Early Iban Migration – PART 3
THE IBAN UNDER BROOKE RULE.
When James Brooke was installed Rajah of Sarawak by Raja Muda Hashim and Pengiran Makota in 1841, the Dayaks of the Saribas and Skrang combined their forces and attacked settlements as far north as Bintulu and to the southeast as far as Pontianak. Due to the trouble caused by these attacks, the Rajah, with the help of a British Royal Navy contingent under Captain Henry Keppel, attacked the Saribas in June 1843, at first taking Padeh, then Paku and finally Rimbas.
For the same reason an expedition made up of the joint services of James Brooke and the Royal Navy under Captain Henry Keppel attacked the Batang Lupar Iban of the Undup and Skrang rivers. In 1844, in the Undup a large number of raiders were killed, including Lieutenant Ward, while in the Skrang a Malay Chief, Datu Patinggi Ali, and Mr. Steward suffered the same fate at Kerangan Peris.
In January 1845, Linggir of Paku led a party of Saribas chiefs for formal submission to the Rajah at Kuching in accordance with the promise they had made at Padeh, Paku and Rimbas in 1843. The Skrangs were represented by chief Linggi.
The sea-fight at Beting Maru and the Saribas Iban and Malays.
In 1849 Linggir and his Saribas warriors raided Igan, Paloh and Matu. On the way home, they decided to attack Sarikei, fifty miles inside the Rajang River. Upon arrival they found that Sarikei was strongly defended, for the refugees who had fled from Igan, Paloh and Matu had sounded the alarm. Consequently the party turned back and attacked Duri near the mouth of the Rejang River. Duri had only a short time before been raided by the Layar Dayaks under OKP Dana “Bayang” of the Padeh and Datu Patinggi Udin of Rantau Anak on the middle Layar.
When Linggir and his warriors reached the mouth of the Kalaka, they saw a huge steamer moored there. They paddled hard towards the mouth of the Saribas River. When they came to the sand bar of Beting Maru, they were met by another steamer with guns and canons. Sensing danger, Linggir ordered all his men to land at the sand bar and make an attempt to escape to the Undai stream whilst his boat and Laksamana Amir’s boat will be used to attack the steamer to avert its attention. Unfortunately, most of the Skrang followers boat choosed to escape across the Saribas River mouth onto the Batang Lupar River. While attempt to do this, they suffer most casualties in the hand of Brooke’s men. Those who managed to escape to the Skrang were the Apai Dendang’s men, Linggir’s staunch allies from lower Skrang. As for Linggir’s men who managed to land at Cape Maru, they left their boat on the sand bar and escaped under cover of darkness by land to the Undai Stream, a tributary of the Rimbas above Pusa settlement. That is why there is no casualty for those who escaped on land, as the Brooke’s men would not dare to risk chasing after the stragglers in the dark. Their boats were later either destroyed or being used by the Brooke’s men in pursuit of Linggir and Abang Apong to their hideout inside Paku River.
With great courage, Linggir and Abang Apong’s warboats attacked the schooner. While attacking the Schooner, Linggir’s brother-in-law named Chabu or Saribas Jack slipped and fell to the sea. Linggir’s men made a brave attempt to climb onboard the schooner, but it was defended very well by its crew. After sometime, Linggir ordered their men to abort the attack and escape up the Saribas River. Out of 17 boats only two managed to escape up the Saribas that night under the guidance of Linggir and Abang Apong. When they had escaped all danger, Linggir’s men beat a gong so that their friends who escaped onland in the darkness that night would know the direction to the Saribas River.
Early next morning a man was seen floating on a nipah palm log which was drifting towards shore with the tide. Seeing him, the Malay crewmen in one of the ships caught him and brought him before the Rajah. On his arrival on board the Rajah’s ship, some of the Malays asked the Rajah if they might kill him. Hearing this, the captive struggled, struck one of his captors on the chest and severely wounded him. The Rajah ordered that the man be detained on board, despite his demand for instant release. The Rajah would not let him go, as a messenger, for he knew that if other Iban met him alone they would kill him. He was kept on board the ship until the return of the expedition to Sarawak (Kuching). When the crewmen asked him his name, he refused to tell them. So the sailors nicknamed him “Saribas Jack”.
Next day, the combined forces under the Rajah and Captain Henry Keppel went on the tide up the Saribas River. At the vacated Malay village of Buling, near the mouth of the Paku River, the forces stopped for the night. All the Malays of this settlement had already fled upriver to live with the Iban at Kerangan Pinggai in the Paku.
Early next morning, on the tide, the forces used the light Saribas warboats they had captured at Beting Maru to go up the Paku River. Just below an Iban settlement called Matop, they encountered several huge impassible tree trunks lying across the river. These ensurai trees had been felled by Linggir’s warriors to hinder their advance. It took a long time for the Rajah’s men to cut through these barriers so that their boats could reach their destination at Nanga Peka that evening.
Hearing that the Rajah’s forces had landed at Nanga Peka, about half a mile below his settlement, Linggir gathered eighteen warriors to prepare for the ambush the next day. He was unable to summon additional fighters to join them in an attack on the Rajah’s advancing flotilla, as his other warriors had not yet managed to find their way home through the forest into which they fled following the Beting Maru battle.
Late in the evening, after the enemy had landed at Nanga Peka, Linggir sent Enchana “Letan” and his young nephew, a warrior named Gerijih, to spy on them. These warriors went as ordered, though they were nervous. When they had hidden themselves in the bushes close to where the enemy had assembled their boats, they heard the Rajah presiding over a council of war. He was heard to command Janting of Lingga and his Balau warriors to lead the Rajah’s bala to attack the Saribas next morning. In reply, Janting said that he and his fighting men would not dare to risk this, since, as he put it, “we are in fear of the two powerful leading enemies colored like the biring sempidan fighting cocks, who will arrogantly scratch the earth on the battle¬ground tomorrow.” This meant that Janting and his people, spiritually seen as fighting cocks, would not be able to defeat two of the leading enemies in the next day’s battle.
After the Balau chief had made this reply, the spies heard Jugah, chief of the Lundu Sebuyaus, telling his leader that he would command his three sons Kalong, Bunsi and Tujang to take the lead.
“We Sebuyaus”, he said, “once born, never return to our mother’s wombs.” By this he meant that, as human beings, we die only once.
After Jugah had assured the Rajah that his warrior sons would lead the attack, Abang Hassan of Kuching was heard prophesying that in accordance with the information from his katika, or ilmu palat (system of divination), these leading warriors must wear yellow headgear, in order to be successful in leading the attack. He also warned that the battle would be won by the warriors who first shouted victory; the warrior who first killed his foe would win the battle. After this, “Letan” and Gerijih hastened back to inform Linggir and the other warriors of what they had seen and heard while spying.
That night Linggir called a council of war. In it he asked the Laksamana Amir to determine their fate in the coming battle. The latter read his katika and said that Linggir, his son Abang Apong, and Abang Gambong his nephew should be the warriors to lead in battle. “You three”, he said, “must wear yellow head-bands, and as you go to fight the enemy, you must first shout the war cry. Then you will defeat them.”
Early next morning Linggir, Abang Apong and Abang Gambong led their warriors to set an ambush at the foot of a low hill overlooking Nanga Peka. While they were waiting for the enemy to advance, they directed three young men, Saang, Muking and Mula, to shake the top of a jackfrait tree on the hill top to draw the enemy’s attention.
When the enemy saw the boys playing and shaking the tree branches, Bunsi and his brothers Tujang and Kalong ran forward to attack them. But when Bunsi passed one of Linggir’s warriors named Kedit “Rindang” who had hidden himself inside a cluster of young bamboo, Kedit instantly struck him with a pedang sword on his neck and killed him on the spot. Seeing this Tujang rushed forward to assist his brother. But when he suddenly met Abang Apong, they both caught each other by the hands and started to wrestle. They did not pause to take up swords because they were both startled at meeting each other.
When he wrestled against Tujang, Abang Apong pushed Tujang to Linggir to help him. And as Linggir came forward Abang Apong pushed Tujang away so that he was struck by Linggir with his nyabor sword on the side of his head, slashing his ear. As Linggir was about to strike him again, Tujang threw himself into the Peka stream where he died. But when Linggir was about to cut off his head the enemy fired a volley of shots at them. One of the bullets wounded Abang Gambong severely on the arm. At this Linggir and Abang Apong left Tujang alone in order to rescue Abang Gambong.
After this lightning swift fight was over, Linggir and his men took away Abang Gambong up the Paku River. He died while they were carrying him by boat up the Anyut stream, and he was buried at Lubok Engkala near Engkarebai.
From Nanga Peka the Rajah’s forces went further up and burnt Majang’s house at Nanga Anyut, so that its inhabitants went to join the people of other houses after the war was over.
After the battle of Paku, the Rajah’s force returned to Buling on their way back to Kuching. There, Jugah’s son-in-law was accidentally killed by the force’s own gun which went off in the boat. His death shocked Jugah who begged for leave from the Rajah in order to return to bury in the Lundu cemetery his three sons killed in one day.
After the departure of the Lundu chief, the Rajah and his followers returned to their ships at Buiing. As they did so a gunner was accidentally killed by another gun-shot. He was buried in the Malay cemetery at Telok Semang near Seruai. About an hour after the burial, his head was cut off and taken away by Ujan “Batu” of Luban of the lower Paku. Some weeks after the return of the expedition the Rajah met Saribas Jack. The latter demanded to be speedily released. He told the Rajah that his five small children must be suffering much during his absence, as there was no one to look after them, after the recent death of their mother. These words moved the Rajah, so he ordered that Saribas Jack was to be escorted to Kabong with a letter to Abang Ali, charging him to send him safely home.
From Kabong, Abang All’s men sent him up the Krian River and let him go by himself from the upper Krian to the Paku watershed. At the source of the Paku, as he walked along the path near the Tampak Panas settlement, he was seen by his sister Angkis who was drawing drinking water from the river. But as all the Paku people were certain that he had died during the Beting Maru battle, she was so astonished that she returned to the house without speaking a word to him. On her arrival, Angkis told her friends that she had seen his brother. But no one believed her, as all were certain that her brother had been killed in the sea fight at Beting Maru.
At this time the people of Linggir’s house at Kerangan Pinggai on the middle river were preparing for the ngerapoh ceremony in which they would bury Chabu’s personal belongings in the cemetery according to custom. Chabu was the true name of “Saribas Jack”. When he came near his own house, his young sons who were collecting firewood for the ngerapoh ceremony saw him walking in the distance towards the house. They ran home and told the people that they had seen their father coming to the house. The old people said that it could not be their father, but all of a sudden he came in and was welcomed by young and old with tears of joy.
About three weeks later Linggir and other leaders from the Paku went to renew their submission to the Rajah at Kuching. On this occasion Saribas Jack found a way to meet the Rajah. He told the ruler that he wished to be forgiven. He admitted that in the past he had joined his people’s expeditions either by land or by sea, but now he promised not to take part in such raids in the future. Finally, he told the Rajah that he was a chief, a rich man, and that his name was Chabu, the brother-in-law of chief Linggir.
In 1850 after the battle of Beting Maru, a fort was built at the junction of the Skrang and the Batang Lupar Rivers to prevent the warriors under Libau “Rentap” from collaborating with those under Linggir and Aji in raiding the peaceful people living along the coast. The establishment of Fort James at Skrang was strongly opposed by Libau “Rentap” and the upper Skrang chiefs. As a matter of fact, Libau “Rentap” and his warriors attacked it in 1850, when Allan Lee was killed by Libau “Rentap” son-in-law named Layang, at Lintang Batang a few miles up the Skrang River.
In 1854 an innocent headmen named Apai Dendang “Gasing Gila” was attacked by the Tuan Besar and his brother the Tuan Muda, James Brooke-Brooke and Charles Brooke, near Tekalong in the Skrang River. Apai Dendang’s house was strongly defended by the bravest Skrang warriors, re-enforced by Aji and Linggir “Mali Lebu” of the Saribas.
Because of their commitment to assist Apai Dendang, Linggir and Aji were summoned by James Brooke to Kuching, in order to settle the dispute regarding their involvement in Skrang affairs. During their audience with the Rajah, they were accused of reinforced Apai Dendang who had been found guilty by the Tuan Muda at Skrang of having supplied salt to the rebel Libau “Rentap” at Sungai Lang. Therefore the Rajah fined them eight valuable jars to be deposited with the government.
Linggir and Aji told the Rajah that they could not accept the fine levied on them for their involvement in Apai Dendang’s affairs. They assured him that Apai Dendang was innocent and was a peaceful man. Furthermore they accused the Rajah’s nephews, the Tuan Besar and Tuan Muda, of having made a grave mistake in attacking Apai Dendang’s longhouse at Tekulong. Because of this, they said that they would fine the Rajah’s nephews for leading an unlawful invasion. The dispute ended without result. But the two chiefs again assured the Rajah that they would not attack peaceful people in the future, either by land or by sea.
Saribas and Skrang Iban.
In 1854 the Rajah and his nephew led a punitive expedition against Libau “Rentap” at Sungai Lang in the Skrang. After some fighting, Libau “Rentap” was wounded and was carried away to the top of Sadok Mountain, situated between the headwaters of Penabun, Manjuau, Spak and the Layar Rivers of the Saribas and Skrang regions.
On the summit of the Sadok, Libau “Rentap” and his Skrang followers built a stockade which they defended till their final defeat in 1861.
In 1857 Libau “Rentap” was attacked for the first time at Sadok by ‘the Rajah’s forces under the Tuan Muda. During the fighting Abang Aing, a senior Native Officer of the Skrang fort was wounded, and as a result the government force retreated un¬conditionally.
In April 1857, the Tuan Muda with the Balau Iban from the lower Batang Lupar attacked Aji and OKP Nanang in the Padeh. After a very short fight, both OKP Nanang’s and Aji’s longhouse were burnt by the Balau Dayaks.
While he was at Betong after this expedition, the Tuan Muda called on Bunyau and his brother Maoh at Rantau Anak in order to persuade them to submit to the Brooke regime. After they consulted their people, Bunyau and Maoh asked the Tuan Muda what profit they would get if they submitted themselves to the rule of the white man. They also informed him that they would face much danger if they submitted to the government without first informing Aji and his followers in the Padeh and Linggir “Mali Lebu” and his people in the Paku. The Tuan Muda assured Bunyau and Maoh that if they submitted to the Brooke regime he would build a fort fully equipped with cannons at Betong. This fort was to be under their combined charge. In their hesitation, Bunyau and Maoh told the Tuan Muda that before they finally submitted to him, they must first consult their Malay neighbour, Datu Patinggi Udin of Betong. In their negotialion with the latter, the Datu said that he and his Malays were in the minority and therefore if Bunyau and his followers were to submit to the rule of the Brooke’s, they too would have to follow as they could not resist the Rajah’s power alone.
After their discussion was over, Bunyau and Maoh accom¬panied by Dalu Patinggi Udin went to the Tuan Muda’s boat to assure him that from that day onward they would be loyal to Brooke rule. Hearing this, the Tuan Muda assured Bunyau and Maoh that, if they went to “Sarawak proper” (Kuching) by boat, they need not be afraid anymore, as they were now the friends of the government and had no enemy to harm them as before. The Tuan Muda then commanded Bakir, the son of Bunyau, and Malina “Panggau”, the son of Maoh, to collect enough wood for the building of a fort at Munggu Senggang, Betong. The Tuan Muda directed them to work hard on behalf of their aged fathers, so that they could later become the pro-government chiefs-in-charge of the Betong fort. Having instructed Bakir and Malina in this work, the Tuan Muda also ordered Abang Kadir, the son of Datu Patinggi Udin, to help with the construction of the fort on behalf of his father, and, on behalf of the Sarawak government, the Tuan Muda promised to supply them with nails and carpenters.
Finally, before his departure, the Tuan Muda instructed Bunyau and Maoh to visit Linggir “Mali Lebu” in order to persuade him to submit to the Brooke Raj with them. He asked them to inform Linggir that the Balau and Sebuyau Iban had become loyal to the Brooke government, and therefore he should not be hostile to these people anymore. “If Linggir were to declare war against the Balau and Sebuyau Iban as he did in the past,” said the Tuan Muda, “the government of my uncle will surely aid the latter with guns which he cannot defeat.” At the same time, he instructed Datu Patinggi Udin to visit the Laksamana Amir and his eldest son Abang Apong of the Paku for the same reason.
After the Tuan Muda had gone back to Skrang fort, Bakir and Malina led all the lower Saribas Iban under the control of their family to start collecting belian for the fort at Betong. At the same time Abang Kadir led his father’s people to collect the strong nibong palm trunks to be split for the purlins to be laid across the rafters for the attachment of the roofing material.
At this time Aji, the chief of the upper Saribas, was busy visiting warriors and warleaders including Libau “Rentap” of the Skrang at Sadok. During his visits he incited them to support him and his warriors in a fight against the Sarawak govern¬ment which had extended its power over the people of the lower Saribas River, as it had done over the people of the lower Skrang after Linggir’s defeat at Beting Maru in 1849.
It was in these intervening years that Aji continually raided the people along the coast between Sadong and the mouth of the Saribas River with a small number of warriors. On many of his raids, due to his hatred of Linggir who had submitted to Brooke rule without first consulting him, he shouted falsely to the enemy that the warriors who had raided them belonged to Linggir of the Paku.
