Research on the Brunei Dusun and its Authentication: A Cross-Roads of Interests and Values.
The Dusun of Brunei are the local branch of the Bisaya ethnic group of Limbang, being most strongly represented in Tutong district, with others in Belait, while a few villages (even some which call themselves 'Bisaya') are found in the eastern parts of Brunei district. The term "Dusun" will be associated in many minds with the Kadazan and related groups of modern Sabah, but it came to be applied to the Bisaya of Brunei, at least after the establishment of the British Residency in 1906. Before that, the common synonyms among outsiders were both "Bisaya" and "Orang Bukit," [the Hill People] though for Dusun themselves the term was "Kedayan" (surprisingly, given the unquestioned use of this label in the 20th century for the rural Malay-Muslims in, or originating from, the Brunei district). It has been surmised that the Visaya of the Philippines are a migratory offshoot of these Bisaya. Yet from a position as the most numerous (yet already politically subordinate) socio-cultural grouping of this part of northern Borneo in the 16th century, they have suffered in the past 100 years a relative decline in numbers and a steady erosion of cultural and linguistic distinctiveness. With the return to autarchy on the part of the Brunei Sultanate as the British colonial presence was wound down (1959-84), there has even been a seeming, absolute decline in population, as increasing numbers of Dusun redefined their individual identity through conversion to Islam, with or without intermarriage. Our calculation of Dusun numbers in the early 1990s was no higher than 15,000 in Tutong and Belait districts--and such was the estimate arrived at by one serious private survey, in 1989-91, merely for speakers of Dusun anywhere in the state. As for the condition of the language, there was progressive convergence on Malay during the 20th century, not only thanks to the spread of state education in Malay but also because of economic development, with attendant opportunities of employment outside the rural areas. By the early 1990s there were few parents who were still speaking Dusun to their children and ensuring even an adaptive perpetuation of the ancestral tongue into the future. (1)
As for social structure, our observations found a strong institution of village headmen and Penghulus (sub-district headmen), with its roots in an early era of greater village autonomy, predating modern bureaucracy (2) yet always subject to the bestowal of ranks: at least the higher, more ceremonial ones rather than the lower-level administrative positions, which seem to have emerged through grass-roots consultation. It was the tangible decline in local authority at the lower level, due to twentieth century bureaucratic encroachment, that prompted a coming together of thoughtful Dusuns with a modicum of modern education (mainly in Malay) in the 1970s (3) to try and stabilize and if possible re-energize traditional custom, especially the administration of fines for breaches of good order and social etiquette. This would have entailed a de facto confirmation of the administrative role of headmen and Penghulus. What is striking, sociologically, is the perception that the population of a village was the normative grouping. We readily admit that through marriage among neighbors across many generations there was a network of kinship serving social cohesion too, and that, having the bilateral descent system typical of most rural societies in this part of Southeast Asia (unless modified by any inroads of Islam), Dusuns can in fact claim a quite considerable network of waris (kinsmen) which in some families reaches as far away as Limbang. And yet, these more remote linkages, if and when discovered, are of a sentimental, not in any way "structural," nor of a meaningfully "corporate," nature. For practical purposes it is near neighbors with whom close relations exist, and from among whom marriage partners continue to be found (further cementing saudara ties, as they are called, if the choice falls on such close waris). This applied at least until the new era of urban employment and freer spouse selection by the young.
It is also among near neighbors (likely to be fairly proximate kin) that arguments can arise over sundry issues (not excluding etiquette concerning relations between the sexes) and this is one important context, apart from communicating and administering government requirements, in which effective leaders are at a premium and (if up to the task) will consolidate their position at the head of this (we say once more), the only relevant village-level structure of Dusun life (i.e. the administered community). Traditionally the headmen had power to impose fines for delicts. It may only be worth admitting or emphasizing that as Brunei governments since time almost immemorial have placed a premium on the administrative skills and trustworthiness which tended to be acquired by the sons of headmen and Penghulus in understudying their fathers, these offices could recur within families (thus in a loose sense be inherited), as if a sort of social structure was in play. But it was always the skills (and willingness to serve), not kinship as such, that secured the appointment, consolidating the local administrative institution. (4)
We now turn to the contrastive perspective of Pudarno Binchin (2014).
The Dusun universe of Pudarno Binchin, we quickly discover, is deeply impregnated by the power of kinship. Whether mediated to the anthropologist by empirical research or by university courses and anthropological handbooks might be an appropriate topic for research in its own right, under the heading of neo-colonial culture transfer! In any event, the author unearths an ancient cultural asset in the form of leadership by male/female councils drawn from the elders of the Dusun alai gayo (big houses) of yesteryear. They are all related to each other within and through "highly autonomous bilateral corporate descent groups known as waris. A waris can also be defined as a kindred group that converged around an important elder, male or female (but preferably male) to form a corporate kin group. Such a male elder, who was usually a very influential person, helped to assemble kinsmen together to form a single community that normally stayed together in a single alai gayo (as in the past) or a hamlet comprised of several individual houses. In Kampong Ukong, several hamlets were created based on this corporate descent group structure such as Dukung... This corporate descent group consists of members representing three or more generations of families that extended bilaterally to include families of brothers and sisters, first cousins and their offsprings [sic], children and grandchildren and perhaps, great-grandchildren. Their number per group can extend to as many as forty or fifty people depending on the effectiveness of their collective leadership in maintaining consensus and directing everyone towards a common goal" (Pudarno Binchin 2014:52).
At this point a new analytical focus intrudes, not without an apparent, underlying ideological impulse, where Pudarno goes on to emphasize that despite (as one might think) the importance of a 'founding father' and the leadership role of "influential male and female elders"; these groups are strongly egalitarian, by implicit contrast (we sense) with the hierarchically organized Malays (perhaps also with the authoritarian colonial structure of the British?): "With a very strong sense of egalitarianism, the traditional Dusun alai gayo or waris group was administered not by an individual headman, but by a group of influential elders known collectively as tetuwo. The tetuwo was composed of influential male and female elders. For each alai gayo, these tetuwo elders formed an informal council with collective administrative tasks."
Generally speaking, a tetuwo (suddenly the term refers to an individual) "was selected for her/his wisdom, personal charisma (in the Weberian sense), knowledge of traditional medicines and shamanism." Which handbook of anthropology or sociology was the author consulting at this moment, one wonders, seeing this dramatic denial of the fact that Weber saw charisma as the quality of a leader who breaks away from traditional society and establishes his authority by an epic, possibly violent, revolutionary act? In other words, a rejection of the institutionalized, collective arrangement of which Pudarno speaks so highly as typically Dusun.
