EARLY IBAN MIGRATIONS – Part 2
Migration to south-west Sarawak.
When a number of Iban had settled along the upper Merakai River in Indonesian Borneo, a chief named Gelungan and his followers moved out from that area and settled in the hills of Balau Ulu situated between the Merakai and Undup watersheds. Following their settlement another chief named Langkup came out of Merakai with his followers to settle in the mid Undup River.
After the arrival of these two groups of Iban in the Undup another chief named Jelian came out of Merakai with his followers and settled at Wong Empangu on the lower Undup. Soon after Jelian and his followers had settled at Wong Empangu, Gelungan and his people left the Balau Ulu hills and moved down the Undup and the Batang Lupar to settle at Balau Hi hill which is situated between the modern town of Simanggang and the Lingga River. Because they had twice lived near hills of the same name, they called themselves the Balau Dayaks, even though they came originally from the same area as other Iban groups in Sarawak.
At this time Langkup migrated down the Undup with his followers. Nothing much is known of this chief other than that he married a woman who was also named Langkup. Due to this coincidence of names, which is forbidden by Iban matrimonial law, Langkup’s wife’s name had to be changed and she was later called Lemok. All of these chiefs were pioneers of the Undup, one of the right tributaries of the Batang Lupar River.
At Balau Ili hill Gelungan married a woman named Sendi, the only daughter of a chief named Dendan of Sebuyau. After this marriage Gelungan led some of his followers down the Batang Lupar to settle at Balu Sebuyau near the mouth of the Batang Lupar River. It was because they settled at this place that they came to call themselves the Sebuyau Dayaks, though they, too, have the same origin as other Iban.
From the Sebuyau tributary, Gelungan again migrated westward with his followers to the lower Sadong river. Finally, after he had lived in various places in the Sadong, Gelungan died of old age. After the death of her husband, Sendi was told in a dream by goddess Kumang to look in the Skrang for a man named Guang to be her husband. Similarly Guang, a widower of the Enteban, Skrang, learned in a dream from the goddess Kumang to accept a wife named Sendi who would come from far away in order to marry him.
After she had had this dream, Sendi went by boat paddled by her slaves to the Skrang to look for Guang. She left her children by Gelungan behind at Sadong. When Sendi married the widower Guang, their marriage violated a prohibition known as Ngemulu Antu and could not take place until they had paid the fines demanded by custom to the local chief to prevent subsequent misfortune.
After Sendi had married Guang of Skrang some of Gelungan’s followers migrated westward from Sadong and settled at Merdang Lumut, Merdang Limau and Merdang Gayam along the Semarahan River. From these places they moved again, settling eventually at Tabuan4 near the modern town of Kuching and at Sungai Tanju.
Some decades before the first visit of James Brooke to Sarawak in 1839, a Sebuyau Chief named Nyambong, due to his enmity with the Saribas Iban, migrated from the Batang Lupar to the Lundu River, not far from the western boundary of Sarawak with Indonesian Borneo at Cape Datu.
After Nyambong’s death he was succeeded as chief of the community by his son Jugah who, from the beginning of Brooke rule in Sarawak, helped the Rajah fight the Saribas and Skrang Iban of the Second Division. During one of these expeditions, in this case against Linggir “Mali Lebu” of the Paku in August, 1849, Jugah lost two of his sons, Bunsi and Tujang
Balau and Sebuyau Iban.
In addition to the descendants of Gelungan and Sendi and other Iban who settled in the Lingga and Sebuyau rivers of the lower Batang Lupar, another chief named Blassan moved from Tapang Peraja in the Katungau River, migrating to the Sebuyau not far from the mouth of the Batang Lupar river. Here he had his people clear land for their farms up the Sebuyau River as far as the Lintah stream. When Blassan died he was succeeded by his son-in-law, Entri who continued to fell more forest for padi fields as far as Tembawai Panjai. Here he died of old age. After the death of Entri, Dangu succeeded him as chief, and felled still more virgin forest around Tembawai Panjai. He was killed when he joined “Ijau Lang” and his warriors when they fought against the Saribas Iban under Unal “Bulan” at Plassan, near the mouth of the Saribas river. This occurred after Jame Brooke had been proclaimed Rajah of Sarawak.
After Dangu’s death, Bugih succeeded him as chief. He led his people to fell the virgin jungle on the left bank of the Sebuyau River as far as the Simunjan and the Semabang watersheds. After this, he and his people lived at Langgong Brikok where Bugih died of old age. Bugih was succeeded as chief by Demong. The latter was succeeded by Saga who was still living with his people at Sabangan some fifteen years ago.
At about the same time as when Blassan migrated to the Sebuyau in the lower Batang Lupar, two Iban leaders named Nyanggau and Bara journeyed from Tapang Peraja, on the Ketungau river of Kalimantan Barat, to Temudok of the Dau Engkerebang. After they had lived for many years at Temudok they moved westward to Melugu where they lived in two separate longhouses. Bara lived at Tembawai Tinting and Nyanggau at the Riang stream. From Tembawai Tinting, Bara moved to Tembawai Empang on the Engkeramut stream while Nyanggau died at Sungai Riang.
Together with other Iban groups, the Balau migrated from Indonesian Borneo to Sarawak and settled at Bukit Balau at the head of the Undup River. From Balau hill, this community moved down to Kelasin under their chief Sambas. While living at this settlement, they were continually attacked by the Kantu Dayaks from the Indonesian side of the border. After Sambas died, his son Juntang became chief and led his followers to settle at Dau in Indonesian Borneo, a region already settled by the Dau Iban mentioned in Part 1. Due to the fact that the region was already settled by the Dau Iban, Juntang and his followers soon returned to the Sarawak side of the border and finally settled at Batu Besai at the foot of the Kalingkang range. After they had been settled for many decades they moved down to live at Selepong. From there, they moved to Tunggal and then to Langgong, where they lived for only a few years. From Langgong they migrated to the upper reaches of the Lingga River. From these settlements some moved to a place called Bangunan, while another group lived at Repak Tepus. From the latter settlement, Juntang and his followers moved westward and settled at Abok. Here Juntang died of old age.
After Juntang’s death, his son Ali became chief. The people under him divided up. Ali led his followers to the upper Sadong region, others moved to Muding and Merai, while some remained at Abok. It was while Ali and his followers were living in the Ulu Sadong, that James Brooke was proclaimed Rajah of Sarawak. Ali was very loyal to the Brooke Raj. At Ulu Sadong Ali’s followers again separated. Some of them dispersed to Sebat, Sungai Pinang, Keruin and Nyelitak where their descendants are still living to this day. After Ali died, he was succeeded by his son Ringkai as chief. When Jawa died he was succeeded by his son Penghulu Mulok who resigned only a few years ago at the expiration of a five years’ term as Penghulu.
While Ali was living in the Sadong another Balau Iban leader, Ijau anak Busut, lived at Empili. The latter, through his grandmother, Nagi, who married Jambai, was descended from Gelungan and his wife Sendi. Before they moved to the lower Batang Lupar, Jambai and his wife Nagi lived at Kumpang on the middle Batang Ai. But after Jambai had died at Kumpang, his son Busut moved to Empili in the Sadong where he died of old age. He was succeeded as chief by his son Ijau “Lang” who led the Iban of the Sadong in the early days of Brooke rule.
It happened that in Ijau’s time, one of his men murdered another Iban named Kilat. This murder was reported by the victim’s relatives to the Rajah at Kuching. On receiving the report, the Rajah personally led a small expedition to punish Ijau, the chief of the region. But when his force reached Empili, the Rajah noticed a white flag flown by Ijau as a sign of peace. Therefore a compromise was reached and no skirmish took place, as Ijau assured the Rajah of his loyalty. Before he left Empili for his way home, the Rajah presented iron cannon to Ijau to cement his loyalty. Today the cannon is at Beti’s house at Nyelitak on the Ulu Sadong river.
After he had officially submitted to the Brooke Raj, Ijau and his family and followers left Sadong to settle at Banting in the Lingga tributary of the Batang Lupar. While he was here, he was continually at war with the Saribas and Skrang Iban. At last, in one of these wars, he was killed by Unal “Bulan” and his Saribas fighters at Plassan near the mouth of the Saribas River. Because of his death, his son-in-law Janting attacked Rimbas in the Saribas that same year.
Another version of this history is that when the Iban came out of the Kapuas basin and migrated to Sarawak, they first settled at Bukit Balau Ulu in the head¬waters of the Undup River. While they were still living in the Undup near Bukit Balau Ulu they and the Dau Iban were continually attacked by the Malays and the Skrang Iban, so that at last they fled away to the Lingga, Banting and Bukit Balau Hill below Simanggang.
While living at Bukit Balau Hill, some of them lived under a chief named Peranti whose house contained only ten families. When this house was demolished, Peranti led his followers to live at Selanjan, where he died of old age. After his death, his nephew Jali succeeded him as chief, and led his people to live at Sabemban, while others lived with the Dau Iban in the Empelanjan, Engkeramut and Selepong longhouses. When Jali died his son Aban became chief and was succeeded by Mambang, who when he died was succeeded by his son Jeritan, the present headman of Sabemban longhouse.
Iban migration from Indonesian Borneo through Kumpang.
While Iban leaders such as Jelian, Gelungan and Langkup were leading their followers on migrations into Sarawak through the Undup tributary, other leaders led migrations into the Batang Ai through the Kumpang, a tributary which joins the Batang Ai above Engkelili.
The first chief who led his followers to descend the Kumpang was Lanong. As he was the first migration leader to enter the new country, and he and his people settled permanently on the banks of Kumpang. They called themselves the Kumpang Dayaks.
Another chief who led his followers to migrate to Sarawak from Indonesian Borneo and used this route was Medan. He and his people first settled temporarily in the Kumpang but later moved down to Sengkarong below Engkilili. Medan was a famous ancestor of the Belambang people who to the present-day live in the area lying between the Kumpang and Undup tributaries of the Batang Lupar. They were followed by Ambau (not Pateh Ambau) who came later with Kanyong and settled at Tanjong Melarang, and Semalanjat who settled at Bungkap. The latter is a well known ancestor of the Bengap Dayaks.
From the Tiang Laju range Gunggu led his people to settle at Meriu near Engkilili. At this place they separated; some settled with the Belambang below Engkilili and others went to the Lemanak River, a right tributary of the Batang Lupar whose mouth is not far below Engkelili.
The early Ulu Ai, Skrang and Lemanak Iban.
A few decades after the Undup stream had been settled by Iban under Gelungan, Jelian and Langkup, the two leaders Meringgai and Manggai moved down the Undup and went up the Skrang to settle at the mouth of the Tisak stream and at the middle of Skrang river respectively. At this time the mouth of the Skrang was already settled by Lau Moa and his followers who had come from the Sadong and lower Batang Lupar. He was probably one of the followers of Sera Bungkok who had moved from Cape Datu to settle at the mouth of the Rajang River with his brother Senaun, the father of Tugau, the Melanau ancestor. After Manggi and Meringai had migrated to the Skrang, many more migration leaders came from the Batang Ai and Undup, such as Guang who settled at Nanga Enteban, Entigar at Nanga Belaai, Chaong at Tanjong Lipat and Sudok and his brother Malang at Lubok Numpu and later Manggai (see below) and Tindin the son of Chaong who migrated to the Saribas to join his daughter Rinda, who married Demong the son of the Bukitan chief Entinggi of the Paku.
In the Batang Ai, a certain chief at Seremat named Bau married Selangka (f) by whom he begot Chandu (f), Sentu (f), Buja, Mawan, Pagan, Gemong and Lanyi (f). After Chandu had married Gallau, the son of Mawar Biak of Entanak, Saribas, her brothers and sisters left Seremat to migrate up and down the Batang Lupar. Niok, her husband and children moved to Nanga Lubang Baya in the upper Ai. It was from here that their descendants, Naga and Sumping migrated to the Kanyau in Kalimantan and from here later migrated to the Katibas to become the first Iban to settle in that river. After their death they were succeeded as chiefs of the Rejang Iban by their descendants Unggat, Matahari, Gerinang and Keling, ancestors of the recent Penghulus Jinggut, Kumbong and Jimbun of the Baleh.