In the midst of these troubled days, Aji was assisted by Lintong “Moahari” of the Kanowit in carrying out a raid on the Malay village at Buling under Laksamana Amir and his son Abang Apong of the Paku. On their way down the Layar, they passed Betong fort in the dead of the night in order not to be seen by Mr. Watson and the fortmen under Bakir.
When they reached the Paku at dawn, Aji secretly hid his boat and warriors in the Buling stream to await a good chance to attack the nearby village. But fortunately, early that morning certain Buling Malay went down the Paku River to collect apong leaves for atap thatch. When he passed the mouth of the Buling stream, he noticed a number of warriors and Aji already assembled inside the Buling stream. The man returned quickly to the village to inform Laksamana Amir that Aji and his warriors were going to attack them some time that day. Hearing this, the Laksamana sent his men upriver to tell Linggir so that the latter would be able to intervene as soon as possible.
Hearing that Aji was preparing to attack his Malay friends at Buling, Linggir went down with a friend named Munji to meet Aji. When Linggir came, Aji told him that he had brought a small number of warriors to attack the Malays of Buling. But Linggir disapproved of Aji’s plan to attack his peaceful Malays. “If you attack these Malays,” said Linggir, “your hostility will automatically involve me in the quarrel.”
Due to Linggir’s intervention, Aji and his warriors reluctantly returned overland to the Upper Layar in order not to be seen by Bakir and Malina of the Betong fort. But unfortunately the news soon spread to the fort. Due to this, Bakir went with a well known warrior named Ijau Umbol of Bukit Bungai to report Aji’s hostile act towards the peaceful people of the lower Saribas to the Tuan Muda at Skrang fort.
Hearing this, and with it the ceaseless reports about Linggir’s regular raids on the peaceful coastal people, as falsely spread by Aji, the Tuan Muda sent out his Balau sea scouts to attack any Saribas Iban who appeared in the sea without carrying a letter issued at the Betong fort. These Balau sea scouts were ordered to wait secretly at various spots along the coasts between Maludam beach and the mouth of the Batang Lupar for the Saribas Iban to come out from their own river.
At this time Aji, chief of the Padeh and Layar Iban, and his warriors were in the habit of attacking the Balau Iban with kayau anak (small wars) at the mouth of the Batang Lupar and along the Lingga tributary. While passing the fort at Betong they did not dare to paddle their war-boats openly on the river. Therefore they pulled them from Lubok Bemban upstream at midnight to Nanga Pasa across the land at Tanjong Betong. This badly damaged the Iban and Malay padi fields and young sago palms in that area.
One day during this time of unrest in the Saribas, Orang Kaya Janting of Banting came with a Balau force and landed at Betong fort to meet Bakir and Malina. The latter asked why he, Janting, had come with a force to the Saribas. Janting told them that he was on his way to take revenge on Aji who had killed a number of innocent Balau farmers at and around the Maludam stream, and other people who lived between the Batang Lupar and the Saribas Rivers. He also said that he had gone to the Rajah at Sarawak proper (Kuching) to report to him about Aji’s cruelty to these people. At the same time he had begged for his approval to attack Aji in the Padeh. The Rajah told Janting that he could not stop him from doing what he thought right, as Aji had not yet submitted himself to his rule. Orang Kaya Janting asked Bakir and Malina how far up the Saribas River the Iban were loyal to Brooke rule. They told him only up to a village called Tanu. Above this all were Aji’s hostile followers. They explained that although Aji’s house was at Padeh, all the women and children had been sent to live at Nanga Spak under the care of many of the leading warriors. They said that Aji’s longhouse at Padeh was only guarded by a small number of his brave fighting men. Although he was very disappointed by this story related by Bakir and Malina, Janting said that as he had come, he must attack Aji’s half-vacated longhouse at Padeh. Early next morning Janting left Betong fort for Aji’s house in the Padeh. When he and his warriors came to the Padeh they stopped and stayed below Aji’s landing place.
When he heard that the Balaus had come to attack his house, Aji ordered his warriors to collect as much wood as they could for rafts and also trees with thick leaves. This wood was thrown into the Padeh River that evening, so that it drifted downstream towards the enemy’s boats. At sunset, Aji led his warriors to attack the enemy who had camped below their landing place. During the righting they speared the enemy from the floating logs on which they stood. When the enemy rushed forward, Aji and his fighters hid themselves behind the upright leaves of the trees which made it very difficult for the enemy to aim their spears at them.
The Balau, defending themselves, could not harm the enemy, as they were blocked by the thick mass of trees which drifted down the river to their boats. During the fighting a considerable number of Balaus were killed or wounded, but their heads could not be taken away by the Padeh Iban because of the same difficulty, the obstructing logs.
Early next morning the Balau force went ashore to raid Aji’s house. Seeing them, Aji and his warriors, who had prepared to defend themselves, attacked the enemy from all sides of the road. During the fighting more Balaus were killed which made Orang Kaya Janting retreat, stop the raid and return to Lingga.
Shortly after this trouble was over, a young man named Kedit of the Paku accom¬panied by five friends went to Sarawak proper (Kuching) with Linggir’s approval to visit the Rajah. This was the first visit of this kind to take place following the submission of the Paku Iban to Brooke Rule. Eventually when Kedit and his party came to Sampun near the mouth of Sadong River, they were attacked by Balau sea scouts with shot-guns. A bullet hit Adu, son of Majang, in the chest so that he bled from his mouth. Due to this, Kedit and his friends steered their boat as fast as possible to Kuching, or Sarawak, as it was then known, in order to save themselves. When they reached Kuching, Kedit removed the bullet from Adu’s chest with the tip of his sword. After that Adu’s condition very much improved.
The news came to Majang in the Paku, reporting incorrectly that his two sons together with all their companions had been killed by the Balaus at Sampun. Surprised by the news, Majang went to see Linggir “Mali Lebu” in his house to inform him of the fatal attack on his sons and their friends at Sampun. Majang urged Linggir to send him to Kuching as soon as possible to investigate. Linggir said that as the story was still not clear, it would be better for them to be patient and to wait for further news. Majang insisted that they must go right away. But Linggir said that at that time the people of Paku had no large boat to cross the sea to the Sarawak River.
Hearing this Majang became upset. He believed Linggir was refusing to accom¬pany him to Kuching. So he said that it had been useless for him to have approved the marriage of his eldest son to one of Linggir’s nieces, for Linggir, who was a well known warleader, now refused to help him when he urgently needed his assistance.
So Linggir called for a man named Belawan who lived at Samu to find out whether he would accompany Linggir’s party l(FSarawak as soon as possible. This man had the largest boat in the Paku at that time which could accompany Linggir’s own boat. Belawan said that he would go with his boat and crew, if Linggir himself was also going.
So a few days later they left the Paku for Kuching. Two days afterwards as they reached the Maludam beach at about 7 a.m., Linggir’s boat, a few hundred yards ahead of Belawan’s, was shot at by the Balau sea scouts with a medium-sized cannon. The bullets hit many men including Linggir himself, who sat right at the stern of the boat. Linggir fainted, but was quickly carried to the shore by his brother-in-law, Tindin. They were chased by about eight Balau warriors armed with swords and spears. But Linggir’s brave nephews, Mula and Muking fought hard to defend the life of their unconscious uncle. They managed to weaken and kill a number of the enemy, so that the latter retreated and left them alone. Belawan and his crew, on seing the danger, returned upriver without attempting to help their friends to fight the enemy.
While Mula and Muking were fighting the Balau warriors, Majang and others fought hard against a greater number of the enemy on the beach. Some of their friends had already been killed by cannon-fire as they arrived. However, after a long fight, Majang and twelve others, including the brothers Tur and Angga, were killed, and so were a number of their enemy.
After the enemy had left them, Tindin and his few friends who carried Linggir came to the edge of a forest. Here they heard a very loud noise in the tree tops. They looked up and saw a huge python pulling the branches of a meranti tree together. As they saw this, Linggir, who had regained consciousness, said that all was well as the goddess Indai Abang had come and had cured him. From that time on Linggir was able to walk by himself. The party then made their way to the house of a Malay friend named Kudus, at Tanjong Spinang, who sent them safely back to the Paku in his boat.
Disunity among the Layar and Padeh Iban under Bunyau Apai Bakir and Aji.
When the fort was built at Betong under the joint supervision of Mr. J.B. Craickshank and Bunyau apai Bakir in 1858, Aji, the third son of the late OKP Dana “Bayang”, fought against all who had submitted to Brooke rale in the lower Layar River.
At the completion of the fort, Aji and his warriors from the Padeh and Ulu Layar attacked it with a few exchanges of fire, showing their complete disagreement with the people of the lower Layar under chief Bunyau Apai Bakir. At this time, Linggir “Mali Lebu” and all the people of Paku were completely neutral, as they had relatives in both of the quarelling groups.
Due to Aji’s action, the Tuan Muda led a force from the Skrang fort, composed of the best Skrang and Balau fighters, to punish Aji and his supporters. When the Tuan Muda arrived at Betong he was joined by the Iban and Malays of Betong under Mr. Watson, the Officer-in-Charge, including Bakir, Malina and the other fortmen.
The expedition was very well planned. At the request of Bunyau and Maoh, no other warboats went up the Layar ahead of those owned by the Saribas Iban. This was in order to save the lives of the ordinary people who were living beyond Nanga Padeh. However, when the force reached a big dry gravel bed at the mouth of the Sungai Langit, Aji suddenly appeared and came forward to attack the government force assembled in the river. Seeing him crossing the shallow rapids fully armed, a Malay man from Spaoh named Bruang shot him with his gun.
After Aji, the arch enemy of Brooke rule, had died, the Tuan Muda ordered his forces to stay one night at the mouth of Sungai Langit. Next day the forces divided into two columns. One column was sent to the Julau to punish Mujah “Buah Raya”, while another, led by the Tuan Muda, attacked Libau “Rentap” at Sadok. This later engage¬ment was known as the Second Sadok expedition.
Before the force had left, no Saribas Iban dared to behead Aji for fear of becoming the deadly enemy of his brothers and their followers. So it was decided that the Skrang should do it, as they lived safely near Fort James at the mouth of Skrang River. The latter agreed and so took Aji’s head back with them to the Skrang when the expedition was over. Several years later it was taken back and buried in the Padeh, for Aji kept appearing in his own shape or in the form of a crocodile which killed a number of people in the Skrang River.
In anger over the death of his brother Aji, Luyoh went to Mukah to negotiate with Sharif Masahor who was also planning to rebel against the Brookes. The Sharif assured him that he would supply gunpowders for those who rebels against the government of Sarawak. Having been assured of this, Luyoh and his brother OKP Nanang built a stockade at the mouth of the Spak tributary so that they could avenge their brother’s death against the Brookes and Bunyau apai Bakir. This stockade was attacked by Mr. Watson and Bakir in 1859.
Within a month of his defeat, OKP Nanang rebuilt the stockade, but it was attacked again by Mr. Watson, Bakir, and Abang Aing. Very shortly after its re¬construction, the doomed fortress was completely demolished.
Orang Kaya Nanang & Luyoh joined Libau “Rentap” on Mount Sadok.
After these defeats, OKP Nanang and Luyoh joined Libau “Rentap” at Sadok. They brought to the mountain a gun known as “Bujang Timpang Berang” which their father had captured at Sambas many decades earlier. This famous gun can be seen today at Fort Lily, Betong, Saribas.
From their stockade at Sadok, OKP Nanang and Luyoh and their followers together with Libau “Rentap” fighters supported Sharif Masahor’s rebellion. They openly joined the latter in his defence at Mukah and Igan until his defeat in 1861.
Two months after the deportation of Sharif Masahor to Singapore in 1861, the Tuan Besar, James Brooke-Brooke, and his brother the Tuan Muda, Charles Brooke, led a big expedition against OKP Nanang and Libau “Rentap” at Sadok. On this expedition, taught by past experience, the Tuan Besar took with him a big gun known as “Bujang Sadok”, to storm Libau “Rentap” stronghold. This gun is today exhibited in the Sarawak Museum in Kuching.
The force went up the Layar River to Nanga Tiga. From there, it went up the Tiput, crossed the Spak and went on to the foot of Sadok Mountain. While assembling there, the Tuan Besar and the Tuan Muda informed all the Iban chiefs of the lower Saribas and Skrang that the government had no intention of continuing its quarrel with OKP Nanang and Luyoh, provided that they agreed to surrender themselves as soon as possible. This proclamation pleased the divided Saribas Iban. They agreed to send the most trustworthy messengers to OKP Nanang and his brothers on the mountain to urge them to surrender to the government. All the Iban leaders agreed to send the Bangat chiefs under the leadership of Jabu apai Umpang and his brother Ngadan apai Rembi to meet OKP Nanang and Luyoh in their stronghold.
These chiefs went as arranged. When they told OKP Nanang and his brothers about the Brooke’s offer, they said that they would surrender if this was not just a trick to execute them. After OKP Nanang and all his warriors had given the Brooke’s request very careful consideration, they went with nine of their warriors to meet the Rajah’s nephew to confer on the conditions of their surrender. When they met the Brookes, they were asked to pledge 400 rusa jars valued at about $3,200 as proof of their good behaviour. If they did not cause any trouble within the next three years, their deposit would be refunded to them at the expiration of the agreement. OKP Nanang and Luyoh fully agreed with the imposition of the fine and therefore, on their behalf, their loyal old warrior, Uyu apai Ikum of the Ulu Julau, paid the fine in the presence of all the important persons taking part in the expedition on 25th September, 1861. After the fine had been paid, OKP Nanang and his followers were given two days to move away from the Sadok stronghold to allow for an attack against Libau “Rentap”.
While OKP Nanang and his followers were moving their belongings and their women and children to a place of safety, some of the Skrang and Saribas Iban leaders asked the Brookes whether Libau “Rentap” could also be pardoned and asked to surrender un¬conditionally. The Tuan Besar and his brother said that the government could not grant Libau “Rentap” such a favour as he was guilty of killing Mr. Allan Lee at Skrang several years before. For that reason, Libau “Rentap” sworn never to see or make peace with any white ruler for as long as he lives.
Before OKP Nanang and Luyoh surrendered to the government, there had been a hot quarrel between them and Libau “Rentap”, who had refused to hand back to Aji’s widow, Dimah, the gun powder her husband had asked him to keep safely in his stronghold shortly before Aji died at Sungai Langit. It was partly due to this that Aji’s brothers no longer remained allied with Libau “Rentap” but surrendered themselves to the government without first consulting him.
Knowing that OKP Nanang and his followers had betrayed him, Libau “Rentap” ordered that their stockade be razed. While Libau “Rentap” men were doing this, the flames could be seen for many hours by people who lived far away from the mountain.
After OKP Nanang and his followers had moved away to a safe place, the Tuan Muda ordered about sixty of his people to carry up the mountain the big gun, Bujang Sadok, to crush Libau “Rentap” stronghold. As soon as the preparations had been completed, an exchange of fire began. After several shots, the stockade was completely destroyed and his gunner Rajau was killed. Rajau’s blood soaked the gunpowder and ammunition, so that Libau “Rentap” and his warriors had to flee quickly to the Skrang where they camped safely near Bukit Lanja.
Shortly after Libau “Rentap” and his warriors had fled from Sadok, one of his men named Manang Usay walked forward with sword in hand, “to look for the Rajah,” as he put it. Seeing him looking for the Tuan Muda with such a weapon, those who stood nearby warned the Tuan Muda to be careful, in case Manang Usay should attempt to strike him with the sword. As he approached the Tuan Muda, Manang Usay’s foot caught in the root of an engkajang tree, so he fell down. As he was lying on the ground, the Tuan Muda struck him with his knife, but missed. Then the Tuan Muda drew his sword (pedang saliri) and pierced Manang Usay through the stomach, killing him instantly.
After Libau “Rentap” stronghold had been destroyed the Tuan Muda said:
“I bade farewell to the remains of Rentap’s house, which was now reduced to embers, only a few of which were smoking; fire had soon consumed the seat of this little episode in Sarawak history, We spiked an iron gun with steel, which had belonged to Nanang and was marked with an anchor dated 1515 with some letters on it not legible; they said his father had captured this gun from the Dutch at Sambas many years ago while on a marauding excursion.”
Before the force actually left Sadok, the Tuan Besar told a gathering of chiefs from the lower Layar, Paku and Skrang that the government had overthrown Libau “Rentap” power for the good of the country.
“At the same time”, he said, “The government has halted its quarrel with OKP Nanang to give way to the rule of law and order.”
The Tuan Besar made it known to all the chiefs that OKP Nanang had no enemy unless the Rajah had an enemy, and that OKP Nanang must not go to war unless his services were required by the government. Finally the Tuan Besar encouraged all the people to concentrate more on agriculture than on fighting one another, “If all Ihe people farm conscientiously,” he said, “the people and the government of the country will be able to engage in peaceful trade.”
The Tuan Besar ruled that OKP Nanang was to return to Buloh Antu; Luyoh to Sungai Langit; Unting to Gerinjing, Padeh; Tiong and Landau and their warrior husbands to Stambak; Badong and her husband Belabut to his house at Seruai, and the warriors Angkau, Mara and Saban to Serian below the Betong fort.
The Great Kayan Expedition of 1863.
