Gawai Nyobang at Kampung Gumbang Bau

Datu Ik Pahon Joyik attended ‘Gawai Nyobang’ or ‘Gawai Mukah’ at Kampung Gumbang Bau today. The Gawai is a skull bathing festival practised by the Bidayuh pagans. Today 14 June 2014, a group from Kampung Sebujit make a return visit to Kampung Gumbang. They are from Kacamatan Siding Kalimantan Indonesia.

Since 2010 this event has been going on between our bethrens from Indonesia and Sarawak Bidayuhs. DBNA had started the event as an annual event. Next year DBNA will make a trip to celebrate Gawai Nyobeng at Kampung Sebujit. DBNA Bau Branch will organise the next event which is already included in the DBNA Calender Annual Event.

In Kampung Gumbang the festival of the skull was held at Baruk Tiguon. The ritual was done by Ketua Adat from Kampung Gumbang En. Anjan ak Jikan.

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Gawai Nyobang; 3rd – 4th June 2011 at Kpg Gumbang, Bau


JAKOA visit to Kampung Skuduk and DBNA Headquarters

A team comprises 10 members of Jabatan Kemajuan Orang Asli (JAKOA) had a working visit to Sarawak, specifically to the Bidayuh area to learned about our success on documentation of the NCR land in which titles had been given to the land owners by the Land and Survey Department.

Their visit was organised by the Chief Minister Office to Kampung Skuduk, Siburan. They arrived at the village around 10.00 AM and were welcomed with Bidayuh tranditional music and dances performed by the troupes of Kampung Skuduk. Those receiving them were YB Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn, Deputy DUN speaker and ADUN N.17 Tarat, the President of DBNA Datu Ik Pahon Joyik, Temenggong Austin Dimin, Mr Micheal Dawi, Director in the Chief Minister Office, Ms Alicia Tay (Assistant Director of CMO), Mr Johan Achu Jupaw (Senior Accountant), Mr Zamahari Haji Saidi the acting Resident Officer of Kuching, Mr Wilson Spilak the SAO of Sub-district of Siburan, the village chief KK Silbey anak Nobek and many others.

The delegates from JAKOA were led by the Department Director Datuk Mohd Sani bin Mistam and his officers.

KK Silbey anak Nobek welcomed them to his village and briefed them on his village’s development and planning. He also briefed the delegates on the history of the village where the community of Kampung Skuduk was first moved to the lowland from Kampung Chupak. Kampung Skuduk was established in 1952 and ever since, paddy and rubbers have become the main source of income.

YB Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn also thanked the delegates for choosing Kampung Skuduk as the village to do their field study. In his speech, he mentioned about the fast development in Kampung Skuduk in addition to tourism spots like the cave and hot spring, which can be visited by tourists. The NCR land documentation project in Kampung Skuduk was not easy as there were many issues to settle, which delayed the project for a while.

Datu Ik Pahon gave brief presentation of the DBNA Land Documentation project to the delegates of JAKOA. The Land Documentation for Kampung Skuduk started way back in 2007 and on 12 Feb 2012, the village folks finally received their land titles from the Land and Survey Department of Sarawak. Kampung Skuduk was DBNA’s first pilot project for the Land Documentation. With the help of the Global Positioning System (GPS), the work became easier as the devices were connected directly to the satellite and the coordination can be saved in the devices for mapping to be done.

DBNA Land Documentation system helps Land and Survey Department to give land titles faster as most of the work have already been done by the village committees earlier. Most of the disputes are solved within the community itself.

Visit to DBNA Headquarters

From Kampung Skuduk, the delegates went to visit to DBNA Headquarters at Jalan Kumpang, and were further briefed on DBNA’s programs especially on the word list compilations, Multi Language Education (MLE) and the play schools which have been taught in few villages in their respective mother tongue.

While in DBNA the delegates were shown to a mini expo displayed and after which a briefing by Vice President Mr Chali Ungang on the DBNA on-going programs for the communities and also the high achievers Bidayuh in the federal cabinet and the state including Olympic bronze medalist Ms Pandelela Rinong.

Handing over the memento to the head of the delegates YBhg Datuk Mohd Sani bin Mistam by Vice President Mr Joseph Jindy, followed with a tour to the buildings around DBNA and photo session with the delegates as a remembrances.

Also presence was Vice President Ms Jimas Jihel, Sec-Gen Mr Jubilant Austinway, Assistant Sec-Gen Mr Anga Solep, Assistant Treasurer Dr Clarence Jerry, Exco Mr Paul Akiu, Exco Ms Nancy Mongin, Exco Mr Jeanoth Sinel, DBNA Kuching Tengah Branch Vice Chairman Mr Jack Oduin and Ms Ani Solep the Secretary for Sarawak Bidayuh Graduates Association (BGA).

