WELCOME MESSAGES FROM THE PEOPLE OF TANSANG KENYALANG
My Dear Visitors,
To begin with, here is a quote from my former Canadian peace-corp teacher at SMK Saribas, Debak – year 1969:
“The world’s diverse languages should be spoken, celebrated, and preserved…… If nothing is done, these languages and their cultures will die; the result will be an unprecedented loss of linguistic and cultural diversity over the course of this century. But what actually is lost – not only to scholars but also to the world as a whole? Since every language has within it a unique world view and culture, when it dies, we lose something which can never be replaced – among other things, of course, traditional knowledge, history and wisdom“….
Sheldon Shaeffer, The Director of UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education
This portal is themed “The House of Sengalang Burong“, and it is dedicated in honor of Aki Lang Sengalang Burong, the Iban God of War and all the people of “Tansang Kenyalang“. According to the tales and legend of the Iban people of Borneo, Tansang Kenyalang (which literally means “Hornbill’s nest”) is the abode of Bidok Linggar Natar Disenggal Gumbang Besabong, Aki Jugu Menaul Tuntong, Aki Lang Sengalang Burong, which is located in the dome of the sky (datai ari salepai langit landai, baka bingkai gelong tibang). He takes the shape of a Brahminy Kite (or haliastur indus as pictured above) in his earthly appearance to man. He was the eldest of the seven siblings, five boys (Sengalang Burong, Menjaya Raja Manang, Selampandai, Gangga Ganggai or Anda Mara and Raja Sempulang Gana) and two girls (Bhiku Bunsu Petara and Ini Inee), born to a fable hero, Raja Jembu.
Aki Lang Sengalang Burong is also known by his praise name as “Earth Tremor that shakes the land and causes a full moon to fell down. Second name is Mangkok Berambing, which gave drink to demon Nising who collapsed and became unconcious (Rentap Tanah Belinggang Menoa, Sedan-Sedan Naban Ka Bulan Tanggar Peranama. Kedua bali nama Bejulok Mangkok Berambing, Kena numi Nising ke luput enda ngeleda)”.
In true Iban tradition, visitors are welcomed with true Iban hospitality. As your host, our ever-popular bard, Lemambang Sampang Gading, has been tasked, on behalf of Sengalang Burong and the people of Tansang Kenyalang, to welcome you by waving a rooster above your head and pray:
“I wave this rooster above your head, Praying to God and the holy spirits, To grant all of us good health, happiness and peace. If your omen is bad, this rooster will make it good. If it is good, this rooster will make it better still.”
“Aku miau kai manok tu, minta ngagai Petara, ngasoh kitai gerai nyamai lantang senang. Enti burong kita jai, manok tu ngasoh iya manah. Enti burong kita manah, manok tu ngasoh iya manah agi.”
As you proceed to my house, you’ll be served “Ai Aus“ to quench your thirst, followed by “Ai Untong“ as our gratitude for your presence and “Ai Basu“ to cleanse your soul, ease your worried mind and to make yourself feels comfortable in our humble home. The drinks you’re served with are made from the best rice grains selected from this year harvest and prepared by our most skillful maidens. If you come to attend a major festival to my longhouse, I would have my team of Raja Berani (most trusted and senior warriors) to perform ngerandang jalai dance to secure the path you are walking in. Then I command my Bujang Berani (junior and tested warriors) to perform the ngelalau dance to build a spiritual fence around you to protect your soul from straying away so that you may fully enjoy the auspicious occasion. Then I would, once again, wave a rooster above your head to bless you for your well being. I will then serve you with our “Ai Basa“, served by skillful and beautiful maidens to convey my respect and gratitude for your presence in our humble home.
These are just a tip of the Iban hospitality and this goes to show a true Iban people have a lot of respect for people and would avoid words that could cause disrespect for people or invoke the wrath of God. We Iban people believe that every living thing have spirit of their own and deserved to be treated with respect. Even the enemy skull hanging above our heads are fully respected and ceremoniously brought to the greatest Iban bird festival, praised (timang) by our bards and displayed as prized possession. Our ancestor Bejie learned a fatal lesson when he ignored the termites and honey bear to his Tangga Bejie Project Kick-off meeting.