But in practical terms one is moved to ask how big these "councils" really were. It is not likely that any house (or even a mini-hamlet) would have contained more than 7 nuclear families. Such residential groupings were easily and most effectively managed by a single leader. The idea of government by committee is sheer fantasy. (5)
Even more controversial--though a self-consciously sympathetic reader might call it "original," in a keenly perceptive sense--is the proposition that the power associated with the more prestigious ranks, typically in the category of Menteri Darat, is in virtually inverse proportion to their status. The effective administrative power lay with a grass-roots,would-be collective leadership, which was not subject to appointment by a hegemonistic Malay Sultanate, we are informed. Yet even this merely flirts with controversy, compared with the thesis that in the case of the female priestesses (belian in the standard spelling), ritual status or appointment does confer administrative power, in the form of membership of the council or tetuwo, as just quoted. Improbable and offensive though it is, to turn belian into "administrators" in this way (elsewhere, p. 58, "managers" of; p. 200, "entertainers" through, temarok), if the proposition is to stand any chance of being given consideration, it surely needs to be related to the fact that mature women will have status as potential matrilineal heads of new family lines in the vaunted bilateral descent system. At least one could begin to conceive of the power of Dusun men being balanced and offset by some individual women. However, the only example given, of a Dusun woman achieving a tangible pre-eminence, is that of a single, reputed "female warrior," Gambai, in the late nineteenth century (p. 53, n 87).
We should now explore a little further the phenomenon of the waris. Helpfully, Pudarno (2014:52, n 86) cites Peranio in a little detail, as follows: "Peranio (1977: 248) defines waris among the Bisaya thus: "Strictly speaking, this is not a kin term; it refers collectively to all of one's kinsmen (consanguineal and affinal)." It is a pity that, on the other hand and by contrast, Pudarno himself generally emphasizes another meaning, namely a residentially concentrated group of shared bilateral descent (also sharing leadership among themselves through a purported council, as we have discussed). It is also briefly maintained (p. 200) that the ritual dependants of a belian are partly made up of members of the same waris. Under Pudarno's residentially quite restricted definition of waris, this can only be expected, of course. Nevertheless, by Peranio's definition and the usage of E.M.K.'s teacher, Pangan Runtob, Dusun society presents itself as much more loosely structured. (6) Neither the recruitment of belian nor of the dependants who attach themselves to her can be identified as being significantly rooted in kinship. This finds no part in E.M.K's experience. The same goes for the claim that the linguistic mannerism called an atuk can be used to identify shared membership of a waris. In our perception, membership in a big house or a hamlet is a more reliable correlate of kinship, but is still by no means an absolute rule. (7)
The contest in detail
The first striking statement by Pudarno is his categorical insistence that no acknowledgement of any "initial researcher(s)" is required by a Dusun like himself in order to use material relating to the Brunei Dusuns, because it "by collective rights, is an intellectual property" belonging to the Dusun community in its entirety (2014:xxvi). But in the course of the book Pudarno himself goes much further than borrowing text. He freely makes changes when quoting sections of text, thus deliberately distorting the meaning of statements (as described later).
Despite this attachment, as he claims, to local research, it becomes overwhelmingly clear after reading a mere few pages of Pudarno's opus that he almost totally relied on foreign, largely Western scholars and "their theoretical models" to guide him in his "interpretation of Dusun oral performance" (fn 25) and "to understand the social context of Dusun oral transmission and verbal skills in oral performances" (p. xxxiii/xxxiv). However, he rapidly leaves the path of a clearly thought out and rationally organized structure to turn it into a tortuous jumble of endless academic quotations interspersed with personal attacks on other "researchers" of Dusun materials. Pudarno even informs us of his regret for having conducted his recordings of one of his "key informants, Ruti binti Bandug," before getting to know "the works of R. Bauman, D. Hymes, A. Lord and A. Sweeney for theoretical guidance" (fn 25). These alone would have allowed him, he declares, even as an "insider" full access to the Dusun cultural past (p. xxii) to recognize a "genuine Dusun oral performance" (p. 17) more fully. The ensuing task, i.e. to transpose the material "into another cultural setting contextually" (p. 17), would have then been made easier. Pudarno makes no secret of his total reliance on these foreign mentors despite his assertion that without the assistance from his key Dusun informants he "can never be able to understand the social milieu, the narratives, the worldview and history of oral tradition of the Dusun community in Kampong Ukong" (2014:xxi).
However, there is little evidence in the book that Pudarno did in fact seek such native assistance. If he did, he appeared to be reluctant to accept and pass on his informants' knowledge and insight. Why should the reader simply accept his decision to forgo any original input in favor of "an interpretive [sic] approach to decipher some of these Dusun oral materials given by my informants. Their recollections require reconstruction and reinterpretation. Hence I take a cue from Wilhelm Dilthey's hermeneutics by assessing informants' experience based on their social expressions" (2014: xxii).
It also leaves a fellow researcher, like E.M.K., mystified why the relatively sparse oral material Pudarno's inquiry produced should need such a sophisticated approach. Who else, but the older master performers or narrators themselves can enlighten us about the true nature of their art?
For this reason E.M.K. would wish to relate some comments on the subject of siram, communicated by among others, Pangan Runtop and Narak Buntak. (8) They all remembered well old performances of sindir (their preferred term for siram sindir) as a clever and witty repartee executed by two singers during the great feasts of the past, the nakod sangi and nakod minum (or penakod). These grand occasions were common right up to the arrival of the Japanese. The favored time was at night (ntuong basindir-sindir) and some performing pairs were still fondly remembered in the 1980s such as Timur Bandang with Nyawa Tumbok, but even more so, Nyawa's father Tumbok, who together with Kluku from Limbang bantered on and off right through the night (Yama Nyawa laid te pandai no blawan ya Kluku, lama tad Limbang. Yodo basindir, nyeraban sindir yodo duo gala, blawan macam balas pantun). (9) They also remembered fine female siram singers, such as E Doyo from Merimbun, who could better any man in a sindir contest (aro ni okon kimu pandai ngalawan myanai o). The lady was encouraged by the female audience calling out: lagi, lagi, lagi antam-antam! (go on, go on, give it to him!), or if her male opponent appeared slightly faltering, he too was spurred on by the male audience: lawan, lawan, odongngakun ala, lawan! (go on fight, don't give in, fight!)
Siram (n.) or nyiram (v.) was unquestionably seen as an integral part of every festivity, such as the wedding night before the bride price was handed over (manta berian), and on whatever occasion pengasi (rice-wine) was brewed for when the people in the past gathered for drinking and others were invited (lama tuo-tuo miup, kadimon lama o). It was then that genealogical accounts might have been heard too (io ngara waris io no). And as the task to guard and protect the pitchers of rice-wine against intoxicated revellers fell to women, what better than a tale of siram to pass the long hours of the night (lama basiram gon ngkuku namong pengasi)?
