ngagai orang ke bulih iya.

Bala kitai Iban rambau mayanya kelia mega bepengarap ke antu pala nya tau mega mai pengering ati, ati takut tau nyadi berani,ngering ke tulang enggau semengat kitai, pemanah ulah enggau pengaya pengeraja ngagai rayat sekayu rumah panjai ke nyimpan antu pala nya. nyadi kitai bansa dunya ke moden kediatu jauh udah ninggal ke pengarap nya. rambau kitai kemaya ari diatu bebaika degree, setipikit, kerita besai enggau rengka pengaya bukai, lelaki dulu kelia mai pulai kerumah panjai diri empu utai ulih sida dalam kayau enggau serang – antu pala, kena ngiyas rumah panjai sida lalu nyadi ka batang pengaga sereta pengangkun enggau pengandal ati bujang kelia ti begelar raja berani.

Tang anang salah runding, bala aki ini kitai kelia, nadai ngepunka pengawa bekayau enggau bepumpung ke pala ari tegal pengerindu enggau peneka ati sida, tauka tegal sida enggai nadai tropi dibai pulai kerumah ari pejalai matau menua tauka pegi.

Kebuah pengawa nya dikemeranka maya nya suba, laban menua nadai adat ke menyana, nadai perintah megai sereta ngempung menua. Nya alai tegal nya, semua raban bansa bebunuh ke pangan diri.

Utai ke bakanya sigi teleba nyadi ba sebarang alai menua nadai perintah megai, nadai perintah ngempung.dini-dini endur ba menoa kitai enggau menoa urang bukai,utai tu sigi enda ulih diseliah ke rambau maya nya suba.

Chunto utai tu bisi nyadi mega ba bala bansa Arab Jahiliah (Rambau Dark Ages) sebedau penatai pengarap Islam ngagai menoa Timur Tengah sereta mayanya mega menoa China agi balat belaya berebutka kuasa enggau pangan diri, nya rambau maya Confucius sereta sepengudah Confucius tauka Kong Fu Tze.

Nyadi bansa kitai Iban laban ada ngemai darah berani, enda ulih ngetan ati enggau darah mangah, nyaga sereta nerabai diri empu ari kena kayau raban bansa bukai. Nya kebuah kitai iban udu ngayau mulau.

Pengawa ngayau mulau kitai iban tu kelia, bepun ari kitai Iban balat selalu dialahka siti raban bansa di Borneo ditu dikumbai urang Kantu. Beduduk ari ke selalu kena serang sereta dikayau Kantu, bala Iban kelia belajar nyaga bansa diri lalu kejung ke kitai iban mujur ngalahka menua Kantu, sereta enggau munsuh bukai ke bisi ngempang jalai bansa kitai iban rambau maya nya kelia.

Laban ke belajar ari pengasar munsuh, iya nya bansa Kantu, rambau maya nya mega, bala kitai Iban ukai semina munuh munsuh, tang mega ngetas pala munsuh iya nya dipumpung lalu ngemai pala nya pulai, lalu disalai pala nya enggai ka buot. Pala ke udah diketas ari tubuh lalu disalai nya dikumbai antu pala, lalu nyadi ka batang pengandal sereta pengangkun ati bala bujang – enggau sida ke dara.

Antu pala nya mega dikena aki ini kitai kelia ngelensan semengat bala kitai Iban ke udah dambi munsuh pala, lalu ka pengering semengat bala manuk sabung kitai Iban ke udah rebah alah laban munsuh, sereta ka peransang bala sida manuk sabung ke agi idup, sereta agi enggau ngayau. Ngicha ke ati sida enda mudah takut, nangi, rawan ke munsuh. AGI IDUP AGI NGELABAN…

Sebedau penatai Rajah Brooke kelia, bala Iban sigi udah berengkah ngemeranka pengawa ngayau lalu bambika pala munsuh laban lebuh ti keterubah iya kitai iban baru datai melunggang ari menua Kapuas ngagai menua Sarawak kitai iban enda diterima bala bansa bukai ke udah nguan menua ditu,ngambi ke banding baka ba Batang Ai. Bansa ke bemunsuh enggau kitai Iban maya baru datai di Sarawak nya tebal agi baka bansa Ukit, Seru, Beketan (tauka Bukitan) enggau bansa bukai ke mayuh udah punas.

