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Thursday, 11 July 2013

What Should a Kumang Wear?

Oooohhhaaaa.......If only I have the guidance from Goddess Kumang to tell me how should a Kumang dress, then there will be no quarrels or misinterpretation or misconception on how the winner or Kumang should dress. However, I believe that things happen for one reason or another. The debate on what a winner should wear has been in this Pekit Kumang (Kumang competition) arena for many years perhaps ever since it has ever started. No one will ever be happy, sore losers are the worse particularly those can’t really admit their weaknesses.

The word or title “Kumang” is so synonym to name a winner in all Pekit Kumang held in Sarawak throughout the Gawai season and that includes the recent Borneo Hornbill Festival (BHF) 2013. We have been using the term Kumang eversince BHF began in 2009. It’s not like we simply want to use the word Kumang it is because we want the younger generation to remember that Kumang was the Goddess that the Iban community look high upon; as being the perfect Iban woman, perfect in every sense that she is the master weaver, intelligent, caring, loving to her Keling and also possess the utmost beauty. 

Relating to the BHF context, this Kumang might not be able to possess the weaving skill, but she is talented in her own way. She must be an all-rounder character; honest, kind, has the passion in showcasing her culture, good in her communication skills, has the knowledge in nature conservation, beautiful (though this one is quite subjective) apart from being able to carry her costume well, which is original.

Well in this post I would like to focus more on to how a Kumang costume should look like? Any answer from readers out there? 

Eversince Pekit Kumang being doctrined with a standard set of guidelines for ngepan Kumang, it has been a rule that only such ngepan Iban will be eligible to enter a competition, atleast those “complete” ngepan will have the chance to win the title Kumang apart from other qualities in place. In the normal context of Pekit Kumang, she must be wearing Kain tenun/kebat/karap, selampai, Marik Empang/Tangu, Gelang Kaki, Rawai, Buah Pauh, Sugu Tinggi, Sementing buchai, Simpai, Tumpa and Tali Ujan in bright colour or mansau ofcourse.

The most recent BHF really created a controversy particularly when a black ngepan from the Ulu Rajang area won the title Kumang. This is also known as ngepan buri where the base of the material is black adorned with tiny cowrie shells that were abundant during those days.  It was so controversial because in Iban, black is a symbol of mourning, therefore a Kumang should not be wearing black. 

However, one has forgotten that the black material is known as Kain Buri, adorned with cowrie shells so that it will look beautiful. Generally, people who mourn will be wearing clothes which are solemn and dark mainly to show respect to the deceased and the bereaved family. However, this is not the case for ngepan kain Buri, it is pretty, brightly adorned with shells to beautify it and I do not think it shows any element of solemn there. Nothing solemn here where the ngepan is further beautified with strands of marik pelaga (fire agate beads) lampit pirak, tumpa rangki, sugu tinggi, selampai buri, and other accessories to complete the look.

A ngepan Iban is worn in occasions particularly to show the grandeur of a community, so how about ngepan Baju Kuas from Sri Aman then? Is it a mourning costume? Ofcourse not.

Next is Ngepan Saribas, worn by myself and eventually won in BHF 2011 and that created a havoc I must say. Well to some Pekit Kumang enthusiasts ngepan Saribas is incomplete, therefore should not even qualify to enter any Pekit Kumang. Some even said that it was too sexy? Well didn’t our ancestors wear that way i.e. high up to the bosom or in some cases it doesn’t really cover the bosom that much. To say that ngepan Saribas is incomplete is totally wrong just because it does not have marek empang.

Bringing back to the context of Borneo Hornbill Festival, it is not our objective to only show the common ngepan, we hope to feature as many Iban costumes that can be found in Sarawak. The variety of costumes are due to differences in geographical areas e.g. abundance of cowrie shells by the riverbanks hence ngepan buri is created, assimilation of different ethnics found in Sarawak and even parts of Kalimantan which explains the influence of beads, silver wear near Skrang as there were Memaloh community who were master silversmiths and ofcourse the daily activities such as barter trade which shows in the some accessories like buah pauh having the influence from the Chinese traders, lampit pirak if you can see the motifs of the buckles depicts goldfish, flowers and even monks. 

Borneo Hornbill Festival did their job well in upholding to their objective and therefore many different costumes from different tribes of Iban came to this platform from 2009 until now. However, there are risks that come with it, the term ORIGINALITY. 

In my opinion, if there is proof in documentation e.g. books and the accessories do hold their authenticity (by the physical look of the accessories, old / antique) or even such accessory is not old and authentic but presents the original look, I think it should be given credit as its maker has the effort to revive the old costume. 

This is because these old costumes can be so fragile until it can’t be worn but since the maker managed to achieve the original look i.e. how it looked in the olden days, then it should be showcased in BHF. 

