Monday, December 28, 2009

The Salako Circumcision Celebration or A ceremony of Joy ( Gawe Basunat Bababuk)

The Gift's For Bababuk Celebration (Pabuisatn Gawe Bababuk) 

The Salako Circumcision Celebration or Gawe Basunat Bababuk is one of many celebrations that the Salako people celebrated. It is a traditional customary of Salako people way of realizing their "niat" or wish of joys for their male children who have undergone circumcision. It is also a way for them to show to their community that their children is turning to adulthood. It is not a ritual, but only a simple ceremony of joy.

This celebration bring a lot of joy to the community itself. It is during this celebration where all the community shows the spirit of cooperation by giving a helping hands in the preparation of the celebration. This celebration also brings a good brotherhood among the community, especially among the relatives of the celebrant.

This celebrations usually done in two days. The first day is the preparation day or "Macah Baras". The second day is the ceremony of joy or the celebration which starts as early as 5.00 am. The night between the two days, the elderly including the celebrant will sit down together to talks (basapakat) about the intentions of the celebration and who who's is responsible and has the right to accept and receive the gift's (pabuisatn) the next day. The meeting can last quite long, and here where the younger generation of the community can learned the customary ( rukun ) of know how about running the celebration.

Actually the "Gawe Bababuk" is a simple ceremony of joy where the preparation of the gift's is only for a few persons who is responsible in giving a helping hand to the celebrant during the circumcision, such as:

1. The host of the ceremony or "Lawakng"
2. The ritual priest or "Panyangahatn"
3. The person who done the circumcision on the boy or "Tukang Sunat"
4. The person who help bring the boy for circumcision or "Pangamin"
5. The person who help sending the boy for circumcision or "Tukang Antat or Pangantat"
6. The person who is expert in doing the cutting of the slaughtered pig.

Here is the simple order of how the celebration or ceremony of joy for circumcision ( Gawe Basunat Bababuk) is done:

Making the "Tumpik" or "Numpik" at the evening of the "Macah Baras"

The cooking of the "Lamang" or "Madar Lamang" using "Ra'rahatn".

Working together catching the pig for slaughtering as a gift (pabuisatn) that weight almost 80kg

The "Bakalakar Basapakat" at the night of the "Macah Baras"
* The two elderly man sitting in front of the "apar" is the two persons who will be responsible for the ritual priest of the ceremony or "panyangahatn" and also the community leader or "Katua kampokng or Katua Raya" who will be in-charge of distributing the gift during the ceremony.

The proses of cutting the slaughtered pig by the expert who knows how
according to "rukun" or as the rules of the "pabuisatn" (gifts)
* The cutting of the slaughtered pig is divided precisely into different parts, such as:
1. Ka'akng Buis
2. Kuit Ajakng
3. Pangime
4. Tete'atn
5. Barakng ( on the right side of the hind leg)
6. Tali Ra'akng
7. A'sukng Banukng (the main parts)
8. Isi' Munsur
9. Rusuk
10. Angan Padar

The process of cutting and dividing the pig parts
which has been blanched or "dingarok" for the "Pabuisatn".


The prepared gifts to be distributed to the persons concerns (Pabuisatn)

The "Bakalakar Kasapaduatn" ceremony where the elderly,
the Katua Raya and the Panyangahatn compromise
in distributing the gifts to rightful persons.

The ceremony of joy will always lasted for a few hours where the elderly will talks and decide until they reach a compromise who is the rightful persons should accept the gift's.

To my point of view, this ceremony of joy is a good ceremony for our people (Salako) to maintain their brotherhood and friendship among themselves as one community. Beside that, it is a way of strengthening this relationship by keeping "our spirit of togetherness" and working together as a community.

By the end of the day, it is a way for our younger generation to understand our own culture and keeping it alive to enrich our Malaysian diversity of cultures. It is also as a starting points for our young generation to realize that we need an identity of our own culture for safe keeping as a SALAKO. We need our identity before we loose it, especially in this fast moving cyber world. WE HAVE OUR IDENTITY.......BUT WHERE AND WHAT?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


To understand the basic nature of the Indigenous Dayak Salako ancestral thinker when they create the offering in their religare for their religious, healing and celebration ceremony, we have to understand the basic knowledge of nature symbol that symbolize their believe towards their spiritual world. To digest the meaning of this symbol, the basis are arrangement of foods and miscellaneous in the round bronze tray with stand that they put during their offering for religious, healing or celebration ceremony.

The Apar contains the offering.

The basic traditional foods are the Bontokng (rice cake wrap in special leaves and cooked inside a bamboo), Lamang (made of glutinous rice wrap in banana leaves and cooked inside a bamboo), Tumpi’[k] (a deep fried pancake made from rice flour), Karakek (a piper betel leaves), Kapur (lime stone paste), Pinang (Betel nut), Timako (Tobacco) and Rokok Apong (cigar made from nipah palm leaves). Beside these basic traditional foods, the animals offering are Manok (chicken) and parts of Enyekng (pork). To complete the offering especially for their religious or healing ceremony, there will be a small saucer fill with Baras Kuning (rice colored yellow with turmeric), and it is called “patek”.

The basic meaning of symbol for the traditional foods and miscellaneous offering are as follows:

1. Bontokng is the gist symbol for the indigenous Dayak Salako offering. This is because rice is from paddy, and it is the main gist of the indigenous Dayak Salako life. Without paddy and rice, there will be a hard life and rice is the staple food of the indigenous Dayak Salako. Bontokng symbolize life.

2. Lemang and Tumpi’[k] symbolize the male and female. Lemang which is cooked in a bamboo symbolize a male and tumpi’[k] which is made from rice flour is soft symbolize a female. It basic meaning is all life that lives in this world start from partnership of male and female.

