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Activities of the Tun Jugah Foundation: Miring Workshop (19-20 March 2015).

A Miring Workshop was held at the Tun Jugah Foundation office for two days from 19th to 20th March 2015. The objective of the workshop was to familiarize participants with the various preparations and procedures involved in miring (offering) ceremonies. Firing are offerings that are always made in connection with ritual events (see The Encylopaedia of Iban Studies, 2001: 1468). In the workshop, participants were taught the piring lapan (eight-fold offering) and piring tujuh (seven-fold offering) commonly used by the Kapit and Batang Rajang Ulu Iban. More than twenty participants took part in the workshop. The workshop was led by Melia Linggi and conducted by Madam Siah anak Tun Jugah as the instructor for the various preparations for the piring. All participants partook in the muai (tuak) before the preparations began. This is symbolic as offering to the gods to ensure that everything will run smoothly.

On the first day of the workshop, the participants took part in preparing the ingredients that are used for the piring. The ingredients for preparing the piring (offerings) are glutinous rice (asi pulut), un-husk glutinous rice (pulut rendai/letup/girau or padi seeds) for the making puffed rice (rendai); glutinous rice flour, rice flour, nipah sugar for making the rice cakes, and eggs. Other materials used for the preparing the offering are betel-vine leaves (sirih), gambier leaves (sedi'/kelait), tobacco (semakau), lime paste (kapu'), dried wild banana leaves (daun rukuk gentu % betel nuts (buah pinang), dried nipah leaves used as tobacco wrappers (rukuk apung), salt (garam), rice wine (tuak) and red threads.

Among the preparations conducted were nganyam ketupat (weaving strips of daun biru', small fan palms, into small packets) which are then filled with glutinous rice, bunched together and boiled; stacking and rolling sirih, gambier leaves, and daun rukuk gentu (the quantity in accordance to the piring type) and these are tied with red threads; preparing tumpi' (flat oval glutinous rice cakes); preparing packets of rice using wild banana leaves (sungki) which tied together using red threads which are then boiled in a pot together with the glutinous rice packets; boiling eggs (extra eggs are boiled in case some eggs crack and cannot be used). Raw eggs are marked with lime paste to differentiate them from boiled eggs. It is believed that the female deities like Kumang do not favor eggs that are not boiled. The raw eggs are for the male deities and spirits); cooking glutinous rice; and preparing rendai (puffed rice) using un-husk glutinous rice. In Iban belief, a good woman will be able to produce good puffed rice.

On the second day, before the ceremony is conducted, all participants partake in the muai mata' (a mixture of tuak and raw eggs) to appease the gods. A setawak (gong) is sounded to inform the gods of the event/ceremony. The prepared ingredients are then arranged using plates or saucers (pinggai piring). These are then brought to the ruai (gallery) by ladies wearing kain kebat (ikat woven skirt) and other accessories. For piring lapan the ingredients are arranged accordingly on a pua kumbu placed on top of a mat. For the first row, 4 boiled and 4 uncooked eggs (eight altogether), bunched of 8 ketupat, 8 sungki tied together with red threads, one cubit (small bowl for the telaga piring) in one plate and small cash (as a token for the men who are performing the miring and bebian (prayer) ceremony, and red threads; daun rukuk apimg and tobacco in one saucer; 8 chopped betel nut pieces, roll of 8 sirih and 8 gambier leaves tied in red threads in one saucer; boiled rice in one saucer; and salt in one saucer. For the second row, place glutinous rice in 8 saucers; for the third row, puffed rice in 8 saucers; and for the fourth row, 2 flat rice cakes in 8 saucers.

For piring tujuh, the number of items is seven instead of eight as in piring lapan. The number of eggs is also seven (5 boiled and 2 uncooked). In other areas of Sarawak, there may be variations in the ingredients for the piring. The miring and bebiau ceremony was led by Walter Ted Wong and Dr. Robert Menua Saleh. In miring ceremonies, the ingredients are arranged in a bigger plate. The ingredients are picked and placed on the piring plate in the following order: daun rukuk apung, betel nuts, betel vine leaves, tobacco, boiled rice, ketupat and sungkr, followed by glutinous rice placed around the plate, puffed rice on top, tumpi surrounding the side of plate, and eggs. The telaga piring (mixture of tuak, raw egg and the blood of a chicken) with a chicken feather is then placed in the middle.

References:

Saleh, Robert Menua and Walter Wong, editors 2009 Adat Gawai (Batang Rajang Ulu), The Tun Jugah Foundation.

Sutlive, Vinson H, Jr. et al, editors 2000 The Encyclopaedia of Iban Studies, 4 volumes, The Tun Jugah Foundation.
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Title Annotation:BRIEF COMMUNICATIONS
Publication:Borneo Research Bulletin
Geographic Code:9MALA
Date:Jan 1, 2015
Words:820
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