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Friday, 18 January 2013

Borneo Fingers...Borneo inspired products made with loving Borneo fingers....

What happens when you put two creative besties with loads of ideas in their heads? 
You'll get Borneo Fingers products ofcourse...

This time round for Borneo Hornbill Festival 2012 me and my bff Susan Leo will be selling accessories hand-stitched (no machines involved ya) lovingly with Borneo inspiration..each product has separate characters on its own...

Enough talk..let's have a look at our products:

Key pouch to keep your keys away so that it won't scratch your phone..

Borneo inspired headbands...handmade too.....


Clip scrunchies....

We're selling each of our products at RM 10 huh for fully handmade  accessories.....:)

Do come to our booth...BORNEO FINGERS....
Borneo Inspired products made with LOVE by Susan & Veeky...the Borneo fingers....

Hope to see you at MATIC, AMPANG on Friday, 6 July 2012 & Saturday, 7 July 2012....

Thursday, 17 January 2013

The Iban Confinement Practices

"We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope." - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

A loss creates another hope in life, hope in life is what sustains a man’s heartbeat..- Kumang Saribas

Well this post is written due to a loss we experienced recently....This loss inspired me to read more on what my older generation practiced for confinement.

Anyway, the Iban confinement practices have one similar element compared with other cultures which is the element of heat for the new mother. 

The traditional confinement practice may no longer be practiced in the modern world but there is a slight possibility that it is practiced in the rural areas.

The Iban Confinement Practices

At birth the mother and infant are confined to the bilik and 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. During this period, her abdomen is wrapped with a ground ginger mixture and is to be changed daily or twice a daily and the heating process is done by sitting beside a fire. Throughout the forty days, the mother heats herself by an open fire kept continuously burning inside the bilik and is treated with ginger and other heating agents so that her ‘body is made warm’ (ngangat ka tuboh). The type of firewood used to warm her will depend on where she lives. If she lives upriver, she is asked to use firewood from the malam, lensat, or manding trees.

On bekindu, there is another material that I read which is slightly more elaborate and also different  in “Pregnancy and Childbirth-Restrictions” written by Rev, William Howell, where:

..."As the mother sits on her back to the fire in the room holding in her hands the handle of a native adze (bliong) she presses it to her abdomen to assist the course of nature. For twenty-four hours she is not allowed to drink water, but if she does, it must be very little and first warmed lest fever should set in. Her food is light and simple. The husband goes out to get certain kinds of fish which is first smoked (salai) before it is eaten. The mother is not allowed to sleep for twenty-four hours after giving birth to a child, nor is she allowed to lie down. ...The period of confinement is doubtful. It depends entirely on the strength of the woman. I have known several cases of women going out three days after their confinement to the paddy fields.”

What I think "bekindu" practice is.

The Iban confinement diet is simple and ginger plays a very large role. Based on the materials I read, the mother is given three mouthful of rice just after she has taken her seat (none of the materials further explained whether she will eat more rice after that or not). As I mentioned earlier that ginger plays a large part in confinement diet therefore, the mother will eat the rice with smoked fish, ferns (paku kubuk), breadfruit (buah pulur) mixed with ginger juice. She also takes a lot of ginger juice or cooked slices of ginger to keep her body warm.

For forty days the members of the bilik-family observe a series of ritual restrictions (penti) and the number of days of confinement is marked by using a lime (kapu) for each day she completed on a pole. These have a disjunctive effect, temporarily setting the family apart from the rest of the rumah panjai 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.