Mawan and his children migrated to the Ulu Lingga and settled with the Dau and Balau Dayaks, while Buja and his family moved to the upper Ai to settle at Nanga Buie. Their brother Sentu moved down the Batang Ai to live at Nanga Kumpang, while another brother named Gemong moved up the river to live in the Delok tributary. Pagan lived at the Mepi stream. He was the ancestor of Rabai, the wife of the famous Batang Ai war leader, the late Penghulu Ngumbang of Mepi.
Geographically Lemanak country is located between the areas settled by the Batang Ai and Batang Skrang Iban. Due to its location, the people of Lemanak suffered incessant hardship because of conflicts between the people of Skrang and the Batang Ai, who fought in the Lemanak country. For this reason the Lemanak was never fully populated by the Iban. Many times, when the Batang Ai warriors failed in attacking the Skrangs, or vice versa, war parties simply satisfied them¬selves by killing the defenseless Lemanak Iban. In the early days of Brooke rule, when the Batang Ai chief Ngumbang quarrelled with Genam of the Skrang, the people who suffered most from the quarrel were the Lemanaks. Similarly when Saang the nephew of Linggir “Mali Lebu” of Paku murdered the Seriang Iban, the Iban of Lemanak also suffered considerably, since the Seriang and the Saribas Iban fought each other in their country in the 1870s.
Due to these endless hardships, the Lemanak Iban migrated to other rivers without the knowledge of their own leaders, and settled apart from each other in the Kanowit, Julau and Nyelong rivers. The majority of them settled in the lower Julau. On their way to these rivers, they often stopped one or two years in the upper Saribas to farm the Layar peoples’ lands. But because the Saribas country was fully inhabited since the days of Patinggi Ngadan, there was no more room for these unsettled Lemanak Iban to live permanently; so they left for the Rejang area.
Early in this century when Ngumbang and Bantin attacked the Lemanak Iban at Sebiau, they killed or captured seventy-two of them. Because of this defeat, Apai Jelema and his followers migrated to the Sabelak where they settled with their friends who had worked as fortmen at Kubong in the 1880s. The latter had settled at Roban, in the Sabelak, a right tributary of the Krian River.
Patinggi Gurang of Kayong
Patinggi Gurang, a Sumatran ancestor, was a famous nobleman of Kayong. He lived not far from the present-day city of Pontianak in Indonesian Borneo and was a fisherman. One day when he returned from fishing, he discovered his golden mascot was stolen. He became worried and asked his young son, Patinggi Ngadan, to search for it at once.
One day he again went to fish in the sea. While fishing he found a kedundong fruit caught in his net. Since his arrival in Kalimantan he had never before seen such a fruit. So he picked it up and on arriving home that evening, instead of eating it, he threw the fruit to the ground below the house so that it might grow.
The kedundong tree sprouted and grew very fast so that it soon overshadowed the whole of the Kayong village. On seeing this the Kayongians decided to fell the tree. They cut at it but their adzes could not fell it. They tried again and again to cut it down using many kinds of iron axes. But none even scratched the tree’s bark. Finally one man thought of cutting it with an axe made of lead, and with it he felled the kedundong tree very easily.
After the tree had been felled, Patinggi Gurang again sent his young son Patinggi Ngadan to search for the lost golden mascot.12 Ngadan did so going from village to village up and down the great Kapuas river. But he could find no trace of the stolen mascot.
Having become discouraged in his search of the Kapuas region, Ngadan walked overland to Sadong (now in Sarawak) to find out whether anyone there had any knowledge of the theft of his father’s mascot. None knew of it, so he continued his wandering overland to the Batang Lupar River. There too he secretly enquired about the theft.
Failing to discover anything as to its whereabouts, Ngadan continued his wandering by boat from the Batang Lupar to the Saribas river. In the Saribas he stayed temporarily at Plassan. From there he again moved on and stayed the night at Tanjong Orang Taui, which is also known as Tanjong Rangka or Tanjong Pendam. From there, he paddled up to a place where he met a man named Talap making a canoe at the mouth of the Ban stream below the present town of Belong. Upon meeting Talap, Ngadan enquired the extent of land he owned up the river. Talap told him that all the lands passed by the wood chips he had cut from the boat he was fashioning belonged to him. Ngadan was pleased to hear this, and so he stopped paddling. His boat was only drifting up the river following the flowing tide.
When he reached a certain place called Bangai, the tide turned. Because of this Ngadan moored his boat and at the same time fixed his boundary with Talap at this point. It was and is still followed to this day by the peoples of Pasa and those of the Layar.
After mooring his boat, Ngadan took his flints to strike a fire. As he struck them, one of the flints fell into the river and at once miraculously became a huge boulder, still known to this day as Batu Api. This boulder still serves to remind all generations in the Layar that it was and is forever the boundary between the lands belonging to the descendants of Patinggi Ngadan and those belonging to the descendants of Talap.
Patinggi Ngadan built his house here. On the site of this house he planted a durian tree which is still growing on the spot to this day. Some seventy years ago, when the Dayaks and Malays quarrelled over farming lands along the Layar River, the latter claimed that this durian tree was theirs. They lost the case, as it was truly planted by Patinggi Ngadan, who was an ancestor of the Dayaks.
Some years afterward, Patinggi Ngadan left this house to live at Tanjong Berundang, which was and is still known as Kubur Lunyai, opposite the present Skuyat village. In the olden days this place was also called Lubok Binsang Pupong Langang. After living here for sometime, he moved upriver to settle at Batu Lintang.
While he was living here, life was very dangerous. No one dared bathe alone in the Layar River, due to the many crocodiles that lived in the river at that time. And no men dared to wander freely in the forests, due to the many tigers that roamed there. To overcome these difficulties Patinggi Ngadan and his followers made a safe bathing place slightly inside the Batu Lintang stream.
Some years after they had lived at Batu Lintang, one morning Patinggi Ngadan’s sister named Nara went to take her bath in the stream. On the way she saw a shell armlet (simpai rangki’) lying on the roadside. When she came home she told Patinggi about it. The latter strongly advised her not to touch it, for it was surely a tiger’s lure, or bait (taju remaung).
On the next morning as she was again going to bathe, she saw a different kind of armlet lying at the same spot. Again, she told her brother. On the next day, when she passed the same spot to bathe, she saw a long type of pelaga and other kinds of beads left lying in the same place. The armlets she saw the previous days were no longer there. She again related the story to her brother.
Finally on the fourth day, as she passed the same spot, instead of seeing beads and armlets as before, she saw lensat and sibau fruits lying on the roadside. She moved them with her foot, in order that children would not see and carry them away. When she told Patinggi Ngadan about this, he scolded her.
“You should not touch nor have anything to do with these fruit”, said her brother angrily.
“It was merely because I was afraid that the children might come and attempt to carry them away”, replied Nara sadly.
“If you really have touched them”, answered Patinggi, “You are now exposed to misfortune (puni), because you have had contact with a lure”.
Due to this, Patinggi Ngadan presently called for his slaves to cut down all of the banana plants at Emperan Tabau which was situated slightly below the village landing place. From their stalks Patinggi’s slaves erected a stockade in which Nara was hidden. The fence of the stockade was strongly lined with seven rows of stalks stacked on one another. It was then fully covered with seven layers of Iban woven blankets (pua’ kumbu’).
After Nara had been secured inside the stockade, at dark there came a tiger from the direction of Bangat Hills. Its roars were heard by all the people of the region. After it had stopped roaring, the ground around the stockade was shaken and the stockade broken. Those who stood guard nearby stabbed the tiger with their spears and shot it with their blowpipe, until the tiger was killed.
A tiny scratch made by the tiger on Nara’s body became an incurable wound, which caused her to remain unmarriageable all the days of her life.
Soon after this happening, Patinggi Ngadan went to inspect his lands up the Layar river. As he sprinkled the river banks, the gravel-beds, the mumban and the meruju trees with holy water, he said, “If any person, who is not of my descent, poisons the fish in this river, let no fish be stupefied and die.”
It was due to this prayer of Patinggi Ngadan that whenever tuba-fishing is performed in the Layar River, a man of his direct line is called to spill the poisonous tuba into the river to make it effective.
Patinggi Ngadan went upriver as far as Kerangan Patinggi (Patinggi’s gravel-bed) where he cut notches in a belian tree trunk. This belian trunk still remains there to this day and is known as Tras Tangkal Patinggi.
Sometime afterwards Patinggi Ngadan heard the news that Sampar of Penebak in the Ulu Layar wanted to migrate down to live in his land. Being certain of this, he arranged his slaves to hang one ringka and one selabit basket from poles at the mouth of a stream opposite the Tras Tangkal Patinggi. It is due to this that this stream is known as Sungai Ringka. Patinggi made clear to Sampar in this way that if he attempted to settle in his land downriver, he would either fight or fine him for migrating there without his consent. When Sampar heard this, he dismissed the idea of migrating. As a matter of fact, Patinggi moved down from Batu Lintang to live at Nanga Jaloh or Lupa which was about five miles down the river.
In the tusut genealogies it is remembered that Patinggi Ngadan married Lamentan and they begot a daughter Bata and a son Labun. Labun married Sansi and begot a son Jegera. After his marriage, Labun separated from his followers in his father’s house and found a new settlement at Lupa which was situated seven hundred yards down¬river.
Eventually, the people of these two villages started their traditional game of cock-fighting at a place between their longhouses. They held these cock-fights day after day. After the cocks had all been killed, they fought the hens, and after the hens had all died, they fought their eggs. In his sleep one night, Patinggi dreamed of meeting a spirit of a cock who told him that as they had been excessively cruel to the fowls, they too would suffer the same fate by dying disastrously.
A few days after this dream, a large kite was seen flying and swooping over the roofs of their two longhouses. The inhabitants became sick and died in due course, until there were not enough able-bodied survivors left to bury the corpses of those who had perished. Due to this disastrous epidemic, the survivors fled away and the villages became rotten. Their sites in later years became two large burial grounds called Pendam Lupa and Pendam Jaloh respectively.
Malays and Iban in the Saribas.
Rusak was a grandson of Jelian of the Undup. He migrated with his people to the Paku after Tindin and his followers had already settled in the area. The story of Tindin, who was mentioned at the beginning of Part Two, was told in a book called Sea Dayaks of Borneo (1967a). When he came he settled at Nanga Sekundong. Shortly after he had come to live in the Paku, Rusak heard that a group of people was living far away downriver, near the mouth of the Saribas. Anxious to know who they were, he went downriver in his canoe to meet them. When he came to Nanga Luba, a few miles below Nanga Paku, he stopped owning to the strong tide.
As he was sitting in his canoe, he heard someone coming upriver in a boat, traveling with the tide. Seeing the stranger, he asked where he was going. The man replied that he came from the sea (laut) and was heading upriver to meet the Dayaks. Rusak told him that he was a Dayak himself, going downriver to see the Lugu. Hearing this, a man asked Rusak how far downriver the land belonged to the Dayaks, Rusak told him that as Nanga Luba was the first meeting place of Dayak and “Laut” (Malay), the same spot would become their future boundary. The man agreed to this and said that forever the Laut would settle downriver and the Dayaks, upriver. After this meeting of Rusak and the Lugu, who later became Malays, the Iban of the Saribas have called the Malays “Laut”.
Some time after this meeting another group of Iban under the leadership of Manggi came to live amongst the Lugu at the mouth of the Saribas. Manggi bad migrated from the Undup to Sungai Tisak near the mouth of the Skrang. He had gone from the Tisak to Ulu Maludam and down the Maludam to the sea.
Several decades after Rusak had met the Lugu, Temenggong Kadir came to Semaruang, near the present Malay village of Beladin, by sailing boat and anchored at Manggi’s landing place. According to the Malay calenders, this was around the time of the 15th Sultan of Brunei (1690 AD – 1710 AD) named Sultan Nasarudin. Manggi went to the boat to meet him. He asked where he had come from and where he was going. Temenggong Kadir told him that he had come from Brunei, and said that if he, Manggi, agreed to accept him and his friends, they would settle at Semaruang. Without consulting his followers, Manggi said that he would accept Temenggong Kadir and his friends in order to increase the number of people who were already settled there. At this time Tindin and Rusak were living in the Paku, Talap in the lower Layar, Patinggi Ngadan at Batu Api above Betong and Temegoh in the Bangkit tributary of the lower Paku.