Early in 1863, the Tuan Muda, who was posted at Skrang, visited Betong fort. On his arrival, he directed the Assistant Resident, Mr. Watson, to call ail the leading chiefs, Bakir, OKP Nanang of the Padeh and Linggir of the Paku to come to meet him at the fort. When they came the Tuan Muda directed them to build warboats for a punitive expedition against the Kayans and Kejamans of the upper Rajang. The latter, had given refuge to Sawing, Tani and Skalai the murderers of the Government Officers Messrs. Fox and Steele at the Kanowit fort. Sibu was to be their point of assembly and the date for all to arrive at Sibu was fixed during this meeting.
From the Saribas, the Tuan Muda went to Kabong, then the headquarters of the Kalaka District, to meet Penghulu Minggat and Chulo “Tarang” for the same purpose. These two chiefs had migrated recently to the Awik and the upper Krian from the Rimbas.
Early in May 1863, all the Batartg Lupar, Saribas and Kalaka warboats assembled at Kabong to proceed to Sibu. On arrival at Sibu they found that Penghulu Minggat and Chulo “Tarang” boats had already arrived from the Krian and were waiting for the warriors from the Saribas and Skrang led by the Tuan Muda and Mr, Watson.
The Tuan Muda assembled the chiefs together. During the assembly he informed them that the purpose of the expedition was to punish the Kayans and Kejamans for hiding the murderers of Fox and Steele, and for making raids against the Iban of the upper tributaries of the Rajang River. He directed that the Saribas boats under OKP Nanang, Linggir, Bakir and the Krian flotilla under Penghulu Minggat and Chulo “Tarang” must not go far from his while going upriver into the enemy’s territory.
The force left Sibu on the next morning and went up the Rajang as far as the Kanowit fort where they stayed one night. At this station they were joined by the Kanowit Iban under Mujah “Buah Raya”, Ubong and Lintong “Moahari”.
Early on the second day, the force left Kanowit and went up as far as the mouth of the Katibas River, where they spent another night. Here a force of Iban led by chiefs Balang, Ringgau, Unggat and Gerinang joined the expedition. At this time no Iban had migrated up the Rajang above the Katibas tributary. In the presence of the Tuan Muda, Balang vowed that he and his warriors would not retreat until they had killed many of the enemy to revenge all those of his people who had been killed by the Kayans.
From the mouth of the Katibas River the force went up the Rajang and spent the third night between the Kapit stream and the Baleh tributary. This force was the greatest that had ever joined in one expedition.
The force broke camp early on the fourth day, but due to difficulty in getting across the Pelagus rapids they only reached Pasir Nai by late afternoon. As the force arrived at Pasir Nai, the enemy under chief Dian Abun began shooting from their stockade at Nanga Sama.
Penghulu Minggat’s boat instantly advanced and landed at the fort. Shortly after landing, Penghulu Minggat’s warrior Luing led a party in an attack upon the fort. The door of the fort was closed, so Luing used a wooden shaft to ram the door open. As the door opened, Luing was speared and killed by a Kayan defender inside the fort. His body was promptly carried back to the boat by his friends. Due to this death, the Tuan Muda ordered that the force not venture beyond the enemy’s stockade that evening.
In the evening the Tuan Muda called a council of war, for upriver from this point lay the Kejaman and Kayan settlements. In the conference, he directed a number of trusted warriors to stand guard against a surprise attack on the government forces. After the warriors who were to guard the troops had been selected and had taken their posts, the Tuan Muda ordered all the Kanowits and the Rajangs to station them¬selves slightly upriver above the Iban aad Malay boats. This arrangement was made because only they could understand the Kejaman and Kayan dialects, if the enemy should came to attack the force.
During the night, the enemy vacated the stockade. In the morning some of the Ibans and Malays said that they had heard the- enemy call the Rajang and the Kanowit peoples in their own dialect which the Iban and the Malay could not understand. Early that morning when the force surrounded the stockade, they found that it had indeed been vacated. Consequently, many native leaders suspected that the enemy had been allowed to escape because they had made a secret arrangement with the Kanowit and the Rajang peoples.
From Pasir Nai, the force proceeded up the Rajang. Aided by their intimate know¬ledge of the country above this place, the Katibas forces under Gerinang, Unggat and Balang raided one big Kejaman longhouse full of women and children, and killed or captured almost all the inhabitants. On their return from the expedition, their boats could hardly carry the enemy heads and the captives. They were helped to transport their loot, captives and heads by Kanowit warriors under Mujah “Buah Raya” and Lintong “Moahari”. The latter also killed a considerable number of enemies, but were not so fortunate as the Katibas group.
Because of their ignorance of the country, the forces of the Saribas and Skrang were not so successful as those of Katibas. The warriors under OKP Nanang of the Padeh killed only a few of the enemy, as did those under Penghulu Minggat, Bakir and Chulo “Tarang”. The warriors under Linggir of Paku had better success, since those who joined Birai’s war boat killed and captured a considerable number of the enemy to add to those killed by the warriors who steered Linggir’s own boats.
Besides killing and capturing the enemy, many Ibans took as loot valuable Kayan jars, knives and mats. Among those still remembered, Linggir of the Paku looted one sergiu jar now kept by his great-grand daughter at Tanjong, Paku.
After the expedition was over a number of Kayan chiefs went down to Kanowit to submit themselves to the Tuan Muda. The Tuan Muda said that their submission could not be accepted unless the criminals Sawing, Skalai and Tani were surrendered to the government. The Kayan chiefs assured the Tuan Muda that they would hand over those criminals as requested, for the sake of peace in the region. Later the Kayans handed over Sawing to the Government and he was executed at Sibu. Skalai and Tani who had escaped were killed by the Kayans in the upper Rajang.
Conference at Fort James, Skrang.
After the Kayan expedition was over, the Tuan Muda assembled all the leading chiefs of the Second Division in 1863 at Fort James in the Skrang. At this meeting he thanked them for their service during the Kayan expedition, The Tuan Muda also stressed that, due to OKP Nanang’s good conduct after his submission at Sadok in 1861 and during the Kayan expedition, the time had come for the government to return to him the security deposit of 400 jars, according to the formal agreement made at Sadok on 25th September, 1861. Furthermore, the Tuan Muda said that for the benefit of the country’s trade among the Iban in particular, they should henceforth:
1. Trade with chupak, gantang and pasu measures and use daching weights and ela measurement.
2. Permit a widow or widower to marry six months after the death of the spouse, if she or he paid the initial fine to the deceased’s relatives in accordance with customary law.
3. Observe only three months of mourning (ulit).
4. Stop placing a mourning marker (tanda ulit) outside the deceased’s long-house compound.
These latter measures where intended to limit the period of mourning and so reduced the hardships that mourning observances imposed on the survivors.
Soon after this historic conference was over, Fort James was moved to a better and hillier place at Simanggang, about seven miles below the Skrang junction. After the arrival of Ranee Margaret in Sarawak in 1870, this fort was officially named Alice after one of her names, and the fort at Betong, which was built in 1858, was given another of her names, Lily.
Iban unrest in the Katibas Rivers.
From Nanga Lubang Raya near the source of the Batang Ai, Naga and his brothers Sumping, Maoh, Api and Murap migrated to the Kanyau in Indonesian Borneo. Before they left the country they invited Temenggong Simpi Pala of Rantau Panjai to come with them. But the Temenggong refused as he was reluctant to leave behind his guardian spirit who lived at Bukit Kaong.
On their arrival in the Kanyau, Naga and his followers lived at Emperan Kawat and subsequently at Kerangan Labu. Here they were raided by lower Batang Ai Iban from Kumpang. Due to this trouble Naga led his followers to the headwaters of the Katibas on the Sarawak side of the border. In this new country they first settled at Jekelan and then later moved to Emperan where they were attacked by joint forces of Kantu’ and Embaloh Dayaks. These enemies came from the Kanyau and Ketunggau tributaries of the Kapuas River. To escape this danger they moved to Batu Gong, and then settled at Tekalit. While Naga was still living in the Katibas he transferred his chieftainship to his sons Unggat and Gerinang.
In 1868 when Mr. J.B. Cruickshank was serving as Resident in the Rejang, Unggat and Gerinang came to see him at Nanga Ngemah. When the Resident asked them of the general affairs of the Katibas, Unggat replied that all was tranquil with the exception of a senior warrior chief named Balang who had returned victoriously from the warpath against a tribe called the Lusum. Unggat told Mr. Craickshank that Balang and Ringgau had come to him and his brother Gerinang twice to invite them to join them to murder the Resident. He told Mr. Craickshank that Balang was to hold a feast next day in honour of his recent victory over the Lusum. Mr. Craickshank, upset by the news, told Unggat and Gerinang that he personally would attend Balang’s festival next day.
Early next day Mr. Cruickshank went to Balang’s longhouse. When he reached the longhouse landing place, he called for Balang to come down to fetch him up to the house. Balang was surprised by the arrival of the Resident whom he had not invited to the feast, but he reluctantly agreed to fetch him to his house. When Balang greeted him at his boat, Mr. Cruickshank ordered that he should be arrested, chained and brought down immediately to Sibu for detention. Later in the month it was said that Balang had been executed at Pulau Selalau near Sibu because of his reported plot to murder the Resident.
In retaliation Balang’s son-in-law, his uncle Enjop and the latter’s son publicly declared that they would fight against the rule of the Rajah of Sarawak in the Katibas River. The reason they gave was Balang’s execution without trial, by a court of justice.
Before the revolt began, the relatives of Balang already knew that Balang’s execution was due to Unggat’s jealously and the false story he had told the Resident about Balang’s intention to murder him. So Enjop and his relatives went to Unggat’s house, to force him and Gerinang to join their rebellion against the Rajah. Hearing this, Unggat said that the reason why Balang was executed was because he had raided the Lusum in the upper Rajang. They replied to Unggat that Balang would not have been sentenced to death for this, for the Lusum were enemies of the Katibas, and had not submitted to Brooke rule. Besides this, they said that the government should not sentence Balang to death without a trial.
Gerinang asked Enjop and his relatives to give him and Unggat time to discuss among themselves whether they agreed to join them in rebelling against the govern¬ment. He said that to fight against the government was dangerous and required very careful consideration. Enjop and Balang’s son-in-law said that they already had asked the people of Kanowit and Julau to support their rebellion.
Later Unggat and Gerinang told Enjop and his relatives that they could not reinforce them since, as they put it, they could not seek victory against the warleaders of the Saribas and Skrang Iban who were their relatives, and were now siding with the government.
Due to the joining of Unggat and Gerinang with Enjop and Balang’s relatives in their enmity against the Rajah, fighting suddenly broke out in the Katibas in 1868.
While Naga and his people lived at Batu Gong they were twice attacked by the Rajah’s force during the first and second Katibas expeditions against Enjop, the brother of Balang, in 1869 and 1870. In his wrath against the government for executing Balang unjustly, Lintong ‘Moahari” of Kanowit attacked the Sibu fort in 1870, the year of the second and third expeditions launched by the Brooke government against the Katibas Iban.
During the first Katibas expedition, Manggi’s bong tekam boat defeated the Rajah’s boat; thereby causing the latter’s troops to retreat unconditionally. But during the second expedition this same boat of Manggi’s was driven back and Manggi and many of his warriors were killed.
Enjop and his followers were reinforced by Iban from Julau, Kanowit and Kanyau in Indonesian Borneo. This trouble continued until 1871 and involved three successive punitive expeditions.
After Manggi’s death, Naga ordered a warrior of his, named Ridun to lead a migra¬tion into the Baleh River. Ridun and his followers settled temporarily at the mouth of the Selidong stream near the mouth of the Baleh. There they met with a lot of trouble. They were attacked by the Logats and Ukit tribes. To avoid this Ridun moved to Resa in the Yong stream, where he died of old age. Around the same time Naga died in the Katibas.
Due to the revolt of the Katibas Iban, the upper Batang Ai Iban under chief Ngumbang, while reinforcing their relatives, were attacked by the Rajah in 1868. These troubles were the first signs of what became continuing unrest in the headwaters of the Batang Ai and the Batang Rajang which was to last until 1919.
Labar succeeded Ridun as leader in the Yong. From Yong, Labar led a migration to the Baleh and lived at the mouth of Kemali stream just above Lepong Kain, While Labar and his people were settled there, they were frequently attacked by the Lugats, who lived along the Gaat tributary. Labar died at the Nanga Kemali settlement, and the Baleh Iban no longer had an influential leader, as Unggat and Gerinang lived far away in the Katibas. Due to this, the Baleh Iban sent for Mujah “Buah Raya” of the Julau and Entabai to lead them against the Lugats at Nanga Gaat. Mujah “Buah Raya”, with two hundred warriors went to attack over one thousand of the enemy. The latter defended themselves bravely, but their wooden shields were broken by the stones thrown by Mujah’s warriors, and they were defeated. After their defeat the Lugat fled to the upper Baleh and lived at the Nanga Laii, Nanga Sengkala and Nanga Singut settlements. From these longhouses they fled once more, escaping further Iban raids, to the Mahakam River in Indonesian Borneo. In this new country they are said to have settled at a place called Bila Baii.
Many years later, after the Iban had defeated the Lugats at Nanga Gaat, a Lugat chief named Oyong Ojat, came to visit an Iban longhouse at Nanga Sembawang. In his conversation with this host, he said that when he was a boy he had been one of the people defeated by the Iban under Mujah “Buah Raya” at Nanga Gaat. He could remember his family’s house before it was attacked by Mujah’s men.
In the Katibas, after Unggat and Gerinang had died, they were succeeded as chiefs by their sons Keling and Mata Hari, who led a great number of Iban to the Sut, Gaat and Mujong tributaries of the Baleh. The people of these Rivers still regard the descendants of Naga and Sumping as being of their original line of chiefs, for their ancestors led the migrations from the Batang Ai to the Kanyau, Katibas and finally to the Baleh River where these Iban live today. (Naga & Sumping were the descendent of Seremat Chief named Bau and Salengka mentioned earlier in EIM Part 2 who was also directly related to Saribas, Batang Ai, Dau & Balau Iban)
From Pulau Ensulit in Indonesia, Jubang moved up the Piang River and settled temporarily at Emperan Tebelian. From this settlement, he and his people migrated into the Katibas in Sarawak territory via Sungai Ayat in order to settle at the Bangkit stream. From the Bangkit, Jubang and his people moved down the main Katibas River to the Rajang and then up that river to settle in the Sut, a tributary of the Baleh. While he was living in the Sut, Jubang joined Gerinang’s war against the Pieng Dayaks in the Mahakam River in Indonesian territory, and there he was killed. At the time of his father’s death, Koh lived at Nanga Dia where he was appointed Penghulu by the Raj all because he had obeyed the government wishes in not taking revenge upon the Julau Iban who had killed his cousin named Lanau during the fighting at Bukit Balong.
After he had attacked the Piengs, Gerinang led another war against the Lusum Dayaks at Keluan and defeated them. As a result of this the Lusum Dayak fled to settle in the Baram. In their place at Keluan, the Badang Dayak have lived there to the present day. Gerinang was imprisoned by the Rajah for this attack on the Lusum, but later he was appointed Penghulu, succeeding his deceased grandfather Penghulu Keling.
In Jubang’s company from the Katibas there was a Nanga Delok man named Melintang. When he arrived in the Baleh he was permitted by the chiefs of that river to live with his followers in the Merirai tributary. He was appointed the first Penghulu of that river in 1942 but died shortly after his appointment. After his death he was succeeded by his grandson the late Tun Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Temenggong Jugah, the former Federal Minister for Sarawak Affairs after Sarawak was given in¬dependence within the Malaysian Federation in 1963.
Jubang, the father of Temenggong Koh, left Lubang Baya in the Batang Ai to migrate to the Kanyau River where he lived at Pulau Ensulit. It was at this settlement that he married Garong, the daughter of chief Ba, and their child was Temenggong Koh, the well known Iban chieftain of modern Sarawak, who died in 1955.
Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu” of Paku.
In the last quarter of the 19th century Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu” of the Paku, (son of Saribas Jack) who had succeeded his uncle, Linggir “Mali Lebu”, as chief in the Paku River, took his followers on a small expedition to attack Iban trouble makers at Sut, Baleh. He was accompanied by the warriors Kandau apai Limbak, Lambor apai Nyanggau, Mula, Malina apai Mundat, Enggu apai Genilau and Unggang “Kumpang Pali” of Entanak near Betong. At the mouth of the Sut they waited at night for the enemy to come down to trade at a small trading station at the mouth of the Baleh River. At this time the government station was at Nanga Baleh. During the night a boatful of enemy came down the Sut River and Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu” and his men attacked them. During the fighting Lambor killed one of the enemy and captured another, Kandau killed one enemy and the rest were taken captives.
When they came down to Sibu they were halted by the government who accused Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu” of leading a war party without the approval of the government. All their captives were confiscated by the government. Once they were home, dissatisfied at this govern¬ment intervention in his war against the Iban of the Sut, Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu” and his followers went overland to Kanowit to call for the chiefs Ubong and Lintong “Moahari” to join him in attacking the hostile Iban of Ibau below what is now Kapit town. During this raid Penghulu Garran’s warriors killed and captured a number of the enemy, among whom was a man named Sumai, captured by Mula of Penom.
After his expedition against the Sut and Ibau, as there were no more enemies near home, Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu” led his warriors to attack the Maloh Dayaks in Dutch territory. While they were on their way down the Kapuas River, they were repulsed by the Dutch with guns from their naval boats. Because of this attack by the Dutch they returned homeward after they had killed only a few of the enemy. But on the way back they were asked by friendly Malohs to kill a fierce Maloh farmer who lived alone in his farm hut. His name was Sangun and he was hated by the other Maloh Dayaks.