Bontokng, Lamang and Tumpi'[k]

3. Karakek, Kapur and Pinang is a type of chewing foods for the indigenous Dayak salako women. This three symbolize the character of a female which give birth and produce children. Karakek which is green in color, symbolize nature, Kapur which white in color symbolize a semen (usually this kapur is spread over the karakek before eaten), and Pinang will create the color of red, which symbolize blood.

Karakek (piper betel leaves)

Kapur (White Limestone Paste)

 Pinang (betel nuts)

4. Timako and Rokok Apong symbolize politeness. Timako is a symbol of a pubic hair, and the Rokok Apong is a symbol of covering the pubic area of the male and female.

 Timako and Apong (Tobacco and Nipah Palm Leaves Cigar)

5. The slaughtered animals offering that is Manok and Enyekng parts is a symbol of thanks giving to the spirit, and it is also as a sign of brotherhood for the persons who helps organizing the ceremony.

6. The patek symbolize the welcoming of the unseen spirit to the ceremony. This patek are usually sprinkle around by the ceremonial priest while reading the phrases of offering.

My acknowledgment and special thanks for the picture to:

1.Tumpik, lemang, bontokng:
2.Buah pinang:
3.Rokok apong and tobacoo:
4.Lime stone paste:
5. The Apar Contains the offering:

Sunday, September 13, 2009

How to grow a Bird’s-nest fern (Asplenium nidus)

Bird’s-nest fern is a very popular houseplant. In Sarawak, Malaysia, which has a tropical climate and the humidity is high, and daily temperature of 27⁰C to 32⁰C, it is very easy to spot a bird's-nest fern everywhere. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, bird’s-nest fern is a large epiphytic spleenwort (Asplenium nidus) of tropical Asia and Polynesia that has large lance-shaped leaves and is often grown as a houseplant.

Bird's-nest fern is a kind of parasitic plants and has a lot of varieties. As explained in Wikipedia, they grow in a tight, nest-like clump, with a linguate leaf rosette and are usually epiphytic growing in trees. It has a short stout erect rhizome (stem) which bears a rosette of simple, long, pointed leaves (fronds) to form a "nest".

According to Lee-Khoo, Guan Fong,(2003) explaination, the stem is usually not visible from the top. The nest traps fallen leaves and other debris which eventually decompose to humus. Beneath the nest of fronds is a large spongy, mass of roots which are covered by the reflexed dead leaves. Rain water is soaked up and stored in the mass. In this way, the plant provides its own food and water and can continue to grow in a soilless condition as long as it is not left to dry out for too long. When the plant grows upward and outward and the root mass become deeper and spongier, it attracts other ferns, mosses or algae to grow on the root mass.

Bird’s-nest fern is a non poisonous houseplant, and it is one of the beautiful houseplant which can give a very nice greenie looks in a small compact area around our home. By my experience of growing this wonderful houseplant, especially in a tropical country like Malaysia, it is quite easy.

It is best planted in a flower pot made of clay (porcelains). As Jon Van Zile said, this plant is quite easy to grow. Bird’s Nest Fern prefers soil that is kept partially dry and can even handle dry soil for short periods of time. It can live in drier air than most ferns. It enjoys warm to average temperatures, and prefers bright indirect light. Do not place it where the sun will shine directly on it. Always protect Bird’s Nest Fern from drafts.

Here I’m writing some simple tips how to grow bird’s-nest fern.

Step 1:

First, how to find a good bird's-nest "seedling"? If you have time, especially during weekends, spend a time rooming around the farm yards that is planted with fruit trees because this plants like to grow at some fruits trees. Here, I managed to get some good bird's-nest fern "seedling" which nestle nicely at some trees around my mum orchards, just behind her kampung house.

Step 2:

This is the best bird's-nest fern I can find, especially during this dry seasons. As we know, bird's-nest fern is a kind of parasitic plants, so we have to remove it from it host carefully, but it is not difficult as we would think. Use our bare hands without any added tools needed. Here is the bird's-nest fern after I removed it from it host.

Step 3:

After removing the bird's-nest fern from it host, the first thing to do is watering it with a good amount of water, especially when you are traveling far. Here is the first rule, bird's-nest fern actually needs a lot of water to grow nicely.

Step 4:

Find some nice flower pot. Get one flower pots that is big enough because the bird's-nest fern can grows big. The best flower pot is between 30cm to 50 cm wide, and around 30cm high.

Step 5:

Get a good top soil. Mixed it with chicken dunk, around 250gm to 300gm. Put the mixed soil into the flower pot.

Step 6:

The next step is get your bird's-nest fern and plant it nicely as shown in the picture. Make sure that the top part of the bird's-nest fern is not covered with the soil.

Step 7:

After the process of planting the bird's-nest fern, make sure to water it with a good amount of water. Keep your planted bird's-nest fern in a shady place, and no direct sun light. This is my seven simple steps of how to grow Bird's-nest fern.

Make sure to water it with a good amount of water at least once in three days. Put some compound fertilizer with a mixer of N:12%, P2O5:12%, K2O:17%, and MgO+TE:2%, for a duration 3 months once. The picture below is my newly planted bird's-nest fern. Good Luck and have a successful trial.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Swallow Nesting at My House. Is it a it a reality or merely a circumstances?

Picture 1

Picture 2

Picture 3

Behold and believed, that is what every people say when they come to my house just because there is a swallow nest at the corner of my car porch. This friends and visitors alike will tell me that this swallow nest show that my house has a cool and positive element in terms of luck.

This swallows has been as what I say living with us for almost 4 years already and its has been breeding for three times. The first time this swallows build their nest they have one chicks. Then I decided to removed the nest, but amazingly they came back and build it again at the same spot. Then this time the swallows have 3 chicks.