Shortly after Temenggong Kadir had settled at Semaruang, a certain trader came from the town of Pagar Ruyong in Minangkabau in Sumatra. His name was Abang Gudam. He brought with him cloth to sell. On his arrival he met Manggi and Temenggong Kadir who agreed to let him trade temporarily. When Temenggong Kadir spoke to Abang Gudam, he related to him the story of how and why he had come there from Brunei. He informed him that he had worked as an interpreter in the Sultan’s court at Brunei for many years, until his daughter named Dayang Chi was seized to be one of the Sultan’s concubines. It was because of his hatred of the Sultan for this deed, he said, that he bad fled from Brunei to live with the Dayaks. Temenggong Kadir also told Abang Gudam that his daughter Dayang Chi was very fair. If anyone could get her away from the Sultan’s harem, he would not hesitate to let her marry him. Thus Temenggong Kadir tried to persuade Abang Gudam, who was a very handsome man, to rescue Dayang Chi from the hands of the Sultan of Brunei.
Hearing these words, Abang Gudam said that he was on his way to trade in Brunei, but if he were to go there, even if he were to take the Temenggong’s daughter by force from the palace, he would not recognise her. Temenggong Kadir said that he had small cannon (bedil) in his possession which Dayang Chi liked very much. If she saw the cannon, he said, she would weep, recognising it as the property of her family. He suggested that the best thing to do would be for Abang Gudam to take this cannon with him, and when he arrived at Brunei he should try to persuade Dayang Chi to come down to the boat to buy things, so that she would see the cannon which she would instantly recognise. He also told Abang Gudam that in order to recognise Dayang Chi, he should look for a black mole on her throat and another on her neck. After a long conversation between them, Abang Gudam asked Temenggong Kadir to lend him the cannon so that be could take it to Brunei.
Next morning Abang Gudam and his companions set sail for Brunei. After a month-long voyage, they reached Brunei Bay and anchored their boat at the public landing place in the centre of the town. Abang Gudam then opened the windows of his boat in order to put his cloth on display. On seeing the unusually magnificent display a number of customers came to see the beautiful coloured silks. Even though many people came, Abang Gudam only stayed there for one night. Early the next day he moved his boat to anchor at the Sultan’s jetty. While he was trading there a great number of customers came to purchase cloth from him. A day later, Abang Gudam went to the palace to present to the Sultan a large quantity of fine silk and other cloth. The Sultan was pleased with the gifts. He said that he would reciprocate with anything, including one of his wives or concubines that Abang Gudam should choose. Abang Gudam was delighted with the Sultan’s offer, and he told him he would think about it and tell the Sultan in a day or two.
In the evening the entire Royal wives and concubines went down to Abang Gudam’s boat to purchase cloth. As she entered the boat, Dayang Chi saw the cannon and instantly recognized it as belonging to her family. When she touched it she burst into tears. As she wept, Abang Gudam glanced at her neck and saw the moles described by Temenggong Kadir. Abang Gudam looked at her and asked whether she was the Sultan’s wife. She said she was, and she told him that she had come to purchase cloth. Abang Gudam respectfully begged her to choose any cloth she wished. She chose fifteen pieces and when she offered money in payment, Abang Gudam would not accept it, but said that the cloth was hers to keep completely free of charge.
After his wives and concubines had returned to the palace, the Sultan enquired as to who the trader was and from whence he came. They informed him that the trader’s name was Abang Gudam and that he came from Pagar Ruyong, Minangkabau, on the island of Sumatra. On learning the trader’s name, the Sultan proceeded to the boat. As he went inside the boat he respectfully enquired as to the country of the trader’s origin. Abang Gudam said that he had come from Minangkabau in Sumatra and was the son of Dato Bandahara Harun of Pagar Ruyong. The Sultan asked how far Sumatra was from Brunei. Abang Gudam said that if he was sailing against the wind, he could not reach Brunei in two months. In the course of their conversation Abang Gudam asked why the Sultan had never traveled overseas. The Sultan said that he could not possibly spare the time for a long journey because he lacked a trustworthy officer to administer the country in his absence. The Sultan asked Abang Gudam how he could leave his country for such a long period. Abang Gudam answered that, unlike the Sultan, he was not a ruler and had nothing to do with the administration of his father’s kingdom. The Sultan asked whether Abang Gudam had any brothers and sisters. He said he had three, one brother, Dato Bandahara Puteh, and two sisters, Dayang Ungu and Dayang Remindan.
After this meeting the Sultan formally invited Abang Gudam to visit his palace. Abang Gudam respectfully declined, saying that he could not spare the time as he was still dealing with his customers. Besides he would stay many more days in Brunei. After saying this, Abang Gudam presented to the Sultana a very magnificent piece of cloth embroidered with gold thread. The Sultan returned to the palace and handed the cloth to the Sultana who was most pleased to accept it, as she had never in her life seen such a beautiful piece.
The next morning the Sultan asked his cook to slaughter a fat cow, a goat and a great number of chickens for a reception to be held in honour of the visit of Abang Gudam, the nobleman of Minangkabau. He also called for experts to cook the meat with spices and condiments. When the food was ready, the Sultan and senior members of his administration went down to the jetty to formally invite Abang Gudam. While they were on their way to the jetty, gendang music was beaten in the palace to herald the grand luncheon.
Upon the arrival of the Sultan and his entourage at his boat, Abang Gudam welcomed them and eventually took leave of them to dress himself for the reception in the palace. He took special care to dress himself in the best clothes he had, including a pair of shoes embroidered in gold.
When Abang Gudam was ready, the Sultan conducted him to the palace. As they arrived he was taken to the seat of honour, at the Sultan’s right hand side close to the senior ministers and war leaders of the state. When they had all taken their seats they proceeded to discuss Islamic religious law, Abang Gudam, as a Muslim nobleman, was an authority on such matters. From the tone of his conversation and his overall etiquette, the high ranking Brunei officials were thoroughly convinced that Abang Gudam had been brought up in one of the most respected ruling families of Sumatra. Eventually the food was served and after the meal was over, the Sultan requested that Abang Gudam should stay the night in the palace. However, the latter said he would have to return to the boat to attend to his business. On bearing this, the Sultan was troubled, as he still had not decided on what to present to Abang Gudam in return for his earlier generosity.
Abang Gudam was very much attracted by Dayang Chi who was a very beautiful woman. So next morning he went to see the Sultan in the palace. During the audience, he told the ruler, that he came to take leave from him, so that he might sail away. He said that in regard to the present which the Sultan had promised him, he would be very grateful if the latter would give him Dayang Chi, one of the Sultan’s concubines. The Sultan kept his word and asked Dayang Chi to be taken from his harem to go with Abang Gudam. When Dayang Chi arrived in the boat they set sail for Saribas. They sailed for several weeks before they reached Semaruang. On seeing his daughter, Temenggong Kadir was full of joy. In appreciation for her safe arrival he held a makan selamat celebration to which he invited many people.
Some days afterward Temenggong Kadir went to Abang Gudam’s house to ask whether he intended to settle permanently in the Saribas district or return to Minangkabau. Abang Gudam said that he preferred to stay, if the condition of the country permitted it. On hearing this, Temenggong Kadir told Abang Gudam that he recalled his promise made to him regarding Dayang Chi, and as he had taken her from the Sultan’s harem, he would gladly approve of his marrying her. Abang Gudam happily consented to marry Dayang Chi.
After Abang Gudam and Dayang Chi were married, the Dayak chief, Manggi, and his followers moved up the Saribas River to settle at Supa in the Layar river having agreed to let the families of Temenggong Kadir and Abang Gudam and their friends farm padi at and around the Semaruang stream, near the mouth of the Saribas river.
Manggi and his people began to build a longhouse at Supa. While the construction work was going on, Manggi learned that a powerful tribe of people had already settled in the upper Rimbas, a right tributary of the Saribas. Being disturbed by this news, he was anxious to meet them. So he walked overland with his followers from Supa to Ulu Bakir and thence to Suri in the Rimbas till they reached a village at Debak.
On their arrival at Debak, Manggi met the people who called themselves Seru. They told him that they had lived in the Rimbas ever since their ancestors had moved eastward from the mouth of the Rejang River. According to them the people who were still living along the lower Rejang river at that time were the Rejang, Segalang and the Beliun peoples. The Seru also informed Manggi that a group of Dayaks were living below them in the Rimbas under a chief named Garai, the son of Gunggu. These Dayaks had migrated from Sebaru in West Kalimantan about a century ago, under their chiefs Jenua and Padang.
After he had met the Seru, Manggi was taken seriously ill with dysentery and subsequently died. He was buried at the Seru cemetery called Pendam Batu, near the present town of Debak. According to tradition, Gunggu, the father of Garai, was also buried in this same cemetery. After Manggi was buried at Pendam Batu, his friends returned sadly to Supa. On arrival, they did not complete the building of their longhouse; this building rotted away and the place is known to this day as the Tembawai Burok Rumah, “Site of the Decayed House”.
After Manggi’s death, Temenggong Kadir and his family moved up from Semaruang to settle at a village called Saribas, which was about one and half miles below the present town of Pusa. While there, many foreign traders came to the district to trade. These traders landed at Saribas village and the village became an important centre; subsequently the name of the whole river was changed from “Batang Layar” to “Batang Saribas”. “Saribas” had previously been the name of a small stream which ran through the middle of the village. While Temenggong Kadir was living at Saribas village, he gradually converted the Seru, the Bukitan and the Beliun peoples to Islam. These people had previously been captured, enslaved and subsequently sold to Temenggong Kadir and his followers by the Dayaks as they progressively occupied the district.
From Saribas village, Temenggong Kadir moved again and settled at Pusa at the confluence of the Rimbas and the main Saribas River. Abang Gudam and Dayang Chi, after the birth of their first son, Abang Drahman, moved from Semaruang to join Temenggong Kadir and his people at Pusa. Some time after this Temenggong Kadir died and was buried at Sapinang cemetery which is situated between Beladin and the present settlement of Samarang, near the mouth of the Saribas River.
After living for many years at Pusa, Abang Gudam died and was also buried at the Sapinang cemetery. Because of the burials of both Temenggong Kadir and Abang Gudam at this cemetery, this burial ground was, and still is, revered as the most sacred Malay cemetery in the district. Many Malays, especially those in direct descent from Temenggong Kadir and Abang Gudam go there periodically to pray for good fortune.
After Abang Gudam had died, his son Abang Drahman heard that the Paku River, another right tributary of the Saribas, was already inhabited by another group of people. He was anxious to meet them, and so one day he went up the Saribas river with some of his slaves. When he came to the mouth of the Paku River, he went up till he came to Nanga Lalau. At this place he noticed a bunch of isang leaves hung on the bank signifying that the place was owned by someone. Seeing this sign he paddled further up. When he reached the mouth of the Bangkit River, he noticed another bunch of isang leaves hung on the bank for the same reason. So he went further up. When he reached the mouth of the Rembai (also called Luban) stream he noticed yet another mark of the same kind. These leaves were hung to prevent strangers from occupying the area without permission. If anyone came and settled on the land which had been marked with the isang leaves, it would lead to war and the settler would be attacked and killed or driven out of the place without warning. From the mouth of the Rembai stream, Abang Drahman and his men went to Batu Embawang near Lubok Brutan and met the Iban chief, Rusak, in his padi field. When they met, Abang Drahman said that he had come to ask for approval for him and his followers to settle at the mouth of Buling stream, in order to guard the people of the Paku River from pirates who might come to attack the country. Hearing this request, Rusak asked Abang Drahman to stay at his house, to give him enough time to think about his application.
Three days later, Rusak told Abang Drahman that he had given careful thought to his request. He said that he had taken so much time because he was thinking about the future of his people’s descendants, who would need much land for their farming. He told Abang Drahman that he approved the making of a Malay settlement at Nanga Buling and he gave the following farming land to the Malays: on the Paku river from its mouth to Batu Embawang; from Batu Embawang to Dadak hill and then straight down to the Ulu Lalau stream and on the Lubok Nangka in the Buling stream; from Lubok Nangka along a boundary which ran towards a Mengeris Bejampang tree and on to Tapang Genong; and from this, along a boundary which ran from the centre of Tanjong Pedada right down to the main Saribas river. Rusak also told Abang Drahman that no Malay would be allowed to farm Dayak lands overgrown with bamboos, and no Dayaks were to farm Malay lands from Batu Embawang downwards to where the melai grass was growing on both banks of the Paku River. After they had settled this, Abang Drahman returned to Semaruang to lead his people to Nanga Buling. Of those who did not join him some went up the Rimbas and some up to Layar River and settled respectively at Nanga Undai and at Tanjong Belong.