Visitors to my simple home is expected to show respect and proper conduct to the house owner and everything therein, no matter how humble they may look. The practice of humility, politeness and respect is always appreciated in an Iban longhouse. I welcome any comment, either critique or appreciation, in good faith. It will be appreciated to keep the house in order and better. No one is perfect and there can never be any perfect answer. We just want to enjoy the pleasure of learning and hearing from each other. Please e-mail me personally to firstname.lastname@example.org for your views. We may get to know each other better, no matter where we are in this world. Who knows, we might share the same root or origin and become kaban-belayan of which I believe most Ibans are.
This cyber portal serves as a window to the Iban world. Here you may learn, discuss and have better understanding of the Iban Cultural Heritage. As one of the major ethnic tribe in the island of Borneo and very well known brutal headhunters of the past, the Ibans are culturally and socially often misunderstood people as being backward and uncivilized. A peek into our cultural heritage and history will give a better understanding of how our society have survived, developed and functioned. Readers must understand that there are many more areas of Iban cultural heritage, language, traditions and histories that still needed to be researched on and explored. The information you find here is not an absolute reference material for academic pursuit. Other source of published material, journals, research or studies is required for further cross-references and analysis. Any contributors to this website is very much welcomed and appreciated.
Nyadi jerita aku ditu enda alah ditelah ngena dilah baruh raang,
Enda ulih ditunda enggau sula dabong jarang.
Jerita aku tu amat maioh ari beloh danau langkang,
Banyak ari lemetak tinting kedang,
Nyampau jako randau ke bangat maioh dikenang.
Jerita aku ditu panjai enda alah di japai nemuai sahari,
Enda alah di tusi ari lemai nyentuk ka pagi,
Nemuai lantang meh kita akan ngambi penemu jadi pegari.
Nya alai……. Lalu meh Akan, Lalu, anang malu,
Rumah pandak aku tu enda kala dientak ka remak pagar api,
Rumah panjai aku tu enda kala megai penti pemali,
Rumah panjang aku tu enda kala di-indang Manang Menani,
Rumah aku tu nadai kala di-imbai bangkai pemati.
Our warmest welcome to you all.
Aki Lang Menaul Buban,
Gregory Nyanggau Mawar
And the people of Tansang Kenyalang
FAREWELL NOTE TO MY GUESTS:
Enti kita nyau nyadoh ka tuboh bebai pulai nandang,
Anang kita enda ngelua ka belili leka dabong raang,
Engkah ka kita atas chapak ke lelidak atas tikai,
Awak ka dikena aku nyabang ubat pandai.
Enti tusoi aku ditu bisi salah enda manah,
Anang kita mantah enggau dilah dabong landai.
Anang Kita ngemalu ka tudah aku di lempedu tangkai kamai.
Laban aku endang enda tau ngelulu ka kita ngena jako nyampau dirintai.
Aku ga semina nampong jako orang ke dulu udah danjan,
Ngagai batang Mandai Rawan.
Aku ga endang deka nguji nitih ka ripih adat Iban,
Niti-nali nampong adat sida Aki Lang Menaul Buban.
Enggau tu aku arap ka kita Gayu-guru ko Sentuku,
Gerai-nyamai ko Selampandai,
Nadai apa, nadai nama ko Petara.
Kitai tu sama-sama nampok ngagai Tuchong Rabong Benama,
Ngambika kitai jelai rita nguan menoa.
Terima Kasih ngagai samoa kita ti rindu ka penemu lama,
Arap ka kitai tau batemu jemah ila.
In special memory of:
My Late Uncle Benedict Sandin Anak Attat
My Late Father Lionel Frederick Mawar Anak Attat
Special thanks also goes to a family friend:
Prof. Clifford Sather
Thank you all for your pioneering works and encouragement to preserve our Iban traditional knowledge, history, culture and wisdom…. and for putting the studies of Iban history, tradition, language and culture to a higher and wider academic perspectives … GNMawar
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