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Galloping Horse @ Soft Opening - 31st January 2014

Monday, June 1, 2009

Selamat Ari Gawai

1 June. Not a big day for those who reside in Peninsular Malaysia but is is the big day for the local people of Sabah and Sarawak. For Sabahan, it will be Pesta Keamatan. As for Iban folks like me, it is the time to celebrate Gawai festival. The time to balik kampung. Back to my long house.

We started off our journey with this Hilux. This vehicle is tough enough to endure the bumpy ride that we about to have since we would be heading to the place which is far, far away from urbanization, with irregular road surface and surrounded by nature.
Too bad is that the capacity is not really adequate for a big family like me which have 5 siblings. Five of us have to squeeze ourselves real hard throughout the one hour and rocky ride.

The journey was too rocky till that I almost vomit and my head hit against the ceiling (do they call it "ceiling", by the way? I am not really sure.) Around one hour later, we finally reached the harbour or port or whatever-the-name-is where boats dock. My grandparents have been expecting us.

In Iban, we call this as "jelatung"

Get ready to sail
It has been a long while I didn't have a ride on a boat. The last one would be three years, I guess. The weather was kind of hot but it is also the best time to really enjoy the nature.

The boat ride was about 30 minutes and we finally there.

My long house
Well, it is not really long if to compare with other longhouse. Mine has only six rooms while others can have up to 50 or even hundred of rooms, which is very, very long, I would say. This is the place where my dad was raised since he was an infant. Imagine how long this long house has been there.

Till today, my long house still doesn't have constant supply of clean water and electricity. The residents here rely on generator for electricity. The generator is using oil to run. Although this place is out of civilization, we do depend on oil for daily usage, in the sense that we don't use much oil for transportation like the city people but we do need oil for other purposes. To save oil, there is no electricity during day time. Imagine how hot can it be. Those who are used to air-conditioned living room would keep on cursing throughout your stay here. But, there are long houses that do have constant electricity but not mine, unfortunately.

As for water, the source come from rain and river water. Life could be very hard if drought strikes, just like what is happening currently. It has been a while it didn't rain here. Sometimes we need to carry pails of water from the river everyday just for the sake of water. Of course, the river is also the place for us to take bath. Well, if you ask me, it will always be public bath. We do have bathroom indoor though.

This is the place we called as "Tanju".
I am not really sure the real function of this but my grandparents use to dry their rubber sheets here or their "belacan". You can say it is a drying spot. As you can see from the picture above, it can also a place for us to gather, eating coconut. :)

This is the part that connects all the rooms in the long house. This is the place when we are having reunion dinner. This is the place where the visitors will be when they come. This is the part that distinguish between typical terrace house in the city and long house.

View outside of long house

My grandparents rear pig. Meaning, they have pig farm. They are for sale for those who wish to buy them. When it comes to Gawai celebration, there would be a pig to be slaughtered. Poor pig.
Being tasty and cute at the same time is a curse.

A mobile shop that travels from house to house. This is where the residents buy their daily necessities. Well, they are not limited to this service only. The residents can also use boats to the nearest town to buy their stuff as well.

It was Gawai Eve. Me, my brother, my mother and my aunt went for mushroom hunting.

"Kulat buah"

The hunting was not easy as we were looking through the bushes in the middle of the jungle where exotic animals could come out and eat you up. No, joking only. But, mosquitoes are irresistible, and not to mention the scorching heat.

What is the name for this plant again?

Abandoned hut aka "langkau"

All the sweats. All the tiredness. All the pain. All the bites. Finally, this is the fruit of our labour. :)

Eventually, we had our boat ride back to our long house.

What I like when it comes to long house is the food. No, it is not only about pork, mind you. One of the food will be the prawn. My grandpa would always caught some river prawns and they are absolutely free. Somemore they come in big sizes. They are juicy. Yummy!

Another fact about me is that I love to eat sour stuff. The one below is one of them.

"Buah Maram"
Mixed together with "belacan" is nice. Enjoy the sour sensation in my tongue.

Preparation for GAWAI.

Christmas has its own Christmas tree. Gawai has its own tree which we call it as "ranyai". Foods and stuff would be hung on it instead of decoration.

I am not sure what is the name for this but every room will hang this up when it comes to Gawai.

This is will be a part of "miring". I think it is for sort of offering.

When the clock strikes twelve, which indicates 1 June has finally arrived, the residents usually will be drinking "ai pengayu" which means long-life drink. It is usually "tuak", rice-brewed wine. I don't drink though. Then, there would be a reunior dinner (midnight supper) for every resident in the house at "ruai".

After that, the old folks or even some of the grown-ups will be dancing "Ngajat", surrounds the "ranyai".

With the knife in the hand, they would cut the stuff off from the tree while they are performing their dances.

I am yet to learn "ngajat" though. In this modern times, some of the latest entertainment has become a part of the celebration. One example will be "poco-poco".

Others may include karaoke, modern dancing and so on. Even now "ngajat' is accompanied by music from player instead of traditional musical instrument.

Anyhow, I still like the sounds produced by the musical instrument the best. It is more original and real, to hear it live.



"tawak" & "bendai"

The compilation of these instruments will produce a music which is known as "Taboh Iban". I have included a short clip of the music if you wish to listen to them.

Guess that's all I can say about my celebration this year. I admit there are still lots for me to explore more about my own culture as I am not really well exposed to these. If you ask me, there are still stuff that I don't really know.

Anyway, I am glad that Gawai can bring all the family members to gather together in on occasion, no matter how far where do they live. They will always come together in one house to celebrate the festival. It is all about family. :)


DeePo said...

dini menua kita?? but im sure it's not from kapit...bcoz bunyi taboh kita lain...hehe

Steward Baba said...

Different places different bunyi kah? I thot is the same everywhere.

Bak Labang menoa kami, Sungai San. Sebauh area, I would say.

DeePo said... like mine (which is in kapit) is really different with menua ili like yours....menua ulu the sound more original. if u listen to in saratok or sri aman area, their sound more or less like us....

i think that stuff (iya ke nadai nama nya) is for gawai kenyalang....

it just hornbill-carved wood if you open the pua kumbu...

i have that one back in my rmh late grandpa had his own gawai kenyalang 10 years ago...if not mistaken...

Steward Baba said...

Oh, I see. About the pua kumbu, I never dare to open it. donno the pantang larang which can and cannot touch. haha