Lengthier feasts allowed long drawn-out epics spanning several nights. For these, well known and much appreciated epic singers (male and female) from as far as Limbang were invited to present tales, sung most melodiously (siram, moncoi katab o cerita no). (10)
Although Narak honored us personally in 1992 by singing a siram basabit, as he called it, (11) E.M.K. remained unfamiliar, however, with siram sindir (also known as siram nasihai) (p. xv), i.e. a siram dispensing advice. (12) One is, nevertheless, inclined to question Pudarno's claim that siram sindir is a "composition that is sung to criticize, either an individual person, or a group of family members, mainly in the form of admonition" (p. xv). In our experience, Dusuns avoided serious criticism or shaming in public and certainly never on festive occasions or during intervals in a temarok. Mild rebuke, however, was well tolerated at all times, especially when delivered with wit and humor. The delightful picture of Yaruh addressing a seated lady (p. xviii) amply demonstrates this. Her face betrays amusement and a trace of coquettish shyness, but not a hint of anger or embarrassment which one would associate with serious criticism or admonition.
Regarding Pudarno's "categories of Dusun oral materials" (2014:7): he divides them: "into three major categories: (a) basangi (festive or religious celebrations), (b) iyaw biasa (everyday life), (c) bagulid (mourning period)" (p 7). This is an intriguing mixture of verb forms treated as and translated with nouns. In (a) we meet the ablative (i.e. by way of doing) verb basangi meaning: performing a thanksgiving (sangi), either profane or religious in nature. In (b): iyaw (or iau in my orthography) is 'to be alive', biasa: ordinary, everyday. In (c): bagulid means performing the requirements of mourning (ulid). For bagulid Pudarno states that "Dusun oral materials related to the mourning period, only two types are readily identifiable, namely, batuai (dirge) and kukui song. Batuai and kukui songs can only be performed during a mourning period and it is strictly prohibited to sing these two mourning chants on any other occasion"(2014:13).
There is no doubt, certainly, that a death dirge (tuai) is meant to be sung, with no accompaniment, during the wake period. Narak sang it after his sister Angkalit Buntak's death in November 1985, but repeated it, allowing a recording of it, on 11.12.1991. (13) He explained that the couplets have no meaning for the living, as they are sung to be understood and enjoyed only by the lamatai (spirits of the dead) present. (14)
As for the kukui, the shortest explanation is that it was originally a skull dance, performed after obtaining a head, both skull (ulu lama) and kukui being a requisite for terminating a special lengthy mourning period, lasting not less than 100 days. The "kukui song" which Pudarno cites (2014:13) could refer either to the refrain (uii-uii-uii) sung by the company of dancers during a kukui procession, or to the praise of the host by a special singer (lama mbud) in a mungkas ulid (the conclusion of such a mourning period).
Turning now to the classification of oral Dusun material, one is bemused, though also relieved, to find that Pudarno later confesses (p. 15) that "there is no clear-cut classification in the mind of raconteurs of the various types of Dusun oral tradition" and that his grandmother "never made any distinction for Dusun oral prose. For her, Dusun folk stories can only fall under two categories, kata-kata and siram ditaan--the former narrated and the latter sung" (fn 47). Pudarno underlines the previous statement with the following: "in everyday Dusun usage, the terms serita and tuturan carry almost the same meaning and are used interchangeably" (2014:11). All this was indeed what one noted when talking to our storytellers, i.e. cerita and teturan were interchangeable, teturan probably being the original Dusun word. Thus in Dusun Folktales any tale is called either cerita or teturan.
Pudarno, however, instead of accepting his grandmother's insight and clarity of perception, attempts to impose a narrow and inflexible definition on every one of his "prose narrative" categories, i.e. tuturan, serita and kata-kata, as well as on their various sub-categories (2014:10-11).
While willing to quote from Dusun Folktales as follows: "Kershaw (1994: xiii) rightly admits that "[i]t is obvious that not all stories will fit exactly into one category, with no elements from another. [...] The system of classification on which the Sections (15) are based has no absolute value, indeed little value at all unless readers use it as a set of tentative reference-points for testing and possible rejection, as they develop their own "dialogue" with the stories," Pudarno, however, adds his own sneering take on the above: "Otherwise we may simply fail to identify and understand Dusun classification due to the fact that our understanding is fully conditioned by Western-style categorization. Kershaw's failure to identify several "fairytales" in her collection which are, in fact, Dusun derato tales of the kata-kata category is cautionary"(2014:15).
In defense it must be pointed out that on page xiii the writer did not "rightly admit" to the then quoted statement, but simply "noted" (what should be obvious to anyone perusing the 10 Sections of the book) that the 88 stories were grouped merely according to special salient thematic features they shared. Also in need of reinstatement is the part, cut by Pudarno, which elaborated further the point that although many stories from all categories contained, for instance, noteworthy didactic elements, this was not used as the defining basis for a separate category, although fairy-tale elements were so used. (16) It may also be appropriate to recall a note entered on page xx, note 4 (Kershaw ed. 1994), namely that the Dusun titles appearing in the collection are hardly more "authentic" than the English titles, since for most tales, both had to be supplied by the editor herself.
But to strengthen his argument that "confusion in Dusun literary genres" is rife, Pudarno cites that works by Kershaw (1994); Magil (1990) and Sileh (1998) (17) "are all geared towards genre classification that belong to other cultures while Dusun classification, itself, is still "fleeting", i.e. Sileh in using "Malay classification" and Kershaw "English classification" (p. 4), thus both are in need of urgent correction. Pudarno strongly urges rectification for the classification of the stories in Dusun Folktales, i.e. that tales Nos. 3, 7, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 26, 57, 67, and No. 68 should be reclassified as "serita limatai (ghost stories)" (2014:11).
Although Pudarno defines traditional Dusun ghost stories as much more "friendly and entertaining" minus the "ghostly element""(2014:10-11), it is rather evident that none except tale 19 listed above (Teturan lama ngalap lanut jenadi mpoyong/The six who became a monster) fits wholly into Pudarno's category. A very particular misfit, for instance, is Anak spapas ("The half-boy," No.1 in Pudarno's list; No. 3 in Dusun Folktales), about Mpuan Inan, the Creator, who, as a very tangible, comprehensible deity is accessible to direct approaches by petitioners for improvement and is deeply concerned about the afflictions of his creation, the Dusuns. This is well shown in Cerita anak Baginda Ali ("The beginning of demons," No. 2 in Pudarno's list; No. 7 in Dusun Folktales), where two demon spirits (isi) (18) have to be driven away to allow a child to be born (Kershaw, E.M. ed.1994: xviii).