Iban pioneers of the Paku and their Malay allies.
After the death of Tindin and Rusak, the generations living in the Paku up to the time of Saang and Busu were peaceful, since Entingi and his Bukitan followers had migrated to the Julau and Kanowit rivers. When Uyut “Bedilang Besi” (“Iron Hearth”) and Awang were chiefs of the lower and upper Paku respectively, they made a common set of rules for building longhouses:
1. All longhouses must be built on the bank of the main river, so that their inhabitants shall be able to bathe and draw drinking water easily from it;
2. No land owner shall stop the members of the community from building a longhouse on his land;
3. No member of the longhouse may plant fruit trees further than five fathoms from either side of the longhouse;
4. In case the longhouse is abolished due to old age, all fruit trees which have been planted in the compound will be owned by the planter and his descendants.
Uyut “Bedilang Besi” was one of the most powerful war leaders of the Saribas of his time. This was because his sons, nephews and sons-in-law were all brave warriors. Due to his victories in war, Uyut held a grand festival of gawai diri at Lubok Jalu above the mouth of the Lingit stream in the Anyut watershed. At this feast he made a Rhinoceros hornbill statue which was later burnt together with the Senunok longhouse, in 1944.
It was because of his importance that Bedilang changed the old tradition of drinking the holy wine for the Gawai Antu festival. He and his sons and sons-in-law refused to drink this wine, unless it was handed to them with timang jalong songs to praise their bravery in war. Thus it was from Bedilang’s request that the songs of timang jalong originated at this time, and have been sung at all Gawai Antu festivals to the present day.
From the days of Bedilang up to those of his great grandson who was named after him (Uyut), the Paku Iban were continually at war with the Sebuyau and the Balau Dayaks of the lower Batang Lupar river, as well as with the Seru of the Krian and Beliun of the Rejang.
When Jantan, a grandson of Awan, was a chief in the upper Paku river, he was not a formidable warrior, so he was worried about the safety of the upper Paku region, which was surrounded by a number of enemies, such as the Seru, the Beliun and also the Bukitan who had been driven out of Paku and had settled in the Julau and Kanowit districts. Because of these fears he went one day to spy out the enemy with one of his warriors named Sapitan. They walked along the range of hills at the source of the Puan and Paku streams and stayed the night at Bukit Buloh. The next day they walked again from Bukit Buloh along a range of hills situated between the Grenjang stream of the Krian and Sungai Randau towards Bukit Tangga Sadau and on to Bukit Medang. From here they walked to Bukit Lubang Remaung where they stayed another night.
That night Jantan slept just outside the mouth of a cave. In his sleep he dreamed he saw a woman who sat near him. She asked him where he had come from. Jantan told her that he and Sapitan were returning from Bukit Buloh to spy on the enemy. Hearing this, the women told him not to worry about the enemy.
“No enemy will ever come to Ulu Paku from this day onward,” she said. She told him that she was Bunsu Remaung (Tiger Goddess) who defended the Ulu Paku region from enemy raids.
To prove the truth of Jantan’s dream, it happened that after Linggir “Mali Lebu” had raided the Bukitan at Sugai in the Julau, the Katibas Iban under Gerinang and Matahari led a big force up the Julau to take revenge against the Pakus. But on the way their warriors suffered from a smallpox epidemic, which killed the majority of them and caused the survivors to retreat. Besides this, when the Rajah attacked Linggir “Mali Lebu” in the Paku twice in 1843 and 1849 his force only went up the Paku as far as Nanga Anyut, which was just below Jantan’s area.
Iban affairs in the Ulu Paku.
When Mawar Tuai was chief of Bangat and the lower Layar regions, Baling was an active warrior in the upper Skrang. In his wars he drove out the Skrang Bukitan to the Kanowit, which caused them to settle in various scattered places along the Ensiling and Mujok streams and in the Sugei of Bulau River. After Baling died his nephew Nyaru, son of Bakar, attacked the Ulu Paku Bukitans at Nanga Deran. This raid took place when Uyut “Bedilang Besi” was chief of the lower Paku and Anyut rivers. At this time the upper Paku watershed was leaderless after the death of Blaki who had been murdered by the Serus. Blaki’s sons, Bayang and Ugap, were still too young to lead the people. It was because of this that the decision of Awan of the Padeh to marry young Lada was promptly accepted by Bayang and Ugap and their relatives, including their uncle Uyut “Bedilang Besi”, who felt that the upper Paku region should be defended against attacks from the Serus of Krian. At this time “Bedilang Besi” had left them to stay with his wife Nangku, a daughter of chief Saang of the lower Paku and Anyut Rivers.
After he had defeated the Nanga Deran Bukitan, Nyaru migrated to the Paku with his son Libau. In this new area Nyaru and Libau were not leaders, until Libau’s son Kaya married Sawai a daughter of Lada and Awan. Sawai was an heiress of Busu, the father of Uyut “Bedilang Besi”. Nyaru’s sister Rabiah was the mother Mujah “Buah Raya”, who later migrated from the Paku to become famous chief of the Kanowit people.
After the death of Kaya, his eldest son became chief of the upper Paku. When he was old, Jantan directed that all his sons and daughters be separated from him and lead people to live in various longhouses along the banks of the upper Paku river, in the following order:
Libau “Buban” was to stay with Jantan at Nanga Samu. Saing was to build his longhouse at Jukun. Laus and her husband Lanchang were to live at Nanga Buong, and Kadir and Langan were to live at Danau.
At the death of Jantan, Libau “Buban” became the senior chief of the upper Paku river. He was not a man of war but was very straight forward in dealing with the affairs of his people. When Libau was old, Kadir and Langan separated from each other. Kadir went to live with his followers at Penom, while Danau was taken care of by his son Unchi. Langan built his longhouse at Meroh, near the source of the Paku river. At about this tune Libau’s sons Kaya and Ugat married. Kaya stayed in his father’s house while Ugat, went to live with his wife who was the only daughter of Langan at Meroh. Their sister Janta married Kadir, a son of Orang Kaya Linggang of the Rimbas. After her marriage, Janta left her father and went to live in the same longhouse as her uncle Saing, who had moved from Jukun to Batu Genting.
Ugat was a brave warrior who was hostile to the Brunei government, represented by Laksamana Amir who lived at the Malay village of Buling. Due to his hostility, he defied the Laksamana by slashing a mungut basket, which was used by Brunei tax collectors for collecting padi for the yearly tax from the Dayaks and Malays of the Paku River. The Laksamana was angry. Therefore Ugat planned a rebellion which was supported by all the upper Paku Iban. The Iban who had settled in the Anyut tributary did not support Ugat, since Linggir “Mali Lebu” and his families were very friendly with the Laksamana and his family. In order to start the revolt, Ugat led his warriors to attack the Beliun in the Sarikei River. By doing this he could at the same time stop the migrants from the Layar and Skrang rivers from migrating to the Awik, a tributary of the Krian and to Pakan a tributary of the Julau – the places which he and his people intended to occupy after their rebellion was over.
After the preparations for the war against Sarikei were completed, Ugat and his warriors went up to the Paku and Ketoh streams. From the Ketoh watershed they climbed the Medang range and went on to Nanga Lu’ong on the Krian River. They stayed the night at Nanga Luong. Next day they traveled up the Luong stream towards the Dangap stream and went down to its mouth. From here they travelled up the Budu stream to Nanga Dasi and then went up the Dasi stream to the Emperawan Pakap Mawi range. From there they traveled to the headwaters of the Awik River, where they stayed the second night. As the Awik watershed was close to the source of the Sarikei River, Ugat held his council of war here. In the conference he directed that they proceed early next day to the Sarikei river watershed where they would stay the third and final night before they assaulted the enemy. He also warned his warriors that they were not to make any noise when inside the enemy territory, as they must not be heard by the wandering Beliun and the Bukitan of the Julau. He was aware that if they were discovered by the Bukitans, the latter would spread the news to all the Beliuns of the Sarikei River. Above all, for the safety of his warriors, he arranged that the leading warriors Ramping, Doo, Ita and Japang should go as advance scouts a mile ahead of the others. They must not carry any baggage, but would be fully equipped with swords, spears and shields.
Next morning they left the place after the four leading warriors were gone. Even¬tually at noon they reached a Beliun village. On their way to the nearest house Ramping and Ita passed a banana plantation where they killed a woman who was clearing her garden. As they killed her they were seen by several people who raised the alarm all through the village, telling of their approach.
Ramping and Ita took the woman’s head to Ugat. Ugat was worried when they told him that while they were killing her they had been seen by enemies who had fled to the village to inform their people. Hearing this Ugat stopped his warriors from advancing further. He was afraid that if they risked invading the village, they would meet stiff resistance, as the enemy would be fully prepared to defend them¬selves. So he brought his warriors back to the Paku.
After he had failed to defeat the Beliun of Sarikei, Ugat decided once again to lead his warriors on the warpath. This time he decided to attack the Serus who had settled below the Embuas rapids in the lower Krian River. At this time none of the Iban who had migrated from the Rimbas had settled above the Embuas rapids. The only areas that had been settled by them were the Melupa tributary together with both banks of the middle reaches of the Krian River. Due to the small number of settlers, the Iban longhouse at Berangan Arang had twice been attacked by Bukitan from the Julau River.
To attack the Seru, Ugat led his warriors from Ulu Paku to Ulu Krian where they built a warboat, or perau pengayau. After the boat had been completed they went down the Krian to the Embuas rapids. After they had left it the leading warriors were ordered by Ugat to steer the boat at the bow, while he himself was at the stem. The other warriors sat inside, under an awning made from palm leaves. Eventually as they came to Satebok, they heard the noise of people coming by boat from downriver. Hearing this, Ramping and Japang steered the boat to the bank in order to hide themselves below the tree branches. When they had quietly hidden themselves a longboat full of men, women and children appeared. These people were on their way to attend a wedding feast upriver. Excited on seeing them, Japang urged his friends to attack the boat at once. They paddled towards it. As they came near to it, Ramping and Japang threw spears at the enemies and killed two of them. Ugat who was at the stern killed another. Seeing the danger, the enemies fought very hard to defend their women and children. They were able to reach Ugat’s warriors inside the boat with their seligi spears made of the strong trunks of the nibong palm. Ugat’s warriors underneath the awning of the boat could not fight nor defend themselves as they could not come out while their boat was in the middle of the river. Among those who were speared by the Serus were Unchi a son of Kadir and Lunyai, a son of Laus and Lanchang, both of whom were badly wounded. So Ugat and his warriors returned up the Krian in order to march back to the Paku.
A few years after Ugat had attacked the Serus of the lower Krian, he had a dream. In it he met a number of people coming into his house at Nanga Tiang. They told Ugat that they were on their way to Bangat and wanted him to entertain them with a grand festival where they could enjoy the meat of pigs. At this time all the people of the upper Paku lived together in a large longhouse under Ugat and his brother Kaya, while their father Libau stayed alone at Ulu Samu after he had eloped with Saap following the death of his first wife, Nawi. Due to the request of the people whom Ugat saw in his dream, he called everyone to meet at his longhouse to discuss what to do about it. Kelass the son of Saing was of the opinion that it was time now for Ugat to hold a grand festival to celebrate his two victories over his enemies at Sarikei and lately in the lower Krian. The rest of the people agreed with Kelass. They wanted Ugat to hold the feast as soon as he could.
For the feast, Ugat asked the carpenters who had a good knowledge of carving to fashion for him a ritual pole known as Chandi Uriek, a sort of bamboo pole used for the first stage of the Bird Festival (Gawai Burong). After the preparations for the festival had been completed, Ugat invited a famous warrior named Uyu apai Ikom of the Ulu Julau to act as master of ceremonies. When Uyu came he noticed that the carvings on Ugat’s ritual pole were too grand. He told Ugat that it was not proper to hold such a low feast with so grand a pole.