Sangun’s hut was very tall, as it was built on high stilts. It was not possible for Penghulu Garran’s warriors to reach Sangun with spears and swords from the ground. When they surrounded the hut, Sangun threatened them by showing the big blade and long handle of his spear. Due to this, Penghulu Garran’s warriors were afraid to come near his hut. At this he asked Mula to light a large fire to smoke out Sangun. So Mula and other warriors lit a fire below Sangun’s hut. Seeing this, Sangun equipped himself with his war weapons in order to attack them. After Sangun had come down to the ground, Mula, Juing, Gerijih, Muking, Jugol, Banggai and the other warriors started to attack him. Sangun was a very strong man and defended himself vigorously with spear and shield.
After a long fight, Sangun ran up the hill to escape into the forest canopy. Penghulu Garran followed him so that Sangun would not run too far ahead and escape into the forest.
When Sangun saw Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu” following him, he halted to challenge him. During the fighting, Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu” struck Sangun on his left thigh which crippled him severely. Sangun could no longer walk but could only defend himself with his shield. Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu” asked Mula to strike Sangun, in order to cut off his head for a trophy, which he did.
After Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu” had returned from Maloh country, the Paku Iban never again went to war against other tribes unless they were part of the government led forces.
Early Iban Pioneers of the Krian Region.
The early Iban pioneers who came to explore and settle the Krian region were originally from what is now the Saribas District. Many of them were at one time or another, Paku settlers. They pushed their routes to the Krian River via the Rimbas. Some of them took the lower route, starting from Sekundong or Kerangan Pinggai, Paku, transversed the Rimbas region of Debak, Deit, Belasau, Undai and Rapong to the Melupa where they continued their migration by boats sailing down the river. In Melupa these pioneers settled permanently, while some others pushed, on to the Awik, Sebetan and Sabelak region.
Other pioneers such as Radin took the middle route setting out from Samu, Paku. When they reached the Rimbas at Tembawai Surok Lelabi in the Teru, they wound their way up the river and then crossed to the Krian side at Bayor. On reaching Penajar Mountain the party split up. One party went downriver to explore the Kawang and Batang Rimbas until they came to Gerenjang, a tributary of the Upper Krian. Other parties explored the regions of Babang and Pilai. The pioneers of the Pilai followed the course of that river and finally settled at Nanga Maras, Krian.
Some explorers and pioneers started from Samu and Anyut migrating up the Paku River itself to the vicinity of Meroh where they turned to the left, going up the Ketoh River, a small tributary of the Paku until they reached its source, Mount Medang, the place where Linggir “Mali Lebu” encountered the spirit of Enting Naing in the form of a snake (ular kendawang). They ascended this mountain and settled on the other side of it, at the Upper Gerenjang. Others continued on to the Upper Krian and Awas.
(a) The Melupa Region.
After Daji’s victory over the Seru at Nanga Diso, where the Seru leader, Genalus, was killed by Nanggai of the Rimbas, more and more Iban came from the Saribas to occupy the Krian.
The region of the Melupa was perhaps first permanently settled by the immigrants led by Daji and Gila who used the lower route. They penetrated to the Melupa via the virgin jungle covering Sibirong Mountain, the source of Sulau River, a tributary of the Assam River, in the Melupa. Since their penetration was by way of the Sibirong, clearing the jungle to farm the land as they went, the mountain is also known as Sibirong Pesok. “Pesok” means to break through or penetration. In the course of their migration, they settled at the Sibirong for awhile. Later, Unggang “Kumpang Pali” led another party from the Saribas to the Krian via the Undai of the Rimbas and down the Melupa. He and his followers finally settled at Temudok on the middle Krian region.
(b) The Awik Region.
About three generations after the Iban had occupied the Krian River, Enchana “Letan Pulas Emas” and Penghulu Penghulu Minggat and their followers, decided to migrate from Paku region to the Krian region. At first they decided to settle in the Krian, but Gila, veteran of the last tribal war against the Sera at Nanga Diso, would not approve of this. Thus Letan and his party entered the Awik and built a longhouse at Rantau Menukol, located below Nanga Malong. From there they moved upriver at Lubok Kepayang.
Later when Penghulu Minggat came with his followers, he settled at Nanga Mitas, where he built a 60-door longhouse. The descendants of Penghulu Minggat now live in Kamidan, just above Nanga Mitas.
(c) The Sebetan Region.
Sebetan was pioneered almost simultaneously with Awik by Bir, one of Linggir “Mali Lebu” young warrior from Sekundong, Paku. He wanted to follow Penghulu Minggat and his party. But the latter dissuaded Bir from following him for fear that the Awik would soon become overcrowded. Penghulu Minggat permitted him to proceed upriver only to Nanga Stingam, where Bir made up his mind to find another place to live.
Incidentally, Bir, on a hunting expedition, followed the course of Sungai Manding, a small tributary of the Awik, to its source. At its headwaters, he found another stream flowing in a different direction. He named it Sungai Berangan for there were many berangan trees growing on either bank of the stream. When he returned to his house at Nanga Stingam, he took some of his men to explore more of the region of Sungai Berangan and the main river where it branches out. Apparently the stream empties into the Sebetan River, whose mouth is below the modern town of Saratok.
Afterwards Bir went down the Sebetan to its mouth where he observed bird-omens for seven days. While doing this, he saw a barking deer (kijang) swimming in the river. He knew that this omen was bad. But he was determined to have the Sebetan as his new place of settlement. Bir took all his followers from Nanga Stingam, Awik, to occupy the Sebetan. They built their first longhouse at Pengkalan Rumput (Grassy Landing Place). Later they moved on to Tembawai Emperan. Then they moved to Tembawai Panjai, where the main party split into three groups. These groups built their longhouses at Tembawai Lukut, Tembawai Ngitar and Tembawai Rungan.
Thus Bir became the founder of the Sebetan settlements. When he died he was greatly honoured in that his coffin was not buried but was placed on a platform or lumbong. Bir’s lumbong is still intact on the Naas range (Tinting Naas) near the longhouse of the Honourable Datuk Edmund Langgu, former Member of Parliament, at Sungai Klampai, Sebetan. The remains of Bir’s bones can still be seen there, inside a jar.
The Kalaka under Penghulu Minggat and Chulo “Tarang”.
In June, 1843, after the Saribas Iban of the Padeh and Paku had been defeated by James Brooke and Captain Henry Keppel, Rimbas was similarly attacked and taken. Due to this many people from the Rimbas migrated to the Krian via the Melupa. Here they settled along the river up to the Babang tributary. When the Iban of the lower Batang Lupar, Saribas and Krian were beginning to enjoy peace after the defeat of Kedu “Lang Ngindang” at Mt. Stulak and that of Janting “Lang Labang” at Bukit Batu on the headwaters of Mujong, the Rajah decreed that all Iban who had settled along the Baleh and in its tributaries were to return and live under the control of the govern¬ment in the main Rajang below Kapit.
This intervention in Iban affairs was protested by a senior Iban leader of the Ulu Ai named Penghulu Ngumbang “Brauh Langit” of Mepi, who had fought against the government along the Kedang range in 1886. The Emperan, Katibas and the Rajang Iban assisted him, as did the warriors of Penghulu Bantin “Ijau Lelayang” of the Ulu Ai. The Rajah’s followers were led by OKP Nanang of the Padeh, Penghulu Minggat of Awik and Jabu of Bangat, Skrang. Two years after his defeat at Kedang, Penghulu Ngumbang, Penghulu Bantin, together with Imba and Allam, agreed to attend the peace-making ceremony to be held at both the Lubok Antu and Kapit forts.
Despite of the agreement to live in peace sworn at this peace-making, the Iban of Yong and Cheremin in the upper Rajang again grew restless and in 1894 openly revolted against the government. The Rajah led an expedition against them in person. He appointed the aged OKP Nanang of Padeh, Saribas, to lead the fighting. This was the last war that OKP Nanang took part in before his death in Padeh in 1901.
After peace was restored, Penghulu Bantin went from the Kampuas to Ulu Ai to buy jars. On his way home with a rusa-type jar he stayed one night in an Iban longhouse on the lower Batang Ai. Several days after he left the house, a man who lived there found a rusa jar missing. He reported the loss to Mr. Bailey, Resident of the Second Division in Simanggang. In his wrath against the Ulu Ai rebel chief, Mr. Bailey summoned Penghulu Bantin and accused him of having stolen the lost jar. Penghulu Bantin denied the charge, and therefore a bitter quarrel arose between Penghulu Bantin and the Resident.
Mr. Bailey demanded that Penghulu Bantin should pay the necessary jar tax. Penghulu Bantin refused to pay, since he had bought the jar with his own money. In this disagreement, Mr. Bailey lost his temper with Penghulu Bantin, who returned to the Ulu Ai and started to collect followers to rebel against the Sarawak Government. The Rajah, being misinformed by Mr. Bailey about the quarrel, led a punitive expedition against Penghulu Bantin from 1897 to 1904 which ended with the battle at Entimau hill in the upper Katibas. In the same year, 1904, Bantin’s followers, led by Kana of Engkari and Mantok “Batu Cheling” and the people of the Ulu Kanowit, were defeated by a government force under Munan Penghulu Dalam, at Wong Adai below the Meluan. This encounter was commonly called the Bongkap war since Mantok’s huge war boat was named Bongkap.
In 1906 Penghuiu Ngumbang of the Mepi, Ulu Ai, supported by the Ulu Ai, Emperan, Kanowit, Julau, Katibas and Baleh Iban, renewed fighting against the government in the upper waters until defeated at Bukit Balong.
After these troubles had ended Penghulu Ngumbang and Penghulu Bantin agreed to make peace with the downriver Iban under Munan, and a peace-making ceremony was held at Kapit in 1907.
Munan, the Penghulu Dalam at Sibu, and Penghulu Ngumbang of Mepi in the Ulu Ai both died in 1914. In the following year the Baleh Iban led by Penghulu Merom rebelled against the government at Bukit Selong, at the source of the Mujong tributary and in the Gaat tributary. While fighting in the Gaat the government forces were headed by Gani “Sauh Besi”, the grandson of Kedu “Lang Ngindang” of the Skrang, who had settled at Bawang Assan near Sibu. The Gaat trouble ended in 1919 and there followed a peace-making ceremony at Kapit in 1920.
In the intervening year of 1916, the restless Iban of the Ulu Ai were led by one Tabor, a son of Penghulu Ngelingkong of the Mujan, to attack the Kayan of the upper Rajang. To stop this, the government sent a punitive expedition against them, and there was a battle at Nanga Pila, where Tabor was killed by a Constable named Impin “Pintu Batu Nanga Pila” of the Bangat, Skrang.
After the Iban troubles in the upper waters of the Batang Ai and Batang Rajang had stopped, a peace-making was held at Kapit between the Iban and the Kayan of Long Nawang (or Apo Kayan) in 1924. At this ceremony the Iban were represented by Penghulu Koh, Keling, Melintang and other upper Rajang and Baleh Penghulus. After the ceremony was over, and due to Penghulu Koh’s service in organizing the successful peace-making, Sir Charles Vyner Brooke, the third Rajah of Sarawak, pro¬moted him to the rank of Temenggong.
Rebellion By Penghulu Asun “Bah Tunggal”.
In 1929 Penghulu Asun “Bah Tunggal” of the Entabai and many Iban who supported him refused to pay taxes on shot-guns, pasu, gantang and chupak measures and the daching weight. In their arguments they said it was unreasonable for the Iban, who were not traders (orang dagang) to pay these taxes; they said they owed nothing to the government once they had paid the purchase price. In this trouble Asun was reinforced by Penghulu Kana of Engkari, Kendawang, son of the late Penghulu Janting “Lang Labang” of the Julau, Manang Bakak of the Pakan in Julau, and many young warriors from the Machan, Poi, Ngemah, Kanowit, Julau and the Ulu Batang Ai Rivers.
When the trouble was at its height a lot of unfounded rumours passed up and down the countryside accusing the Resident, District Officers and the Native Officers of having created the trouble which led the Iban to rebel. One of these rumours said that the government had introduced a law that all husbands in the Ulu must pay a tax of fifteen cents per night to sleep with their wives in their family quarters. This false story incited Asun’s ignorant warriors to take their stand at several locations in the Kanowit River where they were met and quelled by government forces.
Ultimately Asun was arrested in 1933. After all the ringleaders had been arrested, or had surren¬dered, the Rajah exiled Asun, Kana, Kendawang and Mikai to Lundu, while Manang Bakak was leniently put in jail at Marudi.
Story of Warrior Kandau anak Entingang.
Kandau anak Entingang was a Paku warrior who lived in Langan’s house at Nanga Drap near Danau in the upper Paku River. From his youth, Kandau was ambitious. He was anxious to meet spirits and spiritual heroes in his dreams so that he might obtain charms from them which would aid him in becoming a successful warrior. In order to meet spirits he secretly erected a small hut on the top of a dabai tree at Lubok Isu, not far below his longhouse bathing place. At night he often slept there. He never informed anyone of what he met or saw in his dreams.
One day two strangers came to his longhouse from the upper Rajang. They informed the Paku Iban that the Iban of Sut in the Baleh River were still hostile to the Rajah’s government. On hearing this, a young warleader named Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu” invited Du and others to join him in fighting the Iban of Sut. At this time a well-known young warrior named Unggang “Kumpang Pali” from Entanak near Betong was in the Paku to court a girl named Satik, a sister of the famous warrior Kedit “Rindang”. When he heard that Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu” was to lead war expedition to the upper Rajang he decided to join the party. Those who were prepared to follow Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu” were Kadam and his brother Mambang, Saang and his brother Mula, Du, Enggu, Munji, Lambor, Melina “Bujang Berani” and Unja. They journeyed by a large warboat to the Sut via Sibu. When they reached the Government station at Nanga Ngemah, Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu” ordered that they stay the night there, as it was already dark.
The next morning at 8.00 a.m. Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu” and his warriors went to the fort to meet the European Officer-in-Charge of the station. On meeting them the latter asked them where they had come from. Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu” told the Officer-in-Charge that they had come to ask his approval to attack the enemy in the Sut tributary of the Baleh, as they had heard that these people were not loyal to the Brooke gevernment. The Officer-in-Charge said that the Rajah planned to ask chief Linggir of Paku to attack them. He asked whether they know Linggir. At this, Kadam told the Officer-in-Charge that their leader Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu” was a nephew and son-in-law of Linggir.
Hearing this Officer-in-Charge asked whether Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu” had ever led a war expedition before. Kadam told him that Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu” was already an experienced warleader, having led several expeditions in the past. “If he had not yet led a war expedition,” said Kadam, “surely we would not follow him to war.” Hearing this, the Officer-in-Charge ordered them to meet him again at 8 a.m. the next morning.
The next day Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu” and his warriors came to the fort again as the Officer-in-Charge had asked them to. During this second meeting the Officer-in-Charge gave them permission to attack only one Iban longhouse in the Sut. He strongly warned them not to kill women and children, “If you happen to encounter them”, he said, “You should capture them and take them back with you to your country”. Having given these orders, the Officer-in-Charge commanded them to depart upriver the next day.
Early next morning Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu” and his warriors left the Nanga Ngemali station for Sut in the Baleh River. Shortly after they had entered the Sut, Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu” ordered his followers to stop as they would raid only the nearest enemy longhouse in the lower river. As soon as they had landed, Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu” ordered that a temporary war-camp be erected as soon as possible so that the younger warriors might spy on the enemy that evening.
Shortly after the camp had been set up, Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu” held a council of war in order to arrange for his followers to spy on the nearest enemy longhouse. After a short discussion, Kandau was commanded to pole his boat upriver. Unja who had wanted to accompany him was left behind. A few minutes after he had left, Kandau returned and informed his people to make ready for a fight, as a boatfull of enemy was approach¬ing from upriver. Hearing this Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu” and his warriors equipped themselves with swords, shields and spears and boarded the warboat in order to attack the enemy boat.
As they sailed out to meet the enemy, almost all the unprepared enemies threw themselves into the river to escape. Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu” and his warriors were able to kill or capture many of them. After a short skirmish it was discovered that Kandau had killed one and captured two. His brother Mambang only captured one. The rest killed one enemy each, except Enggu, Kadam and Munji.
Some years after this war, Kandau joined another troop led by Kedu “Lang Ngindang” of the Skrang, which attacked the house of Munau apai Laja of Engkari at Nanga Jangkuman. During the battle Kandau took a captive. Again in the 1860s when Penghulu Minggat of Awik attacked the Kanowit and Entabai rebels, Kandau took another captive.
In the early 1870s Kandau married Gulang, one of the daughters of Chulo “Tarang” of the Upper Krian. If was due to this marriage that he was appointed one of Chulo “Tarang”’s leading warriors, when he and Penghulu Minggat of Awik attacked the rebels under Janting and Merum at Bukit Batu in the Ulu Mujong in 1886. During the fighting, Kandau was severely wounded. Due to the large wound he received, Charles Brooke told him that he had done his best and should prepare to die like a brave man. Kandau told the Rajah that he would not die by weapons made of iron, as an Antu Grasi, or demon huntsman, had told him so in a dream. “According to the demon”, he said, “Only fire can slay me”. This was the first time that Kandau revealed the spiritual guardianship he had received decades earlier. Many years later, while burning logs in his padi field, he fell into the large fire which he himself had lit and was instantly burnt to death.
Manang Bakak “Asu Rangka” of the Paku.