Lamatai, (19) the spirits of the dead (albeit ghostly, yet not ghosts in the Western sense), are the antagonists in the following tales: Lama bakarang ("The tale of a fisherman," No. 3 in Pudarno's list), Kisa anak lamatai nggiad ("The tale of the tearful spirit-child," No .4 in Pudarno's list), Turan lamatai purok Danau ("The spirits of Danau Hill," No. 5 in Pudarno's list), and Lama ngalobong anak o ("A man buries his son," No. 6 in Pudarno's list). See also for related discussion, Kershaw, ed., 1994: xvii.
Meanwhile, Teturan lama ngalap lanut jenadi mpoyong ("The six who became a monster," No. 7 in Pudarno's list), is possibly the most likely contender for Pudarno's "ghost stories" category, as the monster emerging at the end of the tale continues to roam the lands, but is never seen and only seldom heard, emitting ghostly cries of pain and seeming to be dragging chains (see Kershaw, E.M. ed., 1994: 44 note 1).
The storyteller of Kisa jilama jawa ("A story of 'little people,'" No. 8 in Pudarno's list) (in uncanny, sceptical anticipation, as it were, of Pudarno's assertion that this kisa is a "cerita limatai"!) added a refuting note to the end of his tale: "Today the offspring of Jara have all passed on, only his grandchildren are still around; but if you trace the links further, I would be a cousin to Jonok on my mother's side, since E Mili, was my (maternal) aunt. She was from Sungei Liang" (Kershaw, E.M. ed. 1994: 62). (20) Here a historical status of a tale is enhanced by the fact of a narrator's descent from the human characters involved (see Kershaw, E.M. ed. 1994: xvii). Noteworthy again may be the insight one gained while collecting the stories (see Kershaw, E.M. ed. 1994: xvi), namely, that for the older Dusun generation, all stories potentially had value as empirical evidence, while conversely when an informant could not answer a question, it was frequently because "there is no story" on the subject (ta; onjop aro cerita o)
The reason for placing the tales of Raja ramo ("The wild-boar princess," No. 9 in Pudarno's list) and the two tales of Dayang Buncu nau pagun asu tani ("Miss Buncu's trip to the land of the Tanis") and Dayang Bongsu napalid alan tani ("Dayang Bongsu and the Tani folk") in the "ghost stories" category is even less obvious, unless it is for the magical elements in this world, that is, where animals interact with humans, and where the boar princess assumes human form and gives birth to a human son (see Kershaw, E.M. ed. 1994: xv). As to the Tani folk, a group of beings known to live in the jungle, but not given to associating with the Dusuns in the way "the little people" do, it must be the fact that in their own territory they appear in more or less human manifestation, whereas outside they demonstrate canine characteristics, which admits them as one of Pudarno's cerita limatai (adumbrated in Kershaw, E.M. ed. 1994: 214 note 1, i.e. below the original English translation of the tale).
Further correction is wanted for Pudarno's vicious attack (on pages xliv and xlv of his book) relating to Kershaw's so-called decision to "print the best version" among tales that "have [... ] common ancestry" or "if more than one narrator told exactly the same story" (Kershaw, E.M. ed.1994: xxi, footnote 8). Pudarno turns this into an act of "condensing" similar or same tales recounted by several narrators into one "best version," without (he taunts) realizing the nature of "multiformity" of tales in storytelling; or the impropriety of mixing dialects; and of crossing boundaries between sub-group literary traditions. Fortunately the collector-translator does not need to debate the last three arcane points, as it is a brazen lie to say that she ever condensed versions. She never went further than to acknowledge separate narrators, beyond the first, of any particular story, exactly as promised in note 8 (2014: xx) to her Introduction: "If more than one narrator told exactly the same story, I have chosen the best version while acknowledging each narrator."
Also in need of correction is Pudarno's assertion on p. xxix that "Mohammad Ranek bin Setia, Jemrut's son" was "also Kershaw's translator." This misreads E.M.K.'s note of appreciation (p vii) for Ranik's help in translating "some obscure or archaic vocabulary." The inference is deeply offensive that the pioneer collector of tales is not a Dusun speaker as such. It also seems to be necessary to spell out that any polish of the English texts, as prose, betrays the hand of an English native speaker, R.K.
The pioneer collector may equally assure Pudarno that she was well aquainted with the term atuk and atuk tuntut, i.e. an interpolated, very personal or idiosyncratic utterance or speech feature (as for instance stutter or pseudo-word). Yalui's excessive use of the meaningless 'nga' was well known and used to great effect by the storytellers, but to have entered their own atuk, or further explanation of the term, would not have been of any interest to the reader of the stories (though see some explanation in our paragraph about waris, above). (21)
It may also be appropriate to answer Pudarno's distorted reading of Kershaw, E.M. and Kershaw, R. 1999:122, where he cites us dismissi vely as: "Seeing Dusun oral literature as a kind of entertainment that provides a temporary respite from an allegedly mediocre daily life. This misses the point of seeing the siram singers, or any traditional storyteller for that matter, as taking on the role of philosopher, reflecting on daily experiences and thereby providing intellectual stimulation to their audience... "(2014:216). No! Like almost everything in Kershaw, E.M. ed. 1994, and other work of ours, it does not relate to intoned, poetical performance at all but to spoken folktales, whose "philosophical" pretensions or potential will be very much lower. Pudarno would have done better to explore and elaborate the reputed philosophy in his own siram texts instead of tilting against a fictitious inadequacy of other writers.
The remaining, but by far the most important, question that needs to be addressed is how Pudarno came to call all the Dusun epic tales in siram and kata-kata (2014:13) tales of the divinity called derato (including in the title of his book). In addition, he terms certain stories, collected by others, including the pioneer-collector E.M.K., either as being "about derato" (2014:xxviii), or having the characteristic that they "relate to derato" (2014:xxix). Yet only one of E.M.K's folktales, (the first of Section I, the Myths and Origin tales) entitled Asal temarok ("The origin of Temarok"), features a derato mother, and her son. Of the ten stories by Sileh Yutong, none have derato in their title. A lengthy and tortuous investigation of Pudarno's book, however, yields the following, namely that the only reason for Pudarno to connect these epic tales to derato at all arises from the names given to either the protagonists or the antagonists in the siram ditaan and epic kata-kata material which he consulted. These names, for the principal male characters, are: Yawang (or the shortened form) Wang and Tuan; the principal female characters are called: Dayang and Tuan Puti (or Pute) (2014:148). Minor male (occasionally major) characters may take the name of Raja or Surutan (p 149). (22) And we learn (2014:xxx, note 24) that "The normal address for derato gentlemen is Yawang..... The proper name of each derato character in many siram ditaan tales is hardly mentioned. Derato are normally identified by their titles and place of residence (or birth)" (note 24). Such proclamations lead by an inevitable logic to the declaration that any character in a Dusun oral or sung narrative which is addressed by any of the above mentioned titles is a deity or derato, and any tale depicting such a character is therefore a "derato tale."