Uyu asked Ugat where his father Libau was. Ugat told him that his father had not been informed as he was living in the upper Samu River with a new wife. Hearing this, Uyu told Ugat that he would not dare to make any decisions about the rules of the feast until he had discussed these matters first with Libau “Buban”, the father of Ugat. Hearing what Uyu had said, Ugat sent his men to bring his father from Ulu Samu. After Libau had come, Uyu told him that he was of the opinion that the ritual pole which Ugat had made for his feast was too grand for him.
“Ugat is too young and has not yet attained the high rank of a warleader who is fit to use that kind of carved pole for the feast,” said Uyu, “I suggest that this feast should be celebrated in your name, instead of your son’s”, said Uyu to Libau.
Libau agreed. So the feast was celebrated in the name of Libau, not of Ugat. After the feast was over, the Rajah defeated Linggir at the battle of Beting Maru in 1849. Also it was from Ugat’s house at Nanga Tiang that Kedit “Rindang” went to reinforce Linggir who attacked the Rajah’s advancing flotilla at the battle of Nanga Peka four days after the battle of Beting Maru had been fought. After Linggir’s defeat at the battle of Beting Maru, the Paku Dayaks submitted themselves officially to the government of Rajah Brooke. Ugat, who still did not want to be governed by any government, decided to migrate to the Julau so that he and his people could continue to defy the government of the country. The majority of the people of the upper Paku River followed him to the Julau. But before they reached the Julau they farmed the Ulu Awik lands. The Awik is the right tributary of the Krian.
Shortly after Ugat had migrated to the Ulu Julau, Enchana “Letan” of Linggir’s house at Kerangan Pinggai led the people of the lower Paku and Anyut tributary on migration to the Awik River. Three years later, they were followed to the Awik by Letan’s brother Minggat who had recently married Jara, a Rimbas woman from Suri. When Letan and his people from the lower Paku and Anyut were about to settle in the Awik, Ugat and his followers moved to the Julau. In the season of falling trees (maia nebang) in the first year that they farmed there, Ugat and many others suffered from a pedis parut epidemic. Due to this trouble, Ugat and those who were sick were brought back to the Paku. Shortly after their arrival home, most of them including Ugat died of the disease. Due to Ugat’s death, all of his followers returned to the Paku and the migration was discontinued.
Patinggi Timbul attacks the Ketubit longhouse.
When Kalanang the second, Saang and Jantan were chiefs of the Paku, Patinggi Timbol of Kabong led the Seru and the Bukitan of the Krian to- attack Bujang Berani’s longhouse at Ketubit, below Sungai Langit on the upper Layar River. The Patinggi led his Seru warriors up the Krian to collect Bukitan reinforcements. From there they marched to the Grenjang and on to Ulu Paku. From here they went up the Penom stream to Ketubit. When they arrived they were able to raid Bujang Berani’s house just at the time when its people were celebrating a feast. As a lot of people were drunk, they were easily defeated by Patinggi Timbul’s warriors.
The latter then set out to return to the Krian with their head trophies and loot. But when they reached a tributary of the Sungai Langit, they were attacked by the Layar Iban. During the fighting Patinggi Timbul and many of his warriors were killed. That is why the stream on which they fought is called Sungai Bangkai Lawai meaning the stream of Malay corpses. Lawai is an old Iban word for Malay. Due to the destruction of Bujang Berani’s longhouse at Ketubit by Patinggi Timbul and his fighters, the site on which it had stood became a cemetery, Pendam Ketubit, and is still used by the Iban in the area to the present day.
The Orang Kaya Pemancha Dana “Bayang” of Padeh.
The Orang Kaya Pemancha Dana “Bayang” of the Padeh was the youngest child of Orang Kaya Beti and his wife Endau. He was the most powerful Iban warleader of the Second Division in his day. He had six sons and three daughters: Orang Kaya Pemancha Nanang, Luyoh, Aji, Unting, Buda, Umpu, Tiong (f), Landan (f) and Badong (f). His most trusted warriors were Sabok apai Maang, Uyu apai Ukum, Unal “Bulan”, Igoh apai Lamban, Orang Kaya Akun “Bedindang” and his brothers. It was because of this group of brave warriors that Dana’s wars were all successful.
OK Pemancha Dana “Bayang” was the only know Iban Chief known to have led an headhunting expedition by sea to areas beyong the Tanjong Datu into the Dutch territory of Kalimantan, Indonesia. With reference to The Indian Archipelago: Its History and Present State, Vol. II, by Horace Stebbing Roscoe St. John, Published by LONGMAN, BROWN, GREEN, AND LONGMANS. London, 1853 page 176, he wrote ….
“The war schooner Haai, stationed at Sambas, in Borneo, suffered considerably from a flotilla of thirty ” Dyak prahus,” which attacked her, in the year 1819. At the same time the coasts of Pontianak were much infested by Dyak pirates. At Mampawa an action took place with them. The chief of the place having learned that there were nine of their prahus at the mouth of the river, each manned by from thirty to forty of these notorious sea-banditti, resolved to attack them, though with a small force. They fought at close quarters, no other weapon being used than the klewang, a heavy sword or cutlass. These Dyaks, according to the Dutch writers, came from Sarebas, which is only accessible to the peculiarly constructed boats of that people. He describes them in their expeditions as carrying fire, murder, and havoc along the cultured and peaceful shores, and bearing away as trophies the skulls of their victims. Having at that time few or no firearms they used klewangs and javelins, with the points hardened by fire.
They have been known in large bodies to join the Lanuns, in their piratical excursions, claiming the heads and the iron work captured as their division of the spoil.
The sea Dyaks are described by one of the best SeaDyaks informed writers (Hugh Low, Sarawak) on Borneo, as frequenting the neighbouring waters in their prahus, to carry off the heads of defenceless fishermen, or any other persons whom they may find unprotected, or off their guard. They inhabit chiefly the tracts about the rivers Sarebas and Sakarran, with their numerous and large branches, which form estuaries and deltas, with many avenues to the sea, very favourable to clandestine enterprises, and the facility of retreat.
The country on the great rivers, occupied by the sea Country of Dyaks, is generally flat towards the coast, and hilly towards the interior. In many parts dense forests overshadow it, broken by spacious levels, where the soil is fertile and the inhabitants, if industrious, may produce rice in abundance, while fruit of a tasteful and nutritious kind is plentiful, and within the reach of all. Small paths intersect the woods, leading from one village to another, and known to all the pirates, but only to them, and serving them as a means of communication. Though the place of residence is generally chosen on the borders of some stream, many villages lie deeply secluded in the jungles, accessible by ways familiar to none but their tenants and the tribes who may be in friendly association with them. Some are situated far up the interior, near the sources of rivers, where the water is too shallow for purposes of navigation. When, therefore, the fighting-men of these communities desire to partake in the excitement and gain of a piratical enterprise, they march towards the sea, and join the flotilla of some tribe located further down the stream, villages. The villages of the sea Dyaks are composed of large houses, with one common apartment, and many separate chambers, with the singular economy of which we have been made familiar from the narratives of recent enterprise.”
With above information, we know that OKP Dana had already led a large war party to raid the coastal areas of West Kalimantan and was already at the prime of his political influence. James Brooke was only a 16 years old boy, commissioned as ensign to the 6th bengal Native Infantry.
Before he became a warleader, Dana had a vivid dream in which he was told by the goddess Kumang, who resides at the top of Santubong mountain, that he should not kill any people who live northeast of the Saribas river and between the Saribas and the Santubong delta. She assured him that it would be easy for him to defeat all the people who lived between the Santubong delta and the Kayong river southeast of the town of Pontianak. It was because of this dream that the Orang Kaya Pemancha Dana “Bayang” never raided the Melanaus who lived at the Rejang delta and beyond.
Also because of this dream, whenever he came to Santubong Mountain on his way to raid the enemy beyond it, he had to stop one night at Santubong beach in order to climb the mountain to consult the goddess regarding his coming war plans.
In about July of the year 1819, Dana attacked the Sungai Raya in Kalimantan with 40 warboats from the Saribas and Skrang rivers. He and his followers raided many villagers and longhouses, and his warriors killed over one hundred Malays and Salakau Dayaks in the area. Besides this they captured a considerable number of prisoners whom they brought back to their homes.
After he had successfully raided Sungai Raya, his next expidition was an attack on the Balau settlement at Banting. This attack was purely to exert revenge on the death of his two elder brothers, Isik and Senaang, who were killed by Balau raiders while fishing for buntal fish at Tanjong Kauk, when he was still a boy. According to Saribas historian account, Bediman Anak Ketit, the Incident at Tanjong Kauk happens in the month of July, when the middle and lower river Iban of the Layar, Paku and Padeh were catching buntal fish at Tanjong Kauk above the mouth of Rimbas in the main Saribas River. Following the yearly habit of collecting buntal fish at this tune of the year, several hundreds of people took part that year, including a young Dana “Bayang”, his elder brothers Isik and Senaang and his relatives.
One day when many of them were catching fish in the river a large force of Balau warriors came up the river in warboats to attack the Saribas fishermen whom they knew to be fishing there at that time of the month. The majority of the unarmed Saribas Iban repulsed the enemy with paddles and poles. During the fighting many Saribas small fishing boats were capsized. Their crews were either drowned or killed by the enemy. Out of the hundreds of Saribas fishermen who were at work in the river and who fought against the enemy, only the Orang Kaya Pemancha and some others were able to defend themselves with small knives which they used to slice fish.
After all his relatives and friends including his brothers Isek and Senang in his boat had been drowned or been killed, the wounded Dana with an harpoon stuck on his stomach, swam to the shore to save himself. After the enemy had left, Dana fainted.
Early next morning, when he woke up after a long sleep, Dana walked along the winding muddy bank of the Saribas till he met a man in a boat. The latter was Saribas Malay who recognized the Orang Kaya Pemancha. The latter begged this man to take him home to the Padeh in his boat.
After the massacre at Tanjong Kauk, Dana vowed to organise a big war expedition against the Balau Iban of Bukit Banting. He said that they must do it as revenge for the death of so many Saribas people at Tanjong Kauk.
Fortunately, while attacking the Balau fortified longhouse at Banting many years later, this attack was halted shortly by two of OKP Dana’s uncles named Manang Insing and Kelabu. They had earlier in the years been married and settled with the Balau community at Banting. A peace ceremony could have been organised between the two rival Iban community. It was said that OKP Dana never attack the Balau settlement anymore and that the Balau did not trouble OKP Dana on his headhunting expedition passing by the Batang Lupar river mouth or passing by the Balau settlement at Banting on his way to attack Undup in later years.
Next, the Orang Kaya Pemancha Dana “Bayang”, with the help of the principal chiefs of the Saribas Malays and other Iban leaders of the Saribas and Skrang raided the town of Sambas. They fought very hard and killed a large number of the enemy, including Salakau and Lara Dayaks who lived in the surrounding countryside.
Two years later, he led a large number of Saribas and Skrang Iban in a raid upon the Chinese town of Singkawang. The Chinese defended themselves with long handled knives known as tat but a great number of them were killed. A few of the enemy who were able to escape fled to Mentrado town. Besides killing the enemy, a large number of captives were taken, whose descendants live to this day in the Saribas district.
Because some of the Chinese had escaped to Mentrado during his raid on Singkawang, Orang Kaya Pemancha Dana “Bayang” attacked Mentrado with 180 warboats from the Saribas and Skrang. During the fighting, hundreds of Chinese were killed and a small number were captured and taken back to the Skrang and Saribas rivers. Today, their descendants are living in these regions, although some were sold at the time to Malay chiefs and so were absorbed into the local Malay population.
One night few years after his attack on the Mentrado Chinese, Dana “Bayang” led over a hundred warboats of Malays and Iban from the Saribas and Skrang in a raid upon the town of Pontianak. They fought very hard in an attempt to invade the town area. But faced with unexpected difficulty they were able to attack only those of the enemy who pursued them out to sea in their boats. At this time the Orang Kaya Pemancha’s leading warrior Libau “Rentap” and his fighting men from Skrang killed a boatful of Pontianak Malays and gained a gold-handled kris.
A year after that, Dana “Bayang” led an expedition against the Salakau Dayaks who lived in the Sarawak territory near Cape Datu. During the fighting, the enemy was reinforced by the Lundu Iban led by Orang Kaya Temenggong Jugah, son of Nyambong who had migrated to Lundu with his tribe from the Sebuyau. Dana fought them as well. In fact this involvement of the Lundu Iban in a Saribas-Salakau war revived an old enemity between the Sebuyau and Saribas Iban. Although many of the enemies were killed, Orang Kaya Pemancha also sustained heavy losses among his own fighters.