The past two month this same swallow keep coming and breed again with two chicks. The amazing thing is every time their nest is being disturb especially by the naughty little "burung pipit" which also like to roam around, they repair their nest. The picture above is some photo of their two new hatch chicks which I manage to snap. My last word is just this, Thanks God, because I know at least I'm helping to preserve of this small wonderful little creature to live with my family.
Although its dropping sometime irritated , but I enjoy its present with us.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Asu'or Ako means dog and Sa'ak means the barking of the dog.

Salako is one of an indigenous tribes which inhabited the western part of Borneo. In Sarawak, the Salako tribes lives in Lundu District. According to written history, as Stanley Karnow (1964) said, the movements of the Austronesia people from the continent of Asia to Borneo and other South East Asia Islands are believed from the Peninsular of Malaysia. It is believed some groups of this Austronesia enter West Borneo (Kalimantan) through Sambas and Salako river.

The Austronesia groups which enter through Sambas River then made their settlement at the foot of Mount Senujuh, an area at Sambas Besar River. Within this area, between the year 1291, the Sambas Empayar (Ahmad and Zaini, 1989) was govern by a king (not as a Sultan), and most of its people still believed in animism, and some are Hindu’s.

According to Simon Takdir (2007), the Austronesia groups which come to Borneo through Salako (Saako) river made their settlement at the foot Sarinokng Mountain. It is probably from this settlement where the Salako name originates, from the words “Sa’ak Ako”. “Sa’ak“ in Salako word means the sound of dog barking and “Ako“ is the Salako words for wild dog.

It is believed long time ago at this Austronesia settlement there is a lot of wild dog called “asu’ ako.”(asu’ is a Salako word for dog). These wild dogs happened to bark during the day and night. This irritated the community, and so these wild dogs are killed and destroyed.

And so, the places where these wild dogs used to bark are call Sa’ako (Salako). The word “Salako” is then used by this Austronesia groups to name places, a river, ethnicity of the people, and the languages by the community itself. (Kristianus Atok, 2008)

Thursday, September 3, 2009


The picture as shown above is a type of Gantungan/Rawe which I snap at my mother home. My mother, although she is a Christian herself is still keeping this Gantungan/Rawe for the purpose of having pride to our ancestor culture. There are no more skulls on this Gantungan/Rawe. This Gantungan/Rawe has been in our house for almost 50 years already. It is use by my mother to hang “bontokng”, a type of rice cake wrap in a special leaves we call “daukng minyak”, and a stalk of rice, especially during the “Gawe Padi”, a festival that we celebrate during the harvesting paddy seasons in the early month of June every year.

Gantungan or Rawe is one important element in Salako religare (Adat ). Long ago, Gantungan or Rawe is a very sacred thing. Gantungan/Rawe refers to a hanger. During the era of head hunting is still prevailing in Borneo, Gantungan/ Rawe is used to hang the human skull. Salako tribes do practice head hunting activities, but nowadays it’s become a taboo to talk about this practice.

To the Salako tribes in Borneo, head hunting is not an ordinary act, as Dr. Susan Russell,( Department of Anthropology, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Northern Illinois University) said, “Their cosmology consisted of a basic three-layered world: the skyworld (the abode of spirits, culture heroes, and gods), this world (the realm of their village settlements and of true humans), and the underworld (the realm of spirits and deities responsible for, among other things, agricultural and human fertility). Gods, goddesses, culture heroes and spirits of various sorts moved between these realms.” Take note that the “skyworld” in Salako refer to “Kayangan” and the “underworld” refer to “Subayatn”.

Today, Gantungan/Rawe is seldom seen in the Salako homes because most of the Salako people practice a more Christianized life. This leads to the diminishing of our culture, and most of the young generation have lost their fore father knowledge. What I’m trying to say here is not for us to practice this old culture back into our life, but to preserved it for the pride of Salako and to add colors to our Malaysian culture. It is sad to know that nowadays the unwanted culture values are mostly forgotten.

1. Professor Susan Russell, Department of Anthropology,

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Lazy Day....

Dear friends, I feel very tired actually. There is a lot of thing in mind. This cause me to feel very lazy indeed. I just peep around at at the web pages with my laptop. Thanks streamyx, it's a wonderful line indeed although I only subscribe to a medium Internets service, but for wondering around, it is enough for me.

As I promise, I'm still working on my post which I call "Dayak Salako Religare (Adat) and Customary Law (Palangkahatn). Hopefully I could finished it within this month of August. Now, I'm still busy doing my training with my young athletes, preparing them for the Sibu Open Championship on the 8 to 9 August 2009. Hope they can bring some glory for themselves.

Last night I watch a movie which is screen at TV2, about a Navajo Indians during the world war 2 in Saipan. From this movie, I began to admired the American Indians which really still kept their customary rituals as their religare.

The questions is, why do my own indigenous people (Salako), which I was born from doesn't have this spirit of preserving our religare and customary law? Is it because we began to realize it at a very late phase? Hopefully not,........

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Voice of MY Heart.

Here, I would like to quote what Simon Takdir said, "The diminishing quality of our life is a reality and it is happening.The climate change, the depleting sources of clean water, the natural disaster, and the ever arising of different viruses that estrange our life and the wild life are the course of human activities."

To the people of Orang Asal (the natives of the land) it’s happen because the imbalance between our life and the cosmology.The predatoric nature of humans have caused correlation imbalance within the eco-system.

I'm not going to elaborate further on this matter. My main focus is about the "thinking culture" within the Salako in Sarawak. With other words, the functions of the Rukun (religare / customary rituals) within the Salako itself, and how are they going to with held this Rukun, that is fast diminishing especially among the young generation.I don’t deny that the globalize era of modernization needs us Salako to think globally. But, it is also not wrong for us to take action in keeping our rukun.