In other words, having established the nature of these major or minor characters, the author would appear to have set the scene for his next stage, which is to surround them with "a mystical community called derato... in a realm in the sky called "pagun sawat "(2014:20). Their life "is interspersed with romance, heroism and recurring battles" (2014:30) as told in either siram ditaan or kata-kata tales (2014:12). We cannot help remarking that to create a supernatural world above, populated with mystical beings, mostly, but not always, of valiant and noble disposition, is one thing, but to call them derato and deities is quite another. Pudarno purposefully or unintentionally (at least at the outset) has created a major dilemma for any Dusun who wishes to grapple with this dichotomous world-view, i.e. with two types of derato, one a purely "fictional" creation of the imagination (he claims), the other the ritual ("non-fictional") divinities of the belian (priest and priestess). No serious help in disentangling this conundrum is, however, proffered by Pudarno himself!
His approach and would-be denouement are as follows: "derato, according to Dusun people, are "real" deities but, on the other hand, it is widely accepted that kata-kata tales about derato are not "true." Therefore, kata-kata is a prose narrative that can be categorized as "fiction"---a fictional narrative about the magical life of derato" (2014:13). Pudarno elucidates further (2014:67): "derato that are depicted in siram ditaan are simply not regarded as real but as fictional characters. Everybody generally agrees, however, that in temarok rituals, only the real derato are present." And yet, in further elaboration, we meet a third concept of fiction, bundled up with the others, where, "the two "worlds"---one is fictional fiction (epic tales) and the other (temarok ritual) "pseudo-real"[sic] fiction---seem to merge into one "real" world in the mind of the Dusun believers." We submit that fundamentally it is Pudarno's postulated distinction between two (if not three) types of "fiction" that is a pseudo-position: at best superfluous in a piece of anthropology, at worst a fraud in creating the original fiction that siram tells tales of derato--this ploy being seemingly designed to merge mundane siram with transcendental temarok under a single umbrella of Dusun religion (or "beliefs," as Pudarno prefers to call it).
Let us elaborate further: the derato in the mythological past bear little resemblance with the ritual derato known today. In fact, the only myth dealing with derato does not attempt to shed light on the nature or the social make-up of these celestial dwellers, merely tries to account for the miraculous gift of rice. Even the fairly detailed description of the derato boy's (anak derato) (23) character traits, and his relationship with his mother and the earthly boy, serves the same, plain purpose, namely how the Dusuns were able to change their diet of charcoal (popou apui) to rice (nubur).
However, the mythological derato do provide a bizarre possibility of reconstructing the real life of Dusuns of past generations, of which the evidence has been lost. This is what seems to emerge from a classic (typically oracular) Pudarao passage: "Textually, we can make some inferences about derato daily chores and ceremonial activities to portray their rich tradition and siram ditaan texts, indeed, offer us a portrayal of what Dusun social life was like in the past. Relatively speaking, we can see how much these siram ditaan texts can reveal and offer significant information on Dusun cultural history... " (2014:51-52).
As for the more living relationship between derato and the Dusuns today (our narrative could beneficially continue), (24) every belian who, through divine inspiration, has gained sufficient ritual vocabulary is able to call her own personal derato and individual familiar, to whom she binds herself in spiritual matrimony. Principal divinities, from the upper world and the world below, however, can only be received by more experienced and emotionally stronger belian. In contrast to the anonymous and recondite individual divine partner, the behavioral characteristics of most of the remaining derato manifest themselves publicly through these major belian.
Seeing that Pudarno once more comes back to the question of "true" or "not true" with regard to derato, and singles out derato mondou as being of the latter type, we wish to give a short description of this spirit. The name is taken from the mondou, a large and ferocious magical cat. When derato mondou unites with the chief belian and possibly one or two of her assistants at a precise moment in a principal harvest ceremony, they take on and project the animal features of this spirit by crawling or crouching in search of an object to attack. An old mat which invariably and prudently is put in its path serves the purpose. It is thus totally impossible for any belian to "own derato mondou" (2014:65) as this spirit cannot be summoned. It only appears in very major harvest temarok by its own volition, and everyone present is well prepared for its entry.
By "cognitive deduction" (2014:66) Pudarno further surmises that derato "not only live in the world above (pagun sawat), but also on earth as water derato (derato ayig), or in the nibung tree called ntrigi" (2014:66). We too were told that derato may indeed emerge tad aig (from ponds or rivers), i.e., from the world below, but this does not make them water derato. And the nibung tree (Oncosperma tigillaria) is generally regarded as home to malevolent spirits but not to derato. Moreover, the character Ntarigi or Nterigi (25) was never mentioned in connection with derato or temarok. Even stranger, if not outrageous, is Pudarno's postulation that "a person can make an entity become a derato and thus (s)he is said to be baderato"(2014:66). This apparently means, for him, that any person (presumably Dusun) can create derato (baderato in fact means 'perform the act of creating a derato'), but for what purpose this might be done, we are not informed.
We are certainly inclined to agree with Pudarno, that some siram singers were also belian (2014:200). But as we have already perceived Pudarno's digression into the world of derato as questionable, may we not ask once more whether this observation really justifies an attempt to scan the entire, intricate world of the belian, and complex rules relating to temarok, in a work entitled Singing Siram Ditaan, especially given that, according to Pudarno's own admission neither belian nor temarok are mentioned in any siram texts, and no actions or deeds of the siram characters feature in any temarok (2014:85)? We therefore limit ourselves to briefly commenting on the chief differences between Pudarno's and our observations with regard to the belian and temarok.
Pudarno ranks the belian into an upper and lower rank, i.e. chief priestesses and common priestesses (2014:58), who are mostly selected by their elders in order to "surrender to derato and society" (2014:59). This role makes a belian "responsible for the management and observance of the temarok rules and taboos"(2014:58). Equally she supervises the religious obligations of any family or household attached to her (2014:59).
