Friday, June 5

A memorable Gawai Dayak

This year’s Gawai Dayak was one of the most pleasant and memorable occasions in several years for members of our family, although we missed our dear parents/grandparents – my father who was a pillar of strength and a beacon of hope for the family passed away on 1 July 1996 and our loving mother who had become a source of inspiration and love passed away on 28 February 2005. During Gawai they were the centre of our love and affection.

For me personally, it was a happy gathering of family members. My youngest son, an engineer with Shell, came all the way from Miri. His wife and a three-month old daughter were unable to come. Except for my third son, my two other children and their families were with us. However, my third son, who was in South Korea for his PhD studies, managed to call us that night before we “ngirup ai pengayu”.

As tradition would have it, our celebration began in the evening with a BBQ session and at the stroke of mid-night we prayed to God the Almighty and thanked Him for His protection and blessing. We also sought His guidance and blessing for the coming Gawai. Only then we drank “ai pengayu” and wished every one “gayu-guru gerai-nyamai”.

Celebrating Gawai at Kampung Keniong Jaya, Simunjan where I was born more than 60 years ago

As we do not live in a longhouse, but in a Malay-style of a village of 26 houses that make Kampong Sungai Samabang, Simunjan, the heads or representatives from the 26 houses have to assemble at the house of the Tuai Rumah to pay our first Gawai visit the first thing on the first day of Gawai (1 June). Then they next visited our house.

As agreed, 13 houses were to receive visitors (pengabang), while the other 13 houses would receive their guests the following day. This arrangement would enable every household to reciprocate each other’s Gawai visit. Visitors from other villages or longhouses could come any time, as the “ruling” only applied to folks of Kampong Sungai Samabang.

During the Gawai visit it was an opportunity to have met and talked to some of my relatives and friends whom I have not met for years. Some of them returned to the village once a year or once in two years as they worked in far-flung places like Johor, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Penang.

Later in the evening some of my family members went to another longhouse, Kpg. Keniong Jaya, where we met literally hundreds of relatives and wished them “gayu-guru, gerai-nyamai”. It was in this kampong where I was born more than 60 years ago.

For me this year’s gawai was just like walking down memory lane full with nostalgic feelings and sweet memories. It was indeed a memorable and pleasant one. – The Broken Shield


Anonymous said...

It's a unique way to celebrate. Small villages can lead the way in living in harmony. Even if the government don't bother, small villages should organise themselves similar to living to longhouses. Nothing to stop them to appoint a headman for example, who can help organise self-help activities. In Sabah some villages are quite organised. I like in particular the way they adopt their rivers by filling it with fish and then open it for tourists to visit and feed the fish. The harvesting is done once or twice a year where the whole village share the harvest. This has been done with great success. There are also spin-offs like small stores selling food, drinks, fruits and even some home-stays. There are many villages in Sarawak which have clean rivers which could do this successfully.

Kuching Apek

basil ak sin said...

sama pia meh aki.....nda ulih gawai di simunjan taun in south korea diatu....nda ulih gawai di batu mumong......been fan of the blog....slalu bekongsi cita ngau apai aku....sin simen...slamat ari gawai...gayu guru gerai nyamai!!!!

JJ said...

A very good morning to you Boss and SELAMAT GAWAI 2009.

I was @ Kampong Sg. Pinang, an Iban village less than 50 meters from the junction to Simunjan. Their hospitality I receive reminds me of what I receive @ at my/my relatives longhouses in Kanowit. It speaks well of our Iban culture - "Ngalu ke Temuai". The only difference was the venue, it was held at Balai Raya as opposed to the "Pala Tangga" in my beloved Kanowit! Though I have a Kanowit slang that does not deter me in my rapport with the "Balau" slang! The crux of the matter was that I was well accepted even though that was the first time they meet me!

Over a few rounds of tuak, beer, black label and sumptuous food, we exchanged information.

The things that strike me most were - (1) They still depend on generator (2) They depend on gravity feed water.

I shared with them that electricity supply reached our long house more than 15 years ago so was piped water and telephone lines.

"MASLOW HEIRACHY OF NEEDS" - What do you think of Kampong Sg. Pinang?.

jamal jarjis

Anonymous said...

We Dayaks especially Iban should ensure that our children and our children's children do not forget the meaning of Gawai Dayak.
To forget Gawai Dayak is to forget we are Dayaks.

Anonymous said...

a very good morning to everyone out there.
sebedau aku bekungsi rita kitai ke begawai, arap ke enda laun ga aku meri selamat gawai daak 2009 ke semua bangsa dayak di merata dunya, ke lebih agi kitaai di sarawak.
Au, aku endang enda kala enda pulai leboh ke gawai. rindau amat asai ati betemnu serta betundi enggau bala ke udah lama enda dipeda. And i always make it a point to bring along my children, whoever were available to be wih me to celebrate gawai at kampung a longhouse style. a very very interesting moment leboh ke udah ditingkoh tuak enggau ai bisa, minus langkau ofcourse. nobody serve langkau, considered a degrading factor during gawai. you cant find cheap liquor even. infact celebrating gawai in a longhouse has always been more expensive than in town. you have to experince it to believe it.
In my case, we have and understanding with my neighbouring longhouse. this year we visited them first and on the 2.6.2009 they reciprocated by entertaining us from 10.00 am until 7.30 pm, we were entertained with all sort of expensive liquors as well as all sort of styled served food wich you can find in any restaurant in town. along with that, we were to compete in ngajat, singing, poco-poco and other games. this coming gawai 2010, iam thingking of introducing a belaban betebah dumbak or malu engkerumong, interesting rite. in a way, we want this tradition to instilled and mastered by the younger generation.
Pesan aku, ngirup tau ngirup tapi enti mabok anang mai kereta tauka motorsikal, tq

saloi said...

an improvement of 'mengeratkan silaturahim' btw kampung sg semabang folks...
kudos to tuai rumah Sipek...

as for the fish in the river project...may be fish can be pour into Sg Isu and Sg Semabang...during gawai we can harvest the fishes and have bbq then...

is there any 'Ngiling Bidai' will be held in KCH as continues tradition?

regards frm Batam,Indonesia

Jetty said...

To Basil,

Terima kasih ka comment nuan. Kami bisi ngabang ngagai Keniong betemu enggau aki nuan Liam enggau sida ke bukai.

Selamat gawai ngagai nuan lalu arap nuan belajar enggau bendar. Nama utai ke dipelajar nuan.

Rudy Tawie, anak aku bisi mega belajar di KAIS (Korea Advance Institutites of Sciences), South Korea ngambi PhD dalam pelajar civil engineer. Tau nuan contact iya.