My Facebook friend, Aunty Jacqueline Selaka Mawar (link to her blog) shared of of her experience that she observed after the delivery of her first child:

This was an extract from the the comment link in Facebook on 17/1/2013:

  • Jacqueline Selaka Mawar ok for food...aku nitih ke cara ari Indai aku ke ngibun aku maia aku ke beranak ke 1st baby..she would ask me to take chicken soup with a lot of ginger..for a start within 3 days after beranak..after 3 days ..i was ask to take kacang ma tang more with ginger rather than arak..+ winekanis..I also take fresh ginger juice...also paku kubuk with gingers... 
    Here she says that for the first 3 days after delivery she was given chicken soup with ginger then after another 3 days she then ate "kacangma" (link to kacangma recipe) cooked with more ginger instead of alcohol. She drank fresh ginger juice and also paku kubuk cooked with ginger.
  • Jacqueline Selaka Mawar anything with good for confinement
  • Jacqueline Selaka Mawar also aku di unsut enggai lia ke udah di tutuk ari pala sampai ke kaki tiap lemai
    She practiced smearing her whole body with ground ginger every evening.
  • Jacqueline Selaka Mawar am also using traditional way of massaging...with hot ointment..bepaut ko kitai iban.
    She practices traditional Iban massage using hot oitment called "bepaut".
  • Jacqueline Selaka Mawar beside all those..i don't take vegetables like sawi..rambai laban ko sida ke tuai..sayur bakanya celap lalu tau nganu tulang maia umur kitai udah meningkat dudi ari
    She doesn't take vegetables like sawi, rambai as they are considered as cold an can cause rheumatism in future.
  • Jacqueline Selaka Mawar also no upa..tubu..
    No eating upa and tubu (bamboo shoots or any other types of shoots).
  • Jacqueline Selaka Mawar i wash my hair after 44 days...mandi with daun mambong..also i do a lot of english steam bath..tang cara ia jauh bebeza ari cara moden..this is to avoid flu & any sickness dudi ari
    She only washed her hair AFTER 44 DAYS, bathed with "daun mambong" and did a lot of "betangas" or steam bath to avoid flu or sickness in future. 
  • Jacqueline Selaka Mawar petua perut mit..during confinement anang sekali kali ngena capak/plate maia makai..use small round ball laban enti kitai makai ngena capak..asi ke diempa kitai ka maioh which can make our tummy dudi ari ka besai

         To keep the tummy small she ate using a small bowl instead of using a plate as the more rice you eat the bigger your tummy will be.

There you go, some experience I think most or some Iban women practice.  Would you practice this method?

In conclusion, the importance of observing the confinement period is mainly to maintain the mother's well-being in the future. Even though some of the "pemali" or restrictions may seem to be obsolete due to existence of religion and science, I believe most of the Iban still observe the restrictions closely


Saturday, 12 January 2013

Temenggong Datuk Kanang Anak Langkau, Bujang Berani Bansa Iban

I remember the first time that I used the Iban phrase “Agi Idup Agi Ngelaban” or translated means "As long as I live, I shall fight!"…I used it as part of my so called speech during the orientation week to my non-muslims batch mates in UiTM. Not in the sense that we literally go to war using weapons but we study as though we are in a war throughout our university life and eventually gain what we suppose to gain for our families…the scroll…

"Agi Idup Agi Ngelaban" means a lot to an Iban particularly the late Temenggong Datuk  Kanang Anak Langkau. That was the phrase he cried to heighten the spirit of his troop during the insurgency  in Perak on 8 February 1980 where he lead the Unit Combat Intelligence Platoon of 8th Battalion Royal Rangers  to seek and destroy a this insurgent group.  At the attack with the communists, Kanang took three rounds of bullets and managed to kill 5 communists. No three bullets could stop him from serving his beloved Malaysia as he returned to active duty even after the incident that almost took our hero’s life…no, not Kanang Anak Langkau…a truly anak Iban Bujang Berani.  