The present principal ethnographer, in contrast, with reference to the means of selection, learned that the belian is recruited in three quite distinct ways: a) by experiencing dream apparitions or mild physical or psychological discomfort, which are always attributed to familiar divinities, and are seen as a sign of selection by derato; b) recruitment through a promise made by her parents or guardian, usually during a phase of sickness in infancy; or c) by a personal vow to serve as belian if some family problem or calamity were to be resolved satisfactorily. But whatever the avenue, the formal approval of a senior belian has to be sought, who in turn consults with her spirit familiar in a ritual.
A senior belian may indeed, one must agree, give guidance, even instructions as to the execution of a temarok she has requested, or be consulted by householders about specific details when setting up a less familiar but major harvest temarok. She may also ask for some (usually minor) adjustments to the layout of the temarok arena, or correct the musicians during a performance. But she is in no way "responsible for the management" of a temarok. Any host sees it as his foremost duty to get every detail right and please the belian to the best of his capacity.
Above all, we have never been aware of a belian being recruited to "an informal council with collective administrative tasks" (2014:52). Even a senior belian (tetua belian) is discouraged from seeing herself as qualified to accept a similar role outside the ritual sphere.
All major belian have the charge of several ritual dependants (anak nimok). Belian and dependant are bound to each other by mutual obligation. The anak nimok accept the monthly and seasonal food taboos, (26) and promise to hand over, or send, monthly offerings of seven small packets of boiled rice (tebuu), seven tiny rice flour cakes (taji), one egg and several bananas to their belian. The belian in turn performs the monthly and yearly rituals, releasing the anak nimok from the said restrictions. However, any consultation which an anak nimok wishes to have with the belian must take place within a temarok. The belian is prohibited from giving any official advice outside the ritual. In a healing ritual (temarok bagiau), the healing belian (pangiau) conveys any instruction or wish of her spirit-helper to a non-officiating senior belian in their common belian, or derato tongue (basa belian/basa derato),who in turn passes it on to the relevant lay persons. If no such belian mediator is present, the pangiau addresses the lay persons in the vernacular herself. (27) Yet significantly, a belian would provoke the displeasure of her spirit familiar if she were to disclose any other details of her relationship with this spirit, which in such an event would abandon her and take away all spiritual powers: she would instantly become samar, powerless.
By utter contrast, elsewhere, Pudarno describes a second role a belian has, namely that some time during a major temarok performance the belian, while being possessed by derato, switches her role from that of a "religious priestess to that of an entertainer" and mimic in order to transform the "temarok gayo ceremony into an entertaining drama" (2014: 201).
One would agree that with regard to the role of a belian in a major harvest temarok, she indeed acts out the characteristics of any derato who unites with her. To the onlookers some of their antics may provoke great hilarity. But this does not make the belian in some sense a performer or entertainer. Nor does she in any way control the entry nor exit of the spirits. She simply plays host to them as long as they desire to be present. And dramatic as the goings-on may appear, the temarok ritual as a whole never descends into an entertaining drama, where derato "play with Dusun priestesses"(2014:59). Nor did anyone ever refer to a ritual crocodile or snake as a pyaman (toy or game) (2014:58). These animals, as appearing in the ritual, are far too real and significant for both the belian and the derato involved in a temarok buayo and temarok lanut. (28)
Other bewildering statements are a) that "epic tales in siram ditaan are closely associated with a Dusun religious belief called temarok " (2014:57) and b) that "the word temarok implies both a system of belief and the prescribed rituals that are associated with it" (2014:57). Our query or challenge here relates to the concept of a "belief called temarok." We have never met temarok as terminology for a belief system, even one in which the ritual is embedded.
As, apart from Narak's private siram, no other siram or sindir performance took place during our time in Brunei, the present collector therefore sees herself as qualified only to engage superficially with Pudarno's discussions of form or presentation of siram ditaan chants, typified by his distinction between verse, stanza, lines and papan, none of which are easy to follow.
He does seem, once more, to ignore his own siram singers' definitions of certain vital terminology, such as papan or papan serita and parason for kata-kata tales or siram ditaan, but boldly puts forward his own definitions, without any other justification, it appears, than for (as claimed) "analytical clarity" (2014:31). (29) However, by the time Pudarno reached p. 110, analytical clarity was no longer it seems an issue for him. The revised view is as follows: "Papan serita in kata-kata also refers to the narrative as a whole."
An equal challenge for Pudarno seems to arise from the term buwa siram. He states the following: "buwa siram in siram sindir refers to the content of the criticism in the siram sindir song. It is actually called "buwa sindir." " "In siram ditaan, on the other hand, buwa siram refers to the verses in the narrative of a tale. Siram singers seem to indicate that each verse represents one buwa siram that also represents a stanza," with one stanza being equal to one papan. "Technically speaking, one papan is equal to one buwa siram while the whole narrative of a derato tale is called papan serita (the "storyboard") of a tale. The term buwa serita, as used in kata-kata, also carries the meaning of "episode" to form the papan serita...."(2014:110). (30)
We see it as significant that what Pudarno lists as "siram " appear to be narrated versions of siram ditaan, termed kata-kata, serita or tuturan. There are relatively few sung versions of siram ditaan. Of the 24 titles catalogued on pages 34-37, Nos. 1, 5, and 21 are termed serita. Nos. 2, 4, 6, 9, 11, 12 and 17 are termed kata-kata. No. 4 (parts of it), Nos. 7, 8, 14, 20, 22 and 24 are termed tuturan. Sung siram ditaan on the list are No. 3, No. 4 (54 verses sung), No. 10, No. 13, No. 15 (181 verses sung), No. 16 (67 verses sung), No. 18 (15 verses sung), No. 19 (228 verses sung) and No. 23 (143 verses sung). (31)
Sileh Yutong contributed Nos. 1, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 20, 21, 22 and 24.
Muhammad Hadi Abdullah: Nos.: 3, 10 and 13.
Magil Lasak: Nos. 14 (transcribed and translated into Malay with two papan/verses
retranscribed and translated into English) and 16.
Mohamad Hatta Haji Suhaili and Nur Anita Anwnis Setia: No. 17.
Pudarno Binchin and Tekpin Yakup: Nos. 2, 6, 9, 14 and 15 (181 verses sung).
Pudarno Binchin: Nos. 4, 19 and 23.
Transcribed are: Nos. 1, 3 (parts), 5, 7, 8, 11, 14, 16 (parts are printed on pp 173-180), 17, 20, 21, 22, 24 (21 lines are printed on pp 150-152).
Translated into Standard Malay are: Nos. 1, 3 (parts), 5, 7 (summarized), 8, 11 (summarized), 14, 17, 20, 21, 22 (summarized), 24.
Translated into English are: Nos. 14, 16 (parts are printed on pp 173-180), No. 24 (21 lines are printed on pp 150-152).