Our community (Salako) as we carry our daily rutin life, we will not miss the traditional religare practice (Rukun), the Neolithic religare, that we have inherited from our fore fathers, especially when we interact with the eco-system.We have been taught by our fore fathers that everything we do in our daily rutin life, either it is bad or good; there is always interference from other super natural elements.

Within our traditional religare or Rukun, it’s contains all the rules, the norms, and the ethic that organize the correlation from human to human, and human with the non-human elements such as nature and the super natural that exist in the cosmology system.The Horticulture Dayak Salako have our own way of viewing our universe cosmology which to us the visible and the invisible life exist together. We believe the universe cosmology also consist of the Jubata (god and goddess)that lives in Kayangan, and the Awa Pama (the soul of dead's) that lives in Subayatn (heaven). We believe that life is shape by a system of the visible and invisible that correlated together to form a balance system harmonically within each other. The correlated relationship that exist harmonically are practice as our faith and belief.

A customary ritual (Rukun) influence and shape the behavior of the Salako community when they communicate among themselves, and with their environments. And so the Salako community behavior within their lives is influence and shape by the customary ritual base on their persepation towards the nature and environments. We, through our perceptions as a Salako see human being as one of the being within nature, and here we create our myth to explain our perceptions. These perceptions within the Dayak Salako make our community have high regards, respect, and friendship towards our environments.

I hope, with this explanation the Salako community especially in Sarawak can open up their "thinking culture" base on this prayer that has been taught by our fore fathers since the Neolithic religare period:

1."Jubata ang baramu’ ka ai’ tanah. adil ka tahino, bacaramin ka saruga, basengat ka Jubata, samue’e baranse’ ka jubata."
(God create the world, fair and just to all living thing, He looks at us from heaven, we breathe through Him, and everything hang in balance upon Him)

2."Jubata anak munuh, Jubata anak tidur, Jubata anak Bengkok"
(God did not kill, God did not sleep, God did not do anything wrong)

3."Labih adat Jubata bera, kurakng adat antu nuntut. Adat manusia sakanyang parut, adat Jubata sapatok insaut.kurrrrr rak sumangat’e"
(Do not do more in adat, God will get angry, do not do less in adat, the ghost will ask. Human religare (rukun) is to fill the stomach, God religare is sacred. Kurrrr rak, please bring back my soul.)

Why do I write this? My dear fellow Salako in Sarawak, our identity is getting lost,our thinking is not developing far. We are proud of our high level in educations that we have achieve, but we are running away from the reality of preserving our customs and heritage, that is our pride. I envy our neighbors, that have wrote a lot to preserve theirs, but when are we going to starts? Its better late then none.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


By: Sunawar Owat Version (
Translated By: Naremang Salako (
This story is a translation from Sunawar Owat version about the Salako custom in paddy planting. I am aware that this story might differ from other version which is usually told orally. So far I still can’t find any written story about Salako folklore, and to me this is the best version I can find. I have heard this story before when I was still a child, but I can’t remember much of it. I tried my best to explain and write the story as the written version in Bahasa Indonesia by Sunawar Owat. Beside translating this story, I’m also trying to explain in terms of the Salako custom according to universal view of interpreting this story. Before I continue with this work, I would like to say special thanks to Sunawar Owat for posting and publishing this story, and to all the administrators of Komunitas Dayak Blogger web page, especially to Oktavianus Arthadiputra.
Part One:
This story happens as believe by the Salako people that there is a greater world of Gods and Goddess called Sepangko in Kayangan (a place far greater than heaven). This Place is a place where all the custom or law in their life is learned.
It has been told for centuries about a story of Nek Panitah (Give Orders) and his wife Nek Duniang (Worldly). Although they are husband and wife, but they never sleep together. After many years, it is said that one day Nek Panitah prayed and asked to have a child. He said, “Oh Jubata (God), I asked You to make a child for me”. Then, suddenly after Nek Panitah finished his word, appear a male child in front of him. Nek Panitah gave the child a name, and because the child doesn’t went through any circumcision, Nek Panitah name him Baruakng Kulub (uncircumcised Bear)
Baruakng has grown up to be a young playful boy. He went down to earth to play with his two human friend by the name of Umang-Umang and Bulit-Bulit. The three of them like to play gasing (top spinning), and Baruakng always win. Baruakng knows well that his two friends still eat “Kulat Karakng” (a type of mushrooms) and that why his two friends never wins against him.
One day Baruakng goes down to earth again. As he went, he forgot that a few grain of rice still stick at his calf. As they were playing, the few grain of rice is seen by Umang-Umang. He took it and ate it. Suddenly Umang-Umang feels very energetic. He continues playing and he defeated Baruakng.
When he loses, Baruakng asked Umang-Umang, ”How can you defeat me?”A little bit surprise, Umang-Umang said, “I ate something that stuck at your calf, and may I know what it is?” “O my friends, that is rice.” Baruakng answered. “What is rice?” asked Bulit-Bulit
“Well, before it cooked to be eaten, we have to get grain called rice from a paddy grain. Actually I don’t realize the grain of rice stuck at my calf after I had my meal,” answered Baruakng.
“Can you please bring it for us to see,” beg Umang-Umang
With a sad voice Baruakng said, “It’s difficult. My mum and dad will get angry if I brought it down. They say it is prohibited for human being in the world. Human being “piroro” (doesn’t care or do not prudent enough),”

Because Baruakng feel so sad, he rushes back to his world called Sepangko (A place where God and Goddess stay). When he reaches his world, he rushes to their paddy hut, where they kept their entire harvested paddy. At the paddy hut, Baruakng met his mother and asked permission from his mother about his intention. Then his mother said to him, “Let’s go home. Don’t you ever bring the paddy down to earth because if your father knows, he will be angry with you.” And so both of them went home.

