Monday, October 5

Should Dayak Ibans continue to build longhouses?

Sidi Munan, President of Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA), in his weekly column, UNCLE DI, in the Sunday Borneo Post, posed this question.

“If we are really concerned with the regular occurrences of fires, let us brainstorm these questions: Should or should not the Dayak Ibans continue to build longhouses? Will it not be more sensible or practical of them to opt for single houses?

He listed the following points in favour of single houses:

1. Reduce the risk of mass destruction by fire,
2. Easier to keep clean,
3. Freedom of choice for the individual in terms of size of room,
4. Freedom of choice of colour of the walls or the roof,
5. Sufficient space for landscape suited to individual taste, and
6. Animal rearing and protection- fencing.

The following points in favour of building new longhouses:

1. Cultural heritage,
2. Ample space for observation of customs and traditional practices,
3. Security of inhabitants under one roof, and
4. Close rapport among inhabitants.

Sidi suggested that Government should conduct a series of seminars during which frank views are allowed in respect of the merits and demerits of the above questions.

“Invite representative of the victims of recent fires as participants, community leaders, representatives from the Ministry of Housing and the Bomba to these talks. Local architects and insurance agents may be interested to observe the proceedings.

“During the seminars causes of fires in each particular case – human carelessness, defective wiring, etc may be disclosed. Their effects are not hard to imagine.

“We are not, by any stretch of the imagination, suggesting that the existing longhouse should be pulled down. We are talking about a ban on constructing NEW buildings,” he said and added: “These are some of my views. Your views could well be much better than mine”. – The Broken Shield



Anonymous said...

There is nothing wrong with the design of the longhouses. look at those houses that are in Europe where they are similar with our longhouses here except that they are built with cold rocks and cement.

Here our wooden longhouses are very traditional and we should keep it that way. Don't just get turn off with occasional fires. The residents of these longhouses must be taught the proper way of using fire.

Look and learn from one of the places in Japan where these Japanese lives in wooden steep straw roof houses and they are the main attraction for tourist in winter. Every morning there will be one resident who will go to every house to remind the resident to put out the fire and to be extra careful if they were to use fire.

I personally feel that the dayaks must not be rid of their life style. only that they must be taught to be cafeful with fire and the gov't must make sure that every longhouse have fire extinguishers.The bomba must visit these longhouses every month to brief these residents about the dangers of fire and to check the safety and the validity of the fire extinguishers.

All these process can be done with the help of the dayak Mps and YBs. The must have a road map to ensure the safety of the longhouses and not just enriching themselves.

It's high time that the gov't do something about the safety of these longhouses before all these longhouses perish.The gov't have earn alot of these tourist dollars so its time they plough back some of their profits.

We are free to live the way we like, on these land that shall forever be ours ,and it will forever be our home no matter what.
The true owner of these land will be eternal but the occupier will perish.

adbdin said...

The idea is good and look forward for more modern style of living.

How about to suggest that all the new longhouse to be build at the nearest main road or strategic location that is easier to access in order to solve the problem.

Sarawak government should allocate better location for every new longhouses to be build. In other word, application should be forward to local authority or any relevant government agencies.

This problem has been years affecting the rakyat but seem to be more land is eligible to be given away to other party and even outsider.

Talk about longhouse, we need to talk about land too. And land issue is so difficult to given away to our own rakyat since before and even now.

This longhouse has to be built far away from the existing infrastructure, because why? It is a stateland. Who own the land ? Sarawak Government. Who live on this land ? Poor my beloved sarawakian.

The issue is not about fire, but the government is far beyond too smart enough to look after the welfare of the rakyat.

Good government will solve this problem decades ago. But they just going after for their own fortune and leaving behind the rakyat to solve their own problem.

After all, I dont even agree on the proposal coz I myself will miss my own beloved state which one of the heritage (longhouse) been taken away just because of that stinky problem.

We all love our state and without a longhouse, I myself could hardly live as a sarawakian. Thats mean all my childhood memory and my life progress will dissapear as long as I live.


I think this man should go and see personally Pak Uban and ask for more land for our future children.