While serving a prison sentence at Simanggang Jail, Manang Bakak was said to have left his cell and wandered freely at night, returning again in the morning. This occurred when he was imprisoned in the late 1890s for attempted murder and for his attitude towards the government.
He was found guilty of using a friend’s spear in attempting to murder a
Trader and his wife at Nanga Sekundong in the Paku. Luckily his victims were only wounded. Suspicion fell strongly on him and led to his arrest and inprisonment in the Simanggang jail. While he was in jail, he left his cell and sat outside house at night. The Resident and other government officers were wondering how he was able to break open the strong iron door with his bare hands. In their amazement they considered him insane. After he did this several times, he was transferred to the Kuching jail.
Here he also came out of his cell at night to sit outside the building. But because he never ran away, the government pardoned him. At the Kuching jail Bakak was said to have broken the iron bars of the cell in which he was locked.
At one time according to these stories, he was called by the Rajah to the Astana grounds. Bakak came with his escort. Sir Charles Brooke told Bakak that he had heard that he was a strong man, and asked him to lift a huge iron cannon that stood in the grounds. Bakak immediately took hold of the cannon, raised it from the ground and asked the Rajah where he would like him to throw it. For himself he wanted to throw it into a deep pool in the Sarawak River off the Astana landing place. The Rajah merely asked him to put the cannon back, he was so puzzled to see such extraordinary strength.
After he had been released from prison, the mischievous Bakak unlawfully carried a flag of State op the Krian and down the Rimbas River. He informed the Iban of these rivers that the Rajah wanted all warriors to join a government war expedition to fight the Julau Iban. Of course, this was a false story, so the Resident of the Second Division, Mr. Bailey, ordered that Bakak be arrested. To carry out this order Tait, the brother of Penghulu Saang, accompanied by his brother M’eling and a certain Indit, went to arrest Bakak at Ulu Bayor, Rimbas, where he was hiding. As they knew that Bakak was a strong man, his companions asked Tait to catch him with the aid of a pelemah charm which would weaken him. When they reached the Ulu Bayor longhouse at midday they found that Bakak was sleeping in the headman’s house. Seeing this, Tait and his friends caught him with the pelemah charm, which made Bakak very weak, and brought him to Simanggang where he was again im¬prisoned.
Again, he behaved in strange ways, and at last he was seen eating his owe feces, But this action was of course not real; he did it by a conjuring trick. Later due to his escape from the prison house, he was released and declared an outlaw by the government. This meant that if anyone disturbed Bakak the government would not be responsible for the mischief done.
Once, while troops were staying at Simanggang while on their way to the Delok Cholera expedition in 1902, Bakak did an extraordinary thing which was witnessed by many in the Simanggang bazaar. He told a certain Chinese trader that all the iron bars he sold in his shop were soft and could not be used for making knives. Hearing this, the Chinese shopkeeper told Bakak he could take all the iron bars in his shop, if he could break them to pieces with his hands. Bakak took the iron bars one by one, and broke them by cutting them with two fingers. This action amazed all who witnessed it. The trader, who had promised to give all the iron bars to him if he could break them, fulfilled his promise. So Bakak took them and distributed them to those who had gathered to watch.
At one time about 80 Iban were stranded in Kuching, on their way home from tapping wild rubber in various places throughout the country. They had run short of money for paying their fares. Bakak, who was staying in Kuching, played various tricks in order to raise money to help them. He bought about twenty fathoms of white calico cloth which he hung across Carpenter Street. In between these curtains he demonstrated various kinds of magical tricks, such as turning a pingan leaf into a mouse-deer, a brass areca-nut box into a tortoise, and many other things into centipedes and snakes. Everyone who was attracted by these tricks had to pay two cents for a short glance into the enclosure where Bakak was performing his magic. From these tricks Bakak collected about $100/- which was enough for his friends to go home by the sailing schooners used in those early years of the century.
Bakak was a Saribas Iban, born at Tanjong, who lived at Beduru and Matop, Paku. From boyhood he had been interested in the secrets of the medicine men. Wherever he travelled in his bachelor days, he studied all branches of magic from famous manang or dukun wherever he could find them. Being learned in all these things, he was able to turn sireh leaves into dollar notes and white, red and black calico towels into white, red and black snakes.
When he was serving a sentence in the Baram prison for his involvement in the Asun affair, he went to cure a patient in an Iban longhouse at Nakat. Next morning his friend Kakat sent him back to the Baram bazaar by canoe in order that he might go back to the prison house. On the way, Kakat told Bakak that he had no money to buy food in the bazaar. Bakak told him not to worry for money came whenever anyone was in need of it. As they neared the town, Bakak asked Kakat to lend him the black towel which he wore around his waist. Kakat handed his towel to Bakak, who pronounced a spell (puchau) over it and threw it into the river. When they reached the landing stage at Marudi, they found that a great number of people were in panic. Bakak asked the reason. Someone told him that the son of a rich Chinese trader had been bitten by a black cobra near his father’s shop and had fallen un¬conscious. The man said that the boy’s father was looking for someone who could cure his son. Hearing this Bakak went to a shop to take some refreshments with Kakat. After the boy’s father was told that Bakak was in town he came to look for him. When he met him, he begged Bakak to see his son who was unconscious due to the snake bite. Bakak told him that he could not help him as he had never cured anyone of snake bite before. Finally, he let himself be persuaded to try to cure the trader’s son, and went to see the boy and read a spell (puchau) over the tiny wound on the boy’s leg. After this the boy became conscious and was well again shortly afterwards. In appreciation, the trader handed Bakak $60/-, as Bakak had expected. He knew that all this funny business would happen, because the black calico towel he had thrown into the river had become the black cobra, and he had sent it to bite the trader’s son, whom he had named in his spell. He gave this money to Kakat who needed it.
In his young days when he led a party of Iban rubber tappers to work at Mukah, he and his followers were invited to attend a tamat pencha festival, – a feast at which the penikar, or teacher, chooses the first, second and third class martial arts dancers. At the end of the feast the penikar invited Bakak’s men to compete with his students in the dance. Bakak agreed and asked his friends to enter the competition. After all the men had danced, the penikar suggested that Bakak should dance in opposition to him. Bakak agreed and he started to attack his opponent more roughly then the dance allowed. Due to the roughness of the battle dance they soon fell into open quarrelling. When the time came for Bakak to accept the blows of his opponent, he prevented his approach with a gayong dalam spell, which spiritually struck the liver of his opponent. Due to this, the quarrel became very bad and this caused a lot of trouble. In his anger, after his friends had left the house, Bakak pulled away the house ladder and threw it to the ground. Having done this, with his great strength he pulled down an areca palm which he placed upside down in place of the ladder. In fear of him, none of his opponents dared to say anything.
There are many other strange things that Bakak is said to have done to confuse people. He could cause a few glasses of wine never to be finished, even if drunk by several hundred people all day. The last time he did this was in 1943 at the end of a festival at the Batu Anchau cemetery on the Paku River.
During his time Bakak was a famous manang or shaman. He was especially renowned for the power and courage he showed in performing dangerous pelian in which he summoned demons, some of them in the form of monkeys, crocodiles, river-turtles, or barking deer. The demons, it was believed, caused sickness. When the demons he summoned appeared in a reptile or animal guise, Bakak was brave enough to fight them with a knife.
In the 1940s, on his way from Julau to his sister’s house at Matop in the Paku, Bakak was invited to perform a pelian for a sick woman at Penom. During the night’s performance the drinkers finished their wine and had no money to buy more from the Chinese boat-hawkers in the river nearby. Due to this, they begged for money from Bakak who was singing his pelian prayers while seated on a swing. Bakak asked for sir eh leaves from a man who sat near him, and the latter gave him all the sireh leaves he found in his areca nut box. Receiving these Bakak rolled them many times between his palms, chanting a spell, which turned the seven leaves the man had given him into dollar notes. With this money the young men bought bottles of wine from the Chinese hawkers. But a week later one of the traders complained that a strange thing had happened to him. “Someone,” he said, “mischievously threw sireh leaves into my money box.”
After Bakak was released from the Baram prison in about 1935 he returned to live at Pakan in the Julau River. From Julau he visited his relatives in the Paku once every few months till his last visit in 1955. Most of his lifetime was spent at Pakan. He died of old age at Matop, Paku in 1955, aged about 81 years.
Kedu “Lang Ngindang”.
Kedu “Lang Ngindang”, a Skrang chief who lived at Nanga Bimu, opened a feud with the Kantu’ people of Merakai by attacking them with a large force. Due to this Mr. Maxwell, then the Resident at Simanggang, with the help of OKP Nanang of Padeh, Penghulu Minggat and Chulo “Tarang” of the Kalaka and Jebu and Utik of the Bangat, Skrang, attacked Kedu “Lang Ngindang” at Nanga Bunu in 1879. During the fighting OKP Nanang’s brother Unting and their nephews Senabong and Timban, the sons of the deceased Aji displayed notable bravery, because they wished to avenge their father’s death in 1858; Aji’s head was at that time still in the hands of a Skrang Iban.
After he had been defeated at Nanga Bunu, Kedu “Lang Ngindang” and his leading warriors, Uching “Kesulai Tandang”, Aming “Ijau Kemelang” and many others, including Sigat of Tanjong, Basek “Tengkujoh Darah” of Nanga Tanyit, Dunggau of Nariga Murat, and Busut of Enteban, fled to fortify themselves on the summit of Stulak hill. After the Rajah had defeated them there in 1881, Kedu “Lang Ngindang” and his warriors surrendered to the government forces. Some returned to the Skrang while many others migrated with Kedu “Lang Ngindang” to the Kanowit, after he had been asked to deposit 10 valuable jars as security for his good behaviour. Kedu “Lang Ngindang” refused to go back again to the Skrang as he did not want to see the faces of some of the Tuans (European Officers) in Fort Alice at Simanggang as he made peace. He decided to make peace at Sibu instead.
From Stulak hill Kedu “Lang Ngindang” moved again to live with his followers at the mouths of the rivers Tebalong and Kesit in Entabai. Years afterwards all of them dispersed again, and Kedu “Lang Ngindang” moved downriver and lived till his death of old age at Bawang Assan. His grandson Gani lived at Bawang Assan till he died in 1959. The rest of his followers mingled with other Skrang and Saribas Iban who had migrated to the Julau and Entabai Rivers before and after the Sadok defeat in 1861. Before these migrations, the Julau and the Kanowit were already peopled by Skrang, Lemanak and Saribas Iban under the leadership of well-known chiefs like Mujah “Buah Raya” who had fought against the Tuan Muda, Charles Brooke in 1858; and Lintong “Moahari”, who had reinforced Aji in his attack on Betong Fort and finally joined him in attacking the Government forces on their way to Sadok later that year.
Nakoda Gurang “Ulau” of the Paku.
Gurang was the eldest son of Ramping and Bintang of Samu, Paku. He married Lulong, the first daughter of Saang and Dindu of Matop. After their marriage Gurang lived with his wife’s family at Matop. But after his father-in-law Saang died, Gurang and the entire family returned to live at Samu.
At the age of seventeen he joined a Paku party of rubber tappers who went by a sailing boat they had made themselves to the Sadong River. For this trip they took provisions of two and a half pasu of rice each.
From the Sadong they went up the Kraang and reached the mouth of the MelIMn two days later. From this place they went up the Melikin for another two days till they reached a landing place (pangkalan). From this landing place they carried their provisions and working equipment overland for two days up and down the hills to their destination. The strongest among them could carry ten gallons of rice, while the weaker ones took only eight gallons, in addition to their other goods. At this time there was plenty of wild rubber, such as the gutta percha, nyatu sabang, nyatu beringin, and nyatu samalam and nyatu puteh. In addition there was plenty of the rubber gubi, kenk and perapat in the area. On this trip, however, the members of the party earned only $127- each.
Gurang’s wife Lulong died during the delivery of a daughter, Linda, and after this Gurang joined Nyaru and sailed to Singapore enroute for Malaya with seventy other Iban. At Singapore they boarded a steamer to Klang. From Klang they went by rail to Kuala Lumpur, where Nyaru met the Governor to ask for permission to work rubber in the jungle far away from town. The Governor said that they could tap rubber only after the rebellions in Pekan and Pahang had been put down. The Governor then asked Nyaru whether he and his Iban would agree to help the Govern¬ment fight the rebels. Nyaru said that they would be pleased to assist if the Govern¬ment required their services.
Since at this time he did not speak Malay, Nyaru appointed Rambuyan to lead the Paku and Krian Iban, and Janting, brother of Penghulu Tandang son of Entering apai Nawai, to lead the Jalau Iban. The soldiers on the expeditions only entrusted the Iban with the transport of war materials and food. They did not permit them to fight the enemy. For this work the government paid them only ten dollars each, plus frees food and lodging.
After these expeditions, the Government summoned Rambuyan and Janting to inform them that the government had given permission for them to tap wild rubber in the Perak, Trengganu and Pahang forests. Melina of Ulu Anyut and his men went to work in Perak, Rambuyan and his men went to Trengganu, and Nyaru sailed for Jambi with Baam, Ambau, Luncha, Umbat, Lubun, Katang, Kedit, Tambi, Entinggi, Demong “Matahari”, Muyu, Nyanggau, Gurang and Bandang. When this latter group arrived at Jambi they found only a few tapable wild gubi rubber trees. So they worked there only a month and earned ten dollars each. At this time Gurang was attacked by measles. His brother-in-law Bandang and three others brought him back to Singapore in order to return as soon as they could to Sarawak.
On his return to Samu Gurang’s mother-in-law arranged that he marry her second daughter Kerandang. Some years after their marriage Kerandang gave birth to a son named Renggi, who was better known as Jabo. After the birth of this son, Gurang joined Duat anak Guang, a son-in-law of Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu”; Kadam of Tru, Rimbas, and Medan to return to Perak in Malaya. There they tapped wild rubber and earned one hundred dollars each. When he came home in about 1896, Gurang found that his son Jabo was nearly able to sit up by himself.
Shortly after this, he joined Pasa of Sekundong in a trading trip to Kota Warringin in Kalimantan Barat. On this trip his companion Muyu bought two jars, Salau bought one and Pasa bought two with money from Penghulu Kedit and Jamit apai Made. The rest of his friends including himself were disappointed with the scarcity of jars in the area. Due to this Sujang and Bengali, both from Matop, went directly to Sabah to purchase jars. From Sabah they went on to Mindanao and Palawan and they never returned to Sarawak. Others in the party did not return from Kota Warringin in Kalimantan. Gurang apai Jabo went to Lawas in northern Sarawak, where he collected rattan for sale, while working there, Gurang married a Murut woman, which changed his ideas about looking for jars.
From Lawas Gurang paid a visit on Nakoda Tinggi at Sugut in Sabah. At this time Tinggi was engaged in fighting Mat Salleh and his men. During this visit Gurang gave up the thought of working for money. Instead, he joined Tinggi in order to show his bravery in battle.
After he had been successful in killing enemies in Sabah, Gurang returned to Lawas in order to go back to his family in the Paku. On hearing that he planned to go home, Luta of Nanga Maras, Krian gave him things such as money and brassware to deliver to his brother Unchi. But when Gurang arrived in Lawas he found that much of his brassware left in the hands of his Murut wife had been lost. Due to this, he did not return to his family in the Paku, but instead, he led a large party of Iban who were then working at and around Lawas to Singapore in order to tap wild rubber in Sumatra.
They left Labuan by the M.V. Ranee for Singapore. From Singapore they travelled by launch to Penang and then crossed the Straits of Malacca to Langkat in Sumatra. On arriving at Langkat town, Gurang went to see Tengku Ambong, Mentri Besar of the Sultanate of Langkat. On meeting the Chief Minister, Gurang asked permission for the Sarawak Iban to tap gutta (mayang kapor) in the region. Tengku Ambong told Gurang that he could not grant such permission as at that time the Sultanate of Langkat had just been incorporated into the Dutch Empire, and the Achehs were in rebellion against the Dutch government. “If I approved your application,” he said, “I am afraid you would be ambushed in the forest either by Dutch troops or by the rebels”. So he advised Gurang and his followers to go to Saruai town on the Tamiang River.
Gurang explained to his followers the result of his talks with Tengku Ambong. Hearing this, all agreed to proceed to Temiang by rail. Thus they arrived at Berendan town, and there they stayed the night. From this town they went by boat up the Temiang River for six hours to Saruai town. When they arrived, they stayed in the Government Rest house.
Next morning Gurang went to meet the Controlleur and told him that he had brought a lot of Iban followers from Sarawak to tap wild rubber in the Temiang region. So he had come to ask formally for his approval. In their conversation Gurang told the Controlleur that while at Langkat he had met Tengku Ambong who had advised him to come to Temiang to ask for approval from him to tap wild rubber in his country. The Controlleur said that he thought it would be better if the Iban were employed as luggage carriers for the Government troops during their expeditions to Acheh country. He said that the Government was prepared to pay each of them $15/- per month for their service. Gurang could not accept the offer before discussing it with his followers.
After he had talked the matter over with his followers, Gurang and his men went again next morning to the Controlleur’s office. Gurang said that all the Iban were willing to join the expedition. Hearing this Controlleur asked them to come to his Office again next day to sign the agreement. Next day as instructed, the Iban came to the Controlleur’s Office. It was explained to them that they were only to work as carriers of government luggage, and would not be equipped with guns to fight the enemy. For their service they were paid $15/- each per month plus free food and lodging with effect from that day.