The next day, Baruakng followed his mother to their paddy hut. While his mother is working at the paddy field alone, Baruakng took one paddy grain and hide it in his leather trouser. Unfortunately his father knows it and he was scolded badly by his father.

Baruakng misses his earthling friends a lot, and so he went down to earth to meet them.
When he meets Umang-Umang and Bulit-Bulit, he asked them to play gasing with him.
Then Umang-Umang asked him, “Do you bring the paddy?”
With a sad voice Baruakng told his that he didn’t bring the paddy grain because his father has found out about his intention.
“Why don’t you hide the paddy grain inside your foreskin of your penis” suggested Umang-Umang.

On hearing Umang-Umang suggestion, Baruakng rushes back to his place. He took one paddy grain and hid it inside his foreskin penis as suggested by Umang-Umang. Then he rushes back down.
When he met his friend again, Baruakng reminded them, “Don’t you ever plant this paddy grain outside your house. Please plant it at your dapur (place for cooking made of soil using fire wood) so that my father won’t see it.”

As the story goes, Umang-Umang planted the paddy grain that Baruakng gives him at the month of June, July and August. The paddy grows into seedling, first comes out the shoots, then the flowers. From flowers it matured into paddy grains, then it turn golden and ready to be harvested.
Then one day, NeK Panitah look down to earth and he was so surprise to see the golden color of the ripen paddy grain on earth. He got so angry. “ Look what have Baruakng done. He has given the scared paddy to the human. It is your fault. You never look after him properly when he went down to play,” said Nek Panitah scolding Nek Duniang, his wife.
“Well, what can I do because I have told him not to,” explain Nek Duniang.
“Unworthy wife, it is your entire fault. I will kill that child,” said Nek Panitah angrily.

Upon hearing what the husband had said, Nek Duniang cried loudly. She knows that what the husband had said means he will do it. So she secretly went down and meets Baruakng. She advise him,“ Go and hide as far away as you can, because you have done something very wrong that made your father very angry with you. You should not give the paddy grain to the human.”

Nek Panitah is getting ready to punish his son Baruakng. He made pate’ (a trap made from a piece of wood which is sharpen to kill). Mean while, Nek Duniang stops crying and her skin turn scaly. She looks down and he saw Baruakng in sadness because he is longing to return home to be with his parents. Out of pity, Nek Duniang send an adoh (old female pig) down to her husband pate’, and the adoh is killed by the pate’. She then told him about it. “Look that is our son dead body that turn into an adoh. He was killed by your pate.” She then went and meet her son, and said,” Be good my son. Follow a straight road. If you turn right, you will reach Subayatn (heaven), and if you turn left you will reach earth where human lives.”

After listening to his mother advice, Baruakng then start walking, and he forgot that he had turn to the right path, and reach Subayatn. In Subayatn, Baruakng meet a beautiful lady by the name Si Putih (the white). They fell in love with each other. They then get married. After a few years of marriage, Baruakng is longing to see his mother again. And so he went back to meet his mother.

Upon meeting his mother, his mother asked him, “Which way do you choose to go, my son?” “I followed the straight path and turn right. Then I meet one beautiful lady, Si Putih and married her.” Baruakng answered her mother. “My son,” his mother said, “I want you to return back to your wife. When you are with her, I want you to look for gutu (lice) at your wife head. At the top part of her head, I want you to pluck one of the hairs. By doing this, she will hate you,” said his mother.

While Baruakng was away, his wife Si Putih was dreaming to get pregnant. “I have been married to Baruakng for a long time, but until now I still can conceive,” she told herself. Then she got pregnant. After nine month ten days of pregnancy, she gave birth to all kind of birds.

When Baruakng return back to his wife, he was surprise to see that his wife has given birth to all kind of birds. He was so sad to see what had happen to wife, until he forgot his mother advice. “Tomorrow I must return to my mother, “said Baruakng to himself. And so he went up again to meet his mother. When he meets his mother, he asked her, “Mother, why did my wife give birth to all kind of birds? What food shall I give them? Who shall I name them?”
Then the mother said to Baruakng,” O my son, it’s not difficult to give name to your children. All you need is to plant an aur (a thin, small type of bamboo with small long spiking leaves) at the end of your pante’ (a place to dry paddy grains or other things). Then you release one by one of your children there. You start by releasing the oldest first, and you name them by saying Keto, then Kohor, Caruit, Buria’,(birds species name in Salako). You start again, also by releasing the oldest first, and you name them by saying Biang, then Jantek, Ro’oh, Jeje, Ansit, Dugal, Tongo’,Adatn, and Kijakng. This is the step and processes of how you start bauma batahutn (process of paddy farming).

“O my son returns back to your wife. You must divorce her. Just pluck a piece of her hair, she will hate you,” advise Nek Duniang again to Baruakng. Then came Nek Panitah, Baruakng father , and said, “You must divorce her. Then you should go down to earth and teach them about the custom of bauma batahutn. It is you who has given human the paddy. You should find another wife of human origin.”

And so Baruakng follows what his mother and father had asked him to do. Then he went down to earth, and he married to Jamani, a human being. After some time as husband and wife, Jamani got pregnant. Jamani delivered a baby boy, and the child is given a name Kulikng Langit. Kulikng Langit grows into a playful teenager. Close to their house, there is a fruiting Langsat tree (a type of small round tropical fruits when the fruit ripen turn into golden yellow colors. It flash is whitish and taste sweet). The desire to eat the ripen Langsat fruit is so great that made Kulikng Langit climb the Langsat tree.
While Baruakng is getting ready to go up to Sepangko to meet his parent, not knowing that Kulikng Langit has climb the Langsat tree, he advice his wife,”O my wife, I’m going to meet my parent. Tell him while I’m away not to ignore what his brothers and sisters says (Keto, Jantek etc.). If our son want to climb up or went down a tree, please asked him not to ignore the words of Kohor, Jantek, Keto, Buria’, Biang, Ro’oh, Jeje. If our son ignores what his brothers and sisters say, something bad will happen to him.”

