Posts Tagged ‘bidayuh’

Down Memory Lane 

Three-quarters of the year 2015 have passed us by with the wink of an eye. 9th Aug was a very special day to remember when every single member of my family ~ my Mum, 5 sibilings and their spouses and children ~ converged in a nostalgic location, the Sarawak Museum Garden. As far as my curious young mind could remember, the Musuem ground was a sum of a subset of several activities gone by ~ the good, the not-so-good, the funny, the ugly, you name it. It all happened there. For me, I grew up visiting the garden quite often because our house at Satok Road was just a stone’s throw from the Museum’s ground.

We loved going there on Sundays watching the brassy live band performed by the Constabulary Band from the local police department. While the older folks were listening to the live band performing, we kids loved to play the see-saws, swings and popping our mouths munching boiled chick peas and peanuts! Memories are made of these.

While the gazebo that was used as a band stand remains on the Museum’s compound ~ sadly ~ it did not stand the test of time. On the contrary, the swings and see-saws vanished decades ago and our old house at Satok Road is ground Zero! *sob*

Sigh!! A Sunday today at the Museum Garden in Kuching is… Sshhh…. sshhh… it’s Oh So quiet! And so peaceful, until ….

BIM BAM!

   

Our contingent of 23 members transformed that Sunday into a day that will always be a part of us!

By the way, it was not easy to pick a date or dates for a full quorum. We had planned this exceptional family reunion since 2012!

The following were memorable snapshots which never failed to put a smile on my face. Each family came with a chosen colour dresscode. Forget the louboutins or stilletos, tight fits, mini skirts and cakey makeups. It was a 100% casual and natural day! Period!

  

 

The Matriach of the day sparkled like a rare Turqoise. After all, she’s the reason we converged full quorum in August anno 2015. Love ya, Mumsie 😉

Vitamin D and adrenaline overload day!

While the family photoshoot was a full quorum, the Kayak expedition had an equally remarkable attendance of circa 83%! Brilliant!

A hot and humid day was expected, that’s for sure, hence we assembled at a shop lot before 9am, with the supposed attire on. It was a funny but fun sight to see as we were dressed in the united colours of Benetton. Ha ha ha…

Before we dispersed in two 10-seater vans, our guide, Ricky, briefed us on the general guidelines. He shook his head looking at our attire. LOL! Out of the 19 eager ‘kayakers’, only 3 scored in the correct-type-of-shoes category, while flip-flops, crocs and sandals were the common sight that morning. Tsk! Tsk! Tsk!

The journey to Kampung Bengoh took 1 hour. There were more families gathered there, from all over the world. It was an internationally fun-filled day! A safety briefing from Ricky and 5 other experienced and enthusiastic certified guides (Richie, Macqueen, Wazir, Harris, Jeffrey) made us felt at total ease, especially for first-timers. Useful tips were given on the paddling techniques ~ the correct angle to hold the oar, start, stop, manoueuvre and what nots. By the way, I have done a similar expedition on the Lesse years ago with my other half, but not as fun-filled and boisterous as this one! 

Oh yes…. never mind the heat, we were all fired up and ready to go!

  

Semadang Kayak Discovery

I understood there were 3 Kayak Operators serving similar all-inclusive day trips adventure tours on the Semadang River. We chose the family-owned Semadang Borneo Adventure Kayak Company as recommended by 2 of my nieces, both of whom had prior experiences with no regrets! As the majority of us were first-timers, we opted for the Semadang Discovery Kayaking package, excluding bamboo rafting, caving and jungle trekking. In other words, we were simply cruising on the Semadang River and enjoying the God-given scenaries at our own “paddling” paces. We covered a total of 11 km!  

 

It was sheer fun and physical at the same time, especially when we had to manoeuvre our oars through sporadic rough currents now and then.

  

After all the physical manoeuvres, our first stop was at Kampung Danu. While the other Kayak Operator(s) served a packet of Kuching Kolo Mee per pax for lunch, our Operator offered a most scrumptious lunch buffet à volonté! All dishes were prepared from fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

Dishes may vary from one excursion/ trip to another, but as far as I could remember, we enjoyed hearty, home-cooked dishes of Manok Pansoh (chicken cooked in bamboo), chicken curry, stir-fried okra (ladies’ fingers), cangkuk manis (sweet leaf or mani chai) served with local brown rice. Desserts were watermelon and butter pound cake! YUM! YUM! YUM!

Oh yes, YUM….MMMMYYYYYY!!

 
  

(C)Roc(k)odiles!

We were given assurance that there were no Crocodiles, but abundance of roc(k)odiles! The turtle rock was a sight to behold, the gigantic “mammoth” and lots more

    

All work and no play makes Jack/ Jane a dull boy/girl.  So Jacks and Janes swam, skipped stones, fooled around, sang “row, row, row your boat”….

Yes… Merrily down Semadang River 🙂
 
Cheers people!