I am not saying that the standard rule is wrong, yes it is correct, however, the "pro ngepan standard" people should not deny the fact that other types of ngepan Iban also exist by belittling those other ngepans by giving names and mocking them too. Not all of these ngepan Iban would qualify in the common Pekit Kumang arena so BHF is the platform to show it all. With all due respect, please refrain from comparing Borneo Hornbill Festival with the common Pekit Kumang in Sarawak, our objective is different.

Below are ngepan Iban that were featured in BHF throughout the years since 2009 to show how open we are embracing differences in the Iban tribes. 

Ngepan Ulu Rajang- Ms. Shirly Jimeli (BHF 2013)
Ngepan Skrang- Ms. Margareta Remang (BHF 2013)

Ngepan Marik of Kapit - Ms. Elyvenner Melaya Mau

Ngepan Kuas Sri Aman - Ms. Angel (BHF 2012)

Ngepan Batang Ai- Ms. Vanessa (BHF 2011)

Ngepan Saribas - Myself BHF 2011

Now let me rouse your minds...would you prefer to only know the common ngepan Iban like we always see nowadays you prefer to expand your Iban culture horizon by getting to know somewhat almost extinct in the face of this earth? I'll let you ponder on that...

In this case ignorance is not bliss..infact it would be a loss to our own community by ignoring ngepan from other Iban tribes. Please don't let these ngepan be chucked in the attic or sadau of your it to the world that Iban is indeed rich in culture...


Anonymous said...

Well said! Good Job! Veeky ...

Veeky Leonora said...

Thank you anonymous...

Francis Freddy said...

Apa bezanya ngepan batang ai dgn ngepan ngepan skrang? Ngepan Marik of Kapit pernah diat coz my friend pun sister nya pernah masuk kumang gawai in the year 1980's wakil Kapit. She wear that ngepan.

-Preserving our culture, shaping our future-

Veeky Leonora said...

Beza ngepan Batang Ai dan Skrang....Cuba kamu tgk bahagian pinggang ke bawah..Ngepan Skrang akan dihiasi penuh dengan kain ringgit yang diperbuat daripada syiling manakala ngepan Batang Ai hanya berkain tiada elemen atau perincian ringgit yang sangat banyak.
Terima kasih atas soalan anda, semoga ianya dapat membantu.

Anonymous said...

Apu, pama amat blog nuan tu mang! Patut ngasoh aku nyeguk kitu.

Brapa negkah ngepan indu Iban nyak semua ia? Ulih ngelis ngena numbur. Baru ka ngelala ngean indu tu.

Alu ulih nuan madah ka siti-siti perengka ngepan indu Saribas nyak wai? Ila ka meli, enda ngelala.

Udah nyak ulih nuan lis siti-siti perengka semua bengkah ngepan indu nyak. Ulih nyadi rekod dalam internet enti end dalam bup.

Anonymous said...

Seruri atas tadi:

Brapa bengkah ngepan indu Iban nyak semua ia?

Anonymous said...

Endu Endun Mang

Amat ngepan indu Iban endang asal ia kain pandak sampai ba pala pantung aja ngambi ulih rari maya agi bekayau kelia alu tubuh endang dipasohke (protected by) baju gelang besi (nama nama baju nyak?) baka ngamabi enda ulih acuk musoh ngau sangkoh tauak duku? Tu munyi ke dipadahke indai aku.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, your English sounds good. Educated overseas?

Your dad is Andria, is he Andria Dundang?

Fiona Mei said...

Through your blog, and of course BHF, i get to know that we have various type of ngepan. and i am glad that i have the opportunity to know about it.

Thanks, Veeky! :)

dellyne said...

Now i know Ngepan Kuas Sri Aman. I love this summary. Senang nak ingat.

Veeky Leonora said...

Bagi soalan ke nanya berapa bengkah ngepan Indu Iban ba Sarawak? Aku pun nda nemu...laban tiap jenis ai ba menua tuk bisi baju ya kediri, bedau gi kitai ke sekaban enggau bala Kalimantan din..maioh gi ga style..

Tang nti ketemu aku sekumbang aku udah meda BHF tuk:

1) Ngepan Saribas (Ngepan Rawai Tinggi) baju ke digaga ari gelung temaga nya dikangau kami rawai, tang identiti ngepan Saribas tuk selalu ya Rawai nya datai nutup tusu. Ka madah ya nyadi baka perisai, nda aku berani bula, bisi ga logik ya laban ga ya digaga ari temaga berisi ka rutan.