When Kulikng Langit knows that his father was away, he climbed the Langsat tree to get it fruits. While he was climbing, Keto fly by in front of him. He knows because his mother had told him what his father said he should not do. Keto fly by him for three times, yet still Kulikng Langit ignored his sister and continue climbing. Before he could reach the top, he slips and fell down. His body fell directly at the top of a boulder, and he died.

Upon realizing what had happen, Keto said,”O my brothers and sisters, we should tell our father what had happen to our human brother. And so Keto with the brothers and sisters brought Kulikng Langit dead body to Sepangko.
Upon receiving his grandson dead body, Nek Panitah said, “I am the One who gives life to you, rise and breathe again.” Kulikng Langit was alive again, but he was prohibited to return to earth. Then he turn to Baruakng, and said,”O Baruakng, return back to the world of human. Teach them the Palangkahan (a technique of avoiding dangers while doing their chores) from all birds sound.” And so , until today the human being (Salako) still believe that birds sounds brings a sign when they want to start their chores, especially about their bauma batahutn custom.

I'm still working about the interpretation of this story. Hope to finish it.
Thank you for reading and I would like comments please.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Salako Origin III: The diminishing language of Salako in Sarawak.

17 Julai 2009

After a hectic morning schedule, I prefer to have a decent afternoon naps. Around 4.00 pm, I woke-up, took my bath, and have my afternoon snack. Then I turn to my laptop, look at my e-mails, but mostly trash.
After reading my e-mails, I type "Salako River Population" within the search taps at my search engine. It is here where I found one interesting facts from the Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA).

It open-up my prejudice mind again. Its seem so strange to me, after reading one of the article at DBNA web page written by the Bidayuh intellectuals, title:"Problems and Prospects Facing Bidayuh Mother Tongue Education." Maybe, I still doesn't have the answer to my question, Why should Salako be considered the Bidayuh Community?

From this article, one of the paragraph says that, " Lastly, the intra-dialectal and inter-ethnic marriage or mix-marriage in the Bidayuh communities also contributed to the decline in the usage of the Bidayuh dialects. For example, a Bidayuh man who hails from Bau who marries another Bidayuh lady from Serian, their children may end up either speaking Bahasa Melayu or English. If their parents are educated in English, there is a tendency that their children may speak English. And, if their parent are the by-product of the Bahasa Melayu medium of instruction, their children will ultimately speak Bahasa Malaysia, the language their parents used to communicate with them at home. This same case can also be applied to children of a mix-marriage couple. The children of a Bidayuh man, for example, who marries a Chinese wife may neither speak any of the Bidayuh dialect nor the Chinese dialect, but the language both mother and father speak at home. Here, it could be English or Bahasa Malaysia. This same problem could be also applied to the other Bidayuhs who marry the other races."

It is an interesting problem to be shared among the Bidayuh. For me as I'm not qualified to comments nor do I have any expertise to give my idea with strong evidences, I'll try to speak my mind out base on I'm a Salako.

To elaborate further on this matter,from the article above, it do happen and it is happening to the Salako. Let me give me myself as an example.

My wife is a Bukar Bidayuh from Serian. After 20 years of marriage, I myself as a Salako seldom talk nor communicate with my children with my mother-tongue language, that is Salako. Frankly to say, or as others will say, to loose my mother-tongue language to my wife, the Bukar. All my children spoke Bukar fluently, but Salako, they can, but not fluent. Why so, and base on the article above, me and wife can still be proud because we are not using any other language, as what I call "home communication language."

Through my own experience, this scenario happen because of the social environment that surround us, where we live and stay. In my case, I live and brought up my family in the Bukar-Sadong community, and so our "home communication language" is heavily influence by the social environment of the Bukar-Sadong Bidayuh Community. For me, the simple explanation to this scenario is we can't have two "home communication language" at any one time. We have to choose one, as to me that is base on my social environment that surround where I live.

Back to my main topic, "The diminishing language of Salako in Sarawak", the cause as I can see is the inter marriage, the social environment scenario, and the availabilities of the same community in the surrounding itself. As we see, Salako is a small community only existed in Lundu, Sarawak. During the early stage of existence in the early 1800, Salako community is an agrarian, and seldom venture far like other communities. It is fair to say that during the White Rajah era, we are call the "Land Dayaks".

When Sarawak gain independence from the British rule in 1963 within Malaysia, the scenario change. The Salako began to venture far and this lead to a more diversity of changes where we never experience before. From then on, we began to move and stay with other community, and of course this lead to the diminishing of our own language, Salako.