Let us see a little bit of his biography:
Kanang anak Langkau was born on 2nd March 1945 in Nanga Meluan, Julau, Sarawak. He entered military service with the with the British Army, as an Iban Tracker, attending Jungle Warfare School in Ulu Tiram in early 1962. Kanang was attached to the 42 Commando serving during the Brunei Revolt and during the Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation.
Kanang later then served with the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment and was absorbed into the Sarawak Rangers which eventually became part of the Malaysian Rangers when Malaysia was proclaimed on 16 September 1963. He retired after 21 years of service as a First Warrant Officer and was the Temenggong (paramount chief) of the Iban in Sri Aman, where he resided. In 1987, he was awarded the Officer of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of Sarawak (PBS) - Pegawai Bintang Sarawak.

On 15 April 2009, he made headlines after rescuing a baby orangutan from captivity with his friend, Tay Choon Yong and the baby orangutan was being handed to Semenggoh Wildlife Centre. On 24 September 2011, he was conferred the Commander of the Order of the Star of Hornbill Sarawak (PGBK) (Panglima Gemilang Bintang Kenyalang), with the title of Datuk by the Abang Muhammad Salahuddin, the Head of State's 90th Birthday.
In 2011, Kanang supervised Operation Mai Pulai. This operation involved the locating and exhumation of the remains of 21 Iban Trackers and Sarawak Rangers who were killed during the Second Malayan Emergency. Their remains were exhumed from multiple locations on the Malay Peninsula and returned to Sarawak where they were ceremonially reburied in July 2011.
On 3 January 2013, he collapsed while watching television at home in Sungai Apong after complaining of chest pains. Immediately rushed to the Sarawak General Hospital, he was pronounced dead at the age of 68. His passing was a great lost to Malaysia especially to our Iban community. Now I realised “Agi Idup Agi Ngelaban” means more than just a phrase to heighten our spirits, it is a chant for us to remember to move on and get on with our lives regardless how bad our days can be.

Service : British Army (1962-1963)
                Malaysian Armed Forces (1962-1983)

Rank     : First Warrant Officer

Unit       : Sarawak Rangers (British Army)
                           Royal Ranger Regiment

Awards   : Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa (SP)
                 Panglima Gagah Berani (PGB)
                 Panglima Gemilang Bintang Kenyalang (PGBK)
                 Pegawai Bintang Sarawak (PBS)

