The eight omen bird, Nendak (pictured above), whose earthly manefestation is white rumped shama – copsychus malabaricus is a poor hanger-on rather than a relation, carries omen of considerably less importance. He is the son of Sibal Ibal, who live in the valley at the foot of the waterfall, along streams surrounded by trees (Sibal Ibal ke diau di lebak banchak wong, di sungai rintai lulong).
Praise name (Ensumbar or julok):
One whose breast is red and whose back is white, which has spot around his waist (bedada masak belakang burak, ke bepantak ngarong ka punggong or Tangkal Puting Pemanggai or Berani agi biak, Sungkak Papan Ladong).
Charm which blinds the wild boar used by men to set trap around the animal track (engkerabun jani kena orang meti ngelingi sepan, lak ka jelu jampat nan). A charm that would stop an animal on his track and quickly brought to bay. This charm is also used to blind the enemy during raids or asmbush.
Interpretation of Nendak as Omen Bird:
1. If a Nendak bird flies close to you when you are cutting the bush in your farm, it is not a good omen, as it acts as a messenger to tell you that you will be fined by another man with whom you have a dispute.
2. If you are on a journey, but have just left your house when a Nendak bird flies directly across the road from the left to right (ngeraup), it is not a satisfactory omen. It is known as raup moa malu, an omen which foretells that something will cause you to feel ashamed (malu) that day or sometime during your trip.
3. If the Nendak bird flies across the path on which you are traveling from the right hand side at the midway point of your journey to another person’s house, it is a good omen, raup ulih, which indicates that you will get anything you want during the trip. This kind of omen is also excellent if you see it on your way to work in your padi field.
4. If you see a Nendak bird fly from the left side of the road towards your right in front of you (raup) as you go to cut the bush on your padi land, it is also an unfavorable omen, the same as if you see it fly in the same direction when you leave the longhouse on the way to your farm. This particular omen is known as raup rau and foretells that you will be empty handed at the end of the year, i.e. an indication of your bad harvest.
5. If after you have finished clearing (nebas) your farm, you see the Nendak bird fly from your right hand side to your left, it is not a good omen. It predicts that someone will exceed you in obtaining more padi at the end of the year. But if you see it fly from the same direction at the end of the path to your farm, it is a good omen, known as raup ulih, which indicates that you will get a lot of padi that year.
6. If you see the Nendak bird fly from the right side of the path towards your left (mimpin), it is more effective than the raup indications mentioned in No. 5 above.
7. When you are traveling to your farm in order to start your first harvest (matah), and you see a Nendak bird fly from the right side of the road towards the left (mimpin), it is not a very good omen. It indicates that your harvest at the end of the year will be very slow.
8. If a Nendak bird flies from the end of the longhouse into the building, it is. an omen which bears the message that one of the young men of the house will soon be fined for having sexual intercourse with a woman in another village who has now conceived and will claim that the young man is the father of her unborn child.
9. If you and your spouse pay a first visit to the latter’s house after your, marriage and if you hear the voice of a Nendak bird from the right side of the road, it predicts that you will have a number of male children in the future. If you hear its voice from your left hand side it indicates you will have more daughters than sons.
10. If as you go to hunt or fish, you hear the voice of a Nendak bird from the right side of the road, and later you hear the voice of Beragai from the left side of the road, they indicate that your carrying baskets will be filled to the rim with the meat or fish you will bring home that day.
11. If you are going to collect honey from a bee tree and, as you come near the tree, you hear the voice of a Nendak bird on the left hand side of the road, it is a good omen, and indicates that you will collect a large amount of honey and young bees.
12. If you hear the voice of a Nendak bird from the right hand side on the way to collect honey from a bee tree, it is also a very good omen which indicates success.
13. If when you leave your house to collect honey, you hear the voice of a Nendak bird from the left side of the road it predicts a heavy rainfall which may cause the climbers to be unable to climb the tapang tree.
14. If as you move into a new longhouse you hear the voice of Nendak birds thrice, one from the right hand side of the road and the others from the left, they are good omens. They predict that you will be healthy while living in this building.
If the households have all settled in the new building when the voice of jaloh is heard, it is also a very good omen, as it means that they will be as safe as if they are living in a house made of stone, and malevolent spirits may not see them or endanger their lives.
It should be added that the voice of a Nendak bird is primary for strengthening omen and reinforces the message carried by the calls of the other augural birds. Its voice, when heard alone, is significant and is mainly used as burong kena bejalai, an omen for travel. Its flight is considered to be a more powerful portent, but only when it is raup or pimpin should it be respected by staying away from farm work for a day; never otherwise.
By Gregory Nyanggau Mawar
Uchu Sengalang Burong