Ketegal ke baru deka berimba mungkal menua, mayuh bala kitai Iban mega parai ketegal besatup enggau munsuh rambau maya nya kelia.

Uji kitai berati ke cherita Beti bensumbar Brauh Ngumbang enggau indu penama Remampak kena kitai manding ke kitai d’alahka Bukitan. Nyadi Remampak tu balat bendar ngulitka apai iya ke udah dibunuh Bukitan.

Nya alai laban meda pemerinsa indu dara nya ngulit, Beti lalu malas pemati apai Remampak lalu mumpung pala bansa Bukitan ke udah munuh apai indu nya. Bukitan ke dipumpung iya pala nya mega ketuai bansa Bukitan.

Nya alai tu ngayanka pengawa bala kitai Iban kelia enda seneka ati bepumpung ngayau mulau bala munsuh, tang beduduk ari tegal ke menyana enggau meruan, lalu enda mungkal orang sengapa.

Penemu enggau ulah kitai iban nya meh ke udah ngemunka bala kitai Iban mansang berani lalu ngejung ke iya diketakutka bansa bukai rambau maya nya kelia. Laban enda ulih terus ngidupka diri, nyengkaum mungkal menua baru alai bumai betupi, atur bekayau enggau bemunsuh nya terus dikemeranka laban antu pala nya besai guna dalam dunya pengarap lama, kelebih kena ngading bala sida Keling enggau raban iya enggau dunya sosio-politik rambau nya.

Ngambi ke banding kitai dalam jaku bukai, pengawa begiga ke pala tu udah nyadi sebagi ari jalai pengidup sereta adat asal kitai Iban rambau maya nya kelia, dalam scenario dunya anarki nadai beperintah alai mensia bepangai minta gempung “munuh enggaika kena bunuh”. Darah sigi dibalas enggau darah.

Laban ketegal kitai bansa Iban ke enggai alah laban bansa bukai rambau maya nya kelia, sida lebih pragmatik ari bansa bukai, reti nya nyau ngujung ke kitai iban nyerang dulu, sebedau kitai iban diserang maya enda sedia, tauka munuh sebedau dibunuh enda ngadang, iya nya siti jalai idup survival ke dipelajar sida jauh dulu ari bansa bukai.

Sir James Brooke ke datai keterubah iya ba tanah Sarawak kena 15 Ogos taun 1839, datai ba maya menua tu kelia agi balat bendar kacau serta siga.

Lebuh iya mula nyadi Rajah keterubah menua Sarawak dalam taun 1841, Brooke orang keterubah ngumbai bala kitai Iban ke ngelaban perintah tu perumpak tasik (‘pirates’) tauka dalam jaku Melayu lanun, iya nya orang ke ngalahka kapal tegal deka ngambi perapasan.

Taja pan perintah Belanda ke merintah menua Sambas ba Kalimantan Borneo enggau Sultan Brunei maya nya enda kala ngumbai bala Iban tu perumpak tasik, Brooke ngena jaku nya laban iya bisi utai deka diulih ke iya empu ti ngenatai ke penguntung ngagai ia empu rambau maya nya kelia.

Nya alai lebuh penulis bup ari menua tasik baka Pringle, Runciman enggau bala orang bukai ke nulis pasal “Battle of Beting Maru” dalam taun 1849, sida ngumbai bala raban kayau Iban betuaika Linggir ‘Mali Lebu’ nya perumpak tasik, laban bepanggai ba pemadah enggau rikot ari perintah Brooke maya nya.

Nyadi cherita ari sepiak bala sida Linggir maya nya enda kala ditemu mensia mayuh tauka pemacha laban nadai kala ditusui.