Next day the Government sent them by launch to the town of Simpang. Here they lived in a huge concrete building. From Sipang they accompanied the Javanese soldiers who were fighting the Muslim Acheh under their ruler, Sultan Suda. In carrying out their raids, the Government troops used a number of routes. Some battalions went up the Acheh River, some from Tapak town. Gurang and his people joined those who fought the enemy along the Temiang River and its tributary the Kalui. In the upper Kalui, the Iban saw the Javanese soldiers they accompanied fighting against Gayau rebels who had sided with the Acheh. During the fighting the Iban found opportunity to kill stragglers with their parang (knives).
After the war had ended, Gurang told the Controlleur that he and his people wanted to work wild gutta (mayang kapor). The Controlleur approved the request but said that they should work at Langkat. Due to this, Gurang and his followers returned to Langkat with the Controlleur’s letter to Tengku Ambong. Arriving at Langkat they met Tengku Ambong’s chief clerk to talk of their intention to tap mayang kapor. The chief clerk asked them to wait till he had found a Chinese towkay in Penang willing to buy their rubber. But a few days later, the chief clerk told them that there was no towkay willing to buy mayang kapor due to the fact that it was no longer saleable on the European market. This was the last time that mayang kapor mbber was required by overseas buyers. It was later replaced by jelutong rubber which still has a market in many parts of the world. From Langkat, Gurang led his people to Singapore via Penang enroute for Lawas in Sarawak.
A few years after he had rejoined his Murut wife in Lawas, his son Jabo came from the Paku to fetch him home. By this time Jabo was about nineteen years old. Because of his son’s appearance at Lawas, Gurang divorced his Murut wife in order to return with his loving son to Kerandang, his old wife. Gurang brought back with him two old jars and a quantity of brassware. Shortly after his arrival in samu, he held an enchaboh arong festival in order to inform his relatives and friends that during his two decades in other countries, in addition to acquiring jars, he had also killed enemies. This entitled him to be known as raja berani in accordance with Iban custom.
The Story of Penghulu Chulo “Tarang”.
Penghulu Chulo “Tarang”, who was also known as Begarak, was one of the great warriors of the Paku, during the times of Chief Linggir “Mali Lebu”. On his maternal side he was descended from chief Saang and was a great grandson of Malang of Serudit, who was called Pengarah. The reason why Pengarah and his descendants lived at Serudit is related in a book called The Sea Dayaks of Borneo before White Rajah Rule (1967a: 39).
When he was a young bachelor, on the way to visit a girl friend at night, Chulo met a huge demon (antu gerasi) standing in the road in front of him. His teeth were as big as maram palm fruit. Chulo caught the demon suddenly and wrestled with him. As they wrestled, the demon suddenly vanished. So Chulo continued his journey to the girl’s house. That night while Chulo slept with his friends in the girl’s long-house, he dreamed of a very handsome young man who came and talked with him. The young man said, “How was it you dared to wrestle with me? In the past, no one has ever dared to wrestle against me. As you defeated me, from now on you will kill enemies in wars. You will also become rich because of your success in planting padi. You will be able to buy many old jars, which the people of your race value highly.” The demon assured Chulo that although he would become a very brave and strong warrior, he would never become a warleader. Instead he would serve as a leading warrior under someone else’s command.
The demon told Chulo that he lived on the summit of Bukit Buloh in the Paku River watershed and looked after the fate of the Paku people. After the young man had spoken these words, Chulo woke up and found it was all a dream. After this dream Chulo became a very brave warrior and fought under chief Linggir “Mali Lebu” of Paku. To start his fighting career Chulo “Tarang”, together with Ramping of Samu and Entemang of the Rimbas decided to attack the Beliun who then lived along the Sarikei River and who had been attacked previously by Ugat of Paku, as mentioned in an earlier chapter. As they began their attack on a Beliun house, before they could kill more than two enemies, Ramping was badly wounded on the thigh. Seeing this, Chulo and his friends stopped fighting in order to carry Ramping to safety. On their homeward journey, they finished their provisions just as they came to the foot of Tabujang hill. Due to this they grew weak with hunger. So they hid Ramping inside a cave at Tabujang hill, in order that the hostile Seru would not find and slay him while they returned home for more provisions.
They returned in haste to the Rimbas with the Beliun heads in order to inform their friends of their successful raid. They told the people the news of Ramping’s wound. When the Rimbas people heard this they sympathised with Ramping. After he had collected enough people to help him, Chulo “Tarang” led them to Tabujang hill to fetch Ramping. When they reached the cave, they found that Ramping was safe, though his large wound had been eaten by worms. They later brought him to a safer place to be looked after by his friends.
After Ramping’s recovery, Chulo “Tarang” and Entemang with other warriors went again to raid the Beliun village on the Sarikei River. When they came to the River bank opposite the village, Chulo “Tarang” and Entemang swam across the stream to spy out the position of the enemy. While they were swimming Entemang was caught by a crocodile and disappeared. Seeing this, Chulo “Tarang” returned to inform his friends of Entemang’s death.
After relating what had occurred, Chulo “Tarang” urged his companions to search Entemang’s body. In spite of their sadness over Entemang’s death, none of them dared do so, as the spot where their friend had disappeared was just opposite the pangkalan, or landing place, of the enemy. So Chulo “Tarang” and the others returned to fetch Ramping and bring him back to the Rimbas.
Two weeks after they had returned from the warpath, some of Entemang’s relatives came to Paku to accuse Chulo “Tarang” of slaying Entemang. They said that Chulo “Tarang”’s story about Entemang’s death was false. Chulo “Tarang” strongly denied this. The Paku warriors who had joined the war party strongly sided with Chulo “Tarang”. But the Rimbas people said that they had heard rumours from Sarikei that the body of Entemang had been found. On the corpse, according to these rumours, was a wound as if he had been killed by a spear. The people of Rimbas said that Entemang must have been killed by Chulo “Tarang”’s spear as no one else was with him at the time of the accident. Chulo “Tarang” strongly denied the Rimbas people’s accusation which was only based on rumour. “If you have not seen the wound on Entemang’s body yourselves, you must not believe a baseless story,” said Chulo “Tarang”.
The Rimbas people returned. But later they sent a messenger to inform Chulo “Tarang” that they wanted him to prove his innocence in a diving contest against them. “If Tarang refuses to settle this dispute by diving against us”, said the messenger, “it is certain that he is the slayer of Entemang.” Knowing that he was not guilty, Chulo “Tarang” promptly accepted the challenge.32 He told the messenger that the diving contest should be held in a month’s time, as both sides must be given sufficient time to look for divers to champion their cause. As he was looking for a diver to dive for him, Chulo “Tarang” found that Apai Enchalu was ready to do it for him, while his opponents engaged a man named Usut. Both men were reported to be excellent divers.
Before the contest started, the people of Rimbas invited Chulo “Tarang” to bet one tajau menaga (dragon jar), which the loser of the contest would surrender to the winner. Chulo “Tarang” said that he wanted to bet eight tajau menaga jars, not merely one, as proposed by his opponents. The Rimbas people refused Chulo “Tarang” request. They said that Chulo “Tarang” was trying to frighten them so that the diving contest would be cancelled. Chulo “Tarang” told the Rimbas people, that as he was innocent of Entemang’s death, he dared to bet them eight jars, which he knew that he would not lose*.
Many people came from the Krian in addition to those from the Rimbas and Paku, to witness the contest. Before the divers went under water, Chulo “Tarang” spoke to all the people present. He said that he was the leader who had invited Entemang and other warriors from the Rimbas to attack the Beliun village in the Sarikei River. He swore that as he was a leader of this expedition, he did not kill Entemang as his relatives believed. “Due to my innocence of the death of my most trusted warrior, Entemang, without doubt I will win this diving contest.” After Chulo “Tarang” had assured the people of his innocence, Kendawang, one of Linggir’s leading warriors from Paku asked whether the people of Rimbas wished to withdraw their accusation against Chulo “Tarang” before the diving contest took place. If they would withdraw they could do it, but if they lost the contest they would also lose their wager.
The Rimbas people said that they would not withdraw their accusation. They wanted to bet Chulo “Tarang” six menaga jars and not eight as he had suggested. Chulo “Tarang” agreed. After the betting was agreed to by both sides, those who sided with Chulo “Tarang” of Paku, or with his opponents of the Rimbas, began to place bets with setawak and bendai gongs. One whose name is still remembered was Encharang apai Bibay of Nanga Bangkit, Paku. Encharang bet that the Rimbas people would win the contest. Shortly before the diving contest was to start, each side asked one of their men to recite prayers to call for the Gods and universal spirits, who reside in the heavens and the water to come and see that justice was done. They prayed for them to cause the innocent to win without difficulty. The diving then started. After a short while under the water, Usut who dived for the people of Rimbas drowned, while Chulo “Tarang”’s champion, Apai Enchalu was still under the water. Due to Usut’s condition, the chiefs ordered that he be taken out of the water, which proved that the Rimbas people had lost their case.
Immediately after the case of Chulo “Tarang” had been proved by the victory of Apai Enchalu, Encharang apai Bibay snatched back the gong which he had wagered against his opponent who had sided with Chulo “Tarang” .When his opponent saw this, he and his friends followed Encharang and forced him to surrender the gong, or lose his life. Knowing that he was wrong, Encharang handed back the gong to his opponent.
When Linggir “Mali Lebu” of Paku raided Ilas and other Melanau villages in the Rajang delta, Chulo “Tarang” was one of his leading warriors. Likewise when Linggir invaded the Bukitan longhouse at Sugai in the Julau, with his great strength and bravery, Chulo captured eight captives.
At one time when Orang Kaya Rabong of the Skrang attacked the Balau Dayaks and Lingga Malays with two large warboats at Banting, Chulo and a man named Isut of Anyut joined the Skrang warriors. During the fighting, Chulo killed three enemies. Only one of the slain was beheaded by him. This was because he was more attracted by two valuable old jars he looted in one of the enemy’s rooms. Due to this success he was given the nickname of “Tarang”. When he returned to the Skrang, Chulo left the skull with Rabong, as he was satisfied to bring back to the Paku the two jars he had looted. Isut who accompanied him was a slave of Apai Jabang of Getah, Anyut. Because of his dream, Chulo “Tarang” never became a great warleader except when leading his small band of warriors in raids or “little wars” (kayau anak).
In Paku, Chulo “Tarang” married a woman named Siah who bore him a son named Tandok. The latter and his family migrated to the Sabelak and settled at Kedoh. After the death of Siah, Chulo “Tarang” married Dinggu, a daughter of Ramping “Gumbang” of Tawai in the Rimbas by whom he had three sons and four daughters whose names were: Ngadan, Unggit, Dungkong (f), Lanjing (f), Gulang (f), Insin (f) and Tujoh.
From Nanga Tawai, due to a squabble with his cousins, the Orang Kaya Linggang and his brothers, Ramping “Gumbang” and his son-in-law Chulo “Tarang” and his family moved up the Rimbas River and settled at Nanga Ulai on the lower part of the Bay or tributary. From Nanga Ulai, due to the lack of land for planting padi, Gumbang and Chulo “Tarang” migrated to the Krian and settled at Kumpai. This migration took place slightly later than that of Enchana “Letan” and his followers who, as described in an earlier section, migrated from the Paku to the Awik.
After the death of his father-in-law, Chulo “Tarang” was appointed the first penghulu to rule the upper Krian watershed by the Second Rajah of Sarawak. Two of Chulo “Tarang” sons, Ngadan and Unggit, were brave warriors together with two of his sons-in-law, Kandau and Ngindang of Paku.
When Penghulu Minggat and Chulo “Tarang” were appointed Penghulus of the lower and upper Krian, none of the people who were settled at the foot of the Embuas rapids and further up the Krian had yet submitted themselves to the Brooke Raj. Due to the general unrest in the Krian, the Rajah led a punitive expedition against them. He warned all those who wished to submit to his rule to live either with Penghulu Minggat at Awik or with Chulo “Tarang” at Kumpai. After this declaration was made, the people at the mouth of the Kabo tributary and the people in the Budu stream fled to the upper Senulau in order to resist the Rajah’s troops at Bukit Batu. But before they fled, they had sent their women and children of the Julau, to Ulu Awik.
Not many warriors from the Layar, Paku, Rimbas and the lower Krian joined the Rajah’s force. Those who did only did so to please the government. Before the expedition actually took place many people of the lower Krian and the Saribas secretly warned their friends to run away to safety. Therefore during the expedition only the Skrang warriors really fulfilled their pledge. Even then, their approaches to the rebels were always blocked by the Saribas warriors who wanted to protect their friends from attack.
But the Balau warriors who went up the main Krian River by boat attacked the hostile people of Nanga Kabo. In this raid that small longhouse was defeated; its site became a cemetery and is still used as such by the Iban of the area to this day. During the attack, most of the inhabitants were away downriver attending a funeral at a village called Kerangan and therefore escaped. As a result of the raid, the people above Nanga Kabo in the main Krian scattered. Some fled to join the enemy under Janting and Ranggau of the Julau, while others offered their submission to the government. Seeing that some of these people were still hostile, the Rajah ordered Penghulu Minggat of Awik to raid all those who had fled to the upper Kanowit and Mujok and who had allied themselves with the hostile Katibas Iban gathered at the upper Kamalih and Stulak hill near the headwaters of the Kanowit.
At this time the infamous Libau “Rentap” was living at Stulak having left Lanja Mountain where he had fled after his defeat at Sadok in 1861. Due to this Krian-Katibas unrest, the aged Libau “Rentap” moved away to the range of hills lying between the headwaters of Kabo, Awik, Julau, Sarikei and Binatang Rivers, where he died of old age and was honourably enshrined in a belian tomb (lumbong) on the summit of Bukit Sibau.
Shortly after Libau “Rentap” death, Ranggau succeeded to the leadership of the rebels and built a stronghold at Bukit Dugan on the headwaters of the Ensiring. Before the stronghold was completed the Rajah ordered Penghulu Minggat to attack it. Hearing rumours of Penghulu Minggat’s campaign preparations the enemy became divided. Those who continued to rebel followed Ranggau to Bukit Dugan, while those who were sick of such a hard wartime life returned to live safely at the Entabai.
From the main Kanowit River Penghulu Minggat led his force overland towards the head¬waters of the Ensiring tributary. From this point he raided enemy longhouses as he moved down the river. When he arrived at the mouth of Ensiring, he waited for some of his leading warriors who had gone off on their own to attack the enemy living away from the main route. After all the warriors had finally gathered at the place where Penghulu Minggat and the main force were waiting, he counted the head trophies and the captives that his warriors had taken. The victims totalled 81 heads and 4 captives.
Shortly after Penghulu Minggat had attacked the Ensiring, Janting and Ranggau of the Julau again began to build a stronghold at Bukit Dugan which was situated at the head¬waters of the Mujok, Ensiring and Katibas Rivers. When he learned of this the Rajah ordered Penghulu Minggat of Awik, Chief Linggir “Mali Lebu” of Paku and Entering apai Nawai of Julau to attack it with forces from the Paku, Rimbas, Krian, Awik, Sebetan and Sabelak. Chief Linggir “Mali Lebu” then led his warriors from the Paku and Rimbas to join Penghulu Minggat and his followers and proceed to the Julau to summon Entering and his fighting men.
From the upper Julau the force went downriver by boat and then up the Kanowit, staying one night at Nanga Mujok. At this point the first council of war was held to decide upon the most suitable route towards Bukit Dugan. During the discussion, the opinions of the warleaders and their leading warriors were divided. Some proposed to go up the Mujok and others to go up the Ensuing which had recently been attacked by Penghulu Minggat. Finally, following the advice of the Julau guides the route through the Mujok was agreed upon. Early next day, the force went up the Mujok to the mouth of the Sugai stream. When they arrived at the Sugai, the guides led the party on by foot further upstream to see the dangerous and winding rapids which they would encounter next day. Once there, they discovered many fresh tracks made by the enemy, undoubtedly spying on their advance.
That night, the warleaders asked the guides whether the rapids were passable by big boats. They advised that only the smaller boats could negotiate the rapids as they were extremely dangerous. Hearing this, the warleaders asked the distance from the rapids to the last point upriver where boats could still be used. The guides said that the last station was Nanga Tiga still far away; they would be two nights on the trail. At this advice from the guides, Penghulu Minggat ordered the force to stay one more day at the mouth of the Sugai in order to learn from the guides the exact location of Bukit Dugan. The guides said that Bukit Dugan was a lofty, steep hill situated between the headwaters of the Mujok and Ensiring of the Kanowit, and the sources of the Katibas, Poi and Machan Rivers on the northeast. The guides thought that the entire enemy’s wives, children and valuable property must have been sent away by now to a safe place in the upper Katibas. Besides this information, the guides told the warleaders that the enemies who defended their stronghold were from the upper Julau and the upper Layar, some were warriors of the famous hostile chief Kedu “Lang Ngindang” of the Nanga Bunu, and many others came from Merurun and the upper Katibas under Enjop.
Linggir then asked Penghulu Minggat about the other places which the Rajah has asked them to attack in addition to the enemy’s stronghold on the Dugan Hill. Penghulu Minggat told Linggir that the Rajah had only ordered them to raid the hostile people along the Ensiring tributary and the two longhouses in the Mujok stream together with those who had gone up to Bukit Dugan. “If we kill other people,” said Penghulu Minggat, “we will be responsible for the consequences”.