The next year, Dana “Bayang” raided Mempawah near Sambas. In this war his warriors slaughtered a large number of fishermen. But as soon as this war was over, a number of minor Saribas warleaders, such as the Qrang Kaya Antau “Linggang Negeri” and his brother Orang Kaya Gun “Mangku Bumi” of the Rimbas, attacked the Sebuyau Iban with small war parties. In revenge, the Sebuyau Iban allied themselves with the Balaus and attacked the Saribas Iban in the later’s territory at Rimbas, Paku and Padeh.
At the height of these conflicts, between 1830 – 1835, Orang Kaya Pemancha Dana “Bayang” led over 200 warboats of Saribas and Skrang Iban warriors to raid Sambas. After the enemy’s stockade was taken, Dana’s warriors captured a gun which had been left behind by the enemy. This gun was taken back to Saribas and was later called the “Bujang Timpang Berang”. The gun was used by Orang Kaya Pemancha Nanang, the son of Dana “Bayang”, when he and his warriors in the upper Layar fought for several years against Brooke forces at Sadok Mountain, until their surrender in 1861.
In the same year that Orang Kaya Pemancha Dana “Bayang” raided Sambas, Orang Kaya Rabong of Skrang attacked the Balau Iban and Malays at Banting hill on the Lingga river in retaliation for the Balau attacks on the lower Skrang Iban. A few years after Orang Kaya Rabong’s attack on Banting, the Undup Iban reinforced by the Dau Iban attacked the Kumpang and Lemanak Iban of the lower Batang Ai. Because of their precarious position these Iban asked Dana “Bayang” to help them take revenge upon their attackers.
Dana “Bayang” said that the Undup and Dau Iban was not his enemy, therefore he could not interfere, but the Kumpang, the Lemanak and the Skrang Iban insisted that he should help them, or else they could not defeat the enemy who had been attacking them for the past few years. So it was that the Orang Kaya Pemancha asked them who would lead the party against the enemy. They told him that all the Kumpang, the Lemanak and the Skrang Iban had unanimously appointed him warleader.
Hearing this the Orang Kaya Pemancha agreed to their request, but he told them that before he could fight the enemy, he must first call together other warleaders and leading wariors of the Saribas to find out whether they would agree to join the expedition. The Kumpang messengers were asked by the Orang Kaya Pemancha to wait for a couple of days until he had received answers from the other Saribas leaders.
A few days later, Unal “Bulan”, Igoh apai Lemban and Uyu apai Ikum came and said that they agreed to join the expedition with their fighting men. Linggir “Mali Lebu” of the Paku said that he and his warriors would also join, but that they could only do this after they had finished planting (nugal) their hill rice.
After the Orang Kaya Pemancha had been assured by the other Saribas leaders that they would join his forces (bala) he sent the messengers from Kumpang home to inform their people that he and his warriors from the Layar and Padeh would come as soon as it was convenient. After their departure, Dana invited Sabok, Badindang, and his brothers Isek and Senaang to follow him and Unal “Bulan” and his fighters from the upper Layar River to the Undup. The latter’s leading warriors were headed by Igoh apai Lamban and Uyu apai Ikum.
When their war preparations were completed, the Orang Kaya Pemancha and his hundreds of warriors left the Padeh for Skrang. On the way they stayed one night at Nanga Lemanak. The next day they marched to the Kumpang. On their arrival, they found that thousands of people from the Skrang, Seremat, Lemanak and Belambang were awaiting their arrival.
That night after the leaders of each community had discussed various things with him, the Orang Kaya Pemancha asked how many people from the Skrang, Lemanak, Belambang, Seremat and Kumpang were prepared to join the bala force. They told him that a few thousand warriors had come and an unknown number would come later as soon as they could.
Hearing this Dana asked them whether they had chosen a supreme war commander. They said that they had chosen him to lead the force. On hearing this, Dana said that he would not proceed with the war until Linggir “Mali Lebu” and his fighters from the Paku had arrived after finishing their padi planting. As a result, the people of Kumpang had to feed the troop for at least a fortnight while they were waiting for the arrival of Linggir and his followers. Two weeks later, the latter came from the Paku. Linggir’s leading warriors were Enchana “Letan”, Birai “Jawa Jambai”, Minggat and Chulo “Tarang”.
On the night of Linggir’s arrival, the Orang Kaya Pemancha called his first council of war. In it he told Linggir that the Batang Lupar people had chosen him to be the commander-in-chief of the invasion against the Undup Iban. Linggir said that this was the correct choice as no one else was more senior and experienced. Linggir further said that if it were not that they had come to reinforce him; he and his fighters might not have come at all because they were very busy with their fanning at that moment.
After this discussion, the Orang Kaya Pemancha told the people the things they must do to prepare for the war. He ordered two local headmen to pull up small saplings for tambak burong (augury sticks) early the next day. One was to pull up a sapling when he heard the call of a ketupong bird on his right and the other was to do the same thing when he heard the call of a beragai bird on his left. He ordered another two headmen to go into the forest the following morning. One was to pull up a sapling when he heard the voice of a pangkas bird on his right, and the other to do the same when he heard an embuas bird on his left. After that, they should again walk together until they heard a kelabu papau bird call on the left of the path. He explained because of these omens, the men would all be safe on the expedition no matter what bad omens they might encounter on the way.
The following night a bedara festival was held in order to prepare the offerings which were to be given to the gods and to the familiar spirits of war in order that they might help the warriors to defeat their enemies easily. Afterwards, the lemambang sang the renong kayau chants in order to ask the heroes of Panggau Libau and Gelong to bless them and ensure their success. They sang the chants near a group of war charms and weapons which had been put on a Dias (meligai).
When the bards stopped singing at daybreak, food was served by the hosts to all along the gallery of the longhouse. After everyone had eaten, the longhouse headman gathered the people together to ask them to relate their dreams of the night before. After all the warriors had told the headman their dreams, the Orang Kaya Pemancha asked the headman himself what his own dream had been. The headman said that in his dream that night, he felt he was one of a group who killed a number of bears. Later, when he looked round, he noticed the dead bodies of bears lying all over the ground. He added that after this he felt he was one of many who killed a group of monkeys. Then later, when he looked round, he saw that many bodies of monkeys were lying on the ground where he stood. On hearing this, the Orang Kaya Pemancha ordered all of the warriors who had had good dreams to accompany him to war.
After they had marched far along the path towards the Undup, Dana ordered the force to stop for a few moments in order to ngusok, or “respect”, the omens which they had heard along the road that morning. After this stop they marched further till they reached a certain spot selected by the Orang Kaya Pemancha where they stayed three nights to respect the right-hand voice of ketupong heard by the headmen who had looked for omens five days before. When this was done they marched again till noon. When they came to a certain place Dana ordered his force to stop in order to build a camp where they must stay one night, to respect the voice of the beragai bird which had been heard by the headman when he had taken an augury stick.
Next morning the Orang Kaya Pemancha ordered his troops to march nearer to the border of the enemy’s lands. On the way they made a night stop to respect the voice of the pangkas bird which the headman had heard when he pulled up the tambak burong near the longhouse.
Early next morning, they marched again and reached the border before noon. On their arrival Dana ordered his force to stop and build a camp where they could stay. When the younger warriors were building the camp, Dana ordered Sabok “Gila Berani” and Bedindang to lead a dozen warriors into the forest to guard (ngikup) the troops from a possible surprise attack. They remained there until late at night.
After everyone had had their meal that night the Orang Kaya Pemancha gathered all the warriors together in order to hear the news from Sabok “Gila Berani” and Bedindang who had travelled around while on guard. Bedindang said that they had walked very slowly in the forest as they were not using the usual path. As they came inside the enemy’s country, a few of them had climbed a tall mengeris tree in order to scan the enemy’s position. From the tree top, they saw an enemy longhouse in the distance. After they had seen it, they returned and reached the camp long after night fall. Hearing this Dana asked Bedindang the following questions:
Q. If we leave this place early what time of the day in your estimation will we reach the enemy longhouse?
A. We are sure to reach there before noon.
Q. If we cook our provisions here in the morning will we reach the enemy longhouse in time?
A. If we cook after midnight, we shall have sufficient time to leave this camp early and reach the longhouse before noon.
When the Orang Kaya Pemancha had learned how far away the longhouse was he ordered the warriors to cook their food soon after midnight so that the force could march at day break. He also informed his leading warriors that he was determined to invade not just one longhouse, but all the longhouses on the Undup River. After they had defeated the first longhouse, they would occupy it as a base for their next attack.
Early next morning they left the camp and marched towards the border, where they planned to stay near to the enemy’s longhouse. When they came to the mengeris tree from whose top the spies had seen the enemy longhouse, the Orang Kaya Pemancha ordered his force to stay another night there, in order to discuss the final arrangements for the attack.
After they had eaten that night, Dana called a council of war. In it he commanded that the next day Sabok “Gila Berani” and Bedindang should go with two warriors to spy on the enemy’s movements. Other warriors were detailed guard duty near the camp.
Next day Sabok and Bedindang and two others went to spy on the enemy. They returned to camp long after dark. After they had eaten, Dana called them to him in order to hear what they had seen. Bedindang said that they had only travelled along the path, but had not met any enemy. He said that after they had approached close to the enemy’s longhouse they had scanned it from the top of a tree. The length of the house, according to the spies was about thirty doors. On hearing this Dana ordered the force to stay one more day there. That night, he asked all the warriors to go to bed earlier than usual in order to allow maximum time for dreaming. At the same time he asked that all firewood collected from the forest be dry so that it would not smoke when burned.
Next day while all the younger warriors were busy collecting firewood, the warleaders and their leading warriors discussed the coming raid on the enemy’s longhouse. The leaders were the Orang Kaya Pemancha Dana “Bayang”, Linggir “Mali Lebu” of the Paku and Unal “Bulan” of the upper Layar river. Their ideas on the attack were sounded out by Dana in his last council of war the following night. During this informal meeting the Orang Kaya Pemancha asked the people of Kumpang how many longhouses there were in the Undup River. They told him that there were a good many and that the majority of them had only been attacked by them in small kayau anak wars.
Hearing this, Dana assured the Kumpang people that as he had invited all the principal warleaders and leading warriors from the Saribas to join his war, he would not stop raiding the enemy’s houses until he was satisfied of their entire defeat. These words surprised the Kumpang leaders, for they thought that the Orang Kaya Pemancha would only attack one longhouse, and then go back satisfied with a small victory.
That same night after dinner Dana called a council of war. At the beginning of the discussion he begged all present to tell publicly their dreams of the previous night. The people related their dreams; some said that they had had bad dreams while some said that their’s were good. Having heard this Dana asked the dreams of all his leading warriors from the Padeh and Layar rivers. They informed him that they had slept well. Having heard all this, he ordered those whose dreams were inauspicious not to risk themselves in joining the fight, but to return to their base.
The Orang Kaya Pemancha then arranged his leading warriors with those of Linggir “Mali Lebu” and Unal “Bulan” to take up the lead in the attack along three paths in the following order:
1. His own leading warriors from the Padeh were to march along the central path.
2. Linggir’s leading warriors were to march along the right road.
3. Unal “Bulan’s” leading warriors were to march along the left road.
4. The warriors of the Kumpang, Skrang, Lemanak and Seremat were to follow these three divisions of warriors in equal numbers.
5. Sabok ‘Gila Berani” and Bedindang took the lead in front of the other warriors who marched along the central road.
The Orang Kaya Pemancha ordered the warriors who marched along the central path not to enter the enemy’s longhouse. Instead, they should wait for the enemy to come out and kill them as they jumped from the house. After the meeting was over, Dana commanded the leading warriors to march in front of their respective followers along the three paths. During the fighting many of the enemies were killed as the attack took them by surprise during a meal. Of Dana’s warriors only a few were killed and a few wounded. After the longhouse had been defeated his warriors looted the enemy’s valuable jars, brass cannons and gongs.
After the Orang Kaya Pemancha had been told of the result of the raid, he ordered that the longhouse was to be occupied and guarded by his warriors to make it safe from enemy attack. So Bedindang, Sabok, Isek and Senaang led other warriors towards the border with the next longhouse to insure that no enemy could attack their force by surprise. The others who stayed behind hid their loot safely in the jungle around the longhouse which they had occupied.