And in 1970, Salako are considered one of the Bidayuh community. Here, statically we loose in term of population, because in Sarawak, we will be put under the Bidayuh community. It is high time to change our own attitude as what I called "shying to talk in Salako" that lead to the diminishing of Salako language in Sarawak.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Salako Origin II

Tonight, as I sit without a shirt because the weather seems so warm. I sip a can of beer imported and made in Germany. Its cool and Refreshing....My fingers is following my minds instruction. My Laptop mouse never stop moving looking for what I'm still longing to know, but I have a limited knowledge.
I managed to open one good web page that explain about Salako or Kanayathn. Within this article, which is a book review by Clifford Sather, posted at the Borneo Annual Research Bulletin in 2005, about the book written by K. Alexander Adelaar , 2005, Salako or Badamea. Sketch Grammar, Texts and Lexicon of a Kanayatn Dialect in West Borneo.
After a few times reading about this book review, deep inside me I began to feel proud to be born as a Salako or Kanayatn ( our West Kalimantan, Indonesia counterpart ) which speak the same language. From this book review by Clifford Sather, its a proof and clearly written why Salako is different from other Bidayuh Community in Sarawak. As Clifford Sather wrote:"Confusingly, in Sarawak, the Salako dialect has been mistakenly identified in the past as a variety of Bidayuh (or Land Dayak). While certainly living in close contact and culturally influenced by the Bidayuh, the dialect spoken by the Salako, as Adelaar makes eminently clear, is unmistakably Malayic, not Bidayuh."
Beside this written proof of the different Salako had with other Bidayuh Community as interpreted in Sarawak, the surprise facts that made me more proud, its seem Salako language is the key points in Proto-Malayic as an early form of a Malay language. As Prof.K Alexander Adelaar wrote in his book :THE RELEVANCE OF SALAKO FOR PROTO-MALAYIC AND FOR OLD MALAY EPIGRAPHY, he wrote: "In this paper I would like to demonstrate that Salako is of geat importante for the reconstruction of Proto-Malayic (henceforth referred to as PM) phonology, lexicon and, particularly, morphology.' I also wish to show that Salako, because of its conservative morphology and lexicon, throws new light on the inscriptions of Telaga Batu (South Sumatra) and Gandasuli (Java). It provides key arguments for considering the language of these inscriptions as an early form of Malay. The identification of this language has in the past been a matter of doubt, in spite of the fact that for the sake of convenience it has usually been referred to as 'Old Malay'."

Alas, I think I began to understand a bit about Salako , but as I said earlier in my post, there is still a lot of question unanswered in my mind.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Origin of Salako

I'm trying to look for any article about Salako. But none really shows any study yet on Salako. I've posted a blog a few month back about Salako which I posted at the Associate Contents or AC. This is what I wrote:
Brief History of Salako

Salako settlement is in Lundu, about 100km from Kuching, the state capital of Sarawak state. Before 1970, Salako did not belong to the Bidayuh Community in view of their different in dialect, culture, and custom differences. After 1970, due to political reason, the Salako have been classified under the Bidayuh groups. In August 2001, the Salako and Lara community have set up their own association to safe guard their culture and custom, under the Salako-Lara Association.

The Salako are divided in two groups, namely The Salako Gajing and the The Salako Sangkuku. According to the written historical facts, which is mainly gained by oral and story like interpretation, Salako is a tribe which migrated from Kalimantan, Indonesia to Sarawak, Malaysia in the early 1800. The different between this two Salako groups is by their slang in their salako dialect.

The Salako Gajing groups originally came from Gajing Mountain, at the source of Salako River, near Singkawang in West Kalimantan, Indonesia, moved to Tembang Berchangal, to avoid making enemies because of their head-hunting activities. These groups then migrated directly to Bagak in Lundu in 1820, partly due to an outbreak of cholera epidemic. After 30 years in Bagak, the population multiplied and 1850 onwards this groups moved to make new settlement to Pasir Ulu, Sedemak, Sebigo, and Titiakar.

The Salako Sangkuku groups originated from Sengkuku, at the Salako River, in Singkawang, West Kalimantan, Indonesia. These groups moved to Tembang Banyor, Ulu Paloh, in Sambas, West Kalimantan, Indonesia, due to fears of reprisals from the Chinese settlement in Singkawang over the disputed gold mining area in the 18th century. Beside that, the taxation policy by the Sultanate of Sambas also partly played an important role for these groups to migrate to Sarawak in the mid-18th century. These groups moved to settled in Pueh in 1875, and from then on moved and settled in Siru Dayak, Sebat Dayak, Tembaga Dayak, and Sg. Merah.

Salako is one a sub-tribe of the Bidayuh Community in Sarawak, Malaysia. Bidayuh, under the "Dayaks" are considered the original inhabitants of Borneo. The "Dayaks" is the collective name for around 405 ethno linguistic-groups of the Borneo Island. ( Kalimantan Review: English version;volume II/Nov. 1999). During the White Rajah and Colonial Era, the Bidayuh was known as "Land Dayak". In 6 August 2002, the passing of the Interpretation Bill 2002 (Amendment), the Bidayuh Community will no longer be referred as "Land Dayak".

Today, as I goes around searching for more, I stumble upon this web page which is written by Nancy Lee Peluso, published by Cambridge University Press. Sorry if I, in a sense of writing, I'm plagiarizing, but I'm hungry to know more about Salako. When I read simple article, it make me feel this article have the starting point for what I'm looking for. It's clearly mention the Selakau river, and one of the village mention also exist in Lundu, where my tribe reside in Sarawak, Malaysia.

As Nancy Lee Peluso (Comparative Studies in Society and History, Vol.38, No.3, 1996) said: " Setipa mountain rises behind Bagak Sahwa, on the south side of the paved trunk road between the city of Singkawang and the town of Bengkayang. On the other side of the road, a wide strip of irrigated rice fields meanders along a river that stretches north to meet the Selakau river. Bagak, a hamlet of more than 100 single-family houses, is laid out on a lazy perpendicular to the trunk road, aiming towards Setipa’s peak."