Considering the difficulty of the rapids, Entering suggested that the party should leave their boats at Nanga Sugai. He thought it would be less strenuous, to walk from that point slowly to Nanga Tiga than to proceed by boat. This suggestion was unanimously accepted by the other warleaders. Having agreed to go overland to Nanga Tiga, Penghulu Minggat suggested that twelve trusted warriors act as scouts (pengeratnbing) going ahead of the main force, six on eadii side of the river bank. Linggir promptly approved Penghulu Minggat’s arrangement. But he advised him to warn the scouts not to attack the enemy if they saw them. “Instead of attacking them, they must stop and wait for the arrival of the main force”.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Entering appointed his warrior Tandang and two others to proceed as scouts on behalf of the Julaus. On behalf of the Awik and Krian, Penghulu Minggat directed his son Munan and Luna “Panggau” of Sabelak to choose some more warriors to accompany them. On behalf of the Pakus and Rimbas, Linggir directed his son-in-law Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu”, Juing and Ajan “Sanggol Langit” to act as scouts, and finally on behalf of the Krians Chulo “Tarang” took the lead with Adu apai Jingan and Telajan of Dassay.
After a morning meal, the three warleaders assisted by Chulo “Tarang”, asked each other about their dreams of the night before. It was found that all was well with them. Then Penghulu Minggat and Chulo “Tarang” ordered that all boats should be put on the river bank before they started to march towards Nanga Tiga. When this was done, the twelve scouts marched ahead of the main force. During the march, some new marks made by the enemy were found by the scouts, but none of these showed any sign of an enemy ambush. When they reached a place called Letong Tibak, halfway between the mouth of Sugai and Nanga Tiga, the force stopped for the night. From this place the scouts travelled further up to guard the force from a possible surprise attack.
While the scouts were away, the warriors erected temporary huts for a one-night stay. Late in the evening the scouts returned to the troop and the warleaders asked them the news of their day’s work. The scouts told them that they had used four routes (three scouts going together along each route) but they had not encountered any enemy. Due to this, they thought that the enemy would not dare to attack them while they were advancing to attack the stockade in two day’s time. That evening after eating, a council of war was held on a huge gravel bed at Nanga Maong. Penghulu Minggat asked Linggir what would be the right time for them to start marching next morning. Linggir said that it would be good to proceed to Nanga Tiga immediately after they had taken their morning meal. Hearing this, Entering suggested that if the troop’s provisions were enough for several more days delay before the attack on the stockade at Bukit Dugan, they should detour to look for the wandering enemy in the vicinity of the sources of the Ensuing and Mujok Rivers. Penghulu Minggat could not agree with Entering’s suggestion so he commanded that the force proceed to Nanga Tiga immediately after an early breakfast next morning.
During the meeting neither Chulo “Tarang” of Krian nor Entering of Julau was very happy, because a considerable number of their followers had joined the enemy at Bukit Dugan. After the time had been fixed for them to break camp next day, Penghulu Minggat selected twenty-one of the bravest warriors from the Paku, Rimbas, Krian, Awik, Sabelak and Julau Rivers to take the lead in attacking the enemy’s stockade.
Next morning the force left Nanga Maong. The leading warriors marched ahead of the main force, having been told that they were not to attack the enemy should the latter try to ambush them on the way. Instead of attacking them, these warriors were instructed to retreat to the main force for the sake of safety; but they were permitted to kill unarmed farmers if, by chance, they met them in their rice fields. This was in order to prevent them from informing the enemy at Bukit Dugan. While the force was marching, they passed several huge felled trees (pengerebah) which had been felled to obstruct boat passage on the Mujok River in order to hinder any advance upriver, should they have proceeded by boat. It was told later that these obstructions had been made by an enemy named Andum. That is why the gravel bed where Andum and his friends made the obstructions is called Kerangan Andum to this day.
From Kerangan Andum the party marched on to Nanga Tiga, which was also called Nanga Japiyan, where they stayed one night. As soon as they had arrived at this place a camp was erected, and the other warriors went out into the surrounding jungle to guard against a surprise attack. Those who were building the camp were strictly forbidden to cook lest the smoke be seen by the enemy from their stockade on the nearby hill.
Early that night a council-of-war was held. This time Penghulu Minggat arranged that the force be divided into three columns. Each column was to march along the middle, right and left paths which led to the enemy’s stockade. Besides these about two dozen warriors were needed to act as scouts marching on the left and right sides of the three columns of warriors. Next morning, the attack on the stockade was to commence. All the warriors were to proceed in accordance with the programme agreed on in the night’s conference. Linggir, Penghulu Minggat and Entering marched behind the leading warriors up the central path with a stronger force bringing up the rear. On their way to the stockade they discovered a lot of fresh marks made by the enemy that very morning. But when they reached the building, they found only a completely empty stronghold. Eventually after they had inspected every part of the stockade and its compound, they found that it was too late to return back to camp the same day. So they stayed the night on the mountain top with the majority of them sitting without shelter. In the evening, while the warriors were cooking their food both inside and outside the stockade, a storm and heavy rain came, making it very difficult to do the cooking. The heavy rain poured down till morning.
After the rain had ceased, Penghulu Minggat called for a meeting in which he informed the warriors with regret that the expedition had now ended fruitlessly. So the force returned following the same route along which they had advanced.
In his later years, due to his diligence in planting padi, Penghulu Chulo “Tarang” grew very wealthy. A great number of Iban came to purchase padi from him year after year. They bought padi with jarlets (kebok), brass trays (tabak), ivory armlets (simpai rangki), oval beads (pelaga), corsets (rawai), large and small bells (gerunong and geri), gongs of various sizes such as the setawak, bendai, and engkerumong. At this time very few people had money. Due to his wealth Chulo “Tarang” was able to bequeath a great deal of valuable property to his children. To three of his daughters, Dungkong, Insin and Gulang, he gave one sergiu and one menaga jar and one bedil cannon each. To Tujoh the youngest child he gave only one menaga jar.
Late in the 1870s Penghulu Chulo “Tarang” was the first Iban chief in the Krian region to be convened to Christianity. It was due to his early contact with European Anglican missionaries that he became the first man in Second Division to build a large house with huge belian posts. These posts are to this day still used by his family at Kumpai. It was due to this building, according to Iban belief, that Penghulu Chulo “Tarang” died in 1887, before the house was completed.
After OKP Dana “Bayang” died in 1854, Aji in 1858 and Linggir “Mali Lebu” in 1875, OKP Nanang, Penghulu Minggat and Penghulu Chulo “Tarang” became the senior Iban chiefs whose fighting skills were called upon to quell the rebellions in the upper Rajang and the upper Batang Ai Rivers.
During the Rajah’s expedition against Bukit Batu at Ulu Mujong in the Baleh, the Second Rajah invited only Chulo “Tarang” and his warriors, together with Penghulu Minggat and his warriors, to become leaders on the warpath. Before the fighting began the Rajah asked Chulo “Tarang” and Penghulu Minggat to persuade chief Janting of Kanowit to surrender. Thus Chulo “Tarang” and Penghulu Minggat, with their warrior sons, brothers and sons-in-law, went to meet Janting. When they reached the foot of the Bukit Batu, they found that the enemy had already laid an ambush for the Rajah’s fighting men. Of these, Janting was one of the leading enemy warriors. Shortly after they came to the foot of the mountain they were attacked by the enemy. During the alarm (begau), Kandau and Ngindang “Mumpang Pali”, sons-in-law of Chulo “Tarang” were wounded by enemy’s spears. The former received a wound in his stomach while the latter on his arm. Only Unggit killed an enemy during the lightning fight. Some of Penghulu Minggat’s warriors were wounded but none were killed. In order to stop the enemy from advancing the fortmen shot at them with guns and killed some of them.
Quarrel between Penghulu Munan and Mr. Bailey.
After Penghulu Minggat died in Sumatra in 1890, Mr. Bailey, the Resident of the Second Division, installed a man named Ampan as penghulu to succeed the deceased chief. But Penghulu Ampan was a man of strange character. He would not reserve Penghulu Minggat’s Pulau Papan, Pulau Baan, Pulau Rutan and Pulau Danan in the Ulu Awik. The setting aside of such pulau was the way in which chiefs of the country sought to reserve large trees for canoes and rattan to tie the beams of new longhouses when they were built.
Due to Ampan’s behaviour, Munan, the eldest son of Penghulu Minggat, his brothers and his late father’s followers became very upset. They could not approve of such a thing, since according to tradition each river occupied by the Iban must have a reserved forest in which trees and rattan can grow. In order to safeguard his father’s reserved forest, Munan went to Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu” of Paku and the OKP Nanang of Padeh to seek their advice regarding the matter. It may be recalled that the Paku was Penghulu Minggat’s native land, so naturally his son Munan in his despair sought the advice of his relatives in the Saribas.
While Munan was away visiting the Paku and Padeh chiefs, Ampan went to report to Mr. Bailey who was at that time visiting the government headquarters at Kabong in the lower Kalaka. He told Mr. Bailey that all was well in his district, except that Munan, the son of Penghulu Minggat, was absent in the Saribas urging Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu”, OKP Nanang and others to rebel against the government. Without further investigation Mr. Bailey became violent. He summoned Munan to come at once and meet him at Kabong. While in the Saribas, Munan was told by his relatives that it was traditional for Iban in each river to reserve special areas for Pulau Papan, Pulau Baan, Pulau Rutan and Pulau Danan, as his father Penghulu Minggat had correctly done in the Awik River.
When Munan arrived home, he found a summon awaiting him from the Resident to an urgent meeting at Kabong fort. While he was preparing for this, the rumour reached him that he was sure to be arrested due to his disagreement with Ampan, the new chief of the area. This rumour upset Munan very much. So he and his followers went to Kabong in a big warboat to meet the Resident.
When Munan’s boat arrived at the jetty below the fort, Mr. Bailey came down the plankwalk with two pistols in his hands and called for Munan to come out of his boat without delay. Hearing this, Munan suddenly took up his sword and went out to meet the Resident. He was closely followed by a man named Jungan, later the Penghulu of Sabelak. Seeing the danger, Pengiran Matali, the senior Native Officer who accompanied Mr. Bailey, urged that neither Bailey nor Munan try to harm the other physically. At the same time the Pengiran suggested that their quarrel should be settled by the Rajah personally, and he offered to escort Munan to Kuching with an explanatory letter from the Resident. This suggestion was promptly agreed to by Mr. Bailey and Munan, and Pengiran Matali took Munan by boat to meet the Rajah in Kuching. On his arrival in Kuching, Munan was straight away detained in the prison at Pangkalan Batu to await the Rajah’s decision.
After some time in the prison, one night Munan dreamt a strange dream. In it he thought that he met the Ranee, the wife of Rajah Charles Brooke, who told him that he (Munan) would not meet with any trouble and that early the next day he would be released from detention. So it was that the next morning at about 9.00 a.m. the Rajah and the Ranee came to the prison and ordered that Munan be freed and returned to the Kalaka immediately.
Munan was joyful, but his hatred of Mr. Bailey was growing stronger and stronger. After he had stayed some time in his mother’s house at the Awik, he returned to his wife’s house in the Julau where he was a penghulu. It should be explained that Munan had married Subang, an adopted daughter of Layang and Tambong. Tambong was the only daughter of Libau “Rentap” who had migrated to the Entabai after he had been defeated at Sadok in 1861. From the Entabai, after the death of Libau “Rentap”, the family had moved to the nearby Julau River. While Munan was living in the Julau, the people of the Ulu Ai, under chiefs Penghulu Ngumbang “Brauh Langit” and Penghulu Bantin “Ijau Lelayang”, became restless. Due to their hostile activities, the Rajah ordered Munan to attack them, and he did so in 1898. During the expedition he and his warriors killed 18 people from Lubang Baya, and went down the Batang Ai as far as Nanga Kaong. Besides killing these enemies he also took some captives. After the raids were over, he returned down the Batang Lupar past the Simanggang fort to Sibu. The news of his victory over the enemy spread round about, surprising everyone including his arch rival Mr. Bailey at Fort Alice, Simanggang.
Later in 1903, due to his meritorious service and bravery in assisting the government in various punitive expeditions, the Rajah ordered Munan to move from the Julau to Pulau Kertau near Sibu. Shortly after he had settled down at Kertau, the Rajah conferred on Munan the title of Penghulu Dalam, carrying a monthly salary which he enjoyed till his death in 1914. Furthermore, due to his wisdom and influence over the Rajang Iban, the Rajah appointed him a full member of the Council Negeri in 1906, a post which he held till his death. He succeeded Pengarah Ringkai of Rantau Anak, Betong, whose appointment was from 1889-1902 and the OKP Nanang of Padeh, Saribas, who had served from 1891-1901.
Penghulu Dalam Munan attacks Rumah Jimbau, Ulu Engkari.
In 1902 Penghulu Bantin of the Ulu Ai and the people under Penghulu Munau apai Laja and his son Kana of Engkari rebelled against the government. To disrupt the peace, Bantin and Kana and their fighters attacked people at several places, parti¬cularly their neighbours, the people of Lemanak. Consequently, the Rajah commanded Munan, the Penghulu Dalam of Sibu, Penghulu Insol of the Padeh, Saribas, and Penghulu Banta of the Skrang to attack the rebels at Engkari. Banta’s and Insol’s forces went to war according to the date decided upon by the Penghulu Dalam.
In the course of the war, the forces from Saribas and Skrang were badly beaten by the enemy. Thirteen of their warriors were killed. But in spite of this defeat, Insol took a firm vow to fight the enemy till all his warriors had safely returned to their own ground.
With the lower Rajang and Kanowit Iban, numbering altogether abput 900, Munan set out from Kanowit. He passed the headwaters of the Katibas and went on to the headwaters of the Engkari, where he found the traces of an encounter only a few days old which had taken place between the Skrang and Saribas forces and the enemy. From the number of dead found, it was evident that there had been severe hand-to-hand encounters. It was feared that the Skrang and the Saribas had lost twenty or more men.
Seeing this, Munan realised that the Skrang and Saribas under Banta and Insol must have gone ahead of him several days earlier. He was unable to join them due to the distance and because he was not certain of the route they had taken. In this way the war plan was complicated, and the Saribas and Skrang forces suffered because of it.
Munan ordered his force to stop not far from a big house under a headman named Jimbau. It was said that this house contained many Ulu Ai people who had come to reinforce Jimbau, when the Saribas and Skrang were known to be approaching. Here Munan called a council of war to select three of his most trusted warriors to spy on the house that coming night and a dozen others to guard the main force by watching for the enemy in case they came to attack them by surprise.
After these warriors had gone out on duty, Munan called three of his leading warriors, Ajah of Binatang, Ajah of Entaih and Ajah of Melangan. He suggested that if any of the three failed to kill an enemy, he should never again be called Ajah. Though this was spoken as a joke, Munan’s words strongly encouraged the three Ajahs in the coming assault.
At about midnight the spies came to the enemy’s house, where the people were celebrating the feast of enchaboh arong, in which the bards sang their chants of praise to Singalang Burong, Lang Betenong, Keling, Bunga Nuing, Laja and Bunga Jawa and other gods of war, who had given them an easy victory over the enemy. While one of Munan’s spies sat quietly below the floor of the house, just where Bantin and other leaders were sitting, he heard a certain woman coming to speak to Kana. She told him that in her sleep early that night, she had a very bad dream. “In my dream,” she said, “I saw a great number of the enemy attacking us in this house.” She warned Kana and the others to prepare for fighting. Hearing this, Kana asked who this enemy could be, since the Saribas and Skrang forces had been defeated and the survivors had all gone back to their places. “I do not believe any other enemy can suddenly fall down from heaven to attack us,” said Kana. Hearing these words the leading spy took his companions to rash back to inform Munan about what they had heard and seen during their spying.
After Munan had been told that the enemy was celebrating an enchaboh arong festival in honour of the head trophies they had taken a few days earlier, he commanded the force to march and attack the house before dawn the next morning. On their arrival at the house the three Ajahs and seven others including Banyi apai Ibi of the Julau took the lead and fought the enemy along the gallery (ruai) of the longhouse. It being still early in the morning a considerable number of the enemy was drunk and so was easily killed by Munan’s fighters.
While these men entered the house, the rest of Munan’s fighters waited for the enemy to come out of the house down the ladders of the individual open platforms (tanju) and from the family rooms (bilek). When the fighting was at its height, Munau apai Laja and his son Kana, trying to escape, carried Munau’s daughter down the ladder from the tanju. Because of their pemenga charms, Known as “Batu Lichin”, a Chinese and an adopted son of Munan, waiting for them below the ladder, was shocked and taken aback, which give the chance for Kana, his father and his sister to escape unhurt.
After the fighting was over, Munan ordered that the house be burnt along with three others in the same vicinity. After the fighting was ended it was found that 53 of the enemy had been killed including the stragglers and 5 captives taken by Munan. Only two of his men were missing.
Iban migration to the Mukah, Balingian, Anap and Bintulu Rivers.
After Penghulu Minggat had attacked the Iban of Ensiring, a man named Kelukau migrated with his followers from Julau to Mukah. He was later followed by Penghulu Takin and his people. From the Skrang Penghulus Jelani and Merdan led their people to migrate to Bintulu in the Fourth Division.
From the upper Krian, Penghulu Umpang, the son of Chambai, born at Nanga Dran, Paku, led his people to the Balingian River. He was the first Iban leader to migrate to the Balingian, a river located in today’s Third Division.