That evening Dana called a meeting at his place in the occupied longhouse. In it he asked his warriors to remember the way they had attacked and defeated the longhouse they now occupied. He wanted them to follow the same tactics when they raided other longhouses. He then asked Sabok and Bedindang to spy out the position of the next longhouse they wished to attack.
Early next morning Sabok and Bedindang took a few warriors with them to spy on the enemy. When they came to a longhouse, they found it had been deserted a few days previously. Its inhabitants had fled away to places unknown. When they returned they told the Orang Kaya Pemancha about their spying in the Ulu Undup. When the latter learnt that the longhouse had been vacated he ordered that early next day they march there to raid it. He also commanded all of them to cook their food (mansoh) early in order to start at daybreak.
At day break the next morning Dana commanded his warriors to proceed as quickly as they could towards the enemy longhouse to attack it. They marched exactly the same way as they had done during the previous attack. In this raid only two of the enemies were killed by those who attacked along the right and left paths. The house was occupied easily as no one was living in it.
As soon as they had occupied the longhouse, the warriors started to guard it. Of all the warriors who guarded the force, only Sabok and Bedindang dared venture far into the jungle. They managed to reach a certain padi field where they met a man and his wife who were on their way to reinforce the enemy. On seeing them the man’s wife trembled. She and her husband naturally did not recognise Sabok and Bedindang who told them that they were coming from the Merakai in Indonesian Borneo. They asked them whether it was true that Jarup’s longhouse in the Undup had been raided and defeated by the Kumpang Iban. The couple told them that they had only heard the news, and in order to learn more about the accuracy of the story, they were coming thither to meet the people themselves. The man told them that because of this massacre all those who were able to escape from the raid had fled to Sureng’s longhouse in the upper Undup and were living there.
They also told Sabok and Bedindang that Sureng had asked the Kantu’ from Merakai to help defend his longhouse. Bedindang asked where they, the farmer and his wife, came from. They told him that they were Kantu’ who had come from Merakai to reinforce Sureng’s people in their struggle against the Kumpang invaders. Hearing this, Bedindang and Sabok told the farmer that they must return to their house in haste, in order to assist Sureng and his people to defend themselves against the enemy’s raid. Eventually when Sabok and Bedindang reached their troops, they told the Orang Kaya Pemancba that they had met two of the enemy in a padi field who were coming from the Merakai to assist Sureng and his people in the upper Undup to resist their coming attack. They also told the Orang Kaya Pemancha that all the enemy who had escape from their hands had now fled and were living at Rumah Sureng.
On hearing this story Dana turned to the Kumpang headman and asked for his opinion about an attack on Sureng’s house. The headman said that he had complete faith in the Orang Kaya Pemancha and the other Saribas war-leaders and warriors. Next Dana asked for the opinions of the Lemanak, Belambang, Skrang and Seremat regarding the raid on Sureng’s house. These chiefs said that they would join any war the Orang Kaya Pemancha would lead them to fight. Having heard from the Batang Lupar chiefs, Dana asked for the opinions of Linggir “Mali Lebu” of the Paku and Unal “Bulan” of the Ulu Layer regarding the intended attack on Sureng’s longhouse at Ulu Undup. Linggir and Unal “Bulan” said that since they had come to reinforce Dana’s force they would not leave him as long as he was still on the warpath.
Hearing this, Dana said that if all were of the opinion to continue the attack on the Undup Iban, he would not hesitate but lead them in an attack on Sureng’s longhouse, where the enemy had fortified themselves with the help of the Kantu’ and others from Indonesian Borneo.
That night the Orang Kaya Pemancha directed his warriors to be on guard in case the enemy came secretly to spy on them. He told them to stay about half a mile from the troops who occupied the longhouse. He warned the guards not to kill the enemy if they saw them massing in the jungle.
Immediately after the evening meal was eaten, Sabok “Gila Berani” and Uyu apai Ikum went out as directed with then” followers to guard the troops, while the others built a stockade to prevent the approach of the enemy. They also made thousands of spears and sharp stakes (tukak) from nibong palms and bamboo.
Next day Bedindang and Uyu went to the padi field where Sabok and Bedindang had met the man and his wife two days previously. The reason for this was that Bedindang thought that the couple might still be waiting for other Kantu’ to come to reinforce Sureng and his people. They did not meet them, so they went further, until they came to a bathing place near Sureng’s longhouse.
Here they saw two men cutting firewood on the river bank. These men asked them where they were from and how many people were with them. They told them that they had come from Merakai, and their friends were bathing in the river below. Bedindang asked one of the men whether there were many people who had already come to reinforce Sureng. The man said a lot had arrived since Jarup’s house in the lower river had been defeated. People from various longhouses in the Merakai were coming every day. Uyu asked the man whether those who had come from Merakai and Sureng’s people planned only to defend the longhouse from the enemy’s attack, or whether they intended to attack the invaders. The man said that after all the warriors had come from the Merakai, and after the preparations for war had been completed, Sureng had decided to lead them to fight the enemy at their stronghold next day.
Hearing this, Uyu and Bedindang told the men that they would bathe with their friends in the river before they went to Sureng’s longhouse. Having said this they returned in haste to their own troops.
When they arrived, the Orang Kaya Pemancha and other warleaders asked for their story. They said that they had reached Sureng’s bathing place. There they had talked with two of the enemy who told them that they and the Kantu from Merakai planned to attack them. Because of this, Uyu advised that they should prepare themselves either to attack or to defend themselves.
That day, Dana told his warriors to fortify the house they occupied with a strong fence and to put a great number of sharp bamboo spikes (tukak) in the ground outside the fence. After the evening meal, Dana called a meeting. In it he arranged for eight trusted warriors under Bedindang and Uyu to attack (negah) the enemy by surprise, after about twenty or so of them had walked inside the area between the main attackers and the longhouse. At the same time he warned that no warrior should attack the enemy before those who were negah had done so not even if the enemy were chasing them.
Early next morning Uyu and Bedindang with Isek and Senaang and their followers went out to do the negah work, about half a mile away from their stockade. Soon after they had hidden themselves in the bush, a large number of enemies came whom they attacked with fearful war cries. Hearing the noise of their shouts those who defended the house also took their stand. When the enemy was in a state of tumult due to the danger of stepping on the sharp spikes, Uyu and his warriors attacked them from behind and killed them in large numbers before they could reach the fortified longhouse.
After the battle was over a considerable number of Orang Kaya Pemancha’s own warriors were found to be wounded and several warriors from Kumpang had been killed in the fight. But as it was still early in the afternoon, the Orang Kaya Pemancha’s troops had sufficient time to bury the corpses of their dead comrades-in-arms. After that they were sadder than when they had defeated the enemy in the previous two longhouses.
That evening after supper, Dana again called a meeting. In it he ordered his force to attack Sureng’s longhouse early next day. He requested all the able-bodied warriors to prepare themselves. Hearing this, Sabok and Isek asked Dana what to do with the wounded warriors. Isek asked if they could be left there.
The Orang Kaya Pemancha said that they should be left behind in order to be looked after by those who could not join the expedition. Sabok thought that it was very risky to leave them behind since if the enemy came to attack the house again, the wounded warriors would be helpless. Dana said that he was sure that the enemy would never come again after they had been defeated so badly only a day before; all Sureng’s reinforcements must have returned home. The Orang Kaya Pemancha also said that in their attack on the enemy’s longhouse the next morning, his troops must start the raid when the enemy was still eating their breakfast.
That night he begged all of them to go to sleep early in order to receive dreams. Soon after they had gone to bed, a number of them dreamed. In the morning when Dana asked them to relate their dream, many of the warriors told him that their dreams were very unsatisfactory for the warpath. So Dana left all of those who had bad dreams in the longhouse to look after their wounded friends. He took with him only those who had had good dreams.
Eventually when they reached Sureng’s longhouse at day break, the Orang Kaya Pemancha personally led his force into the enemy’s longhouse. He was followed by Linggir “Mali Lebu” and Unal “Bulan”. When they walked, sword in hand, along the gallery of the longhouse they found only a few of the enemy in the building. During the assault they killed nearly all of them. After the house had been defeated the Orang Kaya Pemancha and his warriors entered every section of the building where they looted a huge number of valuable jars, gongs of various sizes and porcelains of many kinds.
To mark his victory over the Undup, Dana took back with him to the Padeh, a famous guchi jar (now in the possession of his descendants at Lubok Nibong, Baram), a menaga and a rusa jar. Linggir “Mali Lebu” looted a menagajar (now in the possession of his great-great-grandson, Lemambang Bugak Anak Duat at Matop, Paku). The rest of the warriors also took back with them jars and brassware whose types and sizes are no longer remembered.
Due to their defeat by Orang Kaya Pemancha Dana “Bayang” on the side of the Kumpang Iban, the Undup Iban fled to two different regions. The majority of them went to Salimbau in Kalimantan, and the others to Ulu Lingga where they settled with the Balau Iban. About a decade later, when Mr. Brereton was in charge of Fort James in the Skrang, they were allowed to return to the Undup. But when they came they found that most of the land in the lower river had been occupied by the Skrang, and the upriver by the Kumpang Iban.
In 1843 when James Brooke and Admiral Keppel attacked the Saribas at the mouth of Padeh river, they fought against the old Orang Kaya Pemancha Dana “Bayang”, his warrior sons and their followers from the Padeh, Spak and the main upper Layar river. It was in this war that he and Linggir “Mali Lebu” of the Paku formally submitted to the Government some months later at Tanjong Sabuloh in the lower Saribas. During the meeting the Rajah wrote about them as follows:
The Orang Kaya Pemancha of Saribas is now with me… the dreaded and the brave, as he is termed by the natives. He is small, plain-looking and old, with his left arm disabled, and his body scarred with spear wounds. I do not dislike the look of him, and of all chiefs’ of that river I believe he is the most honest and steers his course straight enough.
Another chief of a tribe came on board, named Linggir, a short man of almost perfect symmetry, serpent eyes, with the strong savage pictured in his physiogomy. While he sat on deck, I could not keep my eyes off his countenance, for there was peculiar character lurking underneath the twinkle of that sharp eye… avarice, cunning, foresight, all within so small a compass.
Note: During this first meeting with Rajah James Brooke after the attack on Saribas in 1843, OKP Dana “Bayang” requested for a permission from Rajah James Brooke to organise a headhunting expedition to the Indonesian side of Borneo. He explained to Rajah James Brooke that his wife had recently passed away, and that he needs fresh heads to end the mourning period for the people in his area. This was in accordance with the tradition and cultural values of the Iban people to perform final religous rites for the death a very important person. Rajah James Brooke lack of knowledge and understanding of the Iban way of life and religious pratices, at the same time, a man whose mission was bent to end piracy and headhunting. promptly denied the request by OKP Dana. As a parting gesture, OKP Dana presented a pua kumbu called “Lebor Api”, woven by his late wife, to Rajah James Brooke. To the local Saribas Iban historian, the objective of presenting the pua Lebor Api to Rajah James Brooke was a sign to seek the Rajah’s help to look for an enemy head to fulfill OKP Dana religious obligation. As it was, the Rajah kept the pua lebor and the whole epic of the event soon evaporates with the Rajah James Brooke focus his attention on expand his influence and administration. OKP Dana continued to lead his people on their headhunting expedition. During the Rajah James Brooke era, he was already an old man, and naturally the most senior of all the Iban leaders in Saribas and Skrang region.
With reference to The Indian Archipelago: Its History and Present State, Vol. II, by Horace Stebbing Roscoe St. John, Published by LONGMAN, BROWN, GREEN, AND LONGMANS. London, 1853 page 178, mentioned …
….. “At a council held in 1847, near the confluence of the Sakarran and Batang Lupar rivers, the chief of a considerable tract of country declared, before an embassy from Sir James Brooke, that he would kill the first man who committed another act of piracy, but he was with several others who spoke in a similar tone borne down by the majority. Freebooting was to them the prescriptive privilege of their tribe; the inveterate usage to which the habits of a life had wedded their attachment, their undoubted source of revenue and pleasure. While orators and journalists in England deny their crimes, and condemn their punishment, they avow their offences, and glory in the perpetration of them. The people, indeed, when some of their leaders endeavoured to put an end to piracy, were enraged by this check upon their ancient modes of life, and fled to the villages of the interior. There the chiefs were still attached to their hereditary vocation, and were too sensible of its profitable nature to relinquish it until compelled.”