Kati amat ka enda bala Iban maya nya nyadi perumpak tasik munyi ku Brooke? Ba penemu enggau runding aku,ko aku, nadai kitai Iban nyadi perumpak tasik, nadai kala. Kitai Iban maya nya mina gauk deka ngayau aja, mumpung pala tang ukai deka ngerampas perapasan nyadi perumpak ba tasik.

Endang sigi amat bisi bala kitai Iban ari menua Saribas ngiga munsuh ngena perau kayau nebing tasik, kekadang bekayuh ngeluie Beting Maru, lalu bisi nguji nebing tasik ngagai selatan Borneo, ngagai Sambas. Tang sida nya ukai deka nerumpak; sida semina begiga ke pala munsuh kedengah sida iya.

Sejarah mega nyukung penemu pasal perau kitai Iban kelia ke enda ulih kena nerumpak sereta enda taan dikena nyadi perumpak tasik.

Rambau maya nya,kitai iban sigi nemu perau kayau kitai nadai banding enggau perau sereta kapal dikena bala lanun tauka perumpak tasik ke bendar baka sida bansa Sulu, Illanun, Natunan enggau bansa perumpak bukai.

Ka tambah nya mega bala kitai Iban enda teleba ba tasik lalu sigi ukai orang diau ba tasik – enda aku nemu kebuah Brooke tau ngangau magi ngelak kitai iban ngena nama Sea Dayak (Dayak Tasik) –pendiau pengidup kitai iban sigi ari kelia menya nyentuk ke saritu sigi enda besangkut paut enggau tasik, laban sigi teleba ba menua ulu, ba dalam babas tauka ba batang ai numbas iya pemesai.

Nya alai sekeda perau kayau bala sida ketuai kitai iban ke enda kala lebu enti ngayau mulau ke abis pechah sereta karam laban sengayuh kapal H.E.I.C.S. Nemesis ba Beting Maru,perau kayau nya sigi ukai digaga kena pengawa nerumpak ba tasik. Perau nya mega enda chukup pemesai mai raban perang sereta kayau besai Iban, lalu tentu nadai alai ngengkah perapasan enti sema sida nerumpak ngambi perapasan.

Naka ke ditemu ba menua Saribas, Krian tauka Batang Rajang enggau ai bukai, nadai kitai Iban bisi madah sereta ngayanka perapasan ulih nerumpak ba tasik. Mina utai ke bisi dipeda ba sebalah rumah panjai kitai Iban nya rengka beli magang, baka sida bedil, setawak enggau utai bukai.

Kebuah pia, laban aki ini kitai ukai perumpak tasik. Sida mina gauk deka ngayau lalu mai pala munsuh pulai. Antu pala ke udah disalai nya aja meh perapasan ke bisi digantung kitai Iban ka pengingat orang tuai kelia sereta kena ngingatka kitai pasal adat asal sida kelia, ke udah dibuai ketisi dilengka ke kitai rambau dunya moden diatu. Kebuah pia, laban sida ukai penyamun tasik ngiga perapasan tang orang gila kayau ngiga pala munsuh.

Tang enti nitih sekeda bup, Brooke enda kala ngumbai bala Iban Sebuyau perumpak tauka penyamun tasik, taja pan bala kitai ari Sebuyau bisi sama enggau ngayau bepumpungka pala munsuh. Nama kebuah Iban Saribas aja dikumbai perumpak tasik?

Diatu, berindik ari rintai utai ke nyadi bekau nya, baru kitai nemu kebuah iya ngaga bakanya – James Brooke ngena jaku ‘pirates’ tauka perumpak tasik laban iya begunaka sukung perintah British dalam nyapai juluk ati iya naluk menua Sarawak.

Dalam taun 1888, taja pan James Brooke udah nadai agi, Perintah British bisi nyain siti sempekat deka nyaga menua Sarawak ari kuasa bukai. Kebuah pia, laban sida takut Belanda enggau Sepanyol naluk menua Sarawak. Rambau nya Belanda udah megai Kalimantan Borneo enggau Jawa lalu Sepanyol udah megai menua Pelipin.