   

Notes: Initially, I  had not wanted to go for the reason that I can’t swim, and I’m glad I went! It was also a refresher course for me. The waters were quite shallow, hence, this adventure package is suitable for novices. For the record there were a handful of very young kids (as young as 5 years old) in our group, of course accompanied by their parents or an adult. Each kayak is provided a waterproof bag and a half litre bottle drinking water and a life jacket per person . It is advisable to bring sunblock lotion, insect repellent, a pair of sunglasses, a cap or sun hat and extra bottles of drinking water. It’s hot!!

In hindsight, footwear with good grip is recommended.

The package included transfers to pickup and drop-off, lunch buffet and digital photos DVD.

Oh yes, don’t forget to bring dry clothes/ change of clothes and towel. These are left at Kampung Bengoh upon arrival.

And last but not least, bring your smile and good mood with you, because that’s what the reunion was all about. Remember a smile is a curve that sets everything straight and it’s FREE!!

Final word of Thanks

A BIG thank you to the main initiator of the Reunion event 2015. The photoshoot and discovering Semadang river would never have got off the ground if it wasn’t for my youngest sister’s persistences. She’s the Director of the entire event. Thanks, sis from the bottom of our hearts! You have made our Family Reunion a blast and it was a moment which will be remembered forever😜

Have a great weekend everyone!

Cheers!

The word Gawai in Iban means festival. The Dayaks are the indigenous native people of Sarawak and Kalimantan.

The Dayaks in Sarawak are made up of 3 groups of native ethnics, Iban (formerly known as Sea Dayak), Bidayuh (known as Land Dayak) and the Orang Ulu (literally translated as rural dwellers/ people), comprising Kelabit, Kayan, Kenyah, Lun Bawang, Penan, Bisaya etc.

Interestingly, Melanau does not fall under the category of “Dayak” although the Melanau are considered to be among the earliest settlers in Sarawak. Originally, the Melanau call themselves a-likou meaning “people of the river” or sea-faring people. Legend has it that the name Melanau was given by the Malays of Brunei to the inhabitants of the coastal swamp flats and riverbanks of central Sarawak which signifies “coast-dweller”.  

1st June – Ritual Greeting Day

When I was in school, my friends used to send me the ubiquitous greeting of “Selamat Hari Gawai” every 1st of June. I thanked them for their wishes and greeting but was very curious why we (my family) never celebrated Gawai Dayak. One day I asked my late Dad the question. He said Melanaus do not celebrate Gawai but Kaul Festival. Unfortunately, the Kaul Festival is not widely known by non- Melanaus as it is not celebrated on the state level but more so locally only in Mukah on the right bank of the river estuary. The festival is celebrated in the third week of the month of April.

Demographically, Ibans form the majority of the population of Sarawak with 29%, followed by Chinese with 24% and Malays with 23%. The rest are made up of Bidayuh, Melanau, Orang Ulu and others.

With Iban being the most populous native ethnic group of Dayak people in Sarawak, the Gawai greeting is recited in the Iban language. 


Selamat Ari Gawai Dayak. Gayu Guru Gerai Nyama
i which means Happy Dayak Festival. May you have long life, good health and prosperity.

Oh by the way, the Gawai festival is a symbol of unity, hope and aspiration for the Dayak community. It is a day of Thanksgiving which marks the end of a bountiful harvest and ushering the new year with a new farming season of bountiful goodness.

Shopping malls in Kuching are beautifully decorated to symbolise the meaning of Gawai Dayak. Here’re photos  taken by my older brother. Thanks bro G!   
 

Simple Food of the Jungle

Honestly speaking, the local dishes are very pure, simple and straightforward. One of my favourites is this simple dish, the Sarawak jungle fern aka Midin. I will never be able to cook this dish in Belgium, for obvious reason due to non-availability of that special flora.

  
During my student days, I learnt to cook rice and chicken in logs or cylindrical tubes of bamboo from my Iban college-mates. I am glad this traditional cooking method is retained to this day!

Manok Pansoh meaning Chicken cooked in Bamboo  
Very simple ingredients are used in “Pansoh” cooking method. The typical ingredients in “Manok Pansoh” are Chicken, water, shallots, lemongrass, ginger (optional) and salt. Tapioca leaves are used to seal the top cavity of the bamboo and are then cooked over an open fire. 

In veneration of the simplicity of the cooking method and the ingredients used by the local people of Sarawak, I cooked a very simple dish today in the comfort of my own kitchen. No bamboo. No open fire. Just reliving good memories and sharing them with you.

Simple Warm Barley Salad   

Ingredients

  • 250g barley
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • One bunch of fresh dhill
  • Coarse sea salt and freshly milled black pepper 

Method

Cook the barley in stock water for 10 minutes. Add finely diced carrots and fresh dhill. Season with coarse sea salt and black pepper. And that’s it! 

To all my friends and relatives  celebrating the Gawai Dayak, “Selamat Ari Gawai Dayak. Gayu Guru Gerai Nyamai, Chelap Lindap Lantang Senang Nguan Menua!” Or Happy Gawai Dayak Day. (Wishing you) long life, health and comfort, no problems, no hardship and a prosperous life! 

 

1st and 2nd June are Public Holidays in Sarawak. Enjoy the “ngabang” … But watch your limit on the “tuak“!😜
Cheers!