Before I part, I bid farewell to our Hero, Temenggong Datuk Kanang Anak Langkau (SP, PGB, PGBK), Bujang Berani, you will always be remembered by Sarawakians from all walks of life. I stumbled upon one Iban chant or “Sabak Bebuah” written by Allen Charlie on his “IBAN” page on Facebook and it was so moving it made me cry. Basically, it tells about the late Kanang's life, bravery, struggles, achievements and praise written beautifully in the classic Iban language. So I wish to share this with all of my readers out there:  
Raja Berani ninggalka dunya:
Kira enda lebu ga nuan, ke bulih gelar Raja Berani laban ulih nyapai bintang besai ke ngasuh nama nuan pegari tinggi dedinggai nadai mandung.
Endang enda lebu ga karung mengada nuan suba, ke bisi tebunsa nangung pemerinsa mai nuan dalam pengelama keleman 9 bulan, laban penatai nuan ke dunya endang di anti sida Keling enggau Bunga Nuing, di kemata lalu basa sida Laja seduai Bunga Jawa, endang di intai ka Sida Sempurai, lalu timang sida Kumang seduai Indai Abang, di indung sida Lulong indai Mendung ari Gelung ke nyingit nyinggong daun sabang ke endang berimbai enggau orang Panggau di menoa jela Isang.
Tang dalam maya nya, dia Tutong, Tuai orang di Gelung pen sama bisi ga nutong ka Setawak nebah dumbak maya nuan ke mencelak mula iya meda dunya, ambi semua Petara sama bela nemu nuan bisi datai ngagai dunya landai kitai ke diatu.
Dia deh nuan lalu udah tejapai ka tangkai nyiur undang ke merundai labuh tejuntai lebuh nuan ke enggau orang nyarau ranyai di menoa Nunok ulu Serpan di madang paya maram ke di wan bunsu Antu Kamba, Endu Dara Sia ke berumah di Paya Maram Semadang, ke ngembuan jelu Pusa Itung ke bekungkung baruh dagu, lalu iya tu meh ke bepemai ka Tajau Rusa bebingka Sengang.
Tang enda mukai-mukai dih nuan ayak maya ka beperang ngenanka menua anak bansa, bisi jai mimpi alai peluru bisi ngacir nuan bisi kena timbak anak seterum leka senapang, tak disangka orang mabun laya ningal ka dunya mih nuan suba. Tang Petara endang amat bisi ngemata ka nuan ungal wai, ke alai Sebayan enda nyadi ngambi nuan pulai laban Indai Abang bisi ba tisi napi litan nuan suman. Lalu laban nuan ke endang semampai dikemataka Petara Perang aki kitai Lang Sengalang Burung, ke diau di tuchung langit landung, ke baka tudung seraung tangi payung langit. Kedua agi laban iya tu meh menyadi Ini Manang Bali ke betelaga baruh rekung, menyadi biak Aki Lang Sengalang Burung, laki endu Yak Talun Kupak, Silai anak Runggang Jejabung ngintu nuan ka lalu ngejungka nuan beberita dikumbai orang mati angkat idup baru.
Lalu udah bekau ari nya, nuan lalu jelai nama tampak rita, diberi perintah SP lalu digelar Raja Berani dikelala serata menua enggau negeri ba sekayu menua Sarawak, ba sepemanjai rintai menua kitai Malaysia lalu ngacir serata dunya.
 Tang laban ke udah nama anak mensia ari tanah kitai endang pulai baru ke tanah. Laban Petara endang iya udah bejaku, tiap utai ti idup endang iya mati kepenudi. Nyangka nya Petara balat rinduka nuan, alaika ngambi nuan dulu pulai dinihari pagi tadi, alai nuan ke lalu nadai ninggalka dunya mandang pulaika mandai. Tang nama nuan aki, endang iya sigi meruan taja nuan pulaik Sebayan. Pemerani enggi nuan aki, endang iya sigi semampai nyadika buah tusui dilah, semampai ditusi tiap pagi, semampai dikenang tiap petang. R.I.P Temenggong Datuk Kanang Anak Langkau, anak Iban Raja Berani, lenyau nuan nadai orang nganti.
 By: Allen Charlie (Allen Charlie's blog)

I am deeply sadden by his passing even though I do not know him personally. This post is dedicated to this true Sarawakian Hero. Thank you Temenggong Datuk Kanang Anak Langkau for your unending dedication to keep Malaysia safe you will always be remembered and May God Bless your soul Bujang Berani... Amen.

Temenggong Datuk Kanang Anak Langkau
(2 March 1945 - 3 January 2013)


Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Ngepan Indu Iban Saribas for weddings

First of all, I would like to wish all my readers Happy New Year 2013 and may we will be able to gain more of good things this year.

Well, just recently I was very pleased to see an Iban couple wore Iban traditional costume for their wedding at a long house in Saratok, Sarawak. I did mentioned at my previous post about Mr. Josh Angga's ngepan collection and this time around on 28 December 2012, his cousin got married and wore his collection both for Iban man and woman costume.

Looking at the photo it reminded me of my own wedding also wearing the traditional iban costume for our reception on 28 April 2012 at the Fourpoints Sheraton Hotel instead of our longhouse.
Be it in a hotel or a longhouse I must say I am very glad to see more young couples are now bold enough to wear their traditional costumes.
I believe it is also paying respect to their Iban culture and this is one of the ways that will ensure the continuity of our culture. Here's the link to my wedding held in Kuching 28 April 2013.
Nowadays more and more Iban wedding planners and costumes owners promote Iban costumes for weddings...A good initiative in order to preserve our culture rather than wearing the common evening gown and suits...have an open mind, believe me wearing your ngepan Iban or your ethnic costumes can make a difference in your wedding reception and photos too :)