The pages 96-100 offer refreshingly informative descriptions of Sileh's experience with potential performers and Pudarno's own sparse involvement in and observation of siram demonstrations. This is only marginally spoilt by some interspersed quotations from Bauman, Bruner, and even Kershaw, and the somewhat odd translations of ngilew (to interrupt) as: "let go, hand down" and tapu karongon: as:"softening the body's shell" (whereas as a verb karongon means solidify, stiffen; tapu means weak) (2014:100).
Meanwhile, when Dangasih remarked that everybody in the past was at home in the world of siram ("laid-laid tih sangayijilama ngarati buwa siram ") (2014:124), she must have had in mind all the allusions contained and recurring in siram. When she sang of pompod abuk mayang mengurai (2014:153) she surely was comparing untied hair spreading out like the inflorescence of the areca palm, which is all familiar from its use in the temarok. (See Kershaw, E.M. 2000: 99.) At the same time, any older Dusun would have understood that the title Dayang Bungsu Kudung Longon ("Dayang Bungsu whose hands were amputated," as Pudarno would have it) (xxxi) was referring to the warning uttered to children at the sight of a rainbow in the sky, not to point at it: 'dong nuru blintong o!' as otherwise a malevolent spirit (kuo raat) might punish them by twisting, even breaking their arm, 'putul longon no!' Or when on p 27, line 40 Sapiling urges Pudarno: "Dui gat yawang, bongkoso saluar larut o" (....) she was making a metaphor from the shorts worn by past villagers (held up securely by an elastic rubber-band (seluar balarut), (32) in substitution for the earlier mentioned wooden chest (kabari) where treasured possessions were kept safe from vermin. As to the term anak taban, it most certainly never had the meaning of "sacrificial child" (2014:55) in the mind of any Dusun, being a synonym for mian, i.e. a slave, though more commonly used for slaves taken on raids than for debt-slaves. (33) A tukang patimbang (rather than Pudarno's panimbang) is better understood, in an extended meaning, as a "matchmaker" than "someone to stabilize you" (2014:23).
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EVA MARIA KERSHAW and ROGER KERSHAW
Lochinver, Sutherland, Scotland
(1) For some reconstruction of the Bisayan past, see Araneta & Bernad 1960; Bewsher 1962; Carroll 1960; Nicholl 1980a; Sandin 1972. For perspectives on the Brunei Sultanate as the 15th or 16th century latecomer, see Nicholl 1975 (previously cited); Nicholl 1980b; Caroll 1982. On ethnic terminology in the early- and mid-20th century, see McArthur 1904 (ed. Horton 1987): 110-12; Bantong 1985. For data on the demographic and constitutional status of the Dusuns, now rapidly assimilating to Brunei Malay culture, see Kershaw, R. 1998a and Ch. 2 in Kershaw, E.M. 2000; on the erosion of culture and identity by Islam, Chs. 2, 11 and 12 in Kershaw, E.M. 2000; on the decline of the Dusun language, Kershaw, E.M.1992. The general linguistic context of Brunei (with estimates of numbers of speakers of each language) is handled authoritatively by Martin 1995.
(2) On the industrious, honest and well-administered Dusun population one will find complimentary observations in McArthur 1904, e.g. pp 80, 110.
(3) See Kershaw, E.M. & Kershaw, R. 2011: not least, pp 19-20.
(4) On continuity of authority within family lines, see Kershaw, Eva Maria and Roger, 2011:27,110. For more detailed discussion of the same idea, see Kershaw, Roger 2010: 256-257. The former title (our joint work) is full of illustration, de facto, of the authority of headmen and Penghulus in action, as remembered by one gifted son of a Penghulu. Pangan Runtop of Bukit Udal (aged 70 in 1993), from his younger days.
(5) Not only is a figure above 7 families unlikely. Pangan Runtop gave us a very precise count of the houses and their residents known to him in the 1930s. 3-4 lubong or sirang (family cubicles) was the normal average per household.
(6) Pangan distinguishes between waris and saudara: waris are members of the same clan; jati sawaris: we are of the same lineage; sang sawaris jati. Dusuns of his generation were tickled by the thought that through aristocratic Malay recruitment of Dusun concubines some members of the community could count waris in high places see Kershaw E.M. & Kershaw, R. 2011: 190.
(7) Referring again to the imaginary council of administration, we meet a pregnant silence on whether female would-be council members are part of the in-house waris thanks to common descent with the other members of either sex, or came in as affines, possibly from other waris. Supposing that they did, does then such intermixing create confusion in terms of speech idiosyncrasies? Is an incoming female expected to conform linguistically? Presumably we should ask similar questions about assimilation also in relation to uxorilocal marriage. Pudarno almost studiously avoids the topic of matrimonial residence rules, even while focused on the concentration of groups of kin in one house or hamlet.
(8) E.M.K. resided in the very communal house whose photograph Pudarno included on p. 44 between the end of 1985 and 1988 and in private accommodation in Bukit Udal from June 1988 to 1993. Narak, himself a competent dukun (healer and general magical specialist), with a long line of chief belians in the family, was my chief source for everything philosophical, religious, musical and artistic, resulting in the publication of A Study of Brunei Dusun Religion (2000). Pangan on the other hand, taught by his tetuo/pengulu father, was our main source of all matters dealing with adat law, history and village administration, leading to our joint study, Writing an Identity 2011. Pangan, however, although a fine storyteller, never admitted to having been a siram singer. His brother, Jian Runtop, avowed on more than one occasion (at least to me) that he was neither a singer nor a raconteur, contrary to Pudarno's claim (2014:188).
(9) A pantun is public poetry in Malay, consisting of a quatrain, rhyming a b a b, ending in a witty turn of thoughts (Amin Sweeny 1987: 313).
(10) Such feasts were Nakod sangi held by well-to-do persons (lama aro) to honor a pledge, and Nakod minum or Penakod hosted by a tetuo/pengulu for dignitaries of other settlements (tetuo dan lama ga-gayo) The last such occasion in Bukit Udal was in 1937, repaid (ngalos butang) by the people of Liang in 1952, but still outstanding by the inhabitants of Kampong Ukong who were guests of honor in Bukit Udal!
(11) Basabit means: singing the praise of someone, a term otherwise used for singing the praise of the host holding a kukui to end a mourning period. In Narak's siram he praised us for coming to live, if only temorarily, among the Dusuns, but also mentioned our inevitable departure. He, however, concluded on a optimistic note namely, that if he lived long enough we might return and meet him once more.