The treaty as extracted from THE INDIAN ARCHIPELAGO: ITS HISTORY AND PRESENT STATE by Horace St. John. Published by LONGMAN, BROWN, GREEN, AND LONGMANS. London, 1853.
The Saribas Treaty
“What was of still greater importance than this coercive device, intended for the repression of piracy, was a sealed engagement accepted by the Serebas chiefs to abandon it altogether.
” This is an engagement made by Orang Kaya Pamancha, together with the headmen and elders, Dyaks, now inhabiting the country of Padi, with the Rajah, Sir James Brooke, who rules the country of Sarawak and its dependencies. Now the Orang Kaya Pamancha, the headmen and elders, Dyaks, swear before God, and God is the witness of the Orang Kaya Pamancha, the headmen and elders, Dyaks, that truly, without falsehood or treachery, or any evil courses, but in all sincerity, and with clean hearts, without spot, with regard to the former evil acts, we will never do them in future.
” Article 1 . The Orang Kaya Pamancha, the headmen and elders, Dyaks of Padi, engage in truth, that they will never plunder or pirate again hereafter ; and that they will never again send out men to plunder and pirate from Padih river.
” Article 2. The Orang Kaya Pamancha, the headmen and elders, Dyaks, engage, that if there be any committal of, or consultations to commit, plunder or piracy, or other evil doings of the kind, it is our duty to come and report it at Sarawak.
” Article 3. The Orang Kaya Pamancha, the headmen and elders, Dyaks, engage, that if people of Serebas or of Sakarran, commit acts of plunder and piracy, which they cannot prevent, we are bound to come to the English, or to the people of Sarawak, to punish the people who so act.
” Article 4. With regard to traders in the Padi river. The trade with them shall be fair and honest, and traders shall be taken care of, and shall not be plundered or molested, or treated improperly. If such people do not choose to trade they shall not be troubled, and if there be debts due to them, they shall be examined into and settled with judgment.
” Article 5. If the Rajah sends people to Padi they will be received, and shall not be troubled or prevented; and if the Rajah sends people to investigate, and see what is doing in Padi, they shall be received and taken care of.
” Article 6. They shall state with sincerity, that they desire peace and friendship and goodwill with all men, and they engage with sincerity that they will never again go out to plunder and pirate as formerly.”
Note: An original local historian source, Bediman Anak Ketit, also a direct descendant of OKP Dana “Bayang” mentioned that the incident at Tanjong Kauk happens when Dana was still at a very young age. A revised version of OKP Dana story will be published very soon to incorporate this changes based on Bediman Anak Ketit account.
Dana “Bayang” contracted smallpox and died in 1854, with one of his sons named Umpu who also died of the same disease.
After Dana “Bayang'”s death he was succeeded as chief of the Padeh and upper Layar by his third son Aji, who, although younger than Nanang and Luyoh, was braver and showed better leadership than his elder brothers. He ruled only four years and died in the Sungei Langit war in 1858. He was succeeded as chief by Nanang who was promoted to the rank of Orang Kaya Pemancha in 1886.
Mujah “Buah Raya” of the Entabai.
Mujah “Buah Raya” was a famous warleader of the Entabai Iban from the 1840s to the 1860s. Because of his bravery and leadership in war he was given the title of Penglima by Sharif Masahor of Mukah.
Penglima Mujah came from the Skrang. In about 1840 he migrated to the Saribas and lived temporarily at the foot of Sadok Mountain, farming the lands in the upper Spak tributary. When living in the Spak, “Buah Raya” frequently visited the Saribas warleaders, such as Igoh apai Lamban of the upper Layar, Unal “Bulan” of the lower Spak and the Orang Kaya Pemancha Dana “Bayang” of the Padeh, where he studied general interpretations of omens and the tactics of war. After he had obtained considerable knowledge of warfare, Mujah “Buah Raya” thought it was no longer worthwhile for him to remain in the Saribas country where a number of warleaders were already living. With this thought in mind he paid a visit to an Iban named Encharang who lived in the upper Anyut tributary of the Paku River. On his arrival very few people in the house recognised him.
That evening the usual gathering to honour a visitor was held for him on Encharang’s communal galley. He stayed in Encharang’s house for several days. During a conversation with Majang (or Balai), the son of Encharang, Mujah told him that the purpose of his visit was to ask for the hand of Andak. Andak was the daughter of Encharang and his wife Belayau, and, of course, the sister of Majang. Encharang said that he would agree to his daughter’s marriage, if Mujah “Buah Raya” and his family moved from the Spak to live with his wife in the same longhouse at a place now called Tembawai Tingkah.
Some time later in his conversation with the people of the Anyut, Mujah “Buah Raya” related to them that the main reason of his migration from the Skrang to the Spak was to extend the territory possessed by the Iban. But instead of being interested in his plan, he said, the chiefs Unal “Bulan” and Igoh apai Lamban were only interested in warfare. They did not care about obtaining more lands for the Iban community to live in. He admitted that he was also interested in warfare, as it was one of an Iban man’s aims to become a warleader or a renowned warrior, but as far as he was concerned at that time he would very much like to become a migration leader to new land outside the areas which the Iban occupied in the Batang Lupar and Saribas rivers.
Therefore he suggested to them that they should follow him to look for new lands in the upper Entabai, a tributary of the Kanowit, which adjoins the upper Layar lands. He said that due to the emptiness of the lands in the upper Entabai and Kanowit rivers, any permanent settlements there would be very safe. With regard to the small numbers of Paku and Krian Bukitan who had settled in the Julau, Mujah “Buah Raya” felt sure that with Iban migration to the country they would no longer wander as nomads as they now did, but would re¬group for safety in one locality in the lower Julau River.
Furthermore, Mujah “Buah Raya” suggested that after they had settled permanently in the new country, the Iban should be friendly with the Bukitan, in order to use them, as they had been used by the Paku chiefs in past centuries, to defend themselves from the hostile Punan, Ukit, Beliun and people of other races along the Rejang and its tributaries.
The people of Anyut could not be persuaded to leave their lands to migrate to the Entabai, nor would any member of Mujah “Buah Raya” wife’s family agree to do so. Not only did his wife Andak refuse to migrate with him but she divorced him. As this separation was not because of a quarrel, but by mutual consent, both Mujah “Buah Raya” and Andak, as custom required, exchanged rings (tinchin kuntu) to prove the sincerity of their sarak sempekat divorce.
After his divorce from Andak, the daughter of Encharang of the Anyut, Mujah “Buah Raya” looked for another Paku girl who was prepared to follow him and be his wife in the upper Makop, a tributary of the Entabai. In spite of Mujah’s bravery, courage and handsome stature, no Paku girl of the lower river and Anyut tributary had the courage to leave her country and travel to the new lands where Mujah wished to settle. At that time all countries west and north of the Saribas were considered far places by the Iban community. So, Mujah “Buah Raya” went to Penom to ask a girl named Mapong to be his wife. But neither she nor her parents would agree, due to the distance of the country to which Mujah “Buah Raya” wished to take her.
During his stay of several years at Ulu Anyut, Mujah “Buah Raya'”s family had success¬fully gathered a great amount of rice which they sold or lent to the needy. A certain poor woman named Jerinah could not pay her debt to Mujah “Buah Raya'”s family before the eve of their departure for Entabai. Under the circumstances, she might have become the slave of her creditor. However to keep her from becoming Mujah “Buah Raya'”s slave, a man named Tamin paid her debt, so that she automatically become a low class member of the latter’s family.
Eventually, after Mujah “Buah Raya” had finished with his preparations to migrate, he led those who would follow him along the Keladan range and on to the range of hills between the source of Ngiau and Jaloh and between Jaloh and Penom. From the later hill they travelled to the hills which separate the sources of the Layar and Entabai rivers. While “Buah Raya” and his followers lived in this locality, they were joined by people from the upper Layar. At this time the Ulu Layar warleaders Igoh apai Lamban and his fighters attacked the Bukitan. Igoh appointed Mujah “Buah Raya” to become joint leader of the expedition, and as a result of this attack the Bukitan who lived in the upper Entabai, Julau, Entaih and Kanowit rivers began to group together in a single locality in the lower Kanowit river.
After the war with the Bukitan was over, Mujah “Buah Raya” decided to move further downriver with his followers. They settled at the mouth of the Engkaup. While they were building their longhouse here, some of the warriors returned to their house in the upper Entabai to look after their women and children. Mujah “Buah Raya” directed that if the enemy attacked the longhouse, these warriors were to take the women and children back to safety in the upper Layar.
After “Buah Raya” and his people had lived at Engkaup for several years, they decided to move further downriver. But before doing this, due to the hospitality of the Bukitan, they first spied out a place called Nanga Namangu where they intended to build their house. The pematau (spies) went down the Entabai in two long canoes. On their arrival at the mouth of Namangu tributary, the spies slept in their boats for fear of a Bukitan ambush.
After they had built the house, they returned upriver to fetch their wives and children. But when they arrived, they found that a lot of newcomers had gathered there, who wished to migrate with them and settle in the new country.
That evening Mujah “Buah Raya” held a meeting in which he criticised the tactics of the Saribas warleaders who had attacked a lot of places southeast of Sarawak towards Pontianak, but had not taken them over for settlement. He warned his people not to copy Saribas tactics while following him. Mujah “Buah Raya” also told his people to build two large warboats in which to fight the enemy in the new country. As he said he had dreamed that if Kumang the goddess did not fail him this new country, the Kanowit district, would be his. Soon after the warboats were completed, Mujah “Buah Raya” and his leading warriors went to the Layar and Paku asking for steel to be made into the sangkoh, berayang, perambut, bujak and berayang betuok spears for war. He explained that with these weapons they could defeat their enemies and get their land. He also said that after the land had been taken over by them, it should be populated by the Layar, Paku, Skrang and Lemanak Iban. Finally, he assured his friends that he was certain to get all the Kanowit lands if during the conquest he did not attack any tribe who lived outside the Kanowit River.
Shortly after he had returned from visiting the Saribas, Uyu apai Ikum of the upper Julau visited him. Uyu was one of Mujah “Buah Raya'”s warrior. He came to ask whether the Iban of this new settlement had any enemies to fight. Mujah “Buah Raya” said that the Bukitan had gone to live together in the upper Sugai tributary and were no longer dangerous to the Iban migrants. Mujah “Buah Raya” told Uyu that only the Bukitan who lived along the main Julau River, in the Binatang, Nyelong and Sarikei rivers could be attacked. On hearing this, Uyu and other warriors repaired their warboats. Early next morning before the force left for war, the woman and maidens rubbed the boats with guru oil and tepus, and long rolls of the sweet scented balong fruits were tied by coloured strings to the top of the boats to encourage the fighting men.
After two nights on the way, they reached the mouth of the Julau River where they raided an unprepared enemy village and killed and captured many of the enemy. But as the raid was completed early in the afternoon, the warriors urged Mujah “Buah Raya” to attack the Segalang and Rajang villages inside the Kanowit River. So they attacked these as well and killed and captured many of the enemy. During these attacks none of Mujah “Buah Raya'”s warriors were killed or even wounded. After their successful raids against these villages, Mujah “Buah Raya” and his fighters returned home to celebrate an enchaboh arong festival in honour of the head trophies they had taken.
After this conquest was over, Mujah “Buah Raya” often led his followers to attack the Lugat, Bukitan, Rajang, Seru and Melanau at, and northwest of, the mouth of the Rejang. It was due to Mujah “Buah Raya'”s successful attacks on these tribes that today the Layar, Lemanak, and Skrang inhabit the Kanowit, Sarikei, Sibu and Binatang districts. Besides this, Mujah “Buah Raya” helped Unggat and Gerinang subdue their enemies in the Rejang and Baleh rivers in order to secure these lands for the Iban migrants who came from the Batang Ai and Batang Kanyau rivers.
Extract from articles originally written by Benedict Sandin & Professor Clifford Sather.
Re-compile for weblog publication by Gregory Nyanggau Mawar.
Published in the Sarawak Musuem Journal, Volume XLVI, titled “Source of Iban Traditional History”, Part 1, 2 & 3.