In 1858 when the Betong fort was completed, chief Bunyau of Rantau Anak was commanded by the Tuan Muda to recruit first-class fortmen to guard it. In carrying out this order, Bunyau placed his son Bakir “Bujang Brani” and his nephew Malina “Panggau” in charge of the fort. They were assisted by Bunyau’s other nephews Ringkai “Bedilang Besi” and Biju, together with Maan and Glegan.
In addition to them, Bunyau looked for some more men from the Paku. Linggir “Mali Lebu” the chief of Paku, arranged for his nephew Mula to be appointed, together with Kandau, Umpang, Ugong, Randi, Broke, Endawi and Dau. From the Rimbas came Kadam and Aban of Teru.
Two years after they had been working as fortmen, Kandau, Ugong, Randi, Mula, Broke and Umpang resigned from the service in order to go to Sabah on a trading expedition. The leader of this first trading venture was a brilliant young leader named Kedit of Batu Genting in the Paku. He was accompanied by Mambang, Umpang, Randi, Kangkik, Tumbing and Laman apai Muri. Umpang and Randi had saved money while working as fortmen. Their salary in the service in those years was $6/- per month.
When they arrived in Sabah they stayed at Papar. Nearby lived Dusuns, Muruts and Bajaus who had acquired jars from Chinese traders in exchange for padi and water buffalo. From surrounding villages they purchased jars using silver dollars, satawak and bendai gongs and bedil (cannons) they had bought along the coast during their voyage to Sabah. Kedit bought three jars, Bandi, Umpang, Mambang, Kangkit, Laman and Tumbing bought two each. After obtaining these jars, Kedit led his followers back, after a two-month trading sojourn in Sabah.
When they reached home, Umpang built his longhouse at Nanga Tagun on the main bank of the Paku River. While he and his followers were settled there, they were very successful in their farming, so that they were able to buy more jars and brass objects of various kinds from the local Malay traders, namely Abang Tek and Abang Chek, formerly of the Paku and Rimbas. After his voyage to Sabah, Umpang never again went trading in foreign lands. He was content to lead his people to tap wild rubber at Lundu and Samunsam near Cape Datu. From the Paku Umpang migrated in the Krian and settled near the source of that river. While he was here, he went to Kuching to meet the Rajah who knew him well from the days when he had served as fortman at Betong.
During his meeting with the Rajah, Umpang asked for approval to migrate to the Balingian, a river situated between the Mukah and Tatau Rivers near the boundary between the Third and Fourth Divisions of Sarawak. The Rajah told him that he had allotted that river to chief Linggir of the Paku, and all his followers were allowed to migrate there if they wished. “If you are Linggir’s man you can move to Balingian with not less than one hundred families as soon as you like,” said the Rajah. The Rajah also ordered that Umpang should become the leader of the migration to prevent all who followed him from quarreling about where to settle in the new area.
When he arrived home he told the Krian people that he had been permitted by the Rajah to lead the migration to the Balingian River. Hearing this, the Iban of Santebu, Abu and Nanga Grenjang came to join the migration to the new area. Altogether there were over one hundred families. After they had built large boats for the exodus, they left the Krian and went along the coast towards the Balingian River to settle at a place above Nanga Pelugau. After they had settled at this place, the Rajah appointed Umpang as Penghulu over the Iban of Balingian. Some years later when more Iban had joined them, Penghulu Abu was appointed in addition to him.
From his first settlement near Nanga Pelugau, Penghulu Umpang and his followers moved down and settled in the Arip tributary on the true left side of the Balingian. While here they profited from the high price of jelutong, as this type of wild rubber was plentiful in the vicinity. The money they earned from this commodity was invested in Mr. Ong Ewe Hai’s bank in Kuching.
When the price of jelutong was down, Penghulu Umpang persuaded the Iban to plant sago and rubber along the lower banks of the Balingian and its tributaries. Penghuiu Umpang had four sons, Mulok, Kantan, Ambun and Lembang. Besides these he adopted two daughters, Tiong and Lenta, and a son named Nyegang. He died at the age of ninety years and was greatly mourned by his people.
He was succeeded by his eldest son Mulok, who, following in his father’s footsteps, led his people to work hard in order to earn sufficient food and money. Some years after he had become Penghulu, Mulok’s household suffered from smallpox, which killed him, Kantan, Lembang and some others. After his death, Penghulu Mulok was succeeded by his brother Ambun. When he was Penghulu, Ambun led his people to plant rubber at Salian, adding to the rubber gardens he had planted with his deceased brothers. During the Japanese occupation, due to a false report, he was accused by the Japanese Military police (kempetai) of having collected followers to rebel against the government. Due to this, Penghulu Ambun was executed without trial by the kempetai at Mukah near the end of World War II. After Ambun’s death his only daughter and her family returned to their old country in the Paku River, where they have lived to the present day.
Iban migration to the Anap River was jointly led by Berasap and Berain in about 1888. After this river had been populated by Skrang and Saribas Iban, Berasap was appointed Penghulu of the downriver area, and Bunya of the upper river. Berasap was succeeded by Penghulu Taboh. When Taboh resigned he was succeeded by Penghulu Begok who, at his resignation, was succeeded by Penghulu Buan. In the upper river, when Penghulu Bunya resigned, he was succeeded by Penghulu Kana, who was succeeded by Penghulu Banying.
Migration to the Niah and Suai Rivers.
The first Iban migration to the Niah River took place in 1934 when Awang Itam was a Native Officer at the Niah sub-District Office. The first group of migrants was led by Panau of Skaloh from the Skrang and Undup Rivers in the Second Division.
A month later came Renggan and his followers from the Tatau River. Renggan and his people migrated to Niah to follow his uncle Lium who had married a Penan woman named Durang, the sister of Tabilan of the Niah River. Three years after the arrival of Panau and Renggan and their followers, Manggoi and Andam came to the Niah River with their followers from Simanggang. The rest of the Niah Iban arrived later than these three groups. After the Niah River had become thickly populated with Iban, the Rajah appointed Manggoi to be the first Penghulu in that area.
The first Iban chief to migrate to the Suai River was Utik, son of Tugang of Bangat, Skrang. He was the nephew of the well-known warrior Jabu apai Umping of the Bangat in lower Skrang. After he had become friendly with the local Penans, Untik went home to call his relatives to join him. These people now live at the house of Mamat, a son of Utik, at Basri Dangkar in the upper Suai River. The second Iban group to come to the Suai was led by ex-Police Inspector Gindi from the Undup near Simanggang.
Before the Iban migrated to Niah, it is said that the Penan roamed about in the forest hunting wild animals for food. They did not farm, as did the Dayak, but depended on the pantu palm for their staple food. When they first met the Iban, they did not want to eat rice. With regard to burial, the Penan had no special cemetery, but just buried their dead underground anywhere or in holes in trees in the forest. After they lived together with the Iban for some time, the Penan began to make for themselves a special graveyard at Nanga Kelebus. Now this cemetery is used by the Iban, while the Penan buries their dead in the Moslem graveyard.
Manggoi said that when he first came to Niah in 1934, he found that the Niah, Sibuti and Suai Rivers were still thickly populated by Penans, the original inhabitants. The first man he met on his arrival was a Penan chief, Duman, wfto lived with his people in a longhouse at Nanga Lemaus. At this meeting Duman assured Manggoi that they surely could live peacefully together in the Niah River. Eventually after the death of Duman, his son-in-law Pajawing was appointed to succeed him as chief. Unfortunately two years later he died. After the death of Pajawing the Penan community dispersed. Some moved to Suai and lived under chief Sogon, while those who remained at Niah moved downriver to live together with the Malays and eventually adopted their religion. In recent years only a few have remained pagan; those live together with their semi-chief Tabilan along the Tanjong Belipat.
Eventually, at the turn of the century, the Skrang, Saribas, Batang Ai and other adjacent rivers of the Second Division of Sarawak became badly over-populated, which caused many of the people of these rivers to migrate to new places like the Mukah, Balingian, Oya, Bintulu, Anap, Tatau and Baram Rivers. Later, because of the same problem, as well as to follow their kindred who had already migrated, many more Iban from the Second and Third Divisions applied to the Government either to migrate to the places mentioned above or to migrate elsewhere, to unexplored rivers, such as the Suai, Niah, Belait and Limbang.
Iban migration to the Baram.
After the Batang Baram region was ceded by the Sultanate of Brunei to the Raj of Sarawak, some Sea Dayak leaders of the Second and Third Divisions applied to the Second Rajah, Sir Charles Brooke, G.C.M.G., for approval to migrate to the area.
Early in the 1890s Berendah of Skrang migrated with his followers and was ordered by the Resident Mr. Charles Hose to settle at Dabai above the present town of Marudi. After him came Kalang, also from Skrang, with a group of settlers. They were asked by Mr. Hose to settle at Sungai Berit above Lubok Nibong. Two years later another group came, led by Inggir of the Batang Lupar. Inggir and his people were given land by the Resident at Sungai Nipa, a left tributary of the Bakong. About three years later Rhu, Leban, and Apai Samban came from Skrang, and they were ordered to live in the Bakong proper. At the end of that year came Jampu, also from the Skrang, and he was asked by Mr. Hose to settle at Sungai Liam, another tributary of the Bakong River.
In 1896 Ngadan, a son of the well-known Chulo “Tarang” apai Dungkong of the Krian, Kalaka, came with Saribas people to settle at Malang, a branch of the Bakong River. His brother Tujoh. Who was the seventh child of Chulo “Tarang” (Tujoh means “seven”), and his cousin Jampang whose nickname was “Pintu Meru”, and a third son of Kedit “Rindang” of the Paku separated themselves from Ngadan. Tujoh led his followers to settle at Puyut, while Jampang settled at Lubok Nibong above the town of Marudi.
It was during this migration that Jampang and his brother-in-law, Graman “Tungkat Langit” of the Padeh, took a famous guchi jar with them to the Baram. This was the jar which Graman’s grandfather, the OKP Dana “Bayang”, looted when he fought against the Undup Dayaks near Simanggang in the days of the first Rajah. This jar was thought to bring luck; therefore all Dayaks who knew its legend were eager to drink water from it. At present, it is in the possession of Badong, a grand-daughter of Jampang of Lubok Nibong, Baram.
After the arrival of these Skrang, Saribas and Batang Lupar migrants in the Baram, Ganai “Buloh Balang” came from Bangat in the Second Division. He and his followers were ordered by Mr. Hose to live at Biar on the Bakong River. The rest of the Iban migration to the Baram took place after the year 1900. When the Iban first arrived in the Baram they met with the Narom people who lived below Marudi. Although the Naroms have all been converted to Islam now, they still live separately from the ordinary Malays at Marudi who profess the same religion. The Naroms speak their own language as well as Iban and Malay.
A decade after the first Iban had migrated to the Baram, a man named Jawa from Sabelak in the Krian brought his followers to Limbang. Shortly after their arrrival the Kadayan along the Mandalam tributary rebelled against the government. Munan, the Penghulu Dalam of Sibu, and Kalong “Mali Lebu” of Paku were commanded by the Rajah to quell the trouble with their Iban forces.
Iban migration to Sibuti.
In 1927 Sergeant Barat and T.R. Dian anak Kinchang applied for permission from H.H. the Rajah, Sir Charles Vyner Brooke, to migrate to Sibuti. Their application was approved and Dian went first to live in Sibuti in the same year. In the following year ex-Sergeant Barat came with his followers and joined Dian’s longhouse at Mamut. They lived together at this settlement for five years, and then separated in order to expand their agricultural lands.
After they had separated, Dian and Barat visited the Undup near Simanggang for the purpose of inviting their relatives and friends to migrate with them to Sibuti. After they had persuaded enough followers, they returned to Sibuti. On Dian’s return he moved down to live at Pidek, while Barat and his followers stayed on at Mamut.
In 1927, when Dian and his followers first arrived in Sibuti, the first important thing he did was to cleanse the land with the blood of five pigs as was the Iban custom. Two of the pigs were killed at Nanga Bakas, two at Mamut, and one when Dian built his first longhouse in the land. Three years after he had settled in Sibuti, T.R. Lutin and T.R. Unal followed from Undup. On their arrival Dian and Barat advised T.R. Unal and his followers to live at Kelitang, while T.R. Lutin was told to settle with his people at Kuap in the Ulu Sibuti. In 1927 before H.H. The Rajah approved their application to migrate, he asked them to develop the Sibuti lands for agricultural purposes other than rubber planting. If they obeyed His Highness’s wish, the Rajah promised not to tax their labour. It was because of this command that no land taxes were demanded from these settlers before the Second World War.
During the Japanese occupation many of them planted rubber trees in the area. These trees are today tappable, which gives the Sibuti Iban a little money in addition to the return from their yearly padi crop. All the Iban migrants to Sibuti from the Second Division were animists, or people lapsed from the Anglican Church. The animists still held to their ancestral religion up to a few years ago, at which time the Roman Catholic and Anglican Missions came to proselytize. At present very few have been converted, as they are reluctant to forget their ancestral religion founded by Petara Simpulang Gana, Singalang Burong and Anda Mara, the religion of their ancestors from ages past. They are at the present time still celebrating many traditional festivals, such as the Gawai Batu, Gawai Umai and Gawai Burong.
On their arrival in 1927, the first cemetery they made in Sibuti was Pendam Keseput, where they buried Buli anak Busor, the first man to die in the new country.
Before the Iban migrated to Sibuti from the Saribas River in the Second Division, Nyauh anak Ambok who had married at Malang in the Bakong, Baram, wrote a letter to Orang Kaya Janai, a Miri by race (or Mirek) and a chief of the Sibuti River, to apply for land in this river to which he might migrate.
The Orang Kaya Janai told Nyauh that he would accept him and his followers to come and settle in the Sibuti. After gaining this approval, Nyauh from Malang wrote a letter to his mother Rini at Lubau in the Saribas, telling her that he had found good land for settlement in the Sibuti River. In her reply Rini told Nyauh that she had no intention of leaving Saribas. On learning this Nyauh and his wife visited her in the Saribas, but while they were there his wife died. Due to her death Nyauh completely dismissed the idea of migrating elsewhere.
Some years later, his cousin Jeragan, who lived at Bakong, Baram, wrote a letter to Nyauh. He said, “It will be a great loss to you, if you fail to migrate to the land which has been given to you by Orang Kaya Janai in Sibuti.” On receiving this encouraging letter, Nyauh again urged his mother to migrate with him. “If I fail to take this fertile land in Sibuti, I am sure it will be an irreparable loss to you and me as well as to our future descendants,” said Nyauh to his mother. Hearing her son’s decision, Rini agreed to follow him.
After his mother had agreed to migrate, Nyauh invited Mulok anak Malina and Entering anak Jiram of Lubau to see the new land in the Sibuti. When they came they found that Orang Kaya Janai had died, so they met with his successor, T,K. Haji Mat of Sibuti.
On meeting them, before he could permit their migration, as approved by the late Orang Kaya Jenai, Haji Mat gathered all the Malay, Dale’ and Miri leaders in the Sibuti together. At this meeting these leaders approved the applications of the Undup Iban from the Batang Lupar. To confirm their agreement Haji Mat wrote a letter for the Saribas Dayaks to take to the Resident, Mr. Aplin at Miri.
When Mr. Aplin met them, he sent them back to Sibuti to see Wan (now Tuanku) Bujang, to discuss again the Saribas Iban migration with the Sibuti chiefs. After the discussion was over Wan Bujang directed Abang Entassin to survey the land in the Bakas stream, a left tributary of the Sibuti into which these Iban would migrate. After the land had been surveyed, the Iban were given all the land above the Kedayan settlement at Nanga Bakas.
After the Saribas migration to Sibuti had been agreed to by the Government, Mr. Aplin ordered Nyauh and his followers to return to Saribas via Kuching, in order to bring a letter to the Resident of the First Divison. On their arrival at Kuching, the Resident of the First Division sent them to H.H. The Rajah. They met His Highness who approved of their migration but would not allow them to leave Saribas until ex-Sergeant Barat and his followers had proved that they could live on friendly terms with the indigenous people in Sibuti.
Some weeks after they had arrived at Lubau in the Saribas, a Malay Native Officer called them to the Betong fort. This Officer told them that their application to migrate to Sibuti had been cancelled by the Government. If they wanted his help he told them, he would consult the Government on their behalf. Hearing this, Nyauh became worried. He and his two friends went to Sibuti to ask why they were no longer allowed to migrate after the Rajah had approved the movement. When they came to Sibuti they were told by Wan Bujang that there had been no such change of attitude towards their migration. So they returned to the Saribas. They did not see this Malay Native Officer at Betong fort again.
Three years after ex-Sergeant Barat had migrated to Sibuti, Nyauh and his Saribas Dayaks came to the area by chartered Chinese launch. This launch made three trips to transport them at a total cost of $1,500/-. The price of rubber at this time was $37- per picul. At this time, in 1932, ex-Penghulu Asun, rebel chief of Entabai, was at the height of his power. On their arrival in the Sibuti they first hired land for farming from Wan Mahmud of Nanga Satap. After the harvest was over, they moved up to Nanga Bakas where they made offerings (tasih ai) to the God of water by sacrificing three medium-sized pigs. After this, they built their first longhouse at Tembawai Tinting, inside Kadayan land above Nanga Bakas.
After the Sibuti River had become thickly populated with Second Division Iban, the Rajah appointed ex-Sergeant Barat to be the first Penghulu of the area.
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.