Nya alai, amat meh bala kitai Iban balat diketakutka dulu menya tegal sida gagit matak kayau lalu mumpung pala munsuh, ke ngejungka pengawa bakanya balat dibantah lalu ditagang perintah Brooke, taja pan nya sigi nyadi adat asal lalu sebagi ari jalai pengidup maya nya, dikemendar ulih adat asal bansa enggau semua bansa petara, jelu enggau antu ke nyaga semengat sereta pendiau Iban rambau nya.

Sida gaga dikumbai orang bujang berani, mayuh dengah lalu gagit deka bepumpung pala munsuh, tang aki ini kitai menya enda ngaku diri dikangau orang perumpak tauka penyamun tasik.

Kitai ke rebak baru tu, salah munyi jaku enda meh tau ngetu ngayau. Tang kitai ukai ngayau ketegal ka mumpung pala munsuh. Kitai ngayau mumpung bala pemandai bala penemu. Kitai mesti gagit ka mumpung pala SPM, pumpung gak pala Diploma, udah nya pala Degree, lalu anang berenti, gagit kitai sampai terpumpung ke pala PHD.

Sida ke lama ngayau ngena ilang ngena duku, kitai ke baru ngayau ngena pemandai ngena penemu.

Oooo Haaaaaa!!!

Iban Longhouse Architecture

Trace back my posting history, the very last were written back to the end of last year. So this is my 1st posting for the year 2011. I’m sorry for being such a lazy butt but half of the 2011 have been a busy months for me. But anyway, thanks to those who came and stop by my blog though there haven’t been any updates for last 7 months.

Today, I’d like to answer the questions that have been popped in my email for several times, –  Longhouse Archutecture

I’m sorry to keep you waiting (those who asked) – Thus, I recommend that if you have questions that need a quicker response, please ask me via twitter at ( @AllenCharlie ).

        One of the common social-cultural characterisrics shared by the indigenous communities of Borneo is their dwelling structure – The longhouse architecture, where a whole village lived under one roof with each family owning individual apartment and its related space. 

I will explain the respective functions of the basic structure of every longhouse.

1. Tanju (Open Gallery):
The space used for this part is mainly for activities that require the use of outdoor and sunshine, such as drying rice, pepper, othet crops and clothes. Here it is also used for ceremonial performances during ritual festivals (Gawai) such as offering (Miring).

2. Ruai (Rofted Gallery):
This is the covered gallery for multi-purpose daily avtivities, such as mending tools, making fishing nets, weaving mats or ceremonial blankets (pua kumbu). It is also a place for meeting, entertaining visitors to the longhouse. It is a sleeping area (Pantar) for unmarried men, and male visitors. Ritual performances are also conducted here, especially for funeral ceremonies (Rabat). It can be said that the ruai is one of the most important aspects of longhouse living that provide space for interactions between residents (Randau Ruai), especially for bringing up children and their schooling in customs and cultures of the community.

3. Tempuan (Common Walkway):
The narrow space that is between the bilek and the ruai that runs lengthwise from one end of the longhouse to the other is known as tempuan. This space is in fact the proper passage-way along the longhouse. It is an accepted practice to walk along this passage rather than use of ruai when one move from one bilek to the otger. The reason for this is that the tempuan is commonly owned, whereas the ruai spaces is individually owned by the family that has the ruai facing their bilek. At the end of the tempuan are the entrances that lead to the house ladders (Tangga Rumah). In the past when rice has to be milled manually, the women folks used the tempuan as a place to husk (Nampi) and pound (Nutuk) the rice.

4. Bilek (Family Apartment)
This is the family room for members to have their meals and privacy, when they wish to be away from the rest of the household. It is the place where the family’s heirloom and properties are kept, such as tajau etc. Married men and women folks sleep in there. Here also is where cooking is done and the family has their meals. In some modern longhouse, the apartment inside is large enough to have several divisions to serve as saperated bedrooms.