(12) Siram nasihat is well described by Muhammad Hadi Abdullah in his article 'Siram (Puisi Tradisional Masyarakat Dusun)', saying that this form was especially favored by older female singers as it allowed them to divulge wise reflections and advice to the younger audience.
(13) It was published as Appendix 4 in Writing an Identity (Kershaw, E.M. & Kershaw, R. 2011), pp 243-244.
(14) As the lamatai are rightfully present in the house during the 14 day wake period, they are only banished at the conclusion of it. Pudarno's father (2014:14) was likely to have sung the dirge (tuai) for the lamatai and not in order to remove the soul of the dead (lingu), which leaves for the pagun lingu (the territory of souls) on its own volition by the 40th day (see Kershaw 2000, p 40).
(15) Pudarno wrongly replaced Sections with ''Collections."
(16) To illustrate this: the 10 Sections selected to accommodate the 88 stories are the following. SECTION I: Myth and origin tales. SECTION II: Further origin tales and scenes from early Dusun life. SECTION III: The origin of places or plants. SECTION IV: Crocodile tales. SECTION V: Yalui stories. SECTION VI: Animal interaction with animals. SECTION VII: Animal interaction with man. SECTION VIII: Fairy-tales. SECTION IX: Other ethnic groups. SECTION X: Tales of exogenous provenance.
(17) Both Magil and Sileh are Dusun. Their works were Undergraduate Dissertations for the Department of Malay Literature UBD.
(18) Isi (demons), agents of illness and misfortune are the most negative force a Dusun has to deal with. Yet, empowered by Mpuan Inan upon creation of man to chastise human transgression, they became the guardians of social norms and enforcers of prohibitions and taboos. For more information see Kershaw, E.M., ed. 1994: xxii, notel5 and Kershaw, E.M. 2000, pp 31-32.
(19) A lamatai (not to be confused with lingu, the soul) is an unspecific part of a human being which detaches itself at death, and lives on for a time, playing tricks on living people, often haunting the houses they originated from. At wakes they are expected by the mourners, and food is laid out for them. But in the night following the fourteenth day, the spirit of the newly deceased is forcibly driven off (Kershaw, E.M. ed. 1994: xxii note14). Younger Dusuns tend to use the term lamatai for both the spirts of the dead as well as for the demons (isi).
(20) The Dusun is as follows: masa iti suda anak-anak E Jara no naii ni natai do. Suma aki-aki Jara kakal. E Jonok kalau kiro kan keturunan, anak incanjaii, maya inajaii, pasal E Mili iti kaminan jami. E Mili lama Sungei Liang.
(21) As a matter of fact, Pangan's personal atuk was put, Narak's tung, Tawon's and Periau's kuno and Latip's kunu. But it was never apparent that any other members of these individuals' families used the same atuk as they did.
(22) When discussing Lord's identity-naming formula on page 148 Pudarno explains in more detail his thoughts on the very commonly met male players Yawang Kabincuan and female counterparts Dayang Bunchu (or Bongsu): "Yawang Kabincuan or Dayang Bunchu are not patronymic title, neither are they refer to proper names of derato...... I think these are not nicknames either but they actually refer to derato ranked titles." We, however, have to state that "Awang" and "Dayang" are in fact Brunei-Malay forms, which especially since government efforts to introduce some local color into the Brunei form of Malay in the 1950s, have signified "Mr." for males, "Miss" or "Mrs." for females. Bongsu or Bunchu, in Dusun names, too is not a title, least of all a "derato title" (fn 23), but means, as in Malay, 'youngest.' The suggestion of some transcendental meaning for Dusuns is more than puzzling. Was the narrator in the transcription on p. 26 bestowing a heavenly status on the man (Pudarno) whom she addresses in each verse (altogether ten times) as "wang"?
(23) Anak, in our experience, has no other meaning than 'child' (for humans or animals), 'a shoot' (of plants); 'new' (for the moon), and 'little' or 'small' (for rivers and general objects). Siganak means members of one family. The Malay term anak bua: means 'dependants' or 'the people of one communal household,' but it can never "imply invisibility," as Pudarno claims by inference from "anak jawa, an invisible community of spirit beings" (note 14).
(24) There is only one other occasion one was told about, when lay-folk could call upon derato ulu (the skull derato): that was during kukui.
(25) Ntarigi is mentioned as a character by Mohd Hatta Hj Suhaili and Nur Anita Awanis Setia in 'Tuan Puti Bongsu ya Ntarigi'. In a tale by Tawon, Teturan mpuni naga, in which the protagonist Dayang Bongsu meets Nterigi, a witch girl, who eventually gets put to death by Tuan Temagad, the husband designate of Dayang Bongsu but involuntary bedfellow of Nterigi.
(26) The anak nimok promises to refrain from eating eggs and bananas, starting on the 29th day of every lunar month, until the belian has freed (balapas) them for consumption. They further promise no to eat any newly harvested rice, or sow grains of any rice which has not yet been freed.
(27) Indeed, all the necessary instructions to bring about a healing must take place in the confines of the ritual. It is an extraordinary experience to witness a belian, having gone through the most intense emotions minutes before she concludes the temarok, instantly emerging totally calm and unemotional. But she is also unable to recall any such experience or spirit instruction she received during the ritual.
(28) See Kershaw 2000 for detailed descriptions of all temarok still performed during the authors' stay.
(29) Just as E.M.K.'s narrators used papan to mean the entire tale, the singer Dangsih, as well as Pudarno's grandmother, used papan serita when referring to a complete story (note 73). Pudarno even quotes Dangsih in the same note as follows:. "Dangasih argues that one papan serita refers to one siram ditaan narrative and it does not refer specifically to each verse in a siram ditaan tale. She also calls one siram ditaan tale parason (one story). She does not recognize the term to mean "stanza.""
(30) In the present collector's experience Dusuns used 'bua', apart from its basic meaning of 'fruit', as a classifier for collections, i.e. bua cerita: a collection of stories; bua teturan/tuturan: a repertoire of tales; bua jenaka: jokes; bua bilin: recommendations.
(31) One verse consisting of several stanzas.
(32) Underwear, as Pudarno translates seluar larut, was not yet commonly worn by older male and female Dusuns in the 1980s.
(33) Debt-slaves were usually Dusuns, often orphaned girls who were unable to repay a debt incurred by their parents. No one that we asked could say how long Dusuns had had slaves, but everyone was sure that only wealthy individuals could afford them. Such female debt-slaves (but not when still children) were usually the ones used for sacrifice if a head was needed for an end of mourning ritual (mungkas ulid).
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|Author:||Kershaw, Eva Maria; Kershaw, Roger|
|Publication:||Borneo Research Bulletin|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2016|
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