12 June 2014

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Datu Ik Pahon is still the President of DBNA

During the 7th Triennial General Assembly of DBNA that was held at its premise at Jalan Kumpang on 7 June 2014, the new line-up for DBNA was a mixed of old and new faces in the committee after the election of her supreme council members. 17 Branches sent their delegates and observers for this 7th TGA. Ms Ani Solep was appointed as a returning officer during the TGA.

Datu Ik Pahon anak Joyik won uncontested and will run for another term as the President of DBNA for 2014 – 2017.

Mr Boniface Anat anak Litis won the Deputy President after a 3 cornered fight for the post. Vice President 1 won by Mr Joseph Jindy anak Peter Rosen, Vice President 2 won by Mr Chali anak Ungang and Vice President 3, Ms Jimas anak Jihel after 4 approved nominations out of 6 submissions with 2 nominations disqualified for the 3 posts of Vice Presidents.

Another 6 unopposed positions (only 1 name was being nominated) in the Supreme Council for the posts as follows:

Secretary General: Mr Jubilant Austinway
Assistant Secretary General: Mr John Angga@Loren anak Solep
Treasurer General: Mr Asem anak Linkin
Asistant Treasurer General: Dr Clarence Jerry
Information and Publicity: Mr Joseph Beron
Cultural and Tradisional: Mr Stephen Sundin

The Ordinary Exco members were heavily contested with 10 nominations submitted for 8 vacant posts. The followings are the list of winning candidates:

1. Dr Kismet anak Hong Ping
2. Nancy Anak Mongin
3. Yunus Apok
4. Paul Akiu anak Bandat
5. Capt Bernard Idit
6. Genot anak Sinel @ Jeannoth Sinel
7. James Nahar anak Goel
8. George Sikien Sunow

Congratulation to all winners.

A memorable courtesy visit to YAB Chief Minister of Sarawak

On 28 May 2014, a visit was made by Dayak Bidayuh Nasional Association (DBNA) and Sarawak Bidayuh Graduates Association (BGA) to YAB Chief Minister of Sarawak Tan Sri Adenan Bin Hj Satem at his office at Wisma Bapa Malaysia. The group was headed by the Advisor of DBNA, YB Dato Sri Micheal Manyin Anak Jawong, Minister of Infrastructure Development and Communication and the President of DBNA, Datu Ik Pahon anak Joyik together with the President of BGA Dr Ahi Sarok.

Both DBNA and BGA together with committee members were present. The visit was to congratulate YAB Tan Sri on his appointment as Chief Minister of Sarawak and to brief him on DBNA program such as NCR land initiative at Bidayuh village level and community hostel to be constructed at DBNA HQ. The proposal will be submitted to YAB CM soon. The next topic was on multilingual education program which is also called MLE Program. This program is still ongoing in few villages where young children between 3 to 5 years of age are taught in their mother tongue such as Salako Lara, Jagoi Bratak, Biatah and Bukar Sadung. The MLE program cannot be successful without the help of UNESCO and also the community.

Our visit ended after an hour 30 minutes briefing with photo-taking session, and handing over the Bidayuh hill-paddy rice to YAB.

DBNA Advisor feasted to his 69th Birthday

Recently our advisor Datu Sri Micheal Manyin anak Jawong, Minister of Infrastructure Development and Communication was being hosted to his 69 years old at a local hotel on 25th May 2014. It was a surprise birthday dinner for him. Organising Chairman for the dinner was by Henry Harry Jinep. Also attended the dinner was the president of DBNA Datu Ik Pahon Joyik and other invited guests. A one piece band entertaining the guest whole night. The food was fantastic, embient was nice and easy. Everyone mixed cordially. Most trying their voice on stage with their favourite numbers. As for those who can’t sing, they dance.

Gawai Dayak, Festival of a bountiful harvest

The annual festival of Gawai Dayak is celebrated by all Dayak in Sarawak after the end of Paddy Harvesting. It is the celebration of a bountiful harvest. This is the day where everyone in the villages will prepare a feast.

The Dayaks of Sarawak celebrate the Gawai Festival on 1st June every year. Gawai Festival is celebrated where the Dayaks normally visit/’ngabang’ friends and families on this day.

The manner of festivity varies from place to place but usually the necessary preparation starts early. Tuak (rice wine) is brewed (at least one month before the celebration) and traditional delicacies like penganan (cakes from rice flour, sugar and coconut milk) are prepared few days before the celebration. As the big day approaches, everyone will be busy with general cleaning and preparing food and cakes. On Gawai Festival Eve, glutinous rice is steamed in bamboo (pogang or lemang). A visit to clean the graveyard is also conducted and offerings offered to the dead.