2) Ngepan Skrang
Identiti ngepan tuk ba ringgit ditusun alu dijafi ka baka kain gamal ya tang serak ngena kain kebat tauka karap. (chunto bisi baka post aku ba ditu)

3)Ngepan Batang Ai
Ngepan Batang Ai sigi kaya ngau ringgit ngau pirak tang membezakan ya ngau ngepan Skrang ialah sida ya nadai "skirt" ke digaga ari ringgit nya.

4) Ngepan Kuas
Tuk ke dipeda kita baju ke nutup dada berwarna chelum baka ke dikena Ms. Angel ba post aku. Baju tuk tunga ke Sri Aman.

5)Ngepan Rajang
Nya ke peda kita ke ngena baju marik warna warni, ba ya tupi tauka headgear nya dikangau sida Dujung Marik.

6)Ngepan Ulu Rajang
Siti gi chunto lain ke mina ngena kain buri, selampai buri, tang nadai berbaju marik ngau dujung marik.

7)Ngepan Iban Sebuyau
Ngepan tuk bedau bantai ka aku gambar iya tang ngepan tuk simple, gamal baka ngena selampai tang ukai ga laban ya lebih ka baka selampai ke udah digaga baju.

Pelaba aku agi maioh ngepan ke bedau peda kitai, terpulang ngagai masing2 sama ada ka nrima kewujudan ngepan urang lain atau nda.

Veeky Leonora said...

Anonymous, I am not overseas educated...I am a UITM product so to speak. My father is not Andria Dundang. Thank you.

Collin Maltizores said...

sis veeky..amat kenuk kuak ya...ngepan sebuyau mina yang lain ialah iya empun sugu yak baka sangul melayu diacuk dibelakang sagul rambut,selain ya iya bc 2 itik stail ngepan sebuyau siti bkeban,siti baka selampai tang dijait dulu,perengka tauka aksesori sebuyau ia enda sarat baka ngepan lain...ya lebih baka ngepan bala menyadik kitai bidayuh gau selako...apapun next BHF 2014..KU AKAN akn matai ke ngepan tuk ngena bala semua nemu kewujudan ngepan sebuyau...sekali gau ngepan laki mega..

Veeky Leonora said...

Colin...ulih nda aku ngamni gambar ngepan Sebuyau nuankena ke chunto ba blog aku? dah nya nuan meri mimit explanation ba Fb ku...PM ja...TQ

NielChad Zuelle said...

well ur article.....and i would say 'wow' for this///

Big Sis said...

Well done, veeky! Being a mixed iban, cina & bidayuh..i feel handicapped When It Comes To Identifying perengka ngepan and the Types of Ngepan...looking Forward to Your Next Post On them..or better Still, Why dont U Do an In-depth Research On This And Publish A book..i Bet Many want To Buy Including Me...promote It i The Next Bhf..what say You?

Anonymous said...

Au, trima kaseh dah ngerintaike bengkah ngepan indu Iban. Udah ku nanya tu, baru ku tebaca ke post lama nuan suba ti nyaut tanya aku nyak.

Ulih nuan ngerintaika ngepan lelaki Iban ti nipek ngepan indu yak?

stevie sebol said...

Brilliant write-up, Veeky (-:

deansabbas81 said...

Terima kasih....Ndu Veeky, lban post nuan ka sigi tok tak nyentok amai d baca aku...ngambi blog nuan tok bc muka runding serta mata sekeda ngambi nemu nama objective sebenar Borneo Hornbill Festival ngau Warisan Sarawak. . . Skali agy aku ngucap ka trima kasih ngagai nuan Ndu Veeky. . . SALUTE !!!

deansabbas81 said...

Terima kasih....Ndu Veeky, lban post nuan ka sigi tok tak nyentok amai d baca aku...ngambi blog nuan tok bc muka runding serta mata sekeda ngambi nemu nama objective sebenar Borneo Hornbill Festival ngau Warisan Sarawak. . . Skali agy aku ngucap ka trima kasih ngagai nuan Ndu Veeky. . . SALUTE !!!

Anonymous said...

By the way, who is the organizer of BHF? Is it private organization like those of Miss World or Miss Universe?

Anonymous said...

Great post. Keep it up!

By the way, can I use some of the pictures of the ngepan from your blog for my blog?

Greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Collin Maltizores said...

sis..auk mehh ilak ku tag ngagai nuan..

Kennedy said...

Dear author..would you be so kind to be a part of Sarawak Netizen Community's admin panel as we are in need of someone with your caliber. Our goal is to promote and to nurture the minds of young Sarawakians about our history and legacy. please contact me if you are interested with this offer.

Collin Maltizores said...

apuu bahu perasan dik empu post ehhehe..btw picture for ngepan sebuyau akan dibantai ku n aku akan pm fb dik tentang iban sebuyau..