Any interested Salako academician, I think its a high time for us ourselves to be involved if we really want to know more of our original identity.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Wikipedia Bidayuh

I am trying to know more about Salako tribe in Borneo, especially in Sarawak, Malaysia. The only terms that I always found is just a words or just a simple explanation. In Wikimedia, I find this explanation more confusing. Here is an example:

Salako & Lara people issues

Although classified as "Bidayuh" by the Malaysian government, the Salako and Lara culture have little resemblance to other Bidayuh groups and their oral tradition claim different descent and migration histories. Linguistically, the Salako belong to another language family tree which is of the Malayic-Dayak family (the same family as the Iban).[1] The Lara, although said to be more related to the Bidayuh (Jagoi-Singai), speak a language almost not mutually intelligible at all with the Bidayuh but belonged to the same language family tree which is the Land Dayak.[2] Even their customary rituals and rites differ from the other Bidayuhs (all Bidayuhs share almost the same ritual and customary rites).

As explain above, I began to fill my head with more questions. Why do Salako-Lara Groups being classified under the Bidayuh Community by Malaysian? To me, the different between our tribe to be concluded under the Bidayuh Community is not appropriate at all. The different is so huge in terms of language, see the different below:

Language issues

The Serian Bidayuhs have a distinct dialect known as the Bukar-Sadong Bidayuh, which is not intelligible to Bidayuhs from other Districts. Here are some examples of the differences in the various dialects spoken in Serian, with their English and Malay equivalents. Also included are two Philippine languages, Kapampangan and Tagalog:






(K)u'u/ ka'am

Lundu (Salako)
Apak, Bapak
Inuk, Indok, Umak

Ibpâ, (Bapa - Uncle)
ika (sing.)/ikayu (pl.)

Amang, Ama
Inang, Ina

In comparing questions that plays in my mind about Salako, I feel sad that when any research done on the Bidayuh, very few will try to exhibit a study that can manage to show the relations of Salako-Lara groups to the real Bidayuh community itself. See below, Salako is only related to the Bidayuh community only as " Related Ethnic Groups".

Total population 158,700 (Sarawak only) Regions with significant populations Sarawak & West Kalimantan
Bukar-Sadong, Singai-Jagoi, Biatah(Siburan, Padawan & Bia'), Bra'ang-Pinyawa, Sepug-Emperoh & Gumbang
Christianity & Animist
Related Ethnic Groups
Bekati', Binyadu, Jongkang, Ribun, Salako, Lara, Sanggau, Sara', Tringgus, Semandang & Ahé.

My only interpretation here about why salako is put under the Bidayuh community is for the political reason because its bring more benefit to be in a larger group. As I know, the Salako only emerge under the Bidayuh Community in 1970, 7 years after Sarawak joint Malaysia to gain Independence from the Brittish in 1963.

To me, from my own views, I still prefer the words Land Dayaks, as used during the Brooke Era. Its resemble more to our identity, and we'll all be equal in a sense of bridging our culture and heritage to the world. Every tribe or races is unique, so why should we try to make it into one and yet its different.

As I recall back, some modern dayak also seem to began the "unliking" feeling towards the word "Dayak"? Why so, just because it resemble a not so good identity? To me, its is our identity, our culture and our heritage to be proud of and should be preserved.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Old went to school again...IPGM Campus Rajang

This year I'm one of the selected teachers to pursue a PE course at IPGM(Malaysian Institute of Teachers Education) Campus Rajang. How interesting to experience teachers studying again with our hair already turning gray or some are already bald. We are all students doing our first degree course after years of experience teaching. Like me, I have spend almost 20 years in teaching profession. To study and learn again,...its a wonderful experience.We will spend four years to complete our degree course, approximately for 135 credits hour. Its tiring though, because we have to attain our lecturing during our school holidays. No school holidays for four years.
For me, this opportunity which is given to me by our Education Ministry is a big leap for me to purse deeper into teaching profession. I feel honored indeed as I'm one of the lucky teacher in Malaysia that is given this opportunity.The only thing that plays around my mind, can I cope up with the twice or triple work load for this four years period.
Hopefully with this wonderful program implemented by our Education Ministry will inspire more teachers, especially in Malaysia to strive and to give the their best in educating our young eager generation.
I like sports, and I would say PE (Physical Education) is one interesting subject to teach. Its a real challenge to teach PE in Malaysian School by the way our Malaysian community environment see PE now a days. I can't blame the cause why PE is seen as a subject that doesn't give any benefit or important impact to our Malaysian culture. It start and should start from the Education Ministry itself to change the culture in implementing PE in schools, and if not, until the year 2020, PE will still be the same as it is now or before.
Malaysian sport as a whole is in a shabby shape. Many good program is implemented, but none really succeed achieving it desired targets. The question stuck here, why? To me, above all, no matter what, we need the parents support in achieving our targeted marks, or to say our new KPI ( Key Performances Index) which is lauded now by our ministers. All the effort should starts from school, foremost the parents support should be gain. If not, PE will still be a second class subject in all Malaysian school.

13 July 2009

Wake up early. Its Monday blue...after one fantastic weekend. This week I'm expecting a busy schedule, because on the 17 July 2009 I'll be handling the core person duty in organizing our school under 13 years old Athletics Competition. Hope to do it with flare and a friendly atmosphere.

Today, in the morning I won't be with my athletes. Need to sort out some important family matter first.

As a father, I'm really feel great and happy with my children. Both my older children have been accepted to pursue their training, one in the teaching profession and the other of Medical Lab Technician.

Hope to be cheerful today at my work place.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

My Family

I'm trying to learn designing photos using Magix Xtreme Photo Design 6. Yep...I like the result and this program is easy to manage and user friendly too. See the result above.

Time to start daily dairy

12 July 2009

Wake up late...10.00am.
Clean myself and have breakfast
11.00am onwards, visiting my laptop again
Its been a long time I didn't respond to my blog
Today, I tried again and yesterday I change my blog setting

Here, today...I'll be putting some photos which I redo with Magix Xtreme Photo Design,
quite easy to handle, and I think it is useful for me who doesn't have the Xtreme knowledge
of ICT technologies such as photoshop.