The celebration usually begins on the evening of 31st May. This year Kampung Grogo will kick off the gawai celebration at the ‘Boli Gawea’. Dr Patau Rubis and his Kampung Grogo team of celebrants, one HIGH Priest, One Chief Priestess, three Priestesses and himself as the Priest will be busy the whole month of June and maybe first week of July because they are being booked by three villages already and maybe the fourth one later on. 1st June will be the NGUGUOH which is expected to be in the early hours of the 2nd June. The River ceremony will be in the afternoon of the 31st May around 3-4 pm.

For those who have not witness these celebration, it is advised that they do go and witness it for themselves because this ritual might be the last time we could witness the real life affairs of ‘Nguguoh’, which is a Pagan ritual done only in a few villages in Bau, in the occasion of ‘Gawea Podi’, or in general terms, Gawai.

Due to old age and conversion to other religions, the ritual of gawai is getting less performed. According to the elders, there’s only a few ‘tua gawea’ (leader of the ritual) around and they are being booked by villages who wish to do the ritual one year in advance. It is a very tiring process so most of these priests who are very old can’t manage it alone.

The climax of gawai is the ‘Nguguoh’, in which the ‘tua gawea’ and the elders (in white and red colourful tawuob), together with a group of ‘Dayung Borih’ (priestesses), wearing colourful ‘sipiah’, embroidered black tunics and skirts of rich brocade fabrics with traditional motifs, summons the rice goddess to feast upon the offerings that had been prepared, and to accept the thanks of the people for a good harvest. It is done around an altar, which is locally known as ‘bawal’. The event only begins at the wee hours in the morning and ends sometimes at 4.30am, which also marks the end of Gawai.

While most modern Bidayuh kampungs tend to celebrate Gawai the modern way nowadays, which is with live band performances, dancing (mejeng), and beauty pageants (Kumang Gawai), Kpg Grogo and a few other villages around Bau town have somewhat retained this aged pagan ritual despite most villages nearby already being unable to do so. The whole ritual which stands out the most during Gawai makes the village community somewhat proud of their Bidayuh roots.

Dayak Bidayuh Nasional Association (DBNA) could recreate the Gawai as a show just like other races in Sarawak. Though it is a dying event, DBNA under her leadership of Datu Ik Pahon Joyik and his charge still want it to go on at their headquarters at Jalan Kumpang in Kuching. The atmosphere might not be the same but that’s the least DBNA could do for this dying ceremony. Documentation of it in multimedia and printed materials will some how helps on the understanding of Gawai for our future generation.

As for the Iban communities at Rumah Niru Dandi at Bintangor, it starts with a ceremonial rite called Muai Antu Rua (to cast away the spirit of greed), signifying the non-interference of the spirit of bad luck in the festivity. A few elders and men each dragging a chapan (winnowing basket) will pass each family’s room. Every family will throw some unwanted article into the basket. The unwanted articles will be tossed to the ground from the end of the longhouse for the spirit of bad luck.

Around 6 pm or as the sun sets, offering (known as miring) rite will take place. Before the ceremony, ritual music (gendang rayah) is performed. The Feast Chief thanks the gods for the good harvest, and asks for guidance, blessings and long life as he waves a cockerel over the offerings. He then sacrifices the cockerel and a little blood is used together with the offerings.

Once the offering ceremony is done, dinner is then served at the ruai. Just before midnight, a procession up and down the ruai seven times called Ngalu Petara (welcoming the spirit god) is performed. During this procession, a beauty pageant to choose the festival’s queen and king (Kumang & Keling Gawai) is sometimes conducted. Meanwhile, drinks, traditional cakes and delicacies are served.

At midnight, the gong is beaten to call the celebrants to attention. The longhouse Chief (tuai rumah) or Gawai Festival Chief will lead everyone to drink the Ai Pengayu (normally tuak for long life) and at the same time wish each other “gayu-guru, gerai-nyamai” (long life, health and prosperity). The celebration now turns merrier and less formal. Some will dance to the traditional music played; others will sing the pantun (poems).

In urban areas, Dayaks will organise gatherings at community centres or restaurants to celebrate the evening.

Other activities that may follow the next few days include: cock-fighting matches, and blowpipe and ngajat competitions. On this day, 1st June, homes of the Dayaks are open to visitors and guests.

Traditionally, when guests arrive at a longhouse, they are given the ai tiki as a welcome. From time to time, guests are served tuak. This would be called nyibur temuai which literally means “watering of guests”.

Christian Dayaks normally attend a church mass service to thank God for the good harvest.

Gawai Dayak celebrations may last for several days and to that ‘We wish all Dayak ‘Selamat Hari Gawai, ‘Slamat onu gawea, Tara Tara Tara Ooooooooha!’ ‘Gayu Guru Gerai Nyamai, lantang senang nguan menua’.

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