5. Sadau (Loft):
The loft is mainly use for storing farm implements and the year’s rice supply of the family. It was used in the past as sleeping place for the family’s young unmarried women. Nowaday, modern longhouses use the loft as family’s bedroom. Some longhouse kept the tradition passed down enemy’s head (Antu Pala) in this area, normally at the loft spaces of the head of the longhouse (Tuai Rumah).

The above are the different sections and individual functions of an Iban longhouse. 

In general, other Borneo’s ethnic longhouses have similiar section and functions. Iban’s longhouse example does give the general outline of longhouse architecture, and a general impression of longhouse living, that are common to all ethnic groups who have adopted the longhouse system.

Pengaya kitai Iban

Nama tanggung pengawa sastera tauka main asal ngena jaku kitai Iban dalam pengidup kitai kemaya haritu? Nemu kita? Ni penyampau iya? Mayuh; bisi ga positif enggau lalu bisi mega negatif.

Kitai mesti nemu iya nya sastera kitai bansa bejaku nyengkaum dalam semua pengawa: senentang lelaki enggau indu, anembiak enggau orang tuai, kitai bumai enggau pemesai, orang ke kereja enggau sekeda kompeni, kaya enggau miskin, penyayau enggau pemenchi, jadi enggau sarak, perang enggau bebaik, bepechah enggau beserakup, enggau mayuh agi.

Kitai mega nemu sastera mai mayuh macham mesej. Taja pia, sastera nya meh pengidup ke enda ulih diseliah, nama agi dibuai.

Sastetra kitai Iban? Kitai antara etnik di dunya tu ke mayuh macham adat enggau main asal. Kitai Iban kaya sastera. Sastera nya siti asil pengelandik kitai bansa ngena leka jaku ke nyadika pekara ke deka dipadahka. Sastera nya siti pekara pasal adat enggau main asal, ulah, runding sereta penemu enggau pendiau kitai.

Taja pia, gaya sastera ulih berubah nitihka jalai rebak enggau jeman pendiau mensia. Tang meh pengerembai sastera dikuasa mayuh macham pekara, baka pengerembai sosio-ekonomi, sosiopolitik enggau pemaju bansa kitai di dunya tu.

Sastera enggau leka main asal kitai Iban tumbuh maya sigi udah bisi tusun dalam jaku Iban, iya nya jaku asal bansa ke pemadu besai sereta ngerembai di Sarawak. Jaku Iban tu sama nyumbuk serentak enggau pendiau Dayak Iban di Indonesia. Jaku kitai Iban udah bisi di dunya tu kenyau ari urung 2500 ngagai 5000 taun dulu kelia.

Nitihka penemu Professor Derek Freeman, sastera kitai Iban kaya agi ari sastera Greek (Yunani) maya jeman Homer. Jaku Freeman tu udah nyadi bukti ke nyata maya mayuh macham gaya sastera bejaku Iban ditemu ari turun menurun dataika seharitu. Bisika kitai nguji nengkebang sastera dalam pengidup kitai seharitu?

Kita nemu, sastera Iban udar beurat ari mayuh macham penemu baka puisi – dalam main asal Iban baka jaku begeliga, jaku ansah, biau, pantun, sanggai, dungai, jawing sereta mayuh main benyawa baka pengap, renung, sugi, timang jalung, pelian enggau ensera, baka reti mitos, legenda, cherita ngerindang ati, ngasuh ketawa enggau ensera pasal jelu ke dikena ambika lalau enggau ajar pendiau kitai di dunya tu. Agi kelia, sastera kitai Iban nyadi ka pengidup ke bepanggalka adat. Ke nyadika penti pemali sebedau ngereja sekeda pengawa.

Kitai Iban kelalu kaya enggau main asal benyawa. Tu sebaka enggau lagu puisi ke udah didinga kitai ba radio tauka maya hari gawai datai. Tauka dilaguka sida tuai maya bisi pengerami. Bala pemacha tentu kala ninga main asal benyawa baka renung, timang jalung, pelian, sabak, jawang, ganu, sugi, pengap, dungai, pantun, sanggai, jara enggau ramban sereta main benyawa bukai mega.