I wish to keep all the longhouse as long as I live and Tuai Rumah, Penghulu, Tuai Kampong and many others will remain as what they are till forever.

Anonymous said... answer would be one... so, it's not practical to have HOUSING-TERRACE? since the concept also the same?

Anonymous said...

Nanya Aki Sidi,

Kati perumahan teres nya. tau ga recomen ke perintah anang ngaga. pia mega condo, apartmen enggau flat.

Patut ia utai kena ngelaban api mesti cukup, melatih bala anembiak rumah panjai ngelaban api.

Risk of fire will always there, but its the preventive measures and equipment plus educating our brethren are paramount.

not to build a long house is akin to destroy one of our endearing and lasting image.

still to aki Sidi, Enti ka diau ba rumah kebun tau ga, pia ga enti meli rumah banglo tau ke detach d kuching nadai salah.

Semina cadangan nuan nya aku tu 100 % enda setuju.

Lemambang Lukau said...

Sapa kitai bansa Iban ti ngembuan penemu deka ngerumpang rumah panjai tauka enda besetuju ka bansa Iban begaga ka rumah panjai agi, penemu orang nya penemu mapap serta ngemeli ke bansa diri empu. Laban pia, penemu orang nya endang sengaja deka muai adat enggau pementi pemali bansa diri. Rumah angus unkai semina nyadi aja ba rumah panjai, tang nyadi dini dini alai ti di pelaba ka aku maioh agi nyadi di negeri.

Aku nadai olih ngerintai ditu nama kebuah bansa kitai Iban, Bidayuh enggau Orang Ulu begaga ka rumah panjai alai diau ke terubah-terubah iya, laban kelalu panjai. Semina aku bejanji deka datai enti sema ka bisi seminar tauka sara penemu (debate) bisi di atur olih SDNU lalu natai ke oenemu aku ba pekara tu.

Nemu kita, enti bansa Iban nsadai tau berumah panjai agi, maioh adat bansa asal lenyau, lalu Undang Undang Adat Bnsa Asal (Order Adat Iban, l993) deka digaga baru.

Bugau said...

This CD Munan got nothing to do. Maybe he is greatly influenced by his orang-puteh wife, who I believed doesn't want to live in a longhouse. So are their children, who lived in big city.

Questions for this CD;
What is the differences between longhouses, single or double storey, 3-storey shophouses, Multi-storey gov't offices, multi-storey shopping complexes, colleges, hospital?

CD should do more to help our generations to be on par with other races in Sarawak interm of education, job application, businesses and social value, instead of talking nonsence.

Udah makai ubat nuan tuai...?

Anonymous said...

What CD Munan talks about "should Dayak Ibans continue to build longhouse" is a very interesting topis. And for goodness sake lets not take it personal against him. Readers of his write-up in the Borneo Post should be man enough to acknowledge that the frequent fire engulfing many longhouses in the past, as has been oftentimes reported, must surely be cause for concern. Times are no more like in the past. These days with the global warming, and in this State much of the timber which in the past had been able to absolve carbon dioxide has all but gone, the reality of fire becoming a real threat, and notwithstanding longhouses are deep in the interior of Sarawak. Fire can occur anywhere and with strong heat in the air as has been the case year in and year out of late any small fire can become big and may a whole longhouse can be engulf in flames over a short period of time. If we are talking about preserving our culture, its all very normal and fair. However a seriour discussion over this issue must be had, and thanks to CD for starting it, and I for one would say to impute that CD is influenced by his wife (orang puteh) is missing the point. To be sure even in New Zealand as in England n Europe there are also sort of longhouses but those are built of concrete. And more importantly in those countries the fire-protection and prevention system inbuilt are pretty good compared to the system here where there are isolated longhouses with the distance very far from one another and/or even town. Lastly of course one can say fire no matter one builts his house is no gurrantee against fire. However we should really discuss this further.

Anonymous said...

With the Ibans living in a longhouse, all the BN has to do come campaigning time is to bribe the Tuai rumah and the opposition will have no acces to the longhouse to hold ceramahs etc.
Oh, keep the longhouse please. Otherwise how else can we keep Jabu in "power"?