Lalu mayuh macham agi penemu enggau main asal rayat kitai Iban ke makin ditinggalka. Sida tu nyengkaum penemu baka tusut, sampi, biau, jaku ansah, jaku tuai, jaku muka kujuk enggau begeliga. Lalu kitai mega bisi entelah ke endang chukup manah didinga kena ngelalai reti utai besilup.

Kita nemu, maya Raja Brooke merintah menua Sarawak, sastera kitai Iban udah ditulis sereta dipansik enggau chukup penalam. Sastera kitai udah ngerembai ke menua tasik lalu bulih puji ke chukup tinggi.

Sida ke udah ngaga pansik tu iya nya, A.W. Stonton, W. Howell, J. Derek Freeman – penulis Anya Kedap kala begulai enggau Freeman di Pulau Pinang dalam taun 1975 – Carol Rubenstein, Baughman, Erik Jensen enggau mayuh agi. Lalu mayuh bup tulis sida tu tau dipeda ba Mijum Sarawak.

Mega,sekeda bup sembiyang Kristian ditemu nulis sastera kitai Iban, baka Jalai Pengidup 1, Penyanggup Lama enggau Jalai Pengidup II. Siku orang putih AW Stonton mega udah ngaga jerita pandak Ensera Manang Gagak.

Jaku kitai Iban ngerembai mimit udah menua kitai merdeka. Pengerembai sastera kitai Iban ulih dibagi dua: ari taun 1963-1977, ke disebut rambau Biro Sastera Borneo lalu ari taun 1977 sampaika seharitu, disebut rambau Dewan Bahasa enggau Pustaka.

Maya tu meh jaku Iban bisi dipelajarka dalam sekeda sekula ke mayuh anembiak kitai Iban. Jaku Iban deka nyadi pelansar ngambika anembiak bansa kitai ngelala jaku Iban sereta adat main asal kitai Iban.

“Utai ke nyadika penyerekang, bisika anembiak kemaya haritu nemu reti sastera aki ini kitai? Ni pemayuh anembiak kitai bansa ke nemu pesaka peturun aki-ini kitai ke besangkut paut enggau sastera kitai Iban?” kenu ku siku professor ari Unimas ke enggai nama iya disebut ditu lebuh bejuraika pekara tu enggau siku ari penulis.

Mega, bisika bansa kitai Iban di dunya Sarawak agi kiruh enggau sekeda sastera kitai bansa? Dini kitai nyimpan sastera kitai Iban dalam pengidup kitai seharitu?

Pengidup kitai balat bendar bekaul enggau adat kitai. Ukai enda diasai, sastera kitai pengidup kitai. Taja pia, semina kitai enggai kiruh lalu enggai beduli ketegal kitai enda ngaku diri kitai bansa ke tulin laban ke dikungkung adat basa kitai. Kitai ngasaika diri nyelai ngembuan bemacham chara deka bejalaika sekeda adat. Kitai ngasaika diri ditanchang lalu malu ngembuan sastera ke nyelai ari bansa bukai. Kitai enggai ngaku.

Salah sapa? Engka salah bansa kitai empu? Salah aki-ini sereta apai indai kitai empun laban ke mutuska diri ari pengidup peturun bansa kitai. Angka salah rayat ke enda seati udah bisi ngembuan agama? Angka salah bansa kitai laban ke udah bepolitik lalu enda ngelala pendai penatai diri empu? Salah sapa ke bendar?

Sapa ke ulih ngetanka sastera kitai ke lain sereta nyelai tu. Sapa ke deka ngetanka sastera kitai ke chukup tebilang tu. Sastera kitai deka punas enti enda terus dikemeranka.

Lalu pia mega bansa kitai ke tulin mega tau nyadi punas enda temu tunga dudi ila enti nembiak rebak baru diatu majak ngejang diri ari penemu asal bansa diri. Tanya kitai empu sekalika temegah ati ngembuan main asal ke jauh kaya ari mayuh bansa bukai di dunya tu.